Before I start off writing on my subject matter, this is my very first (and not last) post on Moviepilot. I can't wait to write more articles based on my love of movies. And, now, to my first article, which a few of you a dying to read.
[Boyhood](movie:989626) is considered a top contender to win "Best Picture" at this year's Oscar. Based on wins at the Golden Globes, Critics Choice Awards, BAFTA, and many other award ceremonies, critics have predicted it take home the big honor Sunday night. With Richard Linklater and his crew spending 12 years capturing the growth of Ellar Coltrane, I can see how critics are overwhelmingly choosing this as their favorites. But, I find "Boyhood" unsatisfying to recommend for this year's "Best Picture."
Don't get me wrong, "Boyhood" was a good movie, but I wouldn't label it as great. The number one reason for this: storyline. Every movie must have a good story to get the audience intrigued. It can be a $4 billion blockbuster, or an indie film with a $25,000 budget, no matter the cost or acting caliber you have, if there is no strong plot to carry the audience's attention, then they have wasted their time and money. That is how I felt after finishing "Boyhood."
Sure, the purpose of the film is to show what it's like growing up, which I understand. But, there wasn't a good story to carry the film through it's entire three hour running. The movie had nothing connecting the dots between any of the characters transitions or situations they were in, only that time was moving along. It's as if Linklater just placed the actors at certain locations throughout the years, and told them to act as themselves doing simple mundane things we do everyday. We also see supporting actors come and go without ever being seen or mentioned again, almost like they disappeared from the face of the Earth. The way the movie was told made me feel like I was watching an abridged version of the "UP" series rather than a traditional movie. As a result, it made the film feel longer than it should, as well as lacking any type of character development or conviction for me to get into the film.
The idea and the years put into creating "Boyhood" does deserve recognition from the Academy. But, when put up with the other "Best Picture" nominations in a horse race, "Boyhood" falls short of reaching the finish line. The winner: [Birdman](movie:780317) .
For me, "Birdman" is a more original and convincing movie that captures my attention throughout its entirety. The performances given by Michael Keaton, Emma Stone, and Edward Norton, to name a few, provide more realism and depth to the movie. They even bring out more chemistry to their characters compared to the actors in "Boyhood," especially Keaton throwing all of his heart into a once-in-a-lifetime role. Despite having to play a character with similarities to his own life, you feel his agony and desperation trying to make it back into the life he was once re-known for in the first place.
The directing also brings more life to the film when measuring it up to "Boyhood." Alejandro González Iñárritu makes an incredible effort to make the audience feel as if they are a part of the movie, by allowing the camera to follow behind certain characters in and out of the theater that lead to another scene. Iñárritu also makes the film feel like it was all done in one take bringing more enjoyment and wonderment to the picture.
Even though I like Richard Linklater (I'm still waiting for "Suburbia" to be released on DVD) the directing was nothing outstanding. You could have told me that it was filmed by a drone, and still have the same affect on me. It basically seemed like generic directing; shoot from different angles, get the shots with the character's reactions, and done. The reason for him winning the "Best Director" categories at each award show is that voters realize how long of an effort it was to put this film together. I think of them as consolation prizes to Linklater, because it was him who had the idea for the film, and dedicated a long time creating it.
From the moment you read the synopsis of "Boyhood," it allures you. After watching it, you compare it to other great movies you saw, and it reminds you of a bottle rocket: you're expecting something great, you light it up, you get a little bang, and that's it. "Birdman" gave me something more than just a little bang...it amazed me.