Watching movies is possibly one of America’s favorite pastimes (after baseball, of course!).
Films allow us to escape reality for a couple of hours while spending time together with our significant others, friends, children or families. And if we are lucky, taking in a film may teach us a thing or two about history and the human spirit (and sadly, show us the uglier side of reality, too).
The best the film industry has to offer is celebrated each year with several award presentations, but since its inception in 1929, no other ceremony has been more significant than the Oscars, which are coming up fast on Feb. 26.
This year, Martin Scorsese’s Hugo got the most nominations, over other films like The Descendants, The Help and Moneyball. The children’s movie garnered 11 nominations, including best picture, director and adapted screenplay.
For movie aficionados, part of the excitement leading up to the big awards is making an effort to watch all the films to verify if the voters share the same opinions as movie-goers – the Oscars also serve as a good exercise to find out if the increasingly expensive tickets were money well spent.
Having a family film leading the nominees is a sign that good, sound, wholesome entertainment can be recognized. If you are a devoted movie buff, did you make an effort to see all the Oscar-nominated films – including taking the kids to watch Hugo, and the other the family-oriented films up for the Oscars?
Tonia Accetta: I have childhood memories of staying up late into the night, curled up with my parents and sisters to watch the Oscars live from L.A. We would be so excited about it, even though we had not seen any of the movies that were nominated. I now watch with my family, making a game out of it, by trying to predict the winners in advance. This year we have only seen two of the best-picture nominees, War Horse, which we loved, and The Help.
Hugo did not appeal to us as a family because of the added cost to see a movie in 3D. Some years there is a clear winner that picks up all the awards, but this year they may spread the honors out between many great movies and that not only makes it harder to predict, but also a bit more fun to watch live. If they included animated films in the best-picture category then The Adventures of Tin Tin would surely join the list of nominees.
Tam Dorow: My 10-year-old son is the movie consumer in our home – actually, he's the only one ever going to the movie theaters. He loves movies and quoting lines from movies. He does not read what the critics have to say, he just forms his own opinion. He's only read one of the books made into movies this year, no, it was not The Help, it was The Invention of Hugo Cabret. Granted, he read this book a few years ago, but I'm confident his memory is sharp. At the time he was not overwhelmed with the book and the same could be said of his impression of the movie. He enjoyed it, but he has not talked about it and defintely has not quoted from it. All the fancy cinematography and references to classic movies are lost on him.
His favorite movie this year is Moneyball. His love of baseball may have a lot to do with it. His priority in ranking movies are: The story (I'm assuming the associated screenplay), acting, scenes and special effects.
I, too, have very pedestrian taste in movies; I profess my ignorance of the genre. I watch for the escapism, compelling story and embarrassingly, sometimes just to see beautiful people dressed up in beautiful things: pure entertainment. I find my friends' assessments of a movie much more relevant than the Oscar picks.
Suzette Valle: My parents instilled the love of films in me, and fortunately my husband and I share this common interest. We not only enjoy the escapism movies offer, but we look forward to watching powerful films that make us think.
Sometimes we’ll watch a film like Mission Impossible just for the thrill, but most of the time it's movies we have a connection with like Moneyball or Iron Lady that hit home with us. And if we feel taken after being lured in by a good trailer to watch a bad movie like Bad Teacher, we’ll be the first to warn friends to skip it and make it a rental!
However, this seems to be an exceptional year for movies. We’ve seen almost the entire list of nominees for Best Picture except for Hugo, but now that the film is so lauded, we hope to remedy this before the Oscar broadcast!
Tonia Accetta is stay-at-home mom of a teenage boy and a preteen girl. She moved to Coronado in 2002 with her husband of 15 years.
Tam Dorow emigrated from Vietnam when she was 10. She worked at all of the Big 3 U.S. car companies and has been a stay-at-home mom of two for the last 10 years.
Suzette Valle is a 20-year Coronado resident who was recognized by Time Warner as one of the local “50 Best Moms” in 2006. She has appeared on the Dr. Phil Show and blogs at MamarazziKnowsBest.com.