Oscar Nominated Shorts — Live Action

My take on the third program of Oscar nominated shorts playing local theaters: another program worth watching.

Do I Have to Take Care of Everything?: Coming in at a brisk 6:51 runtime, this is one of the shortest films in all of the Oscar Shorts programs and also the funniest. I don’t want to tell you anything about it except that it made me laugh, and made me smile, and made me happily consider that I don’t ever get so frazzled as I may think! This is a slight film but entertaining.

Helium: In my experience, movies don’t do a very good job exploring or explaining the metaphysical world. This film is remarkable in that it comes close…maybe…how can I know? A little boy is dying, but he appears cherubic and worlds of things unspoken shine from his face. When the boy begins an ongoing conversation with an orderly about the afterlife, they develop an alternative to Heaven, Helium, played out in stories that soothe both of them. Of course, one reason I feel a connection to this film is that the little boy looks a lot like my own son did at that age…

Just Before Losing Everything: Superb visual storytelling and a riveting narrative. I wanted to chew my fingernails, and I don’t chew my fingernails. Without telling you more – why should I want to spoil it? – I’ll just say that this is a story of one unhappy family and the people who try to help.

That Wasn’t Me: A harrowing film that explores the most evil acts of humanity through the violence of African children turned into soldiers and the men who recruit them. As brutal and grim as the unfolding narrative is, the story is punctuated by insights an older version of one of the soldiers has as he recounts his efforts to transform himself from what he became into the person he wants to become, the person he was meant to be. The film is difficult to watch but worth watching; I can’t understand why things like this happen, but they do, and sometimes good emerges from the terrible.

The Voorman Problem: Thought-provoking little film…for a minute or so. Major questions about God and existence are worth grappling with, though a clever little film is not the most illuminating forum.

Just Before Losing Everything
Image from Just Before Losing Everything.

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