Posted in Pop Culture

Friday Favorites (aka Where I blabber about things that I love): Oscar Contenders

Summer movie blockbuster season is long gone and we are coming to the end of the drought of good movies known as September and October (I was excited for Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children but it failed to live up to my movie-snob-and-I’ve-read-the-book-expectations). In the coming weeks is that time of year when the studios start to release films that they want to be considered for the Academy Awards. As a movie nerd to the nth degree, I rub my hands together in gleeful anticipation. The following three trailers are for movies that have a lot of buzz around them.

First up is La La Land. It opens with Ryan Gosling singing, playing piano, and whistling (be still my heart!). Jewel tones saturate the sky, Emma Stone’s wardrobe, and Los Angeles landmarks like Griffith Observatory, the ocean, and movie lots. They are not shy about showing us that this is a romantic musical about dreamers. Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone look longingly into the distance and smile broadly at each other in dark crowded rooms. The movie premiered at the Toronto Film Festival where it won the audience award for best feature film.

Denis Villaneuve’s Arrival is a sci-fi flick that stars Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner. Over the past few years I have found myself favoring science fiction and fantasy movies over other kinds. Star Wars is where I entered the nerd kingdom and E.T. and Close Encounters of the Third Kind assured me that I belonged there. In college I did a report on Orson Welles’ reading of War of the Worlds over the radio, leading listeners to believe that it was actually happening (is it only me that thinks that would be AWESOME??). The story is about an alien invasion of Earth. The plot is well covered territory in Hollywood. But this one stands out. The trailer opens with Amy Adams playing with her daughter and is overlapped by air horn sirens and groups of people moving with urgency. Adams is recruited by the military in the middle of the night because she is a top translator. She risks herself to communicate with the aliens. The trailer doesn’t give away much (thank goodness) but sets up the story to be a fine line between peace and war with the visitors. The atmosphere feels subtle but sinister. The Rotten Tomatoes rating is 100%, which is just daring you not to see it.

Loving opens with a symbol of love-Richard Loving (Joel Edgerton) promising his wife Mildred (Ruth Negga) that he will build her a home. This is the story of the Lovings, an interracial married couple sent to prison in 1958. It is directed by Jeff Nichols, one of my favorite directors (Take Shelter with Michael Shannon and Jessica Chastain is a must see). There is nothing complicated about the story. Love is the motivation. It makes you fear for this couple who are being punished for falling in love. But their fight and Mildred’s faith (“We may lose the small battles but win the big war”) brought me to tears. I can’t think of anything else to say without sounding corny so just go watch it.

I hope you have a go to list of things that make you happy and you get to enjoy them over the weekend. Thanks for reading!

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Making a mad dash for the happy. Stay hydrated my friends.

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