*~*~THE OSCARS~*~*

I couldn’t sleep last night because I was puzzling over not, as you might imagine, my lack of employment, but a more pressing matter: my picks for the Oscars. No, I’m not a member of the Academy. But I am very self-important.

Last year it was easy because of Moonlight (although, admittedly, it’s not hard to choose “anything but Darkest Hour”), but this year the Oscars are graced with such beautiful filmmaking that I want everyone to win.

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Also, there were hella snubs, which I’ll get to shortly.

I have watched all the nominees with the exception of the following (I ran out of time and/or didn’t care enough):
Roman J. Israel, Esq.
All the Money in the World
Molly’s Game
Baby Driver
Victoria & Abdul
Wonder
Marshall
The Greatest Showman
Star Wars: the Last Jedi (I know)
Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2
Kong: Skull Island (yes, this was nominated for an Oscar. So was Suicide Squad, which won, and which was The Worst Movie Anyone Saw In 2016)
War for the Planet of the Apes
Documentary Shorts

I’m sorry to say that this means I did, indeed, see The Boss Baby.

If you want to skip the rest of the post, here are my must-see movies of this year, with a star if they are especially must-see:
*Call Me By Your Name
*Get Out
*Lady Bird
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
*The Florida Project
Mudbound
The Breadwinner
Coco
Icarus
*Last Men in Aleppo
Strong Island
*A Fantastic Woman
*BPM (NOT FUCKING NOMINATED)
*”DeKalb Elementary” (short)
*”Watu Wote” (short)

And, just to show how self-important I am, I’m going to start from the end just like the Oscars do.

Actress in a Supporting Role
It is so fucked up that Moonee from The Florida Project wasn’t nominated because she was so spectacular, and Mary J. Blige wasn’t that good (sorry, but she wasn’t). I know Allison Janney is going to win, but she really shouldn’t – it’s nearly impossible to choose between Lesley Manville and Laurie Metcalf, but in the end I choose Laurie Metcalf from Lady Bird from her performance in the car at the end.

Actor in a Supporting Role
Obviously Armie was snubbed – I could already see his potential when he was a featured extra in Arrested Development:
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So was, of course, Michael Stuhlbarg. I’m glad The Florida Project was nominated for something, though. I didn’t watch All the Money in the World but this is definitely between Sam Rockwell and Willem Dafoe in my opinion. I personally loved Three Billboards – I know a lot of people didn’t like it, and maybe it’s my lack of discernment and obtuse taste, but I thought it was insightful, cutting, forgiving, funny, tragic, and enjoyable. I was captured by Sam Rockwell‘s performance – to me, he earns the win.

Visual Effects
Blade Runner 2049 (mostly because it was the only one I saw – but why isn’t The Shape of Water in here?) Also, this:
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Sound Mixing
Let the Right One In, because it should win every year (I mean Dunkirk, sorry)

Sound Editing
Also Let the Right One In

Short Film (Live Action)
DeKalb Elementary” (extremely difficult choice because “Watu Wote” and The Silent Child” were both so beautifully made, but it ends up being “DeKalb Elementary” because of how simply it was able to depict an incredibly diverse set of themes, Fuck it I’m making this a paragraph)
“DeKalb Elementary” is creepily timely, and yet timeless, because to me, the central narrative is the fragility of white men and the necessity for black women to be our society’s caretakers, protectors, handlers, empathizers. It speaks to the power of empathy, but also the politics of empathy: who receives empathy and who is forced to give it; how can empathy be used as a tool to save lives on a micro and macro level; how humanity is just as important as (arguably more important than) strength and fortitude to manage aggressors. It touches on much more, and like so many of the films this year, holds so many conflicting themes in its hand.

Short Film (Animated)
Several of the animated films this year had what some might call “adult” themes, but to me, children are quite adept at understanding complicated themes. If we taught children that life is complicated (what up Miyazaki?) then they’d probably be better at life.
Anyway, “Negative Space” was delightful, melancholy, funny, and quite dark. But, with the exception of “Dear Basketball,” which was relatively bite-size and trite, the films were all creative, delightful, and multifaceted.

Production Design
Not fucking Beauty and the Beast! That movie was a shining example of how throwing millions of dollars at a something doesn’t make it good, and in fact, can remove all the ingenuity and creativity that having less money creates. It’s insulting that this film was in this category, because it’s so hard to choose between Blade Runner 2049Dunkirk, and The Shape of Water. But in the end I choose Blade Runner 2049 because it required the most imagination and bloomed because of it.

Music (Original Song)
If “Mystery of Love” from Call me By Your Name doesn’t win I’m going to throw a fucking fit. That said, “Remember Me” from Coco was pretty fabulous.

Music (Original Score)
I did a total 180 on this one by listening to the music without the film, which I didn’t like very much – Phantom Thread. However, Call Me By Your Name was snubbed AF.

Makeup and Hairstyling
The only one of these I’ve watched is Darkest Hour, but Gary Oldman is hot and Winston Churchill was not, so I choose that one.

Foreign Language Film
To me, this is where the worst snub happened, because BPM was one of the most arresting films I saw this year, and better than all five of these movies, and it wasn’t even nominated. That being said, all of these movies were masterful and so interesting, but A Fantastic Woman floats well above the rest. I really wish that foreign films had more categories at the Oscars.

Film Editing
Dunkirk

Documentary (Short Subject)
I didn’t get to see these because they show them as two different programs and I just didn’t have time to go see them twice. It’s such a shame because they’re always incredible.

Documentary (Feature)
All five of these blew me away, but Last Men in Aleppo shattered me. Watching a film like this can make the struggles in films like Lady Bird and Call Me By Your Name seem insultingly trivial by comparison, but the paradox this film exemplifies is that even with a backdrop of extraordinary suffering and imminent death, the minutia is what begins to matter most. In the quiet moments between the daily crises of pulling severed limbs and traumatized children from rubble, the White Helmets decide to make themselves a little fish pond with a cascading fountain to enjoy in their center, giggling as one pokes the other in the behind with a drill bit as he’s bent over the pond. It would be so easy to make a movie like this a total slog, like many films about suffering, but the thing about good documentaries and their relatively candid capture of reality is that they grasp that even in extreme situations there are always moments of humor and levity and joy because that is how humans survive.

Costume Design
Didn’t see Victoria & Abdul, but I think Phantom Thread earns it because the narrative and mood were so entwined with the costumes.

Cinematography
Ugh, why do I have to choose? I think I tend to gravitate towards sci-fi elements, because my first instinct is Blade Runner 2049. I’m sticking with it because of how integral it was to the story, but also because I don’t have the best eye and don’t feel like I can choose.

Animated Feature Film
Feature animated films as a whole this year were disappointing compared with the shorts, given the nomination of fucking The Boss Baby, but Coco truly was delightful, funny, and even educational. And, in classic Pixar fashion, tear-inducing. However, The Breadwinner is a close runner-up.

Writing (Original Screenplay)
Lady Bird (Get Out and The Big Sick are quite close, but in the end I think the directing is better in Get Out and the writing is better in Lady Bird).

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Mudbound (so hard to choose this over Call Me By Your Name, but I think the writing elevated Mudbound while the acting elevated Call Me By Your Name).

Directing
This is where it starts to get really hard, especially because of the SNUBS (Best director was Luca Guadagnino for Call Me By Your Name), but of these the obvious forerunner to me is Jordan Peele for Get Out. But I can’t think too hard about it because I also think The Florida Project and Three Billboards should be here, and Dunkirk was also beautifully directed.

Actress in a Leading Role
I loved all of these performances (including Meryl Streep, who elevated a pretty conventional character and plot to something quite inspiring – what can I say? She does the damn job, every time), but to me it’s between Sally Hawkins and Frances McDormand. In the end, despite Sally Hawkins killing it, I think Frances McDormand earns it. Why can’t they all win??

Actor in a Leading Role
Are you seriously going to make me choose between Timothée Chalamet and Daniel Kaluuya? In the same category as fucking Daniel Day-Lewis, Gary Oldman, and Denzel Washington, who are all regarded as masters in their field? It is between the two of them, as far as I’m concerned (although I didn’t see Roman J. Israel, but I feel like Denzel just gets nominated every time he has a movie, like Meryl Streep). It’s Timothée Chalamet by the teeniest, tiniest hair (probably because of the nature of that film having more actor-driven scenes), although I’ll probably change my mind to Daniel Kaluuya by the end of the day because of the hypnosis scene.

Best Picture
This year was so damn good for movies. I think what I love the most about movies (and I think this tends to be a little more evident in foreign films) is their ability to gather so many elements (both figurative and literal) and present them together. This is one of the reasons I loved almost all of these nominees, and why I tend to love films like them: human beings are blessed and cursed with contradictions and complexities, and we experience these things simultaneously.  In a more literal sense, they take writing, visual storytelling, acting and all of these human elements and make them so much greater than the sum of their parts. Ugh, I’m just waxing poetic at this point, but the idea is that it was so hard to choose from all these films, and by the way, The Florida Project should have been nominated.
My choice is Call Me By Your NameI loved it so much that I’m afraid to see it again – watching the trailer makes my teeth hurt like too much cupcake frosting. But can I also choose Get Out and Lady Bird?
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I haven’t even gotten to the implications of #MeToo or #TimesUp or the fall of Harvey Weinsten – in fact, this post is surprisingly bereft of politics, but it’s mostly because other people have done such a better job than I will be able to at writing about that stuff. Here’s one!

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Toni Erdmann

Last night Pat and I went to Lincoln Plaza Cinemas, an *~*art house cinema*~*, to see Toni Erdmann (which was super duper, by the way). As any sane person does, I proceeded straight to the concession stand as soon as I walked in to buy the largest amount of popcorn I thought I could safely consume.

First of all, the dude behind the counter was…I was going to say Eeyore, but it was beyond Eeyore. It was like Squidward and Eeyore mixed together. So, like a human being, I ordered a medium popcorn with butter. And Squeeyore, with no sense of shame whatsoever (in fact, it was possibly Squeeyore’s version of glee), he said “We don’t have butter here.”

Ex

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cuse me??

I don’t care if Kurosawa and Godard themselves christened your movie theater an “art house cinema.” You have motherfucking butter for my popcorn.

So extra.

Anyhow, I’ve been having all these weird stress dreams – in one of them I peed my pants in front of my boss, and in another I was the leader of an ancient ape tribe that was being overrun by Homo sapiens. No one said they were all relevant.

Bachelor of farts

Y’all, I cannot believe the sounds my abdomen is emitting right now. It’s like all of the world’s farts are inside of me right now. And it’s bullshit, too, because I have this bag of dried fruit that I was dying to demolish this morning, and I restrained myself to one prune and one fig. Just so I wouldn’t be filling the entire Google office with my farts. And what do I get for my incredible feat of self-sacrifice? The sounds of the Swamp Creature projecting with surprising brawn from my body.

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Obviously I’m just going to eat the whole bag now, because what was the point of my straight up martyrdom earlier today??

Have y’all watched Joe’s Violin yet? If you’re looking to hardcore ugly cry, that’s the one for you. It’s only like twenty minutes long and you can watch it on the New Yorker for free.

Metrograph Commissary, aka Hell

Alright, I’m about to get all suburban mom on y’all and I apologize in advance. I know I have the privilege, as a relatively average-looking white person, to be treated generally well when I enter customer service situations. But I also worked in service for seven years, including in fine dining. I know how to treat customers, even complete pieces of shit that make you wish voo doo worked. And, more importantly, I know how to treat people in service, and I know the necessity of giving them the benefit of the doubt because they may have just dealt with one of the aforementioned pieces of shit.

But litro, FUCK NEW YORK. Bae and I went to see the documentary Kedi, which, by the way, was cute as hell. I smiled so much during the film, which follows the street cats of Istanbul (like, are you kidding), that my cheeks were sore. The juxtaposition of the experience we had in the theater and the experience we had in the adjoining restaurant – oh sorry, commissary – was so stark that it was funnier than it was infuriating. But only by a little. So I was infuriated.

We made a reservation for 8:30, and the hostess gave us attitude right away. Bae and I were both like, okay, maybe it’s been a rough day for this rude-ass human. But then, we were led to the bar to wait for our table and almost smacked into George Michael Bluth. First sign the night was about to descend into a banana stand on fire.

We were seated after fifteen minutes, despite being right on time for our reservation, and despite the excruciatingly unhurried pace at which all of the staff were walking around the only partially occupied restaurant. Once she told us our table was ready and apologized with as much sincerity as Donald Trump saying, “There’s nobody that has more respect for women than I do,” Bae good-naturely responded with “No worries, it happens.”

She literally responded with “What happens?” Like, did you just start this job within the last hour? Also, are you an actual toddler?

Once she sat us, we remained at our table without menus or water for more than fifteen minutes. We glanced around at the waitstaff, floating about like blackflies inching towards death, but we were aggressively ignored by all. Finally I sheepishly (but overtly) waved at the hard-hearted harpy robot that was the hostess, and she lit-er-al-ly smiled right at me and kept walking only to lean on the hostess stand like a deflating bounce house.

We ended up leaving passive aggressively without looking at or speaking to her and proceeding to New York’s finest dining establishment, Shanghai Cafe Deluxe.

Anyway, protip: don’t eat at a restaurant that calls itself a fucking commissary or everyone will treat you like shit, unless you’re George Michael Bluth.

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What I Learned in SoulCycle Is

So, believe it or not, I returned to SoulCycle yesterday for another free class (after which I headed straight to the movies to see I Am Not Your Negro – can you imagine if James Baldwin was around for SoulCycle?), and spent much of the class pondering whether Shinzo Abe felt this same agonizing stretching of time, like a string of putty that refuses to break, as he shook hands with Donald Trump.

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Look, I’m sure Mr. Abe has had his share of unjust political actions, but no one deserves this.

Anyhow, SoulCycle. Seriously, how can a documentary about James Baldwin and a Britney Spears-themed spin class that costs thirty five bucks exist in the same city – in the same world? I’d love to hear what James Baldwin would make of SoulCycle – “sequestered rooms of imitated slavery, spawned by a desire to reduce guilt over true slavery and to deduce that the real slavery was not, indeed, so terrible.”

Like, my first bike in New York was 150 bucks. Five days of SoulCycle costs more than this. After I bought that bike, I proceeded to pay it back and then some by working as a bike messenger, delivering groceries, meals, and rent checks across the city. I made my living this way, and ate dollar pizza for almost every meal – I was hardly ever full. I couldn’t keep pounds on. Forget Trump – in what kind of dystopian world do we live if people will pay for SoulCycle when they can literally just get on a bike and go somewhere? And get paid for it?? I literally can’t even.

I’m not writing on this blog as much because I’m writing a something longform at the moment – and no, it’s not erotic world leader fiction. My mom told me it was offensive to write about a black man committing adultery.¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Go see a star war

I was unable to take my Lexapro twice over the weekend because my garbage can psychiatrist didn’t get back to me in time, so I’ve basically been a black hole with legs this entire week so far. Hairy legs, to boot. Good thing it was fucking gale-ing outside like the whole goddamn world was ending (which it is). Just the cherry on top of my shit sundae.

I’m only now starting to feel like I did prior to the weekend and missing those doses, and my gratitude for having access to this medication has been deepening throughout the day. Was that how heavy everything felt before I started the Lexapro? I think perhaps I’ve been feeling a combination of that, the inauguration, and my frustration at work.

Plus, everybody else is all fucked up, too. Since the inauguration I’m certain I’ve seen less patience and more desperation in the people around me. I didn’t think New York could become a more suspicious and self-serving place, but it feels as though it has done so. Or perhaps I’m projecting onto the people around me.

Either way, there are a million things going on and I’ve barely been writing at all. I thought of turning this into a once-a-week blog, but I’m not going to. I’m supposed to be writing every day as a rule, not an exception. I should be writing about that dude that lit a cigarette next to me on the subway and the mom and daughter tourist duo that ogled as everyone else on the train actively ignored him with nonchalant intensity, like only New Yorkers can do. Or my thoughts on the women’s march and those who attended, many of whom had never marched in a protest before. Or how I went to see Star Wars and the dickheads behind me chatted the whole time like they were raised in a fucking barn.

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I wanted to make some joke about “alternative facts” but everyone else has already done a better job. Good luck out there, all of you.

Doughnuts Go Nuts

I’m feeling hella burned out after a day of disappointment and rejection, and in preparation for a horrifying presidential inauguration. Thank fake Jesus for Yoga with Adriene, or I might have torn my adorable armadillo-shaped table lamp from the wall and pitched it from my bedroom window, with no regard to human, plant, or porcelain armadillo life. Also, thank fake Jesus for Elizabeth Warren, with whom, in my dreams, I am sister wives to Adriene, of Yoga with Adriene.

Is that weird? Is it as weird as this guy going into the subway at Barclays Center?

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If so, I really need to have a conversation with myself.

Actually, I don’t give a fuck. Rejection has a way of either constricting you into a more acceptable position or softening your shame muscles into a glorious man-spread of not-giving-a-fuck-dom. I’m being vague for job reasons, because this stupid fucking blog is public. Y’all know that if it wasn’t, I’d be talking some real shit.

Like the fuckhead at Google that left the GODDAMN seat up when he left the bathroom right before me! Like, he looked me in the eye as he left, leaving the seat up. How do grown men in their thirties and forties live their entire lives without learning the habit of putting the seat down? I started dating someone who liked the lid down when the toilet is flushed to avoid nasty-ass butt germs flying around the bathroom like disgusting, tiny hang gliders, and it took me like a week to develop the habit of putting the lid down. Why are men so fucking dumb and inconsiderate? And before you bang your chest and exclaim, “Not all men!” to no one in particular, calm the fuck down. It’s just your hormones.

After days like today and yesterday, I treat myself with a movie and popcorn for dinner, companion optional. I took the Q to get home, which means walking by Doughnut Plant, and I resisted getting a doughnut. I feel like I deserve a fucking Nobel Prize for that restraint. If I’m being completely honest with you, though, it was only because I got one from there yesterday and earlier in the week too.

When I Googled “eating doughnuts stock photo,” like you do, a significant amount of the images featured pregnant women. Is that a thing? If so, sign me up!

 

 

 

jk mom