Sunday, February 26, 2017
Oscar Time 2017!
Its Oscar night and even though watching it is a chore due to the speeches from sound people and costumes designers and lame skits, I'll be there and rooting for some and hating others. And though this busted leg has kept me from seeing movies like Hidden Figures and Silence and Nocturnal Animals, I hope to hear more Meryl Streep or Casey Affleck type speeches but anyway, my Top 10 of the year goes as follows:
10) Captain Fantastic
starring Oscar nominee Viggo Mortensen as a father of lots of kids who live off the grid because of freedom. It's like if Bernie Bros actually had personalities. Captain Fantastic tackles a lot of issues from the unfairness of modern economics to the obesity epidemic in America. It's kind of preachy and Trumpers would hate it but I found it to be much like the 80's film The Mosquito Coast but with a lead actor who didnt play a total asshole.
9) Everybody Wants Some
I will say nobody and I mean nobody captures moments in time better than director Richard Linklater. Dazed and Confused is the best movie about the 70's youth culture ever made and Everybody Wants Some captures the early 80's perfectly. Of course it helps if you actually were a youth in the 70s and 80's to see it and say ohhhhh yeah! This film follows a college baseball team coming together in the 4 days prior to school opening. Yeah its male oriented but hey I'm a male so it made me go ohhhhhhhh yeahhhhhh lots of times.
I base a lot of movies I see on emotion. Did it make me laugh? Did it make me cry? Did it make me feel anything? Sully, with Tom Hanks and Aaron Eckhart with 2016's best mustache playing the pilot and co pilot who landed the airplane in the Hudson made me tear up a bit at the end when you see the actual Sully and his passengers come together. Yeah, director Clint Eastwood made some stuff up for dramatic purposes but this movie did its job. It was very underrated.
7) Dont Breathe
This tiny horror picture was truly a horror picture because it was real. Starring actors you see and go where do I know them from this story is simple. Dont try and rob a blind veteran who knows his own house inside and out and has the ability to kill you. The tenseness as the youthful invaders are picked off one at a time by the blind killer played by Avatar's Stephen Lang also contains the year's grossest scene. I mean its just fucking disgusting. Just disgusting enough to make it that much better than crap horror pictures catching 2016 buzz like The Witch.
6) Sing Street
Some movies you just like for no reason other than the characters are appealing, the music is appealing, the story grabs you, and you just like it. It's not Raging Bull or Citizen Kane and you wont ever argue with someone that its better than La La Land, which it is, but Sing Street grabbed me. The story of a bunch of poor Irish kids who form a band to get a girl is just so damned cool. The music is pop catchy and the fact the song Drive It Like You Stole It wasnt nominated for Best Song is crazy.Its the best song from a movie in 2016. Period.
5) Hell Or High Water
This was my favorite movie of the year until the fall when all the Oscar bait movies came out. The story about two Texas brothers robbing banks and being pursued by Sheriff Jeff Bridges is captivating and clever as hell. Chris Pine and Ben Foster are hot and cold as the two brothers who keep eluding the law by seconds until the inevitable fuck up. Bridges is his usual crusty lawman self and this movie is smart. Very smart.
This is very much like Contact in the sense that you almost have to see it twice, no you do have to see it twice, to let it fall into place. Starring Amy Adams (denied an Oscar nomination why?) and Jeremy Renner as people who can communicate with an alien force that stations a bunch of eggplant ships at various spots around the globe. It's covertly political as the aliens warn us of our impending doom. But the twist is there to be figured out. It's all about second chances.
I just saw this last night. It is story of a young black man who also happens to be gay trying to survive in the streets of Liberty City Miami during a period of about 15 years. The story takes us from a young 9 year old Chiron, to a gangly teenaged Chiron to a buffed up adult Chiron. I cannot rave about this movie enough as it is so full of unknowns who can really get it done. Mahershala Ali is going to win an Oscar for his role as the drug dealer who takes the young Chiron under his wing but be warned he isnt in it that much. But there is so much more to this movie. Janelle Monet is not only a kick ass female James Brown singer, she can act her ass off too. But Trevante Rhodes as the adult Chiron just blew me away. His subtle way of showing vulnerability despite being buff enough to kill anyone who he wants was so heartbreaking. His trip back to his past at the end was so perfect.
This movie is #1 at times in my mind. This story of a young Indian child who falls asleep on a train and gets lost only to be adopted by a well to do Australian family never drags. Google Earth causes the young man to wonder of his past. Where did I come from? Who is my real family? Dev Patel should win the Oscar for this role of a lifetime. He is both joyful and melancholy in his deep desire to abandon his new comfortable life to look for his roots. The journey is well worth watching. And this years Jacob Tremblay (Room) is young Sunny Pawar as the young version of Dev Patel's character Saroo. He is not only so cute, he starts the engine and merges this film into traffic for Patel to take the wheel.
1) Manchester By The Sea
Grief. Guilt. How it can destroy you. Casey Affleck shows those emotions in such a realistic way as the Boston father whose children die in a fire and thus destroys his life, his marriage and his soul. Forced to take care of his nephew after his brother dies and forced to come out of his shell to do so, Affleck acts his ass off. Everyone talks about his scene with Michelle Williams in the alley where they finally talk about the tragedy and it is certainly one of the year's best but there is one moment in the film that damn near made me burst into tears. That moment is when he tells his nephew "I cant beat this". Yeah, how could you? I wont reveal the reason he feels such grief and guilt as that moment comes about halfway through and is gut wrenching enough, but if one movie this year made me both laugh and cry it was this one. I hope it wins. At least I hope Casey Affleck wins cuz he deserves it.
Now about the elephant in the room.
La La Land was a fine movie. It entertained me. But that SNL skit waso right on. People that just LOVE La La Land annoy the shit out of me. Tell them yeah it was ok sends them into apoplexy. Chrissakes, tghis movie wasnt even the best Ryan Gosling performance of the year because that was him in The Nice Guys. Emma Stone was fine. But La La Land didnt grab me like it did others. Sorry.
The last hour of this movie is like the first 20 minutes of Saving Private Ryan. Except its an hour. And by the end of that hour you are mentally exhausted. You know I said a movie has to get me to feel something for it to be truly great in my mind? Well in moderation please. I wanted to leave this one. It is intense and not in a good way. It's bloody and disgusting and its so Mel Gibson. He is after all batshit crazy.
I did like other movies this year.
Florence Foster Jenkins--Meryl Streep was great as was Hugh Grant
Free State of Jones--featuring a with hair Mahershala Ali on an unknown Civil War story
Allied- the best looking cast of the year with Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard
Hail Caesar-- oh come on Coen Brothers geeks, it was a fine movie full of religious overtones
Cafe Society--was a good flick even considering a sleepy Kristen Stewart and an even sleepier Jesse Eisenberg
Loving--told a great story about the court case involving biracial couples being allowed to marry. Hey it happened in my lifetime. In MY lifetime
The WORST movie of the year that I saw and I dont purposefully see crappy movies was
The Purge: Election Year
This thing was trash from beginning to end. Just like the real Election Year. The real one was even scarier as we actually do have an evil cartoon villain in office. '
Screw it, I am going to go watch Sing Street again.