‘To hell with dreams’

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La La Land producer Jordan Horowitz holds up the winning card, which shows Moonlight earned best picture, after La La Land had originally been announced as the victor.

Warren Beatty opened the envelope, took a long look at the card and passed it to Faye Dunaway, who said, “La La Land” into the microphone. The frontrunner’s producers, director and cast hugged, celebrating their seventh Oscar of the night, and made their way to the stage. The outcome was no surprise and kind of anti-climatic, as an upset would be the only thing that would make this night memorable. Instead, the Academy Awards followed the script. La La Land won big, but not historically big. Live-tweeting the event, I had my head down feverishly typing La La Land had won best picture. I also got another Tweet out about La La Land’s Oscar total for the evening…then it happened.

“There’s been a mistake,” La La Land producer Jordan Horowitz bellowed into the microphone.

My head sprung up as the rest of my body froze.

Moonlight, you guys won best picture,” Horowitz said. And he called them onto the stage reassuring those who worked on the film that this was not a joke.

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La La Land producer Jordan Horowitz, left, goes to hug and hand off the best picture trophy to Moonlight writer/director Barry Jenkins on stage.

Horowitz even held up the winning card, which one of the cameras closed in on so we could all clearly see Moonlight won best picture. The classy Horowitz then waited on stage to hand his golden statue off to the approaching Moonlight crew.

Moonlight director Barry Jenkins took the mic, still in shock, but absolutely overjoyed.

“Even in my dreams this could not be true,” Jenkins said. “But to hell with dreams. I’m done with it, because this is true.”

It was unfortunately a poor choice of words (considering La La Land is about dreams), but Jenkins in no way meant to take a shot at La La Land. He in fact went on to give his love to La La Land.

Beatty and Dunaway don’t deserve blame. They were given the wrong envelope. Horowitz and host Jimmy Kimmel deserve a lot of credit, Horowitz for grabbing control of the situation and displaying great class in a time where he was probably devastated, and Kimmel for making jokes to try to ease the awkwardness.

How did this happen? Well, I think the more important question is did Moonlight deserve the upset victory? Continue reading

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Nominated for this, but also in that

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Eddie Redmayne starred in 2015’s Jupiter Ascending.

Two years ago, Eddie Redmayne earned a nomination for his portrayal of Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything. Absolutely warranted. He’s a great actor. But no actor has a great performance in every movie. Unfortunately for Redmayne, he lived the nightmare scenario. A critical and box office failure, Jupiter Ascending came out around the same time as his nomination. Redmayne not only starred in the film, but also pulled the movie down with a memorably awful performance.

Leading up to the Academy Awards, many wondered if that performance would weigh on the minds of Oscar voters. As we all know, it didn’t. Redmayne won his first trophy for his breakout role in The Theory of Everything. He also went on to earn another nomination the following year for The Danish Girl, losing to Leonardo DiCaprio for his role in The Revenant. But I’m sure he’ll never want to star in a movie like Jupiter Ascending that coincides with Oscar nominations, because he’s not done bringing home trophies.

The 89th Academy Awards showcases a couple more actors looking for Oscar glory who starred in different movies in 2016 that could help or hurt their chances. Continue reading

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Oscars: Right movie…wrong actor

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Jeff Bridges, left,  earned his seventh Academy Award nomination for his supporting performance in Hell or High Water, but should it have gone to his co-star Ben Foster?

The Academy did a nice job with its nominations in preparation for the 89th awards presentation Feb. 26. The Oscars have the African American representation it lacked over the past two years with Moonlight, Hidden Figures and Fences; Mel Gibson’s return to prominence and Meryl Streep … again. But if you look hard enough, there’s always room to nitpick.

This year’s head scratchers came in acting categories in battles between stars in the same movies. A few times I left the theater thinking ‘Wow, he/she will definitely get a nomination.’ Then the nominees came out, and they were left off the list while their co-stars gained the glory.

The most egregious mistake of this kind came during the 85th Academy Awards when Christoph Waltz earned not just a nomination, but the win for best supporting actor for his performance in Django Unchained. Waltz is a great actor, who put forth one of the greatest performances I’ve ever seen in Inglourious Basterds, but he was easily the third best actor in Django Unchained behind Leonardo DiCaprio and Samuel L. Jackson. DiCaprio has a scene where glass breaks in his hand for real and he continues the scene without missing a beat. But no nomination. No Academy Award. DiCaprio would later find out the lengths he needed to go to for his first win when he fought a bear and was stranded in the wilderness in The Revenant. The thing is … he should have already had a golden statue.

How does this happen? Let’s take a look at two of the Academy’s mistakes in 2017. Continue reading

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The Split experience (SPOILER WARNING)

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James McAvoy shines in M. Night Shyamalan’s Split.

When I first saw the trailer for Split, I laughed … I laughed. I mean James McAvoy was dressed as a woman. And then pretending to be a nine-year-old boy. When I thought it couldn’t get  worse, what popped on the screen? “From writer/director M. Night Shyamalan.” This movie had to be a joke. It looked terrible. Also, it was coming out in January where bad movies go to die. It was a cinch. Another Shyamalan disaster. Then an early review came out from one of my most respected YouTubers, Chris Stuckmann. He gave the movie an A- … Huh? … What? … How?

That didn’t completely sell me because Shyamalan inspired Stuckmann with his movies earlier in his career so maybe he pumped the grade up a bit. But other positive reviews came out closer to the release date. Rotten Tomatoes had it 74% (as of Jan. 29) and it made a strong $40 million in its opening weekend. Conclusion, I guess I better see this movie. Listening to the Schmoes Know Live Show, which I listen to once a week, they started discussing the movie and skirting the line of spoilers. Conclusion, I need to see this movie NOW before it gets spoiled. So I find the next showing, which is at 10:30 p.m. at Regal in Dickson City, and floor it. I buy the ticket, grab a box of Buncha Crunch and head to Theater 8. Let me tell you … this movie’s good. No … it’s great. Continue reading

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A Message to Warner Bros.

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You done messed up, Warner Bros.!!!

Let’s face it, Warner Bros. You didn’t have a good year. While I’m sure this is troubling for you as a studio, it’s especially troubling for us. I love DC, I love the Harry Potter universe and I love Ben Affleck. But your studio is doing its best to make them irrelevant with their lack of quality. Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice was one of the most anticipated movies of all-time and it fell flat for most, with the exception of a few hardcore DC fans. Suicide Squad was supposed to save the DC Extended universe, but only managed to make it worse. Ben Affleck was in both of those films, starred in The Accountant and wrote and directed Live By Night. None were met with critical acclaim. So, Warner Bros., you need to fix this.

The Good News: Your bad movies have one problem. That’s it.
The Bad News: It’s a pretty big problem, it leads to other issues and it has a presence in all of your blockbusters.

Want to know what it is? Continue reading

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Weekend Wrap Up for 1/6/2017

RogueOnePoster.jpgWe’ve officially moved into 2017, though as is often the case with early January, the box office was dominated by holdovers rather than any new releases. Rogue One led the way for the fourth straight weekend, falling 56% to $22M. It is now only about $9M behind Finding Dory for the 2016 domestic crown. Rogue One will have no problem sailing past $500M and should end up around $525M by the end of its run. Quite the impressive run for a movie that’s basically a spin-off featuring virtually none of the major players in the Star Wars universe, apart from Darth Vader’s (admittedly awesome) small role.

Continue reading

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Happy New Year … I’m back

Let’s just say this. The last time I posted on this blog, Fantastic Four (aka Fant4stic) was my fifth most anticipated movie for the summer of 2015 … a lot has changed.

I’ve been away too long, and I know you’ve all missed me so I’m back to fill that void. I haven’t stopped seeing movies (I’ve seen 45 released in 2016 so far) so let’s get this blog up and running again.

WHAT TO EXPECT

In January and February, most posts will pertain to end of year wrap-ups (Such as most disappointing movies of 2016, top 10 movies of 2016, top 10 worst movies of 2016, etc.) leading up to the Oscar nominations (released Jan. 24) and awards ceremony (Feb. 26). Upon release of the nominations, I will post my thoughts.

I may sprinkle a review in here or there, but January and February are traditionally the worst months of the year for movies (with the exception of Deadpool in 2016) and I will spend most of my time catching up on all the Oscar movies that haven’t been released in Northeast Pennsylvania. February may have a few hidden gems in John Wick: Chapter 2 and The LEGO Batman Movie, but I digress.

After the 89th Academy Awards, the summer movie season pretty much starts in March, with Logan coming out March 3 (my birthday), and we’ll have another exciting slate of blockbusters.

Shoutout to my friend, John Lund, for the push to get this going again.

Let’s have fun in 2017 and talk movies. It’s good to be back.

Cheers.

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