I've never seen so many of the Oscar nominated movies in the run up to the awards, which as given me a whole new insight into the way these things are chosen and decided. I've seen four out of the nine, but I won't be seeing any more of them before tomorrow (Oscar night) so I'll just have to leave it at that. Which has been my favourite? Well, it's very hard to say. How can you judge chalk against cheese? Apples against oranges? Each of them has been really good in it's own way and left me feeling that I've gained something from going to see them.
Dallas Buyer's Club was the most recent. I saw it on Wednesday with a friend. We went to Nando's next door for something to eat beforehand, it was really busy and we got to our seats just as the ads were ending and the trailers were starting, which is perfect timing.
I'd seen Matthew McConnaughey in The Wolf Of Wall Street a few weeks ago and even though he only had a small part at the beginning, he was interesting enough to lodge in my mind as someone worth watching. My son keeps doing the chest beating thing that MM does in that movie: there's something quite atavistic and a little bit thrilling about it that always gets me going and I guess that's the idea, to use it to get in touch with the beat of the multiverse. I saw MM on the Graham Norton show a couple of weeks back explaining that he came up with it himself and they put it in because it just hit the spot, which charmed me a little bit, I have to say. He's a good looking guy, what's not to like. lol
Anyway, in Dallas Buyer's Club he plays an HIV victim in the 1980s, back in the day when everyone believe it was only gay people and intravenous drug users that were susceptible to HIV. He is a sexist, homophobic bigot who has to come to terms with an illness that makes his friends reject him and sentences him to death in thirty days. The story revolves around his determination to fight the 'evil' of big pharma who are trying to force an untested and inneffective drug (AZT) onto the HIV and AIDS victims. He discovers a regime of alternative treatments and supplements that actually produces results, and sets up a system for supplying them to his fellow sufferers, with the help of a gay guy he meets in the hospital. It takes a while for MM to accept Rayon, but eventually he does and they go into business and take on the might of the FDA (Food and Drug Administration, FYI). There's a female doctor (Jennifer Garner) in the mix who is won over and tries to help them, but she's mostly there so that we see a guy who had previously only used women for sex come to realise that heck, women are people too.
I admired MM for losing all the weight and thus lending an authenticity to the role that really made him believable. He was excellent in the part, and carried the whole thing. I think he must have been in every scene. Jared Leto was really good as Rayon, stunningly beautiful and desperately fragile in a way that was empathy inducingly poignant. He was a weak wreck in counterpoint to Ron's strength, which gave the film some emotional balance.
A really enjoyable film, it wasn't really a tough watch as it focussed on Ron's triumph over the tragedy of his diagnosis rather than on the sadness of it all, and made me think that I need to take my own illness more seriously by doing everything I can to keep my body healthy. There's no other way of looking at it, really.
I've recently started watching Matthew McConnaughey in True Detective with Woody Harrelson who is another of my favourites. Is there something about actors that start out in lightweight stuff and go all serious and sinister that does it for me? LOL I loved Woody in Cheers, and then he was a superb revelation in Natural Born Killers. True Detective looks like shaping up into something special so I look forward to that.
Next week (possibly) The Monuments Men. The reviews are not good, but the subject matter is interesting enough for me to give it a try, and hey George Clooney is in it.