MINI MOVIE REVIEWS 2023
For perhaps the first time ever, I’ve attended only one movie screening all awards season! Actually, only that one in the past three awards seasons!
Covid is still out there, and I have zero desire to sit amongst unmasked, and possibly unvaxxed, people under any circumstances, even when the screening hosts bribe us with the moviemakers speaking after the film, or (much more hard to resist,) free concessions, or the pièce de résistance—a post-screening reception!!! [Note: That one screening I did go to required proof of vaccinations, and masks for the duration! And it was in a very big theatre, so we could sit far enough away from the other attendees.]
But, because Mr. X and I vote for the Screen Actors Guild awards, we’ve received screeners, both physical and digital, and we also have many of the nominated movies on our way-too-many streaming services. We have a really big TV and surround sound, so our home system comes close to emulating the movie theatre experience. It’s definitely not the same, (and the popcorn isn’t as delicious,) but it’s waaaay safer, so it’s good enough; health always comes first.
So here are my brief reviews of the *first crop. Each one of them has at least one nomination, (often erroneously, in my opinion,) by at least one organization, mostly Oscars, SAGs, and Golden Globes. *[Note: Everything Everywhere All at Once is soooo awful that I decided to give it it’s very own review, in the upcoming week-end spot. So please keep an eye out for it. I promise–it’s a doozy!]
Elvis—I kept putting off seeing this one, but I couldn’t figure out why. I still can’t. It’s interesting enough, and Austin Butler is excellent, but I’ve never really cared about Elvis, and I absolutely detest how they shot so much of the film, with a lot of quick cuts. And as the confusing fast cuts kept going, it hit me—I’m not a fan of Baz Luhrmann’s work! He did this same thing with Moulin Rouge, which I also hated, although I couldn’t put my finger on why at the time.
And don’t get me started on Tom Hanks’ dreadful portrayal of Elvis’ manager, Colonel Tom Parker! It absolutely stunk-out the joint!!! What the heck was that weird accent he was doing?! I watched videos of the real Parker after I saw the film, and he didn’t even come close to talking like that! But seeing “Parker” did bring up one great personal memory for me. Producer Steve Binder helped produce Elvis’ TV special that renewed his career, which they show in the film, even though Tom Hanks’s character keeps calling him “Bindle” instead of “Binder. ” I found that confusing, so I looked him up, just to be sure. And Steve is indeed the producer who brought me in for a meeting to further my career when I was doing my TV show all those years ago. I’ve always regretted that when Steve asked me to bring him “a project to produce” for me, I never did. When I saw him a couple of years later, and told him of my regret, he said, “Life isn’t over yet.” So maybe I ought to get cracking on it already!!!
Back to my review of Elvis, which is: very sad story, excellent portrayal of an icon, good music, and a last few minutes where Austin Butler earns all his nominations.
The Whale—I think most viewers aren’t aware that this was a play first, about a decade earlier than the release of the film version. That’s most likely why all the action takes place in just one or two rooms.
As for star Brendon Fraser, (who definitely deserves all the accolades and nominations he’s accumulated for it,) I love how everyone’s going, “Wow, he played a fat guy!” Has everyone forgotten how awful he looked on The Affair, just about ten years ago? He had already lost his heartthrob status because of it. When I first heard of his casting as an obese man in this film, I actually thought it meant just Brendon without a fat suit. But back to the movie itself—it’s very worth seeing, but oh so depressing, especially if you’re hefty yourself. So sad.
The Good Nurse—Knowing the subject matter of this film, (a patient-killing nurse,) I wanted to reject it myself. But Eddie Redmayne, who plays the nurse, is nominated for a SAG Award, so, because I believe in voting only after you’ve seen every performance, I forced myself to watch it. And I was rewarded with an interesting film with two wonderful performances, the second being from Jessica Chastain. [Note: I’ve been torturing myself about if I should vote for Brendon Fraser or Eddie Redmayne, and just this second I realized that Eddie is up for Supporting Actor, not Lead Actor, as Brendon is! How is that even possible?!]
Blonde—This one is unwatchable. Blonde is one of the very few movies I couldn’t get through, ever; I finally had to stop watching after about a half hour, although I wanted to quit from the second Ana de Armas uttered one sentence!!! Ana is a beautiful girl in her own right, but she’s certainly no Marilyn Monroe. And her totally undisguised Cuban accent makes the whole thing laughable. It would be like my Brooklyn-born self trying to play Grace Kelly without changing my speech!
Hustle—There’s not much to say about this one. It’s entertaining enough, but how Adam Sandler received a SAG Award nomination for his role as a professional basketball coach is head-scratching. I’m positive it’s because he’s popular among other actors, and the ones he doesn’t know personally want to get in his good graces if they ever meet him by saying they nominated or voted for him.
That’s it for now. I’m hoping to catch-up on the more of the important films before I have to vote for the SAGs on February 24th. I have about nine more to see to be able to vote fairly, and then another handful to be in the know for the March 12th Oscars. You can be sure that I’ll pass all my findings on to you all. (Whether or not you want them, of course!)
And don’t forget my detailed review of Everything Everywhere All at Once will be in this very space this coming week-end. Trust me–you don’t want to miss that one!