I love the Academy Awards and last year I realized how few of the “Best Picture” winners I’d actually seen. So I made it a goal to see all 83 winners and blog my thoughts about them along the way.

Why did it win? Should another movie have won instead? Has it become a beloved classic or do many of you not even recognize the title? I invite you, my friends and guests, to comment along with me. Do you agree/disagree? I should be fair and place a SPOLIER ALERT on this blog since I’ll be writing about various parts of the movie. So read at your own risk…

I have often told people that I have movie amnesia… I can see a movie and forget all about it years later. So for that reason, I am re-watching the 27 I’ve seen before. That said, if no one visits or reads my blog and I basically perform the online equivalent of talking to a brick wall, that’s fine; if for nothing else, it’ll be my own reminder. Enjoy!

And the Oscar goes to…

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Hurt Locker, 2009

Rated R

“The Hurt Locker” is the lowest-grossing Best Picture winner in Oscar history. I think that fact kind of explains my nonchalance about this movie. This was the first time my hubby and I saw this film. The story is about the risk-taking bomb-diffuser Staff Sergeant William James and his Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) unit in Iraq. William James thrives on the danger and adrenalin of his job. Therefore, he stresses out everyone around him, including those watching the movie. He’s the reckless cowboy who ignores orders but still ends up saving the day (a little too cliché I might add). Our hero is also the sentimental type since he keeps a box under his bed filled with stuff that almost killed him (as his squad member points out in the film, ‘it’s all stuff you can find at Radio Shack’). He also befriends a little Iraqi boy which ends in one particularly hard-to-watch scene. I had to look up what the “hurt locker” is and this is what the movie’s official website had to say: “In Iraq, it is soldier vernacular to speak of explosions as sending you to ‘the hurt locker’,” meaning a world of pain, physical or emotional.

This movie got a little flak from the media and even some veterans for its inaccuracies. (Apparently, the uniforms weren’t the right color among other things). Perhaps that’s why the movie poster boasts that it is “near-perfect” (which I think is a less than desirable phrase in advertising). I think the important thing to keep in mind though, is that this is after all a movie, not a documentary. Obviously, not all experiences in war are alike. In analyzing another phrase on that movie poster… I would hardly call it “ferociously suspenseful”. I’m about as big a gullible sucker you can get for suspense and even I was able to “call” some of the upcoming moments or scenes. Overall, it’s not the most riveting film I’ve ever seen but it is emotional and sparked some conversation between my hubby and me.

“The rush of battle is often a potent and lethal addiction, for war is a drug.” This is the opening written quote in the movie. I’m sure there are those soldiers out there who would disagree with that statement, but this summed up our main character. After a brief time at home (with an ex-wife and daughter) at the end of his tour of duty, he discovers the truth about himself: he really just loves one thing. The ending did not sit entirely well with me. I understand that we need intelligent and experienced soldiers, especially ones particularly gifted or suited for difficult jobs. But at the same time, it hurts my heart to watch or hear about a soldier who has to leave his family. I ache for the spouse and children left alone.

This year, the Academy returned to its roots and chose to include ten films in the nomination for Best Picture. “The Hurt Locker” was up against “The Blind Side” (a very good movie in my opinion), “District 9”, “An Education”, “Inglourious Basterds”, “Precious”, “A Serious Man”, Disney/Pixar’s “Up” (which to me, didn’t live up to the hype), “Up in the Air”, and get this… “Avatar”: quite the range of films, no? Yep, one of the most expensive and highest grossing movies of all time, lost to one that didn’t even get released in all theaters. (“The Hurt Locker” grossed $14.7 million versus “Avatar’s” $720 million). Mind you, I didn’t see “Avatar”, but I surely thought it would win. “The Hurt Locker” did not win the coveted award at the Golden Globes or SAG Awards that year, but, for some strange reason, the dark horse emerged come Oscar time. It’s a little bizarre if you ask me. It won five other awards that night: Best Original Screenplay, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, Best Film Editing, and Best Director (the first female to win EVER!). I thought Jeremy Renner, who played our hero William James, did a fine job acting and deserved his Best Actor nomination.


It’s kind of hard to have a favorite scene in a movie about bomb explosions, but I did laugh out loud at this dialogue:

The EOD team is driving in the desert and discovers a stranded team of British military:
Team Leader: We have a flat tire, can you help us?
William James: Sure, yeah. You got any spares?
Team Leader: Well, we have spares, but we used up our wrench.
William James: How do you use up a wrench?
Team Leader: Well, the uh, guy over there with the red thing on his head, he threw it at someone.
William James: Ha ha! Alright.
Team Leader: Thank you. This is Chris. This is the wrench man.
William James: Hello, Wrench Man.
Sanborn (to Chris): You know you can shoot people here. You don't have to throw wrenches.
Chris: F*** off!


Bigger doesn’t mean better. This is in reference to the fact that this little low-budget, low-attended film beat out one of the most expensive and highest-grossing films to date.

Respect our soldiers. No matter what field or line of duty they are (or were) in, have respect for the courage it takes them to fight to defend our country. You may not agree with war, our troops’ placements, or even the soldier’s decision to fight, but nonetheless, these are our American citizens who are risking their lives for us. Pray for their safety. In fact, say a special prayer this Saturday (May 21st – Armed Forces Day).


  1. what a great idea for a blog Amy!

  2. I haven't seen this. I wonder how many war/soldier films actually won an academy award. I know a lot would be nominated, but I wonder if it is rare.

    I saw "An Education" and "Up." I absolutely loved "An Education." I agree though, I would have suspected Avatar to win because of the hype and popularity.