Month of Movies: The Couch Oscars -- Nominated Movies Out on DVD

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I have been a bad movie fan this year. I really like watching Oscar films in advance … but I also like saving money, the popcorn I make, and pajamas. Most Oscar nominees stay in theaters until the awards are over -- so this weekend, I'm seriously going to the movies. I know this because I just bought myself advance tickets to Black Swan for Saturday afternoon. It is on, Natalie Portman. Me and you.

Meanwhile, here's a rundown of the Oscar contenders one can view while sitting comfortably on one's tush. I give you the Couch Oscars!

Oscar Movies I've Seen on DVD

  • Exit Through The Gift Shop (Documentary): I adore this film by anonymous British graffiti artist Banksy. If you saw and liked it in the theater, rent the DVD: The extras are golden. I love that it's nominated for Best Documentary (in my mind there is no question that it is the brilliant hoax Joaquin Phoenix and Casey Affleck failed to achieve with I'm Still Here). I do so hope Banksy accepts the Academy Award in person.

  • How to Train Your Dragon (Animated Movie): Two enthusiastic thumbs up. Both mine. I thought this film was charming, though I remain confused about the Vikings' Scottish accents.

  • The Kids Are All Right (Movie): I like Lisa Chodolenko and I liked this film, but actually thought Julianne Moore should have gotten the Oscar nod. (It probably says a lot about my personality that I think the tightly wound character would be easier to play, huh? Moving on …)

  • The Town (Supporting Actor): Jeremy Renner was splendid and deserved the nod, and I'm a total sucker for a one-last-big-score heist flick. But sorry, Southies, I'm sick of Boston. I think it's time for Hollywood to move on to another beleaguered city. Maybe with the success of the Chrysler/Eminem Super Bowl homage to Detroit, that'll be next.

  • Toy Story 3 (Movie, Animated Movie): Here's where you get to hiss me for being a Bad Person. I meh-ed all the way through this movie. I mean, I cried at the end, but I cry at car commercials, and they don't necessarily need to be poignant tributes to a beleaguered city (see above) -- so that can hardly be my criteria for review. Do I need to give it another try?

  • Toy Story 3

    Image courtesy Disney/Pixar


  • Inception (Movie): I want to watch five eighths of this film over and over and over. I will fast forward through the quart of the movie that consists of Ellen Page looking quizzical as Leo DiCaprio unloads a metric ton of exposition atop her head, and the love story only made me miss Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. But the rest was gorgeous -- and as I say, I love a good heist flick, whether it's robbing a bank or a brain.

Oscar Movies on DVD I've Yet to See

  • The Social Network (Movie): Drat you, Netflix, for my Very Long Wait. I've been dying to see this movie ever since I read Deb's review -- almost bad enough to brave the theater.

  • Animal Kingdom (Supporting Actress): I don't know much about this film -- I had to look it up just now. And I learned that Jacki Weaver was nominated for playing the matriarch of a crime family named Smurf. And based on that alone, it just went to the top of my Netflix.

  • Dogtooth (Foreign Film): Netflix uses the following terms to describe this Greek drama: "Cerebral, Raunchy, Mind-Bending." And on the strength of those three words together, Dogtooth just edged out Animal Kingdom for the coveted Netflix Top Slot. (If the Couch Oscars were a real thing, the Netflix Top Slot Award would TOTALLY be a category.)

  • Restrepo (Documentary): There's no reason for me not to have watched this already: Not only is it out on DVD, but you can stream it on Netflix. But it tracks 15 months with U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan's Korengal Valley, and somehow "a gritty, soldier's-eye view of the front" keeps not being what I want to watch. I mean, you know, it's Top Chef: All-Stars season. ALL-STARS. But yes, I will watch this film this week and you know, I will probably love it.

  • Inside Job (Documentary): Matt Damon narrates this look at the causes of the financial meltdown and recession. I'm wondering if I need to watch this, since I already listened to the This American Life/Planet Money podcast "Giant Pool of Money" about 17 times. Anyone seen it?

  • Gasland (Documentary): This movie explores the effects of natural-gas drilling. I will probably watch it at some point, but can't really see it nabbing a coveted Couch Oscar, can you?

Movies That Oscar Snubbed -- on DVD

  • For Colored Girls: I've been afraid of this one because I love the Ntozake Shange choreopoem, but from everything I've heard, it's surprising that Kimberly Elise didn't get a Supporting Actress nomination. It released today -- do you agree?

  • Let Me In: A vivid and beautiful remake of the even-more-so Swedish film Let the Right One In -- both are remarkably poignant and disturbing films about a tween vampire, the father figure whose caregiving role is extremely bloody, and her developing friendship with a mortal boy. I nominate this for a Best Foreign Film Couch Oscar, no question.

What DVDs have you seen that stuck with you this year?

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