26 February 2017

Movie Groovy

Many of my friends know this, but I once harbored ambitions of becoming a film director. For a number of reasons I took a different path. The bottom line is that I realized I was someone who just really liked movies.

I used to follow the Oscar race very closely, but it has less personal significance than it used to. The ceremony itself is pretty bloated, and I don't find the self-congratulatory aspects very compelling. But I do have some opinions this year.

Of the 9 best picture nominees, I've seen Arrival, Hidden Figures, and La-La Land.

I thought Arrival was a great movie. Very thought-provoking, beautifully shot. It stayed with me and was very emotionally resonant. Original and unexpected, and I would be happy if it won.

Hidden Figures is a truly wonderful story. Great performances and solid execution. It doesn't feel like a special movie in the sense that it is very conventional in its storytelling and style. It deserves the level of commercial sucess it has attained. It is unlikely to win, but the importance of the story, and the timing, would justify a win.

I loved La-La Land. It's not a perfect movie but it deeply affected me. Before we left to go home I had added the soundtrack on Apple Music so Lacy and I could listen on the way home. Occasionally I play the long epilogue track and the feeling that came with those scenes returns.

I shouldn't have enjoyed it as much as I did. I enjoy musicals, but it's not my favorite genre. It has a bittersweet ending, with characters making choices I would not have made. But it felt real, while very much a modern kind of fantasy. It even made me more fond of Los Angeles, which is an accomplishment,

It has been criticized lately, which often happens when popular entertainment doesn't achieve the level of importance that the cognizenti would prefer.

It is likely to win. There may be better films among the other nominees. Not having seen them, I'll root for the fools who dream.