OSCAR COUNTDOWN

Only 10 months until the next Oscars are awarded on February 24, 2019.

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MISCELLANEOUS

Love, Simon

Those who know me best know that I am an unapologetic lover of ‘80s nostalgia. To be honest, just calling it “nostalgia” makes me feel old, but it is what it is. Time marches on and the brutal fact is that even ‘80s nostalgia, which was once the hip and cool thing, used to sell products and play over the speakers in stores, has now been left behind as the ‘90s are moving in. Duran Duran has been replaced by Backstreet Boys and Alicia Silverstone has replaced Molly Ringwald. It was nice while it lasted.

But, for me, the ‘80s will always rule. I mean, I was aged 10-20 in the ‘80s, so you can’t really blame me. That’s my entire cultural and societal awakening years, there. Music, movies, books, trends, fads—my pop culture DNA is all ‘80s. Which is why I feel like I can judge teen movies, even into my 40s. Because if there’s one thing the ‘80s will have over every other decade is its teen movies. Any other generation and decade can try to argue, but it is a fact. Other decades may have had beaches, blankets and Bingo or clueless virgins, but the ‘80s had John Hughes. End of conversation.
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The Death of Stalin

Never before in my lifetime has the world been more politically charged, more anxious about the fortitude of their leaders, more distrustful of their decisions and more worried for the future. It is in this atmosphere that the popularity of political satire is soaring, especially in the United States, from Saturday Night Live to late-night talk shows to television shows like Veep, the cultural climate has never provided the people such smart and revealing outlets for their frustrations, fears and disbelief in what is happening around us.

As such, there has never been a more perfect climate for The Death of Stalin, a new film from Armando Iannucci. Although it is set in the former Soviet Union in the fifties, it feels no less relevant now to anyone who is aware and concerned about world politics—and who finds the remotest bit of humor in how it’s all playing out, no matter how black that comedy may feel.
click here to keep reading -The Death of Stalin »

Black Panther

It does feel like there is a reckoning happening in Hollywood. Yes, there are the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements that are making an emotional impact, but beyond those, there seems to finally be a move towards more inclusivity. Diversity in Hollywood has always been a challenge, but the tone-deafness reached a nadir in 2016, when every single one of the Academy Award acting nominees were white, prompting the #OscarsSoWhite fury. Since then, the Academy extended invitations to thousands of new members, most of them women and people of color. Beyond that, the widespread cultural demand for more diversity has been reflected in the movies that are being made, and how they are being made. There was no way Hollywood could continue down the path of being for and about white men any longer. Don’t get me wrong, white men still rule in Hollywood, both in front of and behind the camera (and where it really counts—in the executive offices), but the time’s, they ARE a’changin’.

Consider these facts:

• The top three domestic box office money makers in 2017 all featured women in the lead roles (Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Beauty and the Beast and Wonder Woman)

• The third highest-grossing movie of 2017 (domestically), Wonder Woman, was directed by a woman (Patty Jenkins)
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2018 Academy Awards Supercut

Oscar Nominations

Some quick thoughts on this morning’s Oscar nominations (see the full list here: Oscar.com ):

As expected, The Shape of Water leads the way, with a total of 13 nominations. Only 11 other films in Oscar history have received 13 or more nominations. 8 of those 11 went on to win Best Picture.

While it is looking good for The Shape of Water, Phantom Thread came on strong this morning, pulling in a surprising 6 nominations, including Best Picture.

The rest of the Best Picture lineup was pretty much as expected, except for the exclusion of The Big Sick and Mudbound and the inclusion of Darkest Hour. I, personally, felt that Darkest Hour was a weak film and there were much better films that could have been recognized instead, including The Big Sick (my favorite movie of the year) and The Florida Project. Some were hoping Wonder Woman would have had a shot here, but, instead, it was shut out completely.
click here to keep reading -Oscar Nominations »

My Top 10 of 2017

1. The Big Sick
2. Lady Bird
3. Get Out
4. Blade Runner 2049
5. 3 Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
6. The Florida Project
7. The Disaster Artist
8. Personal Shopper
9. T2: Trainspotting
10. Wonder Woman

MY CURRENT SMART PICKS

Top 5 List:

My Five Favorite political movies:

1. Election, 1999
2. All the President’s Men, 1976
3. Citizen Kane, 1941
4. Dr. Strangelove, 1962
5. Dave, 1993

Rental Pick:

Bob Roberts (1992)

Favorite Trailer of the Moment:

Awesome Movie Montages and Lists: