Chili peppers more Oscar-worthy

Chili peppers more Oscar-worthy

Thadd Simpson, Columnist

Sometimes, I don’t understand things. For instance, the Lower Gag on campus sells two different kinds of milk.

One variety comes in one-liter paper cartons, the other in two-liter plastic bottles. Here’s where it gets weird. Even though buying two paper cartons worth of milk is some 20 cents cheaper AND better for the environment, people still pay for the plastic bottles of milk.

I just can’t wrap my head around it.

Another thing I don’t understand is how “Beasts of No Nation” did not receive a single Oscar nomination in any category for 2015.

It’s a beautiful movie, even though its subject matter is among the ugliest imaginable. It’s certainly better than “Mad Max: Fury Road,” which is little more than a big, stupendous chase scene.

Excuse me, but Furiosa was the best part of that movie and Charlize Theron isn’t even up for best actress? What part of “Mad Max” was better than her?

For those of you who haven’t seen it, “Beasts of No Nation” is a movie about a young African boy named Agu, and how he is turned into a child soldier after a civil war separates him from his family.

This film is absolutely gut-wrenching, gripping and impossible to predict.

Everybody knows Mark Wattney in “The Martian” makes it back to earth before they even get to the theater, but Agu’s survival never feels predestined.

While watching extremely smart people do extremely complicated work is highly entertaining, and Matt Damon’s character certainly adds to that facet of “The Martian’s” appeal, Idris Elba plays a much more interesting and complex character as “Beasts’” adult lead.

The Commandant brutally reshapes his fellow countrymen, drowning them in a magical indoctrination so intense that even I was rooting for his little band of war criminals.

This was the guy blowing smoke in a child’s face in the trailer for the movie, and now I’m rooting for him.

This guy is basically Joseph Kony, and I’m still kinda rooting for him.

Now in fairness, the only films in the running for best picture that I’ve seen are “Mad Max” and “The Martian,” so who knows, maybe all the other nominees are equally as breathtaking and thought-provoking as “Beasts,” but I doubt it.

Even the child actors were fantastic. How many other movies can say that? And the cinematography, oh lord the cinematography, red African dirt never looked so beautiful!

Director Cary Fukunaga depicted a jungle that I never wanted to leave, even while desperately hoping Agu would find a way out.

“Mad Max” and “The Martian” are both technically impressive films. The god of film only knows how many hours of scientific research and totaled automobiles went into each of those films, but at the end of the day, that’s all they really are. A pile of burnt-out demolition derby cars and a couple hundred lines of Mars jargon.

They won’t wake you up in the middle of the night, demanding your attention.

These Oscar-nominated films are built on technical prowess, whereas “Beasts” is emotionally-charged in every single scene.

Look, none of the movies I’ve mentioned are bad. Not by a long shot. But neither of these Oscar nominees are as profoundly insightful as “Beasts of No Nation.”

This is the movie that humanizes Kony. This is the movie that asks real questions about a world we really live in, and demands that we take it seriously in 2015.

Let me put it this way: the nominees are smooth and refreshing like milk, while “Beasts” is a chili pepper.