MCC Home Video Scorecard #14: The Oscar Quest 2019 Home Game

A Star is Born!

Lady Gaga and Rocket Raccoon present the “Guardians of the Gaga” tour!

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: the recurring feature that’s more like a newsletter in which I’ve jotted down capsule-sized notes about Stuff I Recently Watched at home. In this batch as well as the next: the past few months’ worth of comfy-chair viewing as prep for this Sunday’s Academy Awards ceremony hosted by a disembodied sense of doom, featuring at least five musical numbers (minus The Weeknd and SZA but including the un-nominated Queen), spurring endless tired jokes about the runtime, and pumping up the jams for any winners from the ABC/Disney mega-conglomerate.

This year the Best Picture nominees number eight in all. In past entries we covered Black Panther, The Favourite, Vice, Bohemian Rhapsody, and Green Book. Here, then, are brief notes on the final three to complete the octet.

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MCC Home Video Scorecard #13: Our Oscar Quest 2018 Finale

Get Out!

In some crowds, you got to always keep one eye open.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: the recurring feature that’s more like a newsletter in which I’ve jotted down capsule-sized notes about Stuff I Recently Watched at home. In this batch: we prepare for Sunday night’s Academy Awards ceremony starring ABC’s Best Pal Jimmy Kimmel, the perfect representative for the Year of #MeToo on Bizarro World, with brief notes on our final Best Picture nominee (and one of the best), along with all the nominees I could catch in other categories before I ran out of time.

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MCC Home Video Scorecard #12: Year-End Title Dump, 2017 Edition

Bob Newby!

Bob Newby, worthiest descendant of the House of Gamgee.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: the recurring feature that’s me jotting down capsule-sized notes about Stuff I Recently Watched at home. In this batch: once again this ostensibly regular feature wound up saved for a rainy day, only to be held in reserve through any number of downpours and snowstorms. I’m already several viewings into a 2018 edition, which means it’s now or never for my 2017 catch-up. I’m a little annoyed at how much time I devoted to Netflix shows throughout the third and fourth quarters of the year, but if I’d watched a lot of movies instead, then this entry would be three times longer and take at least twice as long to write, thus making all the easier to procrastinate into 2019 and beyond. Or all the easier never to write. But I grow weary of finding reasons not to write. One of my many reasons for creating a blog nearly six years was to find reasons not never to write.

Hence: on with the writing! And the viewings! And the writing about the viewings! Double bonus points if I’m not the only one who reads what I write about what view!

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“Following”: the Last Gap in Your Christopher Nolan Collection

Christopher Nolan, Following, Criterion CollectionAs of this weekend, I can now say I’ve seen every full-length motion picture directed to date by Christoper Nolan. In December 2012 his debut, Following, earned a Criterion Collection re-release. Shot in 1998 in 16mm black-and-white, it was minimally restored for this edition, with the original aspect ratio and much of the old-media grittiness retained for historical verisimilitude. Its seventy speedy minutes contain an amateur no-star cast (as well as crowds of unwitting “extras” captured on the fly) and were shot for just five thousand dollars, a bargain compared to other self-financed B&W debut films from the same decade (e.g., Kevin Smith’s Clerks, Robert Rodriguez’ El Mariachi). With such budgetary constraints and no established names involved in the creative process, a casual browser would expect Following to feel like a young-adult vanity project fit only for YouTube.

Shame on that casual browser, then, with so little faith in the Nolan brand name. Continue reading

Holding My Breath Until I See Spinoffs from “The Wire”

Bunk, McNulty, The WireAfter months of squeezing in an episode here and there whenever time permitted (which was rarely), tonight I finally finished watching all five seasons of The Wire. It’s sixty episodes of the most politically charged, complicated, incisive, meaningful, profane, discomfiting, provocative, challenging television I’ve ever seen. It’s not a show for everyone, but following the storylines of its roughly eight thousand different characters (give or take three) became an unprecedented adventure that part of me secretly hopes has left me scarred and ruined for any other TV show or fictional tale that dares to try impressing me in the future. Its multifaceted examination of life on the streets of Baltimore at every level made my own lower-class upbringing look like the life of a prince, put my comparatively benign hometown in perspective, and has made it hard for me to read any local crime news without wondering how much they’re not telling us.

That being said: the fan in me is disappointed that five seasons is all there is. I’m glad David Simon and company were allowed to tell the stories that deserved to be told, though a September 2012 interview at Salon.com reveals he had more ideas in store and collaborators itching to join him. Unfortunately, no more stories or extensions are forthcoming because America forgot to tune in the first time around.

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