Thoughts

My 2019 Oscar Thoughts

An awards show should cater to the industry it’s awarding and that industry’s fans, not random viewers who do not care either way.

Color me surprised, the Oscars was not the train fire that so many of us thought it would be. In fact, it wasn’t half bad. I’ve never been a big awards show person because a lot of the wins seem to have a kind ulterior motive and this year was no different. That said I have learned to look past the awards I don’t agree with and take in the moments the really mattered. There were some artists last night who were given recognition on the greatest stage of their craft and capturing their joy filled emotions was and always will be beautiful.

Let’s take it back to the beginning though, the show opened with a performance by the remaining members of Queen with touring vocalist Adam Lambert. There could not have been a better way to open the show and it gave me the impression that they may pull something off with this year’s presentation. What followed was a host-less Oscars and it was the best thing that could have happened to this show. Take out the host and you just cut out a bunch of extra fluff that has and never will be needed. It was also more interesting to see a variety of personalities on stage without a framing device past IT’S AN AWARDS SHOW.

This show was lean for the most part and I have to imagine that cutting out a host probably shaved twenty minutes of air time, which apparently is massively important to ABC, the network host. I’m typically not a huge fan of the live music performances but this year gave me not just Queen but the Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper duet Shallow. I was a huge fan of A Star Is Born, the chemistry between the two leads being a huge reason, and damn do these two have the best chemistry I have seen regardless of the venue. The performance brought back those strong emotional feelings I felt when watching the movie. In fact, I’m starting to get bummed again it didn’t win more awards…

I would be remiss to again state that the true heart of the show to me is watching an impassioned artist take in this moment of recognition and reflection of what they accomplished the previous year. There were some very beautiful and moving speeches. Black Panther’s Hannah Beachler for Production Design was the standout this year. When you feel those same feelings that the award winner is feeling you know they are speaking from the deepest place in their heart. It was special, which leads to the biggest issue I have with how the producers of this show choose to run it.

This is supposed to be about the honoring those who have won the awards for whatever category they were nominated for. Why then do we have time for cringey bits? Jokes that never land to the full audience? Why is that time taken away from award winners where they have to speed through their acceptance and acknowledgement of this huge moment for them? I don’t get it, I didn’t need the Melissa McCarthy bit playing with a puppet, I don’t need to see people descend from the sky. I want to see the show about awarding achievements in film to be about those achievements in film. The answer is clear, that the network needs those audience numbers, but it just adds circus tricks to what is supposed to be a prestige show.

Along with being a big movie fan, I’m an avid video game enthusiast. They have had an independent award show called The Game Awards for the last five years. That show gets what it is, and it can do that because the show runner Geoff Keighley decided to build the show directly on streaming platforms. He isn’t bound down to some silly need to draw in audience that doesn’t care for the subject matter, it caters to that industry and to that industry’s fans. It’s the example of what every prestige awards show should aspire to and a goal post of what the Oscars need to reach if it wants to keep the relevance that it so desperately needs.

It occurs to me that in my award show rant, I didn’t even comment about the winners themselves. Congratulations to all the winners! Did some of my favorites not win? Yeah that happens pretty much every year, but I’m not everyone and that’s okay. Go Movies!

Preview

2019 Movie Preview

Happy New Year everyone!

While most are focused on those month long resolution goals, I wanted to spend some time looking at the upcoming release calendar and what I’m excited to see. Take a look below at some 2019 movies that I can’t wait to check out!

Glass – January 18th

M. Night Shyamalan’s version of super heroes versus villains finally comes to a head with Glass. For those who don’t know know this film is a sequel to 2000’s Unbreakable, and 2017’s Split. It pits Bruce Willis’s David Dunn from the former against James McAvoy’s The Beast from the later. I’m super excited for this movie for a couple reasons, one being Split was great, and the other that Bruce Willis / Samuel L. Jackson look like they are bringing their acting skills to the table. Shyamalan has been on a solid run in the past several years and this one looks like it might be the one he’s always wanted to make.

Us – March 15th

I have a confession, I still haven’t seen Jordan Peele’s Get Out. I plan to rectify that before his next movie though. Us looks like it’s going to be a fun horror ride. This plot appears from the trailers to follow a family who are being hunted by some serial killer version of themselves. I have no idea where this plot is going to go but I’m super intrigued to find out.

Shazam! – April 5th

It’s Big meets superheroes, what is not to love? While I do enjoy your normal superhero movie, one’s that try and do something fresh with the genre always catch my eye. This looks like it’s gonna be a great time with a lot of laughs.

Avengers: Endgame – April 26th

Avengers: Infinity War rubbed me the wrong way. I enjoyed it but no where near to the extent that most fans did. The ending felt hollow to me, but if it was all set up to make Endgame the movie I wanted in the first place (a Marvel movie with major stakes) then fine by me, and boy oh boy, this looks exactly like what I wanted Infinity War to be.

Pokemon Detective Pikachu – May 10th

Talk about a trailer that completely won me over. When I heard they were making a live action Pokemon movie about a talking Pikachu who solves crimes, I was very skeptical. This trailer though hit all the right notes. The detective angle actually looks like a solid move to tell a story you can accomplish in one film. The Pokemon look great, and that sweet soothing voice of Ryan Reynolds just seals the deal. This movie is gonna make crazy money.

John Wick: Chapter 3 – May 17th

The Baba Yaga is back for round three baby! The John Wick series has been my favorite gun-fu action series in recent memory. The gun play action is just a blast to watch as ex-hitman John Wick head shots and double taps every poor soul who decides to take him on. The last we saw him in the last movie leaves him in a very very stick situation so it will be be wild to see him fight through what seem like impossible odds. If anyone can do it though, it’s the man who kills scores of thugs for killing a dog.

Godzilla: King of Monsters – May 31st

Holy crap, May is staked with great movies. I have three on this list and there are at least two others that look pretty great too. I really enjoyed 2014’s Godzilla and 2017’s Kong: Skull Island, but before we can get to Godzilla vs. Kong, our Kaiju protector will have to battle against three of his most popular foes. This is the monster movie I have wanted to see since I was a little kid. It looks absolutely insane and I can’t wait to see how Godzilla takes down these formidable opponents.

Joker – October 4th

This comic book movie sounds absolutely bonkers. Joaquin Phoenix starring as the Joker? Todd Phillips of The Hangover fame directing? A cast also including Robert De Niro and Zazie Beetz? I have no idea if this DC stand alone spin-off strategy will pay off, but out of any comic book movie that has been made since the Marvel explosion, this one has my complete attention.

Knives Out – November 27th

Little is known of what this movie will be about besides it’s a murder mystery. The two reasons I’m excited for this movie and why it has made my list are the director and cast. Rian Johnson, you know that guy who directed Star Wars: The Last Jedi? Yeah he’s the one who wrote and is directing this film. While The Last Jedi was pretty split down the middle between if you liked the movie or not, go back and watch some of his other work. Looper, Brick, this guy makes great movies. Now take a look at the cast: Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Jami Lee Curtis, Michael Shannon, Christopher Plummer, Toni Collete. This ensemble alone would have me interested but pair that with a director that I enjoy, this should be great treat for the Thanksgiving weekend.

Star Wars: Episode IX – December 20th

After three straight years of Star Wars during the holidays 2018 skipped this trend. I didn’t like that. I’m happy it’s returning and more to the point, I’m beyond hyped to see how J.J. Abrams closes out this new trilogy of Star Wars. Out of all the new Star Wars films Abrams’ last entry The Force Awakens was my favorite. The Last Jedi took the franchise into some bold new directions and I’m very interested to see how Abrams will take that all back into that feeling of classic Star Wars mixed with the new. What a way to end the year with the conclusion of this new era of Star Wars.


I had a bunch of other movies I would have thrown into this list, so below is a rapid fire honorable mentions of other movies that I’m excited to see.

Captain Marvel – March 8th
Captive State – March 29th
Pet Sematary – April 5th
Hellboy – April 12th
Brightburn – May 24th
Dark Phoenix – June 7th
Men In Black: International – June 14th
Toy Story 4 – June 21st
Spider-Man: Far From Home – July 5th
The Lion King – July 19th
Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs and Shaw – August 2nd
The New Mutants – August 2nd
It: Chapter 2 – September 6th
Zombieland: Double Tap – October 11th
Terminator: Dark Fate – November 1st

Wow! What a great year ahead for movies!

Best Of

Best Movies of 2018

Well folks, 2018 is finally over. Over the last few days I’ve been combing through the movies I’ve seen this year. Before doing so I thought really hard on what I liked this year, and how I felt overall. After going back and actually looking at what came out my opinion stayed pretty much the same. This year was decent with a few gems that I really loved. Enough idle chat though, let’s get this party started! 

A Quiet Place

This was the first movie this year that I couldn’t get enough of. It surprised me so much because when I saw the first trailers I thought the concept was a joke. How could anyone survive in a world where you can’t make sound? My logical end of my brain couldn’t get past it, but then I watched it. Yes, you could still logically destroy this movie if you wanted, but the craft put into this world, and these characters, it drew me in. It was beautiful. I loved watching this tragedy play out, this family get tested, and the inventiveness at play to make this world work. This movie also gave me a theater experience I will never forget. I’ve never been in a more silent theater in my life and that is a memory that will always stick with me.

Upgrade

Upgrade works because of a great performance from Logan Marshall-Green. His reactions to the messed up carnage that his body is performing is such fun to watch. It takes the simple revenge story and amps it up by having a conflicted man deal with losing control to something more sinister. Honestly it’s the better darker version of what Venom could have been, and I like it all the more for it.

Mission: Impossible – Fallout

The latest Mission is the best by far. The action is top notch, and Henry Cavill is the steroids that just launches this entry into overdrive. If you have seen any of the other films in this franchise and thought how could they possibly top that? Watch this one. The insane stunts of Tom Cruise will answer your question. I was able to see this in Dolby Cinema and I don’t think there has been a movie to match this in terms of just pure action insanity. I don’t how Tom Cruise keeps pulling it off, but keep it up Mr. Hunt.

Searching

Another pleasant surprise movie. Searching uses the gimmick of each view point is a camera or a computer, or a phone screen. Going into the movie I wasn’t sure about that approach. Well in the first fives minutes the movie sold me on the concept, think of the opening sequence from Pixar’s Up and you’ll get an idea of what I mean. From that point on I was in on the mystery of what happened to David Kim’s daughter. This also happens to be my favorite performance from John Cho. It’s heartbreaking watching this father just lose more and more of himself as he gives into the despair that his daughter might actually be dead. Plot wise it also had some twists that kept things interesting and it has a lot to say on how important communication is within any relationship. If you like a good mystery thriller, you should definitely check this out.

A Star Is Born

Wow. This movie was just so damn good. Between the direction of Bradley Cooper AND the stellar performances from both himself and Lady Gaga, this was such a great watch. Oh and the music is pretty good too. This movie dances around themes of relationships, self-confidence, and depression so so well. It’s such a sad story, but one that feels so important in this day and age as we as a society are still trying to come to terms with mental illness. This was one of my favorite movies of the year and I would not be shocked in the slightest if this wins some Oscar gold next year.

Bad Times at the El Royale

Drew Goddard’s Cabin in the Woods is one of my favorite movies ever. It’s spin on the horror genre was just so refreshing. Goddard’s follow up is just as good but for very different reasons. This film brings back my feelings of good live stage plays. One main location and lots of mysterious players. The cast in this one is staked. Jeff Bridges, Jon Hamm, Dakota Johnson, Chris Hemsworth. Those are names you know, and they are all amazing but it’s the addition of these other actors that just takes things up a notch. Cynthia Erivo, and Lewis Pullman. Every single actor pulls their weight in this one and matches what the next brings to the table. Beyond just the pure fun of these performances, the story is told in a unique fashion following each character’s view points arriving at the hotel before all these story lines converge into a powder keg waiting to blow in the finale. Out of all the movies on this list, this is probably going to be the one I return to the most.

First Man

October 12th did not only have the release of Bad Times at the El Royale, it also gave us the extremely tense tale of Neil Armstrong and his life through the astronaut program all the way to taking those first steps on the moon. Director Damien Chazelle nails the pure horror and terror of what these families went through to achieve something that many at the time argued the value in doing at all. Through all of this the movie visually is such a treat for the eyes. It appears that this may be more of a movie critic film over a general audience one based on audience scores, but if anyone has ever wanted to understand the mental struggle that was getting to the moon for the first time, I can’t think of a better way than watching this movie.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Like some other movies on this list, when I first heard this movie was getting made, I was confused. What in the world was Sony doing? After how they proved they couldn’t handle the live action franchise without Marvel they were going to make a cartoon one instead? Well it makes all the difference when you get the geniuses of Phil Lord and Christopher Miller involved. For those who don’t know here’s a small list of what these two helped bring into this world: Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, The Lego Movie, 21/22 Jump Street. They know their stuff, and wow is this movie pure Spider-Man bliss. The unique animation, the soundtrack, the voice cast, the story. Just everything about this movie comes together to create a smart, hilarious, heartfelt adventure that anyone can be hero. Anyone can be what Spider-Man stands for.


Well that’s my list everybody! This year might not have had a heavy string of above average movies but the ones that did, were a blast. I can’t wait to see what filmmakers bring for us in 2019. Till then, I hope everyone has a great end to their 2018!