Monday, February 23, 2015

My response and review of the 2015 Oscars, mostly a collection of posts on Facebook!

Wow! That Opening number for the Oscars was totally brilliant! Neil Patrick Harris is going to make tonight good! Happy Oscar Night!

So glad that Patricia Arquette won, and spoke up for women's equal rights. Good for her! Boyhood should have been called "Motherhood" instead. Loving Neil in his underwear, but we are both married men, so I'll get over it. Go Neil. Everyone is still holding their Lego Oscar that's so cute.

When Tegan and Sara sang the Oscar nominated song for "The Lego Movie," they passed out Lego Oscars to people in the audience! The song nominated is called "Everything Is Awesome!" You could probably watch it on Youtube sooner or later.

Elizabeth Peña we're all proud of you! #Oscars #InMemoriam #RIPower

Wow! Lady Gaga can sing Rodgers and Hammerstein's "The Sound of Music," and sound lovely, operatic, and elegant! I'm impressed. Being close to Tony Bennett made her into an even greater singer. Go Lady Gaga Go!

Alejandro González Iñárritu, a Mexican director, won for Best Directing for Birdman. He said "that little prick, the ego" and they didn't bleep it out! Viva Mexico!

I hate that Sean Penn said something so racist about Alejandro González Iñárritu for winning Best Picture for Birdman. Penn said when he opened the envelope, "who gave this son of a bitch his green card!" Mike and I said that was horrible! We used to like Sean Penn for playing Harvey Milk. Is he some kind of proud fascist? I still like the movie "Milk," I don't care what he says. He can't take the legend of Harvey Milk down. Harvey Milk was given a U.S. postage stamp last year too. Penn does not have a respectful mouth!

I had trouble with Birdman, because it had mostly white actors, and hardly any non-white actors. Some Latinos consider themselves white, and they are capable of racism against their own people, and well as racism against other peoples. Then again, Alejandro defied stereotypes with Birdman, creating a sardonic, satirical look at acting in "American" life. All people can look at that movie and see an American experience with emotions we can all understand, but there are emotions so complicated in Birdman that it also defies understanding. I still think that Selma, The Imitation Game, or The Theory of Everything deserved the Best Picture Oscar more. Birdman is not a film that many can relate with.

People are telling me to lighten up about Sean Penn's comment, but I'm not. I said to them: It's wrong people, and people who don't think hateful sarcasm is funny, are bound to get the wrong message. Even if they're friends, I don't laugh about this messed up immigration discrimination in the U.S. People suffer badly because of it. I don't think making fun of people's suffering is funny at all. Stupid, and wrong. It's still out and out racism, too!

So many people in the audience where moved to tears by the performance of "Glory." Oprah wiped tears off of David Oyelowo's face. So touching. I'm glad that "Glory" won Best Original Song. Just a little more justice for the peaceful message of Martin Luther King Jr.!

I really liked Neil Patrick Harris tonight. The magic trick he did in the end was totally cool! How did they do that! They must have used mirrors, and a scribe writing frantically all that was going on tonight and printing it on little cards! Neil loves magic. He has a room full of magic tricks in his place in New York, where he lives with his kids and husband. He wants to teach his kids magic when they grow up! The only thing that I had trouble with tonight at the Oscars was that Neil was a bit nervous and he said his jokes really fast that they went over everyone's head. The ones I got were hilarious though! He's a sweet man! Peace, Love, Equality, and Best Wishes, Ruben and Mike.

Although I like that J. K. Simmons said something nice about Moms and Dads, and their kindness to all of us, he should have spoke out against bullying. His performance in “Whiplash” almost enables bullying, and that is so wrong. I like that Graham Moore and the best documentary people spoke out against suicide. Mental Illness is such a serious issue that is not getting the justice it deserves. Through therapy, many mentally ill people learn to be mentally healthy, non violent, kind and contributing people of society. Mental Health activists say that many treated mentally ill people do not hurt others or hurt themselves, like the character in Birdman. More people need to speak out about this, because it is why Chris Kyle was killed, and people with disabilities get ignored, because of people fears and stigmas! Say more and do more and stand up for justice and the rights of the disabled. Live the message of peace that King, jr. promised us all. Peace, Love, and Best Wishes, Ruben and Mike.

"Stay weird, and stay different." Don't lose hope, and don't try suicide is Graham Moore's message(while accepting his Oscar for the screenplay of “The Imitation Game.”) Life gets better most of the time. Give your time to charity, and stand up for people dealing with depression. Brave speech, Graham. Thanks for choosing to live to write this moving film, and further the civil rights and equal rights of Gay people like Alan Turing, who suffered in silence. Speak out, take a stand, march on, and express yourself!

This speech by Graham Moore put a tear in my ear last night, because when I was in high school and going through difficult times, my best friend at the time wrote in my yearbook, "Stay weird, stay cool!" I thought of that time in my life, when life seemed full of difficulty and trouble and sadness, and how my sense of humor got me through. My wicked sense of humor has matured into a more topically, politically correct, and socially responsible humor, but I still love to laugh! When we laugh with sympathy, we survive things! Peace, Love, and Best Wishes, Ruben and Mike.

Here's a great review of last night's Oscars by The Hollywood Reporter. I agreed with it for the most part. Mike and I enjoyed the show, and were surprised that everyone won the Oscars they did. Despite the "whiteness" controversary of the nominations, Mike and I still saw every movie nominated for Best Picture, investing quite a bit in liking some of these films, and disliking others. Mike guessed 8 right on his ballot, and I guessed 13, getting 8 wrong. It was hard knowing what the Academy was thinking this year. They are so picky and white! We both said, as well as everyone else, that Julianne Moore would win for "Still Alice," and she did! She gave a funny and moving speech, saying that people with disabilities are not invisible, and deserve to be seen! I loved the opening number and all the special effects on the screens for the number. So cool. Some of Harris' jokes fell flat, but I still love his boyish charm. He's a very sweet host, and not too sarcastic. Also, Neil looks great in tighty whities underwear! Billy Crystal half naked wouldn't have been as appealing. Peace, Love, and Best Wishes, Ruben and Mike.

Common and John Legend gave a very moving acceptance speech from last night's Oscars for the song "Glory" from the movie "Selma." That speech is very moving to hear, and so deep too. Common and John Legend said so many important things about civil rights, freedom, equality, justice, and poverty. If Martin Luther King, Jr. were alive today, he would say that there is still a struggle for peace, justice and equality that still needs to be won. We need to become the voice of the voiceless, the liberation for the oppressed! Non-violent peace activism is still important today, because anger swells up like a Tsunami in American society, and around the world. Peace is the goal, justice is the key! March on! Peace, Love, and Best Wishes, Ruben and Mike.

Be strong and be courageous, and don't give up, even if you feel you are losing. Things turn around, and later you can win. Learn everything you can, and read every book you can get your hands on. Write a journal or diary, start a blog, start writing poems and songs. Make life into a life-long learning experience. Watch the best movies, listen to the best classic songs, and read all the classic books. It takes a little practice, but one day you will be very good at something. Maybe you will even write a book, or act in a play, or put out a cd. Never let anyone tell you are not star potential, and that you are not presidential. Opportunities are everywhere. You have nothing to lose and everything, everything to gain. All you need is the courage and confidence to believe in yourself. Write what you know, write what you lived through. Have the courage to make mistakes and learn from them, and again, never, never give up. The mind can remember and learn lots and lots of things. Never limit yourself, and the goal is not just to succeed once, but to have a successful attitude all of your life. To keep trying is the key and the secret to success! Peace, Love, Courage, Confidence, and Best Wishes, Ruben and Mike.

I agree with this for the most part, but somewhere along the way difficult movies to watch became the norm for the Oscars. What ever happened to movies that were close to reality and funny and romantic and also good enough to win Oscars too. "It Happened One Night" was the first screwball romantic comedy to win Best Picture, and after that, it became the formula for romantic comedies. "It Happened One Night" is also a movie you can watch over and over again, and enjoy it every time! Some movies nominated today, I wouldn't sit through more than once, unless it was to study film. Bottom Line: Lighten up, or be more real film industry. Aren't their interesting real life novels to discover? Life is not completely messed up for everyone! Or is it? God only knows. I'm still tuning in on the Oscars, because I adore Neil Patrick Harris, and think he is a very funny, openly Gay actor. I'm curious to see what happens next. Peace, Love, Classic Film, and Best Wishes, Ruben and Mike.

Some famous people can be very nice to non-famous people who adore them, granting them a signature or a photo. But it's true, they rarely exchange phone numbers with the non-famous, and set up dates. Famous writers love to talk to people at readings, and listen to their stories before they sign a book for them. Adam Zagajewski, was very kind to me, when I told him it was my birthday at a reading at the Art Institute. He wrote, "Happy Birthday Ruben," in my book, and I love that he did that. The poet Dean Young, who used to be my Creative Writing Teacher at Loyola University Chicago, wrote, "So nice to see you again," in a book he signed for me. Although writers move on to the next one just like famous people, sometimes they we take the time to listen to you and respond. Having famous dinner company is very rare if you are not famous yourself, but it's not impossible. Oh, and then there are the snobs. We must not forget the famous who don't have time for non-famous people, and keep walking with their nose in the air. It happens too! Can I hold your Oscar? No! Okay, then move on. Peace, Love, and Best Wishes, Ruben and Mike.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Oscar Nominated Films of 2015, Reviews and Responses on Facebook

Here are some of the reviews and responses to the Oscar Nominated films of 2014, for the 2015 Oscars.  Mike and I try to see good things, and sometimes bad things in these films to be fair and balanced to what we really believe.  We really enjoyed "Into The Woods," but doubt that Meryl Streep will win for that. We look forward to watching the Oscars this year, because Neil Patrick Harris, an openly Gay actor, will host!   Here's what we found about the films:

Mike and I went to see the movie “Whiplash,” because J. K. Simmons was nominated for Best Supporting Actor at the Oscars, but we had a very difficult time with it.  The character that Simmons plays (a tyrannical, bully of a music teacher) is so despicable and distasteful and uncomfortably homophobic that Mike and I almost walked out on the movie.  I know that the critics are giving this movie favorable reviews, and it was the star film at Sundance, but I couldn’t warm up to it. 

Martin Luther King, Jr. and Albert Einstein both said that it’s wrong to keep silent in the face of great evil or injustice, so why are most of these music students taking the abuse in this film, not speaking their minds, or getting the authorities and school officials involved.  Simmons plays a man so emotionally, and psychologically violent that it seems ridiculous that he wasn’t charged with bullying long ago. 

I know this film is based on the memories of the writer, who claims he was once bullied by a music teacher, and the music students also think he is one of the most talented music teachers in the country, but, please, no one would take that kind of abuse from anyone, I don’t care who he is! 

What kept me interested in this movie was Miles Teller’s performance as the drum student Andrew, who is actually naïve enough to a point, to think that you have to be treated like garbage to learn to be the best.  We see him grow distant with his family, dump his girlfriend, and continue to take the abuse, all because he is obsessed at being the best drummer in the country.  At one point, you think he is becoming as deranged as his music teacher. 

I love jazz music, but if I thought that all music teachers tortured their students in this repulsive way, I would stop listening.  We know teachers can be tough, but not that tough!  It was a bizarre exaggeration that teachers are capable of becoming monsters.   On occasion, we hear it on the news that some teachers are capable of intolerable cruelty and abuse.

The best scenes in this movie are when Andrew finally reaches his breaking point and attacks his teacher, and then hires a lawyer to get justice for himself, and other victims of this criminally insane man passing as a talented music teacher.

J. K. Simmons performance is very deep, and we see very uncomfortable sides to his character, but I was so repulsed by his homophobic comments to his students that I wanted to yell back in his face or at the movie screen.  I was relieved to see him brought to justice in the end, but even the end seemed hard to believe, because the relationship between student and teacher should have ended there.  I do think that Simmons performance is captivating, and disturbing enough to win him awards, but I would feel uncomfortable voting for him, because I would feel like I’m rewarding a monster, and enabling him to keep being cruel.  It’s hard to believe that this movie was nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars, too.

I saw him being interviewed on a talk show, and I know that Simmons is just acting, and that he’s not really that cruel, so I was slightly relieved.  What haunts me about “Whiplash” long after I have seen it, is that those students passively took his sadistic abuse, without defending the rights of the student and Gay people for that matter!  Peace, Love, and Best Wishes, Ruben and Mike.

Mike and I finally got to see “Gone Girl” to watch Rosamand Pike’s Oscar nominated performance, and we were riveted by the intricate storytelling, and yet preposterous plot twists.  We like it because it reminded us of some Hitchcock’s best “psychological thrillers” like “Vertigo.”  I told Mike it is more like Hitchcock in the seventies when he started putting graphic sex and violence in movies like “Frenzy.” 
“Gone Girl” is such a deep study of a marriage gone bad, as told from many perspectives, the husband, the wife in voice over “journal entries,” the detectives, the lawyers, and even the gossip hungry media.  Like Gillian Flynn’s bestseller by the same name, her screenplay keeps you interested, twist after disturbing twist. 
I was slightly in a state of disbelief as the story begins to unfold, because it portrays such an act of cruelty and revenge, that it almost feels like it could be written by a man.  Gillian Flynn laid such an intricate trap for all film critics, that if they begin to discuss what happens in the movie, they are bound to give something away about its ending.  Yes, both men and women are capable of extreme cruelty, and revenge, but would they disturb their spouses so much that they make them scared, and tamed like a “shrew.” 
There are some darkly comic laughs in this film, and some graphic sex scenes that make me think this film is targeted at adults only.  Also, Fincher’s directing is flawless, giving us a character like Amy so deep that we shudder at the possibilities.  Pike’s performance, unlike many Oscar nominated performances, does not make you weep, because the plot is so cold and calculating.  Her performance makes you almost turn away in repulsion and distaste. 
Trent Reznor's music adds layers of suspense and edginess to this movie, that in the end, many scenes are very difficult to watch.  We think of the murder cases of Drew Peterson and Scott Peterson in the last decade, but this movie is more than just a whodunit.  Like Patricia Highsmith’s classic novel that was turned into the film “The Talented Mister Ripley,” and Hitchcock’s “Vertigo,” major plot twists keep you hooked on the story and asking, “where the hell is all this going to end?”  Flynn made this story all her own, though.  Many times throughout this film I asked myself, what else are these characters capable of doing to each other? 
This movie is too much like a fictional detective novel to be taken seriously, or as a story of feminism. The performances keep you interested until the very end though.  Why do we let fiction writers disturb us, and complicate our lives with so much controversy?  Is it because we are convinced that violence on film is just another form of entertainment?  “Gone Girl,” complicates you and leaves you asking will there be more?  Peace, Love, and Best Wishes, Ruben and Mike.

Mike and I finally got to see "Birdman," and I'm still a little disturbed by the dark, sarcastic comedy in that movie.  Critics are raving at how unique this story is, and so well written, acted, and filmed, and it got nominated for 9 Academy Awards, but I still feel a little uneasy recommending this movie to others. Mike and I liked some parts in it, like the supporting roles with the female actors, who are all great in this, but I feel this movie was lashing and striking out at everybody like a sadistically, deranged mentally ill person will do while suicidal. 
This was nominated as a comedy at the Golden Globes, and Michael Keaton won one too, and he deserved it, too.  I've never seen Michael Keaton act so perfectly deranged before.  This movie makes you think that actors sometimes go into slumps and have to overly compensate their egos by acting in a Broadway play, and they are desperate for it to be a hit.  I really don't think that that is why movie actors do Broadway plays.  Many of them do it, just for love of acting. The self-doubting, extremely self-conscious inner voice of Birdman that Michael Keaton hears in his head, is enough to drive anyone "bats."  I squirmed in my seats during the rant about people on social media, feeding off the bad publicity of famous people, because I write my facebook mini reviews myself, so I became uncomfortably self-conscious about that.
In the end, I don't think the world is that tormented, and tormenting.  This movie is a bit of an extreme exaggeration of fame and its claustrophobic confines of small, drab dressing rooms.  All the glamour is sucked right out of this movie, to show a harsh, extremely depicted reality.  Sadly, I thought of the actors we have lost to self-abuse in recent years like: Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Heath Ledger, and Robin Williams.  These actors are not insignificant to us, and have proved to be great actors, so their untimely deaths really hurt.
This movie was Best Cast in Motion Picture at the Screen Actors Guild Awards, and I'm curious to know if the Academy will give the Best Picture Oscar to it.  Honestly, I would love to see a movie like Selma win Best Picture, because it is a great, historical film that was snubbed so badly at the Oscars this year.  Other Best Picture nominated films that I really like are The Imitation Game, because it has a Gay character in it, and The Theory of Everything, that teaches us to care for the disabled. 
Emma Stone breaks your heart in “Birdman,” and Ed Norton annoys the hell out of you, which got them both nominated, for a difficult movie to sit through.  I’m glad we saw it though, but it’s not a movie that I would put myself through again.  Are some directors trying to turn us off to the movies?  I’m not sure, because so many people thought “Birdman” is a good black comedy that haunts you much after you have seen it.  I guess Sarcastic exaggerations are really funny to people.  To me, the world is still a beautiful place, and we all deserve to live quiet, tranquil, simple and peaceful lives.  Peace, Love, and Best Wishes, Ruben and Mike.
Mike and I finally got to see "The Grand Budapest Hotel," after checking it out of the public library.  We thought it was good with some funny parts, but the dark tragic undertone of this movie makes the laughs slightly uncomfortable. 
Mike said it was like a Pink Panther Movie, and I said it was like one of those old comedy capers like Abbott and Costello.  Ralph Fiennes steals the show with his quick, British wit, that becomes sarcastic really fast in an all too American way, especially with the swear words. 
The actor playing Zero is actually Guatemalan American, but he changed his name.  This movie is full of giddy puns and witty lines that sour when the heirs to a great fortune suddenly become bloodthirsty. 
There are some delightful cameos in this film that I wish went on longer, like Harvey Keitel as a fellow prison mate.  What a strange and unique story conceived and directed by Wes Anderson, who happens to be the great grandson of Edgar Rice Burroughs, who wrote the Tarzan books. 
Mike cannot believe that this black comedy was nominated for nine Academy Awards!  Strange, but true.  Supposedly this movie was inspired by the writings of an Austrian novelist, but it's so unusual that it all belongs to Wes Anderson.  It won a Golden Globe for Best Picture Comedy, too.  I'll crack up if it wins Best Picture at the Oscars!  Peace, Love, and Best Wishes, Ruben and Mike.
Mike and I went to see “The Theory of Everything,” this weekend and we like it.  Eddie Redmayne transforms himself to portray the very talented physicist Stephen Hawking, who was diagnosed with a type of ALS, and it is an extraordinary performance, certainly Oscar worthy. 
The movie is based on Jane Hawking’s book about her relationship and marriage to Hawking, and it is very honest and well written.  Jane was not a martyr during her marriage to a very disabled man, because she had her own temptations.   And, yet, she stood by Stephen Hawking’s side through the worst of it, refusing to let go of him. 
Stephen Hawking defied the odds that were against him, and lived through his disease, and continues to live.  His will to live is quite admirable, and we see a close and personal side to people living with ALS.  Stephen Hawking went on to publish best-selling books about science and life, starting with “A Brief History of Time,” published in the late 1980s. 
This movie covers decades of time, and moves so quickly that you have to read a little about his life on Wikipedia to follow: when he finished school, when he had his kids, when he wrote his books, and about his not always perfect marriages. 
This movie focuses on his relationship with Jane, and how she tried to raise a family with him.  There’s only a little about Stephen Hawking’s science and mind in it, but enough to keep his fans interested.  It is a well written film, showing us as much as possible that all Jane and Stephen want is a very simple life, but disability comes with so many complications. 
Yet, his will to survive shows us the limits to human endurance are limitless.  This is one great film about the triumph over adversity, and deserves all the Oscar nominations it has received. Felicity Jones and Eddie Redmayne both deserve their nominations in this great film. The scenes in which they are falling in love are very touching to watch!  Jane's love was a buffer to Stephen, making his life easier to endure and handle with that hope she gave him.   Peace, Love, and Best Wishes, Ruben and Mike.
Mike and I went to see "Still Alice," and think it is a very good and important film about a middle aged woman diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's, and begins a very painful process of losing her memory.
It's based on a novel by Lisa Genova, and Julianne Moore's performance has been winning awards for this film. I think it's one of Moore's best, and most powerful performances, making us cry at least three times for her character. What's moving about this film is the family that loves Alice through the worst of her debilitating disease, makes her struggle even more poignant.
At one point, she quotes the poet Elizabeth Bishop, by saying "The art of losing isn't hard to master," which is poem about loss and grief. I'm not a big fan of Alec Baldwin and Kristen Stewart, who play the husband and daughter, in this film, but their supportive roles are so well written, that they are full of compassion, and tenderness.
I really think Moore will win the Oscar for this deeply touching, well written film. One of the directors of this movie(Glatzer) was diagnosed with ALS, so he knows what it's like to lose everything to a disability. I highly recommend this movie, and I just might look up the book it is based on, too. Peace, Love, and Best Wishes, Ruben and Mike.
Mike and I went to see “American Sniper” last night, and left debating about how much of a “war hero” Chris Kyle really is.  This movie is causing a lot of debate and controversy, because it conveys a White American man killing Non-white people, even if they are endangering American troops, who are very diverse in this film.  We see a very personal side of Chris Kyle and his family, and how after four tours of Iraq, started to develop a form of mental illness also known as “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.”  We don’t see that complicated side of Chris coming home after seeing and participating in so much bloodshed(he killed over 160 people, and some argue more). There are heavy casualties on both sides, the troops and the insurgent, terrorist Muslims, called uncomfortably in this film “savages” by the troops.
I respect the fact that all American troops who come home from a war that seems pointless, started by former president George W. Bush, deserve a chance at a peaceful, tranquil life, without having to explain to anyone what they did for “duty” and “patriotism.”  They are wounded veterans, who have to face their maker every day for what they did.  Republicans may see Chis Kyle as a “war hero” plain and simple, but Democrats see that much more is needed to treat people with mental illness, by giving them housing, health care, shelter, therapy, and the basic needs like the very poor. 
We only see a little of Chris’ pain in this movie, because he is portrayed as a man of little words, and doesn’t seem too tormented about his actions, because he is killing enemies with weapons who endanger the lives of Americans. 
What we don’t see in Chris, is that war movies about the Middle East conflicts, can make us prejudiced toward Middle-Eastern People and Muslims, because we can’t trust them.  There is an American Muslim translator in the film, but he doesn’t seem in any way conflicted about what he is doing to other Muslims.  Chris Kyle wrote a book, before he was killed in the U.S. by a fellow veteran he was trying to help, and in his book, he says some irreverent things, like dying terrorists look like Dumb and Dumber.  So why did he write that book?  To make money, or to clear his conscience, or to start a debate about this war and human rights abuses?
In the movie, they only suggest that one of the people sniped only had a Koran, and not a weapon, but he had to be killed because he got too close to the troops.  This is where the critics of this film are divided.  Many innocents Muslims were killed by these terrorists, their own people, in senseless explosions and bombings.  This senseless conflict in Baghdad has left the city in ruins, and everyone unsure of their future.  Maybe that is why by the end of the movie, and its video game like violence, Chris Kyle feels sadness, doubt, and uncertainty about his own future with his wife and kids.
One reason I saw this movie, despite this move being called right-wing, Republican war propaganda, is because it was nominated for six Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Actor (Bradley Cooper.)  And, also, it does expose the whole subject about human rights and a “humane” war, by bringing some of the terrorists to justice humanely.  President Obama has tried to end this war that has gone on for much too long, for that very reason, he’s a Human Rights and Peace Activist at heart.  But, here we are, finding us battling another terrorist group called “ISIS,” that continues this cycle of violence and war, leaving many innocent people defenseless. 
I could not applaud Chris Kyle as a war hero at the end of the film because I am now aware that he was one of the deadliest snipers in U.S. military history.  However, I felt saddened by his tragic fate.  What were two mentally ill veterans doing a shooting range anyway, and that’s supposed to be therapy(at the time when Kyle was killed?)  It is a sad, irony that Chris had to die that way, but it shows that many veterans conflicted about their duties, need a lot more help than what we are giving them. Clint Eastwood, a registered Republican, can give the two dollars he made from me to the Republican party.  Peace, Love, and Best Wishes, Ruben and Mike.

Emily Dickinson once wrote that, "Forever is composed of Nows!"  That's what I thought of while watching the movie "Boyhood." 
Mike and I rented it at the Redbox yesterday, because it was nominated for 6 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director(Richard Linklater), and Best Supporting Actor(Ethan Hawke), Best Supporting Actress(Patricia Arquette), and also best original screenplay by Linklater. 
This movie was filmed for a few weeks every year for twelve years, and we watch a young Texan boy grow up, try alcohol, get a girlfriend, discover photography, and go to college, and along the way his mother has difficult relationships with insensitive men.  The performances from all the actors in this are worth a watch, especially Arquette, who is so real that she makes us feel a little joy and pain for our own mothers. 
This movie is so unlike other movies, because nothing too catastrophic happens to its characters except touching real-life changes.  Critics are loving this movie, calling it a masterpiece epic of everyday life, and they are not wrong.  We hear songs from another year, politics from 2008 when Obama ran for president, and other little clues like the invention of facebook that make you think time is passing in the last decade. 
I love that they open the movie with the Coldplay song "Yellow," which was very popular in 2002, when they started filming.  This movie has some painfully real moments that made me squirm like the beer drinking sexist and homophobic jerks that invite Mason to a party at a house where parents are away, but this movie is just reflecting reality, and not out to weave a message. 
Truth has no logic, and things just happen to all of us, is the only message I got from watching this film.  It's 2 hour and 44 minutes long, but I was fascinated by the characters so much that we kept watching.  Mike likes it too.  It's like reading a novel about American Life that makes you miss the characters when it is over, because you went through so much emotionally with them. 
This movie won Golden Globes for Best Picture Drama and Best Director, and I wonder if it will win Oscars as well.  We could only wait and see.  I highly recommend this movie!  Peace, Love, and Best Wishes, Ruben and Mike.
Mike and I looked at the list of Oscar nominated films, and have seen Selma and The Imitation Game. A friend of ours recommended it to us, a while ago, and we are glad we saw it! It is a deeply, moving portrait of Alan Turing, who suffered because of laws against being Gay before 1967.

I really cared for him, and felt sad that he had difficulty letting people into his life, and showing them a soft side. I loved the music, and think that it should win an Oscar. It was nominated for 8 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor(Benedict Cumberbatch), and Best Supporting Actress(Keira Knightley). Keira was fabulous in to too. I loved her character, and how she tried to love Alan, and save him emotionally.
We enjoyed "Selma" too. It's a powerful drama, with great acting and storytelling, set in the mid-1960s, when Martin Luther King, Jr. and many others, struggled for the right of all people to vote in the south. The actress who played Coretta Scott King, looked and sounded just like her, that it is haunting. Great film! The actors got snubbed at the Oscars this year. "Selma" is directed by an African American woman too, and she would have been the first African American Woman to be nominated for an Oscar for Best Director, but, no, she was not nominated. How awful!
We plan to see some of the other movies nominated, and hope we have enough time to see them all. Have a sweet day!
Also, Mr. Turner was overlooked by the Oscars too. The actor playing Turner should at least have been nominated. Peace, Love, and Best Wishes, Ruben and Mike.

Mike and I saw "The Lego Movie" because it's been winning a lot film critics awards for Best Animated Film of 2014, and it's hilarious and very sweet at the same time. We started sing the "Everything Is Awesome" song to each other to make each other laugh! This movie is much deeper than it appears, and very touching in the end. We still think "Book of Life" should win an Oscar for Best Animated Film. Tomorrow they announce the nominations! Peace, Love, and Best Wishes, Ruben and Mike.