Oscars 2015

I started this blog post about a month ago, and at the time I thought I was doing a terrible job of familiarizing myself with this year’s the Academy Award nominated movies. But as of the beginning of the ceremony this evening I realize that I’m actually not that poorly versed. I’ve seen five of the eight Best Picture nominees, as well as some of the movies that just have actors or actresses nominated. I even watched one of the foregin language films thanks to Netflix Instant. Strangely enough, I haven’t seen a single one of the animated picture nominees. That might be a first. I still want to see “American Sniper,” “Whiplash,” and “Selma” at some point, but I think I’m fairly prepared to watch the Oscars tonight. It should be fun!

“The Hobbit” (seen on 12/25)
“Into the Woods” (seen on 12/27)
“Boyhood” (seen on 1/25)
“The Grand Budapest Hotel” (seen on 1/26)
“Ida” (seen on 1/28)
“The Lego Movie” (seen on 1/30)
“The Imitation Game” (seen on 2/14)
“Gone Girl” (seen on 2/16)
“The Theory of Everything” (seen on 2/18)
“St. Vincent” (seen on 2/19)
“The Judge” (seen on 2/20)
“Birdman” (seen on 2/21)


“I am a big fan of Disney Broadway musicals so I picked up a copy of the new Tarzan soundtrack at Target the other day. At first I was disappointed because, unlike other Disney shows, it didn’t seem to have a particular song that caught my attention. The Lion King has ‘Endless Night’ and Beauty and the Beast has ‘If I Can’t Love Her,’ both fantastic songs that I listen to over and over again. Then today as I was listening to ‘For the First Time’ I got goosebumps and realized I had found the song I was looking for.”
9/29/06 webpage post

The first of this year’s Academy Awards nominees I saw was “Into the Woods.” (Technically it was “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” on Christmas Day, but that doesn’t really count since it was only nominated for sound editing. How the mighty have fallen.) My parents and I went to see “Into the Woods” on December 27th. Being a huge fan of musicals in general I thought I was going to love it. I was wrong. Maybe I didn’t enjoy it because I’ve never seen the play before (how is that possible?) and I’m not familiar with the score, but something about the movie just didn’t hold my interest. None of the characters were particularly likeable, and none of the songs gave me goosebumps like I wanted them to. When I saw “Les Miserables” on Broadway in 1996 something magical happened. The first time I heard “On My Own” I was entranced. I couldn’t stop thinking about that song. I bought the soundtrack as soon as I got home from New York and I listened to it constantly for a while. It was fantastic. Unfortunately there wasn’t anything like that in “Into the Woods.” On the other hand, last week I popped the “Newsies” soundtrack into my car’s CD player and it reminded me why I love that movie so much. (Not just because it has Christian Bale and Bill Pullman either!) The songs just make me so happy that I can’t help but smile. I can listen to the soundtrack over and over and sing every song at the top of my lungs. That’s what musicals should do. They should stir up your emotions until you can’t help but sing along. It’s just a shame that “Into the Woods” didn’t have that quality.

The Imitation Game

Tonight I celebrated Valentine’s Day in a somewhat unorthodox manner by going to see “The Imitation Game.” Strangely, it’s actually the first of the Academy Award Best Picture nominees that I’ve seen in the theater. I realize I’m way behind where I was this time last year, but I’ve got plans to see a few more of the Oscar nominated movies before next weekend. But anyway, I figured “The Imitation Game” was one of the most anti-Valentine’s Day film offerings, and therefore perfect for the evening’s entertainment. And it was amazing. It excited my mind. I’m going to say something a little crass, but for an engineer like me “The Imitation Game” was like porn. It lit up parts of my brain that are dormant a majority of the time. Those neural pathways usually only kick in to gear when major problems present themselves at work. I have a little bit of experience tackling crazy problems, sometimes even under very restrictive time constraints. Nothing like the elaborate encryptions that Alan Turing’s team was struggling with, but I think I have some idea of their work process. And I’m in awe of it. Based on my admittedly short career in the aerospace industry, I know what it’s like to work with a limited set of tools to try and solve a complex puzzle. It’s like trying to perform surgery with a spoon. You learn to be creative in ways your college courses didn’t even begin to teach you. You invent new paradigms when you have to. Learning on the job becomes trial by fire sometimes. It’s a humbling experience and it makes me realize just how amazing an achievement it was to break the WWII codes. While watching the movie I started thinking about how I might start attacking something like Enigma. My brain doesn’t work on anywhere near the level of the folks depicted in “The Imitation Game,” but I probably could come up with a rough framework for where to start. I’m no mathematician, but that didn’t keep me from comprehending the remarkable work of Alan Turing and his colleagues. I just hope my scientific brain helped me appreciate it a little more than the average viewer.

Awards season movie blitz

“Philomena” (seen on 12/14)
“Saving Mr. Banks” (seen on 12/25)
“Frozen” (seen on 12/26)
“Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom” (seen on 12/29)
“American Hustle” (seen on 1/11)
“Gravity” (seen on 1/12)
“Dallas Buyers Club” (seen on 1/18)
“Blue Jasmine” (seen on 1/25)
“Her” (seen on 2/8)
“Captain Phillips” (seen on 2/9)
“Nebraska” (seen on 3/1)
“12 Years A Slave” (seen on 3/15) – BEST PICTURE WINNER

I usually spent the Academy Award telecast writing a webpage post, but this year I just wasted an obscene number of hours on the internet rather than writing. I was actually pretty lazy the whole weekend, but watching the Oscars gave me an excuse to sit on the couch and accomplish absolutely nothing. I ended the weekend with a whimper, that’s for sure. And tomorrow I have to go back to work for the first time in a week. With the surgery I haven’t exactly enjoyed my time off so getting back to a normal schedule will be a relief, but I’m dreading the backlog of work when I get there in the morning. Plus I stayed up way too late watching the Oscars and didn’t start getting ready for bed until it was over. I can’t believe I didn’t get around to seeing “12 Years A Slave” yet. As of last night I’d seen 7 of 9 Best Picture nominees, and one of the other two won the Oscar. I need to make seeing the winner a priority next weekend. But for now it’s time for me to get some sleep. Monday morning is going to be here before I know it.

Thoughts during the Golden Globes

Yesterday after I saw “American Hustle” I figured that on Sunday morning I had one more chance to see a Golden Globe nominated movie before the awards. So I scrolled through the listings for my favorite theaters so see what the possible showtimes were. Much to my surprised I discovered that “Gravity” was still showing at the AMC at the Block! So of course I went to see that this morning. What an awesome movie. For an aerospace engineer like me it was completely captivating, even though there were quite a few scientific inaccuracies. There were more than a few inaccuracies in “Armageddon” (more like gaps between the plot and reality so big you could fly the shuttle through them) and it’s one of my favorite movies. So I’m willing to suspend belief for a great film. And “Gravity” was absolutely amazing. I’m so glad I saw it.

I went running tonight (my second run after graduating to 2.25 mile intervals on Friday – woohoo!) so I DVRed the Golden Globes at 5 PM. Turns out I might have been better off staying home to watch it live because I had to ice not one, but two different body parts after my run. Ouch. I think my left ankle is improving, but I still slapped that bag of frozen edamame on it when I started watching the recorded Golden Globes. I would really hate to be in pain tomorrow if I didn’t ice it even though I’m not sure it’s necessary at this point. And speaking of pain, it seems I pulled a muscle in my right upper thigh on Friday while running and it really bothered me tonight. Ouch. So since I don’t have any proper ice packs in my freezer and the edamame was already on my ankle, what did I use to ice my leg? Why, a bag of frozen cranberries, of course! Duh. If it’s not one thing, it’s another, right? I sincerely hope this most recent injury or whatever doesn’t derail my running routine for very long. I’m very frustrating. Assuming I’m not in pain tomorrow I’ll take a walk after work and see how my legs feel. I’ve been spending a lot less time sitting on my couch so far in 2014 and I want to keep it that way!

P.S. I’m going to have to go to bed before I finish watching the Golden Globes, but I just want to say that Amy Adams is just so amazing. I really hope “Enchanted 2” happens eventually.

Oscars 2013

Academy Award nominees I’ve seen so far this year:

Best Picture (7 of 9)
“Argo” – WINNER
“Beasts of the Southern Wild”
“Les Misérables”
“Life of Pi”
“Silver Linings Playbook”
“Zero Dark Thirty”

Best Actress in a Leading Role (3 of 5)
Jessica Chastain in “Zero Dark Thirty”
Jennifer Lawrence in “Silver Linings Playbook” – WINNER
Quvenzhané Wallis in “Beasts of the Southern Wild”

Best Actor in a Leading Role (4 of 5)
Bradley Cooper in “Silver Linings Playbook”
Daniel Day-Lewis in “Lincoln” – WINNER
Hugh Jackman in “Les Misérables”
Denzel Washington in “Flight”

Best Actress in a Supporting Role (3 of 5)
Sally Field in “Lincoln”
Anne Hathaway in “Les Misérables” – WINNER
Jacki Weaver in “Silver Linings Playbook”

Best Actor in a Supporting Role (3 of 5)
Alan Arkin in “Argo”
Robert De Niro in “Silver Linings Playbook”
Tommy Lee Jones in “Lincoln”
(Haven’t seen this) Christoph Waltz “Django Unchained” – WINNER

Movie blitz

I preparation for the 2013 movie award season I’ve been hitting the theaters pretty hard over the last month or so. I saw “Argo” and “Flight” a while back when they were first in theaters because I thought they were going to be big awards contenders. Little did I know that “Argo” would win the Golden Globe for best dramatic picture in a big surprise over “Lincoln”(and that “Flight” would flounder even with an amazing performance by Denzel Washington). I suppose time will tell which movie walks away with the best picture Oscar. Here are some of the other movies I’ve seen so far in preparation for the Academy Awards next month:

“Hobbit” (12/21/12 and 12/25/12)
“Les Miserables” (12/26/12)
“Twilight: Breaking Dawn, Part 2” (12/29/12) – Not that I expected this one to win any awards!
“Hyde Park on Hudson” (1/5/13)
“Silver Linings Playbook” (1/12/13)
“Zero Dark Thirty” (1/13/13)
“Lincoln” (1/19/13)
“Life of Pi” (1/27/13)

Golden Globes blogging

To avoid writing a depressing post about my birthday and the days that came afterwards, here are some of my thoughts while watching the Golden Globes tonight:

***Geez, Tina Fey looks gorgeous in the sparkly blue dress! I would kill to look that good in a dress. Of course I say that as I’m sitting here eating pizza for dinner.
***Michael J Fox’s son looks just like him! Talk about Back to the Future!
***I think I need to see “Game Change.” Too bad it’s not on Netflix. Maybe Redbox?
***The president of the HFPA was really funny. “Bradley Cooper, call me maybe?” Awesome
***I’ve been meaning to see “Homeland” for a while now. I think I just need to suck it up and buy the DVDs, especially now that I have some Amazon credit that my parents gave me for my birthday.
***John Williams loses again for the score of “Lincoln.” No surprise there. That man has lost awards ten times more than he’s won them.
***Jessica Alba looks pretty gorgeous too! That orange dress is amazing. It makes me feel even more guilty for stuffing my face while watching this awards show.
***Bill Clinton to introduce “Lincoln”? Awesome. Have other presidents been on the Golden Globes? I’m going to guess not.
**Jennifer Lawrence wins! She’s so beautiful. And her red dress is pretty amazing too. I’m glad I got to see “Silver Linings Playbook” yesterday. It was depressing, but very well acted.
***I have to remember to record “Fashion Police” tomorrow because I missed the red carpet arrivals. And also because Joan Rivers is hilarious.
***Megan Fox – another gorgeous woman. Watching the Golden Globes is giving me an inferiority complex!
***I never got a chance to see “The Master,” but I’ve heard good things about it. Another one to add to my Redbox list.
***Anna Hathaway wins for “Les Mis”! Another nominated movie I’ve actually seen! It’s a really short list so far this year.
***Why didn’t I see “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen”? Maybe because of the weird title, but I love Ewan McGregor (and not just because he played Obi Wan Kenobi). Gotta add that movie to my Redbox list too.
***Seeing Don Cheadle just reminds me that I saw the “Iron Man 3” trailer twice in theaters this weekend. I can’t wait for May 3rd!
***I need to see “Life of Pi” before the Oscars too. And I’d like to read the book one of these days too.
***I saw one episode of “Girls” when I was on travel and could watch HBO, but I couldn’t see what all the fuss was about. It must be a much better show than I recognized.
***Woohoo Robert Downey Jr! Yes, he is one of my celebrity crushes. I was wondering if we’d get to see him tonight. Just another reminder of “Iron Man 3.”
***Jodie Foster makes me want to watch “Contact” again. That’s one of my favorite movies of all time.
***I can’t believe Ben Affleck won for “Argo”! That’s great! I saw it back in October and it was amazing. I just saw “Zero Dark Thirty” today and I thought Kathryn Bigelow would win best director for sure.
***”Hyde Park on Hudson” is another one of the nominated movies I’ve actually seen, but of course Hugh Jackman had to win the Golden Globe over Bill Murray. Not that I’m complaining!
***Jessica Chastain absolutely deserved to win best actress for “Zero Dark Thirty.” She was incredible in that movie. Too bad her dress isn’t as beautiful as she is.
***Like I said, I haven’t seen “Lincoln” yet (maybe I’ll go next weekend) so I can’t say whether I think Daniel Day-Lewis deserves the best actor Golden Globe, but Denzel Washington was amazing in “Flight.”
***OMG! I’ve actually seen both of the best picture winners! That’s so improbable! Congratulations to both “Les Miserables” and “Argo.” Well deserved.
***Time for me to get up off the couch and do something other than watch TV. Goodnight everyone!

Oscars 2012

Academy Award nominees I’ve seen so far this year:

Best Picture (4 of 9)
“The Help”
“The Descendants”
“The Artist” – WINNER

Best Leading Actress (4 of 5)
Viola Davis in “The Help”
Rooney Mara in “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”
Meryl Streep in “The Iron Lady” – WINNER
Michelle Williams in “My Week with Marilyn”

Best Leading Actor (3 of 5)
George Clooney in “The Descendants”
Jean Dujardin in “The Artist” – WINNER
Brad Pitt in “Moneyball”

Best Supporting Actress (4 of 5)
Bérénice Bejo in “The Artist”
Jessica Chastain in “The Help”
Melissa McCarthy in “Bridesmaids”
Octavia Spencer in “The Help” – WINNER

Best Supporting Actor (2 of 5)
Kenneth Branagh in “My Week with Marilyn”
Jonah Hill in “Moneyball”
(I must see this) Christopher Plummer in “Beginners” – WINNER