The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

User avatar
criddic3
Tenured
Posts: 2750
Joined: Thu Jan 09, 2003 11:08 pm
Location: New York, USA
Contact:

Postby criddic3 » Mon Dec 29, 2008 5:43 pm

I saw this film today in a pretty well-packed theater. Mixed ages, a number of teen couples. Some applauded at the end.

The movie does take its time telling its story, but much like Pitt's previous effort, Jesse James, the story is compelling and it's just so beautiful to look at.
"If you can't stand the nut on the left and you can't stand the nut on the right, go for the Johnson,” Jonathan S. Bush (10/21/2016)

Big Magilla
Site Admin
Posts: 15584
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 3:22 pm
Location: Jersey Shore

Postby Big Magilla » Mon Dec 29, 2008 5:37 pm

Happens some times. Think 1981 when Reds and On Golden Pond, though appealing to different groups, both had strong support but ended up losing to Chariots of Fire.

As I said it "could" happen, but I doubt it. I think Button has the broader based appeal.

Jack brings up a good point of Slumdog working because of its setting, though I'm not sure it wouldn't work elsewhere. After all, Martin Scorsese was able to successfully transpose Infernal Affairs from Hong Kong to Boston when he made The Departed.

The idea of fate or kismet controlling the outcome might be a little harder to swallow in an American film, tough.
“‎Life is a shipwreck, but we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats.” - Voltaire

ITALIANO
Emeritus
Posts: 3955
Joined: Mon Jan 06, 2003 1:58 pm
Location: MILAN
Contact:

Postby ITALIANO » Mon Dec 29, 2008 5:22 pm

Big Magilla wrote:Of course, there's always the chance that Button and Slumdog will cancel each other out

But why? Why should they "cancel each other out"? It's not only mathematically IMPOSSIBLE, as I have proved, but also - what do these two movies have in common to lead to this absurd idea?

jack
Assistant
Posts: 863
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 4:39 pm
Location: Cape Breton, Nova Scotia

Postby jack » Mon Dec 29, 2008 4:59 pm

I know this thread is for Button, but does anyone else think that if Slumdog Millionaire was set in, say, New York and called Ghetto Millionaire would it still be the Best Picture favourite? I watched the film today and for me it was the setting, the music, the look that made it the film that it was.

Benjamin Button I take a lot of issue with. It was a good film, but I think cold is the wrong word. To me 'unspectacular' fits better. Calling the film cold allows for possible Kubrick and Mallick comparisons, and as much as I enjoy Fincher's work I don't want to see his name mentioned with their's in the same sentance (and I know I just did...)




Edited By jack on 1230588063

Sabin
Laureate
Posts: 7324
Joined: Thu Jan 02, 2003 12:52 am
Contact:

Postby Sabin » Mon Dec 29, 2008 3:51 pm

I'm excluding the people on this message board and their friends and family for purposes of my statement.

Incidentally, you could recut everything with him as a child and it would be pretty funny. All those scenes are incredibly awkward.
"If you are marching with white nationalists, you are by definition not a very nice person. If Malala Yousafzai had taken part in that rally, you'd have to say 'Okay, I guess Malala sucks now.'" ~ John Oliver

User avatar
Zahveed
Associate
Posts: 1838
Joined: Wed Nov 07, 2007 1:47 pm
Location: In Your Head
Contact:

Postby Zahveed » Mon Dec 29, 2008 3:50 pm

Sabin wrote:It's too soon to see how it does over the next few weeks but I don't know anybody under forty who likes it at all.

The auditorium I was in was filled with people under forty (mostly teenagers on their winter break) and everyone loved it. I heard praises on the way out from nearly everyone from "I cried the whole movie" to "that's the best movie I've seen in years". I'm using direct quotes. The only bad thing I heard was from some brat saying "I laughed when he died as a baby", which is horrible in itself. I'm 20, I loved it. My mom saw it. She's 37. Under forty and loved it.
"It's the least most of us can do, but less of us will do more."

User avatar
OscarGuy
Site Admin
Posts: 12530
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 12:22 am
Location: Springfield, MO
Contact:

Postby OscarGuy » Mon Dec 29, 2008 3:46 pm

Well, count Zahveed among the under-40 crowd that love the film. I think it's an extremely well crafted film with plenty of emotion to spare. I think the performances are all top notch and I would be surprised if at least Hanson isn't nominated, though I wouldn't be surprised at all if Pitt earned his second nomination.
Wesley Lovell
"Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both." - Benjamin Franklin

Sabin
Laureate
Posts: 7324
Joined: Thu Jan 02, 2003 12:52 am
Contact:

Postby Sabin » Mon Dec 29, 2008 3:42 pm

We could go back and forth on what precedents indicate what film is going to win. This decade, the films with the most nominations that won (Gladiator, Chicago, The Return of the King, No Country for Old Men) number the ones that didn't (The Fellowship of the Ring, The Aviator, Brokeback Mountain, Dreamgirls/Babel). On some level this indicates a shift away from the paradigm of the biggest movie being the most embraced. Movies like Gangs of New York, Master and Commander, and The Aviator were not incredibly successful films but because they landed in excess of ten nominations, they seemed like more legitimate successes. I think The Curious Case of Benjamin Button has that written all over it because in truth it needs to make at least over $100 million domestic to be seen as any kind of success, as its budget of $150 million is insanely conservative and not even counting P&A I think studios have already spent almost $250 million on the thing.

It's too soon to see how it does over the next few weeks but I don't know anybody under forty who likes it at all. It's certainly doing well with precursor nominations and will continue to do well but I think that it has two very shaky grounds that it needs to overcome to become a strong contender to win Best Picture:

1) Eric Roth's Screenplay. It's incredibly unfocused. Gangs of New York survived so it could as well but right now I wouldn't be surprised if it failed to get a nomination.

2) The Actors. The only actor with any kind of showy, actorly scenes in this film is Cate Blanchett and she has been completely absent from the precursors. If Brad Pitt is nominated, it makes a statement that the effects aren't empty technical boasts. If nobody is nominated, it has a strong uphill battle.

Incidentally: the above argument does not apply to Slumdog Millionaire because nobody knows who the hell anybody is; that being said, if Dev Patel is nominated then Slumdog Millionaire wins Best Picture. I don't really care for either one of them and I think they are very close to almost being the same movie, but Slumdog Millionaire is just as much of an engrossing Chanel Ad for Mannequins in Love as The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. If audiences respond more to Slumdog, it's because the film feels as alive as Benjamin Button is inert.

The first half of the show is going to be boring: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button for this and that and this and that...and then Slumdog Millionaire picks up Best Film Editing, Best Original Score, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Director, and Best Picture. At this point, I just want The Dark Knight, Milk, and WALL-E to pick up something.
"If you are marching with white nationalists, you are by definition not a very nice person. If Malala Yousafzai had taken part in that rally, you'd have to say 'Okay, I guess Malala sucks now.'" ~ John Oliver

Big Magilla
Site Admin
Posts: 15584
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 3:22 pm
Location: Jersey Shore

Postby Big Magilla » Mon Dec 29, 2008 3:38 pm

OscarGuy wrote:
Big Magilla wrote:
Okri wrote:Forrest Gump is not fantastic? Or it's less so than Pulp Fiction? Shakespeare in Love.

The character is fantastic, of course, but the events the film covers were very much within the experience of the majority of AMPAS voters making it less fantastic than the near-comic book brutality of Pulp Fiction.

Shakespeare in Love was a bit of an oddity for the Academy. Its win over Saving Private Ryan and The Thin Red Line was considered by some at the time as a case of female AMPAS voters outwitting their male counterparts.

More than that, Magilla, I think Shakespeare in Love's win was more a product of Harvey Weinstein's push. The English Patient seemed like a natural for the Academy, but Shakeaspere in Love didn't. And I would say SiL makes a case for how Harvey's marketing campaign was a huge success. The Thin Red Line, despite being a critics darling was never a contender. This was always a fight between Saving Private Ryan and Shakespeare in Love. Shakespeare winning, I believe firmly, had little to do with whether voters knew it was better but more with being told it was the best and deserved to win.

Yes, in hindsight, probably so, but the initial reaction as I recall it was the battle of the sexes argument which given subsequent best picture wins doesn't hold water.
“‎Life is a shipwreck, but we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats.” - Voltaire

Okri
Tenured
Posts: 2584
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 3:28 pm
Location: Edmonton, AB

Postby Okri » Mon Dec 29, 2008 3:02 pm

[quote="Penelope"][/quote]
Slumdog as two songs eligible: "Jai Ho" (the ending credits song) and "O... Saya" (the song at the beginning when the boys get caught playing cricket).

Yeah, I think my argument was a bit weak in that in an odd year, the tech contingent could push one player to a victory, though I think in a year where it's A vs B, I don't think it'll have sway one way or the other, though I'm intrigued by counter arguments (Chicago vs The Pianist, perhaps?)

User avatar
OscarGuy
Site Admin
Posts: 12530
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 12:22 am
Location: Springfield, MO
Contact:

Postby OscarGuy » Mon Dec 29, 2008 3:01 pm

Big Magilla wrote:
Okri wrote:Forrest Gump is not fantastic? Or it's less so than Pulp Fiction? Shakespeare in Love.

The character is fantastic, of course, but the events the film covers were very much within the experience of the majority of AMPAS voters making it less fantastic than the near-comic book brutality of Pulp Fiction.

Shakespeare in Love was a bit of an oddity for the Academy. Its win over Saving Private Ryan and The Thin Red Line was considered by some at the time as a case of female AMPAS voters outwitting their male counterparts.

More than that, Magilla, I think Shakespeare in Love's win was more a product of Harvey Weinstein's push. The English Patient seemed like a natural for the Academy, but Shakeaspere in Love didn't. And I would say SiL makes a case for how Harvey's marketing campaign was a huge success. The Thin Red Line, despite being a critics darling was never a contender. This was always a fight between Saving Private Ryan and Shakespeare in Love. Shakespeare winning, I believe firmly, had little to do with whether voters knew it was better but more with being told it was the best and deserved to win.
Wesley Lovell

"Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both." - Benjamin Franklin

User avatar
OscarGuy
Site Admin
Posts: 12530
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 12:22 am
Location: Springfield, MO
Contact:

Postby OscarGuy » Mon Dec 29, 2008 2:57 pm

I might have agreed with your prior to seeing Benjamin Button, Okri, but having seen it, it is much more akin to Out of Africa, Color Purple and other period epics. Matter of fact, it doesn't even feel like a fantasy other than the aging backward element. It really feels like a film OF the time periods it represents. I mean, I didn't grow up in any of those historical periods, but I still felt a kinship to them. And I think that the same crowd that delivered the Oscar to Forrest Gump will give the same treatment to Benjamin Button, a far cry from the "fantasy" genre identification that seems to keep getting attached to the film.
Wesley Lovell

"Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both." - Benjamin Franklin

User avatar
Penelope
Site Admin
Posts: 5663
Joined: Sat Jan 31, 2004 11:47 am
Location: Tampa, FL, USA

Postby Penelope » Mon Dec 29, 2008 2:54 pm

Okri wrote:I don't think the tech guilds boost a film to a win. If they did, The Aviator would have beaten Million Dollar Baby, Fellowship would've beaten A Beautiful Mind, and Saving Private Ryan would've triumphed over Shakespeare in Love.

For the most part, I'd agree with this consensus. I think the tech members of the Academy can boost a film to a nomination, thought it's quite possible that the tech contingent is responsible for pushing Braveheart over the edge to a win.

I also agree that Slumdog will do well with the tech membership: Cinematography, Editing, Sound, possibly even Art Direction are very likely. If we then include Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, and Supporting Actor, that's 8 nominations; are any of the songs eligible? That could lead to 9 nominations.

Benjamin Button will, in a best case scenario, score nods for Picture, Director, Actor, Supporting Actress, Adapted Screenplay, Original Score, Cinematography, Editing, Art Direction, Costume Design, Sound, Makeup, Visual Effects...that's 13. But it could do less.
"...it is the weak who are cruel, and...gentleness is only to be expected from the strong." - Leo Reston

"Cruelty might be very human, and it might be cultural, but it's not acceptable." - Jodie Foster

Big Magilla
Site Admin
Posts: 15584
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 3:22 pm
Location: Jersey Shore

Postby Big Magilla » Mon Dec 29, 2008 2:52 pm

Okri wrote:Forrest Gump is not fantastic? Or it's less so than Pulp Fiction? Shakespeare in Love.

The character is fantastic, of course, but the events the film covers were very much within the experience of the majority of AMPAS voters making it less fantastic than the near-comic book brutality of Pulp Fiction.

Shakespeare in Love was a bit of an oddity for the Academy. Its win over Saving Private Ryan and The Thin Red Line was considered by some at the time as a case of female AMPAS voters outwitting their male counterparts.
“‎Life is a shipwreck, but we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats.” - Voltaire

Okri
Tenured
Posts: 2584
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 3:28 pm
Location: Edmonton, AB

Postby Okri » Mon Dec 29, 2008 2:44 pm

Forrest Gump is not fantastic? Or it's less so than Pulp Fiction? I'd argue that contention. I'd also argue that the basic premise of Benjamin Button places it firmly outside the tradition of the films you mentioned, Magilla. Indeed, I'd argue the less-then-real elements of Slumdog and Benjamin Button place them closer then the "us vs them" crowd believes, though I haven't seen the latter to be comfortable with that argument.

I don't think the tech guilds boost a film to a win. If they did, The Aviator would have beaten Million Dollar Baby, Fellowship would've beaten A Beautiful Mind, and Saving Private Ryan would've triumphed over Shakespeare in Love.

More than that, I think we're underestimating Sumdog's reception there. Film Editing, Cinematography, Score, Song and Sound are all within the realm of possibility. It could end up with a nomination haul of around 7 or 8. And while that's a far cry from Button's possible thirteen, I think that it's respectable enough that it's not gonna be the Juno or Finding Neverland of the race (those minor candidates that no one believes will actually make it).

Finally, Mister Tee touched on something: these past few years have given us films that we would've assumed were way outside the AMPAS' comfort zone, but predictors (as a rule) are hampered by their desire to predict which films are the oscar movies (hence the consistent predictions of December films, Zwick movies, etc). I mean, The Departed? No Country for Old Men and There Will Be Blood? If you had told me about it five months ago, I would never have thought Slumdog would be a "critical darling" - certainly not moreso than a Fincher film. And I don't really see that happening in this race, though Boyle's film certainly has a larger critical constituency that I thought it would get.


Return to “2008”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest