It’s not always about throwing a spanner in the works

I can’t think of anything more Kiwi than some dude having COVID-19, thinking yeah, but I don’t want to miss this Tool concert and going anyway.

I used to love Tool. I still like the band, but I’m definitely not a fanatic. I keep forgetting that they even released a new album last year. For a long long time, metal was my thing. Rock/metal/prog was my wheelhouse, and I wasn’t interested in much outside of that. These days my tastes have sprawled. I’m less of a rock/metal listener, or rather I’ve shirked away from the more mainstream outlets. I like indie pop/rock, I’m into R&B/hip hop/rap. I’m big on electronic music in a range of flavours. I’ll even listen to big pop artists if I like what they’re putting out. I think out of principle, me at 20 would never have given a Beyoncé album the benefit of the doubt. I was too stuck in my ways, I bought into dumb rhetoric, and kept my tastes rigid. Over time that opened up, but it all stems from one interaction.

Back in university, there was this girl I thought was very cute and cool. She had short cropped hair. How do I know this? Because I wondered if “cropped” was the right term, googled it, and one of the first results was this picture, which looks quite similar to how she did. She also had a green Radiohead sweater, and carried kind of a “scene” vibe around her. I crushed on her from afar, but basically never talked to her. I didn’t think she was standoffish, but I definitely thought she was too cool for me. Like most straight beta male unrequited crushes, I had no idea who she was, but I thought I did. Anyway, one time at the student bar I walked up to her and said hey, I know you’re into indie music. I feel like I’d probably get into it, but I don’t know where to start. Is this something you could help with? She immediately pulled out a notepad and a pen, and wrote down about 12 bands to check out. Flaming Lips, Sufjan Stevens, etc. However, the first band on the list was The Decemberists.

I went home and downloaded The Crane Wife, their most recent album, then pressed play. This is what I heard. I was instantly hooked. It sounded different from my regularly scheduled diet of rock and metal. I liked the tune, the harmonies were great and the lyrics were fantastic. I wasn’t used to so many evocative and polysyllabic words in my songs, or the concept of translating a classic folk tale to song so accurately. I loved the album to bits, and I went through the list. I soon found Sufjan Stevens’ Sufjan Stevens Invites You To: Come On Feel the ILLINOISE and it all cemented. “Chicago” won my heart over, and I couldn’t get enough. I ravenously explored music blogs and review sites. I asked other friends for recommendations, and loaded them onto my computer. My tastes shifted over time like Pangea, and my mind boggled with all the new and diverse music out there.

I can’t remember the last rock album I really dug into. Now I listen to music, and if it hooks me I listen more. I’m less bound to genre than I am finding what ignites me. I’m less about “Down with the Sickness”, and if I was down with the sickness, I wouldn’t be desperate enough to bring a HIGHLY INFECTIOUS VIRUS into an arena that holds 12,000 people.

What a goddamn tool.

The Circle is time in a flat

I’ve been cooped up, and it’s actually nice today. I think I’m contractually obliged to leave the house.

I’ve been watching so much of The Circle. I’m much more into the show than I expected. As a friend so adroitly put it, The Circle has its contestants doing all the stuff we love doing: Trolling, shit talking, catfishing and flirting. People can subvert social expectations and manipulate them. It’s all so insidious and conspiratorial. It’s also incredibly engrossing, because it’s accessible. We’ve all been hooked up to social media for long enough now that we’re used to how it plays out. We understand the medium, conventions, and how to use it. I can’t imagine anyone has watched this show without questioning how they’d act on the show. Would you catfish? Flirt shamelessly? Play as a heightened version of yourself? Would you just be yourself? The show has folks playing as themselves, but with attractive pictures of someone else. Is that a winning strategy?

Naturally I’ve been playing this game with myself. Who would I be? I turned the show off last night, then spent hours in bed with my eyes closed and my gears turning. What aspects of myself would I try to play up? I feel like saying I’m a New Zealander would earn instant goodwill, but I’ve rarely if ever tried to capitalise on that in real life. I don’t mention it in dating profiles, because I’d rather have it as value added than an expected part of my personality. If people were messaging me just because I’m a Kiwi, then maybe they wouldn’t be giving me a fair appraisal. My personality is much more important than my heritage. But if I was playing a game with money on the line, would I be able to resist making myself a little more endearing? Feels cheap, but maybe?

Moreover, what parts of my personality would I lean into? I don’t like the idea of being insincere or dishonest. I wouldn’t dull my weird edges. I don’t know if I’d play it super safe either. I feel like I’d get more of a kick out of being authentic, doing my weird puns and jokes. I’d try to smooth out conflict if I could, and be friendly. You know how people in reality tv aren’t “here to make friends”? That would 1000% be my goal. Many contestants put “single” as a way to open up other strategies. I’d probably mention that I had a girlfriend, that we were open and poly, but I wasn’t really interested in flirting. It’s not that I dislike dating and its general ephemera, but I don’t think that would be leaning into my strengths. I’m not unattractive, but to lean on looks rather than personality would be a massive misstep.

Which begs the question of what kind of profile pictures I’d put up. It’s a big part of the series. As it goes on, contestants can add more pictures to showcase different parts of themselves. Invariably, people tend to go for a nice shot for the first one, something racier for their second, and an endearing photo for their third. I’ve got a couple of pleasant profile photos, I’d bank on fun costume-y shots for other ones. My goal would be to highlight my eccentricities without being alienating to “normies”. I think.

I do wonder how much goes on behind the scenes. I’m curious which private conversations we don’t see. I have no doubts that the selection of scenes we’re shown has been deliberately depicted to carry a narrative, and showcase certain characters. I’d just love to know who I would be within that narrative.

So while I do want to leave the house, I also kinda want to finish this series…

Goddamn ACMElennials

I think I got caught by a Wile-E Coyote trap.

Lately on my days off I’ve been going with a friend to his gym. It’s closer to home than mine are, and it’s nice to share the experience. We don’t work out together, but we generally do a little stretching, hop on a cardio machine, then do separate exercises and leave together. It’s been handy as an accountability tactic, which means a bunch to me. There are always days I really don’t want to be active, but being accountable to someone else helps me get out the door. I was walking to the gym when the successful hoodwink took place.

People here in Toronto throw out stuff all the time. They’ll put it out by the sidewalk. The rules generally are that you don’t take objects with fabric as a bedbugs avoidance tactic. Often though, people are ridding themselves of superfluous belongings. Over the years I’ve gotten wooden shelves, bathroom drawers, board games and a cast iron pan I nursed back to health. As I was walking to my friend’s gym today, I noticed a bong sitting on the side of the road. I thought that was bloody weird, brazen and almost endearing. I did not take the bong. I don’t often smoke from bongs, and I have no desire to make it a part of my home habits. If I did, I’m certain I’d spring the $20-$40 (I’m a square, I have no idea what a bong costs) to buy my own. Frankly, the only Bong I care about is the dude who directed Parasite. However, I stopped to look. There wasn’t just a bong. There was a pile of books, a pair of leather pants and some gumboots. Sitting in the middle of all this was a solitary can of tuna. My interest was piqued. It was spicy Thai chilli flavour, which is not my favourite. My girlfriend likes it though, and I’d eat a can if I didn’t have any yellowfin olive oil left.

I picked up the can and had a closer look. Everything seemed fine. I tested the foil seal, it was entirely intact. There were no puncture marks over the foil, all the edges were secure. I turned the can over in my hand, running my fingers along each side. I checked for any marks, dents, etc. The can was as fresh as the day it was factory sealed. The expiry was September 2020, loads of time. It all appeared too good to be true, so I did what any youngster who ascended to adulthood post Global Financial Crisis would do and I took it. Cans of tuna don’t grow on trees, y’know?

I know it sounds exactly like I’d accidentally knock a stick and have an oversized cardboard box trap me, but it didn’t happen. No anvils fell from clifftops. I saw zero sign of bombs or rocket powered rollerskates. I didn’t walk into a brick wall painted like a tunnel, nor did I get crushed by a train. I would have expected at minimum to be caught in a bear trap, but zilch occurred. The can is sitting on my kitchen table, and I’m giving it time on its own before integrating it in with the rest of my cupboard full of cans. Who knows? Maybe it’s filled with TNT or snakes. I bet this is how I get COVID-19. Nothing’s happened yet, but my eyes are peeled.

I can roadrun, but I can’t hide.

Check, please. I need something to watch

It’s time for an all new, all confident Leon.

Instead of telling people I know a thing or two about a topic, I’m gonna lead by saying that I know two things, and watch their goddamn jaws drop to the fucking floor.

I’ve figured out that I like dating shows. I enjoy putting on my judgey pants and trash talking the contestants. That said, I need to have characters to root for, and heavy handed production (think musical swells, obviously leading editing) makes me want to puke up my anus. Bravo TV kind of stuff is more trashy than I like. I just want to watch people go on dates, and make my own little hero/villain narratives, while vicariously judging all of their choices. Part of this was realising I’m actually quite into Married at First Sight: Couples Couch. To be clear, I think MAFS is super exploitative and gross, buuuut having live commentary from previous couples watching the episode is a really fascinating look at how different couples approach problem solving and issues. It’s quite engrossing. They’ll say things like “it sounds like she wants to ask for support, but by doing it in that way she’s directly antagonising him and pushing him away” or something. They talk about the situation in light of their own experiences, etc, and that’s kind of neat.

At a friend’s recommendation (that I later discovered wasn’t actually a personal recommendation, they just heard that the show existed) watched the first episode of Netflix’s Love is Blind last night. Egads, I hated it. Love is Blind, from the first episode at least, was goddamn boring. It felt like a combination of weak talent and terrible content selection. None of the contestants were charming, interesting or likeable. This seemed especially weird, because there were all these contestants who don’t get screen time. They seemed to fixate on four couples max. I want to hear about the virgin dude with the weird swollen Ken Doll face, aside from him just being a punch line. People are inherently fascinating, so how was the talent so milquetoast?

Moreover, the clips that the show chose were resoundingly uninteresting. Did they just not get any good material on film? Especially because everyone seems to be dialled up to 10. They’re so desperate to either make an impression on their potential partners or the audience, that it feels like people are acting. In the first episode you have a marriage proposal or two, which feels like an absurdly rushed and unearned timeline. MAFS at least lets you know what you’re in for right from the start. Love is Blind feels even more unrealistic, and potentially more exploitative. I’m not, however, sure who’s exploiting whom. Are participants just looking to parlay their appearance into a spin-off show or something? Garner minor celebrity and use this to further their own cultural capital? With Bravo TV stuff it’s usually unnecessarily trashy, but it felt like Netflix wanted this show to look classy. As a result it flies so close to the ground that it sorta flat lines.

What is the show for me, folks? I thought Dating Around was okay. I also think a good distinction is that I don’t like competitions. I like seeing people actually go on dates, where the conflict is will or won’t they match? I don’t care who “wins” the heart of the Bachelor, because that seems like an inherently stupid and flawed system. I want to see normal people in normal social situations and vicariously gauge how I’d treat the same situation. I want to watch things work out between two people, or collapse into a tyre fire.

Got any good show suggestions?

It’s me, I’m the one who watches

Well Watchmen was a goddamn satisfying endeavour.

I’m not gonna do spoilers. I don’t know what the statute of limitations on a highly critically regarded 2019 HBO show based off a popular graphic novel series is, but I feel like we’re still within it.

I like the Watchmen universe, and I rarely think about it. I read the graphic novels in my early 20s and thought they were fantastic. Totally gripping. The Snyder film came along and it was kind of meh. It had a slavish reverence for the source material, right down to framing. The only times they tried anything different were when they changed the action to better reflect the popular Wushu trend The Matrix brought in, and Snyder’s trademark brand of unnecessary slow motion/zoom shit.

I came into the Watchmen TV show expecting a dour rumination on racial politics in a small American town. Instead I got a vibrant and colourful show, caked in bizarre and specific humour. Watchmen is endlessly imaginative and actually builds on the IP it inherited in fascinating ways. The racial politics aren’t remotely throw away. Instead the show uses its platform to examine themes of racially motivated violence, prejudice, and inherited intergenerational trauma. Unlike the Snyder film, they deviate from the source material in ways that only strengthen the world-building. Much like the Snyder film, the needle drops are a little on the nose, but not enough to bring down the show.

The structure of the series is awesome too. The first half centres around developing its most prominent characters. It builds up a butt-ton of mysteries, and ties them up in the back few episodes in a pretty satisfying manner. There’s nuance to the characters, and their trauma is a pathway into greater understanding of the society they inhabit. It also has this nice little trick that it does a few times. It’ll put you into a scene where you’re like, okay this is slightly weird, but I guess I’m in. Then it’ll zoom out just a little bit and you’ll be like oh, OH SHIT.

I think over time I’ve become naturally hardened to reboots, etc. When there are so many new ideas waiting out there in the wings, it’s massively disappointing to be fed the same old content. Yes, there are only 7 types of stories, etc, but there are infinite untold ways to tell those stories and so much colour with which to inhabit a world. At the same time, I do understand that corporations are hesitant to waste money, so they rely on pre-sold content. A Star Wars will always make money, because at least a certain number of people will watch a Star Wars. In this post MCU landscape, it’s not like people don’t make new superhero IP or adaptations all the time. People love The Boys, right? I didn’t see any reason for a new Watchmen show to exist, and I’m happy to say in writing how wrong I was. Watchmen is not a reboot, but actually builds upon the original in all new ways. It’s not pointless, they used their big platform to tell a new story that raised all sorts of interesting quandaries, ideas and themes. Dare I say that I’d be open to more of this stuff?

On that note, how is Hulu’s High Fidelity reboot?

Does his wife also call him Sandman?

My arsehole is still unclenching from Uncut Gems.

Egads, what a film. I’m gonna work hard not to do plot spoilers here, but I would like to talk a little about the structure of the movie, and why it was so affecting. The first thing I really noticed was how tightly it was filmed. I think I counted perhaps one or two Full Shots in the entire film. Mostly it veered between Medium Shots and Close Ups. It’s unusual. As audiences we’re used to seeing a bunch of establishing shots, letting us know about the setting, giving us time to adjust. They often provide context and serve as a conduit for coming to grips with the world that the central characters inhabit. Uncut Gems says fuck that noise. It’s in your face from the start. I wholeheartedly recommend taking a deep breath before you begin, because the movie ain’t gonna give you many chances to take others. If the incredibly tight framing wasn’t enough to encourage claustrophobia, the soundtrack doesn’t help. Nigh continual dialogue. Stressful conversations that get layered atop each other in a stack, as different groupings of characters intersect within a scene. If that wasn’t enough, the music doesn’t stop. I felt a bit misdirected by hearing instrumental 80s style synths at the beginning, but it’s a very stylised choice. The constant noise means that you’re never off the hook. The music helps sustain tension even during otherwise benign conversations.

The film was also a blast to watch. The trials would ratchet up one after another, and the decisions got worse and worse. There were unpredictable twists and turns, creating an experience of ever-present tension. I’d heard some stuff beforehand, so made sure to invite over a friend who would be okay with us gripping the shit out of each other’s hands. Sandler was almost unrecognisable as he vanished into a bizarre character. He lurched around like a goblin, strange gait and a sort of shagginess. His character was unequivocally an asshole, but had a strange charm. Like, his determination in the face of rising adversity was insurmountable. Every now and again he’d take control of a conversation in a charismatic kind of fashion. I begrudgingly found myself rooting for him, if perhaps only for the people in his life who didn’t deserve the consequences of his poorly planned actions.

I heavily recommend Uncut Gems, but keep in mind that you could easily hate it. It’s a difficult watch in many ways, but it’s also quite the incredible experience. If you’re okay with having your emotions rocked for two plus hours, this is your film. If you’re also constantly supporting an Adam Sandler redemptive arc, this is your film. If you still want to complain about snubs even though The Oscars went pretty okay the other day, THIS IS YOUR FILM.

Hits from the Bong

BONG-HIVE ACTIVATE.

Wow oh wow, I expected nothing from this year’s Oscars ceremony, and I kind of wished I watched now. I’ve been campaigning pretty hard for Parasite to sweep for some time, and expected to be triply disappointed when it lost everything but Best International Picture. Instead the word of mouth grew person by person and spread across critics and Twitter pundits alike. Breathtakingly, the groundswell found its way right up the ivory tower of The Academy, where international films and movies made for women rarely find purchase. Very similar to, I dunno, A FUCKING PARASITE. I’m loving so much about its win. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve watched this unbelievably touching moment. Y’know, Vulture has already put a piece together. Soak it in. AND our boy Taika is finally an Oscar winner. Much deserved, for a fantastic creative individual and someone who isn’t afraid to call out his beloved country on its own shit.

I’ve also been spending the day trying to get a bunch of stuff together. We’ve been working with our realtor on finding a place, and there are a bunch of things we need to have together. ID, pay stubs, references, credit stuff. I tried going through Trans Union today and had my same ol’ struggles. I dunno. Somewhere along the line, someone at one of the credit unions put some of my details into the system incorrectly. I think they put my first and last name in the wrong way around or something. It’s thrown off a bunch of things behind the scenes, and created non-stop headaches for me over the years. Last night I tried getting a Credit Disclosure (which is a thing you can get free in Canada online. It doesn’t have your credit score, but it has other relevant info) and it gave me an error. It said I couldn’t get the disclosure online for some reason. With the day off today and little but fatigue under my belt, I figured I’d get to the bottom of things. But of course, these companies are not set up to help you. They endlessly redirect you to other departments and try to shirk off responsibility as soon as possible. I went from one department to another, back to the first department but the call got dropped and I had to start out over again. THEN I talked to someone useful at the second place, who told me very succinctly and helpfully what I had to do and say to get help. That apparently there were errors in my account that needed to be fixed, and that the first person had all the tools to do it. They told me that honestly, I was better immediately escalating to a supervisor who would actually help me. Then in the end, the supervisor couldn’t solve my issue but said I’d be fine with just getting info from Credit Karma. Bye bye to those three hours specifically, I guess.

Despite all that mess, Bong’s win has put me in an unstoppable good mood. 2019 was a great year for cinema. Interesting, challenging films. A ton of necessary (and plain fun) discourse. Scorsese dunked on Joker a bunch, and while I saw more films than I normally would, I still have so many great ones to watch: Uncut Gems, Little Women, Portrait of a Lady on Fire, The Lighthouse, Midsommar, Knives Out. If only we didn’t live under the cloud of constant dystopia, we’d be in a golden age.

Wrack some racks son

I have eaten very little today.

I’ve had no room. Yesterday was my friend’s birthday, and I did not stop eating. It’s like it was my birthday or something. Firstly, we went to Cats. A bunch of us. Upon viewing it for a second time, slightly less high than the first, I had a revelation. On my first viewing I was so high, and I don’t think I heard almost any song lyrics. I didn’t follow along, I garnered meaning like an animal. I was all facial expressions and intonations. Naturally, I was terrified. Why were so many inexplicably senseless things happening, and why was it all permeated with an aura of menace? This time, I actually heard the lyrics. Turns out, the nightmare was real. It’s still a terrible movie even if you’re following. Maybe worse. I still have more questions. Like, it’s ostensibly they’re in a human’s London, but they’re scurrying around. Why then, do the humans have so many cat pun based stores? Why do they go to the Catsino, not a casino? Are the Cats held in a venerated position? They shouldn’t be. Jellicle cats are a plague, of a lower caste than normal cats. They seek only to sew misery and do the bidding of Eros. That Skimbleshanks song though? It’s a banger. This screening was far more intimate, and invited a bunch of interaction. We did drum roles, heckled, and did a full theatre sing-a-long to Mr Mistoffelees. I might wait a while for my third viewing.

After the film we piled back to my birthday friend’s house, and her boyfriend started serving up snacks. He’s a chef, and he’d relished a chance to make some great meals for us all. We started with smoked oka, sharp cheddar, challah bread and raspberry jam. There were barbecued chicken chunks, a mac & cheese pie, and home made fried chicken. A rack of lamb draped with pomegranate seeds and pistachios, flanked by a balsamic reduction. Buttered cod with chilli slices. He even made mini sunny side up crostini with spiced sausage, quail eggs and chilli rinds. Oh, and for dessert we had strawberries covered with frozen nutella, speckles of some ground nut over the top. Ice cream for good measure. I earned my keep as The Bone King and demolished many a bone. My friends paid homage, and gifted me their lamb bones to strip. I spent almost the entire night eating, and it was divine.

Today? I’ve eaten a protein bar and a sandwich. It’s 6pm. I’m anything but hungry.

LOLd into a false sense of security

Welp, I watched Joker. Spoilers for Joker will follow. If you don’t want them, please don’t read this.

SoJoker was.. a movie? I dunno, I’m having a hard time with this one. It wasn’t a capital B/M Bad Movie, but it also wasn’t good. It had a great cast who tried their absolute best with what they were given, but therein the problem lies. The film wanted to be Serious. It wanted to have A Message, but a lot of that got garbled up with genre problems and a difficulty with what it wanted realism to mean. The movie had a bunch of fun set pieces, and a cluster of modern ideas relevant to inflammatory social issues. It seemed like it wanted to say things about mental illness, about protest culture, literal class warfare and rampant inequality.

Unfortunately, it couldn’t escape from its own trappings. For all of its ambition to raise beyond comic book stakes, it played out like a cartoon. Peoples’ reactions were nearly always wildly out of proportion. I’ve never been to Gotham, but it seems that pedestrians hand out arse kickings like greetings. It’s literally unbelievable how many times people beat the shit out of Arthur while he’s curled up on the ground. Nobody seems to be able to act like an ordinary person. Most characters’ delivery is garishly over the top and the dialogue is trash. Just clunky as shit. Unnecessary roughness all the way down. The film takes a complex series of interrelated societal issues and makes sure you got the point. Everything is triple underlined, with all the subtlety of a cast iron pan to the face. A protester runs past at some point with a sign that says “RESIST”. No further context or explanation. It’s all shallow, surface level stuff. It wants to be greater than the sum of its material but as Scorsese himself said “I saw clips of it. I know it. So it’s like, why do I need to? I get it. It’s fine.” The price is on the can, yo.

It’s hard not to have sympathy for Arthur, a character that Phoenix disappears into. He’s a wretched creature, literal skin and bones, and his laughing affliction is genuinely affecting in its scope. We see the difficulty he has with simple social interactions, and it’s heartbreaking. It just sucks that all the peripheral characters behave like anthropomorphised cardboard cutouts. Of course, because it’s a DC film, Bruce Wayne gets shoehorned in, and it directly cheapens the movie. I’ve got no issue with fanservice, but the Joker character created in this film is not the Joker we love. He’s emotionally stunted and fragile, a simple and kind man relentlessly kicked around by the world he inhabits. He’s not, however, clever. He isn’t a criminal mastermind. Even giving the film a ton of leeway, assuming that this was all hiding behind his myriad of medications, for instance, is stretching suspension of disbelief too far. Aside from shooting his beloved talk show host, this Joker character doesn’t commit crime with intention. The actions he’s eventually praised for were accidental, or a byproduct of other decisions. He’s a symbol for a movement, but he’s not an architect. If we’re to believe that the riot he birthed resulted in Bruce’s parents’ death, it’s impossible to see this Joker as an adversary for this Bruce’s Batman. Or at least, he wouldn’t be a super capable one. If this was an unrelated movie to the franchise, honestly it probably would’ve read a lot better. But it wasn’t, and this film has no right to the Best Picture or Best Adapted Screenplay categories.

2019 was a great year for film. This wasn’t one of them.

If you must Call Me By My Name it’s Pauly, Pauly Shore

Okay, it’s time to finish this nonsense. I’ve been snarky over a film I haven’t seen for too long. I’m watching Joker.

Honestly, before all the hubbub, I had interest in seeing the movie. I like Joaquin Phoenix a bunch. I loved You Were Never Really There, hard to watch as it was. I don’t really care much for superhero films these days, but a mashup of Scorsese stylings and King of Comedy sounded enjoyable enough. Then came the cavalcade of critics. Joker was irresponsible, mediocre at best or just plain trying too hard. The refrain of We Live In A Society rebounded in my brain and I found the concept of watching it harder to justify. Then it got an eight minute standing ovation at the Venice Film Festival, and I didn’t know what to think. Film Twitter produced meme up meme about its unremarkability being put on a pedestal. Other people were like look, it’s an enjoyable film, just ignore the critics. But there was so much snark that I had trouble pulling my head out of my arse. I didn’t watch the film.

It got 11 Oscar nominations. I have such little faith in The Academy that I don’t take the nominations as a sign of its certain quality, but now I feel like I have to know. Is this film actually good? Did The Academy want to stir up controversy? Or was it just that the movie made so much fucking money? In any case, it worked. I’m watching the film tonight to discover for myself how I feel. Mostly I’ve been shitting on it for long enough that, without having a concrete opinion, I feel like a fraud. Who knows? I might actually really like the film. I’m doing my best to, despite my innate bias, give it a fair shot. Look, I’m crabby that The Farewell didn’t get nominated for Best Picture. I’m also quite excited to see Uncut Gems, and from what I’ve heard it should’ve been in contention. The thought that in any universe I could precede Sandler’s name with Academy Award Winning Actor is a dream brought crashing to the ground. I’m gutted that they’re obviously gonna give Best Foreign Picture to Parasite so they don’t have to give it Best Picture too. That’ll probably go to 1917 or Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood, but who can tell?

It’s been a surprisingly robust year for cinema, despite the endless onslaught of Disney produced franchise films. My list of what I haven’t seen greatly outweighs those I have. Word of mouth has convinced me that Knives Out, Little Women, Portrait of a Lady on Fire and The Lighthouse should be on my shortlist, to join Us and Midsommar. Goddamn what a happening year. I don’t know if I’ll have time to watch The Irishman, when I could lend that time to seeing Toni Erdmann instead. It’s funny, but I go through these motions every year. I put together a stack of films to watch, and don’t get around to it. I just found 2017’s one: Molly’s Game, Call Me By Your Name and The Shape of Water. How could I get this far without having seen that hot and steamy fish sex story? A bodice ripper to be shore.

GET IT? TO BE SHORE?