Monthly Archives: February 2009

Lent: Part 1

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (Il buono, il brutto, il cattivo, 1966) – We begin year four with a song:

I wish I were a total badass like Clint Eastwood. I’d casually roll cigars between my teeth, light matches with my fucking thumb, look good in a poncho, and become a celebrated director.

Remember, Saturday is Sita Sings the Blues. It’s going to be a fun six and a half weeks.

Reviews of Brevity

None of you were there, but that’s okay. I’m growing used to the abandonment. It helps to watch a lot of indie film when dealing with tough feelings, like abandonment.

Oscar-nominated short films – Animated (2008)

  • Ubornaya istoriya – lyubovnaya istoriya (Lavatory – Lovestory) – Independent animation plot 14c: A dumpy woman whom you can totally identify with passes her days in an unfulfilling job and falls in love somehow. There are some laughs light chuckles along the way.
  • Oktapodi – I tried and tried to come up with a line for this, but it’s hard to develop an opinion in three minutes. Sorry, guys, there’s nothing to say. This might win, maybe?
  • La maison en petits cubes – Indie film plot 31a: It sure sucks getting old, but there are a lot of memories of the past to keep you company as you die a slow, lonely death.
  • This Way Up – It ended kinda… twice? I like the second ending, really, but all these years of watching short film, I expected credits to roll when they had the opportunity to take the easy way out of writing an ending. But they didn’t, and the real ending may have been the only time I laughed out loud at any of the nominees.
  • Presto – I do love Pixar, and this was a good short film, but I’m just glad to see that Pixar doesn’t just automatically take this category every year. That’s what Best Animated Feature is for.

Other “Commended Films”

  • Varmints – Cities ruin everything, trees are completely and thoroughly bitchin’, pollution is bad, and soon the giant space jellyfish will save us all and poop dandelion fluff everywhere.
  • John and Karen – Nothing this year has made me happier than John and Karen. It’s incredibly British in its humor, but that’s okay. I wanted it to keep going, but part of its charm was that it was exactly as long as it needed to be.
  • Gopher Broke – This was nominated for an Oscar four years ago? Really? And we dug it back up to show now? Were we that desperate for filler? I would learn later that, yes, we were.
  • Skhizein – I wish there were such a thing as animated tattoos. I would have this playing on my back for the rest of my life. I’d have to get a couple of mirrors, but it’s worth it.
  • Hot Dog – I don’t know who at Magnolia Pictures has a boner for Bill Plympton, but I wish they’d stop packaging that fucking dog of his with the animated shorts every year. It’s not funny, the animation is terrible and hideous, and the sound is some of the most nerve-grinding noise I’ve ever heard. Memo to Bill Plympton: Please die.

Oscar-nominated short films – Live-Action

  • Auf der Strecke (On the Line) – It’s very long. It’s very German/Swiss. Hey, did I mention the self-congratulatory interstitials? Before each short film, they displayed a quote about short film and indie filmmakers. The first one–played during the animated set–was a quote from someone in the Academy about what a fucking honor it is for an animator to win that Oscar.
  • New Boy – Indie tip: try setting your story in a classroom. Grade school is such a novel and clever microcosm of society. Also, teachers are useless, and you might as well not have them.
  • Spielzeugland (Toyland) – I’m issuing a moratorium on Holocaust movies. This one did a fine job, but the genre is tired, and I’ve seen way too many movies that seem to rely too heavily on gut reactions to the subject matter.
  • Grisen (The Pig) – I don’t know all the Academy rules, but I’m beginning to suspect there’s a rule that there must be at least one short film on the ticket about an old man in a hospital. This one, however, may have also been this year’s film with an actual point.
  • Manon sur le bitume (Manon on the Asphalt) – Not sure why I liked this one. It was described–accurately–as “visual poetry,” and I hate poetry. Can’t read the stuff. But then, my favorite poetry, if I can be said to have a favorite, is of similar material. Maybe I think about death too much.

Lent is coming.

Prelentiary Viewings – Short Films

Saturday, February 7
Varsity Theater
4329 University Way N.E.
Seattle, WA 98105

Oscar-Nominated Short Films

2:45pm – Animated Shorts

4:45pm – Live-Action Shorts

Normally, this would be part of Lent, but since there’s no overlap this year between Oscar season and Lent, I want to see these as soon as possible. And yes, it has to be a matinĂ©e; you could not pay me enough to sit in an evening audience at those screenings. At least, I highly doubt any of you have that kind of money.