“Ford v Ferrari”: The Little Best Picture Nominee That Could

Ford v Ferrari!

Stars of the hot new motion picture White Men Can’t Brake.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: in a personal record, I saw eight of this year’s Academy Award nominees for Best Picture before they were announced on January 13th:

…which brings us to the ninth and final nominee, Ford v Ferrari — director James Mangold’s salute to auto racing pioneers and big middle finger to self-absorbed corporate executives who think they know best. Brought to you by Twentieth Century Fox, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Walt Disney Company.

(Fox greenlit this on purpose as a parable of how their 2019 went, didn’t they?)

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“The Martian”: My Own Planet Idaho

Martian Potatoes!

1000 potato, 2000 potato, 3000 potato, 4! Here a potato, there a potato! Potatoes, potatoes galore!

My son and I went to see The Martian two weekends ago, partly because we were both interested and partly to make up for how we “celebrated” his 21st birthday back in August by seeing Fantastic Four. I felt I owed him a do-over (and then some), and I’m glad Ridley Scott’s uplifting vision of Matt Damon, interstellar potato engineer, more than compensated for our last cinema visit.

America’s #1 film for four straight weeks doesn’t need any input from me, but one of Midlife Crisis Crossover’s myriad uses for me is to catalog my movie-going experiences. If I saw it in theaters, it gets an entry sooner or later. And thus it is written.

Alternate titles for this entry include:

“Red Planet, Green Thumb”
“The Astronaut Farmer”
“The Distant Gardener”
“Spuds Mechanics”
“The Tuber Whisperer”
“Old MacGyver Had a Farm”
“Mars Needs Ketchup”
“The Low-G All-Carb Diet”
“Taters Gonna Tate”
“Healthy, Wealthy and Fries”

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Space Makes Every Movie Better

The Martian!

Matt Damon had no idea how far he’d have to drive to track down Minnie Driver.

I’d never heard of Andy Weir’s novel The Martian until the first trailer for director Ridley Scott’s movie adaptation surprised the internet last week. I had no idea what to expect, and the name “Ridley Scott” told me things could go either way. Fortunately what I saw seemed somewhat different enough from Interstellar, Contact, Armageddon, and all those ’90s Martian disaster films (Mission to Mars, Red Planet, Total Recall, Mars Attacks!) that I considered myself somewhat impressed and a bit hopeful that some of the reviews end with hyperbole such as “Ridley Scott’s boldest vision of the future since Alien and Blade Runner!” or “Isn’t it time we forgave him for The Counselor?”.

That was my first thought. My second thought regarding this trailer in which Matt Damon, super-genius, defies expectations and accomplishes nigh-impossible doctorate-level feats under improbable circumstances while everyone else stands back and watches in befuddlement…my second thought is we’re about to see the long-awaited sequel Will Hunting, Good King of NASA. I don’t think I’m complaining, though. In fact, maybe more movie characters should buy tickets to go see the Final Frontier up close and rake in a few extra hundred billion bucks worldwide. Or on an interplanetary scale, even.

Right this way for Pitches! In! SPAAACE!

“Elysium”: Heavy are the Burdens of the Exosuit Gladiator

Matt Damon, Sharlto Copley, Elysium

Answering the most important question first: no, Elysium is nowhere near as revelatory as writer/director Neill Blomkamp’s previous film, the Oscar-nominated District 9. Constructed with four times the budget and ten times the star power, Blomkamp’s latest Important-Message sci-fi actioner is just as visually accomplished, but delivers a fraction of the impact.

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