Sunday, January 26, 2014

Battle Of The Oscar Stars: Best Picture 2006

There will be times when you see a movie initially and you hate it. Cue to several years later, you decide there must have been something you missed and that's why the movie left a gross aftertaste in your memory.

People in your life keep talking about said flick as if it's god's gift to the planet. Your mind begins to race with thoughts like, "I love movies, so it follows I must appreciate this divine present!"

And there it is, you give it another chance, and with one more viewing that movie you loathed has enlisted its white glow of brilliance over you. So much so, you bow down in its presence.

The key here is sometimes this change of heart occurs, since I'm going to prove the opposite. I hated The Departed in 2006, and I still don't buy into all the acclaim after watching it recently for a second time.

Hate is too strong a word I guess - It's impossible to bitterly loathe a movie that dotes an A-List swarm of talent meets dream boat, like Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Mark Wahlberg, Alec Baldwin, Jack Nicolson AND Martin Sheen. Let's get serious, that cast is not the problem here, as each one of them delivers dynamic performances that are enough to keep this movie mostly worth someone's time.

The main question that arises as I settle in to spend another 2.5 hours on this flick; are people automatically hypnotized by anything that Martin Scorsese touches?

In the past I have loved me some Scorsese as well - from Taxi Driver to Hugo, he has undoubtedly made at least one movie every person could enjoy.

With The Departed, Scorsese has directed another great looking flick, but if this master was stranded on a desert island he would be capable of throwing together a better movie than most that were released this past weekend only given duct tape,  a cardboard box, and one of those huge video cameras from the early 90s your dad toted on his shoulder to record your soccer games.

Scorsese isn't the problem either. To put it simply: the story doesn't encourage others to care about what will eventually unfold as the movie progresses. The plot development, story points, and frustrating characters do not support any sense outside of itself and no amount of movie magic could help.

Even with the initial setup of a compelling story, involving both the Boston police and the Irish mob sinking two of their members undercover in the opposing group, there is zero development that makes me feel involved with anything that happens to the characters in this world. There is no built up tension about who is going to get caught or not - I could care less if the cop hitched to the mob scene ends up dead or the mobster undermining the police is swimming with the fishes by the time the credits roll.

The characters don't even have to be likable, and basically none of the men are as they spend a large portion of the movie killing/beating each other and tossing grossly lewd comments to women. However, there at least has to be some driving force to make you keep watching the movie. Otherwise, why do we watch anything at all?

Maybe the story is more questioning morality in our violent culture as a whole, and we aren't supposed to care how the story ends. Even that thought only gives a slight positive to the writing, but can't excuse away all of the frustrating faults in the story that are a deal breaker.

Still, this is one popular movie. It has a rating of 8.6/10 on the movie fan mecca site, IMDB (ranked number 45/250 top movies on the site), and won four Academy Awards.

Based on the other nominees for Best Picture that year, I can see that The Departed didn't have too much competition. If forced to vote, I would choose Little Miss Sunshine's, cast, story, and filming over The Departed any day. I realize this remark just made some people cringe, but hey, I love that zaney family and their runaway yellow Volkswagen.

No one can ever convince me to love The Departed, or go back for a third viewing, simply because it's just not a movie meant for me to appreciate.

All movies will never be for everyone and that's why it's handy different artistic points of view can be found at a cinema on a weekly basis.

Next Up: The Coen's only Best Picture win - No Country For Old Men.

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