2018 Golden Globe Predictions

MOVIES

Best Picture — Drama

Call Me by Your Name

Dunkirk

The Post

The Shape of Water

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Best Picture — Comedy or Musical

The Disaster Artist

Get Out

The Greatest Showman

I, Tonya

Lady Bird

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture — Drama

Timothée Chalamet, Call Me by Your Name

Daniel Day Lewis, Phantom Thread

Tom Hanks, The Post

Gary Oldman, The Darkest Hour

Denzel Washington, Roman J. Israel, Esq.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture — Drama

Jessica Chastain, Molly’s Game

Sally Hawkins, The Shape of Water

Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Meryl Streep, The Post

Michelle Williams, All the Money in the World

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture — Musical or Comedy

Steve Carrell, Battle of the Sexes

Ansel Elgort, Baby Driver

James Franco, The Disaster Artist

Hugh Jackman, The Greatest Showman

Daniel Kaluuya, Get Out

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture — Musical or Comedy

Judi Dench, Victoria & Abdul

Margot Robbie, I, Tonya

Saoirse Ronan, Lady Bird

Emma Stone, Battle of the Sexes

Helen Mirren, The Leisure Seeker

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in Any Motion Picture

Willem DaFoe, The Florida Project

Armie Hammer, Call Me by Your Name

Richard Jenkins, The Shape of Water

Christopher Plummer, All The Money in the World

Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in Any Motion Picture

Mary J. Blige, Mudbound

Hong Chau, Downsizing

Alison Janney, I, Tonya

Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird

Octavia Spencer, The Shape of Water

Best Director — Motion Picture

Guillermo Del Toro, The Shape of Water

Martin McDonagh, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk

Ridley Scott, All the Money in the World

Steven Spielberg, The Post

Best Screenplay — Motion Picture

Guillermo Del Toro and Vanessa Taylor, The Shape of Water

Greta Gerwig, Lady Bird

Liz Hannah and Josh Singer, The Post

Martin McDonagh, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Aaron Sorkin, Molly’s Game

Best Motion Picture — Animated

The Boss Baby

The Breadwinner

Coco

Ferdinand

Loving Vincent

Best Picture — Foreign Language

A Fantastic Woman (Chile)

First They Killed My Father (Cambodia)

In the Fade (Germany/France)

Loveless (Russia)

The Square (Sweden, Germany, France)

Best Original Score — Motion Picture

Carter Burwell, Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri

Alexandre Desplat, The Shape of Water

Jonny Greenwood, Phantom Thread

John Williams, The Post

Hans Zimmer, Dunkirk

Best Original Song — Motion Picture

“Home,” Ferdinand

“Mighty River,” Mudbound

“Remember Me,” Coco

“The Star,” The Star

“This Is Me,” The Greatest Showman

TELEVISION

Best Television Series — Drama

The Crown, Netflix

Game of Thrones, HBO

The Handmaid’s Tale, Hulu

Stranger Things, Netflix

This is Us, NBC

Best Television Series — Comedy

Black-ish, ABC

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Amazon

Master of None, Netflix

SMILF, Showtime

Will and Grace, NBC

Best Television Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television

Big Little Lies, HBO

Fargo, FX

Feud: Bette and Joan, FX

The Sinner, USA

Top of the Lake: China Girl, Sundance TV

Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series — Drama

Jason Bateman, Ozark

Sterling K. Brown, This Is Us

Freddie Highmore, The Good Doctor

Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul

Liev Schreiber, Ray Donovan

Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series — Drama

Caitriona Balfe, Outlander

Claire Foy, The Crown

Maggie Gyllenhaal, The Deuce

Katherine Langford, 13 Reasons Why

Elisabeth Moss, The Handmaid’s Tale

Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series — Comedy

Anthony Anderson, Black-ish

Aziz Ansari, Master of None

Kevin Bacon, I Love Dick

William H. Macy, Shameless

Eric McCormack, Will & Grace

Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series — Comedy

Pamela Adlon, Better Things

Alison Brie, GLOW

Rachel Brosnahan, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Issa Rae, Insecure

Frankie Shaw, SMILF

Best Performance by an Actress in a Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television

Jessica Biel, The Sinner

Nicole Kidman, Big Little Lies

Jessica Lange, Feud: Bette and Joan

Susan Sarandon, Feud: Bette and Joan

Reese Witherspoon, Big Little Lies

Best Performance By an Actor in a Television Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television

Robert De Niro, The Wizard of Lies

Jude Law, The Young Pope

Kyle MacLachlan, Twin Peaks

Ewan McGregor, Fargo

Geoffrey Rush, Genius

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Limited Series, or Motion Picture Made for Television

David Harbour, Stranger Things

Alfred Molina, Feud: Bette and Joan

Christian Slater, Mr. Robot

Alexander Skarsgaard, Big Little Lies

David Thewlis, Fargo

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Limited Series, or Motion Picture Made for Television

Laura Dern, Big Little Lies

Ann Dowd, The Handmaid’s Tale

Chrissy Metz, This Is Us

Michelle Pfeiffer, The Wizard of Lies

Shailene Woodley, Big Little Lies

25 years/25 films

Around 1 in the morning the other night on Twitter, I came across this article in which a few of the AV Club film critics compiled lists of their favorite movie of the year for each year since they were born. Instead of going to bed like a normal person on a work night, I proceeded to sacrifice much-needed sleep for what one could say was a masochistic, utterly pointless cause: I had to make my own list, right then and there.

Why, you might ask?

Because there are few things in life better than making movie lists and ranking movies, especially in new and creative ways.

It’s just science. 

fbd

My list of my 25 films for 25 years on this earth:

1992 – Aladdin
1993 – Jurassic Park
1994 – Pulp Fiction
1995 – The Usual Suspects
1996 – The Hunchback of Notre Dame
1997 – Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery
1998 – The Big Lebowski
1999 – The Mummy
2000 – Gladiator
2001 – The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
2002 – The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
2003 – The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
2004 – Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
2005 – Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
2006 – Casino Royale
2007 – Sunshine
2008 – Gran Torino
2009 – Inglourious Basterds
2010 – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part I
2011 – Drive
2012 – Les Miserables
2013 – The Wolf of Wall Street
2014 – Edge of Tomorrow
2015 – The Martian
2016 – Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

What does this list say about me? Generally, it says I like The Lord of the Rings and Star Wars, sci-fi epics and black comedies, and movies with great music, especially French-themed musicals. It also made me realize that I like more movies from before I was born than came out during my lifetime. This is especially true when considering my favorite movies from the last decade or so; these years simply pale in comparison to years that came before, and it was a struggle to think of a film that was truly a favorite of mine after the year 2009.

The first decade and a half of my life did have some intense competition though, so I wanted to also include 5 honorable mentions of movies that are nearer and dearer to my heart than many of the others on the list that just missed out. And let me say, 1999 was a squeaker:

Office Space (1999)
The Matrix (1999)
Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003)
The Departed (2006)
Atonement (2007)

What does your list look like?

-Flipp

Featured image: Ba’Gamnan, CC BY-SA 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons.

2017 Oscar Predictions

Another year, another Oscars ceremony. After last year’s #OscarsSoWhite debacle, this year’s nominees include many non-white actors, actresses, directors, and movies. That being said… this year’s movies were sort of under par. Maybe I’m just not enlightened enough for this world, but out of the 9 Best Picture nominees, I can say I’d watch one, maybe 2 of them again. The rest… once was more than enough. Especially La La Land. I didn’t hate the clear frontrunner, but I do hate the hype it’s received. 14 nominations? And a guaranteed 6-8 wins?? Nah.

Here are my picks for tonight’s Oscars.

Best Picture:
“Arrival”
“Fences”
“Hacksaw Ridge”
“Hell or High Water”
“Hidden Figures”
“La La Land”

“Lion”
“Manchester by the Sea”
“Moonlight”

Best Actor:
Casey Affleck, “Manchester by the Sea”

Andrew Garfield, “Hacksaw Ridge”
Ryan Gosling, “La La Land”
Viggo Mortensen, “Captain Fantastic”
Denzel Washington, “Fences”

Best Actress:
Isabelle Huppert, “Elle”

Ruth Negga, “Loving”
Natalie Portman, “Jackie”
Emma Stone, “La La Land”
Meryl Streep, “Florence Foster Jenkins”

Best Supporting Actor:
Mahershala Ali, “Moonlight”

Jeff Bridges, “Hell or High Water”
Lucas Hedges, “Manchester by the Sea”
Dev Patel, “Lion”
Michael Shannon, “Nocturnal Animals”

Best Supporting Actress:
Viola Davis, “Fences”

Naomie Harris, “Moonlight”
Nicole Kidman, “Lion”
Octavia Spencer, “Hidden Figures”
Michelle Williams, “Manchester by the Sea”

Best Director:
“Arrival,” Denis Villeneuve
“Hacksaw Ridge,” Mel Gibson
“La La Land,” Damien Chazelle

“Manchester by the Sea,” Kenneth Lonergan
“Moonlight,” Barry Jenkins

Best Original Screenplay:
“Hell or High Water,” Taylor Sheridan
“La La Land,” Damien Chazelle
“The Lobster,” Yorgos Lanthimos, Efthimis Filippou
“Manchester by the Sea,” Kenneth Lonergan

“20th Century Women,” Mike Mills

Best Adapted Screenplay:
“Arrival”
“Fences”
“Hidden Figures”
“Lion”
“Moonlight”

Best Foreign Language Film:
“Land of Mine”
“A Man Called Ove”
“The Salesman”

“Tanna”
“Toni Erdmann”

Best Cinematography:
“Arrival”
“La La Land”
“Lion”
“Moonlight”
“Silence”

Best Costume Design:
“Allied”
“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”
“Florence Foster Jenkins”
“Jackie”

“La La Land”

Best Makeup and Hairstyling:
“A Man Called Ove”
“Star Trek Beyond”

“Suicide Squad”

Best Original Score:
”Jackie,” Mica Levi
“La La Land,” Justin Hurwitz

“Lion,” Dustin O’Halloran and Hauschka
“Moonlight,” Nicholas Britell
“Passengers,” Thomas Newman

Best Animated Feature Film:
“Kubo and the Two Strings”
“Moana”
“My Life as a Zucchini”
“The Red Turtle”
“Zootopia”

Best Animated Short Film:
“Blind Vaysha”
“Borrowed Time”
“Pear Cider and Cigarettes”
“Pearl”
“Piper”

Best Documentary Feature:
“Fire at Sea”
“I Am Not Your Negro”
“Life Animated”
“O.J.: Made in America”

“13th”

Best Documentary Short Subject:
“Extremis”
“4.1 Miles”
“Joe’s Violin”
“Watani: My Homeland”
“The White Helmets”

Best Film Editing:
“Arrival”
“Hacksaw Ridge”
“Hell or High Water”
“La La Land”
“Moonlight”

Best Original Song:
“Audition (The Fools Who Dream)” from “La La Land”
“Can’t Stop the Feeling” from “Trolls”
“City of Stars” from “La La Land”

“The Empty Chair” from “Jim: The James Foley Story”
“How Far I’ll Go” from “Moana”

Best Production Design:
“Arrival”
“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”
“Hail, Caesar!”
“La La Land”

“Passengers”

Best Live Action Short Film:
“Ennemis Interieurs”
“La femme et Le TGV”
“Silent Nights”
“Sing”
“Timecode”

Best Sound Editing:
“Arrival”
“Deepwater Horizon”
“Hacksaw Ridge”

“La La Land”
“Sully”

Best Sound Mixing:
“Arrival”
“Hacksaw Ridge”
“La La Land”
“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”
“13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi”

Best Visual Effects:
“Deepwater Horizon”
“Doctor Strange”
“The Jungle Book”

“Kubo and the Two Strings”
“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”

2017 Golden Globe Predictions

Tonight is the 74th annual Golden Globe Awards. I haven’t seen too many of the nominees this year (I know, bad cinephile, right? Between transitioning jobs, commuting to work, and diligently following the political cluster-you-know-what since November, my movie/TV intake has been quite low), but I have been following critics and have some inklings as to how tonight will go. My plan is to watch most of the nominees in time for the Oscars in February. As of this writing, I’ve only seen Hacksaw Ridge (great), Arrival (good), and La La Land (good).

The only thing I am certain of about the broadcast is that there will be PLENTY of jokes at the expense of, and much ire directed toward, one Donald J. Trump.

MOVIES

Drama
Hacksaw Ridge
Hell or High Water
Lion
Manchester by the Sea
Moonlight

Comedy or musical
20th Century Women
Deadpool
Florence Foster Jenkins
La La Land
Sing Street

Actor, drama
Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea
Joel Edgerton, Loving
Andrew Garfield, Hacksaw Ridge
Viggo Mortensen, Captain Fantastic
Denzel Washington, Fences

Actress, drama
Amy Adams, Arrival
Jessica Chastain, Miss Sloane
Isabelle Huppert, Elle
Ruth Negga, Loving
Natalie Portman, Jackie

Director
Damien Chazelle, La La Land
Tom Ford, Nocturnal Animals
Mel Gibson, Hacksaw Ridge
Barry Jenkins, Moonlight
Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea

Actor, comedy or musical
Colin Farrell, The Lobster
Ryan Gosling, La La Land
Hugh Grant, Florence Foster Jenkins
Jonah Hill, War Dogs
Ryan Reynolds, Deadpool

Actress, comedy or musical
Annette Bening, 20th Century Women
Lily Collins, Rules Don’t Apply
Hailee Steinfeld, The Edge of Seventeen
Emma Stone, La La Land
Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins

Supporting actor
Mahershala Ali, Moonlight
Jeff Bridges, Hell or High Water
Simon Helberg, Florence Foster Jenkins
Dev Patel, Lion
Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Nocturnal Animals

Supporting actress
Viola Davis, Fences
Naomie Harris, Moonlight
Nicole Kidman, Lion
Octavia Spencer, Hidden Figures
Michelle Williams, Manchester by the Sea

Foreign language
Divines
Elle
Neruda
The Salesman
Toni Erdmann

Animated film
Kubo and the Two Strings
Moana
My Life as A Zucchini
Sing
Zootopia

Screenplay
Damien Chazelle, La La Land
Tom Ford, Nocturnal Animals
Barry Jenkins, Moonlight
Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea
Taylor Sheridan, Hell or High Water

Original score
Nicholas Britell, Moonlight
Justin Hurwitz, La La Land
Johann Johannsson, Arrival
Dustin O’Halloran and Hauschka, Lion
Hans Zimmer, Pharrell Williams and Benjamin Wallfisch, Hidden Figures

Original song (songwriter’s award)
Can’t Stop the Feeling! (from Trolls)
City of Stars (from La La Land)
Faith (from Sing)
Gold (from Gold)
How Far I’ll Go (from Moana)

PRIME-TIME TELEVISION

Drama
The Crown
Game of Thrones
Stranger Things
This Is Us
Westworld

Series, comedy or musical
Atlanta
Black-ish
Mozart in the Jungle
Transparent
Veep

Actress, drama
Caitriona Balfe, Outlander
Claire Foy, The Crown
Keri Russell, The Americans
Winona Ryder, Stranger Things
Evan Rachel Wood, Westworld

Actor, drama
Rami Malek, Mr. Robot
Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul
Matthew Rhys, The Americans
Liev Schreiber, Ray Donovan
Billy Bob Thornton, Goliath

Actress, miniseries or TV movie
Felicity Huffman, American Crime
Riley Keough, The Girlfriend Experience
Sarah Paulson, The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story
Charlotte Rampling, London Spy
Kerry Washington, Confirmation

Actor, miniseries or TV movie
Riz Ahmed, The Night Of
Bryan Cranston, All the Way
Tom Hiddleston, The Night Manager
John Turturro, The Night Of
Courtney B. Vance, The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story

Supporting actor, series, miniseries or TV movie
Sterling K. Brown, The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story
Hugh Laurie, The Night Manager
John Lithgow, The Crown
Christian Slater, Mr. Robot
John Travolta, The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story

Supporting actress, series, miniseries or TV movie
Olivia Colman, The Night Manager
Lena Headey, Game of Thrones
Chrissy Metz, This Is Us
Mandy Moore, This Is Us
Thandie Newton, Westworld

Miniseries or TV movie
American Crime
The Dresser
The Night Manager
The Night Of
The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story

Actress, comedy or musical
Rachel Bloom, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
Sarah Jessica Parker, Divorce
Issa Rae, Insecure
Gina Rodriguez, Jane the Virgin
Tracee Ellis Ross, Black-ish

Actor, comedy or musical
Anthony Anderson, Black-ish
Gael Garcia Bernal, Mozart in the Jungle
Donald Glover, Atlanta
Nick Nolte, Graves
Jeffrey Tambor, Transparent

Featured Image: jdeeringdavis, CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Eh.

I’ve refrained from writing this post for months, unsure of what exactly to say and afraid of the backlash. However, with the release of its Blu Ray and DVD, I finally want to publicly say, completely forward and without nuance…

I did not like Star Wars: The Force Awakens

george bush shoe

Now, I didn’t hate Star Wars: The Force Awakens. I will gladly admit that I was brought to tears of utter joy by its initial trailers (that music!) and was fairly entertained by many parts of the movie, especially the scenes involving Han Solo. However, I wasn’t swayed emotionally one way or another by the movie as a whole. My one word response to the film as that final compressed, spinning aerial shot of Rey meeting Old Luke in Ireland circle-wiped to “Directed by J.J. Abrams” was…

“Eh.”

But then I let the dust settle. I watched the film again, a few days later, and while I enjoyed myself slightly more, I also hated the parts I disliked the first time upon seeing them again. If anything, my opinion got a little worse. This, combined with the outrageous level of hype and love shown for the movie by practically everyone has made me want to go all Kylo Ren on my computer. I’m all for being excited by a new movie, especially a new Star Wars movie. But once that movie is viewed by millions of people, I would hope and expect legitimate criticism, not blind loyalty and exclamations that because it is Star Wars and  because it wasn’t made by George Lucas, therefore it has to be the GREATEST  STAR WARS MOVIE SINCE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK. (The same crazed, irrational fervor surrounded the most recent Jurassic Park film, which was awful.)

I find that statement (about Force Awakens being the best since Empire) extremely wrong because it begs the question that Return of the Jedi isn’t good. I have also come to like Episodes II and III, and to me, both of these prequel films are worth more than The Force Awakens ever could be. Oops. Did I say that out loud?

george bush shoe

The Good.

  • Han Solo. Harrison Ford was great. His old Han was so much better than his old Indy. This was incredibly surprising because it’s basically a fact that he likes Indiana Jones so much more than Star Wars (hello, Indy 5!!) His interactions with Chewie and Rey were hilarious and sweet, and he got his wish that Han would be killed off, albeit 32 years later…
  • BB-8 because he was cute and reminded me of my cat.
  • Finn’s fight with that Stormtrooper (named by the Internet TR-8R), and the Resistance’s surprise attack on the First Order. That was an exhilarating scene, and that is probably the highest praise I have for anything involving the production of the movie.
  • Rey’s vision when she picks up Luke’s lightsaber because it reminded me of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
  • …and when she uses the Force to get his lightsaber in her fight with Kylo Ren. (Again, just like in the trailers, it’s John Williams’ use of an OLDER theme that sells it for me.)
  • That final compressed, spinning aerial shot of Rey meeting Old Luke in Ireland that circle-wiped to “Directed by J.J. Abrams.” And I actually liked that Luke was in it for less than 30 seconds and remained speechless. It (and this is the only thing, really) made me want to see Episode VIII.

The Bad.

First and foremost, The Force Awakens was not written well. In fact, I’d say it was written fairly poorly. For all the hype surrounding the knowledge that the writer of Empire and Jedi (and Raiders of the Lost Ark) was returning after three straight George Lucas-penned screenplays, Lawrence Kasden failed to impress me. In fact, some of the dialogue was so wooden and flat at times that I actually missed the nostalgia of the Prequels and their clunkers. The plot of Force Awakens was a reboot/remake of A New Hope with some Empire beats thrown in for good measure. The Snoke scenes should have been mysterious and engrossing but instead seemed like transplanted Thanos scenes from the various Marvel movies; they just didn’t feel like Star Wars to me. And the rules of Star Wars were seemingly thrown out the window… How did Rey manage to use a Jedi mind trick if no one ever taught her what it was, and after the film made it clear that she didn’t even know Jedi were real? Usually, McGuffins are simple and subtle enough where their existence in the story isn’t brought into question… Except the plot device that drives The Force Awakens made no sense. Why was there a map to find Luke? He’s not an object. He’s a person. Who leaves a map when they don’t want to be found? And how could no one figure out from either piece of the map (in BB-8 and in R2-D2) where it led? Most the the plot points in this movie just seemed like sloppy, lazy writing.

The movie itself started out on a terrible footing. The opening scene was filled with as much exposition-heavy dialogue as anything in Phantom Menace, and was awkwardly staged and awkwardly filmed. The dialogue never got better after that, with constant references to the Resistance and First Order throughout, but without any clarification or history to give the audience a clue as to what was going on. Expositionary dialogue is a necessary evil, especially in a sci-fi world, but it is at its best in small doses. When it consumes a film and also confuses more than it than explains, the movie suffers greatly. I still have no idea what was going on; the only clarity in the film was that we’d all seen the plot and characters and beats before… in the Original Trilogy. Disney played it safe (you could argue killing Han wasn’t safe, but as it was long overdue and foreshadowed heavily, it was also the easiest shock they could go for while not doing anything too controversial), and as they pleased the most Star Wars fans because they went in the opposite direction of the Prequels, they largely succeeded. Two billion dollars is worth a lot more than my petty criticism.

The Ugly.

But the worst two aspects of The Force Awakens weren’t deus ex machina Force tricks or the random CGI bartender who could have easily been a person in a mask or the lack of a noticable original score… it was the characters of General Hux and Kylo Ren. Both villains were clearly based on Grand Moff Tarkin and Darth Vader, but lacking their gravitas or imperious nature, they were laughably bad. It was as if J. J. Abrams REALLY wanted to impress Star Wars fans so he cast the two nerdiest, unassuming fans who came up to him at whatever convention he was attending to play the two villain roles, and then felt bad about his choice after seeing their acting but convinced himself that no one would ever notice because STAR WARS IS SO COOL.

Anyway, Hayden Christensen has been called wooden…out of his league… a terrible actor (among many, many worse things), but Kylo’s temper tantrums and moody attitude made Christensen look like Laurence Olivier. I know for a fact that statement will anger some people, but not once during Awakens did Kylo Ren make me feel anything at all other than annoyance. Even when he killed Han, it was broadcast a mile away because no one in Hollywood knows anything about subtlety, and I was more peeved at the story-telling than at the death of my favorite Original Trilogy character. And then he lost in a fight to a Stormtrooper-dropout who spent the entire movie getting beat up and a girl with no Force training (who obviously has a major connection to the Force, duh, I know!!! but still. Sloppy writing: it happened because the plot needed it to happen). Like I said, laughable.

And then there’s Hux. I don’t know who gave the okay to have the main military leader SCREAM to his troops with the most cliched, unoriginal dialogue imaginable, but I bet they  thought they were doing something really friggin’ clever. I hate comparing things to Hitler, but I bet they figured their military general would give off a Hitler vibe if he yelled with the burning hatred of a thousand suns at his troops.

Except they cast a Weasley, so he gave off a Weasley-trying-to-be-Hitler vibe, and it was one of the worst acting performances I’ve seen in a mainstream movie in ages. (To get political for a moment, Hux is the Hitler that everyone thinks Trump is/will be.) Give me Hayden yelling about slaughtering Sand People like animals any day. Where is Dexter Jettster’s buttcrack when you need childish, idiotic filmmaking? Oh, right… It was in a better movie.

george bush shoe

I am excited for Episode VIII. I want to know what happens next in the Star Wars universe. I want to see Rey’s journey. I want to see more of BB-8. I want to see Luke speak and be an Obi-Wan Kenobi to our new Jedi hero.

And I want to see LANDO. Please, Disney. At least bring him back in the next go round. He can even drink some Colt 45 on set. It’s gonna be great!

For everyone who loved The Force Awakens, I seriously am happy for you. And slightly envious that I can’t, so enjoy your Blu Ray and deleted scenes for me.

-FLIPP

 

2016 Oscar Predictions

For the first time in 3 years, I’m heading into the Academy Awards without having seen all of the Best Picture nominees. Luckily, I’ve seen all but one of them (Spotlight), which means I’m not going in totally blind.

Before my predictions, I just want to say that in addition to the 7 Best Picture nominees that I saw, I also watched Spectre, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Inside Out, and Creed, all up for at least one Oscar outside of the Best Picture race. I would rank these 11 films as such:

  1. Creed
  2. The Martian
  3. Mad Max:Fury Road
  4. Brooklyn
  5. Room
  6. Spectre
  7. Inside Out
  8. Bridge of Spies
  9. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
  10. The Revenant
  11. The Big Short

In a perfect world, Mad Max will win all of the undercard awards as well as Best Director and Picture, but we do not live in a perfect world. Instead, these awards will mostly belong to The Revenant, though if there is to be an upset, The Big Short will be walking away with these awards. To both: yuck. The night will be an overall win, however, if Sly Stallone walks away with that Best Supporting Actor Oscar. (Yes, this is more important than Leonardo DiCaprio getting his…)

Anyway, here are my predictions for the 88th Academy Awards:

Best Picture
Spotlight

The Big Short
Bridge of Spies
Brooklyn
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant
Room

Best Actor
Bryan Cranston, Trumbo

Matt Damon, The Martian
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant
Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs
Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl

Best Actress
Cate Blanchett, Carol

Brie Larson, Room
Jennifer Lawrence, Joy
Charlotte Rampling, 45 Years
Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn

Best Director
Lenny Abrahamson, Room
Alejandro Iñárritu, The Revenant

George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road
Tom McCarthy, Spotlight
Adam McKay, The Big Short

Best Supporting Actor
Christian Bale, The Big Short
Tom Hardy, The Revenant

Mark Ruffalo, Spotlight
Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies
Sylvester Stallone, Creed

Best Supporting Actress
Rooney Mara, Carol
Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight
Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl
Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs
Rachel McAdams, Spotlight

Best Animated Film
Anomalisa
Boy and the World

Inside Out
Shaun the Sheep Movie
When Marnie Was There

Best Foreign Language Film
Embrace of the Serpent
Mustang

Son of Saul
Theeb
A War

Best Adapted Screenplay
The Big Short, Charles Randolph and Adam McKay
Brooklyn, Nick Hornby

Carol, Phyllis Nagy
The Martian, Drew Goddard
Room, Emma Donoghue

Best Original Screenplay
Spotlight, written by Josh Singer and Tom McCarthy

Bridge of Spies, written by Matt Charman and Ethan Coen and Joel Coen
Ex Machina, written by Alex Garland
Inside Out, screenplay by Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve, Josh Cooley; original story by Pete Docter, Ronnie del Carmen
Straight Outta Compton, screenplay by Jonathan Herman and Andrea Berloff; story by S. Leigh Savidge and Alan Wenkus and Andrea Berloff

Best Original Score
Bridge of Spies, Thomas Newman

Carol, Carter Burwell
The Hateful Eight, Ennio Morricone
Sicario, Jóhann Jóhannsson
Star Wars: The Force Awakens, John Williams

Best Cinematography
Carol, Ed Lachman

The Hateful Eight, Robert Richardson
Mad Max: Fury Road, John Seale
The Revenant, Emmanuel Lubezki
Sicario, Roger Deakins

Best Production Design
Bridge of Spies

The Danish Girl
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant

Best Visual Effects
Ex Machina
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Best Original Song
“Earned It,” Fifty Shades of Grey, Music and Lyric by Abel Tesfaye, Ahmad Balshe, Jason Daheala Quenneville and Stephan Moccio

“Manta Ray,” Racing Extinction, Music by J. Ralph; Lyric by Antony Hegarty
“Simple Song 3,” Youth, Music and Lyric by David Lang
“Til it Happens to You,” The Hunting Ground, Music and Lyric by Diane Warren and Lady Gaga
“Writing’s on the Wall,” Spectre, Music and Lyric by Jimmy Napes and Sam Smith

Best Documentary (Feature)
Amy

Cartel Land
The Look of Silence
What Happened, Miss Simone?
Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom

Best Costume Design
Carol

Cinderella
The Danish Girl
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Revenant

Best Makeup and Hairstyling
Mad Max: Fury Road

The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out a Window and Disappeared
The Revenant

Best Short Film (Live Action)
Ave Maria

Day One
Everything Will Be Okay
Shok
Stutterer

Best Short Film (Animated)
Bear Story

Prologue
Sanjay’s Super Team
We Can’t Live Without Cosmos
World of Tomorrow 

Best Documentary (Short Subject)
Body Team 12

Chau, beyond the Lines
Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah
A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness
Lasy Day of Freedom

Best Film Editing
The Big Short

Mad Max: Fury Road
The Revenant
Spotlight
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Best Sound Mixing
Bridge of Spies

Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Best Sound Editing
Mad Max: Fury Road

The Martian
The Revenant
Sicario
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

-FLIPP

2015 Oscars: Best Picture Nominees!

The 8 movies nominated for this year’s Best Picture Oscar make up a curious group of films. They’ve showcased extraordinary feats of cinematography, editing, acting, and perseverance. A few character actors finally got their time to shine, and a few historical figures in science, war, and civil rights were finally given proper representation on the big screen. Some of the films have elicited absurd amounts of controversy, whereas others have received absurd amounts of praise. My opinion on a few of these films is quite high. On others, I am mostly indifferent. One, I outright dislike, and it is certainly NOT one of the best films this century, Mr. A.O. Scott, thank you very much!

Without further adieu, my take on this year’s Best Picture nominees:

81. Boyhood

Boyhood
Okay. I respect the dedication put into this movie. I happen to really like all but one of the other Richard Linlater movies that I’ve seen (that is, the 3 Before movies, School of Rock, and Bernie; I hated A Scanner Darkly), and I went into Boyhood with extremely high expectations. But 2 hours and 45 minues of nothing was NOT worth my full price ticket at a New York City theater, and watching it a second time completely killed any positive inklings I may have had toward the movie from that first viewing. By the end of the film, I absolutely HATE the brooding, moody, confused hipster that main character Mason has become. And since his poor childhood is the product of all the people around him, I hate them all, too. When you look past the gimmick that was shooting the same movie over a 12 year span, you realize that the film’s writing is not too great, and the acting is actually kind of dull; Patricia Arquette will win Best Supporting Actress for her role as Mason’s mother, but it is more of a consolation prize in my opinion for showing up for the same gig for 12 years in a row than for any sort of profound acting chops on her part. As someone has said, if Boyhood had been shot in one year instead of 12, no one would give a flying bleep about the film, especially due to its lack of story and its crappy, unlikeable characters. And yet it’ll probably win Best Picture. This coming after the fact that Linklater’s immensely-better Before Midnight wasnt even nominated for Best Picture last year just proves that there is no justice in the world for a film curmudgeon like me.

12. American Sniper

American Sniper
I already wrote plenty on Sniper (see previous post), but I still don’t see a reason for all of the controversy, let alone all the hype. While the movie was definitely emotional and worth seeing once, Bradley Cooper’s bulked-up physique was honestly the most impressive part of the film. I guess one positive about the movie was that the entire time, I kept thinking, “How the hell did 84-year-old, senile, grumpy Clint Eastwood direct something so intense and big?” The fact that the finished product hit all the right emotional chords can be attributed to the skills of Eastwood as a director.

133. The Theory of Everything

The Theory of Everything
Eddie Redmayne was Oscar-worthy as British ASL-stricken scientist Stephen Hawking, though the movie itself wasn’t anything that special. It told a decent, if certainly unconventional love story, and featured some beautiful music, but it still didn’t do that much for me. It was worth seeing once, but Best Picture worthy? Not having it.

6. The Imitation Game

The Imitation Game:
I really enjoyed The Imitation Game the first time I saw it. I loved the British World War II setting, the Desplat score, and the way the story was edited together, with its three timelines and its use of WWII-era newsreels and stock footage. However, the second time I watched it, I wanted to go to sleep. While still in no way a bad movie, it just didn’t seem like anything special upon a second viewing. I love Cumberbatch in almost everything he’s done, but I wasn’t THAT impressed by him as Turing, and Charles Dance literally walked off the set of Game of Thrones, took off his armor and removed the crossbow bolts from his chest, and put on a British Naval uniform. How can that be a bad thing, you ask? It shouldn’t have been, but Lord Tywin popping up in the middle of a World War II biopic just seemed out of place to me. Also, upon second viewing, the ending, while sad and emotional, seemed like it was a little too on the nost in its political messaging. The on-screen text that makes up the film’s epilogue focused more on Turing’s sexuality than his impact on WWII, codebreaking, and computers. While not wrong in any way, this text attempted to make a film that tackled so many broad historical and social topics to be a lot more streamlined and political than it actually was.

127. Birdman

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
I very much enjoyed Birdman the first time I saw it, though, like with Boyhood and The Imitation Game, my enthusiasm for it lessened quite a bit after seeing it again. The amazing feat of Emmanuel Lubezki to make the film appear to be one long take wore a bit thin the second time through. The use of long takes of course made the superb acting stand out even more, as Keaton and Norton and Stone had to memorize large amounts of lines and blocking at a time, though, again, if the movie were filmed conventionally, would its dialogue and plot hold up? Probably not. Michael Keaton deserves the Oscar for his performance, but the rest of the film is a bit too eclectic and schizofrenic for me to outright love it. The drum score drove me a bit insane (as was the point, I think), and the ending really didn’t make any sense at all, no matter how you looked at it. Unquestionably, my favorite part of such a stylized and wonky film was the fleeting moment (probably a mistake that couldn’t be covered up due to the use of long takes) when Zack Galifianakis forgot what movie he was a part of for a split second and reverted into his Hangover schtick by calling Martin Scorsese “Martin Scorseez.” Simply amazing.

8. Selma

Selma
I didn’t expect to like Selma and I wound up loving it. Again, I probably wouldn’t watch it again, but it was worth seeing once and actually left an emotional impact on me, unlike a few of the movies I’ve already mentioned. David Oyelowo was fantastic as Dr. King, and his speech at the end was one of the more inspirational scenes in a movie this past year. I’m extremely happy that the movie remained apolitical for almost the entire time, though the reference of Ferguson in the John Legend/Common song at the end pulled me right out of the historical period of the Civil Rights movement and brought today’s divisive, nasty political maelstrom into a film that, for almost its entire running time, had been above such pettiness. Plus, since the events in Ferguson couldn’t have happened before filming started, it made its inclusion in the film seem even more shoehorned in. Why must everything make a statement, no matter how unnecessary? Why can’t we ever appreciate something in its original context, and not in comparing it to today?

53. Grand Budapest Hotel

The Grand Budapest Hotel
With a film that takes Lord Voldemort himself and makes him into a heroic, comic lead character, uses miniature scale models of majestic hotels and icy mountainsides, features an eclectic group of the quirkiest actors around, such as Jeff Goldblum, Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Jason Schwartzman, Adrian Brody, Tilda Swinton, Willem Dafoe, Owen Wilson, etc., and switches between 3 times periods, each represented by a different aspect ration, all while accompanied by a whimsical Alexandre Desplat score, Wes Anderson has finally become mainstream. The Grand Budapest Hotel was by far one of the best films to come out last year and the first of these eight Best Picture winners that I could easily see myself watching again.

WHIPLASH_2.indd

Whiplash
As I said in my last post, a movie that can make me angry enough to feel it in my stomach, that can shock me to the point where I’m yelling “Oh my God” out loud, and that can make me jump out of my seat in triumphant joy is really something special. Whiplash is that type of movie. J.K. Simmons, the Yellow M & M and the Farmers Insurance guy, J. Jonah Jameson and Juno’s father, is the band instructor from hell (not to mention an extremely relatable character to terrible people I’ve experienced in real life), and will deservedly walk away with the Best Supporting Actor Oscar. Miles Teller is awesome as a drum student worked to the point of exhaustion, with sweat, blood, and tears literally staining his drumsticks and the heads of his drums, and he reportedly did a lot of his own drumming on the film. The climax, a whirlwind of sound and close ups, is one of the best-edited sequences in a movie in a long time. Whiplash is definitely a painful and exhausting movie to get through, but, oh, is it worth it! And it is my favorite Best Picture nominee by a substantial margin from 2014.

May the best film win (though it probably won’t).

-Flipp