Movies

The 2018 Best Picture Race, Analyzed By Someone Who Missed Most Of The Nominees


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Well well well, look at that. It’s time for the Oscars again. Hollywood’s biggest night takes place this Sunday, with Jimmy Kimmel hosting the ceremony, and everyone is very excited abouwhooooooops I didn’t see most of the Best Picture nominess again. Crap. This happens every year. I always tell myself “Okay, Brian, you have plenty of time if you get out ahead of it. You can definitely see at least half of the nominees this year,” and then I just… don’t. I saw two of the nine nominated movies this year and I saw both of them in the past month.

I can’t even really blame it on my busy schedule of watching television shows for my job. I found time to see lots of movies in 2017. I saw Baby Driver and Logan and Logan Lucky and Coco and Wonder Woman and Spider-Man: Homecoming and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and The Lego Batman Movie and John Wick 2 and Kong: Skull Island and xXx: Return of Xander Cage and The Fate of the Furious and Brigsby Bear and The Foreigner and even Pottersville, the Christmas movie about Michael Shannon saving Christmas by pretending to be Bigfoot. Hell, I watched The Accountant something like a dozen times on HBO. Don’t ever let me tell you I’m too busy for anything.

But, luckily, this is the internet and if the internet exists for any one reason, it’s so people can scream out their uninformed opinions about any damn thing they like. So I’m going to do that. Below, please find my analysis of the 2018 Best Picture race. I think I nailed it.

The Shape of Water

The main things I know about this movie are as follows:

  • It was directed by Guillermo del Toro, who also directed Pacific Rim, which is a movie about monstrous hellbeasts rising up from under the ocean to try to destroy the world, with the world’s only hope being giant robots controlled by Stringer Bell from The Wire
  • It is about a woman who has relations with some sort of fishman hybrid

People say the film is lovely and is gaining steam as the favorite to take home the award, but I just want to say that if this is all leading to del Toro having a huge robot bone a huge undersea hellbeast in the Pacific Rim sequel, I am here for it. Let’s get weird as hell, I say.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

This movie is great because you can develop a fully formed opinion on it without even seeing it, just by following the various takes you see online. Like I really feel I could hold my own in a conversation with someone who has seen the movie, without them ever realizing I haven’t. Sample sentences include:

“I just don’t think that’s how people talk.”

“It felt like what someone from outside America thinks America is, which makes sense considering its director.”

“Oh yeah, I loved In Bruges.”

“Even with all that said, Frances McDormand is a national treasure.”

“More like Three Bill-BOREDs, right?”

“Yeah, I love that Norm MacDonald appearance on Conan’s old show.”

“Did you ever see the cooking segment where he and Conan cook with Gordon Ramsay?”

“You haven’t? Oh man, you gotta Google that.”

And boom, I’m safely out of the conversation. Almost too easy.

Dunkirk

Do you ever get the feeling that if you’ve seen one big sweeping WWII movie you’ve kind of seen them all? I do. I know it’s not fair to the filmmakers who pour their hearts into these movies and it’s definitely not fair to the veterans whose stories are being depicted, but yeah. I remember seeing the trailer for this and thinking “That looks pretty good,” but then I watched Saving Private Ryan again on TNT some weekend afternoon and was like “Hmm, I guess I’m covered on WWII movies for another 12-18 months.”

Also, someone please settle something for me: Is Christopher Nolan good? NBA writer extraordinaire Zach Lowe brought this up recently and I can’t get it out of my head now. I’ve seen almost all of Nolan’s movies and the only one I ever have interest in rewatching is Batman Begins. Even Dark Knight is kinda ehhh once you get past Heath Ledger’s performance. I think I could survive in a world without Memento and Inception, too. I’m willing to be swayed on this but it’s going to take a pretty strong case.

Lady Bird

Saw Lady Bird. Cried a little. Did not like Kyle.

Wonderful movie.

Call Me By Your Name

You know who is great? Michael Stuhlbarg. I feel like I can say that without ever seeing his monologue from this film, which is apparently a big deal. (I will see it eventually, I swear.) He’s been great in everything. Did you guys see him in the most recent season of Fargo? Here’s a screencap I made. I think it sums up my argument pretty well.

FX

The really interesting thing about Michael Stuhlbarg is that I had no idea how old he is until I Googled it this week. You could have told me any number between 37 and 55 and I would have been like “Yeah, that makes enough sense.” And that was before he popped up in The Looming Tower this week as an aged-up gray-haired FBI official. How old do you think he is? Don’t cheat. Guess.

(He’s 49.)

Anyway, please do not tell me what happens with the peach. I already had the damn fishman sex in The Shape of Water spoiled for me. Let me have this.

The Post

I do not want The Post to win because it is the Yankees of movies. Spielberg, Hanks, Streep, every single one of your favorite prestige TV stars, all in a movie about journalism that has parallels to Our Current Political Climate. It’s all just too much and it feels like cheating and I want a very tiny and nice movie like Lady Bird to win just to poke everyone involved — all of whom I like very much in almost every circumstance but this — in the eye a little bit.

Darkest Hour

It would have been hilarious if they had cast, like, Vin Diesel as Winston Churchill. I definitely would have seen this movie then. Just out of curiosity. More casting decisions should be made with this in mind. It could end up ruining otherwise good movies even if the performances end up being better than you expect, just because you’ll never be able to stop thinking “Holy hell, that’s really Vin Diesel as Winston Churchill” and it will rip you out of the story, but I would like it. That’s the important thing here.

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Get Out

I saw this and no one is giving me enough credit for it. I hate horror movies. I have never liked them. It’s not just that I’m a big baby who gets too scared and then has nightmares. (It is that, a little bit, but not just that.) It’s because I consider life big and scary enough on its own without paying $13 to have other people scare you on a Saturday afternoon. Same reason I don’t like haunted houses. I understand other people like this sort of thing and if you are one of those people, God bless and enjoy. I will meet you afterward at Chili’s for apps and drinks.

But I saw Get Out anyway because I think Jordan Peele is a genius and I like the idea of an original movie with a cool perspective and a tiny budget just stomping all over the box office and that tipped the scales in the movie’s favor.

What I’m getting at here is that the real hero in all of this is me.

Phantom Thread

I have not seen this movie yet, either. You know what movie I did see, though? American Made. I forgot to include that in the list up top. It was the one about Tom Cruise smuggling drugs in an airplane. I have a simple explanation for why I saw this movie but not Phantom Thread: I like drug movies and Tom Cruise movies. I bet I’ve seen Blow 15 times. Same with the Mission Impossible movies. And A Few Good Men. My Lord, have I ever seen A Few Good Men a lot. Especially the second half of it, thanks to years of flipping around the cable guide on rainy weekends and being all “Oh hey, A Few Good Men is on.” There was a time when I could do the whole “You can’t handle the truth!” speech from memory. I didn’t even practice it. I just learned it by accident. The human brain is wild, man. So I guess that’s my take on Phantom Thread.

There you have it. That was wildly unhelpful and also you are welcome. Good luck to all the nominees!

(Except The Post.)

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