From the Heart: Best/Great Movies and the Oscars.

The Large Association of Movie Blogs (LAMB) has pulled its members together, myself included, and made up what we believe to be our top 5 movies of the year. Reading through the winners and the picks has made me think a lot about something, so I would like to make a little shpeel of my own onto what I believe makes a great and/or Oscar-worthy movie (which might more explain my list, especially when juxtaposed against some of the others). For instance, a lot of people picked movies like In the Valley of Elah, Michael Clayton, The Assassination of Jesse James, and No Country for Old Men. There is only one major reason as to why I didn't pick these or any of the other 'Oscar-worthy' picks: I live in a small city, so it's very, very rare for movies like that to even show their face in these parts. Hell, even Sweeney Todd is skipping out on us (damnit).

I'm not going to say anything against these films. They actually might be super awesome, and probably are. But even if I had seen them, I still may or may not have included them as my favorite of the year. Why? Because, honestly, most Oscar-worthy pictures are BORING (at least after one viewing). That's right, I said it. But I also said most, not all.

To me, a great movie doesn't have to be made by Eastwood or Scorsese and star Swank or DiCaprio... which too many recent winners have. I'm not saying these guys are awful... no, FAR from it. These people are great in their own respects. But when I watch a movie, I want to be both entertained and want to watch it again. I don't want to be like "Oh my God, that was the most depressing thing I've ever seen... never again." *pause* "THAT WAS OSCAR GOLD!" My brain doesn't really work like that.

That's why I'm ecstatic when movies like Lord of the Rings and Little Miss Sunshine are nominated, and even happier when they win. But don't get me wrong, I'm not against the depressing masterpieces. I love Pan's Labyrinth. It should have been nominated for best picture, though it obviously wasn't going to be, as it was foreign. Again, one of the biggest reasons I'm not all up and for these movies is because I haven't seen them. I just don't think that movies like The Queen would be my cup of tea (bad joke). I'll see it someday eventually anyway... I just believe there are more entertaining movies out there. Because that's all a movie is meant to be, entertaining. If it's not entertaining you, it's not doing its job. And if it isn't doing its job, then why should it get this high praise?

Of course, story isn't the only thing that makes a movie great. Acting, direction, cinematography... they all play their part. A movie can have an enthralling story, but if it looks and feels boring, then it will be. And before you jump on me, I'm not one of those people who just likes the blow-em-up blockbusters that have no depth. I love movies with depth, as well. I love all kinds of movies... almost any and all, for that matter.

I guess the point I'm trying to make is that when it comes to Oscar noms, the littler guys should be given a bigger chance than they're ever given, instead of just focusing on all the Scorsese's and such. There's other great movies out there, and they don't all have to be violent and/or depressing to get best picture, as a lot of the winners these days have been. Because honestly, movies are for the average movie goer, and the average movie goer is a lot more likely to see Superbad and Enchanted over Eastern Promises and The Darjeeling Limited. And in the end, it's the people's opinion that matters, not a snob in a suit who sees 30 second clips.

Finally, as to not take up a load of room, here is the link to the winners, which I'm happy to say I believe is a great list and more true to form than what the Oscars are likely to say.


  1. If you don't already, you should read Chuck Klosterman, who's written many a page on more or less the same subject, but in regards to music, stating (effectively) that the populist music (or movies, in this case) are popular for a reason, and that being pop does not automatically make them bad.

    Personally, I like to think that I sit on the fence between pop movies and indies and/or "Oscar" movies pretty well. I'm not above seeing much of anything and vice versa. But I also wouldn't classify a lot of typical Oscar movies as boring - they may not have a watchability factor, but they can still be damn good - they just won't make it into the hearts of people of end up of their "favorites" list (there can be a valley of difference between "the best" and "your favorite," though the two can overlap as well).

    Ok, I'm rambling now...suffice it to say I simultaneously see your point, agree and disagree at the same time.

  2. Yeah... like I said, the typical Oscar movies aren't bad by any means, they just have their own typical flavor, which overshadows what I believe to be the more entertaining movies (and that's the point of a movie).

    I guess for me, 'the best' and 'your favorite' should coincide with each other, because if you can say 'this is the best movie ever made' but simultaneously say 'however, it's not close to my favorite movie'... there's something vastly wrong with that. Either way, 'the best' and 'your favorite' are both your own opinion. I just find it odd when your opinion conflicts with itself on what should technically be the same thing. Granted, there are some people who like movies that are so bad they're good... but they usually don't go around saying that a 'so bad it's good' movie is their favorite of all time, either.

  3. Ya know, if it were up to the 8-year-old inside me, Transformers would have been my favorite movie of the year - and we always have to keep that in mind.

    I'm a Star Wars fanatic and grew up on cartoons and action figures and comic books so I'm drawn to the fantastical, but i've also developed a taste for films with deep storytelling and beautiful cinematography - and what's best is when I can find something that combines everything I love - thats oscar material to me.

    There's a lot of movies I see that I think are being made for the soul purpose of getting an Oscar - namely anything Clint Eastwood touches. And yes, some of them are pretty boring. I Saw "The Queen" last year and didn't think much of it, but I saw "Last King of Scotland" and liked it a lot.

    I think this year has the best films of the past few years. It'd be nice to see something from the sci-fi/fantasy realm get respect but I dont' see it happening for a long time.

    And yes, please see Into the Wild - AND King of Kong, it was so good!

  4. Oh, I still really want to see Last King of Scotland. I love Forest Whitaker (and was so glad he finally got an Oscar, even though I haven't seen the movie yet). Also, I've only heard a few things of King of Kong, but I think it's sounds great. Into the Wild sounds interesting, as well, as does Assassination of Jesse James. I've heard good things about No Country for Old Men, too. The main ones that don't interest me a whole load are In the Valley of Elah, Eastern Promises, and Michael Clayton. Otherwise, the only reason I haven't seen them are because they aren't here.

  5. To me, some movies that are not "prototically considered an option for entertainment" (like Eastern promises, The assasination of Jesse James, Before sunset, Munich) are far more entertaining than movies that would be considered "prototically entertaing", like Transformers, 10.000 B.C., Constantine, Borat...
    I agree with this: the movie one likes the most is really the best movie for that person. But the entertainment can be provided by a far greater variety than just "entertaining American movies" or "indie movies". Experimental films, documentaries, "contemplative" movies, from any country, from any year (silent films included) are movies that should be considered into any film canon, otherwise the "cinema" one would be considering would only be 2% of what cinema really is.
    Sorry if my English is not good.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.