Friday, February 7, 2020

Movie Finale

We don't go to many movies throughout the year, and we are very selective about which movies we do see.  When the Academy Awards nominees are announced, we like to see as many of the Best Movie selections as possible.  It's kind of a winter project for us, when the weather is raw and the hours of darkness need some brightening up.  This year we saw six of the nine nominated movies. 

We had no interest in seeing The Joker - too dark, or Parasite, with Korean subtitles. We would have had to travel a ways to see JoJo Rabbit, so we didn't, although I will want to see it eventually. 

We saw some of the nominated movies in the theater and found others to watch on our big TV through Netflix and On Demand.

The Irishman is a Netflix movie. At three and a half hours long, you might want to divide it into two sittings. We watched it all in one evening because it was compelling enough to keep us entertained. This is a gangster movie and the stars are gangster movie stars. Joe Pesci plays a mob boss. Al Pacino is Jimmy Hoffa. The main character, played by Robert DeNero, is a guy named Frank, a WWII vet and Teamster who "paints houses", mob speak for assassin. Frank is an outwardly ordinary man who calmly offs other mobsters, and there are plenty of offings, and yet this movie doesn't seem violent. That's odd, when I think of it. 

This is a good movie, but not a great movie, because it doesn't really leave you with anything to ponder. As I think back on it, I remember the comic relief provided by the gangster wives, chain smoking and shallow. Maybe they had to be. 

Two other good movies that we saw were not nominated for Best Picture, but their lead actresses are nominated for Best Actress.

Cynthia Ervio is very good as Harriet Tubman in the film Harriet. Most of us are familiar with Harriet Tubman's story, of how she was ill treated as a slave girl, how she escaped to the north with help from the Underground Railroad, and how she became a fearless conductor on that Railroad, bringing many others, including what remained of her family, to freedom. She was a remarkable human being, and it's always a good thing to be reminded of her story. Cynthia Ervio does a masterful job of acting in portraying Harriet. 

The other biopic we saw was Judy.  While Harriet's and Judy Garland's stories are very different, there are parallels. Judy was a little girl with big talents who was exploited by her parents and then by the movie industry contract system, and especially by Louis B. Mayer.  From early on her life was completely controlled, as is shown in flashbacks throughout the movie. She was fed pills to keep her weight down, to pump up her energy, and then to allow her to sleep. This movie covers a period of time near the end of Judy's life, when she is struggling with drugs, alcohol, and heartbreak.  Her demise is hard to watch, but actress Renee Zellweger is outstanding in her roll as a tormented Judy Garland. She will most likely win the Best Actress award. 

I'll be watching the awards show on Sunday. It's fun to see the fashions and all the glitz and glamour, and see who "the Oscar goes to".

And it will be a much needed respite from politics. (I hope)


  1. I think the top four actor awards are pretty much a shoo-in. I also think 1917 will probably get best picture. I'll be watching and will wave to you. :-)

  2. I’m really wanting to see Harriet and Judy. Not much interest in Parasite because I’m one of those people who just like to be happy when watching a movie.

  3. I used to be a big fan of this show, but have had no interest to watch it for years. It seems too long and too much hype for an industry that gets enough attention and fame and fortune already. I did try the Irishman, but was turned off by the way they made murder seem too mundane. I do not find mob movies very compelling even when the actors are stupendous. But I am fine with others enjoying the evening! I would like to see Paraste, but it is no where near me.

  4. I want to watch a couple of those when they come out in Netflix-well they are on my list...

  5. I watched the Irishman...murder and mayghem...but good actors. Those wives were something else:)

  6. The Irishman was an amazing film..
    Brilliant..! I made sandwiches and
    a pot of tea for the first viewing..!
    And paused it twice for a bathroom visit..
    And..watched it three times since..Well,
    for me it's a family thing..HeHe!
    I don't think it'll win any Oscars, because
    of the content..Though The Godfather did
    very well back in 1972..!

  7. I can remember the days when I had seen most of the nominees but not here in tiny town. No theater. Did you learn what happened to Jimmy Hoffa? Harriet is on my to do list and I have heard some real raves by average people about Parasite so I will throw it in the mix of pay for view later. Will be watching the awards anyway.

    1. Hope you don't mind...But l can tell you..
      There are 14 different theories of Jimmy
      Hoffa's demise..And that the murder of him
      in The Irishman is about the truest version!
      I have the DVD..Hoffa..1992..Jack Nicholson
      and Danny DeVito..again a slightly different
      And of course his body was never found...! :(.

    2. Thanks, Willie. Yes the movie version is based on the confession of the character Frank, a real life person, who was a mob "house painter".

    3. And yes..There's a story that Frank "The Irishman" Sheeran"..
      is related to Ed Sheeran..the singer..! No proof, but you
      know what newspapers are like..
      Goodness! This could go on for ever..Being Sicilian of course,
      l have a keen interest on these things..HeHe! I'll say no more! :o).

  8. Interesting topic. We saw The Irishman and thought it was good. Haven't seen any other recent movies but are watching series on Hulu. Don't watch the Awards shows but that is ok.

  9. You are a great movie reviewer and seek out the hot ones. I only saw The Irishman and really wanted to like it, but I couldn't because it seemed like it was trying too hard to make those top actors look younger. I also couldn't figure out what the take away from it was. I did enjoy the wives.

  10. We watch a lot of foreign films and I think the subtitles are a good thing to exercise our brains. Besides that foreign films usually offer a different slant on things and that is good for the world.

  11. Darn! I was hoping Harriet would be showing on the United flight but it wasn’t. sigh... Maybe on the next flight.


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