E: Yep, that’s what I figured was going to happen. Oscar loves what it loves – in this case, Joker, 1917, Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood, and The Irishman. Films by white men, for white men, starring white men, featuring almost no women or people of color. Let’s review:
C: April’s underway, but if you’re anything like us, you probably haven’t been to the movies yet this month. Perhaps you have a vacation coming up though, so it’s time to start thinking about what to see!
E: Well, today’s the first official Friday of April, so unless you were seeing March movies, you won’t have needed this preview. Now, this isn’t the explosion into summer we get in May, but still, this April brings us a veritable bouquet of interesting spring movies. As befits the season, I have hope that some of these films are very much worthwhile.
M: Again this month we’re running on a tough timetable, so we have fewer of the limited-release movies than we normally include. Apologies! Now to it.
E: Um, okay.
Sorry to take so long in my response, but it’s been crazy at work and at home. Family birthdays, school orientations, religious holidays, huge work events. You’d laugh if I told you the thing I’ve done this week. (All wholesome, but a little nutty.)
In general, that Oscar cast was funny and enjoyable. Jimmy Kimmel was largely terrific. His monologue was hilarious (Meryl Streep! discrimination!) I could have done without the mean tweets, and the tour bus gag went on a little long, but it was hilarious. The music and the opening sizzled. Most of the categories went the way I thought they would. I loved the montages of previous winners before all the acting awards, and was heartened/amused to see how fiercely the editors emphasized Oscar winners of color. I think each montage started that way. There were a few exciting wins, a few good speeches (emotional, political but not off-puttingly political), some great clothes, great music, a charming host, Hunger Games-like parashutes. And then there was the weird, wild finish.
No, it was weird enough to keep me up for another few hours Sunday night, baking (because what else do you do when the world goes crazy?). After a little time to dissect it all, I’d like to run down my thoughts – what I got wrong, what I got right, and why. Why is the most interesting question of all.
Because seriously. If you made this stuff up, no one would believe you. But with the rest of the world going crazy, why should the Oscars be any different?
E: Like January, February is a month I mostly reserve for seeing Oscar movies and writing about them. There’s normally not much to see in the theaters that isn’t a Best Picture or acting nominee. Expect more great box office for Hidden Figures and La La Land, for example – and see them if you haven’t already. If you can only choose one? La La Land will win the Oscar, but Hidden Figures is the experience you really want.
M: Which says all you need to know about the Oscars.
C: I really want to see it. I know I said that a month ago, so I need to get off my duff, but I really do!
E: Do it! Do it now!
M: This month, we have mostly the usual February mumbo-jumbo: there’s a strong chance the more promising-looking films may under-deliver, otherwise they wouldn’t be opening in February. Except for Lego Batman. That might not suck.
C: I loved The Lego Movie (unexpectedly), so high hopes here.
E: It’s true. We can say that much for this February, because of Lego: it probably won’t all suck.
M: That aside, the movie news we’re really excited about this week is the announcement of the cast and crew for 2018’s Ocean’s Eight. Yes, it’s Hollywood again proving that it either has no original ideas, or that even when they have a semi-original idea they have to package it in something that sounds familiar so that it has a built in audience and (theoretically) less chance of total failure.
C: Normally I’d complain, but HEIST MOVIES. They never get old.
M: Right, plus: Sandra Bullock is the new lead, in the Sinatra/Clooney role, with Cate Blancheit, Helena Bonham Carter, Anne Hathaway, Mindy Kaling and Rihanna among the women filling out the other seven members of the heist crew. Gary Ross, who’s awesome and wrote things like Big and Dave and directed Seabiscuit and the first Hunger Games, is writing and directing. Awesomeness!
C: I totally freaked out when I heard about that. But let’s save our comments for that preview, huh?
E: Just noting that we are crazy excited about it, because the wait is soooo long!
M: And now, back to February.
E: Huh. 31 out of 34 predictions correct. I feel pretty good about that! I also feel really good about the diversity of this year’s slate – three movies starring African Americans (surely a first), a movie about Indians and India, and three movies with female leads. (And yes, three out of nine is pathetic, and yet by nominating more than two in an industry where Hollywood refuses to make movies about women and then routinely ignores many of the good ones it does produce, Oscar is operating on high.)
Also? For La La Land, the view from the top is pretty sweet. And rarefied. Continue reading
E: How has this day come already? There almost seems like there’s too much going on to think about movies. But hey, by all means. Let’s have an abrupt focus shift from politics to entertainment as Hollywood picks out what they want us to remember them by, what they consider the best and the brightest lights of the past crazy year. Tomorrow is nomination morning.
That’s right folks. Ready for a little Oscar speculation?
M: Ahhh, Friday: once a TV graveyard, now an odd mix of the “pity-move” where shows get sent before they get cancelled, and steady medium ratings earners. In other words, shows that aren’t going to get great ratings but, without costing too much, keep enough eyeballs (and advertisers) that the networks are willing to keep renewing them, yet aren’t willing to move them to more popular nights.
E: Friday Nights: lower your expectations.
C: I think Fridays have been like that for a while now, actually.
M: Yes, didn’t mean to imply that was brand new, just newer. There was also a trend (started by Grimm a few years back) of spooky shows on Fridays that seems to have come to an end, at least on the broadcast nets. However, this year there are some interesting new offerings.
C: I’d say it started with The X-Files… but maybe that wasn’t a trend so much as a lone beacon of Spooky in the night.
M: X-Files spent most of it’s life on Sundays, though.
C: Now a waning Vampire Diaries is trying to be that beacon…
E: Huh — I hadn’t noticed the lack of spooky programming, but you’re quite right. Is that just happening now?
M: Seems to be.
E: Friday night’s the night I catch up on the TV I watch with my kids, so I’m never watching live, personally.
M: In past years we had combined Friday and Saturday. However, in a development this year, it appears that the nets have given up on Saturdays completely, so we’re just mentioning one BBC America show…
E: And one cartoon, because my family is all about it!
M: …but that’s it for Saturday. So we’re not giving it a whole post, as we didn’t feel the need to tell you that most of the nets are showing news magazines and college football (including the very narcissistic-ally titled “FOX Sports Saturday: FOX College Football“).
C: LOL. What channel is that on, I wonder?