Tag Archives: Jonah Hill

Who Couldn’t Be Romantic About Baseball…And That New Woody Allen Movie?

(source: google images)

Most of you know that I’m OBSESSED with the Academy Awards.  If you didn’t, I’m OBSESSED with the Academy Awards.  There, now you know.  For the past 5 years I’ve hosted elaborate parties (except for that one year where an epic snowstorm ruined my life by barricading all guests from leaving their homes and I was left with an entire bowl of red pepper parmesan dip to eat by myself). 

Where was I?  Oh yes, the parties!  I host one fine swanky soiree!  The food is always gourmet appetizers and deserts with lots and lots of wine.  I’ve made platters of antipasto, bacon wrapped apricots with a honey barbecue sauce, cranberry salsa with green chilies, sundried tomato and pesto hors d’oeuvres, and many more delectable goodies.  And all my guests share one appetizer or dessert as well, so we have a full spread!  Some years we’ve also dressed up in our finest formals, walked a real red carpet to classical music and interviewed guests about “who they’re wearing” tonight!

In fact, the theme for this year’s party hasn’t been totally set.  I’m welcome to ideas!  What would you want to do or see?  We’ve suggested coming dressed for the Oscars as a member of the opposite sex, coming dressed as your favorite Oscar winning actor/actress or character, or dressing like the “Worst Dressed” Oscar attendee.  I’m completely open to more ideas, so do share! 

As the award ceremony draws near, I’m hoping to enlighten you all on what I think of the nominees.  I hope you’ll share with me too!  We’ll start with some of the Best Picture nominees, of which there are nine this year.

Best Picture Nominees for 2012:

  • The Artist
  • The Descendants
  • Hugo
  • Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
  • The Help
  • Moneyball
  • Midnight in Paris
  • The Tree of Life
  • War Horse

Today I’ll feature Moneyball and Midnight in Paris.  I previously reviewed Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, and you can check that post out here.


(source: google images)

I’m not sure what I was expecting when I picked up a copy of Moneyball from the video store.  I don’t think I expected this film to be as fascinating and the story so gripping as it was.  Without seeing the movie, I would’ve told you all convincingly that Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill didn’t stand a chance at the Oscars.  I would’ve been badly mistaken.

Moneyball stars Best Actor Nominee, Brad Pitt, as Billy Beane, the General Manager for the Oakland Athletics baseball team.  The story, however, is more than just a tale of home runs and who beat who.  What Moneyball portrays is the politics and science behind the game.  It is a biography of the unconventional tactics used to change the game of ball forever and what role money plays in this sport.

The Oakland Athletics were one of the worst paid baseball teams, and most likely still are.  After a poor playing season, Beane loses his three best players to trade ups that all provided more money to the player.  Left in a position of zero dollar increase, Beane had to find a solution that would make a whole new team of players, winning players.

A chance partnership with Yale graduate, Peter Brand, played by Supporting Actor Nominee, Jonah Hill, creates a unique approach to drafting players based on statistical data of their playing.  Suddenly, Beane is selecting the players that everyone else in baseball neglects and has written off.  What Billy Beane does in this movie, with great talent from Pitt, is change the way baseball is run.  He did what was right for the team and showed the million dollar moguls of the game that money isn’t everything.

I rate this one a surprise contender because while I LOVED this movie and both actor’s performances, I do think they are up against some “heavy hitters” of their own.  I would be thrilled if any of them did win.  Most of all, Brad Pitt, I think this was a smart role for him and could do what The Blind Side did for Sandra Bullock.  Kudos to this film!

Midnight in Paris

(source: google images)

I never noticed the similarities between Owen Wilson and Woody Allen were so striking until this film.  It’s like Woody attached strings to Owen and danced him around the film like a babbling marionette puppet.  It’s uncanny!

Per usual Woody Allen, this film stars a man who wants greater things in life, is intimidated by others around him, but is really a creative genius.  Don’t get me wrong, I adore a good Allen film.  I’m a big fan of Small Time Crooks, Mighty Aphrodite, and of his book Without Feathers.  I recommend this flick for fans, people in the mood for nostalgia, and anyone who likes a little light-hearted magic.

Owen Wilson plays Gil; he’s engaged to Inez played by Rachel McAdams (the couple’s second film together following Wedding Crashers).  Gil is already a Hollywood writer, but he can’t find his groove when it comes to his novel.  While traveling with Inez’s parents in France, Gil daydreams of a golden age:  Paris in the 20’s, raining.  *swoon*

One night, Inez goes dancing with friends, and Gil decides to take a walk.  Where he’ll find himself is a parallel world of Paris in the 20’s and soon this couple will have to face whether the illusion around them is better than their actual relationship or not.

I already gave kudos to Wilson’s character being a new generation’s introduction to Woody Allen humor.  He really captures an idealist’s heart that we all can understand.  The supporting cast of his Parisian fantasy includes such names as Oscar winners Marion Cotillard and Kathy Bates as well as the First Lady of France herself, Carla Bruni.

While I liked this film, I don’t think it’s a contender for Best Picture.  Allen may be the underdog win for Best Director, but he’s also facing top nominee Martin Scorsese for Hugo.  I can’t help but wonder if this is another case of a nomination come too late.  Should Allen have won last year for his more poignant and stellar casting film, You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger*shrug*  Time will tell.  February 26th to be exact.

What say you fellow movie watchers?  Have you seen either of these nominees?  What do you think their chances are?  Who are you rooting for?  And don’t forget to weigh in on the costumes of the evening! 

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