In My Write Mind

And the Winner Is...

Whether it's 55 degrees outside (like today) or 25 (which it will probably be tomorrow), it won't matter to me. Nope. Sure I'll probably have pnuemonia by the time March comes due to the drastic changes in temperature. But I'll still be OK. Well, at least for now. Because this, January, is MY time of year. I love it. And not because Kajuana's and Martin Luther the King's birthdays are coming soon, either. LOL

Nope. The reason I love January is because it's Golden Globe (TM) and Oscar (TM) time. And the contenders for year's best are out NOW, saturating theaters like olive oil on italian bread, like ranch dressing on a cucumber salad, like meat sauce on pasta, like...oh, sorry. It's lunch time. Got carried away. hehe

Anyway, 'tis the season for great movies, with the list of nominees being as strong as ever: from the usual suspects, like Johnny Depp, Leonardo DiCaprio, Nicole Kidman and Clint Eastwood, to great but underappreciated actors like Kevin Bacon, Uma Thurman and Don Cheadle, to actors making "the leap" like Jamie Foxx, Paul Giamatti and Hilary Swank...this January has got it all. Oh, if I were ever a certified member of the Academy, I would use my votes on the films and actors that moved me, that made me believe that they WERE those characters...that affected me.

And I've started already. Of course I've seen Ray and Kill Bill, Volume 2. Last weekend, I checked out two more films that will be heavily considered for Best Picture (Drama): Hotel Rwanda starring Cheadle and Million Dollar Baby featuring Eastwood, Swank and Morgan Freeman.

Hotel Rwanda (2004)
Terry George, Director

Here's the review of the film from the IMBD web site:

"Hotel Rwanda starred Don Cheadle and was directed by Terry George. It's based on a true event, about Paul Rusesabagina, a Hutu who worked at four star hotel in Kigali. When the war broke out he thought of only saving his immediate family but as he saw what was happening he opened the hotel to Tutsi and Hutus seeking refuge from the killing. He used all the favours he had stored as manager of the hotel and basically saved over a thousand lives. This will be the next Schindler's list. When the film was over, there was a standing ovation. Don Cheadle was excellent as an ordinary man forced to do extra-ordinary things."

Here's my review:

If his turns as Mouse in A Devil in a Blue Dress and as Sammy Davis, Jr. in The Rat Pack got him star recognition, his turn as Paul Rusesabagina should give Don Cheadle star power. It was said that the movie studios wanted everyone BUT Cheadle for this role, including the always reliable Denzel Washington, borderline actor Wesley Snipes and the ridiculous choice of Mekhi Phifer (?!?!?!?). Director Terry George had Cheadle in mind from the project's genesis, and after watching the film, there is NO ONE better for the role. Cheadle plays an everyman, an upstanding family man and hotel manager. But when the Hutus and the Tutsis begin a war, Cheadle can't win. You see, he's a Hutu (translation: darker skinned black) and his wife is a Tutsi (light-skinned). So when the Hutu rebels come looking to kill all things Tutsi, his family is in danger. I swear it was like watching School Daze with machetes. While all of the performances were credible, Cheadle's was outstanding. His solemnness, his ability to capture his situation through facial expressions, his perfect accent--spells Oscar contender to me. The violence was a bit much at times, especially when you realize that all of this really happened ten years ago. This movie had more twists and turns than Russell Simmons in yoga class. Seriously, TNT don't know shiiit. THIS...was drama!!!

Million Dollar Baby (2004)
Clint Eastwood, Director

Again, here's a review from the IMDB site:

"Million Dollar Baby is a movie about boxing like Braveheart is a movie about men in kilts riding horses. What it is is a movie to experience if you find yourself ever entertaining thoughts about loyalty, determination, talent, no talent, age, youth, courage, fear, fate, and the pain and joy of both living and dying.

I read reviews of Million Dollar Baby and expected to like it. Roger Ebert can be soft on movies because he is plainly a big fan, but even he does not lightly toss around the M-word, masterpiece. Yet he drops it on MDB, and justly so. The story is simple and searing. A gal (Hilary Swank) with much heart and no experience aspires to be the champion of the world. She is Rocky in a sports bra. A grizzled fight trainer-manager/gym owner (Clint Eastwood) reluctantly takes her on. His best pal and wise-man assistant (Morgan Freemna) stands alongside them, as the plot unwinds steadily, seamlessly, picking up speed, scene by scene, act after act. Eastwood and Freeman are artists at the top of their profession and they, along with the brilliant Swank, present you the very worthy lives of three people you will care about and remember. The arena is boxing, but it might as well have been boating or baking. It is a story about values and truths that far exceed sports and movies."

Seriously, I can't even add anymore. This was right on point.

For the next eight weeks, into March when the Oscars winners are announced, I plan on seeing as many of the nominated movies as possible, making my own personal checklist as to the good, the better and the outstanding.
Next up are Sideways, Aviator and House of Flying Daggers.
No one can lose here. Most of all me, because I will be in my own personal nirvana, seeing the best of the best. Yeah, this is my favorite time of year.

scribbled by Will at 1/13/2005 01:01:00 PM
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Mind Droppings

I write entirely to find out what I'm thinking, what I'm looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear. (Joan Didion)

The Write One

Will. Lefty. Since Summer 1971.
Over the next six months, I'll be saying some hellos, some goodbyes. Living, laughing, growing. Don't.miss.a.word.
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