Movie Review – The Dead Don’t Die

 

Movie Review - The Dead Don't DieDead Don’t Die as super low budget movie is somewhat cute, but nothing really good. Don’t see it in the theaters: its a good one to wait for streaming. Save your theater money now for the better movies.

There was one cool idea — zombies are attracted to what interested them most while alive. The same thing was done better in Shaun of the Dead though.

It could become a cult favorite later – it was a Cannes Indie darling. Probably from all the cameos.

There was a lot of good quiet interplay charisma between Bill Murray and Adam Driver, and the unusual direction was cool. That worked. The over-stuffed cameos were wasted though.

I was overall quite disappointed, and the cinema room was empty to boot. I might bump this up to a B- minus later. The humor was there, but it was the quiet kind.

Grade: C+

About The Peetimes: This movie was both easy to make Peetimes for and hard. Easy because there are many meaningless dialog scenes, and hard because the film is packed with cameos. I did the best I could to keep the best scenes — between Bill Murray and Adam Driver — out of the Peetimes. It’s a short movie so I only made 2 Peetimes. FYI, there are no End Credit extras and the credits themselves only ran 30 seconds. The app won’t accept that, so it says 1 minute.

There are no extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of The Dead Don’t Die. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Rated (R) for zombie violence/gore, and for language
Genres: Comedy, Fantasy, Horror, Zombie

Movie Review – Tolkien – Biography of the Master of Middle Earth

Movie Review - TolkienI don’t normally watch biographies. We don’t usually get Peetimes for them either, but this was TOLKIEN. The author of my favorite novel, movie, and world: The Lord of the Rings. So it wasn’t just any biopic to me, and Tolkien wasn’t just any author. Lord of the Rings (or LOTR) is a magnificent 1000+ page work of high fantasy, penned by JRR Tolkien as a sequel to the shorter, more youth-oriented The Hobbit.

With The Hobbit published and successful in 1937 (which the movie gets around to in a fantastic end moment that made me literally weep with joy), Tolkien was tasked with creating a ‘hobbit sequel’. This is a case where the sequel outshines its original by a great magnitude, and is literally Tolkien’s life’s work. (Let’s not discuss The Silmarillion here.) [/CanOfWorms] 😉

A new form of world-building fantasy

According to the Wikipedia, LOTR was “written in stages between 1937 and 1949, and is one of the best selling novels ever written, with over 150 million copies sold.”

LOTR also established the groundwork for nearly every novel, series, and film franchise in the fantasy genre to follow, introducing readers to a form of world-building never accomplished before. Tolkien invented entire languages and thousands of years of backstories, timelines and genealogical histories for his handful of mythological races, which he called the Free Peoples of Middle-Earth.

Before Tolkien, we had ancient ballads, plays, and operas to give us fantasy worlds, yet works like Wagner’s Ring Cycle, Beowulf, Shakespeare’s plays, The Iliad and the Odyssey, and the collected stories in Greek/Norse Mythology are very grandiose and quite a bit remote.

LOTR gave readers a story about fallible, often funny individuals who weren’t princes or warriors. In fact, the two main heroes of LOTR are a bookish young man and a gardener. The warriors, kings, and even wizards and dragons appear, of course (it’s still a high fantasy saga), but mostly as supporting characters. You didn’t need a professor to explain the plot to you. You could relate to the heroes. No one had seen anything like this before.

Legacy of the Lord of the Rings

There wouldn’t be any Harry Potter without The Hobbit and LOTR. The Star Wars Saga, Game of Thrones, modern Disney, Pixar and even the 23+ movie spanning Marvel Cinematic Universe owe a huge debt to Tolkien. Name any memorable work of fantasy or space opera, and you’ll find roots buried deep in Middle Earth.

Tolkien – the LOTR author’s biographical movie

Okay. So, I just went off on a long, rambling tangent, not unlike the super long novel in question, and the great films of Peter Jackson that finally paid justice to the source. But was Tolkien, by itself, a good movie?

Yes, very much yes. You have to be a Middle-Earth fan to appreciate it, but I loved seeing JRR — Ronald to his friends — in his early life, full of experiences that informed his creations. Tolkien has said he “cordially despises allegory in all forms”, but it’s hard not to see Mordor and the works of Sauron in the No Man’s Land of World War 1. Ronald is a sort of proto-Frodo, with a young Sam, in the trench scenes. Flames, ash, and great black clouds recall the fumes of Mount Doom.

I don’t think I’ve ever really understood the horror of The War to End All Wars before. It must have felt like the end of an Age. And in many ways, it was. (Compare: World War 2 offered a modern battle tableau, although it wasn’t long after WW1.)

One movie scene in particular, where Ronald lies unconscious in a hole full of the dead by a pool of noisome toxicity, recalls almost precisely Frodo’s fretful sleep before the Black Gates of Mordor.

Other ways The Lord of the Rings is hinted at in Tolkien

What else? Edith has an otherworldly personality and intellect — clearly the basis of Arwen Evenstar. The ‘Cellar Door’ courting scene is exquisite, and Ronald waited as long for Edith as poor Aragorn did for Arwen.

The pastoral countryside of England is very like The Shire, and Ronald’s passionate literary friends had obvious nods to The Fellowship  of The Ring (as explicitly noted in the trailers).

One of Ronald’s buddies had an immortal line where the audience barked in laughter: “It shouldn’t take six hours to tell a story about a magic ring.”

He was talking about Wagner, but Tolkien must have took that as a personal challenge. I’d love to know if his friend actually said that. (In another note, I did attend a showing of Wagner’s Ring Cycle Opera in Vienna once, and it IS incredibly long. Too long. Especially if you don’t speak German.)

A trip to Oxford, and The Inklings

The Oxford scenes had especial meaning to me, as I lived and worked at Oxford University in a post-college internship, and personally wandered through many on-location settings in the film. It was a vast treat to return there cinematically, making me long for an extended visit these many decades later. I even frequented The Eagle and the Child, a pub where Tolkien and The Inklings — who are fated to only appear after the movie ends — sat and shared literary chapters as they wrote them. It thrilled me to quaff a pint at the same table where JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis discussed Lord of the Rings and the Narnia stories, working out the kinks of their epics.

Summarizing Tolkien as a movie experience

So, I’m a total geek with an encyclopedic working knowledge of Tolkien…but I think this biography is accessible to anyone who’s ever read the books or seen Peter Jackson’s movies. I was engaged, moved and thrilled, and though no Hobbits nor Rings of Power appear, Tolkien the film is still a very good time. I’m glad I expanded my horizons enough to look at the author as a real man, and not just a random shadowy figure recording the journeys of Frodo, Gandalf, Strider, Gollum, and Samwise Gamgee.

Grade: A

About The Peetimes: This was a hard movie to find Peetimes for. The movie cuts back and forth between war action, “Fellowship” character building, and important scenes at Oxford University. Both Peetimes center on the romance in Tolkien’s life: while they are nice, they are the least crucial bits building up to Tolkien’s masterpiece. The 2nd Peetime is recommended. Note: There are no Peetimes in the second hour, so plan accordingly.

There are no extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of Tolkien. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Rated (PG-13) for some sequences of war violence
Genres: Biography, Drama, War

Are Modern Movies Too Long?

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Highlights from the 2019 Sundance Film Festival

This year’s Sundance Film Festival recently concluded.  [pullquote]The celebration of independent cinema has been going strong for 41 years[/pullquote].  Even though the Oscars for 2019 haven’t been handed out yet, the Oscar race for 2020 has officially begun.  Past Oscar nominees and winners Little Miss Sunshine, Manchester By the Sea, and The Big Sick, among others, have premiered at Sundance.  This year, 121 films were screened over ten days in Park City and Salt Lake City, Utah.

Here are some of the highlights from this year’s Sundance Film Festival:  

The festival opened with After the Wedding, director Bart Freundlich’s adaptation of the 2006 foreign film of the same name.  The drama starring Julianne Moore and Michelle Moore got disappointing reviews.

Chinonye Chukwu became the first black woman to win the Grand Jury Prize for her film Clemency.  In the movie, Alfre Woodard plays a prison warden haunted by all the death row executions she’s carried out.    

The Souvenir won the World Cinema Grand Jury Prize.  The movie is about a film student finding her voice, while dealing with a complicated relationship that threatens her future.  Written and directed by Joanna Hogg, the movie stars Tilda Swinton and her daughter Honor Swinton Byrne. A sequel is already planned that will add Twilight star Robert Pattinson.    

One Child Nation, directed by Zhang Lynn and Nanfu Wang, won the U.S. Grand Jury Prize for Documentary.  The movie focuses on China’s one-child policy and the effect it had on generations of families.

Honeyland (not to be confused with the drama Honey Boy) won the World Cinema Grand Jury Prize for Documentary.  It focuses on the last female bee hunter in Europe who must save the bees and restore natural balance when something goes wrong.   The movie was directed by Tamara Kotevska and Ljubomir Stefanov.

Brittany Runs a Marathon won the Audience Award for U.S. Dramatic film.  The inspirational comedy, written and directed by Paul Downs Colaizzo, stars Jillian Bell as a woman trying to take control of her life by running.  

 Queen of Hearts, directed by May el-Toukhy, won the Audience Award for World Cinema Dramatic film.  The movie is a tragedy about a woman who seduces her stepson.

Knock Down the House, directed by Rachel Lears, won the Audience Award for U.S. Documentary.  The movie follows four young women, most notably Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who dare to challenge incumbent candidates for their seats in Congress.  Rep. Ocasio-Cortez was not able to attend the screening of Knock Down the House due to complications with the government reopening.  However, she surprised the audience by joining a Q & A after the film, via web conference.  The movie provoked an emotional response from the audience and received a standing ovation. 

 Sea of Shadows, directed by Richard Ladkani,  won the Audience Award for World Documentary. The film is about efforts to save the vaquita, the world’s smallest whale, and end criminal practices that are damaging its habitat.  

The most anticipated film going into the festival was Joe Berlinger’s Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile, a biopic of serial killer Ted Bundy starring Zac Efron and told from the POV of Bundy’s girlfriend.  Although the movie received mixed reviews, Netflix purchased it for $9 million dollars after the festival.

Blinded by the Light was this year’s most expensive acquisition.  It was sold to New Line for $15 million and set a new festival record for the most money spent on a film.  The movie is about a teenage Pakistani boy in England in the ‘80s who’s obsessed with Bruce Springsteen. The film was directed by Gurinder Chadha, who directed the feel-good hit Bend It Like Beckham.    

Amazon spent the most money, setting a record with $46 million dollars total.  Amazon bought one of the movies with the most buzz going into the festival, The Report, for $14 million.  The Report is about an investigation into the CIA’s torture practices following 9/11. It stars Adam Driver, Jon Hamm, and Annette Bening, and was written and directed by Scott Z. Burns.  

Amazon also bought two of the biggest comedies at the fest: Brittany Runs a Marathon, acquired for $14 million, and Late Night, acquired for $13 million. Late Night, directed by Nisha Ganatra,  stars Emma Thompson as a TV talk show host who clashes with a new writer, played by actual writer-producer of the film, Mindy Kaling.

In addition, Amazon paid around $5 million for the Shia LaBeouf film Honey Boy, directed by Alma Ha’rel.  LaBeouf wrote the autobiographical film, in which he plays his own father, as a way of exorcising his demons.  The movie got a standing ovation at its premiere.

The most controversial film at the festival was the documentary Leaving Neverland, a four-hour two-part documentary about two men who claim to have been sexually abused by the late pop star Michael Jackson, as children.  After death threats and talks of protest, extra security and police presence were added to the screening. There were also counselors available at the screening. The premiere only attracted two protesters.  A premiere in Salt Lake City the next day attracted eight.  In early January, Jackson’s family decried the film as “just another rehash of dated and discredited allegations.”  After the screenings, they released an official statement speaking out against the film.  Leaving Neverland, directed by Dan Reed, will air on HBO this spring.  

The dramedy The Farewell, written and directed by Lulu Wang, was one of the most popular films at the festival.  It was acquired by A24 for an amount rumored to be around six or seven million dollars. The movie stars Awkwafina from Crazy Rich Asians.  It’s about a family that decides to keep a matriarch’s cancer diagnosis from her, to lessen the sting of death. The movie will probably get a theatrical release this summer.

Documentaries did well at the festival, too.  

Ava DuVernay’s company ARRAY acquired the documentary MERATA, about the Maori filmmaker Merata Mita, who was the first indigenous woman to direct her own movie.  Hulu acquired The Untitled Amazing Johnathan Documentary from director Ben Berman. The film focuses on the stand-up comic/magician of the title.

Sony Pictures Classics acquired the documentary “David Crosby: Remember My Name.”  A.J. Eaton is the director. Cameron Crowe, director of Almost Famous and Singles, known for his love of rock and roll, is a producer.  Crosby is best known for his work with the band Crosby, Stills, and Nash.

Hail Satan? was acquired by Magnolia Pictures in November and is planning a spring release in the U.S.  The humorous documentary follows The Satanic Temple as they try to uphold religious pluralism.

Magnolia Pictures is also the distributor for the documentary Ask Dr. Ruth.  Ask Dr. Ruth may not have made as big a splash as expected.  I could not find much reporting on it from the festival.  We will have to wait and see if it becomes as popular as RBG and Won’t You Be My Neighbor? 

Liza Mandelup won a special Jury Award for Emerging Filmmaker for Jawline, a documentary about social media fame.

Mads Brügger won  the Directing Award for World Cinema Documentary for Cold Case Hammarskjöld.  The twisty documentary focuses on the investigation of the death of Dag Hammarskjöld, Secretary-General of the United Nations.

Warning: This trailer is a little bit graphic.

Jacqueline Olive was presented with a U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Moral Urgency for her film Always in Season.  The film deals with the subject of lynching.

Warning: disturbing content.

Luke Lorentzen received a U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Cinematography for Midnight Family.  The documentary follows a Mexican family who run a private ambulance service, as they struggle to make ends meet in a competitive market.  

Netflix acquired American Factory for $3 million dollars.  The documentary is about a Chinese company that opens a factory in a shuttered General Motors plant.  The movie follows the culture clash of Chinese and American workers working together, as well as the American workers trying to adapt to newer technology.  

Ursula Macfarlane’s documentary Untouchable, which chronicles Harvey Weinstein’s years of alleged sexual abuse of women, also debuted at Sundance.  The festival is where Weinstein picked up many of Miramax’s hits including Clerks, Reservoir Dogs, and Sex, Lies, and Videotape. However, he is now no longer welcome there.    

Todd Douglas Miller’s documentary Apollo 11 got a Special Jury Award for Editing.  The film recreates the space mission, including audio and video the public has never experienced before.  

 

Alexandre O. Phillipe screened his film Memory: The Origin of Alien which examined Ridley Scott’s horror classic.   I couldn’t find any information on whether this film has a distributor or not. However, Phillipe is an established director who made 78/52: Hitchcock’s Shower Scene about Psycho a few years ago.  I predict this movie will be playing on the big or small screen by the end of the year.

Showtime acquired the four-part documentary Wu-Tang: Of Mics and Men ahead of the festival.  

Directed by Sacha Jenkins, the docu-series tells the history of the rap group Wu-Tang Clan.  The first two parts of the series premiered at the fest. The living members of the group were in attendance.  

Warning: adult language.

Netflix premiered The Great Hack as a work-in-progress. The documentary from directors Jehane Noujaim and Karim Amer focuses on the Cambridge Analytica/Facebook data breach.  

Sony Picture Classics acquired the documentary Where Is My Roy Cohn? about the lawyer whose clients included Joseph McCarthy and even Donald Trump.  The movie was directed by Matt Tyrnauer.

Halston, a documentary about the American fashion designer, and sold to the company formerly known as The Orchard Film Group, has yet to be renamed.  The film will get a theatrical release this spring, be broadcast on CNN in the third quarter of the year, and later stream on Amazon.  The movie was directed by Frédéric Tcheng.  

Other notable Sundance films include:

Patrick Brice premiered the horror movie Corporate Animals, starring Demi Moore and Ed Helms. Polygon described it as “The Office, but gory.”  It does not appear to have a distributor yet.

Neon and Topic Films went in together to acquire the film Luce.  Luce was directed by Julius Onah and adapted from JC Lee’s play. The psychological thriller stars Naomi Watts and Tim Roth, as parents whose adopted child’s identity is called into question.  

Netflix premiered the new Dan Gilroy film Velvet Buzzsaw.  Like his critically acclaimed movie Nightcrawler, it stars Jake Gyllenhaal.  It’s a horror movie set in the art world. It got mixed reviews at the festival, but now that it’s available on Netflix, Twitter is having fun with it.  

Warning: graphic images and disturbing content.

Apple bought its first film, writer-director Minhal Baig’s Hala.  It is unclear whether the movie is going straight to iTunes or will have a theatrical release.  The film is a coming of age story about a teenage girl trying to reconcile her Muslim faith with her love of skateboarding, and her crush on the boy next door.  

Harmony Korine’s latest film, the much-anticipated Beach Bum starring Matthew McConaughey as a Florida poet who seems too busy drinking and doing drugs to write, screened at the festival.  It has a cool lineup of a supporting cast, including Snoop Dogg and Jimmy Buffett. I could not find any reviews of the film, however. It entered the festival with a distributor already (Neon), and will hit theaters in March.  That’s when we’ll find out if the McConaissance continues.

Warning: contains language, drug use, and naked McConaughey butt.

Pete Davidson of Saturday Night Live fame got rave reviews for his performance in Big Time Adolescence, written and directed by Jason Orley.  Unfortunately, the film has not been picked up for distribution.

HBO bought the movie Native Son ahead of its premiere at Sundance.  The movie was directed by visual artist Rashid Johnson, and adapted from Richard Wright’s classic novel by playwright Susan Lori-Parks (best known for her Broadway play Topdog/Underdog).  It updates the tragic story of Bigger Thomas to a modern setting.  Native Son will play on HBO sometime later this year.  

A24 premiered Joe Talbot’s film The Last Black Man in San Francisco.  The movie stars Talbot’s friend Jimmie Fails. The two of them wrote the film together, loosely basing it on Fails’ attempt to move back into and restore his childhood home.  The movie deals with the theme of gentrification. It received a standing ovation at its premiere and won the Directing Award for U.S. Dramatic film.

Neon acquired the horror film The Lodge for around $2 million.  It is the English language debut for directors Severin Fiala and Veronika Franz.  The pair previously made the movie Goodnight Mommy (which is creepy as hell and one of the best horror movies I’ve ever seen).  The movie stars Riley Keough from American Honey and will be released later this year.  The movie is about two children trapped in a cabin with their future stepmother, the survivor of a religious cult.  

Neon and Hulu acquired Abe Forsythe’s Little Monsters in a mid-seven-figure deal.  The horror comedy stars Lupita Nyong’o as a kindergarten teacher defending her class against zombies.  

Neon also acquired the U.S. rights for Monos,  a thriller about a group of Latin American rebels and their American hostage.  The movie was directed by Alejandro Landes and stars Julianne Nicholson.  It received a World Cinema Dramatic Special Jury Award.  

HBO acquired Share, for seven figures.  It was written and directed by Pippa Bianco, who received the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award.  The film is about a cellphone video that appears to show a sexual assault, which gets widely shared.  The movie was also honored with a U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Award for Achievement in Acting.

IFC Films bought the drama Official Secrets, directed by Gavin Hood.  The movie stars Keira Knightley and Ralph Fiennes, and is based on British secret service officer/whistle blower Katherine Gunn, who tried to stop the 2003 invasion of Iraq.  

Babak Anvari premiered his new horror film Wounds, starring Armie Hammer and Dakota Johnson.  It’s about a bartender who starts to suffer from supernatural phenomena once he picks up a stranger’s cellphone.  Some reviewers hate it. Some hate the ending, but like the mood of it. All agree it is deeply weird. So was Hammer’s way of promoting the film: dropping fake dead cockroaches on the floor at parties around the festival.    

Amazon premiered crowd-pleaser Troop Zero starring Viola Davis, Allison Janney, and Jim Gaffigan.  Directed by Bert & Bertie, the movie is an underdog story about a girl who wants to win a national competition to get her voice on NASA’s golden record, and rallies her scout troop to help her.  

Paradise Hills might be the most surreal movie to come out of the festival.  It sounds like pure eye candy.  Vulture called it this year’s “most bonkers” Sundance movie.  It stars Emma Roberts, and features Awkwafina in a dystopian world.  

Which of these films will make it to next year’s Oscars ceremony?  

Check this blog to find out. We’ll have more news and reviews of 2019’s hottest films.  In the meantime, you can check out our coverage of this year’s Golden Globes and see how well I did at predicting the Oscar nominees.  And always remember to use the RunPee app to get Peetimes for the latest movies.

RunPee and the 2019 Oscars – Predictions for the 2018 Movie Awards

Highlights, Comments, and Acceptance Videos for the 76th Annual Golden Globes

Full List (and comments) for the 2019 76th Annual Golden Globes Nominees & Winners

Golden Man’s Top Ten Films List for 2018

Movie Review – Roma – Alfonso Cuaron and his Netflix Masterpiece

oscars statue for the awards ceremony
The big one: this year’s Oscar Awards Ceremony

I decided to do a movie review of Roma for a couple of reasons. It’s not a widely-released in movie theaters in the US, and it will not be a part of the AMC Theaters Best Picture Showcase (#AMCBPS) despite being one of the eight nominated films for Best Picture.

Why? From what I read, in short, the movie rights were not released to American theaters: only to Netflix.

[pullquote]Colonia Roma is a neighborhood in Mexico City, set in 1970 and 1971. It is not the name of the leading actress, like I thought.[/pullquote] This movie is said to be 90 percent of scenes from Director Alfonso Cuaron’s childhood memories, based upon a nanny he adored named Libo (hence, the tribute during the credits). The story is mainly about a nanny, Cleo, who struggles with her life once she becomes pregnant and abandoned by the baby’s father. While, at the same time, she nurtures four children of a mom (Sofia) that also becomes abandoned by her husband.

I won’t write much about this storyline to avoid spoilers.

However, here are several random notes to give you some perspective. The entire movie is told via English subtitles, so don’t look away; you need to be focused. [Ed note: no way could we do Peetimes for a subtitled movie.]

More notes: the riot in the movie is known as the Corpus Christie Massacre. There’s one male nude scene. There’s a very graphic scene involving Cleo’s baby at birth that is a little disturbing; so brace yourself. Cleo and Sofia share a knowing look of despair without words, when a wedding is taking place next to them while they eat ice cream with the children.  [pullquote position=”right”]It’s obvious the pain the two women are feeling, as they both struggle putting their life back on track after their devastating heartbreaks.[/pullquote] I found it odd the children got painful sunburns during their beach visit, but the mom didn’t have any sunscreen.  Interesting that huffing in the 70’s is equivalent to juuling now.

How many dead animals can one person have in one house? Oh my! Taxidermy overload.  Also noteworthy was how families back in the day had one television, and everyone sat together and watched the same TV shows.

[pullquote]The scene I adored the most was when Cleo laid head-to-head with PePe (the youngest child) while he was mad at his brother who just hurt his feelings. This scene showed you how passionate and aware Cleo was about those children.[/pullquote]

Cuaron filmed this movie in Mexico City, which resulted in several mis-dated appearances regarding the airplanes and automobiles seen.

Finally, the ending took me by surprise, as I thought there was going to be another scene to wrap up the story, but there wasn’t.  Let me know if you felt the same way.

[pullquote position=”right”]You will likely enjoy this movie, despite the subtitles.  [/pullquote]The problems women experienced in the 70s is the same today, but now more women are smarter, stronger, and better equipped as Female Masterpieces to survive life’s roadblocks and setbacks.

Catch it on Netflix before the Oscars air on February 24. 

Movie Grade: B

RunPee and the 2019 Oscars – Predictions for the 2018 Movie Awards

Highlights, Comments, and Acceptance Videos for the 76th Annual Golden Globes

RunPee and the 2019 Oscars – Predictions for the 2018 Movie Awards

oscars statue for the awards ceremony
The big one: this year’s Oscar Awards Ceremony

The 2019 Oscar nominees will be announced on Tuesday, January 22.  It has been a wild awards season full of uncertainty, surprises, upsets, and scandal.  The nominations from the 2018 movies may bring their own share of upsets and surprises. Here are my predictions for what Tuesday morning will bring. (NOTE: All links go to RunPee’s movie reviews. If there is no link, we didn’t review it.)

Best Picture  – Under the current rules, there can be up to ten Best Picture nominees.  I’m predicting nine for this year. These are my choices in no particular order.  

  1. Black Panther

Black Panther has been preordained as a Best Picture nominee since it came out last year.  Like Straight Outta Compton was, this is one of the most successful movies of the year, both financially and critically.  If it does not get nominated, the Academy needs to take a long, hard look at itself. After Straight Outta Compton‘s snub, the Academy has done a lot of work to increase the diversity of its membership.  This is an exciting year, because there may be multiple films by people of color eligible for a Best Picture nomination including BlacKkKlansman, Crazy Rich Asians, If Beale Street Could Talk, and my beloved dark horses The Hate U Give and Sorry to Bother You (go watch them!). 

 

  1. A Star Is Born

The belle of the ball.  The early front runner.  As RuPaul might say, “You are safe.  Step to the back of the stage.”  Everyone knows this one is getting nominated.  It doesn’t make it any less of an achievement for Bradley Cooper, who struck gold with his directorial debut. 

 

  1. Green Book

This is the crowd pleaser.  From the first screenings at film festivals, audiences have been in love with this comedy about reconciliation, based on a true story.  There’s no way this doesn’t get nominated.

 

  1. Bohemian Rhapsody

Whatever plays for 2-3 weeks at Thanksgiving at the local arthouse ALWAYS goes to the Oscars.  This year, it was Bohemian Rhapsody and Boy Erased.  If it weren’t for Mary Poppins opening, they would have played Bohemian Rhapsody for an extra month probably.  A Golden Globes win for Best Picture has guaranteed this nomination. 

 

  1. Boy Erased

See above.  Strong performances by Lucas Hedges and Nicole Kidman make this one of the most powerful films of the year. 

 

  1. Vice

With a Best Actor and Best Director nomination likely, a Best Picture nomination is a lock for this Dick Cheney biopic.

 

  1. The Favourite

Living up to its title, this has been a critical and Hollywood favorite, racking up praise, awards, and nominations.  It truly is a “favorite.”  While I personally am not a fan, I’d be surprised if it doesn’t make the list. 

 

  1. BlacKkKlansman

Spike Lee’s masterpiece is one of the few summer films that’s so undeniable Oscar still remembers it, come winter.  The epilogue is a punch in the gut I can still feel. 

 

  1. A Quiet Place

A Quiet Place is this year’s Get Out.  It’s not a socially conscious satire.  However, A Quiet Place is the most talked about (and least talked during) horror movie of the year.  Sorry, Hereditary.  It did well at the box office, and it’s been shortlisted for at least one Oscar: Best Original Score. 

 

If there is a rare tenth slot this year, it goes to Crazy Rich Asians.  It is the first major film to feature an Asian-American cast since The Joy Luck Club twenty-five years ago.  That’s something worth celebrating.   

 

Sadly, this leaves First Man, Can You Ever Forgive Me?, and If Beale Street Could Talk on the sidelines.  

 

Best Actress

Lady Gaga, A Star Is Born

Glenn Close, The Wife

Melissa McCarthy, Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Olivia Colman, The Favourite

Saoirse Ronan, Mary Queen of Scots

 

Everyone has been whispering about an Oscar for Lady Gaga since A Star Is Born came out.  Glenn Close was a personal favorite before she won the Golden Globe. Just saying.  The Wife is a career highlight.  Melissa McCarthy showed the range of what she can do, from comedy to drama, in Can You Ever Forgive Me?  Olivia Colman will ride the praise for The Favourite to a nomination.  Mary Queen of Scots has been playing for over a month at the arthouse.  I’m going to go out on a limb, and say that audiences know something the odds makers don’t.  Maybe I’m blinded by my admiration for her, but I predict Saoirse Ronan is going to pull an upset and fill the fifth slot.  It’s not like she’s a stranger to the red carpet. 

 

Best Actor

Christian Bale, Vice

Rami Malek, Bohemian Rhapsody

Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born

Lucas Hedges, Boy Erased

Viggo Mortensen, Green Book

 

Bale and Malek embody the men they are playing to a degree you forget you aren’t watching the real thing.  It would be a major upset if Bradley Cooper does not get a nomination for A Star is Born.  Lucas Hedges followed up Manchester By the Sea with another heartbreaking performance.  Viggo Mortensen makes it here by good will.  I like Green Book.  I liked Ryan Gosling in First Man, and Jonathan Pryce in The Wife better. 

 

Best Supporting Actress

Nicole Kidman , Boy Erased

Emma Stone, The Favourite

Rachel Weisz, The Favourite

Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk

Amy Adams, Vice

 

Kidman excels at sentimental mother roles.  And she has at least one great scene in Boy Erased.  Stone and Weisz have been seen as competitors in this race, much like they were on-screen.  For all the pairs that publicists hoped would get nominated together this year (Ali and Mortensen for Green Book, Carell and Chalamet for Beautiful Boy), these two are the surest thing this side of A Star is Born. Regina King is a character actress that is loved by her peers.  She won the Golden Globe.  She may well win the Oscar.  Amy Adams has one of the best scenes of the year early on in Vice.  She’s also an Oscar favorite with several nominations. 

 

Best Supporting Actor

Sam Elliott, A Star is Born

Mahershala Ali, Green Book

Richard E. Grant, Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Timothy Chalamet, Beautiful Boy

Steve Carell, Vice

 

Despite being snubbed by the Globes, I’m confident Sam Elliott is going to get a nomination.  (Isn’t it time?)  Ali’s nomination is similarly a foregone conclusion.  Grant is a respected British character actor with a decent amount of buzz behind his performance.  Chalamet gave a powerful portrayal of drug addiction and recovery.  I’m going to throw a monkey wrench into the works by predicting it will be Steve Carell rather than Sam Rockwell who gets nominated for the movie Vice.  Rockwell’s portrayal of George W. Bush is featured in the trailer and has garnered more attention.  But it’s Carell as Donald Rumsfeld who really steals the movie.  This makes the race a bit awkward by pitting Carell against his Beautiful Boy co-star Chalamet.  I’m still holding out hope though that the Academy will surprise me though, and fill one of these slots (not Sam’s!) with Russell Hornsby from The Hate U Give or Josh Hamilton from Eighth Grade (Best. Dads. Ever.).

 

Best Director

Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born

Alfonso Cuaron, Roma

Spike Lee, BlacKkKlansman

Peter Farrelly, Green Book

Adam McKay, Vice

 

Bradley Cooper nailed it with his first feature.  Not only did he make an entertaining film, he made a love story that feels authentic.  Alfonso Cuaron dug into his childhood memories to bring to life a similarly authentic story.  Spike Lee made a humorous, suspenseful, moving meditation about race in America.  Peter Farrelly took us on a road trip that changed the lives of two men.  Adam McKay made a brave film about politics and power.  There are no real surprises in my choices.  This is the same lineup as the Globes and the Directors Guild nominations.  If I had my druthers, Bo Burnham (Eighth Grade) or Damien Chazelle (First Man) would take Peter Farrelly’s slot. 

 

Best Original Song

Shallow,” A Star is Born

“A Place Called Slaughter Race,” Ralph Breaks the Internet

“Trip a Little Light Fantastic,” Mary Poppins Returns

“The Place Where Lost Things Go,” Mary Poppins Returns

“All the Stars,” Black Panther

 

Shallow” is a lock.  Of course, A Star Is Born is going to get a Best Song nomination.  If Ralph Breaks the Internet‘s side-splittingly funny, “A Place Called Slaughter Race” doesn’t get nominated, there is no justice.  It’s a send up of the classic Disney princess “I Want” song (“Part of Your World”, etc.) And I’m dying for a Randy Newman cover version.  Who do you think they’ll get to sing it at the Oscars? 

It’s not unusual for Disney to have more than one song nominated from the same film (The Lion King had three).  So I think both shortlisted Mary Poppins songs could make it through, though “Light Fantastic” is the ear worm.  I’m giving the final slot to “All the Stars” though it could go to “Girl in the Movies” by Dolly Parton from Dumplin’.  She has been nominated twice before.

 

Best Original Screenplay

Green Book, Nick Vallelonga, Brian Currie, and Peter Farrelly

Vice, Adam McKay

Eighth Grade, Bo Burnham

First Reformed, Paul Schrader

A Quiet Place, Bryan Woods, Scott Beck, and John Krasinski

 

Green Book: how do you not nominate the crowd-pleaser?  For Vice, McKay not only had to do exhaustive research, he employs several unique narrative devices.  Bo Burnham managed to capture not only the awkwardness of middle school, but to tell it from the point of view of a teenage girl.  Paul Schrader wrote one of the two best movies about faith this year.  (Disobedience was the other one.  Watch them both.)  A Quiet Place was one of the most unique theatrical experiences of the year.  The first sequence is its own horror short film that should be used to teach would-be screenwriters how to tell a story visually. 

 

Best Adapted Screenplay

If Beale Street Could Talk, Barry Jenkins

Can You Ever Forgive Me?,  Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty

Black Panther, Ryan Coogler and Joe Robert Cole

A Star Is Born, Eric Roth and Bradley Cooper & Will Fetters

BlacKkKlansman, Spike Lee, Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz and Kevin Willmott

 

Barry Jenkins didn’t just tell a story.  He found ways to add power to James Baldwin’s words through imagery.  Can You Ever Forgive Me? found the humanity in two hard to love people. 

Out of the comic books (Black Panther) came one of the most empowering films of all time.  The fourth version of A Star Is Born made us fall in love again.  BlacKkKlansman delivered a necessary message through an entertaining story. 

 

Best Animated Film

Incredibles 2

Ralph Breaks the Internet

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Mirai

Isle of Dogs

 

This is the same lineup as the Globes, but these are simply the five best animated films that came out this year.  If I could find anything artier or weirder to put in Mirai‘s spot, I would have, because Oscar would too.  (See My Life As a Zuchini.)

 

Incredibles 2 was the sequel that goes bigger than the original.  It was huge summer fun and everything I love about Pixar.  Ralph Breaks the Internet was…a little less fun but still had lots of laughs and lots of heart and the ultimate song (see above).  Spider-Man was an unexpected roller-coaster ride full of surprises.  I’m pulling for it to win.  Mirai was a sweet anime about family and heritage.  Isle of Dogs was Wes Anderson’s tale of a boy in search of his dog, in a world where dogs have been banned. 

 

I’m predicting Mirai in the fifth slot but the Academy could go more commercial and choose Teen Titans Go to the Movies, Hotel Transylvania 3 (such a let-down after 2!), Sherlock Gnomes, or Smallfoot instead. 


 

Kumail Nanjiani (The Big Sick—amazing rom com!) and Tracee Ellis Ross (Black-ish) will announce the nominees live on Tuesday, January 22 at 8:20 am ET/5:20 am PT.  

You can live stream it at Oscar.com or watch the Oscars live on TV Sunday, Feb 24th. Check my predictions then, and find out if I was way off base or right on the money!  Feel free to make your own predictions in the comments below. Check back here for more awards coverage! And don’t forget to use the Run Pee app for those lengthy, bladder-busting awards bait movies.  

Highlights, Comments, and Acceptance Videos for the 76th Annual Golden Globes

Movie Review – Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen Will Rock You

Movie Review – Black Panther – One Incredible Party

Movie Review – A Star Is Born

Movie Review – BlacKkKlansman

Highlights, Comments, and Acceptance Videos for the 76th Annual Golden Globes

golden globes award 2019 76th ceremony
Who deserves to win a Golden Globe from the 2018 movies?

The 76th Golden Globe Awards was a night full of surprises.  Held by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the Globes are often an early predictor of the Oscars.   

In case you didn’t know, the Wikipedia describes exactly what a Golden Globe Award is about:

The Golden Globe Awards are accolades bestowed by the 93 members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association beginning in January 1944, recognizing excellence in film and television, both domestic and foreign.

[pullquote]The annual ceremony at which the awards are presented is a major part of the film industry’s awards season, which culminates each year in the Academy Awards.[/pullquote] The eligibility period for the Golden Globes corresponds to the calendar year (i.e. January 1 through December 31). The 76th Golden Globe Awards, honoring the best in film and television in 2018, were held on January 6, 2019.

Here are some of this 2019’s Golden Globe highlights from the 2018 films: 


 

 

— Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse won Best Animated Motion Picture, beating out two Pixar movies (Incredibles 2, Ralph Breaks the Internet).  Writer/producer Phil Lord said, “We’re living in an alternate universe where we win this.”  Director Peter Ramsey said, “”We were trying to make a movie that spoke to the idea that anyone can be behind the mask. We’re telling the story of Miles Morales, a kid from Brooklyn, African American, Puerto Rican. Anyone can be behind the mask. We’re counting on you.  You can do it.”

 

— Host Sandra Oh won Best Actress in a TV Series for the show Killing Eve and used the moment to honor her parents that were there with her. 

 

— Comedy legend Carol Burnett was presented with the First Annual Carol Burnett Award for Outstanding Achievement in Television.  She beat out other “nominees” Christian Bale, Charlize Theron, and Antonio Banderas with her fingers crossed in anticipation.   

— Jeff Bridges received The Cecil B. DeMille Award.  He gave a Dude-esque speech about trim tabs, the small devices on boats that have the power to change the entire direction of the boat.  He “tagged” the audience (at the theater and at home) declaring everyone a trim tab with the power to change the direction of our world. 

— In Regina King’s acceptance speech for Best Supporting Actress for If Beale Street Could Talk, she pledged to make everything she produces over the next two years 50% women.  She challenged anyone in a position of power in all industries to do the same. 

— In his acceptance speech for Best Actor in a Comedy for Vice, Christian Bale thanked Satan for providing him with the inspiration to play Dick Cheney.  Then he proposed making a Mitch McConnell movie next. 

— A Star is Born won Best Song for “Shallow.”  However, it was surprisingly shut out of every other category it was nominated in.  A major shocker as it’s been the movie to beat for months.  Bohemian Rhapsody won Best Actor in a Drama instead and the coveted Best Picture.  Alfonso Cuaron beat out Bradley Cooper for Best Director for the Netflix film Roma.  And Glenn Close won Best Actress for the underrated drama The Wife despite months of buzz about Lady Gaga’s film debut. 

— Glenn Close gave the best speech of the night.  “Women, we’re nurturers.  That’s what’s expected of us.  We have our children.  We have our husbands, if we’re lucky enough.  And our partners.  Whoever.  But we have to find personal fulfillment…We have to follow our dreams.  We have to say, ‘I can do that.  And I should be allowed to do that.’ “


 

The Oscar nominees will be announced Tuesday, January 22. We’ll find out then how many of the Golden Globe nominees and winners will make it to the big show.  Check back here for more awards coverage.

Someone who knows his stuff: Read Golden Man’s 76th Annual Golden Globes commentary and coverage.

Full List (and comments) for the 2019 76th Annual Golden Globes Nominees & Winners

Movie Review – Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen Will Rock You

The Voice Actors of Spider-Verse

Movie Review – Incredibles 2

Movie Review – Ralph Breaks the Internet

Movie Review – Vice – Deeply Funny But Tonally Strange

Movie Review – If Beale Street Could Talk

Movie Review – A Star Is Born

Full List (and comments) for the 2019 76th Annual Golden Globes Nominees & Winners

76 annual golden globes award
Who deserves to win a Golden Globe from the 2018 movies?

We’ve compiled the complete list of nominees for tonite’s (Jan 6, 2019) 76th Annual Globe Awards, and the RunPee Family added a few comments here and there. Been a long, fruitful year of movies. We’ve added links to RunPee’s own reviews where we had them (we don’t catch every limited release). Enjoy reading our opinions!

So! What are your best guesses? Are you happy about the wins? Who was robbed? Add your thoughts about 2018’s films in the comments below.

UPDATED, AFTER THE AWARDS: All winners in each category are in bold. They have boldly gone where movies should go, right? Anyway.

The full list of 2019 Golden Globes nominees [Drumroll]:

Film


 

Best Picture — Drama

Black Panther (RunPee Jilly: PLEASE let a genre superhero movie win!!! Break the ceiling now! Make Stan Lee proud! Oh, just win it!) 

BlacKkKlansman (Dan: What a funny, witty, movie. Great acting, directing, editing. It’s a strong contender for Best Picture.) 

Bohemian Rhapsody (Jilly: Why is this not a musical?)

If Beale Street Could Talk

A Star Is Born (Jilly: Second time: why is this also not a musical?)

Best Picture — Comedy or Musical

Crazy Rich Asians

The Favourite

Green Book

Mary Poppins Returns (Jilly: Certainly is the only Musical on this list.)

Vice (Jilly: This was a COMEDY?)

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture — Drama

Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born

Willem Dafoe, At Eternity’s Gate

Lucas Hedges, Boy Erased

Rami Malek, Bohemian Rhapsody (Jilly: my pic for the prize. He WAS Freddie.)

John David Washington, BlacKkKlansman (Dan: I don’t know about this. If JDW is nominated then how can Adam Driver not be nominated as well? They played the same person. 🙂 )

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture — Drama

Glenn Close, The Wife

Lady Gaga, A Star Is Born

Nicole Kidman, Destroyer

Melissa McCarthy, Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Rosamund Pike, A Private War (Jilly: the movie was disturbing, but clearly meant to be. I can’t argue with the stellar job Pike did with this challenging piece. It’s nothing like her work in Gone Girl, but I can make out certain similar touches.)

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

Christian Bale, Vice (Dan: Wait, what? Christian Bale was Cheney? I thought Cheney played himself in this movie.)

Lin Manuel Miranda, Mary Poppins Returns

Viggo Mortensen, Green Book

Robert Redford, The Old Man & the Gun

John C. Reilly, Stan & Ollie

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

Emily Blunt, Mary Poppins Returns (Jilly: She really became Mary Poppins, ya’ll. Goes to show that good talent can equal a previous iconic performance, if all things come together. Also, it’s Emily Blunt! She’s on my “Can Do No Wrong” list.)

Olivia Colman, The Favourite

Elsie Fisher, Eighth Grade

Charlize Theron, Tully

Constance Wu, Crazy Rich Asians (Dan: This movie had all the markings of a cinematic Hallmark movie, but Constance’s performance really brought it up a notch, and then some.)

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

Mahershala Ali, Green Book

Timothée Chalamet, Beautiful Boy

Adam Driver, BlacKkKlansman (Dan:  Okay, that’s what I’m talking about. Driver was superb.)

Richard E. Grant, Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Sam Rockwell, Vice (Dan: Meh, just like Bush Jr., he plays second fiddle to the real talent.)

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

Amy Adams, Vice (Dan:  A strong performance. She didn’t have many dramatic scenes but did a great job with what she had.)

Claire Foy, First Man

Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk (DanaSimone:  UPDATE: Just heard Regina King got an Award for Best Supporting Actress for Beale Street…. and she made a trending speech about hiring 50 percent women from now on on her projects….here is her awesome speech.)

Emma Stone, The Favourite

Rachel Weisz, The Favourite

Best Director — Motion Picture

Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born (Jilly: A nice directorial effort. This young man is shaping up nicely.)

Alfonso Cuarón, Roma

Peter Farrelly, Green Book

Spike Lee, BlacKkKlansman (Dan:  He’s got my vote.)

Adam McKay, Vice (Dan:  Adam did a great job taking a creative approach to a serious subject matter. I mean really, it takes real creativity to make a bioptic about Dick Cheney into a comedy, without turning it into a farce.)

Best Screenplay — Motion Picture

Alfonso Cuarón, Roma

Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara, The Favourite

Barry Jenkins, If Beale Street Could Talk

Adam McKay, Vice (Dan: Honestly, his directing was really good, however I think the bulk of the credit goes to Christian Bale’s performance. But this screenplay was amazing. I think this is Adam’s strongest suit.)

Peter Farrelly, Nick Vallelonga, Brian Currie, Green Book

Best Motion Picture — Animated

Incredibles 2 (Jilly: The probable winner. This adulty animated Superhero family is the one to beat. Plus, Pixar!)

Isle of Dogs  (Jilly: Isle of Dogs certainly deserves this nom. I was super surprised how sophisticated this limited release cartoon about Asian dogs was. But it had a stellar acting cast, so, maybe I should have expected it.)

Mirai (Golden Man: A sweet anime about family and heritage. Definitely an underdog. Its nomination is its award. The kind of left field movie that occasionally sneaks into the Best Animated Film category at the Oscars.)

Ralph Breaks the Internet (Jilly: This was freaking amazing too!)

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (Jilly: OH NOES. Let this one win. Sorry about everything I said above. Especially in 3D, this film absolutely blows the rest out of the water. One of the best movies in any medium – total A ++++.)

Best Picture — Foreign Language

Capernaum

Girl

Never Look Away

Roma

Shoplifters

Best Original Score — Motion Picture

Marco Beltrami, A Quiet Place (Jilly: WTH? This is an almost entirely silent film? Does this count as Best Anti-Score?)

Alexandre Desplat, Isle of Dogs (Jilly: Unusual score, but not a winner, I think.)

Ludwig Göransson, Black Panther (Jilly: YES! This is the kind of soundtrack scoring that transports the viewer to a new reality. This most exotic of Marvel’s soundtracks should set a standard of what we can expect in a genre film like this.. My unreserved vote.)

Justin Hurwitz, First Man (Jilly: The score was a collection of oldies hits, if I recall. Nope on this one.)

Marc Shaiman, Mary Poppins Returns (Jilly: Might be hard to beat from nostalgia factor alone. Not my choice, though.)

Best Original Song — Motion Picture

“All the Stars,” Black Panther

“Girl in the Movies,” Dumplin’

“Requiem for a Private War,” A Private War

“Revelation,” Boy Erased

“Shallow,” A Star Is Born

Television


Best Television Series — Drama

The Americans (FX)

Bodyguard (Netflix)

Homecoming (Amazon)

Killing Eve (BBC America)

Pose (FX)

Best Television Series — Musical or Comedy

Barry (HBO)

Kidding (Showtime)

The Good Place (NBC) (Jilly: The Good Place is a well deserved sleeper hit. The small ensemble is clearly having a great time, and so are we in watching it.)

The Kominsky Method (Netflix)

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon)

Best Television Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
The Alienist, TNT

The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story, FX

Escape at Dannemora, Showtime

Sharp Objects, HBO

A Very English Scandal, Amazon

Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series — Drama

Jason Bateman, Ozark

Stephan James, Homecoming

Richard Madden, Bodyguard

Billy Porter, Pose

Matthew Rhys, The Americans

Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series — Drama

Caitriona Balfe, Outlander

Elisabeth Moss, The Handmaid’s Tale

Sandra Oh, Killing Eve

Julia Roberts, Homecoming

Keri Russell, The Americans

Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series — Musical or Comedy

Sacha Baron Cohen, Who Is America

Jim Carrey, Kidding

Michael Douglas, The Kominsky Method

Donald Glover, Atlanta

Bill Hader, Barry

Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series — Musical or Comedy

Kristen Bell, The Good Place (Jilly: Bell deserves this. No one but Veronica Mars herself could do a better job sleuthing this plot out.)

Candice Bergen, Murphy Brown

Alison Brie, Glow

Rachel Brosnahan, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Debra Messing, Will & Grace (Jilly: Messing will probably win, to make up for the 30 noms her show was snubbed by over the years. I’ll be fine with that. The show did something I never thought mainstream society was ready for.)

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

Antonio Banderas, Genius: Picasso

Daniel Bruhl, The Alienist

Darren Criss, The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story

Benedict Cumberbatch, Patrick Melrose

Hugh Grant, A Very English Scandal

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

Amy Adams, Sharp Objects

Patricia Arquette, Escape at Dannemora

Connie Britton, Dirty John

Laura Dern, The Tale

Regina King, Seven Seconds

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

Alan Arkin, The Kominsky Method

Kieran Culkin, Succession

Edgar Ramirez, The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story

Ben Whishaw, A Very English Scandal

Henry Winkler, Barry

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

Alex Borstein, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Patricia Clarkson, Sharp Objects

Penelope Cruz, The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story

Thandie Newton, Westworld

Yvonne Strahovski, The Handmaid’s Tale

So? What say you? Go to the comments and don’t be shy. We all have our own opinions, so no one is wrong.  For example, I (RunPee Jilly) tend to like genre films/TV (sci-fi, fantasy, adventure) myself, and avoid a lot of Oscar bait. It doesn’t mean I have no taste, does it? It’s all fun. That’s what makes us go see movies, read reviews, and learn new things to watch. 

Quiz – Golden Globe Awards Trivia

Quiz – Bradley Cooper – Actor, Director, Musician

Quiz – Clint Eastwood – Actor, Director, Mayor, Musician

Quiz – Political Career of Dick Cheney

Did Rami Malek Sing In Bohemian Rhapsody?

The Weirdest Moments in Classic Christmas Specials

abominable snowman on the year without a santa claus
Turns out he’s not a bad guy. But still kind of strange.

Old Christmas TV specials can be downright bizarre. I grew up watching the animated cartoons like  Frosty the Snowman and The Grinch, and eagerly lapped up the clay stop-motions like Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer, and The Year Without a Santa Claus. Joyous holiday fun, right?

Yes. And no. They’re enjoyable shorts, but as an adult I’m noticing really strange beats, weirdo songs, and odd, almost off-putting characters. Some of these things resonate through the years: we’ve learned to use the term Reindeer Games to signify human pack behavior that’s intended to be more clique-ish than inclusive. And among those experiencing “outsider status” alienation, the concept of The Island of Misfit Toys really hits home.

Here are some of the best wacked-out characters and songs from decades ago that we still love, probably because of their strangeness.

The Year Without a Santa Claus (1974):

Remember the Heat Miser? There’s also a Snow Miser, but nobody remembers him. The Snow guy seems too nice, but the “Heat Blister” is the king of strange. If you’ve ever seen this, the lyrics come flooding back. (He’s too much…da da da duh…)

How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966):

I can’t go any further without mentioning the beloved song, You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch. What great about this song is there are so many additional lyrics as the song reprises over the course of 26 minutes of cartoon runtime. It’s really creative and each set gets wilder and weirder. I love this. Between The Grinch and the Heat Miser, it’s like grumpy geek nirvana.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964):

This is the cutest one in the holiday lineup, with a whole lot of adorableness and a great message about tolerance, compassion for others who don’t fit the societal role, and the kind of understanding that leads (if we’re really lucky) to friendship. Everyone in this special is damaged goods in some way, even Santa himself, who has to stuff himself unhealthily to fit the “image” of a fat old man. But the real strangeness award has to go to the Abominable Snowman, who’s only cranky because his teeth hurt. Enter the elf who wants to be a — gasp! —  dentist. It all comes around, and Rudolph’s deformity saves Christmas. I hope the other reindeer invite him to play their games and he tells them off. Although, I guess, that’s defeating the spirit of the message.

The Island of Misfit Toys also qualifies as weird. There’s a birdfish, a crying dolly, a Charlie in the Box, a train with square wheels…all toys probably made by elves on crack. The toys believe no child would ever want them. In reality — our reality — there are kids who’d love them instead of getting the boring same-old toys: these are unique. And remember, even in this day there are children who’s families can’t afford any gifts. They would CHERISH these toys.

Those who are different don’t have to be outcasts, or think of themselves as broken. Apparently Santa doesn’t even bother to save the toys in the original, as LifeNews reports in an excellent article (well worth a read — angry letters from children saved the day).

And that’s all I’m going to say as I put my soapbox away. Here’s the brightly, sprightly song the lonely toys sing, at strange odds with their predicament — they truly have no hope for themselves. It’s remarkably subversive, and I love it:

In sum, I’d posit that strange is memorable and fun, sticking to the nooks and crannies of the brain moreso than taking more expected  route. Look at the new (1918) Grinch movie. It’ a marvel of animation, but boring. Really, really boring.

Have I missed something noteworthy and odd from your favorite holiday specials? Do you prefer the Grinch song or the Heat Miser? Please add your comments below!

In Defense of the Grinch (1966)

The Grinch Who Keeps Stealing Christmas

Movie Review – The Grinch (2018)

 

 

 

Hip Indie Theater Review in Tijuana, Mexico – Cine Tonala

Three levels of food, brews, music, WIFI, film, and fun!

I sit here with delightful empanada pastries, and a nice menu in this three level establishment in downtown’s Cine Tonala — right on the ‘infamous’ Av. Revolucion in Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico. It’s a sneeze to walk across the main San Diego border, then a longish walk, cheap van-taxi, or short UBER ride from there, and feels safe as sandwiches (which you can order here). The WIFI is fast (ask for the password), and there are large laptop tables near power outlets. 

[pullquote]The Cinema Room also has FREE COLD AC – which on a hot, humid day like today, is a blessed relief. Eats, drinks, movies…cool air and good company — this is an unusually fine venue in old downtown TJ.  The toilets are for patrons only – so get a beer, a movie ticket, or at buy least a sweet.[/pullquote] Bathrooms are kept clean, stocked with free toilet paper — more precious in Mexico than gold (remember not to flush it. Baja sewage systems can’t handle that). 

The downstairs is open to the street, has a hip brick interior, craft beer on tap, and vintage posters adorning the walls, including stylized versions of Mexican and USA Presidents from JFK through Obama. Cine Tonala will even let you free-sample the craft brews. The tenders also create mixed cocktails, and play a good selection of music recognizable from the states. The music is set low, so you can hear your companion talk, creating a nice intimate setting. It’s a far cry from the thumping, thudding, ear-blasting dance clubs lining the rest of the way along Avenida Revolucion. (Which many young adults like. So loud. But, heck. It’s their ears. Now get off my lawn!)

The 2nd and 3rd floor funnels the cool outside breezes, with catwalks and balconies overlooking the human zoo below. Those levels opens at 3 pm and have what they call “Magic Hours” (Fri 5-7 pm…3×1 national beers): Happy Hour, to US speakers.

It’s a great little cinema house that clearly wants your business. I’m surprised they make a living, showing such a specialized fare of international limited release favorites and cult-classic Mex faves — but they attract a devoted crowd. I’m relieved. We need funky/creative places like this in the world. Sure I can stream such things on my own, but not in a fun crowd of fellow fans, with amazing beer options. GO THERE, OKAY?

Enough employees speak enough English to make this an Ex-Pat watering hole, movies aside, although the vintage, classic oldies and Indies films draw locals as well. The theater doesn’t look like much from the outside, but that’s par for the course in Tijuana. I felt safe enough running to the Damas (ladies) room with my laptop plugged in.

The employees at Cine Tonala gave me a peek into into the cinema room and offered me a free show. They play 3-4 films a day in cold AC. Nice. The chairs are vintage and a bit creaky, but have decently soft seats = good enough for  90 minute films.

There’s lots to read. Ask for the upcoming movie list, or peruse the  magazines, including brand new issues of American Cinematographer with fun covers (I saw one about the making of Avengers: Infinity War and another about Solo)They have a Facebook page too, where you can add your review — or post one in our comments below.

[US Dollars are accepted.]

Address: Av. Revolución 1317, Zona Centro, 22000 Tijuana, B.C., Mexico
Hours: 1 pm — 2 am weekends, or til 10:30 pm weeknights
Phone: +52 664 688 0118

Movie Theater Review – AMC Fashion Valley in San Diego