Birdman stars Michael Keaton as a famous movie actor who, know for his superhero movies, decides to risk it all opening as a lead and director on Broadway in an arty play.  The story centers around the last days of the play and Keaton’s character struggling with being torn between his commercial success as Birdman and is desire to prove to the world to be a “real” actor.  The cast is pretty stellar and includes Zach Galifianakis as Birdman’s lawyer, Emma Stone as his daughter, Ed Norton as his acting rival, Amy Ryan as his ex-wife and Naomi Watts as Norton’s girlfriend.

I can see why this won Best Picture.  It works on a lot of levels.  There is the level of Birdman’s play, which is about love, the love Birdman has for acting, his daughter, his ex-wife and his girlfriend and there is the love that Ed Norton has for the stage and the love the fans have for the superhero Birdman.  The movie has a surreal quality as well, as you’re never quite sure whether or not certain sequences are real or just in Birman’s mind.

Most of my friends outside the world of entertainment hated the movie and I can understand why.  It’s pretty “inside” with regard to theater, acting and show business in general.  I think Hollywood tends to gravitate to these kinds of movie since there are a lot of actors voting in the Academy.  At the same time, the movie feels like a play and has a great nervous energy about it that’s distinctly its own.  It also won for Best Soundtrack, which is completely jazz.

At the same time, I feel the movie is a tad overrated.  It’s frantic pace doesn’t allow you to get to know some of the characters as intimately as you might otherwise.  It’s one of those movie that’s kind of work to watch.  Not a lot, but a little, which is why I think some people are turned off.  And I don’t think the ending is very realistic considering the wind up, but I thought it was a good ride.

I give Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) 8 out of 10 keggers.