As my faithful readers know, there is a fine Word of the Day tradition of honoring each of the Oscar nominees with a special story, leading up to the big day. That was before the Academy, in its infinite wisdom, moved the date of the telecast up, and also they started nominating up to 10 films. So, it’s been hard to keep up.
Tonight, I am trying to get a bunch of other stuff done, so, I am dipping into the re-run well, and in honor of that tradition, I’ve chosen one of the Oscar stories from 2004.
That year, I decided to unify all the stories by putting them to sea, because the Academy was on a string of consistently nominating a Russell Crowe vehicle, no matter what that might be. In 2004, the vehicle was a ship. So, to take that further, I presented the nominated films as if they’d all have taken place on the deep blue sea. Yes, my brain is a strange and scary place.
This was the story for the movie “Lost in Translation.” If you’ve not seen it, it’s about an American actor, played by Bill Murray, who goes to Japan to do some commercials, and in the middle of the culture shock of being a foreigner in a strange land where he doesn’t speak the language, he finds another American, and they share their confusion together.
Bob Harris sat on a deck chair on the Pacific Princess, waiting for the director to call “action.” He never expected he’d be called to make a series of commercials for a cruise line. The director had a brilliant idea that filming the commercials during an actual real cruise, so there was a constant audience. Worse, the director kept wanting him to make his performance more energetic, more “Kathy Lee.” Except, when he said it, it sounded like “Kathy Ree.”
And all the people on the ship were insane. Nice enough, but completely loony. The Captain is convinced that the ship is a warship in the middle of the second World War, and that the people aboard are trained naval personnel. It wouldn’t be so bad, except everyone was expected to show up for morning review, and participate in firing drills. Firing Drills. On a ship with no guns. There’s the chronically perky Julie, who runs around the ship forcing people to join other shipmates in organized activities, never taking “no” for an answer. The ship’s doctor not only had an aggressively bad case of hypochondria, but was convinced everyone on the ship was carrying Ebola, Anthrax, or SARs.
Fortunately, Bob met Charlotte. Being the only sane people on the ship, they were relieved to have found each other. When Bob had no commitments, the two of them would wander the ship, hiding from Julie, enjoying the innubilious weather, and connecting with each other over mutual sanity.
While I will admit that this movie depends absolutely on the subtle nuances in the performances of Johannson and Murray, I was highly disappointed that this picture won best original screenplay. But, I don’t get to vote.
Sad, really, that the intro is longer than the story.
innubilious: / INN – oo – BILL – us / cloudless