…was Babel. SPOILER ALERT! If you haven’t seen it and you plan to, stop reading now!!!

But I couldn’t wait for it to end. We couldn’t walk out until I knew the kids were safe. Not because I cared, but because I couldn’t stand to think a film maker would kill them off for the message. Whatever it was. Xavier says a perfect ending would have been for the red cross helicopter to have been shot down by a stray bullet fired from a celebratory pistol.

On the bright side, the subtitles for the non-English-speaking scenes were in Spanish and there were no subtitles for the Spanish-speaking scenes, so we got a lot of good Spanish practice. It was very satisfying to be able to follow all the story lines, even if they were all tragic and not very believable.

If you saw Babel and loved it, or disagree with my other reviews, you are not alone. Not only do my views represent the major minority, my own mother refuses to go to the movies with me anymore because I’m so critical. In fact, this is exactly why she christened me Criticia Voluptua Right-Right. I know: that’s so harsh, eh?

The thing is, I’m trying to see as many Academy Award movies as possible before the big night so I can vote intelligently with my local theatre buddies. But I’m getting a little jaded here. And downright scared. I’ve been SO disappointed, I’m actually afraid to see anymore. And loathe to shell out any more colones.

Even Little Miss Sunshine was a let down, perhaps just because of the huge build-up. Cute and funny, yes. But all-in-all, a little precocious and predictable. The acting was superb – Alan Arkin, Greg Kinnear, Paul Dano, Toni Collette, Abigail Breslin. All excellent, a pleasure to be with despite the contrived plot.

War movies are not my bag. They are X’s. For instance, he owns every book and movie on the Civil War ever put out. He can talk about the civil war ad nauseam. For frickin’ hours. Knows every date, battle, general, number dead, every excruciating detail. But we are both huge Clint Eastwood fans, so when Flags of Our Fathers hit town, we went. Such a tangled web from one photo! The movie tried to tell too much in too many short scenes for too many hours. X loved it. I almost forgot I saw it. Um, I do know this movie is not about the Civil War.

My man Leo was perfect in Blood Diamond. I’d like to say he’s a shoe-in, but I haven’t seen any of the other Best Actor pictures. The guy who played Solomon Handy was not only hot, but a fine actor. The scene with his son was beautiful. Jennifer Connelly "phoned it in" as we say in the biz: learned her lines, said them with feeling, cried a tear and went back to her trailer. But Leo: I believed every moment. Not a throw-away blink.

So here’s what’s left on my Must See list:

The Queen was here and I missed it. Bummer! I should have made more of an effort. I can see Pan’s Labyrinth tomorrow. But nothing else has arrived so I may have to go to Amazon, pay the big bucks and try to get a few DVDs here on the double. If I could see The Departed, The Queen and The Last King of Scotland before Sunday, I’d be happy. If you’ve seen anything on the list and want to warn me off, now’s the time. Not that that’ll stop me… I LOVE going to the movies. Sitting in the dark, eating popcorn, drinking coke while a story unfolds on the big screen… Heck, I’m ready now! Wonder what’s on HBO…

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