Movies and Books
Posted on February 24, 2008 Posted by John Scalzi 7 Comments
A couple thoughts on things:
* Oscars tonight, and on looking at my Oscar picks piece from the day the nominations came out, I think my picks are still pretty solid. A couple of additional thoughts, however:
- I’d say for Best Picture, No Country for Old Men looks more like a lock than it did earlier (thanks to its wins at the various run-up awards), but if it doesn’t win, it’s possible that it will be Juno, not There Will Be Blood, that snipes it, since it seems like there’s a groundswell in that direction, while Blood seems to be getting more of a “just too depressing” vibe the longer it’s out there.
- Likewise, I’m less convinced Paul Thomas Anderson is going to walk away with a screenwriting award as consolation — this is another place where the Coens look like they’ve gained ground. What I think would be really interesting is if “Roderick Jaymes,” the Coen’s editor, gets the Best Editing Oscar, since “Roderick” is in actuality the Coens. It’s entirely possible the Coens will walk off with four sets of Oscars (they’re also producers on Old Men).
- I’m still going with Ellen Page for Best Actress, but everyone else seems to think Julie Christie is going to nab it. Well, fine, believe that if you want. Page is still the cheese to my Oscar macaroni. On the Best Actor side, I think everyone in the world will be genuinely shocked if anyone but Daniel Day-Lewis wins.
* Last week I told Holly Black that my expectation for Spiderwick this week is that it would hold over pretty well, because it’s a family film and family films do better week to week than other films often do. And lo: Spiderwick made $12.6 million this weekend, down just a third from its opening weekend, which is a really solid retention rate these days (most films drop by half these days on the second weekend). Jumper is down about half (it’s also at around $12.6 million), which is totally in line for its market demo. Both of these flicks look pretty solid for their theatrical runs; they may finish under their production costs domestically but international will fix that pretty handily and then DVD is all gravy. They’re not blockbusters, but they’re solid hits, and you can’t complain about that.
* Speaking of books, there are less than 24 hours left for you to make a bid on Zoe’s Tale. Go on, you know you want it. And remember, if the bidding gets over $2,500, a hardcover of Agent to the Stars is thrown in as a premium. And then all the money goes to the Disabled American Veterans Charitable Service Trust.
* Also remember that you can still donate to the Dewey Donation System to take part in a drawing for a special edition of my upcoming novella. Cheaper than the Zoe’s Tale auction, but just as much fun, and you’ll be doing good, too, just in a different way.
I went to the AMC Oscar nominee marathon yesterday — first time I’d seen any of the nominees — and I was unexpectedly impressed with Juno (as well as unexpectedly disappointed with TWBB and NCFOM). Michael Clayton was decent too, and we skipped Atonement in favor of delicious Italian food, but I’ll be very disappointed if Juno doesn’t win big.
So, Scalzi, do you actually get to see any movies anymore?
And on a separate topic, I had a dream about reading Whatever comments last night. In it, Nathan was described as being named Nathan Tenth, in charge of the Tenth Planet scifi memorabilia place. Scalzi thanked him in his new book (in my dream).
Juno is (I think) a good film, but it’s been getting some blowback lately for ‘oversimplifying’ teen pregnancy issues, and especially the emotional trauma of giving up a child for adoption. While I can understand that criticism, I think it’s expecting too much — the movie doesn’t claim to be a metaphor for all pregnant teens and has nothing to prove in that regard. But such criticism could hurt its chances in the Oscars.
As for There Will Be Blood and No Country For Old Men, they were both entertaining in a dark and quirky way, but they could have been better. In my opinion, they should have cut the last scene in NCFOM — my understanding is the ending was faithful to the novel, but it detracted from the rest of the movie.
TWBB had a better ending, but it still left too much unresolved. Of course it also gave us the most memorable line of the whole movie — “I drink your milkshake!”
We just got home from Spiderwick, thus doing my part and proving your point. It was a thoroughly enjoyable movie that I recommend very highly.
I checked the donation policy of my local library and was told that most libraries don’t put donations on the shelf. They sell them. Seems it costs more than it is worth to manually enter books into the system one by one, when a book contractor can do it for you far cheaper in large quantities. So maybe donating money is the way to go.
JJS @ 5 – Some libraries will put donations on the shelves still. The one I work at still does the majority of it’s technical processing in-house (cataloging & such) so good donations are often added to the collection.
I was pleased to see that Spiderwick retained so much as well. The marketing that they’re putting out is starting to look a little screwy though. The commercials went from a story about a family in a peculiar circumstance to a story about “The Keepers of The Book!”
I still have to finish Spiderwick 4 and 5 with my son, and then we’ll be making a contribution to the box office sales as well.