It’s a sad state of affairs when my heart sinks at the thought of watching the Academy Award’s Best Picture nominations. Unfortunately, that is the case this year. The words ‘epic’ (Hugo), ‘baseball’ (Moneyball) and ‘silent movie’ (The Artist) just don’t do it for me. However, to demonstrate my credibilty as a film critic, I have heroically soldiered on and can offer you the following.
The odds were stacked against this one even before the opening credits rolled. With very few outstanding exceptions (The Great Dictator, 12 Angry Men) I don’t much like either black and white films or silent films. Like the Model T Ford, they had their day and should be allowed to die. The best I can say about The Artist is that I watched the whole thing. All the way to the end.
It’s well done. The plot moves along smartly enough and there are good performances from the two main characters. But, at the end of the day, it is just as dull as you would expect a silent, black and white movie to be.
P.S. I still vividly remember my astonishment the first time I heard Tom speak to Jerry. I was hoping The Artist might pull a similar trick, but… sorry to spoil the surprise. It didn’t.
I tried to watch Moneyball a while ago, but once I realised it was about an American baseball team I gave up. Now it’s been nominated for an Oscar, I’ve had to try again. This time I made better progress, but still didn’t quite make it all the way through. Brad Pitt plays the manager of a baseball team that doesn’t have much money. Unable to compete against the cash-rich bigger teams, who can afford to buy in talent, he comes up with a cunning plan. After many difficulties and trials along the way, they make good in the end (well, I assume they do, I didn’t actually see the end).
Same old, same old eh? Although I was pretty bored, I managed to quite like this film by transposing it in my imagination to the world of British football. Brad’s baseball team became Blackpool FC, and Brad himself became Ian Holloway, trying to win promotion to the Premier League against all the bigger teams with more money. It worked quite well. In fact, somebody should make that film.
Hugo might never happen. I think I’ve suffered enough. I am still hanging on in there for Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close though. Watch this space.