As a longtime fan of road trips, I spent more of Green Book‘s running time looking forward to Our Heroes seeing the sights, maybe filming on location and giving us new travel ideas. And if they go back in time and cure racism while they’re at it, so much the better.
Writer/director Adam McKay’s The Big Short remains one of my favorite Best Picture Oscar nominees from the past few years, and not just because I was thrilled to see our mortgage companies getting dragged on the silver screen. I was less enthusiastic when I saw the trailer for Vice because I’ve developed an anti-partisan revulsion to the sight of 21st-century politics anywhere outside Twitter, which, despite careful curation, is roughly 85% all about 21st-century politics on any given day, even on slow news days. Sooner or later every discussion finds a way to go there, even in the sharing of cute animal GIFs.
Cross-pollination into movies was inevitable in this climate, what with the creative arts being one of the more profitable forms of protest and dissemination. But it’s a Best Picture nominee, so I stuck to my tradition and here I am.
It’s that time again! Longtime MCC readers know this time of year is my annual Oscar Quest, during which I venture out to see all Academy Award nominees for Best Picture, regardless of whether I think I’ll like them or not, whether their politics and beliefs agree with mine or not, whether they’re good or bad for me, and whether or not my friends and family have ever heard of them. I’ve seen every Best Picture nominee from 1997 to the present, and look forward to pushing that statistic even farther back into cinematic history if only some kindly studio or lawyers would rescue Mike Leigh’s 1996 improv drama Secrets & Lies from its peculiar, long-standing Region 1 banishment. To this day it’s not available on a single streaming service, not even Amazon Prime. Seriously, I have been aggravated about this for nearly twenty years. CRITERION, I AM BEGGING YOU, PLEASE HELP IT AND ME IN THAT ORDER. Netflix? Kanopy? TCM? Anyone?
Ahem. Sigh. Anyway.
First in line is Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Favourite, a film that checks off two squares on the 21st-century Best Picture Nominee bingo card: “British history” and “sexy-time nudity”, though not as much of the latter as I’d expected and yet more than I ask for in any given film, which is none.
Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: we guided you through our seven-day trip through Ohio, upstate New York, and Pennsylvania in fifty episodes —- July 7-13, 2018. It all comes down to this, per our tradition for every MCC road trip maxiseries: one final collection of alternate scenes, extra details, and surplus attractions along the way that were squeezed out of the main narrative. Enjoy!
Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: we guided you through our seven-day trip through Ohio, upstate New York, and Pennsylvania in fifty episodes —- July 7-13, 2018, with stops along the way at nine museums or museum-like historical structures. Here in our penultimate chapter we present a selection of additional exhibits from those museums. Their fascinating exhibits could’ve kept us going for several more chapters albeit with increasingly diminishing returns. I tried to be choosy when curating the previous chapters, so the following gallery represents the honorable mentions, some of which were perhaps unfairly cut. Enjoy!
Our Presidential body count so far on this vacation:
- Rutherford B. Hayes, in the verdant park behind his lavish museum in Fremont, OH
- Millard Fillmore, in the same well-kept Buffalo cemetery as several Famous Names in Black History
- Chester Arthur, in a dusty corner plot in Albany
- Martin Van Buren, in an ancient burial ground a mile from his Dutch home church in Kinderhook, NY
- Franklin Delano Roosevelt, on the grounds of Hyde Park
- Grover Cleveland, alongside his fellow presidents of Princeton University
- James Buchanan, alone on a hill in Lancaster, PA
- William McKinley, under a seven-story dome in Canton, OH
…and now, two hours from the William McKinley Memorial and 3½ hours from home, we wended our way through a maze of lazy country highways and one construction detour to reach the final American President on our week-long tour. We had not saved the best for last.