Tag Archives: the oscars

JFK

Today Daniel and I avoided the heat and watched the 1991 movie JFk, directed by Oliver Stone.  It was nominated for a number of Academy Awards and won two.  I am a huge fan of Kevin Costner, for whatever reason, and he was great in this movie, playing Jim Garrison, the New Orleans District Attorney who began to investigate the assassination of John F. Kennedy in more depth after he suspected that their was more to the assassination than just one lonely gunman.  In addition, Lee Harvey Oswald was originally from New Orleans, so there was some connection there.

I can’t possibly go into all of the details here, but it is a phenomenal movie.  Seinfeld did a great spoof about a “magic loogie” that took a similar path to the supposed “magic bullet” that hit JFK and another passenger in his car.  What’s great about this particular parody of the film is that Wayne Knight, who plays Newman, was also in JFK (and also happened to play a character called Newman).  In addition, when Kevin Costner’s character is demonstrating the supposed trajectory of the “magic bullet”, Newman is part of the demonstration, and reprises the same position in the episode of Seinfeld.  I personally think that was brilliant on the part of the Seinfeld writers.

The movie presents a truly fascinating conspiracy theory, as well as a terrifying one.  While I understand this is a movie made for the purposes of entertainment and gets nominated for awards based on the acting and how well the story is written, there may be some truth to the theory.  I think most people agree that the assassination was a conspiracy, but they don’t always agree on who did the conspiring.  What I cannot understand is if the government was not involved and it was indeed just Lee Harvey Oswald who acted alone (which was what the Warren Commission found), then why wouldn’t they release all of the documents pertaining to JFK’s assassination?  I don’t understand what they could want to hide from the public if it was indeed just some crazed lone gunman.  In addition, they have apparently commissioned a group whose sole purpose is to determine which documents containing information regarding the assassination will or will not be released  to the public within the next decade or two.

I don’t want to give away too much information about the movie if you have not seen it.  It’s certainly a movie that, at the very least, makes you think “What if…?”.  Here is a short clip of the movie during the trial of Clay Shaw:

Back...and to the left? Not really.

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Moonstruck

I mentioned in my last post that my mother, Daniel, and I watched Moonstruck, the 1987 Oscar-winning movie starring Cher, Nicolas Cage, and Olympia Dukakis.  I knew that my mother and Daniel both loved the movie, so I borrowed it from the University of Rochester’s Multimedia Center.  And why do they love it?  Because it is a fantastic movie, of course.

The story is about a bookkeeper, Loretta (Cher), who becomes engaged.  The man she is to marry is very safe and nice, but she does not really love him.  Later that night, he tells her that he must fly to Sicily to visit his dying mother, so he requests that Loretta contact his brother.  Loretta didn’t even know he had a brother, but calls him anyway, requesting his presence at their wedding.  After the brother, Johnny (Nicolas Cage), hangs up on her, she goes to the bakery in which he works, and demands to talk to him.  He shows her how he lost his hand in an accident and explains that this caused the love of his life to leave him.  For all of this, he blames his brother.  This is why they have been estranged for 5 years.  Loretta follows him to his apartment to talk to him.  After some love-making and a night at the opera, they have fallen deeply in love.  But Loretta’s fiancé is due back from Sicily at any moment, and she will have to tell him the truth about her affair with his brother and how she is in love with Johnny.

It’s a brilliant, hilarious movie with some incredibly memorable characters.  It’s one of those classics that you must see if you haven’t.  Cher won Best Actress and Olympia Dukakis won Best Supporting Actress.  And while he won no Oscars for this role, it is clearly Nicolas Cage’s best work.  Well, maybe except for Fast Times at Ridgemont High…but that’s only because he had no lines.

I'm loving all of the trees in bloom around Park Avenue.

Kramer vs. Kramer

Last night Daniel and I watched Kramer vs. Kramer, starring a young Meryl Streep and Dustin Hoffman.  It won the Oscar for Best Picture in 1980, and both Meryl Streep and Dustin Hoffman won Oscars for their acting (Best Supporting Actress and Best Actor, respectively).

It was an incredibly sad story about a marriage dissolving due to a workaholic father and an unhappy mother playing the role of a housewife.  After she leaves her family to go “find herself”, the small boy and his father are forced to learn to live with each other, but eventually bond and learn to support each other.  I was pretty despondent while I watched, and cried after the movie ended.  If you haven’t seen this movie, it’s definitely worth it.  Divorce is an unfortunate thing, and this movie shows how messy custody battles can be.  Overall, it was a fantastic movie, and Dustin Hoffman was just awesome, definitely earning that Oscar.

This...was not taken in Rochester. I assure you.

Doctor Zhivago

So this year for my birthday, one of the gifts my mother sent me was the movie Doctor Zhivago.  Daniel and I have been putting off watching it, mostly because it’s something like 3 and 1/2 hours long.  We just had to flip the dvd over at “intermission”.  So far, I am still waiting for the rising action.  We looked on the case, and it won 5 Academy Awards.  You might think “Hey, that’s really impressive!” until you see that almost all of them dealt with the fact that it was in color.  So, essentially, it was the Avatar of 1965.  But with sad Russian people.  If you have never read the book or sat through the movie, it’s about the Russian Revolution.  Doctor Zhivago is, indeed, a doctor, but he doesn’t seem to really support either side of the revolution.  (On a side note: Alec Guinness plays Zhivago’s brother.  Some of you may know him as Obi-Wan Kenobi, from the first Star Wars movies.)  To quote The Who, this movie is very “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss”, and Zhivago is just trying to survive and to stay on the “right” side of the revolution.  Also, apparently Doctor Zhivago is the only doctor in Russia, because he just keeps getting recruited (and by recruited, I mean ambushed in the middle of the road on a horse and taken away to serve in the army).

I only wanted to watch it because I thought there was an intense, epic love story, like the Titanic of 1965.  But with sad Russian people.  So far, there really hasn’t been much development.

The point is…Daniel and I are both bored, but we are committed.  We are going to finish this thing.  Has it been worth it?  Absolutely not.  Am I still remaining optimistic that the last 30 minutes could turn this thing around?  A little.

Aside from the movie, today was a gorgeous day around Rochester.  Daniel and I took a long walk, and I took some pictures around the neighborhood.

 

We found these blooming. Finally some flowers in Rochester!

One of the mansions on East Ave.

Spring Break Day 2

It was a rainy day in Durham, so we didn’t get out and do much today.

After dinner at Daniel’s favorite Chinese restaurant, Shanghai, I started to watch The Kids Are All Right, and to be honest I can’t figure out why is was nominated for Best Picture, other than the fact that there were lesbians in it and the Academy is trying to be progressive.  Or something.  I stopped a little more than halfway through to go watch Bob’s Burger’s with Daniel.  (This week’s episode was hilarious, and if you have not seen it you can catch it on Hulu later this week.)

Since the weather was bad and it was a little bit chilly tonight, Daniel and I decided to start a Pixar marathon.  Naturally, we started with Toy Story.  It is truly amazing to see how technology has developed in the last 16 years.  They have come a long way, both with the animation and the stories.  Although all of their movies have been gigantic hits in the box office, I think that Wall-E, Up, and Toy Story 3 have set the bar to a new height that won’t easily be surpassed.  At this point, I have seen all of the Pixar movies except for Ratatouille.  Luckily, Daniel and his parents own all of the Pixar movies, so we will have something to watch each night this week (and every day that the weather is bad).

I don’t recall watching Toy Story in theaters.  And after I had watched it, I didn’t remember liking it very much.  I realized that my distaste for it probably had something to do with the character of Sid, a child who would rather blow up toys and decapitate them than actually play with them.  I can appreciate the Toy Story movies more now than I could when Toy Story and Toy Story 2 first came out.  Maybe that is because Toy Story 3 was so amazing and so poignant.  Or maybe it is just because now I have a deeper appreciation for Pixar and their computer animation than I did when I was 7 years old.  Back then, I don’t think I understood that it was a big deal for a movie to be completely computer animated.  Also, I don’t think I really connected with any of the characters from the first movie.  Every child has toys like those of Andy’s, but I guess I lacked the imagination to see them that way, to see them alive.  Now, it is less about trying to connect that to my life as a child and more just appreciating the art of those movies and the story itself.

On a small side note, I have never actually seen Toy Story 2 in its entirety.  Now I can appreciate the technology and how far it has come, and I’m enthusiastic to watch it later this week.

I love all of the old, faded signs around Durham.

This was taken yesterday, when it was still very sunny and very warm.  Tomorrow should be much better than today.

The Old Toad and The Oscars!

Last night, I met my friends Ryan, Jenab, and Matt at The Old Toad, an authentic English pub on Alexander St. here in Rochester.  They have the largest selection of beers that I have ever seen.  Jenab and I ended up getting a Southern Tier Crème Brûlée something or other.  The boys were boring, and instead of trying something new, they both got Guinness.  The Crème Brûlée beer was interesting.  It wasn’t really for me; I got it more out of curiosity than anything else.

We sat in a booth and drank our respective beverages while we played Scrabble.  Now, I’m just not really the type of person that likes to go out to clubs or to frat houses to get wasted.  However, my friends do typically like to do those types of things, and that’s fine (once in a while).  The Old Toad has more of the atmosphere that I prefer, a place that is good for having a conversation.  I could have done without the Scrabble, but Jenab and Ryan really wanted to play.  On a side note, I sent a text to my mother and sister, saying how “white” I felt, since I was sitting in a pub, drinking a pint of beer, and playing Scrabble with a guy who was wearing an argyle sweater (Ryan).

Daniel told me a long time ago that, after he turns 21, the first bar he wants to visit is The Old Toad.  While he has never been inside, I think he has made a great choice.  This is just the sort of place he would love, with a practically infinite list of ales, beer, et cetera.  Also, for the last two years, we have attended the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in Canada, and when we go we always go to the The Olde English Parlour.  The Old Toad has a very similar feel, so I am excited to take him there when he turns 21.  It is also within walking distance of our apartment, so when the time comes, we can really celebrate.

But what’s the big news for tonight?  It’s Oscar Night!  I wish I could have made a Top 10 list for 2010 movies, but I can’t even make a Top 5 list.  Except for Toy Story 3Alice in Wonderland, and the short Pixar-animated Day & Night, I haven’t seen any of the nominees.  I was watching the Red Carpet and Academy Awards with Jenab at her dorm.  Daniel and I don’t have cable, and last night Jenab asked if I was going to watch.  I told her that I had not originally planned on it, but I wanted to see it.  So she invited me over, we had some pizza, and watched all the beautiful faces and glamorous dresses parade down the carpet.  It has been a very enjoyable weekend.

I took these photos two years ago, while exploring the abandoned subway underneath the city of Rochester, with the University of Rochester’s Urban Explorers club.

There was a lot of very cool graffiti down there.

 

Underneath Rochester.