Moonlight Is the Pick of the Week

We cut the cord year ago and our cheap antenna doesn’t really work in our new house. We pick up a few channels but not ABC which carried the Oscars last night. I had all but resigned myself to not watching the ceremony this year and in fact wrote out several paragraphs for this article about how I wasn’t going to get to watch. Then my genius wife moved the antennae upstairs to our bedroom TV and got all the channels.

I missed the first twenty minutes or so and then another twenty minutes or so in the middle putting my kid to bed but mostly I sat through what was really a pretty boring ceremony. It didn’t help that I’ve seen exactly one of the major nominees. Hell or High Water was good, but I have no idea if it is the best film of the year.

Anyways it was a dull ceremony. Jimmy Kimmel wasn’t terrible as the host, but there was nothing particularly enjoyable about his performance either. By the time the big awards were announced, I was ready for bed. When La La Land was announced as the Best Picture, I removed one pillow, laid my head back, and closed my eyes. Moments later, my wife starts making confused noises asking what is going on? Looked up, I saw a stage swarmed with people and many of those golden statues being handed from one person to another. A speech was being given and then Justin Horowitz, producer of La La Land, said something about them not actually winning.

As everyone knows by now, there was somehow a mix-up with the envelopes so when Faye Dunaway announced La La Land as the victor, she was reading off the wrong card. In a pretty stunning moment (and the most exciting thing to happen at the Oscars in a long time), Moonlight was then announced as the best movie of 2016. The La La Land people were all very gracious as the confused Moonlight crew got up and stage for their victory speeches.

Moonlight was always going to be my Pick of the Week, but now it just has to be.

Also out this week that looks interesting:

Doctor Strange: In that first draft I wrote and then destroyed, Moonlight and Doctor Strange battled it out for my pick this week. In some ways, Doctor Strange is the antithesis of Moonlight. It’s a big, expensive spectacle of a movie from Marvel about a brilliant doctor who learns magic and becomes a superhero. Moonlight is a small, independent film about a gay black kid growing up under tough circumstances. Doctor Strange’s craft budget was likely more than the entire cost of Moonlight. Yet Moonlight wins the Oscar and Doctor Strange gets buried under the thousand more superhero movies they’ll make this year. I’ll watch them both eventually and be glad for it.

The Before Trilogy (Criterion Collection): Richard Linklater’s series of films brings together Julia Delpy and Ethan Hawke for a few hours each film to talk about stuff.

Allied: Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard star in this Robert Zemeckis film about an American intelligence officer and a French Resistance fighter who may not be what she seems. The reviews make it out to be a really well made war movie of the old fashioned type. I like those leads and Zemeckis is always worth watching even when he fails.

All We Had: Katie Holmes directed and stars in this drama about a poor mother and her daughter who, after a series of tragedies, move to a small town where life takes an upturn. Until it doesn’t.

We Are the Flesh (Arrow Video): Post apocalyptic tale about a brother and sister who learn to survive by building a strange old man a bizarre structure where he lives out his darkest fantasies. Arrow usually puts out older, cult classics but this one was just released. I’m always interested in what they offer no matter how terrible, and this one sounds fun.

Rules Don’t Apply: Warren Beatty directed and stars in this love story about an aspiring actress, her determined driver, and the eccentric billionaire they work for.

Five Centimeters Per Second: Japanese animated film split into three interconnected segments about a young man named Takaki and the various ways in which life tests his love.

Shut In: Naomi Watts stars in this horror film about a psychologist who lives in an isolated house in the middle of nowhere who starts to suspect someone is inside her house trying to do her (and her paralyzed son) harm. The reviews have been terrible but I’m a sucker for this sort of thing (and Naomi Watts).

Mat Brewster

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