Archive for February, 2013

Ms. Taco Goes To The Movies: It’s Oscar Night!

Okay, so the title of this post is a bit of a lie. I definitely did not go to the movies as much as I should have in preparation for this year’s Oscar ceremony, which airs tonight. With that being said, I’m not sure how much my opinion on who should win the big awards tonight matters, but as in all things TV and movie related, I’ve done a lot of reading up on this year’s nominees. So here are my thoughts on who should win and my predictions on who could win.

BEST WRITING (ADAPTED SCREENPLAY):

Who should win: Lucy Alibar and Benh Zeitlin, Beasts of the Southern Wild
There’s something kind of sweet and simply stated about this movie that makes it perfection in a way and I think that’s a credit to its writing. This is a better movie than the attention it’s getting, but that’s typical with indies. It’s a very long shot for Best Picture or Best Actress but I wish people would give it the credit it deserves with a win here.

Who could: David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook
I didn’t like this movie quite as much as others did, maybe because I was tired when watching it or maybe because it just didn’t connect with me. However, I do think one of the best things about it was its script. With that being said, I’d be okay with a win for it here. I don’t think it’s going to take Best Director or Best Director and Best Screenplay is usually a consolation prize when there’s a lot of buzz that doesn’t translate into a win for those categories. However, I think Lincoln or Argo could potentially take this with Affleck not getting a directing nod and with Lincoln being Lincoln.

BEST WRITING (ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY):

Who should win: Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola, Moonrise Kingdom

Are there ever any points for creativity where screenplays are concerned? Probably not with this Academy. Nonetheless, being someone who isn’t completely enamored with Wes Anderson movies, I really found this script and story refreshing and different. Wes Anderson is too cool for the Academy, so his nomination is the award, but maybe recognizing achievements such as Anderson’s would bring the Oscars the younger audience that they have desperately been craving.

Who could win: Quentin Tarantino, Django Unchained

Tarantino is a controversial figure because of the violent nature of all of his films but he still earns the respect of voters everywhere. Being that I’m not a Tarantino fan (more so because of the violence than of the quality of his work) I haven’t looked up much about this movie. Despite not being the status quo, Tarantino managed to grab this prize for Pulp Fiction in 1994, and he could potentially do it again here.

BEST DIRECTING:

Who should win: Ben Affleck, Argo

Yeah, yeah. I know he’s not even nominated in this category, but prior to the nominations, Ben Affleck was getting so much buzz for his work on Argo. His failure to get a nomination here is probably the biggest snub this year and likely one of the biggest in recent history. Almost everyone agrees that he is three for three in directing. His win at the Golden Globes is a consolation prize, but that doesn’t take away from the sting from not getting a nomination here. A win for Best Picture might though.

Okay, should I pick an actual person from this category? I’ll go with Benth Zeitlin for Beasts of the Southern Wild. Great performances by a cast not accustomed to acting. That’s top notch directing in my book.

Who could win: Ang Lee, Life of Pi

This is a tough one to call when you have powerhouse Steven Spielberg in the mix and David O. Russel, whose Silver Linings Playbook is getting so much buzz. But everyone is talking about the beautiful way Life of Pi was filmed. Ang Lee has a knack for making beautiful movies (please see Brokeback Mountain–no, seriously, if you havent seen it, please do, it’s beautiful) and I think that could carry him to the big prize this year. With that being said, Steven Spielberg could definitely still take this one.

BEST ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE:

Who should win: Robert DeNiro, Silver Linings Playbook

He’s here because I don’t normally like Robert DeNiro, yet he made me enjoy a movie that I wasn’t enjoying as much as I thought I would. Does that make any sense? Probably not. His character and performance worked, and for me he kind of became the heart of the film. I still have hope he’s going to take this, but he just might be edged out.

Who could: Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln

I’m not a fan of Tommy Lee Jones. I can’t explain why, but there it is. I think of everyone in the category, Jones has been getting the most buzz in a movie that has been getting buzz since before it was released. Still, with every actor in this category being a previous Oscar winner, this one could be a pretty tight race.

BEST ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE:

Who should win: Amy Adams, The Master

I love Amy Adams and I want her to win an Oscar. I know nothing about The Master, but I stand by my ‘should win’ for Amy. She will be my ‘should win’ until she actually wins Oscar gold. She’s my new Kate Winslet. That is all.

Who could win: Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables

Anne Hathaway is a lock here. Again, I haven’t seen this one, but I can’t look up Oscar news without reading about her one take performance. I like Anne, but I have recently been hearing that she has her haters. In any event, I’d be happy to see her win and if she doesn’t it would be one of the biggest Oscar upsets in history. I think the only more sure fire win than one for Hathaway is a win for my pick below.

BEST ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE:

Who should win: Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln

Look, There Will Be Blood is a long, drawn out, sometimes boring movie. But, I’d watch it again just for Day-Lewis’ performance. He was amazing, and I’d guess that when/if I do see Lincoln, I will not love the movie but I will love the performance by its star. He embodies his roles like no other, and he deserves respect for that.

Who could win: Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln

Nothing much to say here. If he doesn’t win, it will not be one of the biggest upsets in Oscar history, it will be the biggest upset in Oscar history.

BEST ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE:

Who should win: Naomi Watts, The Impossible

I think a lot of people are saying that Jessica Chastain probably should win this but won’t because of Zero Dark Thirty’s controversial nature. But people who have seen The Impossible are coming out of the woodwork to praise Naomie Watts’ gut-wrenching performance. So I have to say, of all the buzz movies I haven’t seen, The Impossible has moved to the top of my list. But it’s an indie and, like I said before, it’s hard to break through that. I’d be shocked if she snatched this from Lawrence, but it’d be kinda nice if she did.

Who could win: Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook

I think this has become Lawrence’s to lose. If Jessica Chastain wasn’t in such a controversial film, she might have a shot but word on the street is that the nature of the film kept Kathryn Bigelow from getting a Best Directing nod. With that being said, Chastain or even Emmanuelle Riva could pull an upset, but I’d be surprised if they did.

BEST PICTURE:

Who should win: Lincoln

Look just because it has that Oscar movie feel doesn’t mean it shouldn’t win. It’s a typical choice for Oscar, but that doesn’t make it a bad choice. I’ll admit that when I first saw the preview for Lincoln on TV, I thought it was a joke. With that being said, I’ve heard a lot of praise from pretty much everyone who has seen it. It’s deserving and it was on the Oscar win course, but…

Who could win: Argo

The lack of a directing nod for Ben Affleck has led to a buildup of support for Argo getting the Best Picture win. I think it’s still close between Argo and Lincoln (the epitome of Oscar bait) but Ben Affleck’s loss in the directing category may prove to be his gain in winning the coveted big prize in the movie industry. If Argo pulls this off, Affleck will likely be more than happy to have made the sacrifice.

Well, that’s all folks! Enjoy Oscar night! Did your picks win??

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Ms. Taco’s Take: Parenthood’s Adoption Storyline (Part 2)

maSo Parenthood went ahead and concluded its season and its adoption storyline. Going into this episode I, along with many viewers, were worried that this storyline would wrap up with a nice little bow on top. And, let’s be honest, it did. But, is that a bad thing? Let’s take a look at that. First let’s be honest and acknowledge the thing every Parenthood fan doesn’t want to talk about. Parenthood hasn’t been renewed yet, and while a lot of people are guessing that it will get at least one more season, there’s no guarantee that we are ever going to see these characters again. Jason Katims is familiar with shows being on the bubble all the way back to his Roswell days. I can honestly say that I would never want to be a TV writer dealing with a bubble show. You have to kind of create this balance between tying up what you can so that people will be satisfied if it’s the end and leaving enough open for the next season, if there is one. Being a person who has had a lot of her favorite shows cancelled before their prime, I can attest to the fact that it really sucks when a show is cancelled with many storylines left unresolved. If you love TV as much as I do, you know your favorite TV characters better than you know some of your friends. So imagine that your friend was in the middle of some crisis and then you never heard about them again. For me, that is the equivalent of a show ending without the writers crafting a proper final episode. Now of course, some things can be left open because again, if you love TV as much as I do, you end up imagining characters’ lives going an after a show ends anyway.

With all that being said, I think the writers did a really good job with Victor’s adoption in the season finale. Because after three seasons of Julia and Joel going through disappointment after disappointment, if this is the last season of the show, we need to be left with the idea that things are going to work out for them. And Victor. Sorry, I have to put him in there because this kid has really gotten a bad rap this season. When you spend x number of seasons with characters, and it comes time to say goodbye, you want to know they are going to be okay, reality be damned. So, I was okay with the bow the writers put on top of that storyline. I think I was even kind of wishing for it despite how much I wanted things presented in a realistic way. Because I’m a sucker for a happy ending. And because Julia is my favorite Parenthood character. And because Julia and Joel are one of my favorite current TV couples. So there it is, I liked it.

Now let’s go back to the whole Victor thing for a minute. Because I really do think he’s gotten a bad rap on this show, and I’m not just saying that because I’ve worked with kids like him and know the kind of issues they are dealing with. I’m saying that because Victor and Julia did have some good moments this season. It hasn’t been the gloom and doom that people have been making it out to be. Victor didn’t make a spectacular 180 personality change in the season finale. If anything, the writers were very careful to get across the message early on that deep down, he’s a good kid.

Two scenes in the finale stand out to me with respect to this storyline. The first is when Victor breaks the vase, or whatever it is, and he and Julia have a mini heart to heart. You can argue that it was forced and that Victor breaking the vase was simply setup for them having this conversation, and that might be true. But it allowed the two characters to give each other what they needed, mutual approval. By Victor asking Julia if she’s going to change her mind about the adoption, he acknowledged that there is at least some part of him that wants to be there, which connects back to her asking him in the previous episode if the adoption sounds good to him. And by Julia saying, “I want you to stick around”, she’s letting him know that he is wanted and she’s not going to give up on him, which was Victor’s biggest fear as portrayed so wonderfully by Xolo Mariduena. Seriously, what he did with his eyes and lips and face in general in that scene to show his fear and worry. That kid can act. I loved the simplicity of the scene. I loved that there wasn’t this big emotional hug between them. Anyway, I loved it. And, come on, we knew all along Victor wanted to be a Graham Braverman. Who doesn’t want to be a Braverman?? Seriously, if they would adopt me, I would totally go with that.

The other scene that stood out to me was when the judge finalized the adoption and mainly the moment when he tells them it is final. Erika Christensen again does an excellent job conveying something without words in that moment. There’s definitely fear in her eyes, the notion that ‘oh my god, this is it, no turning back’. And that’s the piece right there that Jason Katims leaves us with for next season, we hope. Julia isn’t completely sure that this is going to work. She’s still pretty scared. And, I hope that if when the show returns next season, they explore this aspect. Because I think this is a story worth investing in and I think it’s a story that isn’t explored enough in television and movies.

Before I close up, just want to note the really nice work Sam Jaeger did this season portraying Joel. Unfortunately, there was so much to cover already with this storyline that I didn’t get into his scenes very much. Being that Joel in general has been a background character, it was really nice to see him front and center in this storyline balancing out Julia’s fears and worries with optimism and faith. I hope the writers continues to put him front and center next season. He most certainly has earned it.

Well there it is folks. I know it took a while for me to finally churn this out. Any thoughts on this storyline?