The 90th Academy Awards: Always overblown, newly relevant

The Academy Awards felt as relevant and fresh as they could while yet maintaining all the cheese and slight odor of staleness that marks this large, ponderous institution. 

Achariya: Full disclosure, although I unreservedly love the red carpet of any Hollywood event, I haven’t watched the Academy Awards for years, in part because it felt like there was little point to watching Hollywood wank itself over movies that I generally find uninteresting. I’m a geek and like action/spy/fantasy/sci-fi/arthouse movies, and the stuff that tends to win is what garnered best actor last night, movies like Darkest Hour (which, ok, I kinda liked).

Jen: Even though I appreciate the fanfare and pageantry, the Oscars have become a thing I’m aware of rather than look forward to. I appreciate filmmakers and crews and such receiving much-deserved recognition because it usually results in more work for them and more creative control, but for me actually making time to sit down and watch is less a priority than knowing what’s nominated and what won.

Achariya: I watched the show last night because after the #MeToo movement pointed out all the flaws in the Hollywood system, I wanted to see how the Academy Awards producers would handle it. And in fact, they handled it subtly and well.

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In Theaters Now: Black Panther – Five Delightful Things

My auto-correct is trying inform me that Afrofuturism isn’t a word, and it’s wrong because it is and this movie is it.


Last night I actually left the house and stayed up past my bedtime to go see Black Panther. Currently it sits at 98% on Rotten Tomatoes, so you don’t need me to do an actual serious review of it when there are much better critics out there singing its praises.

However, here are five things I found absolutely delightful and wanted to share.

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In Theaters Now – Call Me By Your Name

Call Me By Your Name is at once beautifully shot, perfectly acted, and possessed of some of the richest visuals I’ve ever seen. It is nominated for a slew of awards, and rightfully so.

It felt strange watching a peak arthouse movie (a bildungsroman about a young musical prodigy falling for an older grad student in 1980s Italy doesn’t get much arthouse-y-er) in a multiplex theater, especially when we already have an arthouse theater down the road that’s still playing The Shape of Water, but the times they are a-changing.

My co-blogger Achariya loved it, devoured the book, and has been looking forward to it since last summer, and although she watched a screener for her most excellent preview earlier this week, we wanted to get the full theater experience.

Achariya: At the end of the movie, I looked around and spotted no fewer than three gay couples (and a few more straight couples) wiping tears from their eyes due to a certain scene. It’s nice to see this at an AMC.

Jen: I know, it was so sweet!

Call Me By Your Name, as mentioned, is a coming of age romance about Elio (Timothee Chalamet), a 17-year-old Jewish musical prodigy summering with his family in their elegant Italian villa. His family are warm, cultured, and incredibly European as they all dine alfresco all the time, read each other 14th century sonnets, and smoke like burning tobacco warehouses.

Every summer the family takes in a grad student for six weeks who helps Elio’s father, an archaeology/antiquities professor, with his notes and projects. Enter Oliver, played by Armie Hammer. Almost from the start, Elio is captivated by the tall, blond, dashing Oliver, who wears his Star of David as easily and overtly as he wears his billowing blue shirt.

I would recommend CMBYN to anyone who loves a good romance amid beautiful settings. The sex scenes are carefully blocked to avoid any full frontal, per the actors’ contracts, but there’s still lots of male nudity on screen, which you would expect in a movie where men get it on. Do not take an elderly, conservative relative to see this film unless you are really hoping to broaden their horizons or kill them with a heart attack.

For a more in-depth discussion involving spoilers, journey under the cut. We are going to demarcate my reaction to the film from our chatter by putting our discussion in italics.

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Keeping Sane In An Insane World

Hola! Work, busy, all the usual excuses for not posting more often. But I’m experimenting with new blog formats and am working on some new stuff for the coming months. 

To massively understate, things have been rough. Less so for me personally, but definitely for many of my countrypeople. There’s also the ongoing misery of watching the US’s role on the world stage become that of the buffoon — no, not even the buffoon, it’s that of the village idiot wandering into center stage of an opera, pushing aside sopranos, tenors, and ballet dancers, taking a massive dump, then throwing a tantrum in the orchestra pit when no one cheers.

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Hola Friends!

Game of Thrones is over (FOR TWO YEARS WHAT) but I am trying to get back to normal blogging. I had an expansive and interesting post kicking around the back of my mind for the past week but then #Irmageddon began edging over the horizon like a big brightly colored anal fissure and my life is hurricane preparedness now.


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