You mess with Harpo Marx, you get the horns.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Best Pictures are worth a thousand words

Since Stew and I are gearing up for the first annual DOUI Live Blog of the Oscars this Sunday, I thought I'd warm up by presenting a brief plot summary of the Best Picture nominees. I've not had a chance to watch many films this year, so I apologize in advance if I'm a bit sketchy on details, or the facts, for that matter.

Martin Scorsese's biopic of either Howard Hughes or Charles Lindbergh begins with the famous aviator/movie producer/radical hygenist's discovery of the opposite sex, as portrayed by Kate Blanchett. After marveling at the amazing shape and feel of his newest discovery, a single engine Vaught Corsair, he takes Kate Hepburn up in one in a clumsy attempt to "join the Mile-High club". Kate responds by throwing Hughes out of the plane, but her plan backfires when Howard lands on Spencer Tracy, killing him outright, nearly thirty years before his actual death. Hepburn is then forced to film "Adam's Rib" with Lou Costello.

Johnny Depp's 700th film of 2004 finds him playing James M. Barrie (the M. stands for "Mojo"), the eccentric author of Peter Pan. Barrie is determined to find the mythical island of Neverland and convinces himself along the way, not only that he can fly, but that he is a Vaught Corsair, despite the fact that the plane would not be invented for another 40 years. Much of the film takes place in flashback as Barrie, in a convalescence home, reminisces about the days when he had full use of his limbs, and also his 27 test flights off the Cliffs of Dover.

Clint Eastwood and Hillary Swank star in this depressing fable about female boxers who don't fight in mud in bikinis, or fly Vaught Corsairs. Hillary Swank's character is devastated when she is crippled after a one-sided bout with Laila Ali, daughter of Muhammad Ali, who opens up a six-pack of whup-a** on her. She decides to end it all by disguising herself as a cheeseburger and lying prostrate on a George Foreman grill, which results in one of the quickest death scenes in film history, and a cameo by George Foreman.

A biopic of the famous singer and songwriter Ray Charles, played by half of Jamie Foxx (the other half was in Collateral at the time). The film covers the period of Ray Charles' life from his destitute childhood through his attempts to break the world air speed record in a Vaught Corsair, to several made-up events and personal scandals that were added by the phalanx of screenwriters hired to spice things up because Hollywood producers don't think the life of a talented, blind African-American will attract lily-white audiences to the theaters. At least that's what I think Spike Lee would write were he doing this post.

The story of a man so fed up with life that he decided to only walk sideways for a period of 25 years, which was unfortunately impractical as he was 102 when he started and really couldn't walk at all, just sidle about in his wheelchair, a sophisticated model built from the scrap of a Vaught Corsair. He made a good effort though, and those who saw him were immensely moved by the way in which he attempted to generate any motion whatsoever, and the vigorous hip action required to do so. The movie ends tragically though when the man is run down by an angry Che Guevara on a motorbike, who was traveling in a rapid, forward direction.

My prediction for the winner: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Askaban in a surprise write in vote. I'm almost certain to be wrong, but I just drove the hits for our site up by 150% by mentioning the film.


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