Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: All 5 of the Oscar Nominated Live Action Shorts (Oscar Catch Up Part 7)

Okay, I went to a theater this weekend to cross 5 more nominated things off my list. Since my wife and I are having our last Oscar party this year, I’m trying to see the most nominations I ever have, in case any guests have any questions. I will definitely never do this again, as all 5 of the Live Action Shorts were depressing as fuck (they were all well told though and well made). Was there really no happy shorts? So let’s do one or two quick paragraphs on each shall we?


The longest and depressing of them all, let’s rip it like a band-aid. This is based of the true 1993 England tragedy of two year old James Bulger, who was tortured and murdered by two ten year old boys, the youngest convicted murderers in the history of the world. This 30 minute short basically covers the initial taped interviews when they were first brought in for questioning. I read about this haunting case about a year ago, and it has haunted me ever since. Do everyone a favor and don’t look up this case anywhere on Wikipedia or other news sites, as if you do, you might end up depressed for hours/days, and this whole ordeal haunting your nightmares, especially if you have a little toddler in your life right now.

I’ve listened to the tapes awhile ago in real life (they don’t replay the real ones here, it is re-enacted by actors and actresses) and everything here is dead on. The child acting is phenomenal, and seeing the two boys abduct James in the mall and walk him to his death was very hard to watch for me. This short is controversial out of the whole bunch because the mother of James Bulger has tried to get this film boycotted because she feels like the movie humanizes the two monster. Quite the contrary, it made me hate the little fuckers more and wish that I could kill them both myself. Especially if you read how their lives have basically moved on after they turned 21 years old and the whole anonymity bullshit. I really hope this short doesn’t win, as I do agree that the filmmaker not getting permission from Bulger’s mother beforehand makes me think he really is trying to get ahead by creating art out of tragedy. I’ll tell you one last thing, if I had a time machine, this would be the first thing I would stop.


This shortest of the shorts is a one take depressing wonder. Basically this mother receives a phone call from her six-year-old son, who is on a beach in France waiting on his father to get back with something (why the father left him alone? No clue, this doesn’t answer it. Marta quickly realizes that something is very wrong and that she has almost no time to solve the problem as her son’s cell phone battery is low.

The one take thing was pretty genius. The acting from both the mother, her son’s voice, and then the grandmother are excellent (I wonder how many whole takes it took to get the thing in the can). You might be asking if this is more of a thriller and how the hell is it depressing. Well, I don’t want to spoil anything, but I bet you could probably guess how this thing ends. Anyway, the short, while depressing, was short and well made.


On the Quebec countryside, two young boys are playing around in abandoned areas and objects. They keep challenging each other to certain tasks, and one of these tasks will change their lives forever. Yep, this one is still depressing, and very haunting to the point where you don’t want to ever lose sight of your young child. It’s not as bad as having them abducted and murdered, but it’s still very bad.

The child acting is great, and the short isn’t that long. So yeah, that’s all I have to say about that. Great camera work in this one as well.


A racist red neck asshole beats up a black man outside a grocery store in front of both their families. The black man did absolutely nothing wrong, in fact, he was just playing with the boy with an action figure from a distance. Then this racist red neck asshole gets abducted by some people as revenge from the encounter. Anyway, where it goes from there, I will not say. As the revenge is pretty genius, and the depressing part is the initial racism beat up scene and then the ending.

The acting here is excellent. It actually have people you may know such as Jonathan Tucker (in a bunch of shit) or Danielle McDonald (the girl in Patti Cakes and Bird Box). And like I said, the revenge part is pretty genius. You’ll see.


Last, but certainly not least. This is the one posed to win the Oscar, and it deserves it. It is the least depressing of the bunch, more of a bittersweet depressant. A very old sick elderly woman, who needs dialysis but refuses to get it, is taken care of by a nice younger woman, and the two become friends.

When the elderly woman finds out things about the younger woman’s life style, she reminesces about her past and then shares some things with the younger one that she didn’t think she could tell anyone. I won’t giveaway what these things are, but they are depressing in that what the elderly woman’s dreams when she was younger was considered a mortal sin back then, and she just didn’t live in the right time. Great acting, great short, hope it wins, and that’s it, I’m tired of talking about depressing films.


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