I have seen every Best Picture nominee before the Oscars since 1995. In order to meet my goal every year I’ve sat though some real clunkers; I’m looking at you 2003’s “Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World”, 2005’s “Good Night and Good Luck” and last years “American Sniper” (check out my review of that movie: https://jeremyochsgonzales.wordpress.com/2015/02/18/american-sniper/). So far this year I’ve enjoyed all of the films, with the exception of “Steve Jobs” (check out my review of that movie: https://jeremyochsgonzales.wordpress.com/2015/02/18/american-sniper/) which was good but not great, that have made it into the awards conversation but today I ran into my first clunker when my husband and I went to see “The Big Short”.
When I first saw the preview for “The Big Short” I was not impressed or interested. Despite the fact it has a phenomenal cast of great actors I just wasn’t interested in the movie itself. Yet, as the weeks rolled on it began to gather more and more awards buzz. The first week of January I talked to somebody who loved it and my interest increased. When it was nominated for Best Picture I knew I had to see it…I really wish it hadn’t been nominated because I really did not like the movie.
I have no problem with a slow movie. I have no problem with a smart movie. The problem is “The Big Sleep” has no idea what it wants to be. Yes, it’s about the people who saw that the housing market was going to crash years before it did and that should make it an important movie but it’s not. Because it is dealing with complicated financial issues it had a choice; to water it down, play it straight and be boring or try to find some way to make the complicated terms accessible to the audience. It decided to go gonzo and break the fourth wall every two minutes to explain what is going on. It even relies on random celebrity cameos to explain things. The celebrity cameos are funny because they are so over the top but they kind of destroy the movie as well. At the end of the film the complex issues aren’t any more accessible and the film fills like a weird combination of slapstick and pretentiousness.
The acting is excellent, especially Christian Bale.
But the acting is kind of in a vacuum. Each of the performances, while good, doesn’t make you care about the film. It’s like an acting class without a heart.
If you were rooting for “Carol” or “The Danish Girl” to be nominated for Best Picture you should be pissed that this film made the cut and those better films got left behind. Unless you have the need, like me, to see all the Best Picture nominees feel free to give the big pass to “The Big Short”.
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