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Oscar!Watch 2017: My Predictions

Poor, neglected Movie Blog.

OscarWatch

I’m going to try and get this posted as quickly as possible – not because the Oscars are going to start in about three hours (because they are), but because my landlady is going to be visiting me at some point tonight for a friendly chat (that sounds ominous – my landlady and I are friends, so there’s no animosity or anything), but that’s going to take at least ninety minutes out of my evening, so. Without further ado:

Best Original Screenplay
Nominees: Hell or High WaterLa La LandThe LobsterManchester By the Sea20th Century Women

Of the above list, I did not get a chance to see either 20th Century Women or The Lobster, though a DVD of the latter is currently sitting on my floor, unwatched. But at the end of the day, there are only three choices here, and two don’t count. Even though I (and a whole host of other people on the interwebs) have a host of problems with La La Land, this category isn’t really a contest. Hollywood will reward a musical about Hollywood problems in spite of all the Hollywood problems the musical has with its plot, so. La La Land will definitely pick this award up.

Best Adapted Screenplay
Nominees: ArrivalFencesHidden FiguresLionMoonlight

Hey, I’ve seen all these! And so I can say definitively that Moonlight should win here. Unlike last year, I did not “level up” and attempt to read all of the source material for the adapted screenplays; this winter has been weird, you guys, and I haven’t finished reading a book since the beginning of January. I’m all messed up. But anyway, I don’t really have a way to say which film was the best film version of its source. But I thought Moonlight was a beautiful film. And since Hollywood won’t give it Best Picture, it should at least reward it here.

Best Director
Nominees: Denis Villeneuve, Arrival; Mel Gibson, Hacksaw Ridge; Damien Chazelle, La La Land; Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester By The Sea; Barry Jenkins, Moonlight

First of all, allow me to make clear how I feel about Hacksaw Ridge:

In a perfect world, every nomination given to fuckin’ Hacksaw Ridge would be transferred to Deadpool. I’m not even kidding. This fuckin’ movie. The good news is that it won’t win a single Oscar. Maybe some of the special effects ones. But nowhere within this post is Hacksaw Ridge going to be given even the slightest of edges. Fucking Hollywood, man.

Anyway. Having got that off my chest, tonight’s winner again will be Damien Chazelle for La La Land, although if there were justice in this world, it would go to Barry Jenkins for Moonlight.

Best Supporting Actress
Nominees: Viola Davis, Fences; Naomie Harris, Moonlight; Nicole Kidman, Lion; Octavia Spencer, Hidden Figures; Michelle Williams, Manchester By the Sea

If Viola Davis does not win for Fences, it will be a horrific oversight. Unless Naomie Harris wins for Moonlight, in which case I’d be grumbly, but okay with it in the end.

(Remind me to tell y’all how I’d recast All About Eve with Viola Davis playing the great Margo Channing.)

Best Supporting Actor
Nominees: Mahershala Ali, Moonlight; Jeff Bridges, Hell or High Water; Lucas Hedges, Manchester By the Sea; Dev Patel, Lion; Michael Shannon, Nocturnal Animals

Does Jeff Bridges only take rusty old cowboy law enforcement type roles now? I mean, for fuck’s sake, Hell or High Water was like, the fourth role of his like this I’ve seen recently. I’m getting bored and also worried about him.

Having said that, I predict and hope that the award goes to Mahershala Ali for Moonlight: his role was only in the first third of the movie, but his character’s influence is felt throughout. I am slightly surprised that Dev Patel wasn’t nominated for Best Actor for his role in Lion; I’m not sure if it was because the structure of the film only had him in the back half, or what. Or maybe the Weinsteins decided that pushing for Best Supporting Actor would be a better chance of him winning (see last year’s similar strategy with Alicia Vikander in The Danish Girl). Either way, if Dev Patel wins I’ll also be very happy. If Jeff Bridges wins, then there’s even more idiots in Hollywood than I originally thought.

Best Actress
Nominees: Isabelle Huppert, Elle; Ruth Negga, Loving; Natalie Portman, Jackie; Emma Stone, La La Land; Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins

Now, Florence Foster Jenkins is the other DVD currently laying on my floor, unwatched. Mainly because I know Meryl Streep is not going to win her next Oscar for this role. She was only nominated after her Cecil B. DeMille speech at the Golden Globes this year. I love Meryl Streep, and I think she’s an amazing woman and deserves everything she ever gets, but she will not win here.

I have not seen Loving, so I can’t comment on Ruth Negga’s chances. I liked Natalie Portman in Jackie: it made me want to pick up a biography of Jackie Kennedy so I could learn more. But I don’t think she’s going to win here.

This category comes down to two women: Isabelle Huppert for Elle, and Emma Stone for La La Land. And I think Emma Stone will win for La La Land, even though I don’t think she deserves it (for this role). But Hollywood loves rewarding young white ingenues (please recall that Jennifer Lawrence won her Oscar for Silver Linings Playbook in her role of manic pixie dream girl), not foreign career actresses that no one in Hollywood’s ever heard of, even though I think it’s the stronger performance.

Except for one thing: WHY THE FUCK WASN’T TARAJI P. HENSON NOMINATED FOR HER ROLE IN HIDDEN FIGURES

Best Actor
Nominees: Casey Affleck, Manchester By The Sea; Andrew Garfield, Hacksaw Ridge; Ryan Gosling, La La Land; Viggo Mortensen, Captain Fantastic; Denzel Washington, Fences

Well, I know it’s not going to be Andrew Garfield. I enjoyed Captain Fantastic, but I don’t think Viggo Mortensen has enough momentum to steal from someone here. Ryan Gosling won’t win for this. I’m sorry, ladies, but he won’t. I like him, but – nope.

So that leaves us with Casey Affleck, who, as stated by John Mulaney and Nick Kroll in their opening speech at yesterday’s Independent Spirit Awards, “plays a young man from Boston living in the shadow of his older brother – what a reach!”

And look, maybe I’d be a bit more forgiving and encouraging of Casey Affleck, if it wasn’t for a series of unfortunate events that caused me to be unable to connect with his character emotionally. Long story short, Casey Affleck’s character makes a tragic mistake, and while the film shows us what that mistake was, it’s playing some music in the background. And as I’m watching this, I’m going crazy, because all I can think is, “I’ve heard this before. Where is this from?” And I’m actually writing down in my notebook (because yes, I bring a notebook to the movie theatre for Oscar!Watch, I have witnesses), “What is the song used in the fire?” when all of a sudden, it hits me, and I nearly shout out in the middle of a movie theatre, “BOB’S TURKEY BASTER!”

That sounds really weird. But then, you have probably never watched the classic episode of Bob’s Burgers entitled “Dawn of the Peck,” wherein the entire Belcher clan (save Bob) goes out to do things on Thanksgiving, leaving Bob to not cook Thanksgiving dinner. Bob stays home, puts on his lazy pants, and day drinks to Donna Summer albums. And as he goes into the kitchen to find a bottle opener, he runs into an old friend:

If I ever decide to get back into acting, I am going to perform this as my audition monologue. It hits all the emotional high points. It’s a miracle.

But it also took me completely out of Manchester By The Sea. And while I realize that’s not really Casey Affleck’s fault, I’m still going to side with the Screen Actor’s Guild awards and give Denzel Washington the pick here for Fences, because you don’t want to argue against Denzel Washington, man.

Best Picture
Nominees: ArrivalFencesHacksaw RidgeHell or High WaterHidden FiguresLa La LandLionManchester by the SeaMoonlight

I’m going to knock most of the nominees out without discussion. The only three in contention are La La LandHidden Figures, and Moonlight.

Hidden Figures is a great movie. It tells the story of three women out of about thirty that worked for NASA in the 1960s. These African-American women broke down racial barriers, becoming the women to help push John Glenn into orbit and land Neil Armstrong on the moon. The movie is an ensemble piece, though I would push to say that Taraji P. Henson was robbed of a nomination. There is humor and drama throughout the film, and out of all the films I saw this month, it was the one that made me feel the best when I left.

Moonlight is also a great movie, telling us about young Chiron navigating the perils of growing up black and gay in a society riddled not only with toxic masculinity, but I also think this movie finally brings to light for some people how terrible society has been in providing opportunities for black people. This sounds really trite and insincere coming out of my white mouth, and I recognize that; but I saw Moonlight in a small theater in Freeport, Maine, surrounded by white people. And I heard more than a few of them commenting on the way out, “I didn’t know what to expect, but certainly not that.” This was probably the first time these entitled top-bracket earners had ever learned that, when black kids get in trouble, they get sent to jail, and when they get out of jail, their options are limited. Chiron’s only option is to start selling drugs, just like his mentor Juan. It’s terrible. But through that terribleness, Moonlight also showed that there is hope running through every character.

And then there’s La La Land, which proposes Ryan Gosling as the savior of Jazz.

Look, if I had my way, Best Picture would go to either Hidden Figures or Moonlight. If I could rig it, I’d give it to Moonlight, because it was such a good movie; an important movie, and a film that would start to open the eyes up of other people. Hidden Figures almost does the same thing, but from a different perspective. It’s also the more marketable film, so you could argue that Hidden Figures is the more accessible of the two, and therefore should win. Which is bullshit, but what do I know.

I do know that, in spite of everything, in spite of biting opening monologues and queens of the cinema railing against injustice and claiming they have voices and exposing the world to the plights of the oppressed man, the Best Picture Oscar is still going to go fucking La La Land, because there’s nothing Hollywood likes more than a story about how hard it is to be in Hollywood. Especially when it’s set to music.

To recap:

Best Original ScreenplayLa La Land
Best Adapted Screenplay: Moonlight
Best Director: Damien Chazelle, La La Land (but it should go to Barry Jenkins for Moonlight)
Best Supporting Actress: Viola Davis, Fences
Best Supporting Actor: Mahershala Ali, Moonlight (but it can also go to Dev Patel for Lion and I’d be happy)
Best Actress: Emma Stone, La La Land (but it should go to Isabelle Huppert for Elle; or maybe a whole bunch of write-in votes for Taraji P. Henson for Hidden Figures, but whatever)
Best Actor: Denzel Washington, Fences
Best Picture: La La Land (but it should go, in descending order, to Moonlight or Hidden Figures)

Good luck tonight, and don’t forget to find something to around 10:30 tonight to avoid watching the longest Death Reel of our lives.

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Posted by on February 26, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

And now, a word from your pop culture deficient. Again.

So yeah.  Still procrastinating on Shawshank.  It’s not my fault, you guys!  I just … I’m not sure how to feel about that movie!

Anyway.  Last month I turned 30, and I’ve been tossing some ideas around on how to … not improve, but maybe change things up around here?  Don’t get me wrong, I love doing this, and won’t stop, no matter how many people think this is a stupid idea.  I STAND BY MY STUPID IDEAS.

But is Insomniac Theatre something that only amuses me?  Should I just focus on the list of movies, or are the random entries worth reading?  Should I branch out into Television Alaina’s Never Seen?  Or how about a rewatch of everyone’s favorite dysfunctional family, in prep for when Arrested Development returns?  Or Veronica Mars, you guys!  The marshmallows are getting a movie!  WEEVIL’S GETTING A MOVIE HOW EXCITED AM I?

So … I created a survey.  Yay!  Because I’m open to feedback, and this seems to be the best way to solicit it.

So if you love me — and even if you only feel some fairly strong platonic feelings — hell, even if you hate me but don’t quite wish me dead, I’d greatly appreciate your feedback.  It doesn’t mean I’ll follow the advice (I’m quite like Alice in Wonderland in that regard), but it’ll make me think critically about the choices I make.

Plus, some of the answers to the questions are HILARIOUS.  You don’t want to miss out on that.

So … Please take my Feedback survey!

Thanks!  And in thanks, I leave you with the latest:

Brad: Yeah, I’ve got basketball tickets.  I won’t make it to trivia night.
Alaina: No worries, everyone else bailed.  Maybe I’ll go see Jurassic Park.
Brad: In 3-D?
Alaina: Yeah!  I mean, I’ve never seen it, so why not?
Brad: YOU’VE NEVER SEEN — why am I yelling?  Why am I even surprised?
Alaina: Seriously, dude.  Why are you surprised?

 
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Posted by on April 14, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Dinosaur Comics does it again!

YOU GUYS

I THINK RYAN NORTH MUST BE ONE OF MY FRIENDS IN REAL LIFE

Because seriously, this was EVERY FUCKING DAY at work a year ago:

(c) Ryan North of Quantz

Just substitute The Shawshank Redemption for Indiana Jones.  Because I have TOTALLY seen every Indiana Jones movie.  Fuck, I can recite half of Raiders of the Lost Ark.

 
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Posted by on January 5, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

And now, a word from our pop culture deficient.

So hey.  I know I post to this intermittently as it is, but I felt I should explain this particular absence.

I’m moving.  Not that far — just to Yarmouth.  Which, for my non-Mainer readers, is about fifteen minutes away from where I live now.  But what I hadn’t anticipated was the amount of crap and things I’ve accumulated in five years.  Because I know I did not have this much stuff five years ago.

I had three boxes of DVDs and DVD sets.  Three boxes!  (I’m not going to tell you how many I have bought and not watched, for three reasons.  1: It would make me sad.  2: It would give everyone more fodder with which to load their judgy cannons. 3: The boxes are in Yarmouth and I’m typing this from Portland, so, neener-neener.)

As a result of me moving, I did have to delete some Insomniac Theatre movies from the TiVo.  (Hey, if I’m not going to be here to watch them, why keep them on a TiVo that no longer belongs to me?)  The good news is that my new place will also have a TiVo — already named Jeremy II — and I believe I will get TCM in the new place as well.  So, stay tuned for when TCM repeats The V.I.P.s, A Streetcar Named Desire, Jezebel, Of Human Bondage, The Dirty Dozen, The Stunt Man, The Innocents, The Women, and something that I’ve never heard of but recorded based upon the description alone, Back From Eternity.

The description was something like, “A con man, a hooker, and a lawyer all learn to survive following a plane crash.”  It was going to be rife of Lost references and cannibalism, I’m sure.

I also have received Return of the Jedi from Netflix, so when I get a couch and the wireless set up, that should be next.  And then I need to make the difficult decision as to what classic List movie should be next.  Although I’m telling you right now, it’s not going to be Shawshank.  I’m still a little bitter over something related to that movie, and I’m seriously considering buying a copy on DVD and using it to hold Jeremy II up so his fan doesn’t overheat.

Oh, I should also mention that, for the time being, any Netflix Roulette movies will also be on hold.  The Roommate has an Apple TV, which made it super easy to watch and review.  I’m debating on whether I want an Apple TV, or if I should just use my old laptop Sydney for Instant!Netflix watching, and then reviewing using Caroline the Netbook.  I’m leaning towards the latter because hey, that way I don’t have to buy an Apple TV box, but I’ve been known to be stupid in the past.  So, Sarah – keep tweeting me the movies you need me to watch and I’ll make a list.  Based on bandwidth and buffering speeds, I should be able to get through some.

So that’s where I’m at.  I want to thank all of you for supporting me in your own, special snowflake ways, whether it’s not saying “what do you mean, you’ve never seen X” or whether you’re giving me more movies I need to see, I appreciate it.  And to those of you who do disparage my deficiency, I know you’re only doing it out of love.  Or horror.  One of the two.

As a thank you, I want to leave you with a trailer for a movie I most definitely WILL be seeing, in IMAX, at midnight.  If it was in 3D, I’d have the glasses on so quick it would make my head fall off.  If I could buy tickets for it today, I would.  I have seen the trailer seven times since its release yesterday, and I’ll probably be watching it even more as the day wears on.  IT’S AWESOME, OKAY?  Is it November yet?  How about now?  When will then be now?  THAT’S NOT SOON ENOUGH

… sorry.  Anyway.  Here you go, and the regularly unscheduled programming will return soon.  Thank you, and goodnight.

 
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Posted by on August 1, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Jaws is about a shark, right?

You may know me from my other blog, That’s What She Read, wherein I talk about the books that I read. And if you’re a serious reader of that little corner of the internet, then you’re probably also aware that I have been playing a “game” for some time now with a couple of my coworkers. That game (and I use the term loosely, because it’s less fun for me than it is for them) has been named “Movies Alaina’s Never Seen.”

See, one of my dear friends — occasionally known as “Bradford,” because I have to make my own fun somehow in all of this — was horrified — horrified — that I had never seen Pulp Fiction. Then he learned that I had also (AT THAT POINT) never seen The Shawshank Redemption.

“Alaina!” he exclaimed in horror. “That’s, like, two of my top five movies!” Then he asked me about Big, and Joe Versus the Volcano, and The Usual Suspects

“HA!” I yelled. “I have seen that one!”

“Good job, Kid,” he responded, his tone rife with sarcasm. “One out of five.”

“How is Joe Versus the Volcano in your top five?”

Then our coworker, John, got in on the act.

“Weevil” — [he calls me Weevil after Eil “Weevil” Navarro, the greatest character on the short-lived Veronica Mars, and yes, it is a compliment] — “Weevil,” John said, “please tell me you’ve seen The Godfather.”

I shook my head, and he groaned, almost in pain. And then I opened my big fat mouth even wider and fatter. “That’s the same expression my sister gave me when she found out I’d never seen Star Wars.”

Dear God, the amount of protests I heard from everyone after that. And nearly every day, Bradford and John have found new titles with which to pester me.

Animal House?” “Caddyshack?” “Fargo?” “The Crying Game?”

Even my roommate got in on the act. “How have you never seen The Professional?”

I’ve seen the Indiana Jones and Back to the Future trilogies like, a frillion times, does that count?

So I decided, in 2012, I’m going to shut them up once and for all. Because here’s the thing: While there are a lot of movies I haven’t seen — I know this, because Brad and John are finding new ones every damn day — that doesn’t mean I don’t know what happens in the movie. I mean, I’ve never seen even a second of Pulp Fiction, but I know it involves two hitmen, a suitcase (that we never see what’s in it), a gimp, and a boxer played by Bruce Willis, and at one point Uma Thurman overdoeses while on the dance floor, and John Travolta saves her by shooting adrenaline directly into her heart, and also, they’ve never heard of Quarter Pounders with Cheese in their town. Ta da.

My new blogging venture in 2012 will involve me working through the ever-growing list of Movies Alaina’s Never Seen, and that would include a pre-viewing post, wherein I describe everything I know about the plot before I watch it, and prove to Brad and John that hey, I don’t have to watch the movies to know what’s going on.

And I’d also like to point out, once and for all, that I have seen the last 2/3 of Shawshank Redemption. On AMC, so it was severely edited for content. BUT STILL. And also also, I have seen all of Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope. Just not in one sitting. Or in chronological order. BUT STILL.

Stay tuned in 2012 for a magical journey through Alaina’s movie deficit. And who knows what we’ll have to add through the year?

 
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Posted by on December 22, 2011 in Uncategorized