Five For Friday: Oscars Edition

 I am having a weird week in a weird month in a (typically, so is it even weird) winter, and I sat here literally unable to figure out or remember how to begin a blog post, so thank fuck I remembered it's Friday and I can just do FFF. It has gotten cold and snowy again after a couple of weeks of mild grayness, and I like this more, although I don't volunteer that widely. Except I guess I just did. Oops. Weird. 

1. I decided a couple of weeks ago to try to watch all the Best Picture nominees for the Oscars. The main reason is so I could make a list and cross things off the list and feel list-accomplished for doing nothing but watching movies, because low-stakes validation is helpful right now. 

There are ten movies up for Best Picture. That is too many, in my opinion. I thought five was a good number. Also, what the heck, precisely, is 'best picture' supposed to mean? Okay, I googled desultorily and I am not interested in going down that road too far. 

Here are the ones I have watched, alone or with others, and my opinions, which I do not expect anyone to share:

-Barbie: Saw in the theatre with Eve and her friend Jackson and my friend (Eve's other friend's mom who is now my friend) Jody. Liked it a lot. The aesthetic, Margot Robbie's and Ryan Gosling's and America Ferrera's performances, the satirizing of the patriarchy. I love Greta Gerwig as a director.

- Oppenheimer: I missed the chance to do a Barbenheimer experience when they were both out. My  husband is an engineer with a degree in Engineering Physics, so it was an obvious choice for us to watch, but the timing didn't work out. He rented it one morning while I was still asleep and he was about to leave the country yet again, and told me there were a couple days left in the rental for me to watch it. Which I did, but in shifts, because it is long and I was having attention span issues. 

I liked it. It didn't blow me away. It seemed like a very obvious "Best Picture" sort of movie in a Hollywood way. Cillian Murphy was compelling. My husband was disappointed that it didn't go more into the physics. He said "it was more just about...." and I said "...Oppenheimer?" and he said "shut up". I understood what he wanted, but I would have thought it was unlikely in this type of movie. Favourite line: "you're not just self-important, you're actually important". 

-Killers of the Flower Moon: watched alone on Netflix, again in shifts, more because I found it too upsetting to watch all at once. I thought it was really, really good. Personally I think Leonardo DiCaprio should have been nominated over Robert De Niro for Best Supporting Actor - Collette (HI COLLETTE) said he was too old to be convincing in that role, which may be but I am crap at judging people's ages, and his mannerisms and way of talking and his way of bearing himself seemed to embody the character perfectly and were utterly convincing to me. Lily Gladstone was fantastic. 

-Past Lives: rented while Matt was away for three weeks in January and watched alone. I loved it - I think it's my favourite so far, by a tiny margin. I love the way it concentrates on moments and lets silences stretch out. All the actors were phenomenal, and I could watch Greta Lee - her expressions, her hair swinging, the way her demeanour seems to change subtly depending on whether she's speaking English or Korean. It's a bit like a more cerebral, Korean Sliding Doors. The characters are allowed to show vulnerability in a way that almost challenges belief. I also loved the blithe use of "12 years pass" twice. 

-Anatomy of a Fall: I rented this at the same time but didn't watch it while Matt was away. We planned to watch it one Saturday night when he got home but I had a migraine, so we watched it with our dinner from Take Another Bite on Valentine's Day (which was amazing). 

It was long. It was really, really long. And French. And maybe not the best choice for Valentine's Day. Matt said "it's kind of like Kramer vs. Kramer if one Kramer is dead". We were doing the dinner in courses, which was kind of good because we would pause the movie and chat a little and take a break, because two and a half hours of people demonstrating intense anguish is a lot. But my humorous puerile whining aside, it's very well done as a character study and I can see why Sandra Huller (sorry, can't figure out how to do an umlaut) was nominated - the actor who played the son was fantastic as well. Also, if it's at all accurate, French courtroom procedures are very different from, well, from what I know of American court procedures from American tv, so who the hell knows. But there was a lot of unchallenged speculation. 

-The Holdovers: watched with Collette last night. We were going to see it in the theatre but by the time we coordinated a time it was only playing late, so I bought it on Apple TV, which was cheaper than both of us buying a ticket anyway. It was excellent. Paul Giamatti is the perfect embodiment of the set-in-his-ways, socially awkward, erudite boarding school teacher, not really fitting in with his colleagues and lamenting the "vulgar, rancid Philistines" he has to teach. Dominic Sessa also really tears it up - bold, angry, vulnerable - and Da'Vine Joy Randolph? WOW. I had a sense of how the movie would play out, but the details were magnificent. It was the only one that made me cry. 

We're going to watch American Fiction (which is based on a book by Percival Everett, whose book The Trees was insanely good) next week. Then I have Poor Things by Yorgos Lanthimos (loved The Killing of a Sacred Deer, from what I've heard of this one I am interested and a little grossed out already), The Zone of Interest, and The Maestro. 

2. From The Holdovers I learned that I have been mentally pronouncing Anaxagoras with the emphasis on the wrong syllable. Wait, no, I just looked it up and according to what I found, Paul Hunham actually pronounced it wrong. Huh. 

3. Last Monday a student walked up to the desk and barked out "Minecraft books", which is a thing I tend to gently correct. I said "you mean 'can you please help me find the Minecraft books?'", but I guess he didn't hear the 'you mean' part, and he said "I don't know where they are, that's why I asked you." Which was funny. 

4. Eve comes home tomorrow for the week and I cannot WAIT to squish her. She has a semester that is way heavier on reading and writing than her usual science-heavy fare, and it's been fun having her bounce ideas off me and doing some editing of her papers. I have never done that Google Docs thing where I can suggest edits and she can incorporate them in real time and it's like a different version of FaceTime that is really fun. Also, she had to write a reflection on the book Cassandra by Christa Wolf, and the first line was "Before I started this book I asked my mom what she knew about Cassandra because she reads everything and knows everything about books", which was, obviously, not true, but still nice to read. I'm so lucky I got the kids I did. 

Picture of Eve from Valentine's Day Facebook memories

5. I have been resolute that I would not get an air fryer, but should I get an air fryer? 


Awww I love that you and Eve are writing/editing buddies!

My opinion on air fryers is YES, if you have a space for it to live in. (I hate when appliances don't have a home.) I have one and I use it ALL the time, for chicken nuggets of course because that's practically all my kid eats, but it's also good for veggies and meat and fish and snacky things and reheating pizza and leftover fries -- SO GOOD for reheating things!!!! -- and once I made air fried chunks of apple that I tossed with cinnamon, sugar, and butter and my kid proclaimed it the best thing ever. Of all the recent trendy appliances, I think the air fryer is the most versatile; I almost never use our Instant Pot (but that's mainly because I am afraid of it; a lot of my friends swear by their Instant Pot). I use it as much as I use my beloved Crock Pot.
Collette said…
Thanks for doing this. Now I have a place I actually WANT to go to check which movie I should watch. BTW.. Just found out that Tully in Holdovers was in his first ever acting job (he was a student at one of the schools they used for setting). Even more impressed with him now.

Also, just by the by, and fyi, and jic.... I still have all the decorations for an Oscar party (from back in the day when we would have one and none of us saw any of the movies)... You know for next year maybe.
D said…
I'm impressed with myself because I've seen 2 of 10 Best Picture nominees. Less impressed that I've never heard of some of the others. As for the air fryer, my sister sent one for Christmas the year before last. I was dubious. Now I'm a believer. I cook steak, chicken, fish (OMG; fish is so good), fries, baked potatoes, pork chops, etc. It's faster and there's less clean up. Do it! xo
StephLove said…
All I've seen is Barbie, but th Holdovers is on the official family movie night list. (We pick an index card with a title on it at random most Friday nights.) There's a complicated nomination and veto process to select the films.
Busy Bee Suz said…
I've not heard of most of these movies. I watched the first half of Barbie, and lost interest. The Holdovers does sound like something I'd watch though, so thanks for your reviews!
Have a great time squishing Eve! That VD pic of her is adorable.
Busy Bee Suz said…
Oh, I have an air fryer. When I first got it I used it weekly, then monthly, now I forget I have it. :(
Ernie said…
I so wish I'd read this post before Coach and I wasted time trying to find something to watch. I knew there was something I wanted to see and couldn't think of it. It was Holdovers. Ugh. Maybe tonight. I've only seen the Barbie movie from this list. It was well done, but I didn't die laughing at it as some people in the theater did. Mini and Curly were with me and they were also like ARE WE BEING PUNKED? IT DOESN'T SEEM THAT FUNNY.

I have an air fryer. Coach bought it for me for Christmas last year. I sort of resent appliances that I've not expressed an interest in. I've used it occasionally, but he uses it more. I need to wrap my brain around it and figure out when and how to use it in order to work it into my norm. I'm one part stubborn and like 3 parts Don't have the time.

My kids have shown me the light with Google docs fairly recently too. Pretty awesome. Love that you get Eve home for a whole week. We see Mini this weekend and I'm excited. She's currently so busy she doesn't even text.
NGS said…
"it's kind of like Kramer vs. Kramer if one Kramer is dead" LOLOLOLOL. I don't know why, but that's giving me life this morning.

Anaxagoras? Is this a word people use? Say to themselves regularly? What am I doing with my life that I don't know what this is?!
angela said…
I love my air fryer, it's small and makes a perfect serving of frozen stuffed jalapenos in 8 minutes. It's on the small size, so I don't usually use it when cooking for my family of four.
Jenny said…
The only one of these movies I've seen is Barbie- I saw it in the theater with my daughter and some friends, we all wore pink, and we liked it! I would have liked to see Oppenheimer but it just never happened (you might surmise that I don't go to many movies.) I've heard mixed reviews- too long, incredible, etc. i"ll probably see it someday.
I got an air fryer for Christmas and honestly I don't use it that much. But everyone else loves them, so I should make more of an effort. One thing is that it's kind of small, and I don't have the patience to cook things in two batches. But if you're just cooking for two it might really come in handy.

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