The one time of year I can be reasonably counted on to make some sort of post, it is Oscar Sunday!
The weather is miserable (I'm wearing my Game of Thrones shirt proudly proclaiming that Winter Is Coming as we are expecting some sleet and ice over night. I am very aware that much of the country is very aware of winter as it has already announced its presence, no need for any further warnings), but the movies this year have been grand. Without further ado, here is my Top Ten from the last year in preparation for those hoping to take home Oscar Gold tonight.
As always, we will be counting down:
THE IMITATION GAME
This film does a great job of telling the story of the code breaking that led to the Allies winning World War II as well as the early work on what would become computers by one of the most gifted minds of all time, alongside the backdrop of the horror of the disservice that the UK did to someone who should have been among their greatest heroes.
THE BOOK OF LIFE
A weird, haunting, and yet beautiful treatise on artistry, especially amongst self doubt. Open to interpretation, the story is quite interesting, but the outstanding all percussion score, which is probably my second favorite score of the year (following only the also percussion heavy Whiplash), and the long takes, reminiscent of a few scenes in Scorsese's Goodfellas who unsurprisingly gets mentioned by name as well as in the cinematic homage, both successfully bring you fully into the film, forcing you to experience it and therefore deal with the film as it seeks answers to the situations it presents.
THE LEGO MOVIE
CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER
When this movie came out, it was immediately the best film Marvel had put out yet, and that was saying something. It also catapulted itself into the conversation for the best Comic Book movie ever made. It made me want a Black Widow solo movie more than anything. But I loved it because it perfectly utilized Cap to both represent what this country should be and criticize what we too often are. Sebastian Stan as the Winter Soldier and Anthony Mackie as Falcon also gave us two fantastic characters that could one day take up Cap's shield and continue to help lead the struggle to have the United States strive harder to become a true and shining example of freedom.
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY
I shouldn't have doubted. From its opening scene, Guardians of the Galaxy reminded us how much fun comic books are, and how much fun comic book movies can and should be. It also told an epic, fantastic story, and perfectly introduced the cosmic side to the comic universe that Marvel has been so ably building since Iron Man. It also sported my third favorite soundtrack of the year in Awesome Mix Vol. 1.
GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL
There are a few filmmakers whose films I will always be interested in seeing. Wes Anderson might top that list. He has a distinctive visual style that aids immensely in the stories he has to tell, and he has done it again with Grand Budapest Hotel. Filled with the offbeat characters that he is known for, the story manages to equally surprise and delight throughout the film. And, as always with Anderson, it looks magnificent. Like The Royal Tennenbaums, Grand Budapest Hotel hits perfectly on all the right notes throughout the film. Moonrise Kingdom is still my favorite Anderson film, but this is certainly in the conversation for which of his movies is the next best.
When we look beyond the egregious snubs in nominations, we are left with an unbelievable film. It is a movie that reminds us of a horrendous past not that far gone that unfortunately also reminds us of our present. As this film aired in our theaters, the same scenes were playing out in some of our cities, and the same condemnations given in the film by the racist people in power towards the courageous acts of King and those beside him are the ones we hear today against those who stand up for black lives and demand some accountability from a system that inherently treats minorities in a disparaging manner. It is a powerful film made perhaps more powerful because of the reminder that the past is not truly in the past just yet.
Not only was this my favorite film of the last year, it is one of my favorite films of all time. It provokes excellent questions about destiny, freewill, and the purpose of humanity. It looks amazing, contains outstanding acting (continuing the trend of Matthew McConaughey's transformation into an incredible actor), raises profound questions, and also thrills the audience with a tight, fantastic story. Reminding me in many ways of another of my favorite films of all time, Contact, Interstellar was not only a fantastic film, but has also worked to further science, as the blackhole of the film has helped scientists to visualize blackholes in a new way and learn even more about them. That's pretty impressive.
Until Next Time, In a year where half of the Oscar Best Picture nominees made my Top Ten (which is about the best we can hope for), the absence of Interstellar among those nominees is another glaring omission in a year full of them (joining the snubs against Selma, Lego Movie, and Book of Life). But on the plus side, Neil Patrick Harris should be an epic host! Follow along on Twitter for My Thoughts As I Had Them During The Oscars (#MTAIHTDTO) or tomorrow on Fat Train when I post the tweets in my 8th Annual My Thoughts As I Had Them During The Oscars Post.