Review: I, Tonya

How do I get a fair score?

This is the biography of US figure Skater Tonya Harding. (Margot Robbie) While breaking the 4th wall, we see her live with her abusive mother, LaVona (Allison Janney) and move on to her abusive ex-husband, Jeff. (Sebastian Stan) All while trying to advance in the skating world when she doesn't necessarily fit in.

I, Tonya has perfect pacing. We start with Tonya at age four and move on until she's in her 20's, with all the buzzy parts of her live captured with ample time. We instantly get attached to her as the underdog. It's almost shot documentary style with the characters constantly narrating. At times, they turn towards us right in the middle of the story to address us. It's a risky gimmick but it pays off well.

Margot Robbie is absolutely amazing in this role. The gravity she brings to it is exceptional. Sebastian Stan also gives one of the best performances I've seen from him. He's an actor that's been growing on me. Allison Janney is also excellent in her role, but it's not nearly the stretch I was expecting after she's been winning all these awards. She barely needed to lift a finger to turn out this performance.

If I have one problem with I, Tonya - it's the way they're treating their real life subject. While Tonya was a victim of abuse, she also took part in harming someone she called a friend. This film not only plays her abuse for laughs at times, but actually puts the blame on the entire audience as her abusers. I'm sure that was meant to be a powerful statement but I saw it as glorifying her. It's as if they've absolved her of everything. I just found it a bit patronizing. 

While that's harsh, it's not enough to distract from the excellent film making here. It's great all around.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: A-

Memorable Quote: "Fucking Mustache..." - LaVona (Allison Janney)

My Top 10 Films of 2017

Better late than never. I'd be shocked if I managed a Best of *insert year* list in that year. There's always something left over for me to chase after. I manged to see 99% of the films I wanted to, so now's the time to share my list. Here are my top 10 favorite films of 2017 in no particular order, a few other random favorites, and of course, the 5 worst films I saw this year. 

Top 10 Films of 2017

Apes together strong

The best version

Have a little understanding of people's feelings

She ran six miles in the snow

Bound by love. Torn by flesh

My masterpiece


You were one of my favorites

We're going home

A princess couldn't do what I did

Just Missed

Honorable mention: Mudbound, Okja, Colossal, Wonder Woman, Your Name, The Big Sick, I, Tonya, The Shape of Water

And now the worst of the worst. Keep in mind, if a movie looks bad, I don't go see it. Aside from one of these films, these were ones I was genuinely interested in and ended up hating.

Bottom 5 of 2017

Beauty and the Beast
3 Generations
The Circle
All Eyez On Me
Baby Driver

Honorable Disappointments: Beach Rats, The Killing of a Sacred Deer

Random Favorites

Top 10 Best Actresses
Saoirse Ronan - Lady Bird
Laurie Metcalf - Lady Bird
Sally Hawkins - The Shape of Water
Frances McDormand - Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Aubrey Plaza - Ingrid Goes West
Margot Robbie - I, Tonya
Garance Marillier - Raw
Jennifer Lawrence - mother!
Elizabeth Olsen - Wind River/Ingrid Goes West
Brooklynn Prince - The Florida Project

Top 10 Best Actors
James Franco - The Disaster Artist
Daniel Kaluuya - Get Out
Sam Rockwell - Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Rob Morgan - Mudbound
Andy Serkis - War for the Planet of the Apes
Jason Mitchell - Mudbound/Detroit
Hugh Jackman - Logan 
Jeremy Renner - Wind River
Michael Stuhlbarg - Call Me By Your Name/The Shape of Water
Will Poulter - Detroit

Best Director
Christopher Nolan - Dunkirk
Greta Gerwig - Lady Bird
Jordan Peele - Get Out
Dee Rees - Mudbound
Tyler Sheridan - Wind River

Funniest Scenes
Thor telling the Loki/Snake story - Thor: Ragnarok
"Too much wind machine!" - The Disaster Artist
"TSA BITCH!" - Get Out
The police station burning down/monologue - Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
"We lost 19 of our best guys" - The Big Sick

Cleganebowl GET HYPE Award for - you guessed it - maximum hype
Throne room scene - The Last Jedi
No Man's Land - Wonder Woman
The Immigrant Song Montage - Thor: Ragnarok
Thor powers up - Thor: Ragnarok
Battle of Crait - The Last Jedi

Star Trek Into Darkness Award for "Fuck you, I loved this!"
Force Skype - The Last Jedi

Martha Award for Best Unintentional Laugh (Tie)
Emma Watson's cardboard expression when her boyfriend stops being a giant, furry animal. - Beauty and the Beast
The amount of times Daniel Day-Lewis tells someones to "fuck off" - Phantom Thread

10/10 Would Bang Award for Hottest Performance in a Film
Idris Elba exists - Molly's Game
Adam Driver loses his shirt - The Last Jedi
Hugh Jackman getting mad in a tank top - Logan
Steven Yeun fights, then victory fucks his way through his office building - Mayhem
Elizabeth Olsen being 100% believable as an Instagram crush - Ingrid Goes West

"I know a guy" Breakout Side Character Award
O'Shea Jackson Jr - Ingrid Goes West

"You didn't see that coming?" Award for Biggest Surprise in a Film
Good Time

Lars Von Trier Award for This Scene is Going on for Way too Long
Rooney Mara stress eats a pie - A Ghost Story

The Village Award for Incorrect Advertising
It Comes At Night

Review: The Shape of Water

What would I say, I wonder?

Elisa (Sally Hawkins) is a mute woman working as a cleaner in a research facility. She doesn't have many companions, there's Zelda (Octavia Spencer) her only work friend for over a decade and her neighbor Giles (Richard Jenkins) who she spends time with during the day. One day a strange fish creature is brought into her facility and she finds herself drawn to him and wants to set him free.

This film has had buzz about it since this summer so the wait to actually watch it felt excruciating. During that time I lowered my expectations, which I'm thankful for. The Shape of Water is good, but it's not free of issues.  

If you're wondering why the Academy sent nuts for a film where a woman fucks a fish man, it's probably because there's a Hollywood musical number thrown in. Seriously. It's brief, but felt out of place, even though it shouldn't. And that brings me to my issues with the film. There were so many side stories that shouldn't have felt out of place because they expand on the supporting characters, but they did. I felt like they were trying to go in too many directions at once.

Thankfully, there is so much more to love than there is to nitpick. Guillermo del Toro's movies always look beautiful (aside from Pacific Rim) and this is no exception. The production design here is lovely and the make up on Doug Jones who plays Abe Sapian the creature is stunning. The acting is excellent too. Sally Hawkins gives one of the best performances of the year. The supporting staff is strong too, though to be honest as much as I loved Octavia Spencer in this role I'm not sure why she has an Oscar nomination for it. She doesn't have a lot to do. Michael Stuhlbarg once again was the actor that stood out for me. 

The Shape of Water might be one of the most beautifully bizarre films you ever see. It balances beauty, a bit of gore, and a whole lot of odd very well. 

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B+

Memorable Quote: "I don't want an intricate, beautiful thing destroyed!" - Dr. Hoffstetler (Michael Stuhlbarg)

Review: Call Me By Your Name

And I'll call you by yours.

Every summer Professor Perlman (Michael Stuhlbarg) invites a grad student to his home in Italy to be his research assistant. This year, he's invited Oliver (Armie Hammer) who forms a close bond with his 17 year old son Elio. (Timothee Chalamet)

The film practically begs you to visit Italy. It gives off this laid back endless summer vibe that's absolutely gorgeous. It works beautifully with how conflicted Elio is. Imagine if he were brooding around a gloomy city? It wouldn't work as well. It takes its time getting Elio and Oliver to admit their feelings. So much time in fact that I was starting to get a bit frustrated. I felt as if the film got too caught up in its own beauty to get to the point. Slow burns are nice but this one teeters on dragging out far too long.

I can see why so many people stan Timothee Chalamet. He has a unique face and he's wonderful here. He's very convincing in his crush, lust, love, whatever you like to call it. At times it's all three. Not to mention he plays the piano wonderfully. Michael Stuhlbarg is also great as his understanding father. He's such an underrated actor and this is one of the best performances I've seen him give. The weak link for me - and I know this will be an unpopular opinion is Armie Hammer.

I didn't read the book this is based on, but I read a synopsis of it, and Hammer's character is supposed to be 24. Hammer doesn't look like he's seen 24 in a while. He was 29 when he filmed this, but he easily looks like a man in his 30's. I can see at times why they cast him in this role. He's tall and "handsome" to some but I was never not aware of the fact that he looked far older than his character was meant to be. I know, I know, the age of consent is 14 in Italy but it still threw me off a few times. 

Aside from Hammer and some pacing issues, Call Me By Your Name is a lovely film with a one of the best scores this year. 

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B

Memorable Quote: "Right now, there's sorrow, pain. Don't kill it and with it the joy you've felt." - Professor Perlman (Michael Stuhlbarg)

2018 Blind Spot Series: All About Eve

We have a new host for the Blind Spot Series - Sofia at Returning Videotapes! I haven't changed my banner yet to include her blog, I'll get to that eventually. Even with Ryan stepping down, I love this series - and this excuse to watch something old too much to quit. I had a list already set out before Ryan even announced he was ending it. I'm happy for Sofia for carrying it on!

What I knew going in: That Bette Davis was in it. 

Margo (Bette Davis) is a theater actress who is introduced to Eve (Anne Baxter) one night after a show. Eve has been to every performance and says she's a huge fan. After a while, Even begins to show her own ambitions for the spotlight and maybe she isn't as genuine as we thought. 

When I watched Sunset Boulevard last year, a few of you suggested I watch All About Eve. Because I hadn't researched it I was expecting a few familiarizes but both films are very different. This one feels more down to Earth and less glamorous, even though it involves actors.

Bette Davis is such a powerhouse, I love her performances. Anne Baxter was great as Eve as well. I don't think a performance like hers could be pulled off today. There was something so conniving about her. Celeste Holm (who has the loveliest voice) was another stand out to me as Margo's friend Karen.  

I like when films have narrations and this one handles it seamlessly. Even in the quieter moments it's always interesting. I have to say, I did prefer Sunset to this one, but that's not to diminish this at all. This was a great way to start 2018.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: A

Memorable Quote: "You won't even get the chance to talk" - Miss Casswell (Marilyn Monroe)

Review: The Post

Take it to print.

When a disgruntled military analyst has finally had enough of the way the government is handling the Vietnam War, he leaks several documents to a few papers. The New York Times publishes them first, then feels the wrath of President Nixon. Then they fall into the hands of Washington Post reporter, Ben Bagdikian (Bob Odenkirk) He brings them to his boss, Ben Bradlee (Tom Hanks) who must convince his boss, Kay Graham (Meryl Streep) who just took her company public and still faces many obstacles being a woman owning a newspaper to publish them. 

I had to laugh at a comment I read about this film elsewhere. It went something like "Oh, Steven Spielberg made a great movie with great performances by Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep.........and?" You know you make a lot of solid films when expectations are so high that even "great" is nothing to write home about.

For the record, The Post is a good movie. But even with so much talent, it doesn't live up to more recent journalism movies. The stakes don't feel nearly as high, even though they technically are. Revealing secrets about the Vietnam war is important. It's arguably on par with Spotlight revealing the horrors of the Catholic Church. It should feel more important than when Truth tried to report George W. Bush's draft dodging, but I never felt the clock here. I never felt invested in anyone other than Meryl's Kay. 

Meryl Streep gives probably her best performance in years here. We're so used to powerful, assertive Meryl that seeing her play the meek and sometimes insecure Kay felt so different. The only other two characters that get to show any personality here are the ones played by Hanks and Odenkirk, and they're fine too.

It sounds a bit like I'm hating on this movie, but I'm not. It's a good film. I just think it has the misfortune of following a near perfect film about a newspaper in Spotlight. (I know I'm in the minority with liking Truth. I feel like no one else cared for it.) Speilberg to his credit does elevate it. I think in the hands of another director this film could've been very boring. 

Recommended: Yes

Grade: C+

Memorable Quote: "How likely?" - Roger Clark (Jesse Plemmons)

Thursday Movie Picks - TV Edition - Book to TV Adaptations

Keeping up with last year's tradition, Wanderer is saving the last Thursday of every month for TV picks. This week it's about books that have been adapted into TV shows. 

1) Game of Thrones

Of course I'm including one of my all time favorite TV shows, based off one of my all time favorite book series. I love Game of Thrones. I'm not ready for it to to end. 

2) Big Little Lies

This is the only one of my picks where I didn't read the source material but I'm sure I will some day. This series was amazing. Beautifully acted and paced. I'm interested in what they do with season two. 

3) The Handmaid's Tale

This is an instance where I think the show is far better than the novel. It just expanded on so much and answered nearly every question the novel didn't. The show is better by a long shot. 

2018 Academy Award Nominations

The Oscar nominations are finally here! There were some snubs and surprises with yesterday's nominations (though I'm writing this post immediately after they've been announced) Here are thoughts: 

Best Picture
Call Me by Your Name
Darkest Hour
Get Out
Lady Bird
Phantom Thread
The Post
The Shape of Water
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
For the love of God, just use 10 slots! It's not that hard. Mudbound or Wind River could've been here too. Darkest Hour looks so out of place. I'm kind of surprised The Florida Project isn't here either. 

Lead Actor
TimothĂ©e Chalamet, “Call Me by Your Name”
Daniel Day-Lewis, “Phantom Thread”
Daniel Kaluuya, “Get Out”
Gary Oldman, “Darkest Hour”
Denzel Washington, “Roman J. Israel, Esq.”
James Franco was snubbed. I'm sorry, but he was. I'm actually pretty bent out of shape over this snub because it was one of my favorite lead performances of the year. The only person I care about in this category now is Daniel Kaluuya.

Lead Actress
Sally Hawkins, “The Shape of Water”
Frances McDormand, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Margot Robbie, “I, Tonya”
Saoirse Ronan, “Lady Bird”
Meryl Streep, “The Post”
This is how everyone expected it to go. I'm so happy for Saoirse, I wish she was going to be the one winning. Even if I haven't seen I, Tonya it's nice to see Margo there too on principle. 

Supporting Actor
Willem Dafoe, “The Florida Project”
Woody Harrelson, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Richard Jenkins, “The Shape of Water”
Christopher Plummer, “All the Money in the World”
Sam Rockwell, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Armie Hammer wasn't thirsty enough. Plummer's nom feels like a pat on the back for me. You can't tell me he was better than Rob Morgan in Mudbound. I'm sorry. I'm just here to watch Sam Rockwell finally get nominated AND win something. 

Supporting Actress
Mary J. Blige, “Mudbound”
Allison Janney, “I, Tonya”
Lesley Manville, “Phantom Thread”
Laurie Metcalf, “Lady Bird”
Octavia Spencer, “The Shape of Water”
Hong Chau missed after being nominated for the Globes and SAGs. I haven't seen her performance, but that's kind of a bummer. I hope that publicity at least gets her more roles. 

“Dunkirk,” Christopher Nolan
“Get Out,” Jordan Peele
“Lady Bird,” Greta Gerwig
“Phantom Thread,” Paul Thomas Anderson
“The Shape of Water,” Guillermo del Toro
YASSSS GRETA AND JORDAN! But holy shit I did not expect Three Billboards to get snubbed here of all places. Voters really liked Phantom Thread. I'm glad Christopher Nolan is FINALLY getting his due. I hope he wins, even though del Toro seems to have this in the bag. 

Animated Feature
The Boss Baby
The Breadwinner
Loving Vincent
Seriously, fuck The Boss Baby. What do they have against Lego Movies? Lego Batman was the best Batman related thing that came out this year. 

Animated Short
DeKalb Elementary
The Eleven O’Clock
My Nephew Emmett
The Silent Child
Watu Wote/All of Us

Adapted Screenplay
Call Me by Your Name
The Disaster Artist
Molly’s Game
I haven't seen CMBYN yet but the biggest surprise here was Logan! That is a fantastic choice that I did not see coming out all. I'm psyched to see The Disaster Artist here too since Franco was snubbed, and Mudbound and Molly's Game are great too. 

Original Screenplay
The Big Sick
Get Out
Lady Bird
The Shape of Water
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,
So happy for The Big Sick! I love all the nominees here (haven't seen Shape of Water yet, though) How is Gerwig's Boyfriend, king of passive aggressive, Noah Baumbach going to handle all these Oscar nominations for Greta? lol

Blade Runner 2049
Darkest Hour
The Shape of Water
Rachel Morrison becomes the first woman EVER to be nominated in this category. I was expecting a Mudbound snub so I'm so happy to see her here. Still, if Roger Deakins doesn't win this, I'll scream

Best Documentary Feature
Abacus: Small Enough to Jail
Faces Places
Last Men in Aleppo
Strong Island
I have seen none of these, but three of them are on Netflix so I should fix that by the time this airs. 

Best Documentary Short Subject
Heaven is a Traffic Jam on the 405
Knife Skills
Traffic Stop

Best Live Action Short Film
Dear Basketball
Garden Party
Negative Space
Revolting Rhymes

Best Foreign Language Film
A Fantastic Woman (Chile)
The Insult (Lebanon)
Loveless (Russia)
On Body and Soul (Hungary)
The Square” (Sweden)
I haven't seen any of these either, but I have The Square in my Netflix queue and it comes available on the 30th of this month. 

Film Editing
Baby Driver
I, Tonya
The Shape of Water
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
This is the only category you will hear me say "Okay, Baby Driver makes sense here."

Sound Editing
Baby Driver
Blade Runner 2049
The Shape of Water
Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Sound Mixing
Baby Driver
Blade Runner 2049
The Shape of Water
Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Production Design
Beauty and the Beast
Blade Runner 2049
Darkest Hour
The Shape of Water
With all the love Phantom Thread got elsewhere, I'm shocked not to see it here. That film was beautiful, yet trash like Beauty and the Beast gets nominated? Gurl...

Original Score
Phantom Thread
The Shape of Water
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
I really need to see The Shape of Water...

Original Song
Mighty River - Mudbound
Mystery of Love - Call Me by Your Name
Remember Me - Coco
Stand Up for Something - Marshall
This Is Me - The Greatest Showman
You know "This is Me" was written specifically for an Oscar nomination, right? Personally as far as The Greatest Showman goes, I thought Re-Write The Stars was better. Nice to see Mary J. Blige as a double nominee for Mudbound. 

Makeup and Hair
Darkest Hour
Victoria and Abdul
This category is dead to me after Suicide Squad won. I'm still bitter. 

Costume Design
Beauty and the Beast
Darkest Hour
Phantom Thread
The Shape of Water
Victoria and Abdul
Beauty and the Beast is still trash. 

Visual Effects
Blade Runner 2049
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
Kong: Skull Island,
War For the Planet of the Apes
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
I will scream if War for the Planet of the Apes does not win this. 

Review: Phantom Thread

Let me sew your secrets.

Reynolds Woodcock (Daniel Day-Lewis) is a sought after dressmaker in 1950's London. He lives with his sister, Cyril (Lesley Manville) and their house is full of employees that help create Reynolds' work. To say he's eccentric is putting it a bit lightly. One day, he meets a waitress named Alma (Vicky Krieps) who becomes his new muse. 

Now, calling Reynolds "eccentric" is really just a nice way of saying that the guy is kind of a twat. Think Sheldon Cooper only fashion is his science. We open the film with him being utterly bored with his last muse/lover, and his sister casually tell him she's "getting fat waiting around for you to love her again" so when he starts his affair with Alma you know it's bound to go south at one point or another. And it does, then it goes in a whole other direction.

Confusion has never looked so beautiful. And Phantom Thread is a beautiful movie. The production design and costumes are exquisite and the score is easily one of the most beautiful of the year. But I was not expecting this movie to be so damn weird. To be fair, I went in expecting it to be a bit pretentious and while it toes that line occasionally it really took me by surprise. I'm not sure if it was a good surprise or not, This is a film that's going to have to sit with me for a while.

Daniel Day-Lewis is excellent in his final film performance. Of course, I don't really believe this will be his last but that's what we're calling it for now. He captures Reynolds' quirks well. Krieps is equally as alluring as Alma and Manville plays my favorite character in the film. She's completely aware of how ridiculous 90% of the things around her are, but she rolls with it. The main star however is Paul Thomas Anderson. This man can direct. Some of the things he does with sound in this film is remarkable. While this won't go down as one of my favorites of his, you can't deny how good he is behind the lens.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B-

Memorable Quote: "He wants you to fuck off now." - Alma (Vicky Krieps)

2018 Screen Actors Guild Award Winners

Kristen Bell was the first ever person to host the SAG Awards. She was fine, but a host is largely unnecessary for this type of show. Unlike the Globes and Oscars usually are, this is more of a straightforward show than an exciting one. But there were still a few surprises. And Morgan Freeman accepted a life time achievement award in a baseball cap, so there's that.

Here are the nominees, the winners are in blue. 

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
The Big Sick
Get Out
Lady Bird
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
This pretty much locks Three Billboards up for Best Picture, which I'm okay with. I loved the film, but I would've been happy with any of these films winning. I was starting to wonder if Get Out was going to upset. 

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
Timothee Chalamet, Call Me By Your Name
James Franco, The Disaster Artist
Daniel Kaluuya, Get Out
Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour
Denzel Washington, Roman J. Israel, Esq.
The most shocking thing about this category was that James Franco actually showed up, and people still clapped for his clip. Maybe they saw Violet Paley's twitter account too. 

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role
Judi Dench, Victoria & Abdul
Sally Hawkins, The Shape of Water
Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Margot Robbie, I, Tonya
Saoirse Ronan, Lady Bird
Y'all, I JUST WANT SAOIRSE TO WIN. I love Frances and her performance but I'm just over here, being bias. 

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
Steve Carell, Battle of the Sexes
Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project
Woody Harrelson, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Richard Jenkins, The Shape of Water
Sam Rockwell, Three Billboard Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Yaaaaaaaasssssssssss this is one of my favorite wins of the night. 

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role
Mary J. Blige, Mudbound
Hong Chau, Downsizing
Holly Hunter, The Big Sick
Allison Janney, I, Tonya
Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird
I haven't seen I, Tonya yet and as much as I love Janney I'm continuously bummed when Metcalf doesn't win. She's astonishing in Lady Bird. 

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series
The Crown
Game of Thrones
The Handmaid’s Tale
Stranger Things
This Is Us
Man did I face plant on this pick. I thought The Handmaid's Tale had this in the bag like they did at the Emmys and the Globes and they got completely shut out. 

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series
Curb Your Enthusiasm
Orange is the New Black
OITNB (or Drama is the new Comedy, evidently) finally broke their three year winning streak and Veep won this for the first time. That's insane. Veep is hysterical and the cast is tremendous. I'm glad they won, but just like Game of Thrones at the Emmys a few years ago, they're winning for their weakest season. It's essentially a "yeah, we know you should've had this before but we had an agenda to fill."

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series
Jason Bateman, Ozark
Sterling K. Brown, This Is Us
Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones
David Harbour, Stranger Things
Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul
Olivia Munn and Niecy Nash tried to re-do Will Ferrell and Kristen Wiig's bit at the Globes from a few years ago where they pretend like they saw everything and it bombed hard. Thankfully Brown's speech was beautiful and saved the segment. On a side note I loved the clips they chose for Dinklage and Odenkirk. Two of my favorite scenes from both shows. Tyrion talking to Cersei again and Jimmy during Chuck's hearing. 

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series
Millie Bobby Brown, Stranger Things
Claire Foy, The Crown
Laura Linney, Ozark
Elisabeth Moss, the Handmaid’s Tale
Robin Wright, House of Cards
I shouted at my TV when this happened. I thought Elisabeth had this in the bag (she probably did too) When they showed the Crown table, they looked shocked too. Hell, Claire didn't even show up. She probably thought Elisabeth was winning as well. I love this win. As good as I think Moss is in THT, Claire Foy leaves me Speechless during The Crown. She has so much command over that role and I'm going to miss her so much next season. 

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series
Anthony Anderson, black-ish
Aziz Ansari, Master of None
Larry David, Curb Your Enthusiasm
Sean Hayes, Will & Grace
William H. Macy, Shameless
Marc Maron, GLOW
I predicted Aziz for my winner, and not only was he not there, not a single person clapped during his clip. It was so awkward.  

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series
Uzo Aduba, Orange is the New Black
Alison Brie, GLOW
Jane Fonda, Grace and Frankie
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
Lily Tomlin, Grace and Frankie
Queen Julia!

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie
Benedict Cumberbatch, Sherlock
Jeff Daniels, Godless
Robert De Niro, The Wizard of Lies
Geoffrey Rush, Genius
Alexander Skarsgard, Big Little Lies
He referred to himself as "the tall guy from True Blood" in his speech and that gave me life. I remember. 

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie
Laura Dern, Big Little Lies
Nicole Kidman, Big Little Lies
Jessica Lange, Feud: Bette and Joan
Susan Sarandon, Feud: Bette and Joan
Reese Witherspoon, Big Little Lies
*sigh* I'm going to miss watching Nicole Kidman win for this. I can't believe this is her first win in 10 SAG nominations too. 

Indie Gems: Mayhem

I feel great!

Derek Cho (Steven Yeun) is a normal guy just trying to climb his way up the corporate ladder at a law firm. When he's unjustly fired for something he didn't screw up, his firing is cut short when his building is quarantined due to a virus currently spreading around the world that causes extreme emotions. The virus runs its course in 8 hours, so he decides to use this to his advantage to try to get to the top floor to plead his case...all while possibly beating up and murdering a few people along the way. He teams up with Melanie (Samara Weaving) a woman trying to reverse the foreclosure on her house. She needs to get to the top too.)

It's unfortunate that this film came out in the same year as another office massacre - The Belko Experiment. Belko's plot is more put together, but that's not to discredit Mayhem at all. Thin plot aside, this was a lot of fun. 

I love Steven Yeun, he was one of my favorite actors on The Walking Dead so I will watch him in anything. He doesn't disappoint here. He fights, fucks, and curses his way through this. I never got tired of watching it. Weaving, who I saw earlier this year in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri has great chemistry with Yeun. She clearly had a lot of fun with this role.

At times it's hard to follow the corporate point of this film that doesn't have to do with Derek. The suits consistently talk about accounts and things they've done that all seem quite forced, but that's not the important part. The film itself is aware of that too and just continues its bloody party.

Grade: B

Watched on: Netflix DVD

Memorable Quote: "Move aside, pussies." - Melanie (Samara Weaving)

Thursday Movie Picks: Sundance Favorites

This week's theme from Wandering Through the Shelves is all about the hits of one of my favorite film festivals: Sundance. As an indie lover, this is a festival I'd love to attend some day. Hopefully I can make that happen. Until then, here are a few of my Sundance favorites.

1) Brick

Joseph Gordon-Levitt is my favorite actor and Rian Johnson's film is #2 on my all time favorites list. I never get sick of watching it. 

2) Little Miss Sunshine

This film was just so sweet and I love the cast. Toni Collette is always reliable, Paul Dano is one of my favorites and this was the first time for me to see Steve Carrell in a more serious role. 

3) Whiplash

One of the more recent Sundance hits but another film that ranks high on my best of all time. I think I forced my entire family into watching this at one point or another. 

Review: Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle

What year is it?

Four teenagers serving detention find an old video game console with a mysterious game called "Jumanji" that they've never heard of. They decide to give it a go, and find themselves transported into the game as the characters they've chosen. Now they have to complete a quest to free themselves.

How did the board game we remember from the 1995 film turn into a video game? Because it fucking felt like it. Seriously, the game overhears a kid bitching about how no one plays board games so it morphed into a video game. Then we're moving right along. 

As for our four stereotypical teens, the nerd (Alex Wolf) transforms into The Rock. The jock(Ser'Darius Blain..and ps this dude is THIRTY) becomes Kevin Hart, the angry girl (Morgan Turner) turns into Karen Gillan, and the self obsessed popular girl (Madison Iseman) ends up as Jack Black. Thankfully, these actors have excellent chemistry together even though they're playing caricatures. 

I give this film credit in a few places. There are about three legitimately funny things that happen. Nearly all of the video game related humor lands. (The characters that only have stock phrases, weaknesses, smoldering, etc) A well placed dick joke, and a perfectly timed use of the word "bitch." Everything else ranges from basic to bad.

Remember when I said the leads had great chemistry? Thank God for that because the next two billed actors, Nick Jonas and Bobby Cannavale are awful. I'm not sure which is worse. How the camera lingers on Jonas when we first see him like we're supposed to be impressed by a former boy bander's casting or whatever the hell Cannavale was trying to do with that accent. I've never seen him be bad in a film before.

I think I got my hopes up. I thought this film was going to be awful when I first saw the trailer, then it started doing well, and I thought I had misjudged it, but it's essentially mediocre on every level. 

Recommended: No

Grade: C

Memorable Quote: "Oh my God, Martha! Come look at my penis." - Bethany (Jack Black)

Book Reviews 2017

Here is a list of bookings I've read in 2017 followed by a few quick thoughts. 

Station Eleven - Emily St. John Mandel
This is a post apocalyptic-ish book about a traveling theater company going through the upper midwest after a flu wipes out the majority of the population. It also checks in with other people outside of the theater company who are all connected by the people they know. It's absolutely fascinating and it touches up on things a lot of shows like The Walking Dead ignore - that eventually gasoline goes bad and you can't use cars anymore. - A

Ready Player One - Ernest Cline

Man, the story is so interesting but so poorly executed. Literally half of this book is an 80's pop culture circle jerk. I'm not sure who the target audience for this book was supposed to be, but damn, I get what you're talking about. I don't need 10 pages explaining it. For what it's worth, this will probably make a decent movie because they can eliminate all the tedious pop culture knowledge. D

It - Stephen King

I decided that it was kind of ridiculous that I've read two Joe Hill books but never read anything from Stephen King. I now realize that Hill does not have his own voice and he took a lot of inspiration for Nos4ra2 from this novel. Overall, I liked It. It's not perfect, I didn't like the catalyst to ending the children's story and there's way too much filler. (The book clocks in at over 1100 pages) but the story is good. 

The Circle - Dave Eggers
This book was fascinating. I couldn't relate to the lead character, Mae at all because nearly everything she does is so ridiculous but it makes you think. It's a shame that Emma Watson was cast as the lead in the film adaption. She'll probably ruin it.

The Color Purple - Alice Walker
This movie was one of my favorites when I was young. I haven't seen it in years, but while browsing the shelves I came across it and decided it was time to read it. I'm glad I did. The book is very frank. It's written in letter form, much like We Need To Talk About Kevin. From my memories of the movie, it was adapted fairly well. I enjoyed reading it.

Dolores Claiborne - Stephen King
This book is only 300 pages yet it felt like the longest 300 pages I've ever read. It takes 100 pages for you to find out why Dolores killed her husband, 100 more to explain why she did it, then I expected some grand twist with the last pages and nothing happened. To be fair, It wasn't a terrible book, and I bet the movie version is really good, but it's not something I'd ever read again.

The Glass Castle - Jeannette Walls
Having watched a trainwreck of a family (that I won't name because they don't need attention) who spectacularly fail at homesteading and unschooling, I took a suggestion to better understand how a child would view this type of lifestyle and picked up this book. I was completely fascinated and horrified by all that Jeannette went through. I'm legitimately surprised she still talks to her parents. I wouldn't.

The Handmaind's Tale - Margaret Atwood
After all the buzz surrounding the mini series, I picked up this book until I could binge this with a friend that has HULU. I liked the book well enough, but the series was so much better as it expanded on more. Atwood's book, while beautifully written and interesting has a habit of being quite vague. I appreciated more insight.

11/22/63 - Stephen King
Man, I love Stephen King's stories but his writing style drives me crazy. There's so much junk. This book is 800 pages long (or in my case, over 1000 because my library only had large print available) and it didn't need to be. Ultimately, having to dig for interesting plot points wasn't worth it.

The Vagina Monolouges - Eve Ensler
I finally got around to reading this book and I was long overdue. The stories in here are all so unique. They're funny, sad, inspiring, I can't recommend this enough.

Thrawn - Timothy Zahn
After watching Star Wars Rebels I was curious to know why everyone was so hyped for him. This did a good job of showing his backstory but it was a bit long. I hate to say it, but a Wikipedia page would've sufficed. 

The Snowman - Jo Nesbø
I love mysteries but this one took m forever to get into then once I did, I just didn't care. I just wanted this to be better than it actually was. I read it because I wanted to see the film, and after this, I ended up skipping that to.

We Are Never Meeting In Real Life - Samantha Irby
This is hands down my favorite thing I read in 2017. I am a full on Samantha Irby stan after this. This book is a collection of essays and she's so funny and sincere and I could relate so much. I plan on reading this over and over again.

War for the Planet of the Apes - Reveations - Gregory Keyes
You all know how much I love the Planet of the Ape reboots. After enjoying the prequel novel that came before this, Firestorm, I picked this one up as well. It offered a lot of insight to characters we don't normally hear from, like Blue Eyes, Cornelia, and Rocket. (Making the film all the more tragic) Like the other novel, the chapters from the human point of views weren't very interesting, but I loved reading what the apes had to say.

Persepolis- Marjane Satrapi
When I went to check this out at the library, someone had misplaced it. I spent a good 20 minutes searching for it before I eventually found it and it was worth the effort. This graphic novel was fascinating, and I'd love to see the documentary on it as well.