Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Oscar for Most Original Use of a No. 2 Goes to...

But first, there's another imaginary Academy Award category to settle....

"The Oscar for the most overrated movie of 2011 goes to... Drive! I can't even begin to tell you how much I despised it. We're talking visceral hate. All style, no substance. 
Extremely violent yet mind-bogglingly boring. I guess that's an accomplishment!"

So said my good friend and Us Weekly film critic Mara Reinstein about what must also be one of her least favorite movies of 2011. Though she loved Moneyball a lot more than I did, my taste in movies is usually pretty in sync with hers. Before I read her withering remarks, I was all set to spend some quality time tonight with Gosling on my screen, courtesy of the Drive DVD that I picked up at the indoor street market on the third floor of MBK shopping center in Bangkok on the day I got my second tattoo.

Maybe some other night. Today I was in the mood for something a little lighter, which is why I nixed Melancholia and Martha Marcy May Marlene. I considered Crazy Stupid Love, one of Gosling's 17 other films released this year, but in the end, I settled for The Help, starring Gosling's Crazy Stupid Love costar Emma Stone, which, shockingly, I still hadn't seen.

So it wasn't all sweetness and light, and after all these years, the N word still makes me cringe. But that Octavia Spencer! Viola Davis was phenomenal (as always) and deserving of all her Oscar buzz. (Loved the scene when Davis's Aibileen starts to recount the circumstances of her son's death and pulls away when Spencer's Minny reaches out to touch her. I live for such telling subtleties.)

As for Emma Stone, I would watch her in anything, but I just wasn't buying her as a liberated woman in 1960s Jackson, Mississippi. She sells liberation just fine, but Stone couldn't be more 2011. She belongs to no period other than the one in which she's living. Kate Winslet she's not. Though I do see an Oscar at some point in her future.

But that Octavia Spencer! When Minnie showed up at Hilly's home with a baked peace offering, I was expecting it to be loaded with Ex-Lax or the '50s equivalent. My roommate in college did that to our next door neighbor, and I must have laughed out loud about it for 24 hours straight. It's a timeless prank, and I'm sure it would have gotten a hearty hahaha from me tonight, too.

When Minnie said, "Eat my shit," though, I knew exactly where the scene was going. I don't know what else she put in that cake to make it not smell like shit, but ladies and gentlemen, that's how you use bathroom humor to optimum effect. I laughed as much picturing Minny adding the feces to the batter as I did at the scene itself. Did she crap directly into the bowl, or did she carry her stuff from the bathroom to the kitchen? Was it hard or soft? And did anyone notice that when Aibileen used the bathroom in one scene, she went and picked up the boss's daughter without washing her hands?

I can't imagine doing something so heinous to someone I hate (I have no enemies that I despise quite that much), but maybe it's just that I don't know how to cook. Hmm... Maybe it's time for me to learn how to bake a cake. You know, just in case one of my rivals gets out of line.
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