The Oscars Showdown: ‘Flight’ vs. ‘The Silver Linings Playbook’

Sarah Contreras

The 85th Academy Awards will take place on Feb. 24. As per usual, a slew of films have earned nominations, but who has time to watch every one? In this series, columnist Sarah Contreras will wade through the river of films and tell you what is worth seeing and what isn’t worth your time.

Break out the popcorn or save your money? This week’s reviewed films are Robert Zemeckis’ “Flight” and David O. Russell’s “The Silver Linings Playbook.”

“Flight”

Category: Best Actor In a Lead Role – Denzel Washington

Watch it or Don’t Bother: Don’t Bother

This “flawed hero” story had potential. The ever-so-dashing Denzel Washington plays a hard-drinking pilot who lands an airplane under impossible circumstances.

However, the movie is far too cliché to be taken seriously. Between some truly strange “praise Jesus” interjections and playing of “Under The Bridge” while somebody shoots up some really intense heroin, the movie almost plays out like a parody of itself. Did I mention “Feelin’ Alright” is played both times Washington’s character snorts cocaine?

Washington, as usual, perfectly portrays conflicted, arrogant and intelligent. Is it his best work? No. Will he win in his category? No. However, it’s always nice to see John Goodman be awesome.

“The Silver Linings Playbook”

Category: Best Actress In a Lead Role – Jennifer Lawrence

Watch It or Don’t Bother: Watch It

This delightfully strange comedy stars Bradley Cooper as a recently liberated mental patient who is hellbent on getting his ex-wife back (the ex, in turn, has taken out a restraining order against him).

His father, played by Robert De Niro, is an OCD-ridden Philadelphia Eagles fan with anger issues, while Jacki Weaver plays Cooper’s mom, springing him from his mental ward and making excuses left and right.

These three performances are nuanced and effective. However, it is Lawrence’s Tiffany who truly steals the show.

Tiffany is a recently widowed young woman who loses her job by literally sleeping with everybody in her office – fights erupt over her in the parking lot and at the water cooler. Lawrence, despite being 22 years old, conveys layers of anguish and complexity rarely seen in actresses her age. She is bitter and wounded, and when her unstoppable force meets Cooper’s stubborn brick wall, the effect is hilarious and weird.