At this time of year we start getting people writing lists. Being the end of a decade, we get further lists too (Best of the Decade). These lists are for films and performances. Roger Ebert didn’t like creating lists, but when pressed to do so, he would come up with something. Movies, especially from disparate genres are virtually impossible to compare.
It’s interesting that Roger’s website creates its own Best 10 List.
I will say that ANY list which includes Ad Astra and Midsommar (even in their Mentionables) makes me wonder about the quality of the list. The Golden Globe list can also be used if one is curious as well. Not surprisingly the lists of best performance can mirror the lists of Best Films.
For me I quickly realized that I hadn’t seen many on the list Best Films. In fact I had only seen two (The Irishman and Parasite). Now I have seen four.
I was interested to seek out some of these listed films, and the first of these was on Crave. Us is a movie that is by Jordan Peele who offered up Get Out. For me, that doesn’t provide it with additional weight, in fact it takes away from it. I didn’t like Get Out at all. I can honestly say that I felt similar feelings when I watched Us. Lupita Nyong’o plays two roles in a movie that virtually all play duplicate roles. In short this is an alternate reality, psychological thriller where things happen that don’t make a lot of sense. In sort of a Invasion of the Body Snatchers way, alternates dressed in red jump suits and sporting large scissors are threatening their like-likes. Lupita Nyong’o is the most impressive in being one character and also the alter ego. i likely have missed the point of the film, but that’s because I eventually just give up on what I cannot understand. To say that this is one of the Best Films of the year says much about the year. In the same way that Get Out was listed as an Oscar nominee. I was very glad that i didn’t spend the money to see this is the theatre. Pass.
Marriage Story has multiple nominations with Best Picture for Globes and acting with Johansson and Driver as Best Actors as well. It is listed from Ebert site. For me, I think the people who enjoy this type of film (like Kramer v Kramer and Revolutionary Road) think that it reflects reality well, with good acting. Maybe that is true. For me, as one who has gone through such discussions and splits, it is painful to watch. Agonizing to watch on screen as people who once cared for one another, have their stories twisted and maneuvered by lawyers and those intent on “winning” and extracting as much money as they possibly can before they turn the poor, less financially viable afterwards back into the world. The family lawyers collectively Laura Dern, Ray Liotta and Alan Alda are sadly reflections of the world, but one in which Law Societies are at pains to show are not accurate. There is a ethical and professional responsibility to seek settlement. It’s not about “winning” and should be reflecting the wishes of the parties. Like real life, wishes of the parties are not always spoken and rarely with one another when the lawyers get involved. But for me, I cringe when I see an Assessor sent by the Court sit uncomfortably and watch a father and son eat dinner while evaluating them, and the father’s suitability. Who is she to judge? The father asks her “do you ever watch a married couple?” and she dryly responds “why would I?” Why indeed. I almost had to turn this off and take a minute to catch my breath where there is an ugly exchange between the two. I admit that my admiration for Driver (the father) increased immensely with the scene at the bar in New York. He shows and ability that I had never seen from him before, and does it better than expected. Who should watch this? Maybe young people looking to get married. They may feel that this can’t reflect reality and how things can be. Maybe spouses looking to split amicably should watch to realize that engaging lawyers make a long term happiness for all scenario more challenging. Lawyers, by the way, having seen the financials, know exactly what a given file would be worth and they will extract it. But watching people spew venom at each other, in heated exchanges or shaking their heads at the “System” and how it is pre-conditioned not to reflect what their relationship reality was in the least, is not particularly enjoyable, even when done well.
I hope that all readers have had a good 2019, and that 2020 will be more successful and prosperous! On to 2020, with more films on the list to see like 1917 and Little Women.