“Beasts of the Southern Wild” Will Make A Grown Man Weep

January 29, 2013

What’s up, dudes and dudettes?

I’m a little late with my post today. If you do not know, today is MEDIA DAY. And MEDIA DAY is the day when both of the NFL Super Bowl professional tackle American football teams are out on the field and talking to one billion members of the global media. It’s nuts. I’m transfixed by it. It’s an odd spectacle, but it’s great because it does get me even more super excited for the final game of the football schedule than I already am.

So, I’ve been watching that and watching specifically how Deion “Primetime” Sanders is possibly the best interviewer ever. Dude asks the questions direct with no ums or uhs and does it with a connection to the players. I really enjoy watching him talk to these guys in this live setting. Watching taped interviews can be misleading – not just the editing of responses, but the asking of the questions. Either way, apparently, Ray Lewis has been taking “deer antler velvet extract” which is a banned substance. What in the what?

Anyway…

I watched BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD last night and I did tear up.

It specifically got dusty at the end with aurochs and the final voiceover. Got a little bit dusty.

Generally, the water works don’t turn on during movies I don’t like, so obviously I enjoyed the movie quite a bit. First and foremost, I would say the movie was refreshing. It was full of life and each scene and each moment was full of life. I think that’s the point of the movie is this lively spirit of what you’re watching. It felt very much like a fairytale to me like a children’s book come to life. It’s got fantastical elements to it, but more so the real life elements are told with this excitable flare that it’s passion makes the ordinary feel extraordinary. It has tons of personality to spare and really captures what they’re going for. It doesn’t feel forced at all. What is supposed to be emotional is emotional, what is supposed to be exciting is exciting and so forth.

I’m looking over the Oscar nominations while writing this and I thought a lot about the Oscar nominations when I was watching the movie. I knew that the main character, Hushpuppy, Quvenzhane Wallis was nominated. And she definitely should be. And I knew that the movie had been nominated for best picture, and it should be. AND, wrongly, I knew that Dwight Henry who plays Hushpuppy’s daddy did not get nominated. That is ridiculous that he wasn’t nominated. That movie as a whole is wonderful and I’ll get to that, but the performances by Quvenzhane and Dwight are 100% the main thrust/the main action of the movie. The Academy gets it right to nominate the movie, gets it right to nominate Quvenzhane, but they get it wrong not nominating Dwight.

Let’s take it a step further… who did the Academy nominate over Dwight? The nominees are Alan Arkin for Argo, Philip Seymour Hoffman for The Master, Robert De Niro for Silver Linings Playbook, Tommy Lee Jones for Lincoln, and Christoph Waltz for Django Unchained. Not good enough. Immediately, I wouldn’t nominate Alan Arkin nor Tommy Lee Jones because I don’t think they did something beyond what I would expect. Specifically, Arkin who I did not think was particularly compelling in his role. Jones definitely does a good job with his role, but is it an extraordinary effort by Jones? No. It’s what one would expect from him. He got the role right, but he didn’t blow me away or any of that. So, right away, I think Dwight Henry did a whole lot more than both Jones and Arkin. I would say that it’s debatable who was better between Henry and Waltz. I think De Niro and Hoffman should definitely be nominated and I think Hoffman is the front runner with De Niro putting in one of his best performances in YEARS. But Dwight Henry definitely gave the audience a lot more than Jones or Arkin and the man should be recognized. Stupid Oscars.

As for the rest of the movie, director Benh Zeitlin is now on the must watch out for list. I think he did an excellent job with this movie. The movie is beautiful. Even in it’s ugliness, it is beautiful. He isn’t working with gold mansions and supermodels in ball gowns, he is dealing with sweat stained and food stained clothes and dirt and mud and he makes it beautiful. Also, his use of handheld wasn’t forced or unneeded like Tom Hooper with Les Mis, but felt intimate and appropriate in this movie. Even in its darkest moments it felt like you were watching art and every scene looked like a painting.

As far as his Zeitlin’s nomination for best direction, I think he should win. That’s my gut reaction. I haven’t seen “Life of Pi” yet and I haven’t seen “Amour”, but with this movie against “Silver Linings Playbook” and “Lincoln” – I’d pick this movie. Honestly, I think Ben Affleck should’ve been nominated for “Argo” specifically over Spielberg for “Lincoln”. But what can you do? I think David O. Russell obviously did a great job directing “Silver Linings Playbook” which he should get partial credit for having acting nominations in all four categories, but I think Zeitlin did something a little more with more of a visual style and told the story more visually without as much dialogue and characters and so forth.

Lastly, I thought the score was amazing. I know the Academy is weird with what is up for nominations for best score, but it’s not nominated. I don’t know if it’s able to be nominated with their rules, but it’s not nominated and I think that’s wrong. The score is a big piece of the movie. I mean fucking “Skyfall” was nominated for best score and that movie is horrible. Also, “Lincoln” was nominated for best score and I didn’t think that score was impressive and I remember seeing a lot of people talk about how repetitive that score is with its lonely trumpet swelling every 15 minutes.

I liked the movie a lot. Go see it.

I still have to see “Life of Pi” and “Flight”. I don’t really care if I see “Amour”. I might see it, but I might not.

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2 Responses to ““Beasts of the Southern Wild” Will Make A Grown Man Weep”

  1. One of those rare occasions where I felt a movie actually lived up to the trailer.

  2. PWG said

    You’ve convinced me. I’ll see it.

    I probably cried one time for real life things last year, and 15 times at movies. And listening to The Rising, because that shit still brings me back to 9/11.

    So if I don’t deliberately see some crying-type movies regularly, I’ll implode from stopped up tears. I prefer the kind that make you cry but still have happy endings, so if everyone dies in this movie please tell me before I go.

    Wait, my dog died in January of last year, so change that to “cried 50 times in real life last year.”

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