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Oscars 2014

Geek Juice Radio – Episode 114
The hosts discuss the 2014 Oscar Nominees
Featuring Alex Jowski and Scott A McArthur

Leave your thoughts on the 2014 Oscar Nominees in the comments below.

About The Author
Matthew Coats
Matthew Coats
Formerly known under the pseudonym of Alex Jowski. Site owner, movie aficionado, and film school grad. Matthew Coats presents reviews, some written, some as vlogs, and some as weekly shows, for a variety of different movies and television shows. After years of struggling to get his own projects off the ground amidst the normal routine of living, Matthew Coats decided to create a site in order to share and promote movie reviews, video games and much much more from talented and original people all across the internet.
  • Rafael Jasso
    February 13, 2014 at 12:34 pm

    Alex, Scott is wrong. There are subtitles in Captain Philips. I think that you got a defective disc.

    • Scott A. McArthur
      February 13, 2014 at 1:57 pm

      Hmm, I genuinely did not remember subtitles, but I guess I don’t really remember that much about the film anyways, so…

  • ivan cankar floyd
    February 14, 2014 at 5:28 pm

    come on folks

    self proclaimed film nerds or film geeks, and none
    of you has seen at least ONE foreign film? what a joke, how can anything
    you say have any relevance, if you just have your head up hollywood’s

    i know you people are americans and boy do i know that
    american film industry is financially the most powerful, but just try to
    look elsewhere, “foreign” stuff actually has something to say because
    it’s not just about the box office

    i honestly cannot believe you didn’t even see jagten, fuck

    • Scott A. McArthur
      February 15, 2014 at 12:24 am

      Alex and I watch plenty of Foreign films each year, in fact, the majority of films Alex reviews for this site are Foreign, and my last review was for an independent Spanish film. However, neither of us had the time to catch any of the films that were nominated this year. But I have been planning to watch THE HUNT and BROKEN CIRCLE BREAKDOWN for both have garnished some impressive reviews, but I’m a busy guy.

      THE SQUARE was an Egyptian-American production, and THE ACT OF KILLING is Danish-British-Norwegian co-production. Plus, I do mention Wong Kar-wai in this episode, who I think is a master of the craft.

      I don’t really like to draw the distinction between, “Hollywood,” “indie,” “Foreign,” or whatever, because to me: Film is all film, but these labels make it easier for the uninitiated.

      Sir, I think you will find our heads are high in the air, and up no asses, Hollywood’s or otherwise.

      As you put it, we might be “self proclaimed film nerds or film geeks,” and not the real deal, but at least we aren’t on a high horse.

    • February 15, 2014 at 12:34 am

      Oh I regularly watch plenty of foreign films. I just haven’t had a chance to see these particular 5 that were nominated.

      In fact I have an ENTIRE SHOW on this site dedicated to foreign films – Crasian Videos.

  • ryanmcc
    February 16, 2014 at 1:39 am

    Why did you think Prisoners was a piece of shit. At the end of the year of film, it was my favorite of 2013. The performances from Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal and Melissa Leo are brilliant. The writing is complex, real, poignant and intense. The direction is outstanding and the film features one of the best scores and cinematography of the year. What the film had to say about the human condition and how we are constanly battling between light and darkness is something powerful and deserving of much more thought. This film was hands down the most gripping and haunting film of 2013 even above 12 Years a Slave, Dallas Buyers Club or even The Act of Killing. I understand you not liking the movie but why do you have to dismiss the film as just being some piece of shit?

    • Scott A. McArthur
      February 16, 2014 at 8:58 pm

      I will admit, the movie does have some great acting, mostly from Gyllenhaal (I honestly felt like Jackman was trying too hard) and the direction and cinematography are just spectacular. However, I can’t agree with you on the writing because, well, I found it to be very sloppy and unfocused. Everything felt so blunt, so obvious, and so muddled by whatever message it was trying to get across. Was it trying to be an anti-torture film? A film about child abduction written from an atheistic perspective? Or was it just a twisty, bleak thriller? The misdirections (snakes, puzzles) added nothing and didn’t need to be there; and considering the nearly 3 hour run time, should not have been there. The whole “battle between light and dark” (We steal child to turn good people in demons) crap, to me, felt downright pretentious and silly. In fact, when that line was uttered, I laughed out loud, and said; along with a few other audience members, “is this movie fucking serious?” Yes, it does have some things to say about obsession blinding judgement, but when Terrence Howard and Viola Davis’ characters just go along with the kidnapping and torture, without questioning the morals of the situation, it makes me wonder if those characters; or the people writing those characters, are actually in touch with the world. Honestly, the only “realistic” character was Gyllenhaal’s, and that’s why I think he did the best work in the film; because if Jackman was really a great, intelligent actor, he would have raised issues with the script’s gaps in logic.

      It doesn’t baffle me that many people seemed to like this movie; It has a good look, some intense scenes, some great acting, but the center does not hold. It’s another super serious, overly gloomy installment in a genre that used to be fun. Watch ZODIAC, that is how you do a thriller right.

      • ryanmcc
        February 17, 2014 at 2:07 am

        I understand where you are coming from with finding the film downtrodden, ridiculous and pretentious. I just feel as though the find handled the twists and turns with the right amount of realism and dream like quality where I felt like the messages came out very powerful.
        I did see Zodiac and it is an incredible movie but I feel like it is an offense to both movies to compare them. Zodiac is a creepy, intelligent mystery film. It is through and through a film less grounded on the characters and further drawn out on the story itself. I think Prisoners is a film that is at its most basic format a mystery but I would lean more torwards calling the film psychological horror firstly in my opinion. Zodiac is driven by the story and sharp editing and Prisoners is driven more on the characters and morals. Comparing the two films feels like comparing The Godfather to Goodfellas. Both films share the same genre on a technical level but both films are significantly different in what they are trying to achieve.

        I think the film worked very well in adding the twist at the end because it goes with the contrast between fantasy and reality throughout the movie. The scene at the end is very realistic because the things going on are delivered with realism in the reactions of Jackman’s character and in the way in which it is shot but at the same time Melissa Leo’s character feels like something about an old fable and her morals feel like somethings you would read in a Grimm Brothers tale.

        The film isn’t supposed to be just a criticism of the I don’t call 9/11 region of America or torture. The heart and humanity in which they present Keller Dover’s plight clearly shows that. The film is about at its most vast human darkness. The film shows people driven to do terrible things because of horrifying ordeals. Detective Loki is driven to cause the death of Bob Taylor because of his obsession and stress with solving the case. Melissa Leo is drawn to killing and kidnapping children because of the death of her husband and child. Keller Dover is eventually driven to rage over the disappearance of his daughter.

        And the film does a good job of showing that even the most realist and liberal people in this situation (Terrance Howard and Viola Davis) will eventually succumb to the human condition and let terrifying things happen out there out wants and desires.

        Prisoners for me isn’t just a criticism of torture or a downtrodden story of good to bad. The film is a brilliantly executed and moving fable about the twisted and savage nature of humanity. It is about are descent into madness. The film is about our obsession and our wants. The film is about the constant edge that we face between reality and fantasy, between sanity and insanity, between humanity and savagery and between joy and depression. The film is about our constant imprisonment to the shackles of our humanity.

        This film isn’t perfection even though it is my favorite film of 2013. I will give you some of the plot holes like why didn’t they identify the guy in the cellar as being the body of Holly Jones husband or why didn’t the cops try harder to find the suspected kidnapper after he went missing. What I will not give you is that the film failed in being what it wanted to be. The film through and through was meant to be a twisted, moving psychological thriller layered with some mystery.

        I’m not going to say that you didn’t get it because clearly you did and it is your opinion to say you disagree with the opinions or you thought they were forced but because you compared the film to Zodiac and said the film wasn’t “fun” makes me feel less like you didn’t get the film and more like you went in suspecting something very different than what you got.

        • Scott A. McArthur
          February 17, 2014 at 3:08 am

          Okay, the majority of what you are driving at here is largely a contradictory of itself. You cannot say the film handles things “realistically,” then claim that it is a “fable.” That is an active contradiction. Do you want me to take the film as a realistic portrayal of what trauma does to a person? Or do you want me to take it a fantasy? One or the other, you can’t have both.

          Zodiac is barely about its plot, and IS NOT a mystery film: There is not mystery to be solved. Zodiac is a film about the obsession of the characters to get to the bottom of an endless pit. Thematically, the films are perfectly comparable.

          The director has stated that the film does have anti-torture subtext, but you are right, that isn’t all that is going on in it.

          Mostly, you’ve really just laid out the themes and plot of the film, which I understood and comprehended when I watched it. However, when the movie creates character actions, and logical gaps that make no sense what-so-ever; in an abject drive to relate its message; as I stated: The Center Does Not Hold. And I’m not taking about plot-holes, plot-holes, believe it or not, don’t really bother me: Every movie has ’em, as does real life. What I’m talking about is the believability of what is happening on a character level, which in this film I found to be preposterous. For example, how Terrance Howard and Viola Davis react to what’s happening around them has no connection to real psychology. Unless those two characters are supposed to be sociopaths, they would feel some sort of remorse and certainly empathy for what Jackman is doing to Paul Dano’s character. In fact, many recent psychologically studies, especially those in the field of neurological-psychology, prove that empathic concern is natural, and involuntary. In short: Neither of them are written to act like humans. They would realize what they are doing is wrong, no matter their ideological leanings.

          I understood the movie, and the fact you had to type something this long trying to reiterate it kinda proves my point: The film is blunt, overbearing, didactic and pretentious to the point that it needs a novel-length defense.

          I didn’t expect the film to be fun, I knew it wasn’t going to be, and I didn’t expect to be Zodiac, I didn’t want it to be. But, I didn’t expect a movie that would be intellectually insulting.

          If you like the film as much as you claim you do, then good, but the movie made me feel like I was the wall that Jackman bashes open with the hammer: I got what you’re trying to do, could you be a little bit more subtle or intelligent about it. Would it have killed the screenwriters to crack open a recent textbook on psychology? I mean, you said it yourself: The movie was supposed to be a psychological thriller.

          • ryanmcc
            February 18, 2014 at 1:41 am

            I understand where you are coming from and I respectully disagree. There is no way in which we are going to agree with each other on this film. I can talk about the tonal and thematic differences of Prisoners and Zodiac or how the characters did at times show empathy but I feel like this is going nowhere. You found the characters to be flimsy and I found them to be complex and layered. You found the themes to be forced and I found them to be moving. You found the dialogue to be wooden and I found it to be absorbing. You are entitled to your opinion on the film. I understand now that what you didn’t like about the film specifically was what I really enjoyed about the film which was the characters and the themes. Good luck to you with your podcast and I would highly recommend Nebraska if you haven’t already seen it, Will Forte is suprisingly decent and the writing is excellent.

  • SamJ
    February 25, 2014 at 10:54 am

    You’re just a hater, Alex! You hated “Her” because you wanted it to be good! It was SUPPOSED to be a stupid love story. You just don’t get it! You’re tots being Josh Hadley right now!!!

    I’m just kidding, really. I still liked “Her” a lot, though. It was mostly for the sci-fi aspects and the acting, which somehow made the entire thing feel like the natural progression of what happens when a lonely guy dates his computer. I don’t know; it got to me somehow.

    But there’s no hope of it winning the Oscar, don’t worry. It’s like 7th place in the race for the Oscar.

    “Fruitvale Station” should win an Oscar nod.

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