IHAO on ... Birdman or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance

Oscar season is upon us.  I've always liked Oscar season.  And every year I say that I'm going to watch all the nominees for Best Picture, and I never do.  I also see movies that to me absolutely deserve to get a lot of nominations, like Pain & Gain should have gotten for Walberg, Johnson, and Shalhoub, as well as for cinematography and editing.  But invariably, I am very wrong on those thoughts.  But this year, I have this site up and running in a good way, and I hope to actually see all the nominees for best picture this year.  And review them.  And I'm gonna start with Birdman!

Something like this.

This movie was really good.  It is a film about a lot of things, filmed in an incredible way, with really strong performances, some amazing effects mixed into all the really strong human drama, and an interesting bedrock premise to ground a much more difficult to put into words true premise.

The story of the film; We follow Michael Keaton's Riggan, a 90s superhero film actor whose career has tanked since then, and the play he adapted, directed, and stars in on Broadway through the five days leading to opening night.  Edward Norton plays a broadway actor who is amazing at his job, but terrible at just about everything else.  Naomi Watts is an actress working to finally make her dream of getting to broadway.  Emma Stone plays Riggan's daughter and personal assistant, and Zach Galifinakas plays Riggan's lawyer, manager, and best friend.  Oh, and Keaton also plays Birdman, a delusion that plagues Riggan with doubt, fear, and worry.

This movie is really good.  Like, super super good.  I very much hope we get a directing nod for Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu who did the almost impossible of filming the entire movie in the illusion of one-shot without a single edit or cut, so that we, the audience, are a ghost watching the entire film with an insider's perspective.  I very much hope Michael Keaton gets a best actor nod, and Edward Norton a supporting actor, because both of those guys just killed it, especially on scenes they had together.

And I very much think it is a Best Picture nod.  This movie is about acting, about the relationship of audience to actor to director to producer to critic.  About the entire behind the scenes process of a stage show.  About how celebrity and talent are different.  About how social media changes how the world is perceived.  About the influx of superhero films.  About whether or not acting in a big ole bird suit is award-worthy acting or not.  There is a scene where a critic relates superhero movies in acting skill basically to porn and cartoons, as things that have no merit in "real" acting.  I don't agree, but many people do.  And that is interesting.

The whole movie is interesting.  And the subtitle even more interesting.  The "unexpected virtue of ignorance" is a thought I know I've had before as an actor, as a wrestling fan, and so on.  The entire film builds up to explaining what that is, and it is beautiful.  The film is wonderful.  Really great.  I hope that anyone who has ever acted or worked on a show or a movie gives it a watch.  And I hope it does very well this year at the Oscars.

Grade: A++

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