"To strive, to seek, to find and not to yield"
- Alfred Lord Tennyson, 1833

"live deep and suck out all the marrow of life"
- Henry David Thoreau, 1845

"Some guys, they just give up living
And start dying little by little, piece by piece
Some guys come home from work and wash up,
And go racin' in the streets."
- Bruce Springsteen, 1977

"...to the heart, there's no time for you to waste.
You won't find your precious answers now
by staying in one place."
- Frank Turner, 2009

"The best things in life aren't things.
They're living and breathing."
- Michael Franti , 2011

"I owned every second that this world could give,
I saw so many places, the things that I did"
- Ryan Tedder of OneRepublic, 2014

All written content and photos by Rob Fulfer unless otherwise indicated.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Oh I Wish I Was an Oscar Maybe Winner

As we prepare for our friends', The Edmondsons, party for The Oscars coming up in a couple weeks, it's time to do our homework and start checking out the "Best Picture" nominations of which we have seen exactly zero up to this point although we have been wanting to see The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. The Reader - 2/2/09 Our first choice tonight was The Reader - a post-Holocaust story set in Germany starring Kate Winslet and Ralph Fiennes. Winslet is also up for an Oscar nomination for her strong starring role. While the story took a little time to set up making the first hour a bit slow, the second half became very compelling. A haunting ending made this movie a great start to the Oscar competition and very worthy in our opinion of the nomination for Best Picture. Thanks to our friend, Casey, for going with us to see this unique film. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button - 2/3/09 As slow as the thick gumbo from New Orleans from where this story is set, but just as satisfying is The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Dream-like in story line and presentation, this movie was beautifully filmed and brought together. However, the leads, Brad Pitt (up for Best Actor as well)and Cate Blanchett, were solid but not electrifying in their performances; it was fairly predictable in story line; and there are no truly unique qualities to the film to set it apart in motion picture history (way too many similarities to Forrest Gump). All these factors lead us to believe it's probably deserving of the Oscar nomination it got ths year, but it will struggle greatly to place or show, let alone win. Slumdog Millionaire 2/4/09 Blown away. Simply blown away. Slumdog Millionaire is an amazing movie that definitely leads the pack so far in terms of our opinion of Best Picture. Rob gives his utmost apologies for bashing this movie and the praise it's been getting without even seeing it (honestly, the trailer for it does it ZERO justice). It truly is a remarkable achievement. Totally shot in and around the slums of Mumbai (formerly Bombay), India, in broad, sweeping shots and brutal close-ups, Danny Boyle, the director, deserves all the accolades he has been getting and much more. The actors, all unknown in the U.S. until now, all turned in terrific performances. So far this film would also be the leading contender for Rob's "They Should Make Ensemble Cast an Oscar Category." The story was both smart and involving. As close to a perfect film as you will ever see. Again, we were simply blown away. Thanks to our friend, Casey, for going with us to see it, and to the Mt. Juliet police officer for just giving Casey a warning when he rolled through that red light on the way home. Milk 2/5/09 Overall a good film but pretty much your run-of-the-mill bio-pic. Sean Penn gives a strong, subtle and respectful portrayal of slain civil rights activist, Harvey Milk, who was the first openly gay person elected to public office in the United States back in the mid 70's. Director Gus Van Zant did a superb job of melding stock footage from that era into his film while also shooting some scenes in a way that made them look like stock footage as well giving the whole picture a nice documentary-style feel. There was a decent ensemble cast but no one's character really stole any scenes from the powerhouse that is Penn, who is also up this year for an Oscar for lead actor . He could snag it, but we don't see this film breaking out of the pack of contenders for Best Picture. Slumdog Millionaire retains it's strong lead in our opinions. Last up will be Frost/Nixon which we will have to travel to Nashville to catch this weekend or next week because the theatre here in Mt. Juliet was only showing it at 10:25 PM this week?? We do applaud the Providence 14 at Mt. Juliet for at least having all the Best Picture nominees playing. The lame Roxy 8 Theatre here in Lebanon had exactly zero playing. Par for the course here...yip, yip. The Wrestler 2/6/09 Our friend, Carolyn, invited us to dinner and to go see The Wrestler at the Green Hills Theatres in Nashville. While The Wrestler is not a Best Picture nominee it does have a lot of Oscar buzz for the lead actor front-runner, Mickey Rourke. After a great dinner at Mirror Restaurant, we got to Green Hills just in time for the start of the movie. The Wrestler takes a no-holds-barred (pun intended) look at professional wrestling and the struggles of a washed-up star of it and his struggles in and out of the ring. Rourke is amazing and will probably take home an Oscar for this performance. Good movie overall and a nice addition to our week of nominated flicks.
Frost/Nixon 2/22/09
Well, we couldn't have waited any longer to see the last contender for "Best Picture" than we did for Frost/Nixon. We stepped out of the theatre after viewing it with just an hour and half before the awards started being handed out. We can't really use any of the tired cliches like "we saved the best for last" or "it was worth the wait" to describe Frost/Nixon. It was a solid movie throughout with a great protrayal of Nixon by Frank Langella (well deserving of his Oscar nomination for Best Actor), spot-on directing by the ultra-talented Ron Howard and a great supporting cast. However, a "Best Picture" nomination seems to be a bit of a stretch. We think we found out which of the nominees could have been left out and The Dark Knight included as a "Best Picture" hopeful. But it was not meant to be I suppose. We don't see this one getting any awards.
FOOTNOTE - 2/23/09
The Edmondsons' party was superb as was the The Oscars telecast. Hugh Jackman did a suprisingly good job as host and we were happy to say that we saw all the main-category Oscar winners (Slumdog Millionaire as Best Picture and it's director, Danny Boyle, for Best Director; Kate Winslet - Best Actress; Sean Penn - Best Actor; Heath Ledger - Best Supporting Actor) in their respective movies and agreed with all of them except Best Supporting Actress...frankly we just don't care to much for Penelope Cruz or Woody Allen movies so we never saw it or her performance and we probably won't ever see it. It was great fun attending all the wonderful movies over the last month and getting the chance to discuss them with our friends before and during The Oscars. We look forward to doing it all again next year.

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