Sunday, February 27, 2011

2011 Film Independent Spirit Awards: Afterthoughts

I was looking-to do some kind of DotM for these and/or the Academy Awards for tomorrow. And, I may still, I'm kind of playing it by ear right now. I did post some thoughts which I'm sure would have been at least partially rehashed in said DotM, here when the nominations were announced.

But stuff like the breakup of Oceansize and lacking in energy/motivation etc, had me do some other activities the past couple of days. Also, I was hoping to find on youtube, some clips from past shows, namely the year Sarah Silverman hosted. And I found some stuff from that year on youtube, but not the pre-recorded "backstage" part which probably was my favorite thing of the whole show. Namely the quote "Man-Push-Cart....Who-Give-Shit."

No dice, nor from the Rainn Wilson or Samuel L Jackson hosted awards shows.

So, that kind of led me to stop. And then before I knew it, the show was about to air. My plans to see the Gael Garcia-Bernal picture Even the Rain today (which opened at the Uptown Theater yesterday) along with The Galactic Cowboy Orchestra double-cd-release show at The Loring Theater got killed mainly due to snow+sub-zero temps outside and lack of desire to determine which side of the street to park on in Minneapolis in order to avoid a Snow-Emergency parking ticket (or towing).

And in both events cases, I will have more opportunity to see them in the coming weeks.

So, I just finished watching the Joel McHale edition of the Spirit Awards, and I can say, it was certainly better/funnier than 2010's Eddie Izzard snoozer. But I would still say the show hasn't returned to the jaw dropping hilarity it had a few years ago. I guess we'll see next year if it may.

-The winners: Winter's Bone, The Kids Are All Right and Black Swan all did well. Black Swan probably more than I or many expected. I haven't seen it, but the more I hear or read about it, I'm not sure I want to (despite having Mila Kunis and her hook up briefly :p). I get why Natalie Portman won, and probably will win tomorrow night at the Academy Awards, but it kind of speaks to people voting-for roles that are the most difficult, rather than the most moving/impact-ful.

-5 or 10 years from now, will Portman's performance in that be looked-to the way Jennifer Lawrence's was in Winter's Bone ? I would question that. But then again, I feel the best female performance I saw on film was not even Lawrence's but Katie Jarvis in Fishtank. It's also odd how Lawrence basically made Winter's Bone, and doesn't win, yet John Hawkes and Dale Dickey both did win. But that can be looked at as much for competition or lack-of, as quality of the performance.

-Also one thing Portman said in her acceptance speech, about *never* coming to them before. Am I forgetting, or was she not there when Garden State got nominated (and won?). I know Zack Braff was.

-Why was the stage slicked down with water or whatever else? Comedic effect? the idea might have been okay for like 1 segment/section of the show, but it just became an annoying hazard.

-Please Give won the Robert Altman award, which is all well and fine, as I do like people involved with that film, but I cannot forget about how after a lot of buzz at Sundance and the previews and interviews got me rather excited to see it; but then I left rather underwhelmed by it. And Catherine Keener has been on a roll for me pretty much over the last decade, but I can say this was my least favorite of all the movies I've seen her in.

-Exit Through the Gift Shop winning didn't come as a surprise to me, and I was happy to see it and presumably the main creator behind it, in Thierry Guetta up on stage accepting the award and (trying to) give some kind of inspirational speech. However, when he said "everything is real..everything in this film is real" I wonder a bit if a lot of the skeptical comments about *how real* the whole thing was. I imagine somewhere online there's some decent investigative work about how accurate it is, and how much may be fabricated for the film ala Michael Moore in a lot ways.

-Plus, the lack of stuff like No One Knows About Persian Cats and even Catfish still bugs me about the list. But between those 3, Exit Through the Gift Shop was the best.

-The way they had The King's Speech not only get nominated, but win, for Best Foreign Film is another head scratcher. Is it "independent"? I'm not sure. Is it even really "foreign"? technically, I suppose yes, but given it won at the Globes and SAG's, and is nominated for a number of awards at the Oscars tomorrow night, makes it even being included and in that category seem far-fetched.

-Seeing Ewan McGregor there, like Gael Garcia-Bernal in 2007 (when The Science of Sleep got no love from any of the Awards shows including the IFPs), just strikes me as overlooked and forgotten with The Ghost Writer. Now the budget thing may seem that point be moot, but it's difficult at times for me to watch these awards shows, seeing these movies and stars win awards, when I know very well that a movie like The Ghost Writer should be recognized and is a much better movie than a lot of them.

-What the hell was Kate Walsh doing there? Was she in or involved with a movie that got nominated? no. And I suppose for that matter, Tae Diggs. I didn't realize the Spirit Awards are now opening their seating for major network tv casts as well, lol.

-The voting process: well I recall learning about it a few years back. And I certainly would be interested in voting if I could. But from memory, you have to pay.

-edit:  this link explains
$95 for a membership. Okay? uh, I love small movies and support them however I can, but in order to vote for these things, it costs me nearly $100? sorry. I'd pay $15 perhaps. Maybe that $95 goes towards more than just the ability to vote for them, but I wonder what . I'd love to believe more, such as ability to bring more smaller movies to town, even if it were a 1-night or 1-weekend thing.

-I can't forget that, along the lines of lacking the in-town screening, 2010's show exposed me to 1 of my favorite movies I saw in the last 12 months, in Easier With Practice. And among the list of titles nominated I was unfamiliar with, I checked out a few trailers, and 1 I even got to see, the yet-to-be-reviewed Tiny Furniture, which I saw a few weeks ago at St.Anthony Main.

-However, while I liked Tiny Furniture (and Lena Dunham won an award for it tonight, best 1st Screenplay I think?..but that award was only mentioned by John Waters and not shown pathetically. WTF IFC?..your show is supposed to be the show that includes the little guy, right? wtf is up with not showing Lena Dunham winning?..maybe she wasn't there?). I don't know if I'd regard it at Easier With Practice's level. But, there's another movie that was nominated, but didn't win, called The Exploding Girl, which has Mark Rendall (who should play Jeff Buckley) and Zoe Kazan, that looks potentially rather good. And I am likely to see rather soon, hehe.

-And I recall liking Zoe Kazan in a few things recently, namely Me and Orson Welles. And well, there's a few reasons to want to see her in anything, after seeing a few clips from Revolutionary Road, hehe.

All in all, slightly better, but not entirely one of the better years for the IFPs again. But, I still look to them more than the Globes and Oscars for the heart of my taste in movies.