Best Picture Show Case Day Two Preview

Last weekend was pretty great. There was a good sized crowd but it was not packed. Everybody was having a good time, and we started off with the movie that AMC Voters ranked as the best for the day on their text poll; War Horse. We saw this movie on Christmas day and it was a wonderful way to cap off the holiday. I was moved by the story all over again and in many ways it was more touching and deeply effective than it had been the first time. My appreciation of the movie was increased, and although I have heard criticism of John Williams score being over used and too saccharine, I thought it worked well and was happy to hear it.

Next we saw “Moneyball” which was my first time. I have a hard time believing that I did not see this earlier in the season. Like other movies with baseball at the center but not about the game, it uses our familiarity to tell a different story altogether.  It is a lot like one of the two Costner baseball films of the eighties. Family and reconciliation are the themes of “Field of Dreams” and love and ambition are the targets of “Bull Durham”. Both movies feature baseball, but the outcome of the game is not really the point. In “Moneyball” the outcome of the season is the point, and there is one game featured, but that was about it. The story is really concerned with innovation and creativity confronting prejudice and tradition. It was very entertaining, even though most of what happens is talk. Of course if the talk is scripted by Aaron Sorkin, then it should be plenty interesting.

The less I say about “Tree of Life”, the happier I will be. You can see my comments elsewhere on a post earlier this week.

Finally, “The Descendants” manages to be an effective drama with humorous moments. It centers on several complicated situations that the main character must deal with all at once. Every once in a while, I think a family gets challenged by a really tough stretch of time. Years ago I lost my best friend, my Mother, my Father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, we bought a house and we had the hardest move you can imagine, all in a period of about nine months. George Clooney’s character faces overwhelming problems and difficult decisions and it is the manner in which he faces those challenges that he end up defining himself as a person. I was much more ambivalent about the movie the first time I saw it. This time it resonated more with me and I could see the quality of work Mr. Clooney was turning in.

Tomorrow, we have “Hugo”, “The Help”, “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” , “The Artist” and “Midnight in Paris”.  For my previous comments on two of the films you can click on the poster below. I have heard great things about the other three and it looks to be a very pleasant day.


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