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You know once upon a time -- particularly when Cary Bates and I lived in NYC and had no real life outside DC Comics and spent every free moment going to movies -- I used to see over two hundred movies a year. I'm not kidding.
But no longer.
The oscar nominations were announced. And I went down the entire list and realized I've only seen EIGHT of the nominated films. That's 8 out of ALL the films nominated in ANY category.
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
Meet the Parents
The Emperor's New Groove
Not that anyone asked, but here's my assesment of the eight. (Obviously, I can't speak to any of the others.)
Gladiator - I was really enjoying this film most of the way through. I never thought it was Oscar callibre, but I liked it --right up until the end. I thought the ending however was so preposterous and awful, it spoiled my enjoyment of the whole film. Blech.
Cast Away - I just thought this was plain awful all the way through. The only section I was interested in was what happened (SPOILERS) after he got off the island. But that was given preposterously short shrift. Double Blech.
Meet the Parents - I disliked this so intensely, I walked out of it partway through. Went to a bookstore while my wife and friend Tuppence finished watching the movie. This is only the second film I've walked out on in my entire life. (Not counting movies I had to leave because of baby-sitting emergencies or bomb threats.) Triple Blech.
102 Dalmations - Oh, how I wish I could have walked out on this. But I was there with my kids. They enjoyed it well enough at the time, but have already forgotten about it. Double Blech.
Now the good news.
Almost Famous - I really enjoyed this one. Very well-acted, well-written. Funny. I didn't LOVE it the way some of the critics did. But I was really surprised it didn't do better at the box office. Smile.
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon - I really enjoyed this. Structurally, it's a bit odd. But I liked it a lot. Definitely one of the best films I saw this year... but as you can see, that's not saying much. Double Smile.
The Grinch - Another film I took my kids too. I enjoyed this one though. No, it's no classic the way the old Christmas special was. But there's a lot to recommend. And I had fun. Smile.
The Emperor's New Groove - A third film I took my kids too. This was a very pleasant surprise. A straight-forward simple story played for laughs. From the previews, I didn't think I'd like it. But, hey, I liked it a lot. Smile.
Now as for the nominations...
Picture - I have only two to choose from Gladiator and Dragon. Obviously I'd pick Dragon.
Actor - Russell Crowe over Tom Hanks. I liked Crowe's performance. (I just find it hard to believe it was the best performance this year.)
Actress - I saw none of the nominated performances.
Director - Again, I'll pick Ang Lee for Crouching over Ridley Scott for Gladiator.
Supporting Actor - Joaquin Phoenix by default. The only one of the performances I saw. But I thought he was much better in THE YARDS.
Supporting Actress - This is tough. I think I'd pick Frances McDormand over Kate Hudson (both from Almost Famous). But it's close.
Original Screenplay - Cameron Crowe's for Almost Famous over the three guys from Gladiator in a second.
Adapted Screenplay - The three guys from Crouching by default. (I don't think the screenplay was this movie's strong suit.) Does anyone remember if High Fidelity was a 2000 release? I loved that movie and can't believe it wasn't nominated.
Foreign Film - Crouching by default.
Art Direction - I think I will pick Grinch over Gladiator and Crouching.
Cinematography - Crouching over Gladiator.
Costume Design - Crouching over Gladiator, Grinch and 102 Dalmations.
Documentary Feature - I've seen none of these.
Documentary Short - I've seen none of these either.
Film Editing - Almost Famous over Crouching and Gladiator.
Make-up - Grinch by default.
Original Score - Gladiator over Crouching.
Original Song - "My Funny Friend and Me" by Sting and David Hartley from Emperor's Groove over "A Fool in Love" by Randy Newman from Parents and "A Love Before Time" from Crouching.
Animated Short Film - I've seen none of these. Which is odd.
Live Action Short Film - I've seen none of these. Which isn't odd.
Sound - Gladiator over Cast Away.
Sound Editing - I've seen neither of the nominees.
Visual FX - Gladiator by default.
Of course, there's a slim possibility that I'll see a couple more of the nominated films before the award show itself. I'll let you know if my opinions change.
But mostly I reiterate the word I started with. Pathetic.