Best Picture Showcase – Day Two

It’s the second and final day of the Best Picture Showcase! Just like last week, I’ll give you spoiler-free “reviews” of the films we watched, despite my lack of expertise. I enjoyed all five, although there was a slight mishap with the last one. With no further ado:

Dunkirk – Gina’s take: “Not enough backstory. Nothing made you care about any of the characters.” Zumu and Zufu loved it.

I must admit that I did not know nearly enough about the evacuation at Dunkirk before watching this movie. I did agree with Gina that you don’t really get to know the characters (most of whom are not big stars), but in a way it seemed fitting, because the sheer numbers of soldiers on the beach — more than 300,000 —  on the beach, waiting for rescue. But I appreciated the way it showed all the tribulations those soldiers — and the men who rescued them — had to go through.

Darkest Hour – Gina: “Amazing.” It was another Zumu and Zufu hit, as well.

Wow. Just wow. If Gary Oldman does not win the Best Actor prize tomorrow, I will be surprised. He was magnificent. The War Room, Parliamentary debates, Number 10 Downing Street, Churchill’s remarkable speeches. . . Just incredible.

Call Me By Your Name – Zufu: “Why did we just watch a movie about that?” Zumu: “Because this is Hollywood.”

I’m kind of glad I saw Timothée Chalamet in Lady Bird before I saw him in this. In Lady Bird, he was aloof to the point of being impassive. In Call Me By Your Name, on the other hand, he is vulnerable and young and lovestruck and incredibly emotive. His performance makes the film simultaneously entertaining and almost painfully awkward, which is absolutely perfect.

The Post – This one restored Zumu’s faith in Hollywood filmmakers. We all loved it, but I don’t know if it was a best Picture front-runner.

Meryl Streep: perfect, as always. Tom Hanks: happily (for me), not stereotypically Tom Hanks. Steven Spielberg made a fascinating, high-quality Hollywood film. No surprises there! It was a great film. It might win. I don’t think it should. It was great, but it didn’t seem head and shoulders over the rest of the field.

Get Out – Gina had seen it already and loved it. I think Zumu and Zufu were horrified by this one.

At the hour mark of this film, I took my medication, swallowed my drink wrong, choked, spit cranberry juice all over myself and the seats, and started to cough uncontrollably, which caused me to pee my pants like the average middle-aged woman that I am. I ended up texting Quinland from the restroom that I could not possibly show my face in that theater again. He gave me a pep talk until I decided to stand in the back of the theater to watch the ending. (Gina let me sit on her sweatshirt in the car until she got me home.)

Day Two is over! Tomorrow, we shall watch the Oscars and see who wins all the awards. I can’t wait for the red carpet! I love seeing the stars and their gorgeous evening wear. And Jimmy Kimmel, the conscience of our nation, should be a fantastic host. Hooray!

Parents, palms, and poker

Gina and I drove out to Palm Desert yesterday to visit Dad and Ann. It’s been a very productive visit: Dad and Gina went to the casino to play poker, Ann and I went thrifting, we’ve had some excellent meals, I got food poisoning (or whatever the heck has turned me completely inside out), we’ve visited and told stories and watched Wayne Newton sing on Bonanza.

I also gave Dad a detailed lesson on what Multiple Sclerosis is and how I know that I really have it. Since his stroke, he has been adamant that I don’t have MS, that there’s nothing actually wrong with me, and that doctors are all incompetent. It’s been discouraging for me. Since MS is an invisible disease, I always wonder if people think there is nothing wrong with me, that I don’t have real symptoms, that I’m actually faking. I know that’s ridiculous, but I often feel I have to explain or defend myself.

I think, though, that not understanding the details of how MS affects me (and how it might progress in the future) made him more nervous than he needed to be. Once I explained that I was not going to die from it, he seemed somewhat reassured. He just wishfully thinks I don’t have MS because he wishes I didn’t have MS. I can definitely relate to that sentiment!

Poker by Javier Morales / CC BY

Best Picture Showcase – Day One

It’s Day One of the Best Picture Showcase! I thought I’d review all the films we saw today, but I’m hesitant because a) I hate spoilers, which are often necessary for a review to make sense, and b) I’d be giving my very inexpert opinion. I am no cinephile, nor am I particularly versed in film reviewing. Consider yourself forewarned, because here we go:

Phantom Thread – Gina’s take: “Meh.” Zumu: “Interesting . . .”

I really enjoyed it. Daniel Day-Lewis is always completely immersed in a part, and this role is no exception. Really, all three main characters were compelling. The story was far more slice-of-life than plot-driven, but the lives were so unusual that I was engaged the entire time. (And, frankly, I’d have loved it just for the settings and the couture dresses!)

Lady Bird – Zufu thought it was just okay, but Zumu said that’s because it was more of a girls’ movie.

This is the one movie I had already seen, and I absolutely love it. Saoirse Ronan is incredible. Laurie Metcalfe is painfully good. The movie is a veritable paean to Sacramento, director Greta Gerwig’s hometown. It’s happy and sad and heartwarming and laugh-out-loud funny.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri – Zufu: “That was great! That was a really great movie!” Gina felt justice was not properly served, so she couldn’t fully like it.

Man, the hits just keep coming on this one. You think something is one way, and BAM! Something else happens, which starts to get kind of resolved and then OH, NO! Something else happens and pretty soon AAAUGH! Didn’t see that coming, did you? Whew. All I can say is that my feeling for who was good and who was bad in this movie was constantly shifting, and I don’t know that I ever made up my mind on that point.

The Shape of Water – Gina loved it: “My friend tied up the mythical part of it for us at the end, which made it even better.”

I had no idea what to expect, other than what I’d seen in the trailer they showed at the Golden Globes. Sally Hawkins was great, Octavia Spencer was great, and Michael Shannon seriously gave me the creeps. Richard Jenkins as Elisa’s best friend was a revelation. I thought he stole every scene he was in. His Oscar nomination was well-deserved.

So that was Day One! We had 15-20 minutes between the first two films, another 15-20 between the next two, and an hour dinner break before the last one. Despite being sleep deprived, having power recliners, and even a blanket, I stayed wide awake and fully engaged the entire day!

Coming up next Saturday on Day Two:

  • Dunkirk
  • Darkest Hour
  • Call Me By Your Name
  • The Post
  • Get Out