The LAFCA Rejects Zero Dark Thirty And Embraces Amour

Oscar season continued today as the Los Angeles Film Critics Association named their picks for the best in 2012.  The winners are listed below:

Runner-up: “The Master”

Paul Thomas Anderson (“The Master”)
Runner-up: Kathryn Bigelow (“Zero Dark Thirty”)

Joaquin Phoenix (“The Master”)
Runner-up: Denis Lavant (“Holy Motors”)

Jennifer Lawrence (“Silver Linings Playbook”)
Emmanuelle Riva (“Amour”)

Dwight Henry (“Beasts of the Southern Wild”)
Runner-up: Christoph Waltz (“Django Unchained”)

Amy Adams (“The Master”)
Runner-up: Anne Hathaway (“The Dark Knight Rises”; “Les Miserables”)

Chris Terrio (“Argo”)
Runner-up: David O. Russell (“Silver Linings Playbook”)

Dylan Tichenor and William Goldenberg (“Zero Dark Thirty”)
William Goldenberg (“Argo”)

Roger Deakins (“Skyfall”)
Runner-up: Mihai Malaimare Jr. (“The Master”)

“The Master”
Runner-up: “Moonrise Kingdom”

Dan Romer & Benh Zeitlin (“Beasts of the Southern Wild”)
Runner-up: Johnny Greenwood (“The Master”)

“Holy Motors”
Runner-up: “Footnote”

Runner-up: “It’s Such a Beautiful Day”

“The Gatekeepers”
Runner-up: “Searching for Sugar Man

Over on and, all the usual suspects seem to be shocked that Zero Dark Thirty didn’t win best picture and happy that Beasts of the Southern Wild got some love.  A lot of the people leaving comments are also upset that The Master got as many votes as it did.  Over at Goldderby, one visitor found the time to comment, “Those votes for The Master should have been tossed in the trash, along with the film itself!” before going back to his usual routine of waiting to see if any celebs had responded to his twitter follow request.

As far as Amour winning best picture is concerned, I’m happy to see another film win a major critics’ award because seriously, Oscar season can get pretty boring when only one film is winning everything in sight.

As for Beasts of the Southern Wild, this is one of those times when I find myself respectfully disagreeing with just about every other reviewer out there (including our very own Leonth3Duke, whose excellent review can be read here).  The film had its moments (and I do think that Dwight Henry was the best thing in the film) but, for the most part, it left me cold.  Then again, I’ve never had much patience for the myth of the noble savage.

As for The Master, it’s one of the best of the year.  Deal with it.

What Lisa Marie Watched Last Night #58: The 12 Disasters of Christmas (dir by Steven R. Monroe)

Last night, I got into the holiday spirit by watching a SyFy original movie called The 12 Disasters of Christmas.

Why Was I Watching It?

Because it was on SyFy, it was called 12 Disasters of Christmas, and it looked like it would be a fun film to live tweet on twitter.

What Was It About?

The Mayans were right!  That’s right, it’s December 21st and the world is about to end.  Coincidentally, it’s also the birthday of this girl named Jacey.  She lives in the Canadian town of Calvary.  Her father is named Joseph, her mother is named Mary, and her younger brother is named Peter.  According to her crazy neighbor, Grant (who I’m sure we all remember from the Gospel of St. Grant), Jacey is also the chosen one.

What does being the chosen one mean?  It means that whenever you’re near one of the five rings that can save the world, you start to have the worst cramps ever!  Seriously, being the chosen one sucks.

Anyway, Grant explains that the 12 Days of Christmas is actually an adaptation of a Mayan song that tells about the 12 world-ending disasters that’ll occur on Jacey’s birthday.  So, it’s up to Jacey and Joseph to find those five rings before the 12th disaster.  Unfortunately, there’s a villainous businessman named Kane who is convinced that if he sacrifices Jacey, the world will be saved.

So, once again, the fate of the world is in the hands of a bunch of Canadians.

What Worked?

First off, 12 Disasters of Christmas has got to be one of the best titles in the history of cinema.  SyFy films generate a lot of tweets but I think that 12 Disasters of Christmas set a record.  Everyone wanted to see what this movie was about.

This was a fun movie to live tweet.  The plot was ludicrous, there was rarely a dull moment, and the actors played their roles with just the right blend of melodrama and humor.  This is one of those films that was made to be watched as part of a communal experience.

On twitter, we had a lot of fun picking up all the references to Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, previous SyFy films, and the Bible.  Especially the Bible.  For once, I was able to put all of those old catechism class lessons to good use.

What Did Not Work?

On Twitter, we were all a bit confused as to what this movie defined as being a “disaster” and what was just something sucky that happened.  For instance, was it one of the disasters when the Christmas tree lights went crazy and caused one of the characters to explode?  Or was it just something sucky that happened?  While the film certainly had every right to remain ambiguous on this point, it still didn’t change the fact that we all tuned in to see 12 (and exactly 12) disasters of Christmas.  By my count, the film only featured 10 disasters of Christmas but again, it all depends on how you define disaster.

While I appreciated all of the biblical names, I think the filmmakers missed a big opportunity by not featuring any characters named Gabriel, Pilate, Salome, Martha,  Luke, Barnabas, Timothy, or James.

While this certainly cannot be blamed on the film or the filmmakers, there was a lot of hashtag confusion on Twitter with as many as three different hashtags being used during the viewing of the film.  Some people used the #12DisastersofChristmas hashtag.  Some went with the simpler #12Disasters.  Others used #SyFyMovies.  And some people — like me — used all three!

Eventually, #12DisastersofChristmas became a trending topic and was hijacked by people looking for an excuse to discuss terrible things that had happened them on Christmas.  That got kinda old kinda fast.

“OMG!  JUST LIKE ME!” Moments

Whenever Jacey was about to have to do something unpleasant, she got the most dramatic cramps imaginable and got out of doing it.  I used to do the same thing to get out of gym class.

Lessons Learned

The Mayans had a twisted sense of humor.  Seriously, way to ruin 2012 for everyone!