The King’s Speech/The Social Network/The Kids are Alright

Since these two films seem to be the frontrunners for Best Picture, I thought I would lump them together. Actually, I could wad them up, roll ’em in a big ball, and toss them together with a little The Kids Are Alright thrown in for good measure and still not have enough to even fill one popcorn barf bag. These films all embraced classic cinematography techniques and straight-forward storytelling, and consequently I got lost in the stories without giving my stomach a second thought.

It’s a bit of a relief to know that there are still directors who embrace the more traditional approach, because I’m a big fan of actually seeing a film in a theatre; I’d hate to have to wait for everything to come out on DVD. I also hate the fact that I spend so much time worrying about this. I would much rather just focus on the script or the performances and not let a gurgling gut influence my opinion of a film.

That said, these three films were among the best I saw all year. The King’s Speech was Colin Firth at his most fabulous; it almost made up for how embarrassed I was for him in Mamma Mia. If he had dove into a pond wearing a white shirt, it would have been the perfect film. And I’m a big fan of Geoffrey Rush’s work as well, although sometimes I find it hard to accept him as anyone other than Casanova Frankenstein. I don’t know if this film was nominated for Best Art Direction, but I would like to throw some snaps at the production design team that came up with the decor and wallpaper patterns featured in the home of Lionel Logue and family. The bizarre colors and patterns emphasized the eccentricity of the tutor and reinforced the contrast between the commoners and the Royals. I’m almost positive I had a dress made out the pattern featured in the dining room. It was a beautifully made film and deserves all the acclaim being heaped upon it. Also . . . corgis!

I believe The King’s Speech has Best Actor and Best Picture wrapped up, but my vote would have gone to The Social Network. The smartest film of the year, this move had Aaron Sorkin’s screenplay that harkened back to the glory days of West Wing. I still believe our country would be in a better place had Martin Sheen really been president. This film was basically the story of a bunch of geeks sitting at keyboards writing code, yet it had tension and movement and great characters. Jesse Eisenberg disappeared into his portrayal of Mark Zuckerburg, which is why Colin Firth will probably win for his much showier Bertie (plus he had a disability, and we all know how much the Academy loves a struggle). This is also the first (and probably only) time I have ever seen the website catswholooklikehitler referenced on film. For that alone, it deserves an Oscar.

I was also a big fan of The Kids Are Alright, mainly for the performances of Annette Bening and Julianne Moore. I loved the matter-of-factness of their portrayals as a family that just happened to have two moms, and how their relationship was the least sensationalistic thing in the movie. However, I can’t quite forgive the scene where Annette Bening as Nic sings almost an entire Joni Mitchell song – I was cringing in my seat as much as her kids were.

So lots of big awards will be handed out to these three films, and you can safely watch all three of them without tossing your cookies; hell, you could even eat cookies during these films and not have any problems.

Barf Bag Ranking: Zero Bags for each film! Fist bump!

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