Last night was Oscar night. B and I turned on the show at 8 p.m. (EST) -- we thought it started at 8, but it actually started at 8:30, so we saw a little of the Red Carpet preview. But honestly, we switched over to "Downton Abbey" at 9 p.m., then we walked the dog, then we went to bed.
So that tells you how much of a movie expert I am. However, yesterday afternoon we went to a dance at our local American Legion. We sat at a table with a group of friends and acquaintances, all age 60 to early 70s. For some reason, between dances, the topic of movies came up. So here's a report on what people -- real people in our demographic -- think of these current movies, not what the so-called experts would have us believe.
American Sniper -- Well, actually, nobody at our table had seen this controversial movie about Chris Kyle, the most lethal sniper in American history, directed by Clint Eastwood. A couple of people wanted to see it, but not B. She is pretty sure it would be too violent for her. She does not like violent movies.
Boyhood -- B and I have been wanting to see this movie for months, but we haven't been able to find it in a theater. Maybe we're lucky. Three people at our table had seen it. One couple reported that it was so boring they both fell asleep. Our friend Julie offered that she thought it was really bad, and said she would have walked out if she hadn't been with a friend. Later, driving home, B turned to me. "I'm surprised no one liked Boyhood," she said. "Maybe we should go see it anyway, just to find out what they're talking about." Maybe we will ... if we can find a theater where it's playing.
Fifty Shades of Grey -- I went over this in my last post. One other person at the table had read the book besides me. Curiously, two other women volunteered that they had started reading the book, but had put it down. They thought it was too lame, too vacuous, too whatever. Nobody had seen the movie; nobody wanted to see it. So to steal a phrase ... two thumbs down.
The Grand Budapest Hotel -- One person at the table recommended this Wes Anderson caper movie that takes place in Europe between the wars. (Another person had it confused with The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, about the British pensioners who retired in India. There's a sequel, The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, coming out later this year.) I don't know. I'm not a big Wes Anderson fan. But maybe we'll check it out.
The Imitation Game -- I'd heard about this movie, and honestly, it didn't appeal to me. It's about a British code-breaker in post-World-War II England who's arrested for homosexuality. I figured it's got a complicated, hard-to-follow plot with a heavy dose of political correctness. But several people had seen it, and they recommended it enthusiastically. So I figure, I ought to give it a chance ... even though (I found out later) it only earned one Oscar (for adapted screenplay).
The Theory of Everything -- One couple at the table had seen it, and they recommended it highly. "But isn't it depressing?" I wondered. "It's about Stephen Hawking coming down with a horrible disease." No, it's not depressing, they said, it's really an uplifting love story. And I found out later: Eddie Redmayne (who I liked in the movie version of Les Miserables) won Best Actor for his performance. So, definitely, put this on your "go see" list.
Wild -- I was the only one who'd seen it. I'd read the book, and I liked it. I couldn't visualize how they would make much of a film out of it, so I wanted to see what they did. I thought Reese Witherspoon carried off the role very well; but it seemed to me that a lot was left out of the story. I'd say, if you've read the book, then don't bother with the movie. But if you haven't read the book, it's worth a trip to the theater.
Sorry, but Still Alice, the movie about Alzheimer's, didn't come up in our conversation. Julianne Moore won Best Actress for her performance. (For a complete list of Oscar winners go to Variety.) But this one has got to be depressing, don't you think?
Finally, Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), didn't come up in our conversation either. It won the Oscar for Best Picture, so I figure it's probably worth going to see. Anyway, I guess that shows you how much I know. But then, as I admitted right up front, we turned to "Downton Abbey" instead.