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March 17, 2018

I wonder if it's occurred to The Academy that there would be a larger viewing audience for the Oscars if more of us had a chance to see the movies before they present them with awards? 

 

One good thing about it - I'm able to build my library of films I want to watch when they're available to rent on Amazon. 

 

For those of you who don't know - probably most of you do by now - I hate going to the theater. I mean, I enjoy going to The Theatre. But I really don't like watching movies with the unwashed masses at the cineplex. People are always lighting up their phones or talking. And why, WHY do the films have to be so darn loud? Completely unnecessary. 

 

Chip loves going to the movies. He sees everything. Always has. Our whole marriage, he's gone by himself to the movies at least once a week. Now he's bought a Movie Pass so he can literally go every single day if he wants to. (Spoiler: He often wants to.) Sometimes, to appease him, I'll go to a movie with him. Sometimes, to appease me, he'll select a film I might enjoy. We went to a matinee of The Post a few weeks ago. We thought we were going to be the only ones in the theater. Then I guess a shuttle from the retirement home showed up because just before it started about 30 senior citizens came in. The lady behind us narrated the entire film to her seatmate. It was awesome. 

 

This is why I prefer to watch films in the comfort of my own living room. 

 

Anyhoo. 

 

I've spent the last week or 10 days watching Oscar-nominated films that have now become available to rent on Amazon. 

 

 Ladybird

I enjoyed this very much. I honestly believe Laurie Metcalf is going to eventually be recognized as one of the great actors of this generation. She does comedy and drama equally well. She's just so darned believable in everything she plays. I thought this script was very well written. I probably would have connected to it more if I had a daughter or had lived with my mom in my teens. 

 

 

Darkest Hour

I like films or television stories about Churchill because I find him to be a fascinating communicator. And I am a communicator by profession. I believe there is much we can learn from the great communicators like Churchill. Lincoln. MLK. Barack Obama. Gary Oldman, on the other hand, confounds me. I never recognize him. In anything. Even his natural state. I was watching this on a Sunday afternoon and I got really sleepy and went to take a nap. It actually might have been Oscar Sunday, come to think of it. When I went to finish watching it Monday after work I found out that Amazon makes you finish watching a film within 24 hours so I never saw the end. I guess I can look up on Wikipedia how the situation turned out. 

 

Three Billboards

I liked this one more than I thought I would. I'd read a lot of conflicting opinions on it. I'm not sure how I feel about racist cops getting a redemption story. Oh wait...yes I am. THEY SHOULDN'T. Also I felt like there was a lot of inexplicably unanswered questions - like how did Mildred not know the sheriff's wife? It was obviously a very small town. And why did she suddenly have an Australian accent after her husband died? Of course Frances McDormand was amazing in it, as she always is. Although sometimes I feel like she's always playing herself. Like Jack Nicholson. 

 

 

 Get Out

This is another one I heard a lot about before I saw it. I was curious but honestly had no intention of watching it because I don't do horror movies. Then it won for Best Screenplay and, of course, as a writer, I was tempted to watch. Because I like to see what the Academy considers the best screenplay. My friend Debbie, who is a high school teacher, told me that she showed it to her students in order to instigate a conversation about race in America. She assured me that it wasn't a horror movie. More a thriller. LIke a Hitchcock film, she said. So I watched it. I can see where it could be divisive. The metaphor for slavery was obvious - that black lives are expendable so it's totally fine for white people to remove them and use them for their own service and selfish needs. It was definitely original and powerful and I'm glad Jordan Peele won the Oscar. Also, he said in his acceptance speech that he quit writing this script 20 different times. Then he finished it. Then he won an Oscar. There's a lesson for writers here. 

 

 I, Tonya

Oh, I was anxious for this one. Because I remember the Tonya Harding-Nancy Kerrigan "incident" well. I remember the Lillehammer Olympics when Tonya started her routine, fell, stopped, went over to the judges table and put her foot up on it, explaining her broken laces. I felt like they over-dramatized the idiocy of this criminal enterprise...and yet I fear they did not. Of course the premise of Tonya's story is that an abused girl from a poor household had the audacity to succeed at international figure skating. In her story, truth is stranger than fiction. Both Allison Janney and Margo Robbie gave excellent performances. 

 

 

 The Shape of Water

I probably wouldn't have watched this film if it hadn't have won for Best Picture. I've tried to watch his movies before and they're just too weird for me. I expected this one would be the same. Instead, it turned out to be a beautiful story of people who are alone because society makes outcasts of people it considers "freaks." 

 

 Call Me By Your Name

Oh, I'm a sucker for a film set in a small European village - I almost don't care what the plot line is. Of course, this narrative was a very progressive, very open coming-of-age story, set in a beautiful location with beautiful people and romantic languages and classical music. It would be hard for me not to love this one. If I were better at interpreting symbolism in movies, I might write something about fruit here. Because there was a lot of fruit in that movie. And I just realized that sounds like an unintended (and inappropriate) pun and that's definitely not what I meant. Although who knows? Maybe the filmmaker did. I told you, I'm not good at symbolism. It's probably a bit idealistic to portray this family who was so open-minded about their teenage son drinking and smoking and having sex (and being bi-sexual) but maybe not so much in a European family."What you two had, had everything and nothing to do with intelligence." What a fantastic line.  

 

Endnote: I'm sure I'm not the only one to notice this, but Ladybird's first boyfriend was also the son in Three Billboards . And her second boyfriend was the kid in Call Me By Your Name. And the advertising guy in Three Billboards was also the son in Get Out (as well as a small role in The Florida Project). And I'm wondering if there's a dearth of young, white male actors in Hollywood? Not that I don't like these - I think Timothee Chalamet in particular has a brilliant career ahead of him - I just found the duplication curious. 

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