Review: The Sisters Brothers

Brothers by blood, Sisters by name.

Eli and Charlie Sisters (John C. Reilly and Joaquin Phoenix) are hired assassins who are currently hunting down Hermann Kermit Warm. (Riz Ahmed) What was supposed to be an easy job turns harder when the man that was tasked with holding Warm until the Sisters Brothers got there, John Morris (Jake Gyllenhaal) decides he's going to help Warm instead. 

There's something about Westerns that just puts me to sleep. It's pretty telling that the only ones I like are the 3:10 to Yuma remake and Hell or High Water if we're really stretching it. But this one was pitched as a semi comedy and the four men cast are some of my favorite working actors right now.

Damn, this was long. This film has a run time of two hours and one minute and it felt like nearly three. There's two stories going on here, and one of those wraps up about halfway through the film (or at least that's how it felt) and I was sitting there going "wait...really? There's more?" The pacing is just horrendous.

The chemistry between Reilly and Phoenix is fantastic. I loved their banter even if the film was moving at a snails pace. Ahmed and Gyllenhaal played off each other well too but not to the level of our leads. There's not a lot of back story here, which is fine. The last thing this movie needed was an excuse for a longer run time but they make do with what they have.

I'm torn. Although it may sound like it, I didn't hate this movie. It's actually one of the better Westerns I've sat through. I just didn't love it. I imagine if you really like Westerns or don't have a strong aversion to them as I do, you'll probably really dig this. 

Recommended: No

Grade: C

Memorable Quote: "Whens the last time someone tried to kill us?" - Eli Sisters (John C. Reilly)

Review: The Hate U Give

Khalil lived.

Starr (Amandla Stenberg) has two versions of her self. Starr 1 lives in a poor neighborhood with her parents, Maverick and Lisa (Russell Hornsby and Regina Hall) and her two brothers, Seven, (Lamar Johnson) and Sekani (TJ Wright) Starr 2 attends a predominantly white private school where she, in her own words "gives no one a reason to call her ghetto." One night at a party, she ends up being the lone witness to the fatal shooting of her friend, Khalil (Algee Smith) after a white police officer pulls them over and mistake his hair brush for a weapon. Now Starr is torn between these two versions. Keeping her head down, and not bringing any heat on her loved ones, or speaking up for her friend who can no longer speak for himself. 

I haven't read the popular YA novel on which this is based, so I can't compare how well it was adapted, but director George Tillman Jr. did make an excellent film here. In a world where an alarming amount of people still don't understand what Black Lives Matter is about, I hope they watch this. The Hate U Give isn't here to sugar coat anything, although it does fall victim to having some supporting players come off as caricatures.

And that's another depressing part. I want to write off Starr's ignorant white classmate, Hailey as a caricature, but there are girls everywhere just like her. Just like there are cops who make the same excuses Starr's policeman Uncle does.

I cried over Amandla Stenberg as Rue in the Hunger Games, and now she made me cry five more times in this movie alone. She's wonderful and she carries this film with such grace. She masters flipping back and forth into her versions, her smile is infectious during the scenes where we get to see Starr happy and you can feel hear rage and fear when she's finally had enough. Russell Hornsby also gives a great performance as her father. A man that wants to do right by his kids and make sure they don't fall into the same drug dealing life he did. I loved Starr's entire family. She at one point refers to her parents as her OTP and I don't blame her. I love seeing a dynamic like that. 

I think The Hate U Give may have an uphill battle at the box office. (Though my theater was full) Plenty of ignorant movie goers are going to write this off as a cop hating movie and I truly hope they don't. I hope they see it and listen. Listen and understand.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: A-

Memorable Quote: "You're the worst person to watch Harry Potter with; you say it's about gang theory." - Starr (Amandla Stenberg)

Review: First Man

One small step.

First Man follows astronaut Neil Armstrong (Ryan Gosling) as prepares for his life changing mission of being the first man to walk on the moon. We see his work life with several colleagues/friends and his home life with wife Janet.(Claire Foy) The film follows him between 1961-1969.

I had really low expectations. Despite adoring director Damien Chazelle's Whiplash and La La Land, it wasn't until everyone started raving about Claire Foy that I even considered seeing this. 

In terms of story, it really surprised me. First Man is a very interesting film that takes space travel and what NASA did very, very seriously. They don't sugar coat a thing. They show the dangers of space travel, one could argue that this film as a whole is more about how you deal with death than anything else. It also manages to put you on the edge of your seat even though you know the outcome. I always appreciate when a film based on a true story can do that. But there is one thing that's working against this movie...

It's director Damien Chazelle.

The way he shot this film is atrocious. And it's 100% on him, cinematographer Linus Sandgren hasn't abused this technique before. The majority of this film is shot up close. He was like Tom Hooper shooting Les Miserables on steroids. Had it not been for a few sequences beautifully blended with music, I never would've guessed Chazelle was behind this. It was awful. I don't even buy the excuse of the director wanting you to feel like you're there. No one gets this close to people on a day to day basis. I was sitting in the last row of the theater and I wished I could've stood back further. The best shots of the film are when they do take a step back, but that happens a total of three or four times.

And it's a shame Chazelle chose this method of shooting, because his cast are giving excellent performances. Foy is as good as everyone is saying, though I expected her character to have a bit more to do. Gosling as always is very good. Jason Clarke is another who gives a very strong performance, and they deserved a director who didn't turn his camera into a stage five clinger.

I'll be shocked if this film doesn't take home the sound Oscars. It's incredible, sound mixing and editing isn't something I always notice right away but this one I didn't instantly.

A couple asides - Why does NASA have the shittiest bathrooms ever? And is it just me or is the Armstrong's youngest child treated as an afterthought? Especially when Neil is on the moon thinking about his past? 

Recommended: Yes 

Grade: C+ (this would've been higher minus the directing)

Memorable Quote: "You're going to do that. Not me. I'm done." - Janet (Claire Foy)

Thursday Movie Picks: Technology

This week's Halloween theme at Wandering Through the Shelves is technology. If this were a TV week, I'd be talking about Black Mirror. But alas, we're here for films. This was kind of tough so I stretched it a bit. Here's three films that are somewhat scary and somewhat about technology

1) Red State

What's the tech? The internet of course. Three young men get an offer for sex online and instead of the orgy they thought they were heading to, they end up drugged in the middle of nowhere being held captive by religious fundamentalists who want to kill them. Kevin Smith goes way outside of his comfort zone at the time to direct this and I think he did a good job. 

2) Deathgasm

What's the tech? Electric guitar and various instruments and speakers. This band of bored New Zealand kids play a dark piece of music and summon an evil spirit back to their world. It's very campy and slightly gory. Someone even gets beat to death with a dildo. 

3) Videodrome

What's the tech? TV/VCRs. While Deathgasm goes the fun weird route, Videodrome just sticks with flat out weird. This was on my Blind Spot list last year and calling it "out there" doesn't do it justice. It's very sleazy but the atmosphere it sets is perfect. 

Review: Bad Times at the El Royale

He's all kinds of bad.

The El Royale is a hotel along the California/Nevada boarder. Tonight, several strangers meet for the first time. A vacuum salesman (Jon Hamm) a lounge singer (Cynthia Erivo) a priest (Jeff Bridges) and a woman who signs the ledger with a polite "fuck you." (Dakota Johnson) Everyone there has a secret that's not going to stay hidden for much longer.

Anything written/directed by Drew Goddard is an easy sell for me. I loved his script for The Martian and what he's done with the Daredevil TV series. Not to mention The Cabin in the Woods, which he directed is one of my all time favorite horror films. He takes on a lot with El Royale

This film would've been much better suited as an eight episode or so mini series. There is so much stuffed into this movie that you feel every minute of its 2 hour and 21 minute run time. You get quick back stories of each character, but it's not enough, and yet too much at the same time. By the time we flashed back to the final too, I was almost impatient, even though you absolutely 
needed to see both of them. Had this been an episodic series, each character could've gotten the history they deserve and it wouldn't fee like too much because you would only be getting an hour at a time. The two strangers that have the most potential back story wise are killed off pretty quickly after they're introduced. 

Cynthia Erivo is the star of this film. Darlene is absolutely stunning and she also felt the most fleshed out since her reason for being at the hotel was pretty straight forward. While the rest of the film likely won't make an appearance, I hope her name does come Oscar season. All of the other actors do a good job as well. All those reviewers that called Hemsworth "Dangerously sexy" were spot on.

Even though it has its issues, I still enjoyed the hell out of watching it. It's shot beautifully and has a catchy sound track. 

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B+

Memorable Quote: "If you find him, let me speak with him first." - Miles (Lewis Pullman)


2018 Blind Spot Series: The Birds


What I knew going in: Quite a bit about the story, and all the behind the scenes drama between Hitchcock and Hedren.

After an encounter in a pet shop, socialite Melanie (Tippi Hedren) follows Mitch (Rod Taylor) to the quiet town he retreats to every weekend. Upon her arrivle, the birds in the town start to behave erratically and things drastically escalate.

Hitch apparently terrorizing Hedren during this film is pretty well known, and now I believe it even more because no director that has your best interests in mind directs you into this performance. 

This movie is glorious in how bad it is. I'm sure in theory this film isn't as incompetently directed as it seems, there are some nice shots here and there, but the fact that it's about killer birds in a time when special effects were so limited pretty much gives it zero leeway. I mean, they did this...


Did this movie actually scare people back then? It couldn't possibly have, right? Nothing about this film looked natural. Not the birds, not the back drops, definitely not the performances. The only actor that I thought showed some emotional range was Veronica Cartwright, who played young Cathy. She genuinely looked terrified throughout, even with the clunky editing. 

I found this entire film unintentionally hilarious and that alone makes me so glad I watched it. It's just so spectacularly bad on every level. It's like it was the inspiration for all campy 80's horror movies. 

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B-

Memorable Quote: "She pushed me inside!" - Cathy (Veronica Cartwright)


Thursday Movie Picks: The Dark/Night

They mostly come at night. Mostly. This week over at Wandering Through The Shelves we're focusing on movies where the night time and/or dark plays a key role. There's so much to choose from this week, here's what I came up with.

1) Maniac

Elijah Wood plays a mannequin owner who moonlights as a serial killer. I know this is a remake of an 80's film, but this one was so gory and out there that I couldn't help but love it. 

2) I Saw The Devil

When a serial killer murders his fiance one night, a man decides to take justice into his own hands. Only instead of murdering the killer himself, he tracks him and continuously beats him down, lets him live, then waits for him to try to kill again so he can rinse and repeat. It's a commentary on who's becoming a monster. It's hard to watch but fascinating.  

3) 30 Days of Night

When a town in Alaska enters their yearly month with no sunlight, a group of vampires take the opportunity to wreak havoc on them. I read the graphic novel as well and I enjoyed this film. It's beautifully shot and you can never go wrong with Ben Foster. 

Review: A Star Is Born

We're far from the shallow now.

Jackson Maine (Bradley Cooper) is a popular musician going from gig to gig with a bottle of whiskey in hand. After a show, desperate for a drink, he wanders into a drag bar and sees Ally (Lady Gaga) perform a beautiful rendition of La Vie En Rose. Smitten with her voice, he pushes her to sing her own songs, to get up on stage with him, and eventually turns her into a super star. 

We all knew Bradley Cooper was a solid actor. Turns out he's a solid singer and director too. At this point I'm not sure there's anything he can't do. Jackson is a very showy role for him and it really feels like he's really stepping out of his comfort zone. Lady Gaga is also great here. She was the biggest question mark for me. Obviously I knew she'd be dynamite the minute she started singing and she was, but the acting I wasn't sold on. She struggles here and there with the more dramatic bits, but this is her 3rd acting role. It's to be expected. 

I think this film is fine. There are parts that work well. When Ally and Jack sing "The Shallow" together for the first time, and every time Ally is behind a piano singing her songs after that, those moments are beautiful. The rest is typical melodrama with some Sam Elliott platitudes but it's never once bad or boring. But there's one thing that really bothered me that stopped me from going - for lack of a better word - gaga over this. 

Ally and Jackson's relationship has a power imbalance that made me uncomfortable. He's not abusive and Ally is not completely without agency, but it's always Jackson pushing her to do something. Yes, he gets her on stage for the first time and makes her realize her dream. That's fine, but it's the little things that follow. Like passing out drunk after a show, then waking her up for sex on his time. Like smearing cake over her face that is then played as something cute. To proposing after a fight - then getting married all in the span of about two hours. The most egregious parts happen in the last 20 minutes or so of the film, and those I won't spoil. I felt like Jackson didn't give her any choices. He makes every one for her. I know the film is supposed to be a meditation on fame, and how as Ally's star grows she gets less and less control, but I didn't think that was supposed to happen with the relationship they're choosing to sell this movie on as well. It just rubbed me the wrong way. 

I might be alone in that complaint, but this film is good and the soundtrack is extremely catchy.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B-

Memorable Quote: "There should be a whole billboard of your fucking nose" - Jackson (Bradley Cooper)

DVD Review: The Seagull

It's not about the money or the praise.

Konstantin (Billy Howle) is an aspiring writer who cannot please his actress mother, Irina. (Annette Bening) They're visiting his uncle, Sorin (Brian Dennehy) in his country side home in early 20th century Russia. Konstantin attempts to impress Nina (Saoirse Ronan) but she finds herself infatuated with Irina's boyfriend, Boris. (Corey Stall) Meanwhile Masha (Elisabeth Moss) pines for Konstantin while ignoring Mikhail (Michael Zegan) who is obviously in love with her.

This film commits the same crime as Valkyrie in which it has characters living in Europe but speaking with American accents. That's such an awful choice. If you're not going to have your actors speak with the actual accent, at least let them use one from the same continent. Billy Howle's English accent is already bleeding through his performance anyways. 

Unfortunately it's all downhill from there. Despite a talented bunch of actors the film is directed very poorly. If you thought Tom Hooper used too many close up shots in Les Miserables, wait until you see what director Michael Mayer does here. He gets so close to Corey Stoll's face at one point I actually leaned back. Ronan, Bening, and Moss are all very good, but unfortunately they lack chemistry with the men they're playing opposite against. Our lead, Howle is also very clearly more of a stage actor and even though this is based on a play it doesn't translate well to screen.

While there's some solid performances, a nice score and beautiful costumes and sets, everything else is so amateurishly thrown together it brings it all down. I've never read Anton Chekov's play this is based on. I'm not sure how it compares. 

Recommended: No

Grade: C-

Memorable Quote: "I still love him." - Nina (Saoirse Ronan)

Thursday Movie Picks: Home Invasions

It's October so that means it's officially Halloween month over at Wandering Through The Shelves. As you can probably tell, I love Halloween. But Wanderer's first theme is one that I'm actually not crazy about: home invasions. They just make me a bit too uncomfortable for my viewing pleasure. Luckily, there have been a few over the past few years that I've really enjoyed. 

1) Hush

This straight to Netflix horror film changes the home invasion mold slightly by having our protagonist be deaf, and by having our intruder take off his mask and quite literally be like "Oops you saw me, now I have to kill you." It's very twisted and well played. 

2) Don't Breathe

A few misfits make the biggest mistake of their lives when they break into a blind man's house. This film gets serious props for introducing a twist late in the game that shouldn't have worked but just made everything even more fucked up. 

3) Them (Ils)

In all fairness, I haven't seen this movie in years. Them was loosely remade as The Strangers in the U.S but the thing that made this the most disturbing is when they revealed who the killers and their motives really were. I'd like to watch this again. 

DVD Review: Disobedience

A walk down bad memory lane.

Ronit (Rachel Weisz) is a photographer in New York who returns to her Orthodox Jewish community in England for her father's funeral. She was shunned years before after being caught in a tryst with her friend, Esti. (Rachel McAdams) Esti seems to have been forgiven and is now married to their childhood friend, Dovid (Alessandro Nivola) who is also going to be the successor to Ronit's father at their temple, but Ronit being back brings up a lot of old memories.

My theater had this for a bit, but I skipped it. The reviews were lukewarm, and I wasn't sure if it was a theater watch for me. It would've been, I enjoyed this quite a bit.

At first I was slightly confused on where this community was supposed to be. I know England has a lot of different accents but this one I hadn't heard before. At first listen, it sounded like a bunch of Americans trying to do an English accent, but even Weisz spoke that way. I don't know how well it's done not being familiar with it, but that took a bit of getting used to. 

Weisz, McAdams, and Nivola are wonderful in these roles. McAdams was the standout because this is so different from what she normally does. She plays someone who is kind of shell shocked and going through the motions very well. Nivola is an actor who I'd seen in bit parts before but never with enough material as he got here. I liked that the film tackled how being born into these ultra religious communities can really affect people if their minds wander outside of it. All three characters represent different parts. Ronit who got out, Esti who dreams of it, and Dovid who has accepted it. Of course, it's easier for him as a man.

I wish at times we would've gotten a bit more information at times. I feel the film barely scratched the surface with some of the character's back stories but overall this was an enjoyable watch.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B

Memorable Quote: "Give me my freedom." - Esti (Rachel McAdams)

Thursday Movie Picks - TV Edition: Anthologies


I'm very excited to talk about this week's theme from Wandering Through The Shelves because it's all about anthology series. Not only is one of my all time favorite TV shows an anthology, but there has been so many good ones on TV lately. Here are three of my favorites below. 

1) Black Mirror

Showcasing the dangers of technology, this is one of the best series I've ever seen. It's not perfect, a few of the episodes are duds, but the overwhelming majority are spectacular. You don't have to watch them in order (I started with two episodes in season three, then went back and started from the beginning) but I have to caution you, if you start with season one episode one, please note that none of the episodes that follow are that gross. I forgot to warn people about this when I started enthusiastically recommending this and that episode really is for someone with at least a sense of humor. I could talk about this show forever.

2) Fargo

Unlike most anthologies, this one is best viewed in the proper season order. While the film Fargo had to grow on me, this series is a nice companion to it. Season one is still my favorite. 

3) American Crime Story

I love the idea of this series, focusing on a big crime per season. The People vs OJ Simpson was excellent from start to finish. While season two, The Assassination of Gianni Versace was also done very well, I took issue with the episode order. With that minor complaint, I'm still looking forward to season three. 

2018 Blind Spot Series: Cabaret


What I knew going on: I had seen this on stage. 

In 1930's Berlin, an English man, Brian (Michael York) befriends a cabaret singer Sally (Liza Minnelli) when he moves in next door. They form a friendship, all while Nazism starts seeping into the world around them.

I've seen this performed by local theater groups before and I suppose I never really took the time to think about how different the film would be. It's a very loose adaptation, though to be fair it's been over a decade since I saw this on stage. 

I think the balance of being a musical while including something as ominous as what is to come with WWII is very interesting. It paints a layer of extra sadness over everything. While Sally and Brian pay no mind to any of it at first, all I could think of is how drastically their world will be different in a few years time. That said, sometimes I wish they had gone a bit more in depth with the subplot between Fritz and Natalia.

The musical numbers were stunning and engaging and Liza Minnelli is an absolute star. She definitely inherited her mother's vocal talents and Sally's facade was fascinating to watch. Though honestly, she's so good that no one else in the film can really keep up with her. 

I kind of yearned for more of a footnote after the end. Did Brian and Sally ever meet again? What happens to Fritz and Natalia? Those are questions the film didn't need to answer but ones I enjoyed pondering when it was done. 

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B+

Memorable quote: "God damn it, I'm gonna have a baby." - Sally (Liza Minnelli)


Indie Gems: Columbus

I'm fine here.

Casey (Haley Lu Richardson) feels like she can't leave her home town of Columbus, Indiana. Her mother is a recovering addict, whom Casey looks after. She graduated a year ago, but didn't go to college. She loves architecture and spends her time working at a library. Jin (John Cho) is a Korean American who comes to Columbus when his father falls into a coma. He meets Casey and tries to encourage her to think of her own dreams for once.

If you haven't seen this film, and have only read reviews or watched trailers, you've probably noticed most are from Jin's perspective. Jin is struggling with his father's condition and goes to Columbus, but really, this is Casey's story. She has the most screen time, and we learn the most about her through her daily routine and her conversations with Jin.

Jin and Casey easily have one of the best platonic relationships I've seen on screen in a long time. Another film may have had them have an attraction or an affair despite the 20 year age difference between the actors, but this film never goes in that direction and I appreciate it even more for that. Though the age difference they hint at between John Cho and Parker Posey's character is kind of annoying considering they're fairly close in age.

Haley Lu Richardson has such a presence. This is the best performance I've ever seen from her and to be honest, had this been a bigger movie, she would've been in that Oscar discussion. She's tremendous in her restraint and you can see so many emotions in her eyes. John Cho is always reliable as well, even though he doesn't get nearly enough meatiness that Richardson does. 

This is another film that's slower in pace, and it does check a lot of those stereotypical indie film boxes. (which I love, no shame) I can't help but adore movies like this. It reminds me of Dreamland and Chumscrubber, and so many other films where the lead character has to do a lot of internal soul searching while at the crux of a big life change. It's just my kind of film.

Grade: A

Watched on: Hulu

Memorable Quote: "It's like I've been transported somewhere else." - Casey (Haley Lu Richardson)

Thursday Movie Picks: Farms

Despite growing up in middle of nowhere Midwest, I can't relate to farm life. I know people with farms, I grew up driving past plenty of them. but they're not my thing. This week Wanderer wants us to talk about films where farms play a part. Because they do nothing for me, this ended up being a bit on the hard side, but I did manage to find three films I enjoyed. 

1) Nowhere in Africa

One of the products of Fisti's Four Ways A Best Picture blogathon, which I am now kicking myself over for not saving now that his blog is gone - I think I liked this film the most out of our panel. It's about German Jews who move to Kenya during WWII and adjust to life running their own farm. 

2) Shotgun Stories

Jeff Nichols' first picture isn't technically about a farm, but a good portion of the scenes do take place on one. It stars Michael Shannon and is about two families who feud after the father passes away. 

3) Casa de mi Padre

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to watch a Mexican telenova with Will Ferrell staring as a rancher? Well look no further, this film is for you. It's pretty funny, especially when accompanied by a beverage or two. 

Review: A Simple Favor

Can you do this one thing?

Stephanie (Anna Kendrick) is an eager to please mommy blogger that meets Emily (Blake Lively) when their two children request a play date. Emily is effortlessly cool, lives in a big beautiful house and has a gorgeous husband Sean. (Henry Golding) Stephanie can't but be infatuated. Then Emily disappears and Stephanie attempts to get to the bottom of it. 

The marketing behind this movie is kind of all over the place. In one trailer it's a comedy, the next a murder mystery. It's definitely more of the former. Sure, there's lots of twists and turns but they're mostly all played out for laughs. Since I've never read the novel this was based on, I don't know if the book took it this lightly either. 

At two hours long, I really liked this for the first 100 minutes or so, then I started to get antsy. I've always adored Anna Kendrick but she's chewing so much scenery here that I realized there's such a thing as too much Anna Kendrick, or at least this type of character. It's kind of impossible to like Stephanie. I think I was supposed to dislike Emily more, but she was an enigma. Blake Lively played her so bitchy and uninterested. It's the best performance I've ever seen from her. Rupert Friend, like he did in The Death of Stalin shows up and steals each scene he's in. That was by far the funniest part of the film for me. 

But alas, this is directed by Paul Feig so he needs more comedy, and those are the parts that really didn't work. There's a group of bystander parents that show up occasionally to interject opinions. They were fine at the beginning, but slowly got more and more over the top. 

I'm quite surprised how much I started to dislike a film I was thoroughly enjoying. If I had left early for some reason and not finished it, I probably would've given it a solid grade, but it just became a bit too much.

Recommended: If you like Feig's work, then yes. Otherwise wait for DVD

Grade: C+

Memorable Quote: "Did she want you to hang yourself with it?" - Dennis (Rupert Friend)


2018 Emmy Winners



Man, the Emmys were weird this year. 

They made a huge deal about how inclusive the nominees were and a whopping three POC won, I think? The best part of the ceremony was when Glenn Weiss, who won for directing the Oscars proposed to his girlfriend. The worst was the terrible skits from Maya and Fred. It wasn't funny. Fred Armison is almost as overrated as Kristen Wiig. I'm still annoyed this show is on a Monday, but I have to say having the presenters not announce the nominees really sped things along. But onto the winners...

While The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel dominated writing and directing for comedy series, drama was all over the place. The Americans won for Writing, The Crown for Directing. RuPaul's Drag Race finally won an Emmy, and Last Week Tonight with John Oliver took home a second as well.

Below are the acting and show winners in green + a few thoughts. I guessed a whopping seven of these correctly. 


DRAMA SERIES
The Americans
The Crown
Game of Thrones
The Handmaid’s Tale
Stranger Things
This Is Us
Westworld
I have to laugh at Thrones winning for its least interesting seasons but I'm always happy about a Thrones win. This is truly one of the best shows to ever air on television, and I'll be sad to see them bow next year.


COMEDY SERIES
Atlanta
Barry
Blackish
Curb Your Enthusiasm
GLOW
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Silicon Valley
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
I went into this really expecting Atlanta to take it home, but early on I realized Marvelous Mrs. Maisel was going to win everything, and it did. I don't have Amazon so I haven't watched this, but now I want to.


LIMITED SERIES
The Alienist
The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story
Genius: Picasso
Godless
Patrick Melrose
Ryan Murphy gave a beautiful acceptance speech. I liked The Alienist better personally but I can't deny how good Versace was. Murphy also won for directing the first episode of this series, which is absolutely deserving seeing as it was perfection.

LEAD ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES
Claire Foy, “The Crown”
Tatiana Maslany, “Orphan Black”
Elisabeth Moss, “The Handmaid’s Tale”
Sandra Oh, “Killing Eve”
Keri Russell, “The Americans”
Evan Rachel Wood, “Westworld”
I fucking love Claire Foy and I'm SO glad she won this. I see a lot of people disappointed about Sandra Oh not winning, but this is Claire's final season so I'm glad she got to take this home. Seriously. There's great acting, then there's Claire Foy in The Crown. She's at a whole other lever. 


LEAD ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES
Jason Bateman, “Ozark”
Sterling K. Brown, “This is Us”
Ed Harris, “Westworld”
Matthew Rhys, “The Americans”
Milo Ventimiglia, “This is Us”
Jeffrey Wright, “Westworld”
I thought Sterling would win this again, but Rhys got the goodbye Emmy, which I seriously should've predicted. Ugh. 


LEAD ACTRESS IN A LIMITED SERIES OR A MOVIE
Jessica Biel, “The Sinner
Laura Dern, “The Tale”
Michele Dockery, “Godless”
Edie Falco, “Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Brothers”
Regina King, “Seven Seconds
Sarah Paulson: American Horror Story: Cult
Her speech was absolutely beautiful and she was so surprised. 


LEAD ACTOR IN A LIMITED SERIES OR A MOVIE
Antonio Banderas, “Genius: Picasso”
Darren Criss, “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story”
Benedict Cumberbatch, “Patrick Melrose”
Jeff Daniels, “The Looming Tower”
John Legend, “Jesus Christ Superstar: Live in Concert”
Jesse Plemons, “USS Callister: Black Mirror”
Criss deserved this. He was so good I'll probably never look at him the same again. 


LEAD ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES
Pamela Adlon, “Better Things”
Rachel Brosnahan, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”
Allison Janney. “Mom”
Issa Rae, “Insecure”
Tracee Ellis Ross, “Black-ish”
Lily Tomlin, “Grace and Frankie”
Fun fact: Rachel is the first winner in any lead comedy category to be born in the 90's. I knew she would win this. She had the Globe behind her. 

LEAD ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES
Anthony Anderson, “Black-ish”
Ted Danson, “The Good Place”
Larry David, “Curb Your Enthusiasm”
Donald Glover, “Atlanta”
Bill Hader, “Barry”
William H. Macy, “Shameless”
This really shocked me because I tried to watch Barry and gave up. It was so boring. Donald Glover came dressed as a character from Atlanta and still didn't win. This is one of the biggest shocks for me. But it has nothing on the next category. 


SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, “Game Of Thrones”
Peter Dinklage, “Game Of Thrones”
Mandy Patinkin, “Homeland”
David Harbour, “Stranger Things”
Matt Smith, “The Crown”
Joseph Fiennes, “The Handmaid’s Tale”
LOL what? Don't get me wrong. I love Dinklage, I love how he plays Tyrion but he hasn't gotten a ton to do in a long time. He's very good, but Joseph Fiennes should've won this. I'm surprised The Handmaid's Tale got completely shut out of acting aside from Samira Wiley's win in Guest Actress. 


SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES
Lena Headey, “Game Of Thrones”
Millie Bobby Brown, “Stranger Things”
Vanessa Kirby, “The Crown”
Yvonne Strahovski, “The Handmaid’s Tale”
Alexis Bledel, “The Handmaid’s Tale”
Ann Dowd, “The Handmaid’s Tale”
Thandie Newton, “Westworld”
I should've known all the Handmaid's actresses would split the vote, so I got this wrong but I'm SO happy for Thandie. She is amazing on Westworld even if season 2 was uneven. 

SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES
Brian Tyree Henry, “Atlanta”
Henry Winkler, “Barry”
Louie Anderson, “Baskets”
Alec Baldwin, “Saturday Night Live”
Kenan Thompson, “Saturday Night Live”
Tony Shalhoub, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”
Tituss Burgess, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”
I called this. Career Emmy. 


SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES
Zazie Beetz, “Atlanta”
Laurie Metcalf, “Roseanne”
Aidy Bryant, “Saturday Night Live”
Leslie Jones, “Saturday Night Live”
Kate McKinnon, “Saturday Night Live
Alex Borstein, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”
Megan Mullally, “Will & Grace”
I actually missed this so I haven't watched her speech yet. 


SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE
Jeff Daniels, “Godless”
Brandon Victor Dixon, “Jesus Christ Superstar Live In Concert”
Ricky Martin, “The Assassination Of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story”
Edgar Ramírez, “The Assassination Of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story”
Finn Wittrock, “The Assassination Of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story”
Michael Stuhlbarg, “The Looming Tower”
John Leguizamo, “Waco”
Jeff Daniels thanking his horse was the highlight of his speech. 


SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE
Adina Porter, “American Horror Story: Cult”
Letitia Wright, “Black Museum (Black Mirror)”
Merritt Wever, “Godless”
Sara Bareilles, “Jesus Christ Superstar Live In Concert”
Penélope Cruz, “The Assassination Of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story”
Judith Light, “The Assassination Of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story”
This kind of came out of nowhere didn't it? Unlike the last time Merritt Weaver won, she said more than four words. Good for her. I'm glad she escaped the shithole that is The Walking Dead. I can't wait to see someone from Sharp Objects win this next year. 


Revisiting My 2009-2015 Top 10 Lists

Chris recently decided to revisit his best of the year lists to see if he still felt the same, and I thought it was such a wonderful idea that I had to do it too.

I started my blog in 2009 and I decided to only go as far back as 2015, because I feel everything after that is still pretty fresh in my mind and wouldn't change. 

I learned a lot putting this together. Mainly how cringy it is reading my first few years of posts. 😂 I was also kind of surprised at how much my opinions have changed on a few of these films. I really don't miss the time in my life where I lived in the middle of nowhere and only had access to wide release films. Let's jump in and see how much has changed. I'll try not to make this too long.



2009
My Top 10 - Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, An Education, Coraline, Precious, Star Trek, Moon, Up in the Air, District 9, Inglorious Basterds, (500) Days of Summer

What stays - Up in the Air, Inglorious Basterds, (500) Days of Summer, Moon, An Education, Precious

What changes - The Cake-Eaters, Trick r' Treat, Dogtooth, A Single Man

You can really tell I missed out on a lot of indies this year. Thirst, Lymelife, and Gigantic would be my honorable mentions before any of the other things I had on my top 10. On a side note, I forgot how much I disliked Pixar's Up when that first came out. Man, I was mean about it. That film really grew on me

2010
My Top 10 - Inception, Never Let Me Go, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1, Black Swan, The Social Network, Machete, The Fighter, Fish Tank, Shutter Island, The Kids Are All Right

What stays - Inception, Black Swan, The Social Network, Never Let Me Go, Fish Tank, The Kids Are All Right, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1

What changes - 127 Hours, Blue Valentine, Scott Pilgrim vs The World

I noted in my post at the time that I hadn't seen 127 Hours or Blue Valentine and of course I'd sub those two in. 2010 was such an excellent year for film. Forgive me, Machete. I still think you're amazing. 

2011
My Top 10 - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, 50/50, Martha Marcy May Marlene, The Descendants, Drive, The Help, Hesher, Hanna, Super, Our Idiot Brother

What stays - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, 50/50, Martha Marcy May Marlene, Drive, Super

What changes - Pariah, We Need To Talk About Kevin, Take Shelter, Shame, 

lol The Help. The four films I noted missing in my post ended up in my Top 10. I went back and forth with keeping Super or replacing it with Like Crazy, but my Top 10 was already pretty serious. It needs a bit of dark comedy in there. 

2012
My Top 10 - The Dark Knight Rises, Silver Linings Playbook, Argo, Looper, Moonrise Kingdom, Django Unchained, The Master, Seven Psychopaths, The Avengers, The Cabin in the Woods

What stays - Silver Linings Playbook, Looper, Moonrise Kingdom, The Master, Avengers, The Cabin in the Woods, Argo, The Dark Knight Rises

What changes - Take This Waltz, Les Miserables

Damn, this was a weak year. Originally I had Les Mis as an honorable mention but I find that much more re-watchable than Django or Seven Psychopaths. I almost subbed something for Ruby Sparks. Almost.  

2013
My Top 10 - American Hustle, Prisoners, Star Trek Into Darkness, The East, The Hunt, 12 Years a Slave, The Wolf of Wall Street, Blackfish, Stoker, Her

What stays - American Hustle, Prisoners, The Wolf of Wall Street, Her, The Hunt, Star Trek Into Darkness, 12 Years a Slave, Stoker, The East

What changes - Short Term 12

I'm surprised I only changed one thing here. I love Blackfish, I think it's an amazing documentary but when I watch it now I wish I could change a few things to make it more original. 2013 was an excellent year for independent film. The Brass Teapot, What Maisie Knew, Byzantium, Violet and Daisy, Fruitvale Station,  The Spectacular Now,  Ain't Them Bodies Saints, The Conjuring (okay that was a wide release, but it was made for $10.00) Those are all so great. And yes, I still love Star Trek Into Darkness. I don't care about the plot holes. 

2014
My Top 10 - Birdman, Nightcrawler, How To Train Your Dragon 2, Gone Girl, Snowpiercer, The Theory of Everything, Begin Again, The Imitation Game, I Origins,  Whiplash

What stays - Birdman, Nightcrawler, How to Train Your Dragon 2, Gone Girl, Snowpiercer, Begin Again, Whiplash, I Origins

What changes - Camp X-ray, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, 

This was tough, because The Theory of Everything and The Imitation Game are wonderful and perfect examples of when Oscar baity biopics work, but I hadn't seen Camp X-Ray at the time and The Winter Soldier got better and better with each watch. 

2015
My Top 10 - Sicario, The Martian, Ex Machina, It Follows, Spotlight, Room, The Revenant, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Brooklyn, The Stanford Prison Experiment

What stays - Sicario, The Martian, Ex Machina, Spotlight, Room, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Brooklyn, 

What changes - Mustang, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Mad Max: Fury Road

At the time I had Age of Ultron as a runner up, but I would rather re-watch that than The Revenant at this point. Mustang I hadn't seen at the the time, and I appreciate Mad Max: Fury Road quite a bit more now then when I first saw it. 

If you're still here, thanks for reading, and big thanks to Chris again for the idea!