Friday, February 20, 2009

Pumpstradamus 2009 Predictions - A Multimedia Extravaganza

Welcome to our annual Pre Oscar column… which includes our annual visit with Pumpstradams and his predictions for 2009!

Last Monday I went to see a President’s Day Matinee and as I left the theater, I realized that I had just seen an incredible movie.

While “Titanic” took a tragic ship accident and worked a story around it… Slumdog Millionaire takes the story of a young man appearing on India’s version of “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” and turns it into the story of the tragic life of one of its contestants. I will never again wonder why so many Indians move to Central NJ after seeing this movie and how horrific life can be for so many young kids growing up there.

The movie has some odd twists… no spoilers here, but the closing credits were similar to the style we saw in “Mamma Mia”… and it didn’t really make a lot of sense for such a serious movie. Maybe this is how all the Indian Bollywood movies are made? Also, some plot developments near the end were just a bit hard to believe, but then again look at the mashugas Lost fed us this week…. I guess I can suspend some disbelief… But despite that, Jamal the main character, had been through so much during his tortured young life that you really feel that something good has to happen to this poor fellow.

The movie is told partly in flashback… Jamal the main character runs through the questions on Millionaire, but after he was won a ton o' money, that day's episode has run out of time, and Jamal is invited to come back to finish his game on the next episode. Usually, they run the credits, the contestant chats with Regis or Meredith, and they then proceed to tape the next episode. But that is not the case in India!

Suspicion starts to brew that this uneducated young man from the slums would be smart enough to get so many questions right... even though he needed an early lifeline for a relatively easy question. The police sense some monkey business, and call Jamal in to Jack Bauer-esquely question him about how he was able to get so many questions right. As part of the interrogation, they rewatch the show that was just completed (and aired live), Jamal reveals that the questions were not that hard for him because virtually every answer reminded him of a difficult chapter of his nightmarish younger days.

Interestingly enough, a woman from my town recently went on Jeopardy and the day after I saw Slumdog, I ran into her at Shop Rite. I was going to ask her how she knew all the answers but then I decided… maybe not. I didn’t know if I wanted to hear any more horrible stories.

The director Danny Boyle successfully weaves three time lines into the movie as we see the story during the actual show, the interrogation, and Jamal's childhood. We watch the shocking story as he crawls out of a very full outhouse to meet an anticipated visitor while totally covered in years of his neighbors crap. We also watch how he and other children are exploited by "loving adult rescuers" who resort to torture to give these kids a so-called better life. While most kids his age grow up striving for high scores on video games, Jamal obsesses over other kids who were not able to get a better life like he did... not that his life was so spectacular.

There are many situations where this movie's harsh realism is like taking a punch to the gut. Overall however, it is one of the best movies I have seen in years, and hopefully the Academy will recognize this on Sunday Night. On a scale of 1 to 4 bladders meaning how less likely you would be to leave in the middle to go to the bathroom – Slumdog Millionaire is a 4 bladder movie!

Pumpy’s Oscar picks are in the podcast… here are mine.

Supporting Actress - Penelope Cruz
Supporting Actor – Heath Ledger.. but I really think that Robert Downey Jr.s amazing performance in Tropic Thunder would have made this race closer if Ledger was still alive.
Actress - Meryl Streep
Actor – Sean Penn
Director – Danny Boyle for Slumdog Millionaire
Movie – Slumdog Millionaire… possibly the best movie since Schindlers List in ’94! (notwithstanding Superbad)

Now time for the videos!

A couple of weeks ago, we posted the Do A Dish video I did in college. I hope you got to see it because today Pumpy flexes his acting chops with our own version of… Do A Dish! (The original 1988 Do a Dish was taken down from You Tube temporarily… we will repost it here on NWOW upon its return)

And now with a special nod to the now defunct Shea Stadium… here is Pumpstradamus with his 2009 predictions!

Next Week: The movie club returns with “American Psycho”!

1 comment:

Nate said...

5-1 on our picks.... Not bad... How does anybody beat Meryl Streep? In Trophy Wife's office pool we went an astounding 19-5!