Spike Jonze | Her
Unanimity at last! If Her fails to win in the Best Original Screenplay category this March it would be a travesty. The competition is respectable but each of the other nominees fails to produce the razor sharp dialogue, artistic spectacle, and relatability in the way Spike Jonze does. Now, let me dismiss the other nominees with very jaded and one-sided arguments.
American Hustle (David O. Russell) is a good movie. It was good, but it struggled to captivate me. (I had an inexpressible amount of disinterest in learning about Bradley Cooper’s character’s family life) At times, the movie seemed drawn out and overly expository. The movie is no The Sting or Ocean’s 11, it never really wowed me as to how the “good guys” pulled off their con. Especially coming off Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle failed to live up to expectations.
Blue Jasmine (Woody Allen) is not a good movie. Any of Allen’s thinly veiled critiques of the duplicity of Wall Street were outdone by Scorsese’s frankness in The Wolf of Wall Street. And while Cate Blanchett may have delivered a good performance her character is not relatable. Allen creates selfish characters who’s conceit and deceit had me feeling no sympathy for their demise. I imagine this was done on purpose but its hard to be interested in a film whose characters you don’t care about.
Nebraska (Bob Nelson) is as bland as the black and white it is shot in. I get it, I get it, its supposed to be a realistic portrayal of boring Midwestern life and if that was its goal it succeeded because it was boring. If you enjoy groups of grown men sitting silently, in room’s with out of date decor, you might love Nebraska. The story isn’t interesting. The characters aren’t interesting. The little dialogue isn’t interesting. The whole movie is about as flat as the Midwestern landscape.
Dallas Buyers Club (Melisa Wallick, Craig Borten) is my runner up in the Original Screenplay Category. The movie is engaging, suspenseful, and connects the audience with the rough-around-the-edges characters. The screenplay is definitely one of the best of the year but it is made spectacular by the acting of McConaughey and Leto. Considered separate from the astounding performances, the script itself feels unfulfilled. It lacks the poetic firepower of Her.
Her comments on humanity by taking us out of it. It forces us out of the human-human relationships into a human-computer relationships in a way that is neither cheap or unrealistic. Her forces emotion out of you, whether you like it or not. The film touches on topics of alienation, loneliness, solipsism, love, loss, longing, the list goes on and is only limited to what the viewer brings to the film. Each conversation, though only a certain number of words and topically only regarding one subject, is really a multilayered treasure trove of ideas. One is hard-pressed to find a banal or wasted word in the entire film. The infinite number of thoughts you are left to work through after the film is the marking of a truly great movie.