One of the things I love about the Twin Cities is that every neighborhood has its own little theater. The kind without stadium seating or 3D. The kind where, if you come straight from dinner, they'll hold your leftovers in their refrigerator in the back.
Have you ever wondered what a movie theater adjacent to a Lush might smell like? It's the strangest thing -- waxy, fruity, perfume-y popcorn. At the same time disgusting yet kind of intoxicating.
This winter, my friend and I arbitrarily gave ourselves a goal of seeing all of the Best Picture nominees, so I spent a lot of time in that soapy popcorn haven. It was a silly goal, maybe, but I'm glad I did it. Instead of remembering January and February as months of sitting around groaning about the weather, I'll remember sitting at the mozarella bar across the street from the theater, sipping a cocktail as fast as I could to to avoid being late for Dallas Buyers Club. I'll remember sitting in teary silence for five solid minutes at the end of 12 Years a Slave. I'll remember racing across town after Philomena to catch the next showing of Her.
I think this winter will always conjure up memories of popcorn scented soap.
Here are my very important thoughts on the movies. The Academy has been e-mailing me for weeks asking for these.
Dallas Buyers Club: This was the first movie I saw, and I didn't think the movies could get any better. The acting awards for Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto were absolutely deserved. It's hard to remember that MM once was an advertising exec telling people to frost themselves. (Disclaimer: How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days is my favorite guilty pleasure romantic comedy)
12 Years a Slave: I'm not exaggerating when I say the audience sat in silence for five full minutes as the credits rolled. I don't know about everyone else, but I was sobbing. This movie was so important, and so well done. It was my pick for Best Picture for sure.
American Hustle: So. Y and I both fell asleep during American Hustle. It wasn't that it was bad... I just wasn't into it. I was awake to see Bradley Cooper in teeny rollers though, so that's important.
Wolf of Wall Street: I went back and forth - was this movie so fun or so depressing? Both, I guess. It takes a lot of acting chops to play such terrible, terrible people.
Gravity: I made a huge mistake: I didn't see this one in the theater. I appreciate how difficult it must be to act by yourself in fake space, but I missed the thrill you probably got from seeing it on the big screen.
Philomena: I don't use this word often, but Dame Judi Dench was basically delightful in Philomena. I really enjoyed this movie -- the story behind it was so interesting and I read article after article afterward -- but I though parts were oversimplified so the whole story didn't feel all that plausible.
Her: I didn't necessarily think it should win Best Picture, but Her was my favorite of the movies. The colors! The music! The technology! The story isn't as sad as I expected it to be from the previews, which was a nice change of pace from the rest of the nominees. I almost fell in love with Samantha, too. I at least wanted her to be my best friend. Also Spike Jonze is cute, and, like Bradley Cooper in rollers, that's obviously important.
Nebraska: I can't stop thinking about Nebraska, and thinking about Nebraska makes me want to cry. In fact, as my friend pointed out, anytime anyone said the word "Nebraska" during the Oscars, or when the camera panned over Bruce Dern, I had a pained expression and made a pathetic sad sound. Nebraska was simple and no one really talked about it, but it hit me hard and I really, really liked it.