Tuesday, June 9, 2015

4 Ways a Best Picture Bloggers Roundtable: 2006

It's time for another episode of 4 Ways a Best Picture!  I didn't think anything would ever top the incredible conversation surrounding Crash and my complete breakdown over Tsotsi...and then Wendell told us a story about dancing penguins and hysterical wives and I just...well...you'll have to read further to find out, but I think it's all been topped.

Let's just get into this mixed bag of winners!

First, our panel:

Britt from Rambling Film
Drew (me, duh) from A Fistful of Films
Jeffery from jdbrecords
Wendell from Dell on Movies

Drew:  I’m not quite sure anything can top our last discussion, which was epic, but it’s times to move on and talk about An Inconvenient Truth, so there is still some bitching to be had!!!

Britt:  I'm so torn with this.  I think it's an important subject, I agree with nearly everything said in it, but God, it was so poorly put together.

Drew:  Yeah, I'm right there with you...such an important message but the delivery was wrong.  Not only was this practically a filmed power point presentation (like, really, just a guy on stage talking to you) it was a doomsday message without any real direction as to HOW to fix this until the very end.  Like, over the credits they finally started to tell us what to do, which basically consisted of "visit our website", which caused me to question the point of this doc, other than to tell us that we are ruining our Earth.

Britt:  That was the point.  Some people still think climate change is made up.  I always wonder if he had spiced this up a bit if some of those people would take it a bit more seriously?  I don't know.

Drew:  So, true story, when I was starting my blog reading back in the late aughts, I stumbled across this blog (cinephile with HORRID taste) and began to peruse his personal awards because that's what I do, and he had his own 'Razzie' type awards, and he awarded this film WORST FILM OF THE DECADE...and said some stuff about how Al Gore is an idiot and this movie is full of crap and he started paranoia for no reason and so I, having not seen the film and really having no idea about it, thought that maybe Gore had strange ideas that just weren't correct.  After watching this, I wish that that particular blogger (I can't remember the blog, honestly) were still around (he quit blogging a few months before I started mine) because he's obviously an idiot.  Like, everything Gore says is SO TRUE and needs to be taken seriously.  Unfortunately, Gore didn't realize that if you're going to make a doc with a talking head, you need to hire Morgan Freeman.  I do need to bring up that the animated section paled in comparison to Moore's brilliant look at America.

Britt:  The funny thing is Gore's acceptance speech for this was just like an addition to this doc. Same talking head tone and everything.  I've seen climate change slide shows on BuzzFeed that are more eye catching than this.

Jeffery:  I agree with Brittani... super important subject (and the movie is creepier now than it was when it came out) but a bit lackluster in terms of presentation.  Not a terrible movie though.  Al Gore gets kicked around a lot but he seems to be a fascinating person behind the plastic façade.

Wendell:  There really isn't a whole lot to say on this one.  It's eye-opening information given in eye-closing fashion.  And like had been said, the most important part has been left out.  What do we do next?  Oh, that's right, we visit his website.  It might sound like it, but I don't hate this movie.  On the contrary, I liked it for all the content.  I just wish it was presented with some sort of flair.  That's why I found the sidebars about him growing up interesting.  They aren't great, but at least they're a change of pace.  Without those I would never have made it through this.  As it is, it took me like 3 1/2 hrs to watch with all the dozing off and going back.

Kevin:  I'm will all of you.  This is an important film made in a way to almost diminish its importance.  I saw Al Gore do a PowerPoint presentation live one.  I was in college.  He has a home in Smith County, TN, about half an hour from MTSU, where I went to school.  For class credit, I went to the presentation.  I remember about as much of it as I do this movie, which is very little.  I like Al Gore.  I voted for him in 2000.  I love the message of An Inconvenient Truth.  But let's face it.  Al Gore is a straight-faced, boring speaker.  To have him talking through a whole feature film is something I liken to grass growing or paint drying.  Like Dell, I was pretty much asleep through the this entire thing.  I know I'm bored when I start tooling around on my phone.  I was checking emails and Instagram likes and Twitter to the point where I barely watched the thing.  First, it's old news.  Pretty much all of it I already knew.  Second, it offers basically nothing in the way of solutions.  Third, it's just not a well-made movie.  And Guggenheim can direct a good doc.  Waiting for Superman is one of the best docs I've seen.  I did enjoy the interludes, also like Wendell, about his childhood, growing up in Tennessee.  And I agree also with Jeffery that Gore is a fascinating person.  This presentation would've been cool to see live at a university.  As a movie, it is just not worth much.

Drew:  Yeah, like I agree with everything he said, I just wish someone else said it...and, you know, he actually said something in the way of a solution.

Jeffery:  I’d say this is a solid B.

Wendell:  So hard to grade this.  Guess I’ll go with C+

Kevin:  D

Britt:  I give it a B-.  Very important topic, just poorly executed.  A higher grade would've been assigned if ManBearPig made an appearance.  LOL

Drew:  C


Drew:  Maybe we've reached a film we can all lavish with praise? Time to talk about the gasp heard around the world when Pan's Labyrinth lost to...The Lives of Others!

Wendell:  This is a welcome conversation.  Been a while since we discussed a truly excellent film.  And this certainly is one.

Britt:  This is going to feel good talking about a film I loved again!  I think Pan's is definitely the better film, but I can't be mad about The Lives of Others because it's brilliant as well.  It was so captivating.

Drew:  Both films are masterpieces in very different ways.  The ONLY think that irks me about this win is that it is AMPAS once again going the 'safe' route by choosing the political 'message' film over the more lauded and popular 'fantasy' film.  That aside, this win was SO DESERVING!

Britt:  Yeah, & Pan's won three other Oscars, so it's not like it went home empty handed.  This is one of my favorite German language movies for sure.

Drew:  I'm with you there.  It's an astonishing film, beautifully shot and so sharply directed and acted.  I wish that it had snagged some other Oscar noms, particularly for its direction, screenplay and for Martina Gedeck, who was just remarkable here!  Also, as great as Ulrich Muhe was...I still prefer Sebastian Koch here, who I think is terribly underrated.  Like, no one talks about him.

Britt:  She was, and so was Ulrich Mühe.  Shame he's no longer with us :(

Drew:  See what I mean.

Britt:  LOL.  He was good too.  Everyone in this film was.

Drew:  I have to say, I'm really confused by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck.  This was his first film, and it was astonishing.  So sharp, so well thought out, so focused and detailed and completely engrossing...and then he follows that up with The Tourist?  And that's it.  He hasn't done anything since and he has nothing scheduled to even start working on.  Like, I don't get this.  What is going on here?  This was such a remarkable debut, but that sophomore effort was terrible.  He needs to make up for it, and fast.  I'm afraid he's just resigned to disappear.

Britt:  They probably threw a lot of money at him to make The Tourist.  I'd sell out for millions.  LOL.

Drew:  But look how that worked out for him.  I mean, I'm not saying The Tourist sank his career, but it's been five years and nothing.

Wendell:  I'm going to refuse to believe The Tourist sank von Donnersmarck's career for a couple reasons.  I didn't like that movie, either, but it's not without considerable merits.  First, whether we liked it or not, it was nominated for three Golden Globes - Best Pic: Musical or Comedy, plus actor nods for Depp and Jolie.  More importantly, against its report $100 mil budget it had worldwide take of $278 mil. Not a bad ROI.  And von Donnersmarck has also proven to be a slow worker.  There were 4 years between The Lives of Others and The Tourist and also between The Lives of Others and his previous film, short called The Crusader.  That one only came about three years after his prior short, Dobermann.  In other words, I've got my fingers crossed he's just taking his time cooking up something marvelous for us.

Drew:  Let's not pretend The Hollywood Foreign Press didn't 'earn' their nickname, Star Fuckers.  They nominated The Tourist for two reasons; it's stars, and they were rightfully crucified for it.  The film isn't a comedy, and it was slaughtered by critics.  This is also why they've been a little more...selective lately. 

Wendell:  You're right on why they got the noms, but the box office take still stands.  Can't imagine he wouldn't get another shot based on that alone.

Drew:  I hope you’re right.

Kevin:  I'm right there with you guys.  Old Flo has the world on a string, was sittin' on a rainbow and all that.  Then, Johnny Depp.  WTF!!??  In all seriousness, this movie is a slow-burning masterpiece of German cinema.  One of the great Oscar winning foreign films of my lifetime.  Pan's Labyrinth was probably a masterpiece as well, but I think del Toro might be on his way to out-doing himself. The German with many names disappeared.  Anyway, I like The Lives of Others way better.  Such a rich story that could've easily come off as preachy.  Von Donnersmarck never missteps.  Wiesler, as played by Ulrich Muhe, is one of the great movie characters of my lifetime. Credit to Muhe for bringing him to life. But credit to von Donnersmarck for writing such an amazingly well-developed character.  In my notes, I literally wrote that he is "a true human being."  Last week, I defended Crash for hitting us over the head. This week, I am praising this one for not.  We never fully understand Wiesler's motivations and obsessions.  We can't fathom what exactly made him choose to protect Dreyman and Christa-Maria, especially when he is so obviously good at his job.  I love the message of this movie because we do make it for ourselves.  Nothing is exposed but everything is.  And very few movies have a more heartfelt, perfect ending that doesn't feel forced...at all.  "It's for me," he says.  I'm getting chills just thinking about it.  

Drew:  So with you on the subtle burn here, and the ambiguity of actions, which only adds to the films draw.

Wendell:  It's certainly a slow burn, but the deliberate pace draws you in without dragging.  To me, that's the best aspect of the movie.  At first, you're put off by this guy who is not only good at his very creepy job, he enjoys it.  Somehow, the tide turns slowly in his favor and we become fully vested in Weisler.  He is just so fascinating.  To paraphrase my own review, while we're watching it's hard to tell if we're seeing him unravel, or get in touch with his own humanity.  It's probably both.  And that's what makes him and this movie so compelling. 

Kevin:  You're so right, Dell.  It's such a perplexing, yet satisfying journey.

Wendell:  Satisfying, indeed.  It helps that the guy in the director's chair delivered his message without the use of a sledgehammer, unlike some other director whom I'll not incriminate by naming, <ahem> <cough>Paul Haggis<cough> <ahem>.

Kevin:  #PoorHaggis #PoorKevin

Wendell:  Sorry, Kev…I had to go there.

Kevin:  Also, “Fuck Pan's Labyrinth.”  It didn't make me feel shit past the point of how well-made it is.

Drew:  Well, I wouldn't fuck Pan's Labyrinth.  Not only was he hideous, but his film was great (and that ending made me FEEL), but I don't begrudge this film or the win.  I love both films a great deal!

Kevin:  I don't really feel that strongly against Pan's Labyrinth. I remember loving it at the time. I just don't remember it that well.  This one has been longer lasting for me and the one I'm more apt to go back to. It's the "fantasy" thing, I think.

Wendell:  I'm in the same boat as Drew on this one.  I love this film, but I also love Pan's Labyrinth.  Both masterpieces, far as I'm concerned.

Jeffery:  I love The Lives of Others.  Such a rich, haunting film.  The story is fascinating--the voyeurism creepy and unforgettable.  I still tear up at the ending.

Drew:  Ugh, yes, that voyeuristic angle is so well played!

Kevin:  It really is. It is so fascinating to come to truly love such a creepy, anti-social character.  And I love ALL the characters here.  So well-drawn.  And, me to, Jeffery.  Not quite "ugly cry face," but close.

Jeffery:  Yes I agree. I love all the characters too.  The film has a tremendous amount of compassion and also ambivalence.  That ending it truly emotional.  The slow pacing makes the ending pack a wallop.

Wendell:  Yes, the characters are all wonderfully drawn.  The two bad guys are sort of caricatures, but that's forgivable when our protagonist and the couple he's spying on are so great.  Speaking of that couple, I have to give props to Martina Gedeck who plays Crista.  She is amazing.  I agree that Ulrich Muhe turns in a captivating performance, but Gedeck should not be overlooked. 

Jeffery:  I think this may be my first A+ so far.

Kevin:  I'm A+ as well.  And I'll probably end up being the guy giving the most A-pluses through this thing.  I'm a softie.

Wendell:  I like Pan's ever-so-slightly more, so I can't go full bore, but I will give this one a straight A.

Drew:  I’m right with you, grade wise.  A

Britt:  A from me!


Drew:  Everyone is about to get all grumpy and shit, because it's time to talk about Happy Feet.

Jeffery:  This movie makes me unhappy.

Britt:  Misleading title, this movie was so stupid.  Not even my love for all things tap dancing could make this tolerable.  This was better than Monster House and Ice Age 2?  GTFO.

Kevin:  I declined from re-watching it for this.  I just couldn't.  It's a movie I never planned on seeing to begin with.  To top that off, I was forced to watch it by an ex-girlfriend.  So the memory of a bad relationship looms over it.

Drew:  Another film to tarnish the wonderfulness of the penguin.  The ONLY part of this movie that I liked at all was Robin Williams...but the irony of that character is kind of depressing, so I've lost that joy.  This movie is just...dumb.

Kevin:  See.  I barely even remember Williams in it at all.  That's how little an effect this movie had on me.  I remember thinking it was "cute" and "fun" at times, but that's it.


It was funny, now it’s sad.

Britt:  UGH, I forgot about that.  The only thing I semi enjoyed was the fact that they threw tap dancing in there.  But that's not enough.  I didn't re-watch this either, Kevin.

Kevin:  Tap dancing can be enough sometimes.  Not here, I'm afraid.

Drew:  My main issue with Happy Feet is that it's just not even remotely entertaining, not even from a mindlessly fun perspective.  It's just dumb.  This was also a plumb opportunity for some effort and love to go into crafting original songs, since like the whole film hinges on the concept of penguins singing to find mates, and yet it's just regurgitated radio hits heavy in sexual innuendo (this is for children?) and they are presented in a very...un-clever way.  Also, Kidman's voice is just not right for animation.  It's whole finale is so tacked on for 'importance' factor that it feels just awkward and under-developed, and in the end this film just feels pedestrian in every way.  This was better than Cars, which was just mind numbingly dull, but it's only a sliver better (and that sliver was Robin Williams).  I didn't LOVE Monster House, but it was certainly clever (the "It's a girl house" comment SLAYED ME) and it was very interesting visually.  It was another meh year for animation in general, with films like Ice Age: The Meltdown and Over the Hedge being standouts (and they'd be considered bottom of the barrel in most other years) but AMPAS could have thrown a dart at a stack of DVDs and come up with a better winner than Happy Feet...you know...unless that dart hit Cars.

Britt:  I'm glad you brought up the "girl house" comment from Monster House because that was hysterical.  I actually really liked Ice Age 2.  I would watch Happy Feet over Cars though.  I absolutely HATE the Cars franchise.  Happy Feet isn't even the best penguin cartoon.  Scamper the Penguin and The Pebble and the Penguin are far better.  Hell, Penguins of Madagascar is better too.

Drew:  I effing LOVED Penguins of Madagascar and was pulling for a surprise Oscar nom last year.  Hilarious.  I cried tears of laughter!

Britt:  I didn't like Penguins of Madagascar but I'd watch it on a loop over Happy Feet any day.

Kevin:  Cars is one of the worst movies I've ever seen.  Happy Feet is easily better from what I remember.  I honestly think I'm more in the "meh" zone on this one.  I didn't hate it.  I didn't love it.  It's totally forgettable.  Interesting Happy Feet was directed by George Miller.

Drew:  LOL

Britt:  I never realized that.  OMG.

Kevin:  Yeah.  Would've been better with some dust and sweat and dudes flipping around on poles and car crashes and shit.  Happy Feet is totally not that and totally not memorable.

Wendell:  Just when The Lives of Others snapped me out of '2005 mode' Happy Feet comes along and yanks me back.  It's been a decade, but yes I am still pissed I plunked down hard earned cash for a family outing to see this.  My son was 8, my daughters 5 & 3.  It was practically mandated by federal law that I go see this movie. You know what, for a little while I wasn't mad.

Drew:  You can’t get that money back.

Wendell:  I can still bitch about it, though.

Britt:  Dell's right.  We on The Lives of Others high, and Happy Feet just brings us back to last year.

Wendell:  The beginning was innocuous, but sort of fun.  I had fun singing along and tapping my feet to the cute medleys (medlies?) the penguins were using like dialogue. Sure, some of the songs were suggestive, but most of it was way over the kids' heads.  To them they were just catchy tunes. To me, they were a bunch of classics weaved together.  We were headed squarely for a cute little tale about being yourself.  It wasn't the greatest thing, but I was cool.  Then it happens.  This movie takes the hardest, sharpest turn in cinematic history.  And it's not a good thing.  All of a sudden we're in some dark movie flush with heavy issues and a dreadful tone.  Parts of it feel like it comes from one of Al Gore's nightmares with all the stuff about man's effect on the environment.  And the people at the Aquarium, penguin concentration camp, or whatever that place was - yeesh.  Then our little hero dude starts suffering from dementia or something.  And there was no fucking music!  My son was looking at me like 'Dad, WTF.'  I'm looking at my wife like 'Can we leave?'  And this chick is crying!!!  I wanted to say "Are you serious, right now."  But I'm a good hubby so I stay put and shoot my son the 'Daddy's sorry' look.  He doesn't say anything, but I could tell he's thinking 'what the actual fuck is going on?'  Thankfully, my daughters were both sleep by this point.  

Drew:  Oh my god, this story is EVERYTHING!!!

Wendell:  Then just as suddenly as it went dark and moody, we're back happy and singing.  The End.  My son and I are sitting there, mortified while Mrs. Dell is dabbing away tears and talking about how beautiful it was.  

Kevin:  I like how you just referred to your wife as Mrs. Dell.  That's old school, man.  Nice!

Wendell:  It was all I could not scream "Fuck this movie!" at the top of my lungs.  But like I said, I'm a good hubby.  Can't hide that look of disgust on my face, though.  She says "What, you didn't like it?"  Emotions are bubbling to the surface and I want to say so much.  Out of fear for my marriage, or at least my sex life for the next week or two, I sheepishly offer "No.  Let's just leave it at that."  And I still like it more than Cars.

Drew:  Cars is the worst!  #PoorCars

Kevin:  Dell just showed us all up. I almost want to quit.  That last line is genius!  And the truth.

Drew:  No sex for you!  Yup, had those moments to when having an opinion isn't worth it.

Wendell:  Had a lot of those over the years.

Kevin:  I didn't get laid for a month after Tree of Life.  She was livid!  I foolishly took Malick’s side.

Britt:  #MoviesRuinSexLives I'm not even kidding, my sex life suffered for a week or so over a TV show argument once.

Jeffery:  Yikes.

Wendell:  Ugh-Tree of Life.  I hated it, wife didn't watch.  Wish she had, we probably would've had sex instead of me forcing myself to sit through it.  Sorry, Kevin.  On your wife’s side, here.

Kevin:  C-

Drew:  D

Wendell:  D

Britt:  D

Jeffery:  C-


Drew:  So...Martin Scorsese finally wins an Oscar...for The Departed.  What do we think of this?

Kevin:  I say better late than never.  I also really love this movie.  Not his best, for sure.  But as watchable and entertaining as just about any of his movies.  Love Boston!

Wendell:  I was thrilled Scorsese won the Oscar.  This is the rare case where I'm okay with giving a make-up Oscar because he's been so egregiously wronged in the past by AMPAS.

Drew:  Extremely watchable, great ensemble, total WTF ending (which is kind of awesome), adrenaline rush...but a little light.

Jeffery:  I agree the movie is very watchable and slickly made.  Super entertaining.  I still find the ending super unsettling.

Britt:  I love this movie so much, I'm absolutely fine with this being his Oscar winner.  Great cast, excellent pace, that elevator scene came out of nowhere.  It was perfect.

Kevin:  I'd honestly never felt that way during a movie before.  After that scene.  Good God!  I am totally fine with this winning as well, especially given the field.  Some fine movies there.  This was and is the best of them. 

Wendell:  Yes, that ending is amazing.  First time I saw that elevator scene I nearly shit a brick.  It was timed so perfectly it was a better jump-scare than I've gotten from any horror flick.

Britt:  Mark Wahlberg slays me in this movie.  "Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe fuck yourself."

Kevin:  Yeah. The dialogue is brilliant.  "How's ya motha?"  "Tired from fuckin' ma fatha."  Wahlberg and Baldwin together = Pure Gold.

Wendell:  Wahlberg is so wonderfully snarky.  Made me laugh almost every time he opened his mouth.  All of his Boston-ness just comes spilling out of him, too.  So great.  Love Nicholson, as usual.  I'll admit, though, that one scene where he actual goes all Jack as The Joker on us is weak.  Seen him do it too many times.

Britt:  Anthony Anderson's best role to date.  Lmao

Drew:  Yeah, the scripting here is pretty great.  The delivery is exceptional.  This ensemble is pretty remarkable.  They all make this movie.

Kevin:  Definitely.  Anderson's got it when it comes to stuff like this.  You're right, Drew.  Everybody nails it!  I especially love Matt Damon here.  He plays such a great arrogant douche, while at the same time making him seem real and sympathetic.  Nicholson is as psycho as ever.  I mean this movie gets fucking dark, man.  That conversation at the diner withe priest and the two nuns.  Brutal!  Yet so much fun.  The great editing/pacing.  Whip pans leading character into character.  Badfinger's "Baby Blue" when the shoot that dude in the kneecap.  Such greatness.  Scorsese and Schoonmaker are the greatest director/editor combo maybe ever in American movies.

Britt:  I thought Damon was excellent here too, yet he only one ONE single individual nomination for this film, and it was from the Online Film & Television Association.

Kevin:  Crazy!  Leo could've been up too, although I don't think his performance (or character) was quite as unique as Damon's.  I'm fine with Wahlberg getting the nom though.  I'd have voted for him I think.

Drew:  DiCaprio snagged all the attention in the Lead Category (minus that ridiculous SAG Supporting nom) and rightfully so, since he was electric!  Damon was very good, but DiCaprio was fantastic!

Wendell:  Electric is a great word to describe DiCaprio.  I've always liked him, even after Titanic, but this movie made me a Leo apologist.  I just think he's amazing in everything he does.  I wouldn't call this his best performance, but it's certainly up there.

Jeffery:  Love Leo in this movie too.  The way he looks ... and his acting.

Kevin:  I don’t know why.  Damon’s character just sticks with me more, but you’re right.  Leo gets intense.  He plays pain pill addict perfectly.

Drew:  Stupid Blood Diamond!  If the studios hadn't gotten greedy and tried to push Leo Supporting for this in order to get him double noms, we may have been spared him getting nominated for what is probably his worst performance to date.

Kevin:  Yeah. The Blood Diamond performance was borderline laughable as an Oscar nominee especially.

Drew:  DiCaprio's growing paranoia here is so well played...it's infectious!

Kevin:  Truth.

Britt:  Oh mean, really?  I loved him in Blood Diamond too.  I didn't think it was laughable.

Drew:  Bling Bang?  I mean, it doesn't help him that the movie is dumb as fuck, but he delivers everything so atrociously.  But he's better that Djimon...but that's getting way off topic.

Wendell:  I liked Blood Diamond.

Kevin:  I didn't hate Blood Diamond, but it certainly screwed Leo to have two big starring roles that year as far as Oscar goes.  He'll win one day.  Back to The Departed.  It is quite simply one of my all-time favorite Best Picture wins.  It was one case where the film I truly wanted to win took the prize.  It runs so smoothly.  Like we said earlier.  So totally watchable and entertaining.  Violent and fun with perfect dialogue.  It may not be Marty's best work as a director, but it is full of the style that made him such a key figure in American cinema going all the way back to Mean Streets.  Flawed, almost tortured characters in a violent world.  Perfectly executed on all levels.

Wendell:  The Cranberry Juice scene is perfect Scorsese.  It would've fit perfectly in GoodFellas.

Drew:  Well, I'm gonna seem like a dick, but as fun and entertaining as this is, it's also a bit messy and 'in the nose' and, really, lesser Scorsese. I don't hate this.  I really like it, but…  Like, comparing this to the best of the year (Children of Men), there is a HUGE gap...like, HUGE.

Kevin:  Kundun is "lesser" Scorsese.  This is Scorsese does Boston.  And it's pretty perfect.  I also think Children of Men is the best movie of 2006.  Alas, that and The Departed are so different they can both be A+ for me.  Now this sure as shit ain't Goodfellas Scorsese.

Drew:  Or Taxi Driver.

Kevin:  Word.  And I just want to go on record and say that I like Bringing Out the Dead more than Taxi Driver.  That flick is totally missing from the Scorsese conversation.

Drew:  We could totally have a Scorsese conversation!  But, like, what you just said is...no.

Kevin:  Tell you what.  I can't get into it right now.  But I'm gonna do a post on Bringing Out the Dead on the blog sometime this summer.  And I'll invite all of you to come at me.

Wendell:  Haven't seen Bringing Out the Dead.  Have to check it out.  This might not be Scorsese's best, but I really love this movie.  He did the miraculous.  He took what was already a great movie – Infernal Affairs - and made it better.  All of the extra character development really pays off.

Drew:  I haven't seen Internal Affairs, but I hear from practically everyone that this is better (since it condenses all three films). 

Wendell:  It does, but I haven't seen Infernal Affairs 2 or 3 so I couldn't compare it to the whole franchise. 

Kevin:  A+

Britt:  I'm firmly at an A+ as well.  This is one of my all-time favorite best picture winners.

Drew:  I’m in the B+ camp.

Wendell:  Can't quite give it the top score because my #1 film of '06, Children of Men, wasn't even nominated.  Still giving Marty & co. an A.

Jeffery:  The Queen was my favorite of the year but can't begrudge this win.  A-


YEAR SCORE: 257/400


1) The Lives of Others (94 Points)
2) The Departed (89 Points)
3) An Inconvenient Truth (47 Points)
4) Happy Feet (27 Points)

Closing Comments

Drew:  Who wants to open with closing comments?

Britt:  This was an interesting year.  Best Picture and Foreign were absolute winners.  Doc had great intentions but poor execution.  Animated was shit.  Quite the variety.

Drew:  This is one of those rare years where not one of Oscar's Top 5 would land in my Top 12.

Kevin:  I just went back to a Top Ten List I made for 2006 probably seven years ago.  I had The Departed at #2.  It can stand there.  I love it.  Again, one of my favorite Best Pictures.  The Lives of Others is a great winner as well.  I absolutely love that movie.  Happy Feet is easily one of the most forgettable Oscar winners ever.  And Al Gore. Jeez!  Come on, man!

Wendell:  Britt said it all.  I really could just copy and paste her comment and pass it off as my own.  I'll never forget Happy Feet, Kev.

Kevin:  I nearly forgot about your epic night out with the wife and kids, Dell.  Lol.  I guess I'm lucky I can forget.

Britt:  #HappyFeetRuinsSexLives

Jeffery:  The Lives of Others might be my favorite Foreign Film winner in recent years.  Happy Feet is pretty lame.  Overall though, a decent year.

Let's Get TRENDY!

Like every week, we've chosen a special hashtag based on comments throughout our discussions, and this week Wendell's horrific (and hilarious) Happy Feet story won out, so our hashtag of the week is #AlGoresNightmares.  So make us trendy, and don't forget to comment below and let us know how we did! 


  1. I still think Goodfellas and Raging Bull will be Scorsese's best masterpieces, but I still love The Departed's win for Best Picture because it's at least a great movie. I remember watching that ceremony and because Pan's Labyrinth was on a roll, I was so certain it would win Best Foreign Language Film, but alas, that did not happen. I haven't seen Lives of Others yet, so I can't judge whether it deserved to win.

    I remember also being so sure that Eddie Murphy would win Best Supporting Actor, only for him to be upset by Alan Arkin. Shame we don't have those kinds of shockers anymore. Another complaint I have with the Oscars. Everything always goes according to plan.

  2. Yep, disagree. Happy Feet is genius. It deserves an A.

    1. I'm going to need you to explain this to me.

    2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X1r3YJ929UM

    3. I'll be watching this vid when I get home tonight. I also need an explanation.

  3. Once again I've only seen the Best Picture winner although I tried to catch The Lives of Others this week and the disc arrived cracked and the replacement hasn't arrived unfortunately.

    I'm very variable on Scorsese films, by and large I'm usually not overly fond of them but occasionally they really engage me. I had LOVED his previous film to this The Aviator so I went into Departed with high hopes thinking we were finally on the same wavelength which made me doubly disappointed when I hated the film, so much so that it almost kept me from going to his next, Shutter Island but then I was glad I did since I loved that one. But hate this one I do, of the nominated films I only disliked Babel, dreadful film, more. Of the nominated films this year I only thought Little Miss Sunshine belong there, Children of Men, Thank You for Smoking, The Prestige and The Painted Veil along with LMS would have been my line-up.

    As for Happy Feet this time I really don't feel I'm out of the loop not having watched it seeing as how everybody else hates it. I'd heard similar takes on the Al Gore doc, important subject middling results, so I don't feel any great urge to seek it out. Terrific discussion as usual.

    1. So cool to see love for The Prestige and The Painted Veil. Love both of those films (yes, more than The Departed). I liked The Aviator, but it's a little too 'glossy Oscar bait' for my liking, especially when you consider this is Scorsese we're talking about.

      I preferred this to Shutter Island, though.

  4. Totally with you guys on An Inconvenient Truth: Essential information, terrible execution for a film. Gore has next to no charisma. It's really too bad.

    At the time, I couldn't understand how The Departed even managed a Best Picture nomination. I chalked it up to a weak year. And then IT FUCKING WINS. WTF. And I stand by that opinion, because now ten years later I remember absolutely nothing from that movie. I'm with Drew: It's entertaining and all, but a bit messy and WAY too on the nose (that last shot. The rat. COME ON, Marty. You're SO MUCH BETTER THAN THAT) and definitely in the lower ranks of Scorsese's work. It's fine. Looking at the Best Picture winners from the first decade of the 00s, only Crash and A Beautiful Mind are worse. It's on par with The Hurt Locker for me: Very good at what it does, but nothing special. At all.

    1. Yeah, I'm with you on The Departed (and The Hurt Locker, but that conversation is to come). It's a good film...but not Oscar win worthy, in my opinion.

  5. That was fun. Is Happy Feet now the lowest scorer?

    1. It is! 3 points below Wallace and Gromit.

  6. I always think of Al Gore as the Teacher from Ferris Bueller..."Bueller?, Bueller"?..." I want to see this film on the one hand but Al Gore always seemed, to me, a little dull. I find most nature films start off strong but often can be quite depressing and they rarely show a positive slant. Human beings are the devil incarnate when it comes to animals and the earth in general...which isn't too far off actually. Happy Feet-I saw it and it was nice even though it went all dark and weird when he ended up at the zoo. I have never seen Cars nor do I and feel bad that Paul Newman was in this crap. "The Lives of others" is a great film and so truthful how the police would bug people's apartments. My great Aunt lived in East Germany and was always careful about what she said and wrote. I mean it took her 7 years to prove she needed a fridge! This film has stayed with me just like Pan's Labyrinth has. "The Departed" is a great film for me and I am glad Scorsese finally got his due. Nicholson always has to be reigned in a bit but Wahlberg and Di Caprio nailed it for me. Great ensemble cast. Now I want Scorsese to make an animated film called "Killer Feet" with all the usual actors using their voices for the other penguins that live on the other side of the iceberg and are not happy always hearing the dancing. This would be a fun film don't you think?

    1. Ermahgerd! Killer Feet!!! That sounds hilarious.

      You dislike Paul Newman?

    2. Oh gosh NO I love Paul Newman but this was one of his last roles-voicing some old Jalopy and I just thought he could have been in a better animated film

    3. He certainly could have picked a better one, but I'm happy for him that he got to do animation before passing. It was his last film, and he had been very vocal about wanting to be in an animated film for years, so it's kind of endearing that he went out with one.

      Still, Cars is absolute shit.

  7. I remember being really blown away by The Lives of Others when I saw it. Unfortunately, my foggy memory is failing me, but great recap for me to catchup on!

    And The Departed!! I really loved that film, and I'm glad it took the Oscar :)

    1. Yeah, The Lives of Others certainly holds up!

  8. I think we need to form a movie nerd support group, because Birdman totally derailed us - we totally fought over Birdman last year, not because we disagreed, but because I thought he didn't like it ENOUGH.

    1. Oh, I can't wait for the Birdman discussion to come!

  9. Ahah, you have the same reaction as you about Florian (seriously this guy's name is impossible!). I still need to see The Lives of Others but based on all the praise, it's crazy to see his follow-up is the abominable The Tourist!!

    1. Polar opposite films, for real! You need to see The Lives of Others!!!

  10. An Inconvenient Truth: Good things to say ... poor organization and delivery. It sounds a lot like Gore's campaign. I was mad at him for a long time for running a weak campaign since that -- along with hanging chad and the intervention of the Supreme Court -- gave us George W.

    I LOVE both The Lives of Others and Pan's Labyrinth!

    I liked Happy Feet better than you guys did. Although my daughter watched it so many times, she killed it for me. :-P

    I haven't seen The Departed yet, so I'll skip reading that discussion for now.

    1. Oh, we have a lot to say about George Bush next week.

  11. I haven't seen An Inconvenient Truth, but I think I saw those Razzie-type awards too, Drew. I've forgotten the name of the blog, though.

    Happy Feet was fine when I saw it in theaters. No idea what I'd make of it now. (Monster House should've won anyways.)

    The Lives of Others is a masterful film, so I was glad it won. Though, I do kinda wish Pan's Labyrinth won instead. But it's a win-win that both films walked away with awards.

    The Departed is a modern masterpiece, so I can't complain. I did a major presentation and paper on it in for a cinema class in college, and it's a remarkably crafted film. Like, I don't think I'd change a thing. It's a very close #2 to Children of Men for me.

    1. LOL, that Blog was the worst :-P

      Yeah, I'm glad that both Lives and Pan's took home Oscars, even if Pan's won Cinematography over Children of Men, which was BS!