Leonardo DiCaprio doesn’t need an Oscar, no one does

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If there’s one thing that annoys me about the internet today, other than people, it’s memes. A few years ago when they first started appearing on my timeline I found them quite funny, they were a good laugh, but it seems as though this has grown in to people making memes out of literally anything. The one that’s still getting on my nerves today, despite the fact they started cropping up a while back, is the memes linked to Leonardo DiCaprio and his unlucky streak at the Academy Awards. Why is it such a big deal?

I remember scrolling through Twitter the day after the Oscars this year, and aside from seeing repeated retweets of the famous star-studded selfie, all I could see was memes of Leo posted by young teens who were disappointed that he didn’t win. It annoyed me for a number of reasons, firstly because all of the tweets were along the lines of “he deserved it this year!” when clearly the people tweeting weren’t old enough to have seen the film. Secondly if you look at the competition from this year there wasn’t a chance of him winning. In my opinion it was always going to be between Matthew McConaughey and Chiwitel Ejiofor, whose performances were absolutely phenomenal. Thirdly, and I cannot stress this enough, it doesn’t really matter.

People have become so fixated on this idea that winning an Oscar is so important for actors or films in general and it doesn’t really make sense. Personally I’m torn when it comes to awards such as the Oscars. On one hand I like them because it draws attention to an art form that I care about and is a way of recognising some true talent in this world. It’s nice seeing the attention shifted on to something I’m passionate about. On the other hand there is a heavy level of bias involved with the awards, and they usually focus on a select few films so some talents go unnoticed. With this in mind I don’t think it’s a bad thing that our beloved Leo hasn’t won an Oscar yet.

If you think about it, he really doesn’t need one. He has had a career doing the one thing he loves and he has brought joy to so many people of the years with his films, so winning an award is like an optional extra. He’s even said himself on numerous occasions that he doesn’t care about winning awards, he acts because he loves it. It was the same with Marlon Brando; he famously turned down his Oscars because he didn’t want them. He said he acted because it’s what he loved doing, he didn’t do it for the awards. That’s why DiCaprio doesn’t need the award, because we all know already how talented he is, the award would just be something extra.

If you have ever seen a film with DiCaprio in (that isn’t Titanic) then you know how talented he is. He proved to us from an early age that he was an astounding actor, from ‘What’s Eating Gilbert Grape’ right up to ‘Django Unchained’ his resume is near flawless. And as the years and the nominations have passed him by he’s got better and better at what he does without ever complaining about the awards, it’s everyone else that’s complaining on behalf of him. Admittedly you’d be pretty hacked off if you hadn’t won after a certain number of times, but he never seems bitter about it and I respect him for that.

Look at the rewards results from over the years and you’ll see that there are so many talented people that have been nominated numerous amounts of times and yet haven’t won awards:

– John Hurt: in my opinion one of the greatest actors of all time, nominated twice and yet hasn’t won yet.

– Amy Adams: I know she’s not everyone’s favourite but for me I think she’s proved on numerous occasions that she can adapt to any role put in front of her. Still, nominated five times without having won.

– Joaquin Phoenix: again, another fantastic actor who has proved his talents in so many different films, nominated three times.

– Julianne Moore: she’s a favourite of Paul Thomas Anderson and we can all see why, nominated four times.

– Peter O’Toole: arguably one of the best actors of all time who sadly passed away last year, managed to get eight nominations.

It’s clear that it doesn’t matter if you win an award or not, most people feel honoured to have even been nominated. That last one on the list, the legend that was Peter O’Toole, gave some of the best performances you will ever see and yet he didn’t win an Oscar, because he didn’t need to. He still proved to audiences all over the world that he was incredibly talented.

But it’s not just actors, of course not, over the years directors and writers have had their fair share of losing out:

– David Fincher: an exceptional director with a good eye for film, sadly nominated twice with no wins.

– Ridley Scott: a diverse and talented director who had made his mark on the film industry over the years, still sits with three nominations and no wins.

– Christopher Nolan: a genius walking among men, a living legend of cinema, nominated three times. 

– David O. Russell: both a talented screenplay writer and director of the modern age, nominated five times.

– Alfred Hitchcock: one of the greatest minds of film that ever lived and the king of the thriller genre, technically he was awarded an Oscar but it’s an honourary award so it’s debatable to whether that counts. Still, five nominations and no wins.

– Wes Anderson: in my opinion one of the best writers of the modern age and one of the greatest film makers living today, still without an Oscar after three nominations.

– Paul Thomas Anderson: another talented director and writer who only has six feature films, still managed to gain himself five nominations over the years without a win.

I used to feel annoyed when thinking about all of those people who hadn’t won Oscars but deserved them, but as I’ve matured a bit and become less of an angry teen and become just a grumpy one I have to realise that awards really don’t matter. It’s a nice idea winning one and the concept behind the awards is sound, but it’s not what making films is about.

All of the actors, writers and directors listed above have been involved in making true works of art without ever having one an award. And yet they all keep making films, why? Because they love doing it. It’s refreshing to see people still want to make films in today’s world, regardless of awards or financial gain, they do it because it’s what they love.  I have respect for every single one of the people listed above because they carry on doing what they do best without ever being bitter about losing, because really they’re not losers. It’s like Michael Caine said when he accepted his Oscar for supporting actor, he was happy the announcement changed from “and the winner is” to “the Oscar goes to” because it’s not about winners and losers, it’s about who represents a group of selected humans and celebrating their talents. So yes I do still uphold the view that Leonardo DiCaprio doesn’t need an Oscar, because in my mind he’s already proved that he doesn’t need one.

As for Tim Burton being nominated but not winning, well the less said about that the better.quite frankly. Now there’s a loss that I won’t complain about.

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The Fault in Our Stars – Review

The much awaited adaption of the John Green novel delivers near enough as I expected it to. 

Not so long ago I found myself writing about how as someone who loves films one of the best things you can experience is being proved wrong. By this I mean when you judge a film too quickly and think it’s going to be bad, only to find that once you’ve watched it you realise just how good it actually is. It’s happened to me on numerous occasions and I really wish that I could have said this about the film in question, but I found that my rather low expectations were met. 

Now I will say first of all that I haven’t read the book so I knew very little about the events and the characters, so I can’t possibly comment on the book itself. Any opinions I hold are on the film alone, I’m not about to criticise Green without ever actually having read his work. 

For those who are unaware as to what the film is about it basically focuses on the relationship between a young cancer patient named Hazel, and ex-cancer patient Gus. They meet at a group meeting for those affected by cancer and soon find themselves floating between friendship and something more. There are obvious developments, one of which involves a trip to Amsterdam amongst various emotional troubles as well. It’s not particularly complex but the main characters and smaller characters do hold it together quite nicely for the majority. It did become quite tedious for me at times, particularly in the middle where we find the characters going through a repetitive “we’re going to Amsterdam, oh no we aren’t, actually we are, on second thoughts no we’re not” which did rack up the running time making it, in my opinion, far too long. At over two hours long there is clearly come material that could be taken out in order to make it more engaging. At one point in the cinema screening I began looking at the light fixtures and thinking about them, which just shows how disengaged I was from the film because it did start to get boring. It’s not completely without interest, it just became a little ill disciplined. 

For me the characters were varied, in the sense that there were some who I really liked and others I could not stand. The female protagonist Hazel is one that I liked, partly due to how well she was played by Shailene Woodly. She upholds a firm level of realism when addressing her illness so it did make her easy to connect with without being annoyingly optimistic or pessimistic. She is rather complex, reading the same book over and over and not really liking a lot of people but this was quite a nice change from ordinary female characters in romance films. Then on the opposite side of the spectrum you’ve got her love interest, Gus. For me the character of Gus was very annoying. I know he’s meant to be charming and funny and the ‘mr right’ type figure but I found his arrogance very off putting, and with reference to his “unlit cigarette” metaphor I’m afraid to say I did find him very pretentious. I didn’t completely hate him because there are developments in his character that show he is three dimensional, but for the most part I found myself to be the only one in the screening who didn’t laugh at him. 

The supporting cast is very strong, with Laura Dern and Sam Trammwell proving to be excellent as Hazel’s parents. However one of the best performances for me came in the form of the writer Van Houten played by Willem Dafoe. He managed to capture how worn down and uncaring the writer was and presented him as someone who wasn’t very likable at all. I felt that Dafoe brought something to a rather cold character, making his character one that both intrigued me and annoyed me. He is at the base of his character a fatalist; he sees endings as inevitable and accepts them all to willingly, but he isn’t just bitter. He has a different side to him as we see him as someone who can change his mind. I was worried he was going to be the bog standard run down writer who drinks and shouts a lot but I was pleasantly surprised to see him develop. 

 

I feel bad for saying this but I didn’t cry at the film. I can understand why someone would cry because it is an incredibly sad story, but I don’t think I’m the target audience so it didn’t have as big an impact on me as all of the young girls in the same screening. I think it helps if you’ve read the book because you understand the characters more and you know what’s coming. In fact I would go so far as to argue that if you haven’t read the book then it’s very likely you won’t cry at the film. 

As well as not crying, I didn’t laugh once at the film. The character of Gus is one that is designed to be funny but I found him so annoying that when everyone was laughing at him I was sat with my eyes closed and my head in my hands because it just wasn’t funny. I understand that the script was written by the same people who wrote ‘500 Days of Summer’ so they are good at what they do, but I had the same problem with that film too, it tries to hard to be different and to avoid cliches that is just ends up falling in to a whole other bunch of cliches. There were times when I acknowledged that something was funny but it still didn’t cause me to laugh. 

There were other problems with the script for me in the sense that for a romance film it was very sloppy in places. I’m opened minded about films so I don’t mind romance films, but they have to be done well. In the case of this film there were lines that did make me think and had different levels of meaning behind it, but then there are others that were ridiculous. The best example of this I can give is the reoccurring line throughout the film, which I am informed is actually in the book, and it’s the repetition of the word “ok”. It basically spawns from a couple at the start of the film who repeatedly say “always” to each other, meaning that they will always love each other. Cringe worthy already I know but this is developed by Hazel and Gus who realise they are saying “ok” a lot, to which one of them remarks “perhaps ok will be our always”. I know various teenagers love this line and think it means a lot, but really it doesn’t. It was one of the most frustrating and badly written lines I’ve come across recently, which is a shame because there are lines in the film I did like. It might just be because I’m interested in screenplay writing and I’ve become very picky but I just felt that like I said before, it tried too hard to avoid cliches that it fell in to another category of cliches. 

There were other things that annoyed me about the film but they were so small that it made me realise that I can’t have been engaged enough in the film. It was simple things like the product placement. There were far too many Apple products splattered throughout the film that it makes you realise just whos’ paying for the film. But I doubt this was a problem for many other people. 

I wouldn’t go so far as to say that I hated the film, but equally I wouldn’t say that it’s a good film. The redeeming feature for me that held the film together was the character of Hazel. Her complexity and her strength as a character made her very likable and I did sympathise for her because she was a character worth liking. She was written very well and played equally well so it was nice to have something in the film that remained a constant merit throughout. Not once did I think something negative about her character and did save the film for me. 

As much as I disliked the film I do have to admire it to an extent. It took a topic that is sensitive and moulded it around a love story without being insensitive. It dealt with the topic very well and it was with the help of the supporting characters that the film felt human. I was worried that the film was going to attempt to be too different but it appears the screenplay writers have learned their lesson since ‘500 Days of Summer’ so that was a relief. 

Overall on the five star scale I would give the film two and a half, but if we were to use the Roger Ebert four star scale I would give it two stars. It’s difficult to judge this film because I’m aware that it is aimed at a certain audience and I haven’t read the book. As a piece of film I didn’t think it was as good as it could have been which was a shame and it’s not the sort of film I’m bitter about, I’m just disappointed. There were elements that ultimately I didn’t like, but it was the central character of Hazel that held the film together for me. 

Also for those who haven’t read my post about ‘500 Days of Summer’ and don’t understand my views on it, the original post can be found here: https://adamdlester17.wordpress.com/2014/03/16/500-days-of-summer-results-in-500-minutes-of-over-thinking/ 

 

‘Fifa Go Home’ – why football doesn’t always matter

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Have four years really gone by that quickly? It only feels like last week we were waving goodbye to the last one month our lives that was wasted. Already News stations are being taken over with reports about how long there is until it starts and how various people you’ve never heard of from somewhere in west London have been affected by it in some form. All you have to do is walk down the streets and you’ll find your eyes being blinded with the amount of England flags plastered on buildings, people’s shirts and cars. A lot of people have been sucked in to the idea that the World Cup matters, but honestly when you think about it, what is the point of football?

Referred to by many as the “beautiful game” I fail to see where the “beauty” element fits in to this rather tedious sport. It is neither entertaining nor interesting, and it is far from beautiful. After seeing pictures of people from Brazil (pictured above) it is clear that the game has a rather ugly side to it. While idiots from all over the world run around on a bit of grass for ninety minutes at a time, there are people in the streets who are finding it difficult to eat every day. There are so many different things that annoy me about football, that it is impossible for me to find the game “beautiful”. It is so utterly without merit in today’s society that I would like to take this opportunity to state exactly why I find it is so annoying and repulsive.

Lack of interest – I still cannot possibly comprehend why you want to watch millionaires running around a patch of grass. There is nothing interesting about that, and yet the commentators find so much to talk about. If it was me the commentary would consist of “he’s kicked the ball…and now someone else has the ball….and now another person has the ball…the ball has been passed again which indeed resulted in another person possessing the ball before passing it again” it is literally that interesting. I know people defend it and say there’s more to it than that, but there isn’t.

It’s the same thing – what’s the point in holding competitions if it is literally the same thing? It’s the same teams playing other teams to win the same title has before. And that happens every single year, and of course every four years for the World Cup. Why don’t we just decide once and for all who the overall winner is, give them a pat on the back and a lollipop and then move on. I know why, because Fifa is making so much money it doesn’t know what to do with itself.

Fifa makes too much money without a good cause – we all know how much football players get paid, and it’s a result of Fifa and other football related businesses earning so much money that they can afford to keep their players living is such extortionate lucre. It’s not as if the money is going to a good cause, it keeps the players wealthy while other people struggle. Considering the amount of money the companies earn I refuse to call football a good cause until the majority of the revenue is donated to charity or working towards redistributing wealth and footballers pay cheques are cut severely. In the wise words of comedian and writer David Mitchell “surely now post credit crunch we hate rich people? Why do footballers get away with not being hated? They should be forced to emigrate. They should be forced to go to South Africa, it doesn’t matter what they do there, but then never return because they’ve got loads of money for doing something that doesn’t matter”.

It dominates the sporting world – there is so much coverage of the football when it’s on it means that other sports get completely neglected. The F1 doesn’t matter anymore, cricket goes out the window and then there are other sports that don’t even get televised. It’s just annoying because football is all we know as a nation and it means that other sports are completely forgotten about just because one sport is a favoured more. Again, in the words of David Mitchell when he spoke about the idea of a world cup summer “this just means terrible news for Cricket. There’s going to be a whole summer where it’s even harder to watch Cricket, more people will be talking about people I’ve never heard of who are apparently both billionaires and brain dead, and I find it all very depressing”.

Especially this year, the host has better things to spend money on – I know it doesn’t really apply to league football in our country, but for the World Cup this year it is clear that the host country does not need football. As mentioned before the picture above shows how people from the host country have been protesting because of the presence of Fifa in their country. I personally am overjoyed to see this. Fifa has bitten a chunk out of the country so the people have bitten back and shown how they’re truly feeling. With the social and economic problems that are present in Brazil at the moment there are clearly better things the money needed for the World Cup could be funding. Instead of hosting a pointless tournament that has little relevance or importance in today’s society Brazil could be focusing on aiding stability for the future and using the money to help those who need it. But that won’t happen because people want to see several people kicking an inanimate object to each other in an attempt to show how their country is ‘the best’. Disgusting.

On top of all of this the fans of football annoy me to the point of frustration. The way they treat football as the most important thing in the world is beyond my comprehension. In fact a couple of years ago when the riots were occurring in London I got in to an argument with someone my age who claimed that the worst thing about the riots was that football matches would be cancelled. Let’s just forget the masses of property damage, violence and houses being set on fire and worry about watching talentless idiots earning ridiculous salaries.

I understand that not all fans are the same of course, it would be wrong of me to criticise all of them, but there are particular ones that annoy me, the list is as follows:

– Those who paint their face for football matches: this is football not Braveheart, you look like an idiot.

– those who say “football is my religion”: how sad their lives must be, I would recommend finding a more stable faith.

– those who shout their team name followed by the phrase “Until I die”: I can only hope their demise follows swiftly. I can understand supporting a team and being passionate about them, but there is a line between being a good sportsman and being plain creepy.

– those who use violence as a resort of recent football events: now this is the main one which annoys me beyond belief because it shows just how brainwashed football fans get. I don’t mean to sound like a primary school teacher but it’s the only way to get the message across: IT IS JUST A GAME. The whole point of a sport is that it’s exciting. It would be boring if your team won every single time, so I don’t understand why people use violence when things don’t go their way. Even if the fan of an opposing team insults their team I know some people that would turn violent because they didn’t like what they were hearing. And these people are meant to be adults, why don’t they just grow up and accept that people have different opinions. It doesn’t happen with any other hobbies does it? As a film fan I didn’t go the nearest pub and hit someone just because Leonardo DiCaprio didn’t win an Oscar this year. I just accepted disappointment like a mature human being and moved on with my life.

I understand that as a film fan it is very easy to argue that films are pointless too, but really you could say that about anything. Films, sport, music, art, at the end of the day it’s about what people gain from it. I understand that people gain a lot from liking football but personally I don’t share the interest. It happens with me all the time with films. I know people don’t like films and don’t take as active an interest as I do and I accept that. So why isn’t it acceptable for me to dislike football?

I was being served in a shop once, and the young woman serving me began ranting about “what sort of a man doesn’t like football?” 

To which I could only respond “me”.

I am the sort of man who doesn’t like football. I understand that it serves some purpose for a large number of people and that it does bring people together as a community, but then I also see how it divides people in to schisms and causes harm in the world. I am still angry about the World Cup being hosted in Rio this year despite all of the protesting. I would feel a lot better if they cancelled it just this one time and used the money for better purposes, admitting that football isn’t the most important thing at the moment. I dislike football because as this year proves it serves a minimal purpose in this world in the bigger picture and as usual it is a fairly uneventful enterprise. Again, the same could be argued with films, but at least with films it’s an art form and there is a creative edge to it with a lot of variety. Football is a sport in which repetition seems to be the key.

To summarise I would describe as something of a mad hatter figure, famous of course from Alice in Wonderland. Much like he celebrates every day that isn’t his birthday (named as his unbirthday) I am in the position where others celebrate every moment football graces their screens, whilst I celebrate every second in which such a pointless and tedious activity is not on my screen.