Wednesday, January 8, 2014

2014 Unreasonable Movie Project (Vol. 1): Let's Be Unreasonable Again, Shall We?

I created The Unreasonable Movie Project last year, and saw 27 movies in 48 days. If it had even a tiny chance of winning an Oscar, I saw it. I wrote about those movies during those 7 weeks, and about the experience of frantically seeing too many in too little time. The unreasonability of it all caused the writing to not always make sense (I wrote more column-inches about my Dad smuggling a giant bag of candy into Argo than I did analyzing Daniel Day Lewis in Lincoln), but hopefully the people who read it smiled once or twice.

If there was one thing I learned from the experience, it was "If you do this again, get ahead of the game." At the very least, I could be better prepared by seeing more movies during the year, taking notes, coming up with new ideas for writing posts. Any little thing would help.

But I didn't do any of that. I actually saw fewer movies this year. I didn't think about whether I would resurrect this Frankenstein until late December. I saw one movie that might barely be relevant during the award season, which I will get to later. Given all that, my only option is to announce...


Like last year, I'll bring you all the unnecessary, obscure and borderline-useless information you never asked for about ALL the movies that might win something during award season at the British Academy Film Awards, The Screen Actors Guild Awards, The Independent Spirit Awards, The Golden Globes (yada yada yada), and most importantly, the 86th Annual Academy Awards.

10 minutes ago, the thought flashed through my mind there might be fewer movies to see this year. 5 minutes ago I realized I would be hard-pressed to think up any thought dumber than that because there are a shit ton of movies to see. Of course there are. I checked with all the film bloggers, buffs, and bookies I could find on the internets, and decided there are at least 20 movies in the Oscar mix (in alphabetical order):
  1. 12 Years A Slave
  2. All Is Lost
  3. American Hustle
  4. August: Osage County
  5. Before Midnight
  6. Blue Jasmine
  7. Captain Phillips
  8. Dallas Buyers Club
  9. Enough Said
  10. Fruitvale Station
  11. Gravity
  12. Her
  13. Inside Llewyn Davis
  14. Lee Daniels' The Butler
  15. Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom
  16. Nebraska
  17. Philomena
  18. Rush
  19. Saving Mr. Banks
  20. The Wolf Of Wall Street

And we haven't even seen the nominations for the Oscars yet, which are announced on January 16 (to get more information on any of these movies, my favorite movie resource on the web is There will inevitably be other movies that must be considered once all the nominees for all the awards I've mentioned above are revealed, possibly including...
  1. Blackfish
  2. Blue Is The Warmest Color
  3. Frances Ha
  4. Kill Your Darlings
  5. Labor Day
  6. Lone Survivor
  7. Mud
  8. Out Of The Furnace
  9. Short Term 12
  10. Stories We Tell
  11. The Book Thief
  12. The Great Gatsby
  13. The Hunt
  14. The Invisible Woman
  15. The Past

But if we're considering categories like Best Editing or Special Effects or Costume Design, really any movie made this year might become relevant. The Lone Ranger might make the list. But for the sanity of all involved, let's not let that happen. This is the 2014 Unreasonable Movie Project (Twice As Unreasonable!), not the Irrationally See Everything And Lose Your Job Movie Project.

I mentioned before, in that list of the must-see movies, I have only previously seen one. How ridiculous is that? I'm supposed to be a movie buff, and in the 2013 calendar year, I saw one movie that might be up for an award? What the hell have I been doing? I'm not being facetious here...somebody needs to email me and fill me in because there must be gaps. This goes way beyond procrastination.

The one movie I saw? #18 on the list - Rush. And I went only because I couldn't get into a screening of Gravity.

Rush is about Formula 1 racing in Europe, taking place in the early to mid-1970's. Directed by Ron Howard, it's capably done, but I'm not quite sure why it's up for Best Motion Picture - Drama at the Golden Globes. Daniel Brühl plays one of the drivers, and he is up for a Best Supporting Actor at the Golden Globes too. Again, I'm not quite sure why. It wouldn't be completely fair to call it a Euro-Days Of Thunder, but just writing Euro-Days Of Thunder makes me giggle, and is life completely fair?

Apologies to all the reviewers that rated it so highly on Rotten Tomatoes, but it bombed at the box office, so it seems like word of mouth and my two cents line up. If I go to the mat for one of your guilty pleasures, Mr. Howard, it'll be for Backdraft. Not exactly the "you go, we go!" attitude you were hoping for, but I'm not dropping into a burning building for this one. I'm not even going to drop into a non-burning building containing a movie theater for it - I'm not seeing it again. I've got a few other things to do.

Before the Oscar nominations are announced on January 16, I'll get some of the "non-relevant" movies on my list out of the way, like The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, which I saw this past weekend (and liked because yes I am a LOTR dork). My wife and I might get a headstart on the list of 20 as well - she wants to see Gravity and Philomena. My kids want to see Frozen.

Once the Oscar nominations are announced though, it'll get real. I'll have to put the game-face back on for the long slog to March 2. No more hobbits or elves or Bad Granpas. It'll be time to get unreasonable...again!

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