Since the Academy upped the number of Best Picture nominees for this year’s Oscars from 5 to 10, the Best Picture Showcase format at AMC had to change. While 5 select cities (New York, Chicago, LA, Washington D.C. and Toronto) will have 24-hour marathons, Kansas City hosted two venues, including my home theatre, Studio 30, which sold more Best Picture Showcase tickets than any other city in America.
The lineup for the first weekend was:
Since Alli’s been sick (and we’ve seen it twice), we decided to cut out on seeing Avatar again and showed up about 15 minutes prior to Up in the Air. We settled into our seats (which we purchased ourselves…I went as a fan, not as a Community Manager) and enjoyed the day.
The experience of the Best Picture Showcase is a blast for movie lovers like us, but one thing you can never avoid is the gut-wrenchingly uncomfortable movie. This year, that movie was Precious: Based on the Novel PUSH by Sapphire.
Brutal. Just utterly brutal. Stereotype-filled to the brim. Good performances from Mo’Nique and Gabourey Sidibe, but they are certainly a type. Their performances reminded me of something I heard Matt Damon say once that it’s easy to win an Oscar, you just have to pick the right role (I think it was Damon…I can’t find a link to the quote, but I’m pretty sure it was Damon when he was on Inside the Actor’s Studio).
As far as the other movies go…
The Blind Side was a nice movie. I’m not convinced that Sandra Bullock would win Best Actress any other year but this one. It’s certainly her best performance since Crash, but is it Oscar-worthy? I don’t know. I can certainly see why people love that movie. It’s inspirational. It’s about our national past-time, football. But The Blind Side is definitely one of the movies that benefited from the expansion to 10 Best Picture nominees. That being said, the kid that plays SJ is hilarious.
Inglorious Basterds was what I expected. Tarantino certainly has a style that can be appealing to some. But the typography nerd in me was annoyed by the opening credits where he managed to stuff at least four different typefaces in, which is a big design no-no. Christoph Waltz was absolutely brilliant as Hans Landa and deserves every single bit of acclaim that he’s received. The story itself…*shrug*. There were people who’ve said that Inglorious Basterds is Tarantino’s best work so far. I respectfully disagree…and not just because of the typography.
On second viewing, Up in the Air was my favorite film we saw. Jason Reitman, like Tarantino, also has a very specific directorial style. But where Tarantino’s style has seemingly remained the same, Reitman’s is evolving into something fantastic. The shots he captures of Ryan Bingham’s America are really beautiful and the performances from leads â€”Â Clooney, Kendrick and Farmiga â€”Â are all terrific, with Anna Kendrick (who we’ve really only known as Jessica from the Twilight movies before now) really doing an amazing job as Clooney’s young understudy Natalie.
Just a quick comment on the Best Picture Showcase itself. Now that I work for AMC as a Community Manager, it was an interesting experience. I didn’t attend as an employee, but a fan of the movies, just like most everyone else in the theatre. And for people who love the movies, the Best Picture Showcase is an amazing time. I’m looking forward to finishing it up next weekend, with:
I’m most looking forward to seeing An Education and The Hurt Locker. An Education was written by one of my favorite authors, Nick Hornby, while The Hurt Locker…well, I’m anxious to see what all the hype is about.