The Descendants: Oscar worthy or just another rainy day film?

During one of my very few attempts to step away from my computer, my job, and my apartment, I decided to go to the movies. For those of you who actually follow this blog, I guess I will say my dating fast is over (it was peaceful while it lasted), and I went on a date (or something like a date I guess) to the movies. My outing led me to view The Descendants with George Clooney. Overall I would give the move 2.5 out of 5 stars. I must say the previews of the movie were appealing, the actual movie…umm could have been better. To my surprise other people actually loved this movie. Important people loved this movie. It was the rave at the Golden Globes, and George Clooney received an Oscar nomination for Best Actor, while the movie received a nomination for best picture.  Wow, who would have thought. I must say that Shailene Woodley had an excellent performance, I hope to see her in future films.  My recommendation: It would be an excellent Netflix film (if you are bored and have a quick 2 hours to waste).

What fascinated me about The Descendants was that the movie takes place and was actually filmed in Hawaii. It is always amazing to see Hawaii on the big screen. To know that I can go outside my door and bear witness to the full beauty of Hawaii is always an added perk of living on the island.  While other movie goers may dream of living here to experience the serene atmosphere and ocean waves, I have the pleasure of living in that world daily.

The Descendants is based on the novel by Kaui Hart Hemmings, a writer who actually grew up in Hawaii. I can probably imagine as in all novels turned movies, the novel is probably much better. The overall story was one that had a good balance of the struggles of the Hawaii of the past to the Hawaii of the present. While explaining the current struggles of Geoge Clooney’s character and the breakdown of his immediate family life,  a touch of native Hawaiian history was thrown in to add an increased dynamic to spice up the overall dullness of the movie.

While the movie had good intentions, I felt something was missing, well a lot was missing. I kept waiting for that climatic moment that would bring out heartfelt emotion. It never came.  Since I haven’t read the book, I can only blame it on the Hollywood effect. To live in Hawaii, has greater raised my understanding of Hawaii and the struggles that native Hawaiians have faced in times of industrialization. Not to be misunderstood, Hawaii is a great place to live, however everyday is not a walk on the beach. One of my favorite lines from the movie was during the initial narrative recited by George Clooney’s character as we are introduced to him. He is explaining that everyone on the mainland thinks it is great that he lives in paradise. The narrative ends with  “I think paradise can go fuck itself”. In essence that one line was the most realistic line of the whole movie, maybe because I have heard that exact same thing from a few of my clients, and some days I can relate to that exact same feeling. While to the outside world, Hawaii is all sun, Hula, and Mai Tai’s, to some of the people who live here island life can be a daily form of torture and devastation.

When Hollywood makes movies, of course they make them for the glitz and glam. A movie made in Hawaii may also be considered propaganda for tourism. The island must look like a place where people would love to come visit and spend lots of money. That part I get.  What was missing was the local style, and the local people. Hawaii is an extremely diverse state, yet diversity was greatly lacking from this movie. Again I will blame the Hollywood effect, often movies are one dimensional with a lack in diversity.

So does George Clooney deserve an Oscar for The Descendants? I would say no. I will give him credit his performance was good, but I have seen him and others do much better. The Decendants came off as simple. It was a simple movie, with an attempt to incorporate a complex story line. Not the best of movies to watch (even if you are bored for two hours). Should it get the Oscar for Best Picture? Definently not. I am not sure what the criteria is for a Best Picture winner, but I am sure this movie does not meet the critera.

Maybe I am judging The Descendants too harshly, hey who am I anyway, my opinion doesn’t really matter. But what do you think? If you have seen The Descendants do you think that it is an Oscar worthy film?

Positive thoughts, positive energy, positive experiences

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2 thoughts on “The Descendants: Oscar worthy or just another rainy day film?

  1. I haven’t seen it, the previews didn’t turn me on. But, I did see Moneyball with Pitt. I would give it 2/4 stars. Not oscar worthy for picture or actor. I really think the best film I saw in 11′ was Crazy Stupid Love.

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