Oscars, schmoscars. Unlike so many awards voters, I actually see the movies. And then I see them again on a DVD screener or a link. And I actually have taste. So, without further ado, here are my choices for the best and worst filmgoing experiences of 2019. (And no, I have no host this year.)
Antonio Banderas, “Pain & Glory”
Joaquin Phoenix, “Joker”
Jonathan Pryce, “The Two Popes”
Scarlett Johansson, “Marriage Story”
Julianne Moore, “Gloria Bell”
Mary Kay Place, “Diane”
Alfre Woodard, “Clemency”
Best Supporting Actors
Alan Alda, “Marriage Story”
Al Pacino, “The Irishman”
Brad Pitt and Bruce Dern, “Once Upon A Time…in Hollywood”
Wesley Snipes, “Dolemite Is My Name”
Archie Yates, “Jojo Rabbit”
Best Supporting Actresses
Annette Bening, “The Report”
Laura Dern, “Marriage Story”
Whoever played Kimberly Guilfoyle in “Bombshell”
Worst Thriller: (tie) “Greta,” “Ma”
They were horrors all right.
Worst Movie I Walked Out Of: “Her Smell,” about a messy female rocker. I usually love Elisabeth Moss, but in this case, one could imagine the director saying, “You’re brilliant. Just act. Do what you do. There are no limits. Act on every syllable.”
Worst Movie I Stayed Till The End Of: “Climax”
Movies I Don’t Want To See Again
“Ad Astra” (Flying, talking, talking, flying)
“Ford vs. Ferrari” (a/k/a Talking, then cars, then more talking, then more cars)
“Uncut Gems” (Just talking). Ugh!!! Get me out!!!
Slightly Overrated: “The Farewell” (A/k/a, Please Stop Moping About Your Grandmother And Be Funny!)
Best Ending of All Time: “The Laundromat” – It almost made up for what preceded it.
Blandest Performance In What Could Have Been a Breakout Role: Ana de Armas (“Knives Out”), though I’m sure many straight men and lesbians will disagree.
Leave It To Clint Eastwood To Remind Us Of: The pervasive tragedy of white people being wrongly accused of crimes–not to mention Trump-friendly ideas like how the FBI and the media are bottom feeding skanks. Still, the film [“Richard Jewell”] had some dramatic merit.
Best Soundtrack To The Worst Movie: “Last Christmas” – Great George Michael songs, but that twee script? Wake me up before you go-go.
Favorite Doc: “Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice” – I fell in love with the powerhouse singer and person all over again. “Where’s My Roy Cohn?” is a close second, but not quite as delightful.
I’ll Never Criticize Shia LaBeouf Again. Not after seeing “Honey Boy,” the semi fictionalized film which he wrote and stars in (as his father). The harrowing storyline details the abuse Shia went through as a child actor courtesy of his law breaking, narcissistic and demeaning dad. All is forgiven.
But Wait, Let Me Criticize Shia’s Other Film: “The Peanut Butter Falcon” – Nice, gritty filmmaking trying to cover a hopelessly corny formula about busting a down syndrome guy out of a home to live his dream of going to wrestling school. The mixture of raw and phony didn’t gel.
An Oscar Nomination For JLo?: For simply lifting her ass up on a pole and spinning it around? Well, considering that Dorothy Malone basically won for a sexy mambo in “Written on the Wind” (1956) and Don Ameche won for a breakdance he didn’t even do (his stunt double did it) in “Cocoon” (1985), consider it highly possible.
Least Violence-Inducing Movie: “Joker”- Remember all the manufactured terror about what might erupt when the movie opened? But there were no incidents, and that’s no doubt because it’s not liberal movies that provoke violence, it’s rhetoric, entitlement, abuse, and insensitivity. Which is the point of the movie.
Best People In More Than One Movie
Robert De Niro (“The Irishman,” “Joker”)
Laura Dern (“Marriage Story,” “Little Women”)
Adam Driver (“Marriage Story,” “The Report”)
Al Pacino (“Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood,” “The Irishman”)
Margot Robbie (“Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood,” “Bombshell”)
Sam Rockwell (“Jojo Rabbit,” “Richard Jewell”)
Best Mindless Comedy: “Booksmart” – It elevates the genre. I never felt soiled.
Judy Garland Never Won A Competitive Oscar, But Someone Impersonating Her Probably Will?: Help!!!! But Renee’s acting (if not her singing) was fine, especially when she flared her nostrils and showed some guts.
Let’s Hope The Academy Musters Some Nominations For Black Films: To refresh their memory, there’s “Waves,” “Us,” “Just Mercy,” “Queen & Slim,” “Clemency,” “Dolemite Is My Name,” “Harriet,” “The Black Godfather,” and more. Come on, Oscar, show that you paid attention this time.
Best Movies: Who cares? Boring. Just look at all the other lists.
Be sure to make your Oscar nomination predictions so that Hollywood studio executives can see how their films are faring in our Academy Awards odds. Don’t be afraid to jump in now since you can keep changing your predictions until just before nominees are announced on January 13.