by Jim Harris
The 83rd annual Academy Awards are now history, and what an interesting night it was. How about the wild dress that what’s-her-name wore. It certainly left little to the imagination; eh? And was it just me, or did that guy who gave the rambling acceptance speech seem drunk?
Okay, I confess. I didn’t see the show. I started my Oscar party a little too early (Saturday), and by the time the actual ceremonies began, I had enjoyed one too many wine spritzers and fallen asleep. When I woke up (late Monday), I just barely had time to write this article, so I’m pretty much shooting from the hip. But fear not, fans, even though I didn’t see any of the films nominated for best picture, I know people who know people who got text messages from people who may have seen them, so I can give you comprehensive synopses of them all (Warning: if you don’t want to know the endings of the movies, look away while reading this).
•127 Hours: The title refers to how long this movie would seem to last if you were actually forced to watch it. Briefly, an obsessive outdoor enthusiast gets pinned under a boulder and is forced to chop off his own arm to escape. Aside from being highly entertaining, this film conveys an important message about boulder safety.
•Winter’s Bone: A young girl must confront meth-crazed hillbillies (like, hillbillies aren’t scary enough WITHOUT the meth!) to retrieve her bail-jumping father. In the end, she has to cut off the hands of her dad’s corpse to prove to the court that he is indeed dead. Delightful! Bring the kids.
•True Grit: Another film about a young girl collecting her father’s body. This time it’s in the old west. Directed by the Coen brothers, whose previous films include “Blood,” “Lots of Blood,” and “Even More Blood.” The best scene in the movie has a bleeding man going into a bank to cash a check. He says to the teller, “Give me all large bills, please,” and the teller says, “I’m sorry, sir, but all of our bills are the same size.”
•The Fighter: A tale of drug-crazed prizefighters in Boston. Just as relentlessly creepy as “Winter’s Bone,” except that all the characters have annoying Boston accents instead of annoying Southern drawls.
•Inception: Two corporate spies conduct illegal espionage by entering the subconscious minds of their targets, using a two-level “dream within a dream” technique. The plot is impossible to follow, but there are some groovy slow-motion explosions. The hero starts out as anonymous as cattle, but he winds up leading the herd.
•The Kids Are All Right: A tale of two homosexual women who have each given birth to a child using the same anonymous sperm donor. This film also has a complicated plot, which involves a three-level “relationship within a relationship within a relationship” technique. (Attention guys, this film has no explosions or redeeming masculine values whatsoever.)
•The King’s Speech: It’s 1939, and Hitler, who does not stutter, is about to invade England, which is ruled by King George VI, who does stutter. The fate of the free world lies in the balance. Enter the therapist!
•The Social Network: Just when you thought there couldn’t be a more boring film topic than a man undergoing speech therapy, this film involves preppy college technology nerds, blogs, depositions and proprietary lawsuits. No explosions, severed limbs, sperm donors, or relationships of any kind. The
penultimate scene has the top college computer geek calling an Incontinence Hotline, and he is told, “I’m sorry, sir. You’ll have to wait.” This film is rated N1, which means “suitable for no one.”
•The Black Swan: An obsessive young ballerina gets in touch with her dark side. Like “Inception,” it’s not always clear what is a dream and what is real. And like so many of the other nominated films, there’s plenty of blood. Bring a barf bag; this is ballet with attitude.
•Toy Story 3: A bunch of toys, who have not been played with in years, feel abandoned. Through a series of mishaps, they wind up in a day care center where children happily play with them once again, and they all live happily ever after. Woody, the main character, discovers after much soul-searching that the shortest distance between two jokes is a straight line.
Once upon a time, people went to the cinema to see how much better life could be. Nowadays, it seems, we go to remind ourselves that things could always be worse. See you at the movies!