Thursday Movie Picks: Small Towns

I should put a trigger warning on this topic from Wandering Through The Shelves for myself. Small towns aren't for everyone. I was born and raised in one, I hated every minute of it. I hate walking into any given establishment and knowing somebody. I hated limited everything. And movie wise, I hated that I always had to drive two hours away to see indie films. Moving was one of the best things I ever did, even if it's not in a huge city. At least it's not a small town.

Anyways, rant aside, here are some films about small towns that subtly capture how horrible they can be for some. And how well they fit for others.

1) Waitress

This is probably one of the sweetest movies I've ever seen. Jenna is a small town waitress/pie extraordinaire who finds herself pregnant by her loser husband when that's the last thing she wants. 

2) Snow Angels

An ensemble drama about life in a small town before a tragedy strikes. The performances in this one are great, particularly Sam Rockwell, Michael Angarano and Olivia Thirlby

3) Junebug

The film that stopped making me think of the ditz in Drop Dead Gorgeous. Amy Adams absolutely steals this movie to the point where it's kind of funny.The film is about a man bringing his new wife back to his home town, but the only thing that matters is Amy Adams, who plays his pregnant sister in law. 

2018 Screen Actors Guild Nominations

I got to watch this one live unlike the Globe nominations on Monday. (I'm feeling better too, strep throat is a bitch) Did you all suffer through that awkward banter that made these nominations last way too long? In case you didn't, here are the nominees plus my thoughts. 

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
The Big Sick
Get Out
Lady Bird
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
I love this category. Every single film. I'm especially happy for The Big Sick after the Globes snubbed it completely. 

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
Timothee Chalamet, Call Me By Your Name
James Franco, The Disaster Artist
Daniel Kaluuya, Get Out
Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour
Denzel Washington, Roman J. Israel, Esq.
I'm so happy Daniel Kaluuya got in. I'm surprised they went with Denzel over Daniel Day-Lewis who I figured would get nominations no matter what. *Continues praying that my theater opens The Disaster Arist soon*

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role
Judi Dench, Victoria & Abdul
Sally Hawkins, The Shape of Water
Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Margot Robbie, I, Tonya
Saoirse Ronan, Lady Bird
This is probably how the Oscars will look too, right? Unless Meryl replaces Judi for The Post. Intersting how the Globes showered that with love and it came up empty handed here. Guess not everyone got those screeners. Anyways. SAOIRSE!!

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
Steve Carell, Battle of the Sexes
Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project
Woody Harrelson, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Richard Jenkins, The Shape of Water
Sam Rockwell, Three Billboard Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Wait, so Steve Carell is supporting now? I'm confused. No Michael Stuhlbarg for Call Me By Your Name either? I love that Harrelson got recognized along with Sam Rockwell, which is what I hope the Oscars do too. Especially since they're hellbent on ignoring Rob Morgan. 

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role
Mary J. Blige, Mudbound
Hong Chau, Downsizing
Holly Hunter, The Big Sick
Allison Janney, I, Tonya
Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird
Holly Hunter was a surprise, I didn't expect SAG to love The Big Sick like they did. The rest I think will all be here on Oscar morning. 

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series
The Crown
Game of Thrones
The Handmaid’s Tale
Stranger Things
This Is Us
It's nice to see Game of Thrones back after sitting out the Emmys. We all know Handmaid's Tale is going to win this though. 

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series
Curb Your Enthusiasm
Orange is the New Black
GLOW is a big surprise too. OITNB has won this award for the past three years in a row. Do you think someone will unseat them this time around?

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series
Jason Bateman, Ozark
Sterling K. Brown, This Is Us
Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones
David Harbour, Stranger Things
Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul
I wish Noah Scnhapp would've gotten nominated for Stranger Things. They always show Millie love, but never the boys and this one out acted her this season. I haven't seen Ozark but it's next on my binge list since I just finished The Crown. 

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series
Millie Bobby Brown, Stranger Things
Claire Foy, The Crown
Laura Linney, Ozark
Elisabeth Moss, the Handmaid’s Tale
Robin Wright, House of Cards
I'm going to miss Claire Foy in The Crown. She is outstanding in that role. I know Elisabeth will likely win. (it's too bad Ann Dowd couldn't sneak in here too) 

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series
Anthony Anderson, black-ish
Aziz Ansari, Master of None
Larry David, Curb Your Enthusiasm
Sean Hayes, Will & Grace
William H. Macy, Shameless
Marc Maron, GLOW
This is the only category that had a tie this year and it's hard to see a front runner right now. 

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series
Uzo Aduba, Orange is the New Black
Alison Brie, GLOW
Jane Fonda, Grace and Frankie
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
Lily Tomlin, Grace and Frankie
I really don't get why the SAGs love Grace and Frankie so much. It's a bit baffling. Uzo barely had anything to do in OITNB this season yet I'm still not surprised for her nomination. I'm on team JLD all the way. 

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie
Benedict Cumberbatch, Sherlock
Jeff Daniels, Godless
Robert De Niro, The Wizard of Lies
Geoffrey Rush, Genius
Alexander Skarsgard, Big Little Lies
That Sherlock movie seems like it happened years ago now. I keep forgetting it was in 2017. I'm here for Alexander Skarsgard, but bummed Ewan Mcgregor didn't make it in for Fargo. 

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie
Laura Dern, Big Little Lies
Nicole Kidman, Big Little Lies
Jessica Lange, Feud: Bette and Joan
Susan Sarandon, Feud: Bette and Joan

Reese Witherspoon, Big Little Lies
I laughed when I saw this category. Those two shows had too much talent to let anyone else in. 

The 10 Best Christmas Movies of All Time - Relay!

Nostra brought back his relay blogathon and this time we're looking for the ten best Christmas movies of all time. The rules are simple.

The rules are, just like the past relay races, very simple: The list has 10 Christmas movies (in random order) and when the baton is handed over to a new blogger, he or she has to remove one title of the list (with an explanation why) and add one new title. Once that is done a new blogger is contacted who will take the baton and run with it, doing the same (you can reinstate a title which has been previously removed). As Christmas is in three weeks I want to ask you to publish your entry as quickly as possible to make sure the list changes as much as possible before the 25th of December. Add the logo of this relay race to your post and also add links to those who came before you making it easy for everyone to find all the entries

It's funny, as I was watching this relay go around, I kept waiting for someone to add Nightmare Before Christmas. I swore if it came to me that's what I would add, but I have to play it a little differently. The current list is as follows:

Home Alone


A Muppet Christmas Carol

Die Hard

It's A Wonderful Life

Miracle on 34th Street

Arthur Christmas

Eyes Wide Shut

A Christmas Story

Joyeux Noel

One of my favorites bloggers, the lovely Ruth was so kind to tag me. She added Joyeux Noel which is an excellent choice and coincidentally one I saw in her home city of Minneapolis! But in doing so she removed my all time favorite Christmas movie; Gremlins. I'm sorry Nightmare Before Christmas, I hope someone else adds you. But I gotta add Gremlins back on the list. Picking what I wanted to remove was actually kind of tricky. I've never seen Arthur Christmas, so I was tempted to remove that on principle, but I had to go on with removing Eyes Wide Shut as Christmas just isn't the first thing that comes to mind when I think of that film. 

New pick: Gremlins

Now who to pass it too? This is always the hardest part. I want to see what everyone in my blogroll picks, but I'm passing it on to someone who I can always count on to make me laugh: m.brown of Two Dollar Cinema! The baton is yours, my friend. 

2018 Golden Globe nominations

This was the first year since I started tweeting that I didn't get to live tweet the Globe nominations. But I have strep throat so I slept in. Here are a list of nominees + my belated thoughts. 

Best Motion Picture - Drama
"Call Me by Your Name"
"The Post"
"The Shape of Water"
"Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri"
The usual suspects here. I think all of these will be nominated come Oscar morning too.  It's too bad Wind River or Mudbound couldn't sneak in. 

Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy
"The Disaster Artist"
"Get Out"
"The Greatest Showman"
"I, Tonya"
"Lady Bird"
I knew The Greatest Showman would get nominated here despite looking like a hot mess, but leaving out The Big Sick is some old bullshit. I'm happy for Lady Bird and Get Out and I really want to see The Disaster Artist and I, Tonya.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama
Jessica Chastain, "Molly's Game"
Sally Hawkins, "The Shape of Water"
Frances McDormand, "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri"
Meryl Streep, "The Post"
Michelle Williams, "All the Money in the World"
Wait, they saw All The Money In The World? 

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama
Timothée Chalamet, "Call Me by Your Name"
Daniel Day-Lewis, "Phantom Thread"
Tom Hanks, "The Post"
Gary Oldman, "Darkest Hour"
Denzel Washington, "Roman J. Israel, Esq."
I expected Jake Gyllenhaal to get in for Stronger, so Denzel was a surprise. I haven't seen any of the films in this category yet. 

Best Actress in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy
Judi Dench, "Victoria & Abdul"
Margot Robbie, "I, Tonya"
Saoirse Ronan, "Lady Bird"
Emma Stone, "Battle of the Sexes"
Helen Mirren, "The Leisure Seeker"
What the fuck is The Leisure Seeker? Aside from Ronan and Robbie who will likely (hopefully) be here Oscar morning this category feels a bit weak. 

Best Director
Guillermo del Toro, "The Shape of Water"
Martin McDonagh, "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri"
Christopher Nolan, "Dunkirk"
Ridley Scott, "All The Money in the World"
Steven Spielberg, "The Post"
So the Globes went for star power (Spielberg, and Scott) over a first time directors in Greta Gerwig or Jordan Peele. Okay. 

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy
Steve Carell, "Battle of the Sexes"
Ansel Elgort, "Baby Driver"
James Franco, "The Disaster Artist"
Hugh Jackman, "The Greatest Showman"
Daniel Kaluuya, "Get Out"
Elgort for Baby Driver is a massive joke. Kumail was better in The Big Sick. All I care about is Franko and Kaluuya. 

Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture
Mary J. Blige, "Mudbound"
Hong Chau, "Downsizing"
Allison Janney, "I, Tonya"
Laurie Metcalf, "Lady Bird"
Octavia Spencer, "The Shape of Water"
When I first glanced at this category I thought they snubbed Allison Janney and almost wtf'd hard over it. I guess this is going to be Mudbound's only awards love all season? Blige deserves it but there is so much talent in that film. They should be getting more noms. 

Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture
Willem Dafoe, "The Florida Project"
Armie Hammer, "Call Me by Your Name"
Richard Jenkins, "The Shape of Water"
Christopher Plummer, "All the Money in the World"
Sam Rockwell, "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri"
Kevin Spacey is weeping somewhere. I"m really happy for Rockwell and Dafoe here. I'm still having a really hard time believing Armie Hammer is giving an awards worthy performance in anything. I hope that film opens up near me soon so I can be surprised. I really wish Rob Morgan or even Jason Mitchell could've gotten in here for Mudbound. They were fantastic. 

Best Original Score in a Motion Picture
"Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri"
"The Shape of Water"
"Phantom Thread"
"The Post"

Best Screenplay in a Motion Picture
"The Shape of Water"
"Lady Bird"
"The Post"
"Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri"
"Molly's Game"
I've seen Lady Bird and Three Billboards so I'm happy to see them here. I want to see the others as well.

Best Motion Picture - Foreign Language
"A Fantastic Woman"
"First They Killed My Father"
"In the Fade"
"The Square"
The Globes love Angelina so I'm not surprised they nominated her film. I haven't seen any of these. I rarely get to see the foreign nominees before awards season.

Best Animated Film
"The Boss Baby"
"The Breadwinner"
"Loving Vincent"
Boss Baby was fucking cancer, did y'all forget Lego Batman came out this year?

Best TV series - Drama
"The Crown"
"Game of Thrones"
"The Handmaid's Tale"
"Stranger Things"
"This Is Us"
I'm really surprised The Crown qualified. The HFPA must have gotten early screeners. If I were Netflix I wouldn't have even bothered, all their Crown categories are going to lose to the Handmaid's tale this year anyways. They could've sat a year out and came back strong next year. The only show I don't watch here is This Is Us, I'm happy with the other nominees.

Best performance by Actress in a TV series - Drama
Caitriona Balfe, "Outlander"
Claire Foy, "The Crown"
Maggie Gyllenhaal, "The Deuce"
Katherine Langford, "13 Reasons Why"
Elisabeth Moss, "The Handmaid's Tale"
SO happy for Katherine Langford in 13 Reasons Why. The Globes are good about picking freshman shows/performances so I'm glad she got in here. 

Best performance by an Actor in a TV Series - Drama
Sterling K. Brown, "This is Us"
Freddie Highmore, "The Good Doctor"
Bob Odenkirk, "Better Call Saul"
Liev Schreiber, "Ray Donovan"
Jason Bateman, "Ozark"
Rami Malek should be here for Mr. Robot. 

Best TV series - Musical or Comedy
"Marvelous Mrs. Maisel"
"Master of None"
"Will & Grace"
Okay this is going to sound weird but I'm really happy for SMILF despite not watching the show. I don't get Showtime so I can't watch it, but I love Frankie Shaw and I'm so happy for her. Going by the normal freshman routine with the Globes too, it might actually have a shot. 

Best performance by an Actor in a TV series - Musical or Comedy
Anthony Anderson, "Black-ish"
Aziz Ansari "Master of None"
Kevin Bacon, "I Love Dick"
William H. Macy, "Shameless"
Eric McCormack, "Will and Grace"
There's a show called I Love Dick?

Best performance by an Actress in a TV series - Musical or Comedy
Pamela Adlon, "Better Things"
Alison Brie, "Glow"
Issa Rae, "Insecure"
Rachel Brosnahan, "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel"
Frankie Shaw, "SMILF"
Aside from Issa Rae, everyone in this category is a first time nominee. You've got to love that. 

Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
"Big Little Lies"
"Feud: Bette and Joan"
"The Sinner"
"Top of the Lake: China Girl"
Limited Series were on fire this year. You all know how much I love Big Little Lies, Fargo, and Feud. 

Best Performance by an Actor in a Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Robert De Niro, "The Wizard of Lies"
Jude Law, "The Young Pope"
Kyle MacLachlan, "Twin Peaks"
Ewan McGregor, "Fargo"
Geoffrey Rush, "Genius"
I really wish I could've gotten into The Young Pope because Law was legitimately good in it from the episodes I did manage to get through. 

Best Performance by an Actress in a Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Jessica Biel, "The Sinner"
Nicole Kidman, "Big Little Lies"
Jessica Lange, "Feud: Bette and Joan"
Susan Sarandon, "Feud: Bette and Joan"
Reese Witherspoon, "Big Little Lies"
Jessica Biel for The Sinner seems way out of left field. Especially when you have Mary Elizabeth Winstead for Fargo qualifying. 

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Alfred Molina, "Feud"
Alexander Skarsgard, "Big Little Lies"
David Thewlis, "Fargo"
David Harbour, "Stranger Things"
Christian Slater, "Mr. Robot"
There's a Mr. Robot nomination! I wish Noah Schnapp would've gotten the Stranger Things nomination, that kid was wonderful. 

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Laura Dern, "Big Little Lies"
Ann Dowd, "The Handmaid's Tale"
Chrissy Metz, "This is Us"
Michelle Pfeiffer, "The Wizard of Lies"
Shailene Woodley, "Big Little Lies"

Thursday Movie Picks: Ugly Duckling to Beautiful Swan

I hope you're ready for some rom coms! This week's theme from Wandering Through the Shelves is about ugly ducklings that become swans. You know, that moment a girl takes off her glasses and she's now totally hot? Yep. That shallow shit. There's actually a handful of films I enjoy despite this trope. Mostly for nostalgia reasons. Here's three of my favorites. 

1) She's All That

This is the obvious choice. I thought of going with something a little older like Funny Face but this is like the Godfather of ugly duckling movies. Lainey's walk down the staircase after getting a hair cut, an eyebrow wax and a nice dress is iconic. 

2) Jawbreaker

I love this movie so much. Fern Mayo goes from frumpy to the ultimate hot bitch Violette. So catty, so ridiculous, so amazing. 

3) The New Guy

You guys remember DJ Qualls? Or that time he was a huge nerd at one school, got expelled and became the cool kid at another? Well, that was this movie. This isn't actually one of my favorites but I didn't want to choose all female stories. 

Review: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri

Say it loud.

Behold the field where Mildred Hayes (Frances McDormand) grows her fucks. Lay thine eyes upon it and see that it is barren. So barren that after months of hearing nothing about her teenager daughter's rape/murder case she puts up three billboards in that field aimed at the town's Sheriff (Woody Harrelson) for not trying hard enough to solve the crime. While he feels bad, he's dying of cancer and doesn't have much time left. Once his racist lose canon deputy Dixon (Sam Rockwell) gets involved, things escalate. 

I love director Martin McDonagh's work. In Bruges is one of my all time favorite films so my expectations for this were high. They were met on every level. McDoagh's signature inappropriate humor is there. The fast quips and the lines that truly make you say "what the fuck?" Underneath that, this film has a ton of heart. 

It presents several characters who both likable and unlikable at the same time. Even our lead Mildred stoops to some pretty low levels but minus a few people you find a way to sympathize with nearly everybody at one point or another. Even after you've previously written them off. That is perfect writing. These characters have layers.

McDormand is outstanding. I loved her DGAF attitude, but at the same time you saw her tenderness and how she was hurting. Harrelson is hilarious yet heartbreaking at the same time. He comes off as a bit abrasive but you can see deep down how much he cares. Rockwell continues to amaze. Dixon's emotions are all over the place, yet Rockwell still manages to drum up a bit of sympathy in all of his awfulness. 

The supporting cast don't get as much to do, but work well in their roles. Peter Dinklage pops up a few times as Mildred's friend. Abbie Cornish is Sheriff Willoughby's randomly Australian wife. (Yes, I know anyone can live wherever they want, I just found it a bit curious she kept her natural accent) While she didn't get much to do she has a really strong scene with McDormand. Then there's Lucas Hedges as Mildred's depressed son. Caleb Landry Jones as the billboard owner who helps Mildred out. John Hawkes as her ex husband. Clarke Peters as another police office. I'm rambling but I can't rave enough about this cast.

Going in, I saw a few people on Twitter hated the ending, but I thought it was perfect. It fit so well with the rest of the film. 

Recommended: Yes

Grade: A+

Memorable Quote: "I think that midget wants to get in my pants." - Mildred (Frances McDormand)

Indie Gems: The Lure

I wanna be where the people are.

A mermaid named Silver (Marta Mazurek) is drawn to the singing of a man, Mietek (Jakub Gierszal) one night. She and her sister, Gold (Michalina Olszanska) come on land and follow he and his family to a club where their lovely voices and fins that appear in the water land them a part in a cabaret act. But while Silver starts to fall in love, all Gold wants to do is what mermaids do best: eat humans.

It's probably not shocking to anyone who knows me that I'm 100% for a film marketed as a "mermaid musical horror movie." You can't make this up. And a film with that description has no right being as good as The Lure is. They balance it, if you can believe it. 

They essentially take the love plot of The Little Mermaid and spice it up with Europop and gore. The songs are infectious. The blood and guts isn't until later on, which I expected a bit more of, but it's used in a unique way.

Mzurek and Olszanska are perfectly cast. They have amazing singing voices. Mzurek really captures the naivety of Silver while Olszanska has "bad girl" written all over her performance. 

Set in the 80's, there's likely some political subtext here, which unfortunately is wasted on me as I don't know a lot about the Polish government. To me, it felt like it had something to say about women empowerment, and how women need to be in control of themselves. I'd love to hear what you think if you've seen this film.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B

Memorable Quote: "What if you fall in love?" - Gold (Michalina Olszanska)