Wednesday, September 4, 2013

And the Oscar Goes To...Not These Films

Over at The Film Experience, my fellow contributors and I had another one of our nifty monthly polls. In light of all the fall Film Festivals giving us our first look at Oscar hopefuls (Telluride wrapped up this weekend, the Venice Film Fest wraps up on Saturday, overlapping Toronto which starts tomorrow, and the NYFF starts on September 27 where I'll actually be seeing some films including the Gala Tribute to Cate Blanchett! Man, I'm exhausted just typing all that. That's a lot of festivals. I almost forgot what I was trying to say) this month's poll focused on those films that looked so hopeful on paper or early in the season then went on to disappoint come Oscar time. We bring you the 10 Biggest Awards Season Flops.

The rules were that the film couldn't have received more than 2 nominations and could not have been nominated for Best Picture nor could it have won in any category (which means Nine was not eligible. It received 4 nominations, you guys!) As my own personal rule, I also decided to not include films that were nominated in the acting categories or Director. I found that the films usually fall into two types: Good to great movies that for some reason or other never caught on with voters and films with Oscar buzz that ended up being huge stinkers.

Only 4 from my personal ballot made the list, so I'm sure there were a lot of votes spread out from various films. I had a tough time with my list as usually if a film loses their awards buzz I'll have forgotten it as quickly as an Academy member forgets releases from the early part of the year. I'm surprised by the inclusion of Bobby on the list as I felt like it never had any sort of real potential, awards-wise (Golden Globe nomination, I hear you say. The Tourist and Burlesque, I answer you). I'm also saddened by the spots held by The Crucible and Into the Wild as I really loved those movies at the time and wish they had gotten more Oscar lovin'. Anyway, here is my list:

1. J. Edgar (2011)
2. Beloved (1998)
3. Australia (2008)
4. Zodiac (2007) (which I did the write up for on TFE)
5. The Ides of March (2011)
6. Man on the Moon (1999)
7. All the King's Men (2006)
8. The Ice Storm (1997)
9. Love and Other Drugs (2010)
10. Bright Star (2009)

In conclusion, I leave you with the number one biggest flop as chosen collectively by Team Experience (and it just so happens to have been my choice for #1 as well). A couple years old, but still damn funny:

One of these days, Leo. One of these days...

The Brainless Bimbos of Spring Breakers

Y'all, I feel like I need a Silkwood-type shower after watching this week's Hit Me With Your Best Shot Season Finale film: Harmony Korine's hedonistic, candy-colored (oh, sorry. I forgot to mention fever dream) ode to that college tradition, Spring Breakers.

Korine's films (from the NC-17 rated, Kids, in which he wrote the screenplay, or the mind-numbingly bad, Gummo) have always been divisive. Just read anything about this latest film (and believe me, there's much that has been written) and you're sure to find as many supporters as haters. And with his most mainstream cast to date (a couple of former Disney child stars trying to break free of their goody-goody past and James Franco in an "Oscar-worthy" performance art piece) so much press was given to the film this spring that you'd think it was the greatest film of a new generation. But watching it, it seemed so out of touch and dated – as if it was made in that era of the late 90s when everything was "extreme" and the girls look like they're channeling a No Doubt video from 1999 (One of them even sports the pink hairstyle that Gwen rocked back in the day). It also didn't help to have the girls constantly sing songs that were popular more than a decade ago (so much classic Britney. And what teenage girl in 2013 sings Nelly "Hot in Herre" – sadly, not a typo). I feel bad saying last week's film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid didn't have a lot going for it because that film is Citizen Kane compared to the repetitive ad nauseam of this film.

Count me in the camp as one who will never "get" the appeal of Korine's films. Their sole purpose is shock value without providing any real substance or deeper meaning behind them. Style masquerading as social commentary. They're as empty headed as the 3 interchangeable bikini-clad stars of this film. (Selena Gomez's brunette Faith is not included because Korine seems to have felt that giving her a different personality and backstory was distracting and dumps her 40 minutes into the film.) Which is why I went with the shot I did for Best (although, I'm using that term very loosely. I had a hard time finding something redeeming here. So many slow motion shots of bare boobs and crotches...which one to choose?!?):

The two scenes that people seem to talk about the most from this movie are Franco's monologue about all the shit he owns and this musical interlude set to Britney Spears' "Everytime". It's such a bizarre moment that I had to go with it. The three girls with their hot pink ski masks are stripped of what little identity they were given and are reduced to the headless male fantasies the film has been subjecting them to throughout. It's no accident that they now look like blow-up dolls. It's either the work of a mad genius or someone who needs to be locked away for depravity. I tend to go with the latter.