Movies

Road To Gold: Final Predictions

It’s finally my Super Bowl and while I haven’t written much about the movies I saw and (mostly) loved this year, I’d be remiss not to make my final guesses on who I thought would win what at tonight’s Academy Awards. Since I’m not Jimmy Kimmel I’ll skip the intro and just get started.

Best Supporting Actor
Will Win: Mahershala Ali – Moonlight
Want to Win: Dev Patel – Lion
Honestly, I’ll be shocked if Ali doesn’t take away the big prize tonight. Not only was he fantastic, but he’s been an award season favorite all along. Patel’s win at the BAFTA’s indicates favor in his direction too, I’m not sure there’s enough for the trophy, though I’m still pulling for him – while Ali’s Juan shaped Moonlight in a way that a lot of supporting characters don’t, Patel got to do some serious leading-man material in Lion. It doesn’t hurt that I think he’d give the most endearing acceptance speech.

Best Supporting Actress
Will Win: Viola Davis – Fences
Want to Win: Naomi Harris – Moonlight
Viola Davis can and does do anything. She’s fantastic, and was the ultimate scene-stealer in Fences, but I just didn’t see her as a supporting character. She’s a star in anything she does, which is why I’d love to see a win for Naomi Harris, who not only completely transformed for her Moonlight role but also filmed all her scenes in just three days, which I think is absolutely incredible.

Best Actor
Will Win: Casey Affleck – Manchester By The Sea
Want to Win: Andrew Garfield – Hacksaw Ridge
Though Denzel Washington’s SAG Award win for Fences bodes well, I don’t see anybody but Casey Affleck walking away with the Oscar tonight. He’s won nearly every award this season, and has been a front-runner for what feels like a full year. There’s no way Andrew Garfield will win but it would be nice, right?

Best Actress
Will Win: Emma Stone – La La Land
There’s nothing I can say here that hasn’t already been said a million times. If Emma Stone’s not accepting an award tonight, I’ll be completely stunned.

Best Director
It’s Damien Chazelle v. Barry Jenkins, and honestly I’m not confident enough to bet in any direction. So I’m cheating here and saying both.

Best Picture
Can anything beat La La Land here either? Moonlight cleaned up at the Spirit Awards yesterday but with so much leaning in the musical’s favor it’s hard to tell where tonight will land. I think either is deserving of the big win, though Lion and Arrival ended up being unexpected favorites of mine this season, and I believe Hidden Figures should be required viewing for all Americans this year. I don’t see the quiet Hell or High Water or violent Hacksaw Ridge making waves, though Fences or Manchester By The Sea could potentially break through to the finish. Whoever wins, in a few hours nobody’s guesses will matter, and we’ll already looking ahead to 2018.

 

Standard
Movies

Road To Gold: Singing In The Rain

La La Land
Golden Globes Nomination: Best Picture, Comedy or Musical + Best Director + Best Actor, Comedy + Best Actress, Comedy + Best Screenplay + Best Original Score + Best Original Song
SAG Awards Nomination: Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role + Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role

When did we as a society get so cynical? Surely it was before the storm that was 2016, which wasn’t the world that La La Land was born from but one that it felt appropriate to be brought into. We needed a little optimism, and yet half of the press La La Land started to get was Twitter trolls talking about overrated and unnecessary the movie was. Really? Since when was highway dancing, mood lighting and tap shoes anything but underrated. It’s easy to say “they don’t make movies like this anymore,” but I don’t think Sebastian and Mia would mind the cliche – it’s the truth. Two people find each other while chasing their dreams. They interact over the course of a year. They sing a song about disliking each other, and then get together. You might be inclined to call all this cheesy, and that would be fine. But I don’t think a little bit of cheese is ever a bad thing, especially when it’s as beautiful as this. We watch movies because we want an escape, and though the ending may not be the escape you look forward to, La La Land gives you hope to go out there and try to do whatever it is you’ve always wanted. It’s like an old friend poking you to pick a New Year’s resolution and stick to it. It’s old-Hollywood familiar with a freshness that reminds you there isn’t color and song like this outside of live musicals on NBC. Sure, the world sucks sometimes. But we don’t need to be so down about it. I walked out of the movies feeling all that and then some, with “City of Stars” stuck in my head. Get out your tap shoes and enjoy the movie. It’s what it’s there for.

Standard
Movies

Road To Gold: I Finally Watched Deadpool

I don’t ski. I don’t travel. So the saving grace of the winter months for me is simple: Awards season. From Globes to SAGs to Oscars nothing brings me more joy than attempting to watch every bit of film released between December and January within one week of time off work, so that I can sit on my couch and make guesses about who’s taking home the trophies. Here’s my attempt to watch the most buzzed about television and movies and maybe take some semblance of hope away from 2016. Because seriously, this year needs to end.

Deadpool
Golden Globes Nomination: Best Picture, Comedy or Musical + Best Actor, Comedy

I know. It’s nearly 2017 and I still hadn’t seen Deadpool. I’m the only one on my flight to Iceland who chose watching Love, Rosie over what’s being lauded as the most important superhero film of the year. Don’t worry, this isn’t one of those thinkpieces – there are enough of those without me weighing in. But despite witnessing Ryan Reynolds’ public transformation into Wade Wilson and knowing pretty much every punchline of the movie heading into it, sitting down to watch was really satisfying. It’s an action-comedy that’s exactly that, an origin story that manages to have a clear plot, and a story that’s stayed faithful to the source material. It’s a movie that I genuinely laughed at, which is more than I can say about half of the typical “Comedy or Musical” nominees. It’s nice when the voters get it right, and though I don’t see Deadpool coming away with the top prize, as a moviegoer I appreciate the inclusion. Not that Mr. Pool would give a shit.

Shortlist of nominees I’ve already seen:

Game Of Thrones
Golden Globes Nomination: Best TV Series, Drama + Best Supporting Actress
SAG Awards Nomination: Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series + Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series

Stranger Things
Golden Globes Nomination: Best TV Series, Drama + Best Actress, Drama
SAG Awards Nomination: Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series + Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series

This Is Us
Golden Globes Nomination: Best TV Series, Drama + Best Supporting Actress
SAG Awards Nomination: Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series

Veep
Golden Globes Nomination: Best TV Series, Comedy/Musical + Best Actress, Comedy
SAG Awards Nomination: Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series + Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series

Blackish
Golden Globes Nomination: Best TV Series, Comedy/Musical + Best Actor, Comedy + Best Actress, Comedy
SAG Awards Nomination: Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series + Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series

The Edge of Seventeen
Golden Globes Nomination: Best Actress, Comedy

Jane The Virgin
Golden Globes Nomination: Best Actress, Comedy

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
Golden Globes Nomination: Best Actress, Comedy

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
SAG Awards Nomination: Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series + Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series

 Transparent
Golden Globes Nomination: Best TV Series, Comedy/Musical + Best Actor, Comedy + Best Actress, Comedy

The People vs. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story
Golden Globes Nomination: Best TV Miniseries or Movie + Best Supporting Actor + Best Actor, Mini-Series or TV Movie + Best Actress, Mini-Series or TV Movie
SAG Awards Nomination: Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a TV Movie or Miniseries + Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a TV Movie or Miniseries

Black Mirror
SAG Awards Nomination: Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a TV Movie or Miniseries

Mr. Robot
Golden Globes Nomination: Best Actor, Drama + Best Supporting Actor
SAG Awards Nomination: Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series

Standard
Movies

Where Will ‘Doctor Strange’ Rank In The Marvel Cinematic Universe?

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, are more of a DC fan, or don’t stan Benedict Cumberbatch, you probably already know that Doctor Strange is out this weekend. But why should you care? It’s not about Chris Pratt’s alien gang and there’s no sign of Chris Evans for miles. In fact, there aren’t any Hollywood Chrises! Is it even a superhero movie!?

I’ll admit that while I’m not running to go see it (I actually don’t stan Cumberbatch, or like white washing, though it is getting great reviews), I’m intrigued by what it’s setting up for the future, especially how it will connect to Infinity War. Regardless of my personal thoughts on the movie, the release of a new Marvel Cinematic Universe movie really means one thing: time to look back and prematurely judge where it’ll rank! I and the rest of the world am taking a look back at the rest of the MCU movies we already know, love and hate. Because why watch a super hero movie if you’re not going to compare it to all the other ones you’ve already seen?

Disclaimer: this is, obviously, limited to the Paramount/Disney MCU and therefore will not include absolute gems like X-Men: First Class and 2004’s Fantastic Four.

13. The Incredible Hulk (2008)

#NoDisrespectToEdNorton, but it’s very easy to forget having ever seen this movie. Honestly, it’s not The Incredible Hulk’s fault that a casting change and early release makes it feel like it doesn’t belong in the MCU. But when my family rewatched the series in order, we went to Wikipedia to find out what happened in the end-credits scene. Tony Stark meets up with future Secretary Ross! At the time even this was an exciting button, but it’s not as cool now since we already know the Avengers are a thing, you know?

12. Iron Man 2 (2010)

Ugh. Did we peak too soon? Was the original Iron Man just too perfect of an introduction to keep the rolling? Because I really dislike this movie. It’s just about the opposite of the clean fun that is Tony Stark’s origin story, and gives us a villain who’s best friend is a parakeet- honestly, I’m still a little confused. At least this movie gives us Don Cheadle as Terrence Howard’s War Machine replacement, and the introduction of Black Widow, who needs her solo movie stat.

11. The Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

Age of Ultron isn’t a terrible movie. It’s just a movie that I have a lot of problems with. I have to give credit where credit is due. Sequels are a tough business, and this movie does at least give us the whole gang (including The Avengers Lite Division) hanging out, fighting the crime I’m assuming they deal with together between Cap rescuing Bucky and Tony building suits. But it’s predecessor was so great that I (possibly unfairly) wanted it to be so much more. A lot of the plot is just plain odd- Black Widow and Hulk’s hasty romance, Hawkeye’s hidden family, and Aaron Taylor Johnson’s accent for example. Without the hint of Captain America being able to lift Thor’s hammer, and the fact that the destruction in this movie sets up the MCU future, it would be pretty forgettable.

10. Thor (2011)

Thor is a romantic comedy. There’s nothing wrong with that- I love romantic comedies. But it’s a romcom stuck inside a completely different movie, and the flipping back and forth between both movies with weird cuts and deep contrasts between the darkness of space and the light of Earth is jarring and unexpected. When your villain, in this case Loki, is more well-received than your hero, it’s not always the best sign.

9. Thor: The Dark World (2013)

Listen, I don’t want to do Chris Hemsworth like this. He’s a fantastic dancer and a really enjoyable Thor. But these standalones are just alright, which kind of sucks considering how important the Tesseract and Infinity Stones are to the rest of the MCU plot. The Dark World is a step up for me, given the couple of plot twists and some dimension science that’s actually kind of cool. Overall you have to admit it’s hard for any space movie to compete against Guardians of the Galaxy.

8. Ant-Man (2015)

I’d hate to describe this movie as small because of, you know, the ant puns. But I really do love how small scale this movie gets. Yes, Ant-Man saves the world and fights another Avenger, like the squad is known to do. But he’s also more focused on just saving his daughter, so while their suburban street ends up getting wrecked it’s a nice change of pace from skyscrapers falling out of the sky. The fight scenes in a briefcase and on toy trains are genius, though I’d honestly give high marks to anything Paul Rudd is in.

7. Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

Was the MCU saving the best for last on purpose, or what? Captain America is the final core Avenger to be introduced, and while it might fit better in a lineup of war dramas it’s pretty exciting to see the world start to get laid out. It’s also incredibly depressing, since Steve loses his best friend and the love of his life, and as if that wasn’t bad enough the first thing he sees after being in an ice-induced coma is Times Square. I’d be depressed too, bud.

6. Iron Man 3 (2013)

Why didn’t anyone tell me how good Iron Man 3 is? I didn’t see it for the longest time, mostly because I was still stung by Iron Man 2’s nonsense. I made sense of the MCU without it (in other words, I’m not an idiot), but watching it fills in some nice blanks about Tony Stark. Tony’s kid sidekick is actually really cute, and the twist is wild. There’s that whole thing where Gwenyth Paltrow is on fire, but we’ll look past it.

5. Iron Man (2008)

Imagine if Iron Man had been a flop? Either we’d remember it like we remember The Incredible Hulk, or worse- there’d be no MCU at all. Iron Man managed to pull off jump-starting an entire universe starring a superhero who wasn’t yet commercially well-known, and on top of that was a really great movie. Tony Stark was cool, and the movie’s soundtrack and big fight scenes prove it. Plus, it’s nice to see a superhero who’s known to the public, which we hadn’t seen in the Spiderman and Batman movies- and it doesn’t get more iconic than “I’m Iron Man.”

4. Captain America: Civil War (2016)

More than fighting aliens or locking up bad guys, I want to see our Avengers together. That’s what makes Civil War so good: the introductions of Spiderman (!!) and Ant Man to the rest of the group are hilarious, and the final fight scene between Tony and Steve hurts. Our antagonist Zemo is a little much at times (I get you want revenge, but at what cost?), but overall it pulls off the seemingly impossible task of introducing characters, laying out motivations, and still feeling like a Captain America movie.

3. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

What happens when you take a post-Zero Dark Thirty-buff Chris Pratt, a fire mix tape, and a tree that warms everyone’s heart, and put them together? You get Guardians, a movie that non-comic readers thought was going to be totally strange until they saw the trailer and pretty immediately got on board. I wouldn’t have expected a movie about “a bunch of assholes” to work so well, but it just goes to show you that the MCU can tap into the unexpected worlds of comic books and still succeed.

2. The Avengers (2012)

It really doesn’t get much better than this one. The MCU was officially solidified as a series that demanded attention to detail while bringing together more superheroes than the average American could list off at once. It was a risky move basing a lot of the first Avengers movie on the world of Thor. But it really works, and he’s better here than his solo movies, plus Iron Man becomes a great team player and we all get good at pretending Mark Ruffalo has been there all along. Maybe DC’s Justice League movie will totally blow this one out of the water, but we’ll always know The Avengers did it first, and they had Shawarma.

1. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

Maybe I’m biased, because Captain America is my favorite Avenger, but Winter Soldier is in a league of it’s own. Chris Evans threw some light shade at Joss Whedon saying that the Russo brothers, directors of Winter Solider and Civil War, make movies about people who happen to have powers, not movies about superheroes. And that’s exactly it. This movie has as many (if not more) fight scenes, shiny costumes and one-liners as any other movie in the MCU, but it doesn’t stop there; it throws in a compelling villain, strengthens character relationships and forces our hero to question his morals in a way that isn’t neatly wrapped up by the film’s end. Can Doctor Strange come close to beating it? Let’s see.

Standard
TV

6 Guesses Where Evan Peters Is Hiding On ‘American Horror Story: Roanoke’

Full-disclosure: I’m a white girl who got really excited when Zac Efron tweeted a picture of his High School Musical cast yesterday. So basically, I’m still a teen. Which means I’m really tired of waiting for Evan Peters to appear on American Horror Story: Roanoke. He’s in the end credits, he dyed his hair, so where is he? I’ll admit I’d been focusing on finding Evan because the rest of the season had yet to live up to the mysterious hype- though last night upped the ante, and Cricket getting disemboweled was grade-A disgusting. For now I have a few theories of my own, though I’m really just biding my time until the big twist in episode six.

1. He’s Filming The Testimonials

Though some fans disagree, I’m fairly certain the “producer” voice we heard in episode three belonged to Cheyenne Jackson, not Evan Peters. Jackson is another confirmed cast member who has yet to appear, and it didn’t sound much like Peters. But I could get behind the idea that Peters and Jackson are two of the many crew members working on the show within the show, My Roanoke Nightmare. A big theory (the only one, really) is that the tables will turn and the actors will start getting haunted, or the fourth-wall break will uncover even more mysteries. So this really isn’t a huge stretch.

2. He’s Among The Butcher’s Crew

Maybe we haven’t yet spotted Peters because he’s in disguise as one of the many bearded, dead colonists who follow Kathy Bates around the woods. It would be weird that nobody has noticed him yet, but it’s possible he could be pulled to the forefront after some sort of plot against The Butcher herself. It wouldn’t be the first time a character’s major Mommy Issues led to murder, and Wes Bentley really hasn’t had much to do as The Butcher’s son yet.

3. He’s Going The Bust The Case Open

I’m still stuck on the thought that maybe the testimonials are a cover up, or the “dramatic re-enactments” are really happening. I don’t know in what capacity. But I’m imagining the twist revealing that this is a huge conspiracy, which can’t be too weird, considering Elias and Cricket’s dead bodies are laying on the property and nobody seems to care much. Maybe Evan will come in guns blazing and completely change the course of the show.

4. He’s a Dead Mott Ancestor

We already know that this season we’ll get more backstory on the Mott family, also known as psycho-killer Dandy from Freak Show‘s ancestors. Last night, we got a slight mention of an ‘Edward Philippe Mott’ who was our creepy house’s first occupant, but that can’t be all we get. If some undead Mott’s start showing up under the blood moon, it could be a good time for some extended storytelling starring Peters as Dandy’s great-great-grandpa. Everything is connected!

5. He’s Just Another Uber Driver

It doesn’t seem like that would be a big enough role to be featured with the main cast, but hey, Rhett Snow got his 15 seconds of fame. And somebody has to be in charge of getting Shelby and Matt out of there (seriously, why won’t they just leave already?).

6. He’s The Pig Man

This one genuinely has me the most excited. Picture all the Evan Peters Filmography gifsets on Tumblr that will have to feature Pig Man next to Tate Langdon. The big moment when someone takes the pig head off (ew) and reveals that hiding underneath is just a normal looking weirdo. His explanation about how he made the pig noise It’s all really iconic stuff! And what about what comes next- will the Pig Man be an integral part to the story? Does he have a story to tell? I think there’s a lot of material here! I’d start screen-printing your Pig Man graphic tees to wear when your ‘Normal People Scare Me’ shirt is dirty. Because with AHS, you literally never know.

Standard
TV

Early Predictions for ‘This Is Us’

nbc-this-is-us-aboutimage-1920x1080-ko

I was fully expecting not to like this episode. The premiere was a really good bit of television, which is sometimes hard to beat- I gave up Quantico after the second episode, and I think everyone agrees that the Pilot of Glee was an entirely different monster than the 100+ episodes that followed. So I sat down to watch completely expecting that this episode would be just alright and I could go back to having a Tuesday without three hours of sitting on my couch. And while I was mostly right about the episode (What kind of mom visits her son unannounced on a school day at 8 AM? Seriously Rebecca?), the surprise ending managed to pull me in all over again. Where’s present-day Jess Milo Jack? Dang, This Is Us, are you going to throw us a curveball in the last minute of every episode? Are you the new How To Get Away With Murder? With all these questions and more, there’s a lot of directions this show could go in. I’m just going to lay it all out and see where this takes us.

Prediction #1: The Flasbacks Will Always Relate To Present Day

I was expecting and kind of hoping for the stories to follow each other in a linear fashion, with Jack and Rebecca figuring things out as new parents while their kids figured things out as 36 year-olds. But with all these twists still coming, it definitely makes more sense for the flashbacks to jump around in time. Still, there has to be some sort of overlying theme for each episode (it’s a basic cable drama after all), so I’m thinking they’ll stick with a pattern- Kate and Toby will have relationship problems while Jack and Rebecca do, etc.

Prediction #2: Kevin Did Something Awful To Randall

Halfway through this episode I was really wondering when they would reveal that something awful happened between Randall and the twins, because I couldn’t recall them ever referring to him other than The Manny poster in Randall’s daughter’s bedroom. The flashback was about, among other things, how 8 year-old Kevin never stood up for his brother, so I figured they were going to punch up their relationship somehow. In the end we just Kevin admitting “I was never a good brother to you,” which could be innocent enough, but I feel like this could still go totally South with a reveal that something bad happened. Kevin hazed Randall for laughs at a college party! Kevin publicly disowned Randall because he was adopted! Kevin took advantage of Randall because he’s too nice! The opportunities are endless.

Prediction #3: Kevin Is Going To Move In With Randall

Kevin said he wanted to go into theater, so who knows? Maybe he’ll move to the East Coast and hang out with Randall, which will not only interconnect the stories more, but will also help him stop being Kate and Toby’s third wheel.

Prediction #4: Jack Is Dead

This one is kind of obvious. I’m leaning towards ‘dead’ and not ‘divorced,’ because this is a tear-jerker of a show and they want you to weep. Also, Rebecca still had the moon necklace, which either means she’s still in love with Jack and present-day husband Miguel is completely clueless, or she’s allowed to still be in love with Jack because he’s dead. I think we can all agree that’s something Miguel would be okay with.

Prediction #5: Jack Is Dead Because Miguel Killed Him!

Probably not but wouldn’t that be crazy!

Prediction #6: Kate Will Break Up With Toby But DON’T WORRY They’ll Get Back Together

Every show needs a will they/won’t they. I guess it’s not Rebecca and Jack, because of Miguel, and I’m praying it’s not Randall and Beth, because they’re pretty perfect. Somewhere around midseason Kate will cut ties because of the weight thing, but it won’t last. Hopefully.

Prediction #7: William Is Going To Die Tragically

We all agree on this. Moving on.

Prediction #8: William Will Save Randall’s Daughter and Then Die Tragically

Little kid with asthma. Biological grandfather with stomach cancer. TWO scenes of little kid using her inhaler, one with the help of biological grandfather. There’s something there.

Prediction #9: They’re Going To Keep Doing That ‘Big Three’ Chant

And honestly, I’m going to hate it a little bit.

Standard