Tag Archives: Pixar

2018 Oscar Animated Shorts

I’ve spent the last couple days ruminating on my long-time movie-going habits, the ways the changes in my life inform my cinematic practices and vice versa. You could chart the ebb and flow of it all in my annual movie lists, if you knew what to look for. In some ways, my spreadsheet of film titles is as telling a diary as any other I may keep.

And so it goes with the Oscar-nominated animated film shorts. Another tradition that started in 2010, two years after I had first met a former co-worker, right around the same time we transitioned into friends. She introduced me to the short films, and it eventually became a February ritual for us.

Now I enjoy the animated shorts every year for how frequently delightful and unexpected they are, but I also love how I associate them with a person who has become one of my closest friends. We saw the 2018 batch this morning, and I want to share my reactions while they’re fresh in mind.

Overarching Thoughts for 2018

  • Why did they stop including the running time on the title card for each short? If a “short” is going to last almost half an hour, I need to mentally prepare myself for that.
  • Is this the first year they used additional animated “Petite Interludes” between the nominated films? I feel like they didn’t always do that, but I can’t remember if they did it last year, too. If you remember, let me know in the comments. Regardless, I don’t care for it. Title cards only, please.
  • Along with the five nominated films, they always include in the package 2-3 additional “highly commended” films. Inevitably, I fall in love with one of these and question how it didn’t get the official nod. That said, I generally find the whole concept of the Oscars utter bullshit. I don’t watch the Oscars, I typically don’t like the kinds of films that win Oscars, and I don’t know why I’m surprised that I’m not on the same page as members of the Academy when it comes to these short films. For that matter, I don’t know why I abandon my Oscar contempt when it comes to this one category. It’s literally the only one I care about.

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Delicious

Last weekend I saw Chef on the recommendation of my best guy friend, a.k.a “BFF.” And as he predicted, I did indeed love it. I loved it as a searing metaphor for writer/director Jon Favreau’s relationship to the Hollywood machine, and I loved it for itself: a savory-sweet concoction of joyfulness. Such a happy-go-lucky little movie. And I really appreciated seeing a story about an adult taking the time to teach a child things that are worth knowing.

As I sat watching the credits and absorbing what I’d just watched, I realized during the credit cookie that Chef amounted to an easy slam-dunk for me not just because it’s good, but also because it’s way up my alley. There are certain types of movies that are hard to ruin for me. One is a twisty amnesia mystery. Another is any movie that involves lovingly filmed scenes of food preparation.

This is a Cuban sandwich. There's no avoiding eating one after you see Chef. Do yourself a favor and get one lined up in advance. This one comes from Paladar in Rockville, MD.

This is a Cuban sandwich. There’s no avoiding eating one after you see Chef. Do yourself a favor and get one lined up in advance. This one comes from Paladar.

I make no claims to “foodie” status. I enjoy squirt cheese too much for that. But, for better or worse, I am an emotional eater. Scenes that imbue food with that sensibility hit me where I live. It’s not just movies either. My favorite scene in Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon is where Pilate teaches her nephew how to cook a perfect soft-boiled egg. I still vividly remember reading that book in my twin bed in my college dorm. After I came to that passage, I got no farther on my reading assignment that night because I just kept re-reading that part over and over again. It triggered the sweet spot in my brain.

To hit the sweet spots in your brains, here are some other food-centric movie moments for your viewing pleasure:

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Recap: Summer 2013 Roundup

Even though I was too busy the last couple months moving and working and traveling and whatever else to broadcast my reactions on the Interwebs, I still wasn’t too busy to make it to the movie theater. I’m very rarely too busy for that. So here is a quick run-down of the new releases I’ve seen recently, along with the 30-second version of my verdicts on them. I do feel wistful that I’m not taking more time to engage in meaningful conversation about some of these titles – particularly Man of Steel. My complex emotions about just that one could probably fill an entire book. But realistically, more movies get released each and every weekend, I’ve started watching a new-to-me show (more on this later), and this fall television season just might see a genuine attempt by me to watch a current show or two for the first time in a very long while. So this is all you get.

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