March 19th, 2021


Oscar Binging

Now that the nominations for this year's Oscars have been released, I have been watching what is available on the streaming services I have. It still cracks me up that some of the services also charge an extra fee to watch the latest releases. There is a campaign on FB to "just say no!" to added fees. Don't pay extra for something that will eventually be included in a month or so. This is a money-making experiment by Big Media to get as much profit as possible. If people are sheep and opt to pay more...we'll all eventually pay more. I think MoviePass almost had it right. You pay a flat fee every month, and you can see as many movies as you want at the theater. Everyone said it would fail, and it did. But they had the right idea. HBO Max is essentially the same thing. You pay a monthly fee and you can watch first-run movies at home. If 10 million people pay $20/month...that's a guaranteed $200 million a month. That could support a blockbuster budget and fund a few indies as well. But I digress. What have I been watching?

"Mank" - Netflix - So far my favorite in the Best Picture category. It's gorgeous to look at, and Gary Oldman is tops in my book. In all honesty I had to watch the film twice to get all of the subtlety and the fine plot points, but it was worth it.

"Sound of Metal" - Amazon - I heard a lot of buzz around this film, but to me it sort of fell flat. The plot of a heavy metal drummer going deaf just seemed sort of muddled. It was fresh and interesting, but it just seemed to wander.

"The Trial of the Chicago Seven" - I really liked this film as well. It's the historic drama of the trial held after the 1968 riot at the DNC in Chicago. The timing of the movie was perfect especially having lived through the political shitshow of 2020 and insurrection of 2021. And who knew that Sacha Baron Coen could act outside of being Borat!

"My Octopus Teacher" - Netflix - Best Documentary - A nice nature film about a guy who forms a relationship with an octopus. He follows the life of the creature for a year, forming a close bond with it.

"Time" - Amazon - Best Documentary - Note to the Academy...just because a movie is about black people doesn't necessarily mean it's good and we should give a damn. They pulled that same shit 2 years with "Hale County: This Morning, This Evening" which had no plot except to follow black people around in a small town. In this movie we're supposed to care about a guy convicted of armed robbery who spent 20 years behind bars. He did it. No doubt. He decided to go to trial. He lost. And now we're supposed to feel for him because prison is hard and life is unfair? Just terrible.

"Crip Camp" - Netflix - Best Documentary - This will probably be the winner, hands down. It tells the story of the civil rights struggles of the handicapped from the early 70's to the signing of the A.D.A. in the 90's. It hits all of the right notes for a good documentary.

"Ma Rainey's Black Bottom" - Best Actor and Actress - Chadwick Boseman posthumously won Best Actor at the Golden Globes for his role. I thought it was a gift to a dead actor, but he was actually really really good in his last role. He was definitely more than just Black Panther. Don't be surprised if he wins the Oscar. Viola Davis is up for Best Actress. It's a toss up. She was good, but I'm just not sure. If she wins, I wouldn't be all that surprised.

"One Night in Miami" - Amazon - Best Supporting Actor and Screenplay - The fictional meeting between Cassius Clay, Malcom X, Sam Cooke, and Jim Brown right before Mohammed Ali announces he's a Muslim. It was entertaining. It would probably be better as a stage play, but it kept me interested. Between this film and Ma Rainey, however, I think we've had enough "whitey sucks" movies this year.

"Hillbilly Elegy" - Netflix - Best Supporting Actress - Glenn Close does a great job depicting a white trash grandmother trying to keep her grandson from turning into a meth head like his mother. Ron Howard directed it, so it's a feel-good story.

"Borat: Subsequent Moviefilm" - Amazon - Best Supporting Actress and Screenplay - OK. It was a fun diversion. And Rudy is creepy and a Trump dolt, but not a pervert. It's an interesting footnote for our present political shitshow.

"Shaun the Sheep: Farmageddon" - Netflix - Best Animated Feature - What's not to love about Shaun as he tries to save the world from aliens. And the alien is the cutest darn thing! Another winner from Aardman Studios.

"Over the Moon" - Netflix - Best Animated Feature - This has been getting a lot of furry praise just because it has a couple of cute bunnies. I just couldn't get into it. I fast-forwarded through quite a bit of it. I'll probably go back and watch it at some point. It certainly was colorful!

"Soul" - Disney+ - Best Animated Feature - This has to be the winner hands-down. I was amazed that Disney made such a movie with such deep and heavy plot points. It's rare that an animated movie for kids could be so mature. And the animation is amazing as well.