Month in Review: February ’18

To encourage a bit more variety in my blogging posts and to help distance this site from the one of old, I’m installing this monthly post where I summarize the previous month’s activity in a wraparound that will hopefully give people the chance to go back and find stuff they might have missed, as well as keep them apprised of any changes or news that happened that month.

Happy New Year from Thomas J! Since I didn’t create one of these posts end of last month, I figured I’d belatedly wish everyone it now. And this also gives me a chance to ask: how well are you keeping up with those new year’s resolutions? That’s okay, I didn’t make any either. And if I did, they are so well-forgotten only eight weeks into the year it begs why I even made them in the first place.

Despite appearances, I have been seeing many a good movie. But out of fear of getting further backed up, I think at this juncture I’m going to be cutting ties with a few reviews and moving on. I’ve had ideas about what I have wanted to say, but at this point getting back into that headspace feels like beating a dead horse. I’ll list a few of my reactions to this year’s crop of Best Picture nominations with incredibly in-depth, one-line reviews. I think by now everyone has settled far enough into a consensus on many of these titles anyway.

So, without further ado, here is what has been happening in the last several weeks. (Hold on to your butts.)

Mansfield, NJ


New Posts

The Commuter

The Cloverfield Paradox


My Oscar Reactions (best picture only)

The Shape of Water — didn’t see; didn’t want to see; won’t see. I’m not supporting inter-special romances. I’m just not.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri — two of the very finest performances of the year in Frances McDormand as a grieving mother and Sam Rockwell as a racist hick cop. Jaw, meet floor.

Phantom Thread — sigh. Why did PTA and the great DDL have to get locked in on this boring twaddle about the haute couture of 1950s London? Pass.

Darkest Hour — a towering performance from Gary Oldman means he is all but guaranteed the Best Actor award, but Best Pic seems a long shot. The drama that surrounds him plays out far too didactically to be considered a true heavyweight contender.

The Post — safe, predictable and disappointingly trite, not to mention a tad too leftist, even for me — a decidedly liberal snowflake.

Dunkirk — amazed to see this nominated. Good for Christopher Nolan. It’s about time.

Call Me By Your Name — the nominee that I know the least about. What little I have read about this one has been glowingly positive. Bummed that it never even veered close to my area.

Lady Bird — I was blown away by a little independent picture that has next-to-no chance of winning it all. From Greta Gerwig, here comes a firecracker of a coming-of-age story that tells it like it is. Loved this one. And Saiorse Ronan — you go, girl.

Get Out — . . . really? I mean, this was fun but it’s a little too “lite” for the Oscars, don’tcha think?


Blogging News 

So there is going to be a sacrifice. I will NOT be participating this year in the Blind Spot series. Last year it was fun, but I don’t think I can make that kind of a long-term commitment this time around. Perhaps next year.

But as Natalie Portman deduces in Annihilation, “it’s not killing everything. It is just making something new.” Well, this isn’t technically a new feature, but my 30-for-30 spotlight has been long dormant. (You can check out all posts in that series by clicking here or by visiting the submenu up top under ‘Features’). It is making its return in March. Look for extensive basketball coverage as we enter the NCAA Tournament (where my Tennessee Vols are actually, finally, going to enjoy some post-season action). Most likely these will be posted on the last day of each month. If you too are a sports fan, keep your eyes peeled!


That’s it for now. What do you hope will win in the Big Four categories this coming Sunday? And will the Best Picture presenters find an even more creative way to confuse us all this year . . . ? 

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27 thoughts on “Month in Review: February ’18

  1. Ha! Love that your comments section is still open quite some time after the post nowadays, sometimes I deal with backlog and take time to catch up.

    “…cutting ties with a few reviews and moving on” – Sadly, this happens. It always frustrates me when I have to move on from reviews and leave things unsaid, but sometimes it is what it is.

    • Yeah I did feel bad having such a short window for responses, but I thought it might help me stay on top of comments. Then I realized, hey! My blog really isn’t that busy! It doesn’t matter hahah! 😉

      We agree, it is frustrating leaving something behind unfinished but sometimes just moving on to something new gives you that little bit extra motivation. I’ve recently bailed on The Post, Darkest Hour, All the Money in the World — best picture kinda stuff! Yeeesh.

  2. I was really disappointed Blade Runner 2049 was not nominated in the Best Picture category. It is about time the Academy starts paying more attention to science-fiction films. They included horror in their nominees’ list this year. Blade Runner 2049 just pushed the limits of cinema to such great extent – it deserved its Best Picture nomination. I mean previously they were nominating almost lousy Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close in that category; it is incredible how arbitrary and unfair the Oscars sometimes is.

    • My apologies for a very delayed reply.

      I too felt disappointed by the lack of noms for such a beautiful, well-made and ambitious (and unlikely!) science fiction film. But it also didn’t surprise me. (Though neither did Deakins’ win! That was a long damn time coming.) I think certain movies come out at a certain time and make a statement and thats what appeals most to the Academy. They like things that feel relevant, that the industry they represent is SAYING SOMETHING about the greater human condition. This is why 3 Billboards and The Shape of Water scored big. The Shape of Water I haven’t seen. It struck me as a really pandering movie about tolerance and acceptance. I am not much for Guillermo del Toro personally so that didn’t help either. Lol. I don’t doubt it is a good movie though.

      3 Billboards, meanwhile, is a very politically charged film. I enjoyed it because how much it spoke to the times — the Ferguson, Missouri riots, the number of (unarmed) African Americans being gunned down by white cops in the last several years. Race/gun rights didn’t have as much to do with this story so much as it dealt with the way everyone seems to just be on freaking edge these days. It encapsulates the national mood in a very compelling way.

      With a movie like Blade Runner 2049, you get an epic and IMO a nearly-perfect advancement of a Ridley Scott’s ambitious, sophisticated vision of the future, but it isn’t something that feels as “real” or tangible like those other films. I don’t think its the fiction that denies it Best Pic status — The Shape of Water I think is entirely original (?) — but its just not THAT film right now. It isn’t a trending topic. Sad, maybe, but that doesn’t stop me from appreciating it for what it is. It is damn great film. Im glad it was made and I can’t wait to buy it.

    • Cheers Alex! I’m excited to reintroduce them here. I saw parts of Year of the Scab and what I saw was very interesting. I’ll keep my eyes peeled for a re-air

  3. Best Pic: Lady Bird or yes, Get Out.
    Best Director: Christopher Nolan (not high on the movie but cannot deny the impressive achievement. So sad, however, that Denis couldn’t get a nom. Can Deakins finally get his long awaited Cinematography win?
    Best Actor: Gary Oldman
    Best Actress: So tough. Anyone but Streep tho.

    • If Get Out wins, then I do not understand what the Academy qualifies as Best Pic material. Get Out is socially relevant commentary, but if it wins its out of white guilt.

      • Granted I say this in my belief that 2017 was a little bit of a weaker year in film. I think that Lady Bird and Get Out are awesome films, but stacked against some of the best of prior years, not so much.

  4. I hope PTA wins for director as he’s overdue (nominated 8x in various categories). A long shot though. Dunkirk and Call Me by Your Name are probably my favorite of the best pic noms although neither are in my top 3 of 2017. I could see why you would react that way to Shape of Water because if you think about it the romance is extremely weird. I’m skipping The Post as recent Spielberg puts me to sleep!

    • Yah, if by having Sally Hawkins fuck a merman in a torture chamber is Del Toro’s way of telling us we all need to be more accepting of relationships in all their shapes and forms, Im kinda tempted to laugh. That movie looks incredibly weird and quite frankly, pointless. I don’t need to be reminded that love and acceptance come in all shapes colors and sizes. Or that the concept needs to be demonstrated through some extreme fantasy angle. I guess Im just not that into Del Toros filmography.

  5. You should give Phantom Thread another chance man. The psychologically fucked up nature of the relationship they form really stands out on second viewing, as does the camerawork. I didn’t find much of it at all to do with the culture of that era really, apart from the dresses and gender/class roles.

    BTW i re-watched Deadpool and actually really liked it. I needed to see it after Black Panther had me straining to keep my eyes open!!

    Oh, and are you being sarcastic about the shape of water? I can’t tell!! Glad you liked Billboards, Frances is so underrated.

    • I may be a little dismissive of several things here but I really don’t care. I have no interest in sitting through what appears to me, to be one of the most boring PTA works ever. And no, I’m dead serious about Guillermo del Toros new POS too. Hard pass.

      Glad you liked Deadpool!

        • Yeah I know the power of DDL tends to elevate whatever subject matter he’s embracing. I might have to set aside all this prejudice and see it. It’s bittersweet knowing he is supposedly done acting and he didn’t win last night at the Oscars (for whatever that’s worth — he doesn’t sttrike me as the sort to go home and count his trophies).

    • I wont be able to watch because f**king New Jersey is out of power for the next foreseeable whenever. Damn it all . . .

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