Wednesday, August 19, 2009

It's that time of year again, and having signed up for four different "At-Home-Judging-Panels", I have had my work cut out for me....but, as always, I enjoy doing this very very much....But, the categories I chose this year were quite daunting because they were very time consuming and there is a deadline as to when the votes have to be in---So, I apologize for being rather scarce around the Blogesphere.....I am not supposed to talk about how I am voting, of course, but let me just say that this has been a very challenging experience this time around. Maybe it always is and I forget from year to

One of the categories I signed up for was Outstanding Made For Television Movie....and the films are all really really wonderful, and all very diverse. They only thing they have in common, besides the fact they were nominated, is that each of these films is based on real people who actually lived...None of them are "fictional"."INTO THE STORM" is about Winston Churchill just before and during the years of World War 2 and then, right after.....It's a beautifully made film, with outstanding performances by everyone in it. It so happens that one of the other Categories I am voting on is Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Mini Series Or Movie, and Janet McTeer, pictured above with Brendan Gleason, is nominated for her performance as Clementine Churchill in this category......A film very much worth seeing. "TAKING CHANCE" is a very fine film about Servicemen who escort other Servicemen back to their homes for their burial after they have been killed in Iraq. Besides dealing with the death of a real young man, it was filled with many things I was unaware of about this very thorough and thoughtful process. It was a very moving film in every way.....Kevin Bacon plays the real Marine 'escort' in this particular story and he was quite wonderful---And he happens to be Nominated in the 'Outstanding Actor in a Movie or Mini Series'.....not a category that was part of my judging. This is another film very much worth seeing...... "GREY GARDENS" is a film that I posted about quite a few months too is based on real people and both the actresses, Jessica Lange and Drew Barrymore, who are superb in this picture, are nominated in the Outstanding Lead Actress In A Mini Series Or Movie category. This is one of the other panels I am voting on, as well, so in a way, seeing the film once again, knowing there were a few categories I would be judging, made me watch the film in an even closer and more concentrated way. Jean Trippplehorn, who plays Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis in this fascinating film, is nominated in the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Mini Series or Movie....the third category I am voting on......

These three pictures above, are all HBO Films and so were originally shown with no commercial interruptions. The last two films nominated were both shown on Lifetime Television----which has commercial interruptions. I had actually scene all five films at the time they were each originally broadcast, but part of the commitment one makes to this judging process is that you will watch each film all the way through, whether you have seen it or not.....And you must sign a paper saying you have done this. "COCO CHANEL" is a film about this great and famous designer's life and career. Two actresses play Coco.....Shirley MacLaine as the older Coco, and a young actress named Barbara Bobulova who portrays Coco in the earlier part of her life. I am so glad I had to watch this film again, because without the commercial interruptions it was a much better film than I had thought it was when I first saw it. The continuity is there, as it should be. And Shirley MacLaine is nominated in that Outstanding Lead Actress category, too.....So, again, I had to watch this film more closely. This is another film that is very much worth seeing. "PRAYERS FOR BOBBY" was a true revelation without those terrible commercial interruptions. There is a build in this very moving and important film that was completely lost on me when I watched it on Lifetime Television. I honestly had not really seen this film as it needs to be seen----so, I am grateful I had to watch it again. All these films are very moving, each in their own way, and all are important as 'works-of-art' that has something to say about life and 'the human condition'. And that is what each of these films are, truly---they are Works Of Art by serious caring Artists. And I must say, this was a very very difficult category to judge, and I didn't think it would be. Well, I was wrong. Everyone of these films is worthy of an Award....And the quality of these films is very high---right up there with the Best Of The Best.

One more thing: In the Supporting Actress in a Mini or Movie Category....there was a huge commitment of time required. "HOUSE OF SADDAM" is a four hour Mini-Series....And it was on HBO originally, so it is the full four hours! I had not watched this Mini when it was broadcast, because frankly, I found the subject so abhorrent and knowing that Saddem was such an evil man, I just didn't want to subject myself to it. But.....I had to watch all four hours of it because Shoreh Aghdashloo who plays Saddam's first wife, Sajida, has been nominated in this Supporting Actress category. It turned out to be quite fascinating and very interesting on many many levels....And Ms. Aghdashloo is all through the four hours and she was truly quite wonderful. They were so smart to cast her in this very difficult role.

I have to say....many of us complain about the quality of television, and for me, there is no doubt that the abundance of so called Reality Shows is deeply disheartening---there is so much mean spiritedness that seems to be such a big part of these shows and it feels like the audience is really blood thirsty or they wouldn't watch all these shows---they aren't "reality" anyway. They are as scripted as any so called 'scripted' show could be----maybe even more so....But, having watched many many many hours of dramatic well written films for television----I am proud to say that Television is STILL alive and well, and there is a lot of truly great stuff out there, if you want to see it. I must say I do wish these Broadcast and Cable Channels who have advertising would dial all of that way way down---including all that distracting junk that comes on the screen every other minute---advertising more of the channels programming---I mean, give me a break!.....Without all that garbage flying in and out, and without all those endless interruptions.....It would be so much better an experience for the audience, and it would also say that the station broadcasting this "quality" programming, really respects the product they hope you are watching......Just my opinion......

More To Come......

had this to say:

Thanks for the mini-reviews. I don't watch a lot of television but several of those are intriguing, especially the Churchill piece and the story with Kevin Bacon. I've always been a fan a history-based dramas, so I'll be looking for those.


Wednesday, August 19, 2009 at 7:39:00 AM PDT 

Blogger Mar
had this to say:

I always enjoy reading your comments on films/series. They all (except for the Saddam one, I fully agree with you!) seem to be wonderful and it's great to see the "old" movie stars!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009 at 7:58:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

except for "grey gardens" & "coco chanel" i missed these when they were first shown. i'll have to look for them now. thanks! and have fun! xoxox

Wednesday, August 19, 2009 at 8:38:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

How wonderful to be able to vote and I am so glad you take your job seriously. Also must be nice to see commercial free.
Grey Gardens became available and I should get it this week from Netflix. Taking Chance is also on my hold list with Netflix. didn't know about but will put the Churchill one on hold. Always admired him and our family had a non-relation connection with his mother, Jenny.
You speak, I listen-- you haven't steered me wrong yet.
Thanks for the reviews.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009 at 9:43:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Jessica Lange is my all time favourite actress! Amazing!

Interesting reviews.

Isn't there another new film out about Coco Chanel too?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009 at 4:26:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

I think it would be good to HAVE to watch a movie because I'm sure there are movies out there that I didn't want to see that are probably really good!

I loved Grey Gardens and the Kevin Bacon movies sounds like something I would like to see.


Wednesday, August 19, 2009 at 7:28:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Hmmm, well, if you mentioned it was really difficult before, I don't remember that you did. I mean it's always challenging, you say, but not difficult. :)

You are such a compassionate person and movies with messages always touch you. I imagine it would be a tough thing to do to "judge" when they all speak to you.

I never complain about the quality of the shows on TV, but I do complain about the stupidity of many of the commercials. Oh, and i don't like watching the news in California. But when I visit Iowa or other states, there's so much more "hometown" type of news that I enjoy watching the news there!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009 at 8:19:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Sounds very challenging but rewarding. I see a lot of films but judging them for awards would put it all on another level.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009 at 9:01:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

My husband bought me a big screen TV for Christmas this year (all he got was the little channel changer- LOL) and I have to say it has made it a pleasure to sit down and watch most of the shows listed. The quality of what is up for awards has me completely spoiled. I have to say though, that of the shows I saw- Taking Chance was so reverent. Made me see Kevin Bacon in a whole new light. I am glad the film was made and that he was cast in the lead.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009 at 10:40:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

I enjoyed that post Naomi. The whole award process is an interesting one. I shall be trying to see some of these now. Coco Chanel - one of my favourite perfumes. I have many books about her too so I will look forward to seeing that. Have fun watching all of these and I shall be taking a closer interest in the Awards now I know of someone who is voting for them. An important job! Take Care.

Thursday, August 20, 2009 at 12:03:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

I want to netflix that Coco Chanel movie. I fell in love with Shirley MacLaine when I saw her in one of her very earliest films, 1955's Artists and Models. She was so cute and darling and then 34 years later made me love her all over again in Steel Magnolias. I'll be looking forward to the Emmy's so you can post afterwards about how you voted. I like to hear your opinions.

Thursday, August 20, 2009 at 12:58:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

everytime you do this I think of all the movies I would get from many I would have missed and so many that deserved recognition and didn't get it.

but.. I don't envy you having to make choices and vote lol

Thursday, August 20, 2009 at 3:15:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

I agree with your comment on the TV reality shows being mean and bloodthirsty. I've watched little bits of some of them, but really, they're not worth wasting my valuable time. Just pure rubbish.
However. the films you have listed look wonderful and I'll be sure to watch out for them, especially the one about Winston Churchill, I remember him so well as I was growing up in England.

Thursday, August 20, 2009 at 5:32:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

good to know they have a qualified judge :)
I always picture back room shenanigans and press corp hacks

I saw all those movies and each one was wonderful

Thursday, August 20, 2009 at 6:10:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Love when you post reviews! Love movies so much... but where I live it's more easy to see films on videos and TV. I like so much Jessica Lange and Sigourney Weaver and I am looking forward to see those films.
Thanks for sharing this reviews!

Thursday, August 20, 2009 at 8:46:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

I've been looking all over (it's not at Blockbuster) for Grey Gardens, the original documentary, and can't find it anywhere. I'll have to check this one out first since several bloggers have recommended it.

I need to sit my butt down and watch some more movies! I have not seen any of these films and the Coco Chanel story sounds fascinating!

Thursday, August 20, 2009 at 4:34:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Wow, I can't believe how many of these I have seen. I watched part of Into the Storm and enjoyed it, but I came into it near the end. I watched Taking Chance in its entirety and was very moved by it. I think Kevin Bacon is a fine actor. Grey Gardens is like watching a train wreck, you shouldn't watch, but you can't stop. I was so curious about this mother/daughter pair, that we got the original documentary from Netflix after watching the Barrymore/Lange version. I was amazed! Drew Barrymore SO nailed the portrayal of the daughter, the voice was perfect and so were the mannerisms. Also, Lange nailed the voice and mannerisms of the mother. You really should see both close together, you will be amazed! The makeup for the movie was also stunning. Barrymore/Lange looked _exactly_ like the people they were portraying. Next, Prayers for Bobby, I caught the beginning of that before I had to go somewhere, so I didn't get to finish it, but it tugged at my heartstrings right from the beginning. Good luck making a decision on these films. All very fine pieces of work.

Thursday, August 20, 2009 at 7:12:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

sounds like interesting viewing. I'm not much of a tv watcher, and we've chosen not to have cable, so i'll have to look for dvds

Friday, August 21, 2009 at 10:06:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

The only one I have seen is Grey Gardens, and I am now anxious to see some of the others you mentioned.

Friday, August 21, 2009 at 5:11:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

I haven't seen any of these so I'll be interested to see how you liked them.

Sunday, August 23, 2009 at 6:19:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

I don't think we have had any of these yet in the UK. It will be interesting to see which make it and I suspect the voting panels will have some influence on this!

I'm just back from a couple of weeks in the US and one thing which you comment upon also struck me more this time. Its the number of commercial breaks in your television shows. It may be just that the channels in hotels are freebies and that they have more breaks, but there needs to be a long enough 'section' to a programme to make it enjoyable. Your TV also seems to be adding more jitter advertising to the bottom of the screen - whats on next, etc during the preceding show.

I hope that the ones you watch are shown on television in long enough pieces. It sounds as if HBO is doing a good job on this. I realize the need for commercial viability, but there has to be a balance somewhere.

To give you an idea, in UK we get many films shown in full (no breaks) and most commercial TV might have 1 break in a pseudo half hour programme or two breaks in a 1 hour show. Seems to be about right to me!

Monday, August 24, 2009 at 9:27:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Your work is cut out for you with viewing and judging these movies. Many are ones I hope to see in the future. Appreciate your well-written and informative reviews.

Thursday, August 27, 2009 at 9:47:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Dear Naomi,
I just read this post with fascination.

But, as you know, I'm not in the situation to spend much time commenting.
You know what dedication to work means.

Hope to have the time to call you next weekend or during September.
Ingelin, my daugther is "very" pregnant....


Tuesday, September 1, 2009 at 1:41:00 PM PDT 

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