Oscar Quest 2018: “The Post”

The Post!

“By all means,. do go on with your precious newsplaining.”

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

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. As of February 21st I’ve officially seen all nine of this year’s Best Picture nominees. I’m not sure I’ll be able to cover the other seven in full before the Oscars telecast on March 4th, but let’s see how far I can get before I burn out.

Onward to nominee #4, Steven Spielberg’s The Post. With multiple Oscar honorees Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep in the marquee, this based-on-a-true-story salute to American journalism in the face of government malfeasance is one of the more old-fashioned films in the race, wielding a confluence of history and star power in the name of attempted topical relevance.

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“Sully”: Meddling in the Miracle on the Hudson

Sully!

“Look, I’ve tried to cooperate patiently with this inquiry, but for the last time, I don’t know anything about this ‘David Pumpkins’ fella.”

Director Clint Eastwood’s new drama Sully takes us back to a time when every so often the national media had reasons to write headlines about good things that happened, even if meanwhile behind the scenes everything later fell apart, but the follow-up headlines were such dull sequels to the original inspiring pieces that they were relegated to the back section of the newspaper after the obituaries and sharing a page with The Family Circus, which no one reads and so everyone would assume that was that And They All Lived Happily Ever After. It’s also one of those early-bird Oscar hopefuls that the major studios release in autumn so they can be rushed to convenient home video in time for AMPAS voters to catch them at their leisure at home, rather than being expected or remotely willing to visit their local theater twenty or thirty times over the course of the voting season so they can get honestly informed about their choices. Then again, should Oscar voters be any more informed than those of us who vote in every political election? Are we hypocrites for wishing Hollywood always aimed for high standards of integrity than we do when it comes to naming the winners in their own history books? I like to think if Sully himself were an actor, he’d be disgusted about the whole process and deliver a great speech to shame them all into being more scrupulous film fans, and then maybe go on to run for President, because you know he’d do it sincerely and not as a promotional precursor to his forthcoming “SullyTV” project. Sully’s noble like that, but good luck getting him to admit it.

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MCC Home Video Scorecard #7: Oscar Prep Time

Bridge of Spies!

Oscar champ Tom Hanks weaves through an argumentative viewing public with past nominees Amy Ryan (Gone Baby Gone) and Alan Alda (The Aviator) in Steven Spielberg’s Bridge of Spies.

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: we prepare for Sunday night’s Academy Awards ceremony starring Chris Rock and a crowd of soon-to-be-flabbergasted white folks with brief notes on the final Best Picture nominee, one nominee in other categories, and one tiny overlooked film that would make a great double feature with one of the other Best Picture nominees.

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“Captain Phillips”: Jack Sparrow is the Edward Cullen of Movie Pirates

Barkhad Abdi, Mahat M. Ali, Captain Phillips

For the first few weeks after this year’s Oscar nominations were announced, Captain Phillips was the only nominee within reach of movie buffs who prefer home video to theaters. You’d think this would give it an advantage with the voters; instead it seems to have been handicapped by its October release, quote-unquote “early” compared to most of the other contenders, and hasn’t factored into most of the Oscar-guessing convos I’ve seen. I watched it a month ago and procrastinated writing about it because I figured everything that could be said has already been said, so why bother?

The short answer: Oscarmania completism. I watch every Best picture nominee every year whether they look appealing to me or not. I normally don’t write about everything I watch on home video (though I’m thinking about changing that soon), but it seems silly to devote entries to eight of the nine nominees while arbitrarily skipping this one. Onward, then.

Regarding the best pirate-themed film in years…

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