A little over a month ago, I wrote “the slam dunk winner for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay, even Best Actress and (while I am on a roll) maybe Best Supporting Actor and Actress as well… are the folks from Everything Everywhere All at Once.”
In that same article I wrote “Michelle Yeoh is pretty much a shoo-in to pick up the Oscar for Best Performance by an Actress on the Academy’s big night.” And a month before all that I picked Brendan Fraser’s performance in The Whale to win the Oscar over a very talented field of leading actors.
Pardon the toot on my own horn here, but it is not often I guess right about the Academy Awards and now that I have, it is a pleasure to remind y’all of the accomplishment.
Oscar night was replete with Covid references and comments about getting folks back in the theatres. It all sounded to me more like wishful thinking than a proven statistic.
Theatres all over the country have closed and many may never re-open. Production of films and television has been severely curtailed, and of those getting made… many were heavily influenced by the experience of the world-wide pandemic.
Enter the era of post-apocalyptic films and mini-series: most recent among them being HBO’s, The Last of Us.
HBO does these miniseries dramas as well or better than all the rest and The Last of Us is not an exception to that statement. Good stuff here and worthy of your attention, provided you are into this sort of thing. It is replete with plenty of chaos and violence of the man’s inhumanity to man variety, coupled with “the fact” of there being a fungus among us that is more than any society could hope to withstand. It makes COVID look like a minor summer cold.
Bella Ramsey, one of the youngsters from Game of Thrones, along with Pedro Pascal, who has serious leading man chops, take us through the drama with important but all too brief appearances by Nick Offerman, Anna Torv, and Murray Bartlett. Ms. Torv is a great favorite of mine dating back to her leading role in the J.J. Abrams series, Fringe. Mr.Offerman has an eclectic array of credits, many of which you have likely seen, while Bartlett most recently shined as a totally different persona in White Lotus.
As of this writing I have screened all but the last two of the nine proposed episodes and want to particularly single out hour number three (SPOILER ALERT: skip to the next paragraph if you have not yet seen the show but intend to). This one particular episode is just possibly the most honest and sympathetic gay love story I have ever seen on any American screen. It is an almost stand-alone mini movie featuring the aforementioned Nick Offerman and Murray Bartlett as the end of days version of The Odd Couple. Great stuff.
The diminishing of the pandemic has finally allowed a sold-out crowd to assemble for a Chris Rock Special. I do not understand how HBO let this one get away, but Chris is now the rock star of Netflix, and his latest special is right up there with his best. I will allow as to it all being too long by 15-20 minutes, and he makes a false step or two I wish he hadn’t (the bit on abortion went way too far out there for my tastes) but overall, this standup comedian is the rock on which we can all build our homage to comedy. And was the Will Smith slapping incident dealt with? OMG. Must see TV.
EUPHORIA on HBO has enough pedigree to make it worth anyone’s attention. I just cannot recommend it. I have grandchildren the age of these teenage and twentysomething leads, and I found these kids and their culture… as depicted in this miniseries… simply too distressing and depressing to sit through more than one episode. Grownups: watch at your peril. Kids: if this is anything close to an accurate portrayal of your reality, I am sorry for you… “lost generation” hardly covers it.
WEDNESDAY is the latest Addams Family incantation, and it is on Netflix. If you like this kind of macabre outlook as comedy then this series delivers. Personally not my thing, explaining the shortness of this review.
I came late to the series FAUDA primarily because I had to wait for my wife to go out of town. Sharon doesn’t seem to like shows that take place in desert climes and this one certainly has a sparsity of greenery. Good as it is, I have mixed feelings about it. The Netflix series from Israel is well done, and the subject matter and atmosphere are all too current, but somehow I found it distressing that repeatedly this elite unit of the Israeli defense forces is portrayed as the gang that couldn’t shoot straight. It’s not simply that I subjectively was taking sides (I will cop to that… as I believe the picture makers will as well), it is just that the multiple stupid decisions made by the show’s various characters had me yelling at my television screen. I was not surprised to learn that the word fauda translates to chaos.
PERRY MASON has come back for a second season on HBO. It looks good but it is sloooow to develop. I was not knocked out with season one and… so far… there is little reason for me to believe I will be overwhelmed by this revival. A very modest cast does nothing much to enhance the piece.
Finally, a word about Oscar night itself. I enjoyed the nearly four hours in front of my television screen, despite being more than a little aware that Steven Spielberg aside, most of the faces I recognized at the event were in the In Memoriam part of the program.
As award shows go, this one was about as well produced as any I have seen. It is no one’s fault at ABC, or even at the Academy, that most of the movies this year were as modest as they obviously were. And somewhere down the line, we should all admit that Oscar night was never supposed to be (and rarely was) a good television show. It helped, back in the day, when those in the audience recognized all the glitterati on the screen, but that was years ago and even then it did not make for great TV.
And now… in the tradition of all the award shows you have ever seen, I would like to thank my parents, my wife, my children, Ms. Lafreeda, Ms. Stewart, Ms. Goodstone, and all “little people” who make these columns possible. And a special tip of the envelope to all you wonderful people out there in the internet ether who read this stuff… with a singular thanks to…. well, I would go on, but the Academy orchestra is playing my song…
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And for his not so layback performance as “The BEST ACADEMY AWARD PICKER!” the AWARD goes to … Barney Rosenzweig