Posts tagged “viola davis

2012 Oscars Drinking Game (infographic!)


2012 Oscar Plans and Drinking Game

EDIT: For a quick infographic with the Official JAJ 2012 Oscars Drinking Game, go here.

I’ve never posted anything besides a review on this blog, but I’m more than just an amateur film critic, dear reader – I’m a human being, too. I have dreams and desires. And plans. Plans for the Academy Awards this Sunday!

Although I’m not an indiscriminate fan of the film industry – I’ve got problems with the MPAA and the current trend for films to be painfully unoriginal, to name a few – I do make it a habit to watch the Oscars every year. It’s kind of my Super Bowl, not being into sports and all.

I usually have a few people over and we play an Oscars drinking game. Every year since I started doing this (2008), I’ve managed to catch at least all of the Best Picture nominees prior to the awards show (the exception being last year when I missed three of them – The Kids Are All Right, True Grit, and Winter’s Bone).

This year, all of those traditions were in jeopardy. I no longer live at my own place, I’ve yet to see four of the Best Picture noms, and, much to my surprise, Google couldn’t provide me with a single Oscars drinking game for the show this year.

But James A. Janisse, Analytic Critic, is no quitter. No siree.

I made accommodations as far as my living arrangements go so that I can still have some peeps over, I’m devoting the next four days to catching up on Oscar fare, and I’ve decided that I’m experienced enough in this whole “Oscar Drinking Game”¬† situation that I can make my own.

So come here on Sunday and join me as I live-blog the Oscars. The live-blogging will get progressively more awesome as I continuously succumb to the first-ever Official JAJ Oscars Drinking Game (2012). I’m posting my unGodly creation below so that you can join me in this inebriating affair. See you on Sunday!

The Official JAJ Oscars Drinking Game (2012)

  • Take 1 drink any time…
    • …someone mentions Uggy the dog.
    • …someone makes a (liberal) political statement.
    • …someone mentions Whitney Houston.
    • …someone says “Wow” during their acceptance speech (1 drink per “wow”)
    • …the camera cuts to Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie
  • Take 2 drinks any time…
    • …someone thanks God in their acceptance speech.
    • …someone says “Scorsese”.
    • …someone says something that gets censored.
    • …a muppet appears onscreen.
    • …Billy Crystal makes reference to his hosting experiences in the past.
  • Take 3 drinks any time…
    • …someone’s acceptance speech gets interrupted by the orchestra playing them off.
    • …someone makes a (conservative) political statement.
    • …someone makes a reference to The Tree of Life being weird, experimental, pretentious, etc.
    • …there’s a mention of Michael Fassbender getting screwed over in these awards.
    • …there’s a reference to Twilight.

And the part of the game that will really test your resilience:
For every award being given, before the winner is announced, say:
1.) Which nominee you want to win
2.) Which nominee you expect to win

  • If the winner is the nominee you want to win, congratulations! Take 1 drink!
  • If the winner is the nominee you expect to win, you’re so smart! Take 2 drinks!
  • If the winner is a nominee you neither wanted or expected to win, learn from your mistakes! Take 3 drinks!
  • If the winner is the nominee that you both wanted and expected to win, nice job! GIVE 3 drinks out to someone else! (suggestion by Reddit user ajcfood)

Good luck on Sunday to all the Oscar nominees, and good luck to all of our livers!

–James A. Janisse

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (2011)

Film #10: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (2011)

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, based on the novel by Jonathan Safran Foer, is a film with sensitive subject matter. Nine-year-old¬†Oskar Schell (newcomer Thomas Horn) lives in New York City and very possibly has Asperger Syndrome. It’s not debilitating or anything, but he does have some trouble in social situations and he has a strong proclivity for logic and order. It’s hard for him when something happens that doesn’t make sense. And when his dad (Tom Hanks), the only one who seems to really “get” him, is killed in the World Trade Center attacks on 9/11, Oskar has a hard time coming to terms with it. A year after “the worst day”, Oskar finds a key hidden inside a vase in his father’s closet. Convinced that this is the start of an elaborate game set up by his dad, and hoping that by solving it things will make more sense, Oskar sets out to contact 417 people with the surname “Black” scattered around New York City.


The Help (2011)

Last summer, Kathryn Stockett’s novel The Help ended up being a surprise hit. A year later, the film adaption proved to be similarly successful, staying atop the box office for more consecutive days than any film since 1999’s The Sixth Sense. The literary work was Stockett’s first endeavor, and in a similar vein, the film is helmed by her personal friend Tate Taylor, himself a novice feature director. Out of this marriage of first-time talent, The Help is born a simple yet sentimental little film that reminds us of our ugly past in very black-and-white terms.

Taking place in 1960s Mississippi, where Jim Crow is law and the white upper class uses black help to raise their children and run their households, The Help‘s setting is a familiar place. Instead of subtle and complex characters, the players here are all archetypal, representatives of boiled-down attitudes and ideologies. Guiding us through the film is the forward-thinking Emma Stone as Skeeter, a young woman who cares more about a writing career than bridge club or finding a husband to start a family with. These priorities put her at odds with her peers, headed by the ruthless Bryce Dallas-Howard, but not as much as her views toward the help. Alone in respecting the help as actual human beings, Stone starts writing a book about the trials and tribulations of the indentured life in Mississippi.

Emma Stone has become very popular lately, and it’s not hard to see why. She’s confident and intelligent and has the sense to try roles in a variety of films. Here, she’s easy to identify with – not only are her views more in-line with today’s thinking, but even her looks make her seem plucked out of the present and dropped into the 60s. Still, if Stone is adequate in her role, the actresses surrounding her are phenomenal. Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer bring every scene to life in diametric ways. Davis has a powerful, quiet presence while Spencer is dynamic and in possession of seemingly boundless energy. The friendship that develops between these three women is the thread upon which the rest of the film hangs, and thankfully, it’s a strong one.

Not that it would have to be that strong to support the weight of the morality tale attached to the film. The Help isn’t a film that is trying to present a point in our history through a neutral and objective lens. It is out for your emotions through and through. It aims to make you feel some white guilt and a little discomfort, mostly through the unceasingly prejudice Howard. The viewer need not decipher or decide anything; the film has taken care of all that. But this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Some stories try to capture realistic shades of moral gray; others are simplified parables that act more as moral reinforcement.

Once you accept that The Help isn’t out to say anything new about attitudes during the Civil Rights Era – it sticks with the clear-cut judgment of “They were bad” – then it’s easy to enjoy the film. The talented acting extends past the three principals. Cicely Tyson is excellent in a few scenes as the elderly maid who raised Skeeter. Jessica Chastain is infectious as the bubbly yet vulnerable pariah who shows Spencer that not all white employers are cruel or inhumane. And Sissy Spacek provides some good moments of comic relief as an old woman who sees the absurdity of the “proper” society around her.

With solid acting and a simple story, The Help is the kind of saccharine fare that fans of flicks like The Blind Side will enjoy wholeheartedly. Though it occasionally strays a little too far into the ridiculous (Spencer’s act of revenge against Howard seems particularly out-of-place, especially when it’s used as a semi-important plot point), it’s a movie that succeeds in exactly what it’s trying to succeed at. This movie is here for simple reflection on our society’s not-so-distant past, to make you cry and occasionally laugh, and to ultimately leave you feeling satisfied.

Final rating: 7/10

–James A. Janisse