10 March 2014 Comments Off on BY SERA ULUSOY (MAN/III)


“All right, all right, all right.” Yes, the very famous Matthew McConaughey lines. And yes, I know some of you still feel like Leonardo DiCaprio deserved an Oscar for his wonderful acting in the “Wolf of Wall Street.” Maybe in another world, where he was competing in a category in which McConaughey hadn’t been nominated for his role in “Dallas Buyers Club,” he would have won, and I would have been wildly amazed if he hadn’t. But in reality, McConaughey was so good in “Dallas Buyers Club” that I don’t really think calling it “so good” will do. I’ll get back to how great both he and Jared Leto were, but let me first explain the reason behind my current movie fever.

I wanted to talk about the Oscars in general this week, how the ceremony was by far one of the greatest—in fact, among the ones that I’ve watched, it really was the greatest—how Ellen DeGeneres was the perfect host, how that group selfie—with Jared Leto, Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Brad Pitt, Kevin Spacey and Ellen—was the best **************** selfie ever, how fun it was to watch the most well-groomed people eating pizza with great appetite, how fantastic it was to see Pharrell perform “Happy,” and finally how Emma Watson and Joseph Gordon-Levitt together onstage as presenters created an Internet and Twitter craze that night.

However, two things—well, actually three things, but two movies—exhilarated me so much that I just want to talk about them now: “Her” and “Dallas Buyers Club.” Don’t worry, I’m not going to give details about the plots and spoil the endings or the films as a whole for you. I just want to talk about how brilliant these two movies are in terms of, well, everything, from screenwriting to acting to directing.

When I saw the official trailer for “Her” a couple of months ago in a movie theater, I got this overwhelming feeling—I don’t recall ever getting that interested in a movie before just by watching the trailer. And it wasn’t solely the originality of the theme that attracted me; Joaquin Phoenix’s presence alone was enough to convince me that the film was worth seeing. For me, Phoenix is one of the most talented yet most underrated actors of our time, and it really isn’t fair that he hasn’t received Oscar nominations for many of his films. But it felt like it had been a long time since we had gotten to see him, with all his quirkiness (which is what makes him such a brilliant actor).

Now, as for the movie itself, it really is one of a kind. I mean, this is a science-fiction romantic drama: how often do you get to watch a man fall deeply in love with an OS with artificial intelligence, and find this reasonable (yes, reasonable, as unreasonable as it may sound) to a certain extent? The story of the love between Theodore and Samantha, the OS, is set approximately 10 years from now, and honestly, it is not that hard to comprehend this love, given the speed of current technological advances, and, despite their countless benefits, the alienation they create. You may find it disturbing, the love between an OS and a man, and I do too, believe me. But after watching “Her,” it really doesn’t feel right to call this love unsettling; not because it is true love or anything, but because the movie depicts it so well that it seems more touching, though weird, than disturbing and unsettling. I mean, I was about to jump for joy when I heard that Spike Jonze won, no, earned, the Academy Award for the best original screenplay—not that this was a surprise, though, as it was a favorite of many critics.

Moving on to another, or two other award presentations that caused me to jump for joy and grin as widely as I could, we saw Matthew McConaughey receiving this year’s award for best actor and Jared Leto receiving the award for best supporting actor for their roles in “Dallas Buyers Club.” I don’t know if you have seen the movie yet, but you really should, not just for the sake of watching those two amazing performances, but also to get a greater understanding of the issues faced by people struggling with AIDS, especially during that era, around 1985, when AIDS was considered a disease of homosexuals, and when things were even tougher than they are now for people with different sexual orientations, and people with AIDS in general. Tom Hanks’s portrayal of a homosexual man with AIDS in “Philadelphia” was amazing, and it made me cry for sure, but at least it was comforting to know that despite having to deal with this incredibly horrible disease as well as a vicious lawsuit that had been brought against him, he had immense support from his family, his lover and his lawyer. In “Dallas Buyers Club,” you have no such comforts. You have a man, a man who is told he has 30 days left to live, fighting for his life and managing to survive for more than seven years after his diagnosis despite all the abandonment he experiences and the hatred he receives during some very difficult times. And then you have another character, Rayon, an HIV-positive transgender woman portrayed heartbreakingly well by Jared Leto. It was not a surprise that the humanitarian, multifaceted, multitalented, amazing Jared Leto performed so well, but it was a rather different experience for many to see Matthew McConaughey acting this superbly and rebranding himself, given the earlier part of his journey from appearing in commercial movies to performing in great independent films.

For those of you who haven’t seen “Her” and “Dallas Buyers Club,” reward yourselves this weekend and watch “Dallas Buyers Club”—“Her” hasn’t yet been released in Turkey but will be later this month. As for those who have a list of must-see-before-you-die movies, let me say that you have to add two more.