Whatever it is, we’ve been thinking lately about why guys should care about movies. Not in the overly-opinionated, cinephile way — although feel free to care that much — but in a way where you might seek out film that is more intellectually stimulating than visually stimulating. (Full disclosure: we loved the first Hangover too, and surely we’ll see the second. Still, there’s no reason to think that’ll be anything more than a money grab.)
So this weekend, we encourage you to rent a movie that’s nominated for best picture, and features a best actress nominee and best supporting actor nominee. It’s called Winter’s Bone, and it’s not discussed much, because frankly, it’s probably not going to score any wins come Oscar day. It’s not a movie most people would gravitate towards, and it takes place in a rural ghetto area of the Ozarks. All the main characters look tired, dirty, and desperate for a pack of Dorals. They aren’t white trash caricatures, they are true, poor, thieving white people. In some ways, it feels like a Midwest, backwoods version of The Wire. And in every way, Jennifer Lawrence — who plays the movie’s main character Ree — delivers the type of dejection, defiance and determination her role demands. These are the type of parts typically, and unfortunately, written for male characters. But Lawrence does not waste her opportunity to be great in the kind of role few actresses see. And for this, she deserves an Oscar.
If you’ve already seen Winter’s Bone, or perhaps grew up in the Ozarks and can’t bear to watch a movie about it, then head over to one of Chicago’s best theaters, The Landmark in Lincoln Park, and go check out the Oscar nominated short films and short, live-action films. They are usually pretty good, and if you’re attending an Oscar party, you’ll probably be the only person with an actual opinion about whether the Academy picked the right winners.
Finally, it would seem that the King’s Speech is a favorite to win Best Picture. No arguments if that’s the case, but if there was an award for Most Important Picture, it’d be The Social Network by a landslide. Like it or not, Facebook — or something like it — will be ingrained in our society for a long time. So someone was going to make a movie about its beginnings. The fact that this seminal moment in our culture wasn’t butchered in movie form is an achievement on its own. But the Social Network went beyond just not sucking; it’s completely riveting and for that it should be celebrated.