Caw, Caw, Caw: Thoughts on “Birdman”

birdmanposterAs much as I love movies, I care very little about the Academy Awards. It’s too self-congratulatory for me. At heart, it’s just a way to sell more movie tickets. Which is fine, but they could tone down the importance of it a bit.

However, I think I’m going to ease up on the Academy a little bit, because without them I probably wouldn’t have seen Birdman.

When I saw the trailer for Birdman 4 or 5 months ago, it seemed really dark and weird. I wasn’t interested in it for the same reason I never saw that Natalie Portman ballerina movie–just too dark for me. At least, it appeared that way.

The only reason I was mildly interested was because of the long, uncut shots in the movie. I love long takes because of the degree of difficulty for the actors, directors, and crew, as well as the experience for the viewer. It’s one of the reasons I love Children of Men.

So after the movie won best picture, I noticed that Birdman was going to play for a week at the Hi-Pointe Theatre (which has the best popcorn of any movie theater), so I went to see it yesterday.

Mind you, I was mostly there for the popcorn.

Birdman is extremely impressive. It has some of the best acting I’ve ever seen. Like I said, the degree of difficulty is off the charts. The actors had to memorize pages of script, not just a line or two for a quick cut. I can only imagine how many 10-minute takes they did only to mess up a line at the end and have to start over.

The movie is dark–there’s no denying that. But it’s also funny and human and beautiful. And it didn’t give me nightmares, which is always nice.

Even though Michael Keaton says he’s nothing like his character, you can’t help but watch the movie and think of Keaton’s connection to Batman. I’m glad he agreed to take this role. I think he and Eddie Redmayne could have shared the Best Actor award, because they were both amazing in different ways.

In fact, every actor has at least one scene that is flat-out amazing. Watching this movie reminded me that watching actors at the top of their game is every bit as enjoyable as watching a big-budget action flick.

I really loved Birdman. So, thank you, Academy.

If you’ve seen the movie, what did you think?


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