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.)
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?
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 . . . ?