Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Obligitory Oscar Post

Since half my posts have been movie themed, I figured I was obligated to foist my opinions of the evening on you, my dear readers. So without further ado, here are a few highlights and lowlights of the evening.

The Highlights:
Ellen Degeneres was wonderfully quirky and light-hearted as this year's host, and I appreciated the lack of political jokes, especially since it could have ended up being a sustained rant against the Bush administration.
I liked that the awards were spread out over several films, which meant that pretty much every major film went home with at least one Oscar.
I liked the strong showing for Pan's Labyrinth, and I got a kick out of it winning the first two awards of the evening (though why couldn't it have won best foreign language film?).
While I'm not much of a fan on dancers at the Oscars, I loved the movie silhouettes, with Snakes on a Plane being my favorite one.
Though I'm not much of a fan of his, I'm glad Martin Scorsese finally has his Oscar. Now people will maybe stop griping all the time about how he's never won one. Also, I'm rather pleased that it was for one of the two films of his that I actually liked.

The Lowlights:
A glorified powerpoint presentation has no business winning an Oscar, and yet An Inconvenient Truth managed to win two. I was already upset that the five documentaries nominated for best documentary were all Important films (where was the nomination for the highly enjoyable Wordplay?) but I thought the academy would at least go for one that actually had a story. I guess not.
Also, the song that won best song was rather pitiful, and especially when it was up against the wonderfully bittersweet "Our Town" from Cars and three show-stopping numbers from Dreamgirls, it was the weakest of the lot.
And while we're on the subject of music, Babel had no business winning for best score, especially since there was hardly any music in the film at all.
Though I haven't seen Happy Feet yet, so I can't say for sure, I'm rather miffed that it won best animated feature over Cars (no film with the title of Happy Feet should ever be considered for a major award).

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Top 5 John Williams Themes

In honor of John Williams 75th birthday today I have decided to grace you with my five favorite John Williams themes. In the interest of variety, I have decided to discount any of the Star Wars themes since they are already widely considered to be his best (or at least most recognizable) work. Also, I would probably end up with at least three entries devoted to Star Wars: the Star Wars Theme, The Imperial March, and Duel of the Fates. So without further ado, here are my picks for my 5 favorite John Williams themes other than Star Wars (in reverse chronological order).

Hymn to the Fallen from Saving Private Ryan (1998)
I like the majestic feel of the piece, the snare drums at the beginning, and it's a lot of fun to sing along with the "Ahhs" from the choir.

Parade of the Slave Children from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)
This theme is a whole lot of fun. It's somewhat ironic that what may be the best theme from the Indiana Jones trilogy is from the worst of the three movies.

The Raiders March from Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
The Raiders March is the sound of high adventure. It's also great to hear live with a full orchestra.

March from 1941 (1979)
The theme is both whimsical and exciting and has a nice rhythm section. My foot refuses to stop tapping every time I hear this piece. Too bad the movie wasn't nearly as good as its theme. I wish I could hear it live.

Main Theme from Superman (1978)
My first non-Spielberg entry. And I was trying for variety. This theme probably wouldn't have made the list a year ago, but then I watched Superman Returns in the theater with it playing quite loud during the opening credits with a set of good speakers, and it ended up being one of my most memorable movie-going experiences. It's also good live.

And for those of you who are eagerly awaiting the next Improbable Moment of the Week, it's coming.