CUTIE AND THE BOXER (2013)

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ACADEMY AWARD NOMINATION:

  • Best Documentary Feature

Christopher

College was definitely the place that I came to a realization that I cannot live my life without art being in it. The idea of going a week or even a day without creating some form of art sounds absolutely miserable to me. But I mention this because college was the first time I became super into art documentaries. I spent too many nights just watching them on Netflix and creating collages, paintings, comics, etc. It was so much fun. I got a bit away from that after school but the past few months I’ve been pretty into creating again, and watching stuff like Cutie and The Boxer is something that inspires me beyond words. It’s the kind of movie that gets me too excited to even sleep. This movie is a so good and it’s on Netflix. Please see it! And I really hope it wins Best Documentary.

Elizabeth

I think Cutie and the Boxer is really what good documentaries are about. For me, personally, it took a subject I had no knowledge of (the art of the Shinoharas), taught me about it, and made me care about it. It was really great.

Cutie and the Boxer is really about an old couple of Japanese artists, who’ve had a pretty tumultuous, but long, relationship. Ushio Shinohara is a sculptor and painter, using boxing (by putting paint on boxing gloves) as a method of painting. Noriko Shinohara is a painter and illustrator, creating in the documentary what is essentially a semi-autobiographical comic about her life with Ushio. The movie culminates with them having a joint gallery opening, both showcasing their very different, but equally beautiful, work.

Cutie and the Boxer works because the subjects are so interesting and the filmmaker is totally removed from the final product, which I like. It’s really great. I also thought it was interesting that I think I was more drawn to Ushio’s work, while Chris was more drawn to Noriko’s. I hope this documentary makes their art more prominent, because it’s great.

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THE CROODS (2013)

THE CROODS

ACADEMY AWARD NOMINATION:

  • Best Animated Feature Film

Elizabeth

Uhhhhh. Oh my God. Okay. Is this a joke? Did this movie get nominated for an Oscar, seemingly because it, as a whole, is good? Because, spoiler alert, it’s not good.

Let me get this out of the way: I will say that in terms of animation, The Croods had impressive elements. The characters’ facial features in particular were really well done. So, now that I’ve said that, I can talk about how laughably terrible The Croods is. First of all, the patriarch of The Croods, Grug, is voiced by Nicolas Cage, and this is endlessly distracting. Because, as we all know, Cage isn’t really associated with good movies anymore. All of the yelling and terribleness that I associate with his character from The Wicker Man is totally present here.

The protagonist, Eep, is the teenage daughter of The Croods. But she’s animated to be weirdly sexy, wearing a short, halter-top, leopard-print dress. The Croods are cavemen, but I guess super cavemen? They can outrun pretty much any animal they come across, with no explanation. They have incredible balance and can quickly and easily climb almost anything. This is never explained. What is also never explained is where they are: where are they in time? Where are they in the world? Are they on earth? Because nothing, and I mean nothing, in this movie is based on reality as we know it. At times, The Croods look tiny, at one point nearly being crushed to death by giant popcorn that pops from giant ears of corn. Animals are either huge or tiny, if they resemble anything we know at all. I don’t care that they made up this universe for the story, but I do care that they gave us nothing to go on. Nothing seems weird, special, or scary when you have no context for what would be considered out of the ordinary.

The Croods is also full of plot holes, like how in the beginning of the movie we see the family demonstrating their incredible speed, but then around the middle of the movie, the family cannot fathom the idea of walking to a nearby mountain. “We’ve never walked that far!” one of them laments. Uh, what? The beginning of the movie shows them scaling miles of ground in mere seconds, but now all of the sudden they not only can’t run, but don’t even want to walk? What the fuck?

The Croods is beyond pointless and not even remotely worth it. If it wins the Oscar, I’ll throw up.

Christopher

I’ve been pushing to watch this movie, mostly ’cause I knew it wasn’t going to be good but also ’cause I knew Elizabeth was dreading it. Though I found that funny, I quickly regretted my decision when it started ’cause this movie is hard to get through. Almost nothing makes sense. I absolutely love animation but what is the story in The Croods? To watch them out-walk the end of Pangea? As they slowly evolve into smarter creatures? It’s so bad.

The other big thing is that in the opening scene all our main characters are running at speeds up to 100mph easily, but when the main plot points show up to walk to a mountain that is a few days away they feel they can’t do it? JUST RUN OVER THERE!?!? I don’t know, this movie is a mess, the animation is okay at times, the character design is shit, but it does have Nic Cage as the voice of the dad!

Never check this out! It’s on Netflix.