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!

Indie Gems: The Tribes of Palos Verdes

We're going to start fresh. 

Medina (Maika Monroe) has just moved to Palos Verdes with her family. Her father, (Justin Kirk) is a doctor who has just accepted a new job. When he ends up leaving the family and sending his wife, Sandy (Jennifer Garner) into a tailspin, Medina and her twin brother Jim (Cody Fern) find themselves dealing with Sandy's mental illness while Medina attempts to surf all her troubles away.

This is a very quiet film, but what caught my eye was Jennifer Garner. I sometimes forget that she was once a highly capable actress on Alias. All I associate her with now are these mom roles in family films, and it was nice seeing her tackle a role like this. Sandy is complicated, while they don't flat out name her illness she's pretty clearly bipolar and goes through extreme highs and lows, and Garner plays her very convincingly. It was hard watching her two teenager children struggle to deal with that on top of being horribly manipulated by their father. 

Maika Monroe is an easy protagonist to follow, as she was in It Follows. There's just something interesting about the actress.  This film packs a ton of baggage but isn't very showy. It has a slower pace, which does make it feel a bit too long in places, but it fits with the tone of laid back Palos Verdes.

Now with Peppermint in theaters, which I haven't seen, I hope this is a return of more diverse roles for Garner. 

Grade: B

Watched on: Netflix DVD

Memorable Quote: "...are you serious?" - Medina (Maika Monroe)

2018 Emmy Predictions: Who Will Win, Who Should Win

The Emmys are coming up next week (On a Monday for some fucking reason) so it's that time of year where I attempt to guess and fail miserably. Here are my predictions on who will win, and in some cases, who should. 

DRAMA SERIES
The Americans
The Crown
Game of Thrones
The Handmaid’s Tale
Stranger Things
This Is Us
Westworld
Who will win: Game of Thrones
Who should win: The Handmaid's Tale or The Crown
GoT is my favorite show but season 7 was their second weakest season to date. I still think the withdrawals will be strong and the Emmys won't refuse them, which is a shame because Handmaid's Tale and The Crown had really strong second seasons. I have not seen The Americans, but they could be a dark horse here as well. 

COMEDY SERIES
Atlanta
Barry
Blackish
Curb Your Enthusiasm
GLOW
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Silicon Valley
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Who will and should win: Atlanta
This show has been getting the most buzz and I'd be surprised if it lost. 


LIMITED SERIES
The Alienist
The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story
Genius: Picasso
Godless
Patrick Melrose
Who will win: American Crime Story
Who should win: The Alienist
While both series were good, The Alienist was far better, but judging by nominations it seems voters liked Versace more. 

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”
Who will win: Elisabeth Moss
Who should win: Claire Foy
I see a repeat win for Elisabeth but really Claire Foy should be taking it for her final season of The Crown. 

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”
Who will win: Sterlilng K. Brown
Who should win: Jeffrey Wright.
Wright has no chance of winning but I'm bias. 

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”
Who will and should win: Laura Dern
I don't think this is guaranteed, especially since The Tale didn't win at the Creative Arts Emmys, but I still think she gave an incredible performance. 

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”
Who will and should win: Darren Criss
The actors who would've gave him a run for his money (Daniel Bruhl, Taylor Kitsch) weren't even nominated. 

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”
Who will win: Rachel Brosnahan
Who should win: Issa Rae
With a Globe win, Rachel has a lot of momentum but I'd love Issa to take this home. 

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”
Who will and should win: Donald Glover


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”
Who will and should win: Joseph Fiennes
There's a lot of really great performers here but Joseph was terrifying in this season of The Handmaid's Tale and I think he deserves it. 

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”
Who will win and should win: Yvonne Strahovski
Aside from Millie Bobby Brown, who I think is massively overrated, all of these women gave outstanding performances in their show. I'd love for Lena to win, but I think Yvonne was just incredible this year. 

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”
Who will win: Henry Winkler
Who should win: ?
Even though I found Barry a bore, for some reason I see Henry taking this. 


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”
Who will win: Laurie Metcalf
Who should win: ?
Laurie missed out on a well deserved Oscar so I can see Emmy making it up to her here. 

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”
Who will and should win: Edgar Ramirez


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”
Who will win: Judith Light
Who should win: Letitia Wright.
I'm bias and want Letitia to win but Judith Light is going to go home with this. 



Thursday Movie Picks: Good Remakes

The Suspiria remake is two months away, and this week Wanderer wants us to talk about remakes that are actually good. I always go horror when I think of this theme. I can't help it. Here are three remakes that I thoroughly enjoyed. And yes, I prefer all of them to their original versions 

1) The Ring

This is hands down the best PG-13 horror movie ever made in my opinion. It was actually frightening. I didn't see the original, Ringu until after watching this, and while that one was good too, The Ring was far superior for me. It helped having a fun theater experience. People were losing their damn minds when Samara started crawling out of that TV.

2) Dawn of the Dead

I've talked about this film so many times. I straight up hated the original Dawn of the Dead/Night of the Living Dead movies. They're so dated, and I'm apparently too extra to appreciate dated zombies. This film was the perfect balance of fun, camp, and gore. "Fuck me harder, Steve!"

3) Godzilla

Y'all....I liked the Godzilla remake, okay? I LIKED IT. 

Review: Searching

Do we ever really know?

Single dad David (John Cho) is thrown for a loop when his teenage daughter, Margot (Michelle La) goes missing. Not believing she would simply run away, he breaks into her computer and attempts to piece everything together.

Searching is shot entirely through another screen. Computer monitors, video chat, news reports. This gimmick isn't new, most recently Unfriended used this technique and before that, Megan is Missing also used it to disastrous results. I wonder if writer/director Aneesh Chaganty saw the latter and used it as an outline of what not to do. Realistically, no one uses video calling this much, but the film uses it in a way that's almost completely believable and I appreciated those little touches, such as David just leaving his video chat app open on his computer while he makes a regular telephone call. So we still see David through the screen, but it's not his only form of communication.

This is a proper mystery through and through and John Cho is brilliant as a grieving father who is always honest and believable. The trailer that the studio threw together for this does it zero justice. It keeps you guessing and doesn't clue you in on the last piece of the puzzle until you're almost there. 

The ending might not be for some, but I liked that they went there with it. Most stories like this wouldn't.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B+

Memorable Quote: "I really didn't know my daughter." - David (John Cho)

Thursday Movie Picks: The New Kid at School

This week's theme at Wandering Through the Shelves is about the new kids at school. I never had to be that kid. Sure, I started schools for the first time, but never alone. I never had to move to a new city or attend a new school right in the middle of everything. These kids had to in some capacity

1) Morris from America


Morris is an American living in Germany where his father takes a job. He dreams of being a rapper but has trouble fitting in. I really loved this movie and seeing a different side of Craig Robinson. 

2) The Perks of Being a Wallflower

So Charlie doesn't technically qualify as being a new kid, seeing as he did know some of his classmates, but I couldn't resist using him. Without his best friend, and a sister that ignores him, he was truly alone until Patrick and Sam took him in. 

3) Au Revoir les Enfants 

Unlike Morris and Charlie who just have trouble fitting in, Jean is a new kid at a French boarding school because he's hiding from Nazis. This is one of my favorite films to come from the Blind Spot series. It's also up there with one of my favorite French films of all time. 

Mini Reviews Part Two

Oh man have I been lazy lately. I've been watching a fair amount of films but haven't written out full reviews. Since we're entering Oscar season, of course I'll get back into the swing of that, but here's a few mini reviews of what I've been watching lately.

Documentaries


Larry King of Valentine Road

The Bridge - This full doc is available on YouTube and it's about the number of people who commit suicide by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge. The film makers captured 23 of the 24 suicides in 2004 on film and allegedly called authorities whenever they saw someone they thought was a possible jumper. While this is very depressing, it is an interesting account of depression. I can see why this gets a lot of unfavorable reviews, there's quite a few ethics questions here. B

There's Something Wrong with Aunt Diane I started watching this a long time ago but never finished, I finally saw it all the way through and it's still just sad all around. Available on HBO Go, this doc follows a case of Diane Schuler, who drove the wrong way on a freeway and killed herself and seven others when her car collided with another. Her autopsy indicated she had been drinking, while her family disputes that she would do that. The thing about this is that it answers no questions. I don't blame Diane's family for looking for a better answer. I would too. Maybe she was good at hiding her alcoholism. Maybe she did have a drink combined with a psychotic break. Unfortunately we'll never know. C

Mommy Dead and Dearest - Now this is hands down one of the most fascinating documentaries I've seen in a while. It follow the murder of Dee Dee Blanchard, a single mother with a daughter, Gypsy Rose who had multiple illnesses. Turns out, Dee Dee had Munchhausen by Proxy and Gypsy was never actually sick, and now she plotted her own mother's murder to escape. This is honestly one of the few times I've watched a true crime documentary and said "Yeah, second degree murder makes sense." It's just absolutely wild. The trial for Gypsy's boyfriend is still ongoing, so this story isn't finished. This is also available on HBO Go. A

Valentine Road - The last of my HBO Go binge, this follows the murder of Larry King, a young trans boy who was shot to death by a classmate after he asked him to be his Valentine. This is easily one of the most infuriating things I've ever watched. Director Marta Cunningham, instead of asking those involved hard hitting questions just let their stupid speak for itself and it's horrifying. Larry's murderer was seemingly a budding white supremacist. He drew swastikas, which people excused as "artistic expression." His girlfriend at one point says white people are becoming a minority. His defense attorney gets his name tattooed on her wrist. Poor Larry essentially gets blamed for his own murder because he "flaunted it." (ie: acted like the person he felt he truly was) While I wish we would've had more counter debates in this film, I see why the director chose to shoot it this way and magnify their bigotry. She also doesn't paint the shooter as only a monster, but rather shows how the way he grew up shaped him. B+

Films


First Reformed - I wanted to do a full review on this but I'm just not sure I understood the ending. I was really with this film until then. Not to mention, the way Amanda Seyfried was playing her character suggested that there was more to the story, but then nothing was answered. Ethan Hawke is great in this, but they threw it away. I think this is one of those films I might end up enjoying more if I saw it again later on, but I'm still pondering it for now. C+



The Conjuring - I gave into Sati's persuasion and caught this on Netflix. Damn, this movie is legitimately scary. I really didn't give this a chance. I wrote it off immediately because it seemed like token PG-13 horror (though it actually has an R rating only because it's tone. There's no gore or excessive swearing) I can't say enough good things about it. Sure, it's predictable but the creepiness level is just off the charts. I loved it. A-