On Thursday, the Toronto International Film Festival starts, which also means that this is (along with the Venice Film Festival and Telluride) the official start of your prestige awards season. What will win?! We don’t know, but we do know that the last film to win the Academy Award for Best Picture and not play one of these festivals was The Departed, way back in 2006. (Okay, The Hurt Locker was a weird case, but it technically still played TIFF, then won a year later.) Or, if you want to go with nonsensical reasons, if the last two years are any indication, then a movie with the word “light” in the title is also a good bet.
Anyway, we will be in Toronto for the next week covering the festival and here are some movies I am looking forward to seeing, in no particular order:
Battle of the Sexes
Okay, this is a cheat because I’ve seen this movie and I got way more emotional watching it than I thought I would. I am not one of these “every movie is about Trump” people, but Bobby Riggs (Steve Carell) is very much a Trump stand-in during his Battle of the Sexes tennis match with Billie Jean King (Emma Stone) in 1973. Riggs is a clown, and his chauvinist shtick is all a big act to promote the match, but the way people on the outside start buying into it – thinking this clown is making good points – is hard to ignore. I actually found myself openly rooting for Billie Jean King to win a tennis match that she played 44 years ago in which I already knew the outcome. I wanted her to win sooooooo bad.
Reviews are now hitting the internet from Venice and it’s everything I suspected they would be when I first heard the details of the plot about a month ago. Starring Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem, Darren Aronofsky has made what will have to be the most controversial movie of the year. I heard about one scene in particular that will, well, have people talking. In other words, yes, I can’t wait.
It’s been a long four years since Alexander Payne’s last film, the great Nebraska. (How is it directors I don’t like much seem to be very productive and someone like Payne takes so much time?) This time, Payne ventures into something resembling science fiction as Matt Damon and Kristen Wiig agree to have themselves shrunk in an effort to save money. It’s funny, if this were just a run-of-the-mill summer comedy, it would still sound pretty interesting. (I like to think Rick Moranis would have come out of retirement to star.) But in the hands of Payne, this is near the top of my list of must-sees.
Do you ever think what certain events would be like if they existed in the age of social media? Take, for instance, what transpired between Tonya Harding (played here by Margot Robbie) and Nancy Kerrigan in the 1994 Winter Olympics. Imagine how social media overeacts to things being “crazy” or “insane,” when in reality it’s usually just prepackaged popular culture trying to seem “spontaneous.” The incident between Harding and Kerrigan was legitimately insane. Sometimes I have to remind myself that, yes, this really happened. Honestly, I have no idea what this movie is about other than Margot Robbie is playing Tonya Harding and based on that I desperately want to see it
I Love You, Daddy
Louis C.K. made a secret movie and the details are pretty slim when it comes to what this movie is actually about, but I suspect it will be something people are talking about. Who knows? Considering this is Louis C.K., maybe he can take a run at Aronofsky in the whole “controversial” department.
The Disaster Artist
This has been on my “I need to see this right now and I can’t and that sucks” list since this premiered at SXSW back in March. (Oh, and trust me, I’ve sent a lot of “please let me see this movie” emails, to no avail. That all ends next week!) James Franco plays Tommy Wiseau, the man responsible for The Room, perhaps the worst movie ever made and the movie you sometimes accidentally say instead of Room when talking about Brie Larson’s Oscar win. Honestly, I can’t think of a better person to portray Wiseau than Franco – now he’s someone who understands performance art when he sees it and Wiseau, whether he realizes it or not, is performance art.
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