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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Buddy Beaverhausen Catches Up with Oscars' Best Picture Nominees # 6: Get Her!

The not-too-distant future is going to be very impersonal and emotionally alienated, haven't you all heard? Well, I think that's just ducky. After all, I'm a big supporter of self-sufficiency. As I often blithely shout to my friends and closest companions: "I don't need you! I don't need anyone!" So what's not to love about Her?

I classify Her as sci-fi, basically, because it takes place in a Los.Angeles where everything's so orderly and clean and there's nary a Mexican or trannie in sight. Even the smog looks pastel and pretty.

Director Spike Jonze warns us, in this film he wrote for the screen, about modern technology and its dehumanizing effects, all the while utilizing brilliant state-of-the-art CGI effects. Jonze (nee Adam Spiegel) has directed intelligent fare like Being John Malkovich and Where the Wild Things Are. He also directed the Jackass movies.

The main protagonist of Her is Theodore, as assayed by Joaquin Phoenix. I was so glad to see him sporting a mustache in this film because, frankly darlings, his upper lip usually creeps me out a little. I didn't care too much for Theodore's hair style or clothes, however. No wonder his wife divorced him.You'd think the future would be more fashion-conscious and they'd have passed a law against offensive wardrobes.

Theodore's apartment, however, is fabulous. I adored seeing the future of feng shui, and wondered how he kept the place so clean given that he works all day and spends all night at the computer. I must say, as a sci-fi cautionary tale, the world to come doesn't look so bad in Her. In fact, it promises to be very nicely art designed.

The future could be so much worse. Think of The Time Machine! Blade Runner! Soylent Green! Ok, so people are addicted to their technological toys. Stop whining already; at least we're not eating people!

Since the last Oscar-nominated film I watched was Nebraska, Her presented yet more deadpan performances and I was so over them at this point. Give me Cate or Meryl chewing up the scenery any time! Phoenix does give a rather captivating performance and Amy Adams, who we last saw as a harbinger of the '70s in American Hustle (for which she's Oscar nominated) is typically dependable. But again, the hair issue! The Jetsons promised us fabulous 'dos; Jane's sophisticated two-layer flip and Judy's gravity-defying ponytail. Adams sports a tossled mess last on display by Julia Dreyfuss in her early Seinfeld episodes.

There are worse potential things to come, surely, than a man together in electric dreams with his computer operating system that bears the voice of Scarlett Johansson.

This Sunday, March 2, Her will be nominated for 5 Oscars: Best Motion Picture of the Year, Best Achievement in Music - Original Score, Best Original Song ("The Moon Song"), Best Achievement in Production Design, Best Original Screenplay.

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