On Friday evening, Wife M and I watched Hacksaw Ridge with sister K. It has been highly touted and nominated for a Best Picture Oscar, with some calling it a modern Saving Private Ryan. To that, I say: seriously? The thing about Saving Private Ryan is that it took an entire new look at World War 2 using advances in cinematography; I saw SPR twice in theaters and both times the audience was stunned into silence; everyone stayed until the credits were over and the lights went on, and you could’ve heard a pin drop as people filed out. I couldn’t sleep that first night I saw it in 1997, I was so disturbed by what I’d seen. But Hacksaw Ridge adds nothing really new, and changed some of the facts of the real story that the real Dodd so desperately wanted unchanged for Hollywood that he refused to sell the movie rights for many years. Other than the Dodd family, I didn’t feel attached to the characters, and sometimes I suppressed an eye roll (like when the dad broke in at the perfectly correct time, or when Dodd pulled Vince Vaughn at full speed on his rain slicker while Vaughn machined gunned down an entire Japanese platoon behind him). Flags of our Fathers, Saving Private Ryan, the Deer Hunter, A Thin Red Line, Paths of Glory, etc. etc. etc. were far more creative movies – I give this one a C for telling a decent story decently, but in no way was it a Movie of the Year candidate. On the plus side, I loved the performance of Dodd’s dad, who was the “villain” in The Matrix and the Elf king in Lord of the Rings.
But yesterday wife M and I watched Tony Erdman at the Uptown. The film was nominated for Best Foreign Film. It was wonderful! Three hours long but didn’t feel like it, with a quirky prankster father who is able to finally reach his career-driven and unhappy daughter. The theater laughed out loud for much of the movie at the quirky dad, and I thought the scene where the daughter struggles in her dress, then out of her dress, then in then out then finally just steps into the party naked was wonderful and brilliant. I loved the performances, and really liked the daughter’s performance since I thought she did a good job of looking uncomfortable while trying to seem composed.
Wife M went out with girlfriends a few nights ago and they made a plan for a group Academy Award night where we’ll watch the Oscars together. Fun!!!