Sunday, March 4, 2018

Oscars 2018 Academy Awards Best Picture OpEd

Spoilers: If you are new around here please realize there will be spoilers. So, buckle up as I run down my thoughts on the Best Picture Nominations, I even score them on my own 10 point scale. 

Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing Missouri- This deserves a win for screenplay. It was v interesting. It explored emotions better than any other nom by far. You not only get a story that is smart, you get characters who are carved out of a situation, who by the end, you got to know enough to know who they are no matter the situation. The final scene is so poetic. As a whole, it is heavy and dark, but I didn't mind. They weren't gross about it. The storytelling struck a good balance for me. Oh, also the music/score was number one for a reason. Who says it was number one? I did just now. It was. 8.8 out of 10

Shape of Water- I refuse to watch 2 minutes (let alone 2 hours) of a human woman falling in lust/love with a non-human, made-up, animal-monster-alien. 0/10. 

Lady Bird- Trying, like, so hella hard. I get to be extra judgy of things I know well, we all do. LB is a teen beyond her years in Northern California with a complicated relationship with her Mom, about to graduate High School in 2002. Well, I graduated in 1999; this movie is mostly just annoying. If you are looking for a movie that is like this one, but better, there are several others you can watch. My pick would be "Where the Heart Is" and I can't even stand Natalie Portman, so that says a lot. You can't make a quaint coming-of-age flick anymore because there's nothing quaint about something that has saturated the market for years. Try "Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist", oh oh or "The Way, Way Back", or ffs read Catcher in the Rye (hated that book maybe more than any other I've ever bothered to read). Now, before my haters think or say "Mary, Mary, you're being quite contrary"! I offer you losers this: the movie didn't suck completely, if I had to grade it using a Film Making 101 matrix it would get high marks. The thing is: this movie should be swirling with angst and varied emotions... yet, it's actually stale and vapid. I felt nothing while being mildly entertained. It needed to be raw. Examples... she caught her 1st love making out with a boy: no big deal for Lady Bird or the movie apparently. Make parents refi their home: NBD. Almost fail class and not graduate: NBD. Have to bail on prom date: NBD. And so it went.  Anyway, the most annoying thing of this whole movie is how they never explain why she chooses her dumb self-appointed nickname. The greatest triumph of the film is how they never explain why her brother Miguel is another race. I'm not kidding. It doesn't matter if you assume he was adopted or a child from a previous relationship of either parent. It. Does. Not. Matter. and that's point. 4/10, maybe 5/10 if you are bored. 

The Post- The Snooze. Spielberg has only himself to blame. It's so him. Soft focus on Hanks being a good guy. The script itself isn't bad. The story is fine. I enjoyed that they stayed true to the history and it was so relevant today... but that has more to do with intrinsic truths than it does movie making. What happened was the whole thing got plugged into the Spielberg machine to crank out a blockbuster. Strong leads: check. Relevant political story: check. Progressive outcome: check. If this movie were visual art it would be a print (get it? a print, newspaper, omg). Spielberg is the Thomas Kinkade of filmmaking in so many ways. 7/10

Call Me By Your Name- Want to move to the Italian countryside for a summer? The cast of sophisticated characters charm their way through living their best lives. Comparing it to Lady Bird is easy since they are both centered around a year in the life of a graduating high schooler. However CMBYN is more of a romance and exploration of the human experience more than a coming of age.Take my disrespect for LB, quadruple it, then triple that, now convert it to appreciation and admiration, that is how I feel about CMBYN. It does lean a touch too sexual overall, taking away from the romance of the relationships and the romance of the film in general. That is my only criticism. It was real and beautiful. I learned it was shot in chronological order (v rare) which I believe gave the actors time to acquaint themselves more fully with their characters and with the story. Nuances like that are what takes things from "mildly entertaining" to deeply moving. One of the best monologues in movie history was delivered (Prof. Pearlman to Elio at the end in the library). This movie lets us in in a profound way. I loved it obviously, which is also easy to do.  9.5/10 

Darkest Hour(s)- This was a good movie. 7/10

Dunkirk- This was a bad movie. 2/10

Get Out- Should win. It was the best picture. Brilliant. You might not have gotten it. I say that with all the contempt in the world. If you don't love this movie or realize how many layers of genius is involved here, you might never get it (the movie or life). Like nothing else before it, it transcends genre. Intricately its own thing and it does everything I want a movie to do, told in a way only the magic of movies can. They accomplish all this while being a comedy, drama, horror movie and there is a plot and a twist! Come for the suspense but stay for the social commentary. Jordan Peele, will you marry me? OMG, you guys, while writing this, I just googled and he is married to Chelsea Peretti who I find intelligent, witty, and all-around likeable... she was also born and raised near me, so, she is basically me in a diff body... (I won't get into how funny saying "me in a diff body" was... watch the movie people)... fine, he can stay married to her. Bottom line is this movie is shockingly well made and undeniably fresh, relevant, smart, well acted, well written, captivating, funny, sad, artistic, and has the ability to incite thought enough to provoke change. 10 out of 10. 

Phantom Thread- Yes, thank you. Great movie. From top to bottom, quality... from start to finish about 20 minutes before the finish. I can't wait for the DVD to come out with an alternative ending. Please give us a different ending? And by that I mean I want the movie to end differently and I'd like Daniel Day Lewis to end his acting career differently. He claims this will be his final role. If he wins for best lead actor he will have been the only male with 4 wins. A woman already did this (Katherine Hepburn). Back to the movie... it was humming along nicely before it self-destructed. I thought the living room visiting teaching session with the doctor in flashbacks was a bit choppy, but other than that one tiny flaw, this thing was tight. Costumes being of particular note. Then, the ending came crashing down. Ugh. Lame. Besides the ending, I really like the movie. I didn't like the characters, but I liked the character development. The acting by everyone involved was a master class.  Bravo, bravo. 8/10

P.S. Anyone else wonder why The Promise didn't get nominated? Oh, that's right because there was a literal orchestrated campaign against the film by Armenian Genocide deniers. They flooded online ratings before it was released with down votes, zero scores, etc... and apparently the academy can't think for itself? Wouldn't want to nominate a worthy film because people (seemingly) didn't love it. Eye roll.

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