My 2016 Oscar predictions

Art is subjective so awarding a movie as the best is meaningless yet we all still love the Oscars as they can give movies extra attention and a longer lifespan. Here are my predictions for how tonight will go down. It’s either going to be a big night for The Revenant or they will decide to give some awards to a good movie instead.

 

Best Picture

The Big Short

Bridge of Spies

Brooklyn

Mad Max: Fury Road

The Martian

The Revenant

Room

Spotlight

 

Should win: The Big Short or Spotlight

Will win: The Big Short. It’s Hollywood tackling a big issue in a way only a movie can. They love that stuff. The Revenant has all the buzz right now but it reminds me of the buzz that Boyhood and American Hustle had before the ceremonies and they ended up losing.

Should have been nominated: Creed, Steve Jobs, Inside Out, Star Wars: The Force Awakens and The Hateful Eight

 

Best Director

Adam McKay, The Big Short

George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road

Alejandro G. Iñárritu, The Revenant

Lenny Abrahamson, Room

Tom McCarthy, Spotlight

 

Should win: Adam McKay

Will win: George Miller.

Should have been nominated: Ridley Scott for The Martian

 

Best Actor

Bryan Cranston, Trumbo

Matt Damon, The Martian

Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant

Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs

Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl

 

Should win: Michael Fassbender

Will win: Leonardo DiCapprio. People love the narrative of someone being “due”. DiCapprio’s next project is with Scorsese so I’m hoping a better performance wins tonight.

Should have been nominated: Michael B. Jordon for Creed

 

Best Actress

Cate Blanchett, Carol

Brie Larson, Room

Jennifer Lawrence, Joy

Charlotte Rampling, 45 Years

Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn

 

Should win: Brie Larson

Will win: Brie Larson

Should have been nominated: I’m actually surprised that Meryl Streep wasn’t given an obligatory nomination for Ricki and the Flash.

 

Best Supporting Actor

Christian Bale, The Big Short

Tom Hardy, The Revenant

Mark Ruffalo, Spotlight

Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies

Sylvester Stallone, Creed

 

Should win: Sylvester Stallone

Will win: Sylvester Stallone. Seriously, go see Creed.

Should have been nominated: Jacob Tremblay for Room and Samuel L. Jackson for The Hateful Eight.

 

Best Supporting Actress

Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight

Rooney Mara, Carol

Rachel McAdams, Spotlight

Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl

Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs

 

Should win: Jennifer Jason Leigh

Will win: This category is tough to guess but I think that Kate Winslet might win. Leomania is back to an all-time high and people who love DiCapprio probably loved her in Titanic as well.

 

Best Original Screenplay

Bridge of Spies

Ex Machina

Inside Out

Spotlight

Straight Outta Compton

 

Should win: Inside Out

Will win: Spotlight

Should have been nominated: Quentin Tarantino gave us his most unique movie since Pulp Fiction with The Hateful Eight.

 

 

Best Adapted Screenplay

The Big Short

Brooklyn

Carol

The Martian

Room

 

Should win: The Big Short

Will win: The Big Short

Should have been nominated: Creed. Ryan Coogler was able to breath life into a forty year-old franchise and wrote the best Rocky movie yet. An argument can also be made for Star Wars: The Force Awakens as it is the only Star Wars movie with good dialogue.

 

Best Animated Feature

Anomalisa

Boy and the World

Inside Out

Shaun the Sheep Movie

When Marnie Was There

 

Should win: Inside Out

Will win: Inside Out

 

Best Foreign Language Film

Embrace of the Serpent

Mustang

Son of Saul

Theeb

A War

 

Should win: I’ve seen none of the movies.

Will win: Son of Saul

 

Best Documentary Feature

Amy

Cartel Land

The Look of Silence

What Happened, Miss Simone?

Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom

 

Should win: I’ve seen none of the movies.

Will win: Amy

 

Best Cinematography

Carol

The Hateful Eight

Mad Max: Fury Road

The Revenant

Sicario

 

Should win: The Hateful Eight

Will win: Sicario. Common wisdom suggests Emmanuel Lubezki will win for The Revenant. However, he’s already won two in a row. Roger Deakins has been nominated for thirteen Oscars and has yet to win one. He’s the one people should be talking about being “due” for an Oscar.

Should have been nominated: Maryse Alberti for Creed. If we love Lubezki for long tracking shots then we have to have the one-shot boxing match in Creed.

 

Best Film Editing

The Big Short

Mad Max: Fury Road

The Revenant

Spotlight

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

 

Should win: The Big Short

Will win: Mad Max: Fury Road

 

Best Production Design

Bridge of Spies

The Danish Girl

Mad Max: Fury Road

The Martian

The Revenant

 

Should win: Mad Max: Fury Road

Will win: Mad Max: Fury Road

Should have been nominated: Crimson Peak

 

Best Costume Design

Carol

Cinderella

The Danish Girl

Mad Max: Fury Road

The Revenant

 

Should win: Mad Max: Fury Road

Will win: Cinderella. This award always goes to the movie that looks the most like a Jane Austen novel.

Should have been nominated: Crimson Peak

 

Best Original Score

Bridge of Spies

Carol

The Hateful Eight

Sicario

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

 

Should win: The Hateful Eight

Will win: The Hateful Eight. Ennio Morricone is an iconic composer who has never won before.

Should have been nominated: Disasterpeace for It Follows

 

Best Original Song

“Earned It,” 50 Shades Of Grey

“Manta Ray,” Racing Extinction

“Simple Song #3,” Youth

“Til It Happens to You,” The Hunting Ground

“Writing’s on the Wall,” Spectre

 

Should win: “Til It Happens to You”

Will win: “Til It Happens to You”. It’s a good song about a relevant issue by a popular and great singer.

Should have been nominated: “See You Again” by Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth from Furious 7

 

Best Visual Effects

Ex Machina

Mad Max: Fury Road

The Martian

The Revenant

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

 

Should win: Mad Max: Fury Road or The Martian

Will win: Mad Max: Fury Road

 

Best Makeup & Hairstyling

Mad Max: Fury Road

The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out a Window and Disappeared

The Revenant

 

Should win: Mad Max: Fury Road or The Revenant

Will win: Mad Max: Fury Road

Should have been nominated: Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Finn’s hair is already iconic and when I go gray I want my hair to look like Harrison Ford’s.

 

Best Sound Mixing

Bridge of Spies

Mad Max: Fury Road

The Martian

The Revenant

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

 

Should win: Mad Max: Fury Road

Will win: Mad Max: Fury Road

 

Best Sound Editing

Mad Max: Fury Road

The Martian

The Revenant

Sicario

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

 

Should win: Mad Max: Fury Road

Will win: Mad Max: Fury Road

 

Best Documentary Short

Body Team 12

Chau Behind the Lines

Claude Lanzman

A Girl in the River

Last Day of Freedom

 

Should win: I’ve seen none of these.

Will win: Body Team 12

 

Best Live Action Short Film

Ave Maria

Day One

Everything Will Be Okay

Shok

Stutterer

 

Should win: I’ve seen none of these

Will win: Ave Maria

 

Best Animated Short Film

Bear Story

Prologue

Sanjay’s Super Team

We Can’t Live Without Cosmos

World of Tomorrow

 

Should win: I’ve seen none of these

Will win: Sanjay’s Super Team

My 2015 Oscar predictions

There were some absolutely amazing movies in 2014. Unfortunately, the Oscars didn’t think so so they nominated a bunch of pandering, empty, manipulative schlock like The Imitation Game, The Theory of Everything and the Plastic Baby in American Sniper for awards they don’t deserve but will probably win. A lot of these categories are less obvious and are more competitive than last year so it will be an interesting show to watch. A lot of it is going to come down between Birdman and Boyhood.

Unfortunately, Boyhood has received a weird amount of backlash in the past few months for not having a plot. I would rather have no plot in a movie then a narrative mess that is less interesting than the Wikipedia page that it’s based on like The Imitation Game.

They picked one of the few surviving cast members of How I Met Your Mother (although, they may as well have killed off of Barney in those final minutes as they wiped out nine years of character development with a single scene) so expect a tame ceremony. I bet the ceremony will only go twenty minutes over.

Here are my predictions for the Oscars.

Best Picture

Boyhood

The Imitation Game

Birdman

The Theory of Everything

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Whiplash

Selma

American Sniper

Should win: Boyhood or Whiplash

Will win: Boyhood

 

Best Actress

Julianne Moore, Still Alice

Reese Witherspoon, Wild

Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl

Felicity Jones, The Theory of Everything

Marion Cotillard, Two Days, One Night

Should win: I’ve only seen two of these movies

Will win: Julianne Moore

 

Best Actor

Michael Keaton, Birdman

Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything

Benedict Cumberbatch, The Imitation Game

Steve Carell, Foxcatcher

Bradley Cooper, American Sniper

Should win: Steve Carell or the unnominated Jake Gyllenhaal

Will win:  Michael Keaton for being a comeback story or Eddie Redmayne for a physical performance. Likely Keaton.

 

Best Supporting Actor

J.K. Simmons, Whiplash

Edward Norton, Birdman

Ethan Hawke, Boyhood

Mark Ruffalo, Foxcatcher

Robert Duvall, The Judge

Should win: J.K. Simmons

Will win: J.K. Simmons

 

Best Supporting Actress

Patricia Arquette, Boyhood

Emma Stone, Birdman

Keira Knightley, The Imitation Game

Meryl Streep, Into the Woods

Laura Dern, Wild

Should win: Patricia Arquette

Will win: Patricia Arquette, but only because she is due for her role in Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors

 

Best Director

Richard Linklater, Boyhood

Alejandro González Iñárritu, Birdman

Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel

Morten Tyldum, The Imitation Game

Bennett Miller, Foxcatcher

Should win: Richard Linklater or Bennett Miller

Will win: Richard Linklater

 

Best Adapted Screenplay

Graham Moore, The Imitation Game

Anthony McCarten, The Theory of Everything

Damien Chazelle, Whiplash

Jason Hall, American Sniper

Paul Thomas Anderson, Inherent Vice

Should win: Gone Girl if it was nominated

Will win: The Imitation Game, because people like their dialogue cheap like a BBC TV movie.

 

Best Original Screenplay

Alejandro González Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Armando Bo, Birdman

Richard Linklater, Boyhood

Wes Anderson and Hugo Guinness, The Grand Budapest Hotel

Dan Gilroy, Nightcrawler

Dan Futterman and E. Max Frye, Foxcatcher

Should win: Nightcrawler

Will win: Grand Budapest Hotel

 

Best Foreign Film

Ida (Poland)

Leviathan (Russia)

Tangerines (Estonia)

Timbuktu (Mauritania)

Wild Tales (Argentina)

Should win: Ida

Will win: Ida

 

Best Documentary Feature

Citizenfour

Last Days in Vietnam

Virunga

Finding Vivian Maier

The Salt of the Earth

Should win: I’ve seen none of these

Will win: Citizenfour

 

Best Animated Feature

Big Hero 6

How to Train Your Dragon 2

The Boxtrolls

Song of the Sea

The Tale of Princess Kaguya

Should win: The LEGO Movie should have dominated

Will win: How to Train Your Dragon 2

 

Film Editing

American Sniper

Boyhood

The Grand Budapest Hotel

The Imitation Game

Whiplash

Should win: Boyhood

Will win: Boyhood

 

Best Song

Gregg Alexander, Danielle Brisebois, Nick Lashley, and Nick Southwood, “Lost Stars” (Begin Again)

John Legend and Common, “Glory” (Selma)

Shawn Patterson, Joshua Bartholomew, Lisa Harriton, and The Lonely Island, “Everything Is Awesome” (The Lego Movie)

Diane Warren, “Grateful” (Beyond the Lights)

Glen Campbell, “I’m Not Gonna Miss You” (Glen Campbell … I’ll Be Me)

Should win: Everything is Awesome, but Miss Piggy and Celine Dion should have been nominated for “Something So Right”

Will win: Glory

 

Best Original Score

Johann Johannsson, The Theory of Everything

Alexandre Desplat, The Imitation Game

Alexandre Desplat, The Grand Budapest Hotel

Hans Zimmer, Interstellar

Gary Yershon, Mr. Turner

Should win: Why wasn’t Gone Girl nominated?

Will win: The Theory of Everything

 

Best Cinematography

Emmanuel Lubezki, Birdman

Dick Pope, Mr. Turner

Robert D. Yeoman, The Grand Budapest Hotel

Ryszard Lenczewski and Łukasz Żal, Ida

Roger Deakins, Unbroken

Should win: Birdman

Will win: Birdman

 

Costume Design

Colleen Atwood, Into the Woods

Anna B. Sheppard and Jane Clive, Maleficent

Milena Canonero, The Grand Budapest Hotel

Jacqueline Durran, Mr. Turner

Mark Bridges, Inherent Vice

Should win: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Will win: The Grand Budapest Hotel

 

Makeup and Hairstyling

Bill Corso and Dennis Liddiard, Foxcatcher

Frances Hannon and Mark Coulier, The Grand Budapest Hotel

Elizabeth Yianni-Georgiou and David White, Guardians of the Galaxy

Should win: Foxcatcher

Will win: The Grand Budapest Hotel

 

Production Design

Adam Stockhausen and Anna Pinnock, The Grand Budapest Hotel

Suzie Davies and Charlotte Watts, Mr. Turner

Dennis Gassner and Anna Pinnock, Into the Woods

Nathan Crowley, Gary Fettis, and Paul Healy, Interstellar

Maria Djurkovic and Tatiana Macdonald, The Imitation Game

Should win: The Grand Budapest Hotel. Snowpiercer looked really cool too and I wish it was nominated.

Will win: The Grand Budapest Hotel

 

Sound Editing

Alan Robert Murray and Bub Asman, American Sniper

Martín Hernández and Aaron Glascock, Birdman

Brent Burge and Jason Canovas, The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies

Richard King, Interstellar

Becky Sullivan and Andrew DeCristofaro, Unbroken

Should win: Birdman

Will win: American Sniper, they made a terrible looking plastic baby sound like a real baby.

 

Sound Mixing

American Sniper

Birdman

Unbroken

Interstellar

Whiplash

Should win: Interstellar, LOL JK. That movie had the worst Sound Mixing I have ever heard in a movie. You can’t even hear the dialog over the music. Even The Room did a better job. You shouldn’t even notice sound mixing in a movie if it is done right. Wow, that movie was bad. Oh yeah, Whiplash should win

Will win: Whiplash

 

Visual Effects

Interstellar

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Guardians of the Galaxy

X Men: Days of Future Past

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Should win: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Will win: Interstellar, for making visuals we didn’t see but made Anne Hathaway look like she was going to break down crying again. Oh, and TARS was cool.

 

Short Film, Live Action

Oded Binnun and Mihal Brezis, Aya (Chasis Films)

Michael Lennox, director, and Ronan Blaney, Boogaloo and Graham (Out of Orbit)

Hu Wei and Julien Féret, Butter Lamp (La Lampe au Beurre de Yak) (AMA Productions)

Talkhon Hamzavi and Stefan Eichenberger, Parvaneh (Zurich University of Arts)

Mat Kirkby, director and James Lucas, The Phone Call (RSA Films)

Should win: I’ve seen none of these. Where do you even go to get a chance to watch these movies?

Will win: The Phone Call, Too Many Cooks isn’t eligible right?

 

Short Film, Animated

Daisy Jacobs and Christopher Hees, The Bigger Picture (National Film and Television School)

Robert Kondo and Dice Tsutsumi, The Dam Keeper (Tonko House)

Patrick Osborne and Kristina Reed, Feast (Walt Disney Animation Studios)

Torill Kove, Me and My Moulton (Mikrofilm in co-production with the National Film Board of Canada)

Joris Oprins, A Single Life (Job, Joris & Marieke)

Should win: Feast

Will win: Feast, seriously it’s adorable.

 

Documentary Short Subject

Perry Films, Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1

Wajda Studio, Joanna

Warsaw Film School, Our Curse

Centro de Capacitación Cinematográfica, The Reaper (La Parka)

Weary Traveler, White Earth

Should win: I’ve seen none of these

Will win: Crisis Hotline

My 2015 Golden Globe predictions

It’s that time of the year again. The Golden Globes! Full of bribes and terrible nominations. At least the ceremony is usually more entertaining than the Oscars. Mind the terrible formatting, this was quickly slapped together.

Disclaimer: I have yet to see Selma which has been getting serious buzz.

 

Movies

Best Motion Picture- Drama

 

Boyhood

Foxcatcher

The Imitation Game

Selma

The Theory of Everything

 

Should win: Boyhood

Will win: Boyhood

 

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama

 

Steve Carell, Foxcatcher

 

Benedict Cumberbatch, The Imitation Game

 

Jake Gyllenhaal, Nightcrawler

 

David Oyelowo, Selma

 

Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything

 

Should win: Steve Carell

Will win: Eddie Redmayne

 

 

 

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama

 

 

Jennifer Aniston, Cake

 

Felicity Jones, The Theory of Everything

 

Julianne Moore, Still Alice

 

Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl

 

Reese Witherspoon, Wild

 

Should win: I haven’t seen 3 of these movies so I can’t judge, but I loved Rosamund Pike

Will win: Julianne Moore

 

Best Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical

 

Birdman

 

The Grand Budapest Hotel

 

Into the Woods

 

Pride

 

St. Vincent

 

Should win: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Will win: Birdman or Grand Budapest. I think Grand Budapest because it’s more of a pure comedy.

 

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical

 

Ralph Fiennes, The Grand Budapest Hotel

 

Michael Keaton, Birdman

 

Bill Murray, St. Vincent

 

Joaquin Phoenix, Inherent Vice

 

Christoph Waltz, Big Eyes

 

Should win: I haven’t seen three of these. But Michael Keaton was amazing

Will win: Michael Keaton

 

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy:

 

Amy Adams, Big Eyes

 

Emily Blunt, Into the Woods

 

Helen Mirren, The Hundred-Foot Journey

 

Julianne Moore, Maps to the Stars

 

Quvenzhané Wallis, Annie

 

Should win: N/A. I’ve seen none of these.

Will win: I honestly have no idea. Emily Blunt or Amy Adams?

 

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture

 

Patricia Arquette, Boyhood

 

Jessica Chastain, A Most Violent Year

 

Keira Knightley, The Imitation Game

 

Emma Stone, Birdman

 

Meryl Streep, Into The Woods

 

Should win: Patricia Arquette

WIll win: Patricia Arquette

 

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture

 

 

Robert Duvall, The Judge

 

Ethan Hawke, Boyhood

 

Edward Norton, Birdman

 

Mark Ruffalo, Foxcatcher

 

J.K. Simmons, Whiplash

 

Should win: Stacked category. I’m giving it to J.K. Simmons

Will win: J.K. Simmons

 

Best Director

 

Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel

 

Ava DuVernay, Selma

 

David Fincher, Gone Girl

 

Alejandro González Inñárritu, Birdman

 

Richard Linklater, Boyhood

 

Should win: Richard Linklater

Will win: Richard Linklater

 

Best Screenplay

 

Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel

 

Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl

 

Alejandro González Iñárritu, Birdman

 

Richard Linklater, Boyhood

 

Graham Moore, The Imitation Game

Should win: Anything but Imitation Game. I’m giving it to Gone Girl

Will win: Gone Girl

 

Best Foreign Language Film

 

Force Majeure Turist (Sweden)

 

Gett: The Trial of Viviane (Israel)

 

Ida (Poland/Denmark)

 

Leviathan (Russia)

 

Tangerines Madanriinid (Estonia)

 

Should win: Ida is one of the best movies I have ever seen.

Winn win: Ida is seriously one of the best movies I have ever seen.

 

Best Animated Feature Film

 

Big Hero 6

 

The Book of Life

 

The Boxtrolls

 

How to Train Your Dragon 2

 

The Lego Movie

 

Should win: The Lego Movie

Will win: The Lego Movie. Poor Baymax.

 

Best Original Song

 

“Big Eyes,” Big Eyes

 

“Glory,” Selma

 

“Mercy Is,” Noah

 

“Opportunity,” Annie

 

“Yellow Flicker Beat,” The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1

 

Should win: Everything is Awesome, Glory or Yellow Flicker Beat

Will win: Glory. The Globes love to be socially aware. Hence the U2 Mandela song win last year over Frozen.

 

Best Original Score

 

Johann Johannsson, The Theory of Everything

 

Alexandre Desplat, The Imitation Game

 

Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross, Gone Girl

 

Antonio Sanchez, Birdman

 

Hans Zimmer, Interstellar

 

Should win: Gone Girl

Will win: Either Interstellar or Theory of Everything. Probably Interstellar, it was the only thing good about the movie.

 

Television

 

Best Television Series – Drama

 

 

The Affair

 

Game of Thrones

 

Downton Abbey

 

The Good Wife

 

House of Cards

 

Should win: The Americans, The Leftovers or Mad Men which were better than almost all of these listed (I haven’t seen The Good Wife yet). Out of those I’d probably say Game of Thrones. Seriously, Downton Abbey was awful.

Will win: Game of Thrones or The Affair. Probably Game of Thrones

 

Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Drama

 

Clive Owen, The Knick

 

Liev Schreiber, Ray Donovan

 

Kevin Spacey, House of Cards

 

James Spader, The Blacklist

 

Dominic West,The Affair

 

Should win: Jon Hamm, Clive Owen? He’s at least received critical acclaim and buzz for his role.

Will win: Clive Owen or Kevin Spacey.

 

Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Drama

 

 

Claire Danes, Homeland

 

Viola Davis, How to Get Away with Murder

 

Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife

 

Ruth Wilson, The Affair

 

Robin Wright, House of Cards

 

Should win: Again, haven’t seen The Good Wife. But I heard great things. So Julianna Margulies.

Will win: Viola Davis

 

Best Television Series – Comedy

 

Girls

 

Jane the Virgin

 

Orange Is the New Black

 

Silicon Valley

 

Transparent

 

Should win: The best show of 2014, Transparent

Will win: Transparent. Seriously, watch it.

 

Best Performance by an Actor in Comedy Series

 

 

Louis CK, Louie

 

Don Cheadle, House of Lies

 

Ricky Gervais, Derek

 

William H. Macy, Shameless

 

Jeffrey Tambor, Transparent

 

Should win: Jeffrey Tambor

Will win: Jeffrey Tambor

 

 

 

Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy

 

Lena Dunham, Girls

 

Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie

 

Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep

 

Gina Rodriguez, Jane the Virgin

 

Taylor Schilling, Orange Is the New Black

 

Should win: Julia Louis-Dreyfus

Will win: Julia Louis-Dreyfus or Gina Rodriguez. Rodriguez might edge it out because the Globes love freshman shows

 

Best Performance by an Actress in a Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television:

 

Maggie Gyllenhaal, An Honorable Woman

 

Jessica Lange, American Horror Story: Freak Show

 

Frances McDormand, Olive Kitteridge

 

Frances O’Connor: The Missing

 

Allison Tolman, Fargo

Should win: I haven’t seen enough of these. Allison Tolman was amazing though

Will win: Not sure. I hope Allison Tolman. The buzz is in her or Frances McDormand’s favour. Probably McDormand.

 

Best Performance by an Actor in a Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television

 

Martin Freeman, Fargo

 

Woody Harrelson, True Detective

 

Matthew McConaughey, True Detective

 

Mark Ruffalo, The Normal Heart

 

Billy Bob Thornton, Fargo

 

Should win: Billy Bob Thornton or Matthew McConaughey

Will win: Matthew McConaughey

 

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television

 

Uzo Aduba, Orange is the New Black

 

Kathy Bates, American Horror Story: Freak Show

 

Joanne Froggatt, Downton Abbey

 

Allison Janney, Mom

 

Michelle Monaghan, True Detective

 

Should win: Probably someone not on this list. Carrie Coon, Lena Hedey, Elizabeth Moss, Kim Raver, Yvonne Strahovski, Kate Mulgrew, Anna Chlumsky, etc.

Will win: Allison Janney

 

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television

 

Matt Bomer, Normal Heart

 

Alan Cumming, Good Wife

 

Colin Hanks, Fargo

 

Bill Murray, Olive Kitteridge

 

Jon Voight, Ray Donovan

Should win: Someone not on this list. William Devane, Christopher Eccleston, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Pedro Pascal, Peter Dinklage, Tony Hale, Adam Driver, T.J. Miller, Christopher Evan Welch, Ty Burrell, etc. The list goes on. Out of these, probably Matt Bomer.

Will win: Matt Bomer. This is a dumb category. This and the supporting actress category should be split into at least three parts.

 

Best Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television

 

Fargo

 

The Missing

 

The Normal Heart

 

Olive Kitteridge

 

True Detective

 

Should win: Fargo or True Detective.

Will win: True Detective

Why I hated “Interstellar”

interstellar-feat

I’m going to talk about how Interstellar fails as a movie. This is a weird movie to talk about because of the Cult of Nolan. If you go to any review that gave it a negative or mixed review the comment sections will call the reviewer a contrarian hipster, say they don’t know how to watch a movie, or were confused about the science. Interstellar got thousands of 10-star reviews on IMDb months before it came out. People wanted this movie to be the best movie ever made. I’m in the camp that wanted it to be good. I used to love Christopher Nolan. The Dark Knight is one of my favourite movies ever made and the rest of his movies for me fall from “really good” to “excellent.” As of writing, Interstellar has a respectable 74% on Rotten Tomatoes. I am not writing this to be contrarian. I am writing this because I agree with the 26% of critics that say this is not a good movie. Even the positive reviews are relatively lukewarm. Interstellar shows that even the best directors can do wrong.

I am not going to talk about the science and how accurate it is (although this is a movie where Michael Caine tries to make a space ship out of cement). I am going to talk about how Christopher Nolan dropped the ball on writing a strong plot and used strong science as a crutch.  I am going to tag spoilers, so please join me as I talk about my most hated movie of the year.

First off, there are a few things that are good about Interstellar. The music by Hans Zimmer, by itself,  is absolutely amazing. This is one of Zimmer’s most original and powerful scores in years. The casting except for two glaring exceptions is fantastic and the acting is strong enough that they are able to sell the hell out of some really bad dialogue. The robots in this movie are very inventive in their design and will probably end up being the most iconic thing about the movie. The special effects in regards to worm holes and black holes look great  The elements of a good movie are here. However, if I make a steak dinner with the best steak but I still drown it in motor oil it’s not going to make for a great dining experience.

Interstellar is about love. The movie does not stop telling you that. It is also about exploration, ghosts, science and evil. So it really tackles the same things Star Wars did. But instead of an awe-inspiring space adventure, you got a three hour version of Qui-Gon Jinn explaining midichlorians to Anakin.

 

Interstellar takes place in a poorly painted world where food has run out due to crop disease. The only crop left is corn. There are no more wars because apparently food isn’t a resource people fight over like oil. In schools, they force everyone to become farmers and discourage people from becoming scientists and engineers like they were the Harper government. However, the illusion of this dying world isn’t seen. We are told that a lot of people have died off but we don’t see it. They talk about how food is running out but they still pounding back regular looking beers. It doesn’t stop Matthew McConaughey from driving through his corn field destroying acres of crop to chase a drone. It’s just like in Atlas Shrugged: Part I when they say that everyone is homeless and they show one homeless person to make the point. At least Atlas Shrugged showed you one homeless person.

I am going to be knit-picking this plot to shreds. It deserves it. Christopher Nolan has made so many great cerebral thrillers before that really make you think. However, this is not a thriller movie. It’s a basic drama set in a hard sci-fi setting. In movies like The Dark Knight Rises you may be able to forgive the fact that Joseph Gordon-Levitt is able to deduce Batman’s identity because he apparently has orphan powers, or the fact that Bruce Wayne was able to fly back to Gotham City from the middle of nowhere with no resources at all, or the fact that Bruce Wayne was able to escape a nuclear explosion so he sip coffee in France with Anne Hathaway but at least the movie felt like it was going somewhere. It was working towards an emotional ending. It skipped details so that it could spend more time with the characters and the interesting settings so it could bring us to an ending that was fitting for the main themes and plot of the trilogy. By slapping his name across every bit of promotion the movie had, Christopher Nolan promised us a Christopher Nolan movie which are usually strong in their logic, or at least have a good reason to gloss over elements of the plot. Nolan consistently offers us a “thinking person’s” movie but the more you think about it the more it collapses on itself.

SHOW DON’T TELL

Film is a visual medium. Directors are supposed to show you the action, not tell you about it. “Show don’t tell.” Nolan is a very visual director but he still decides to spoon feed the audience every metaphor and bit of symbolism into the audiences mouth with the subtlety of a jackhammer. The first time you hear a speech about love transcending time and space, you get the point. When you realize that lovey-dovey speeches make up half the dialogue of the movie it gets to the point where you want to stop being spoon-fed. A parent can spoon feed a toddler and say “Daddy Nolan loves you sweetiecakes,” but it’s going to get to the point where the toddler is full. Either the child is going to be passive during the feeding, or the child may get to the point and say “fuck off Daddy Nolan, I’m not hungry. Stop spoon feeding me.”

At some point between filming The Dark Knight and Inception, Christopher Nolan forgot how human beings talked. For a movie about humanity, Nolan feels like he is only studying humans from afar. He heard that humans like love songs on the radio and said “done! Humans must only like love!” and made a movie out of this disconnection. A lot of movies have terrible dialogue and still are able to push, but Interstellar thinks it’s audience is so dumb that they need to be reminded every few minutes what the central theme of the movie is about.

Interstellar is the Dora the Explorer of science fiction. It doesn't expect much brainpower.

Interstellar is the Dora the Explorer of science fiction. It doesn’t expect much brainpower.

There’s a hypothetical scenario about looking at subtext in works where a teacher asks the students “the curtains are blue, what does the author mean by that?” Most bitter students respond with “it means the curtains are blue.” Chances are the author didn’t mean to make the curtains into a giant essay about consumerism or second wave feminism, but if enough subtext is there throughout the entire work then you can make an argument about the curtains standing for something bigger. If a student were to write an essay about the themes of Interstellar it would be the easiest essay ever because Christopher Nolan spells out everything for you. Every other line of dialogue explains the concepts Nolan is exploring, reminds you of the plot or tells you how much characters love each other. It’s like Twilight, but with human extinction taking the place of Italian vampires.

The way that “love” is used as a concept is so basic. It is told about and sometimes shown. When it is shown we are told about it as well. If Interstellar had a clear antagonist, I bet that the good guy scientists would find some way to create a concentrated love cannon to defeat them like in Little Nicky. The Harry Potter books and movies obsessed over the concept of love as well but at least we saw it. We saw Harry Potter receive an absence of love from his adoptive aunt and uncle. Then we saw Harry receive unconditional love from a family of gingers, his classmates and teachers. The villain of Harry Potter was technically defeated because he had no love in his life, but really it was because he was killed by a spell. I do believe in love, but Christopher Nolan’s idea of love seems to be only on paper. Love to him is receiving dozens of Valentines from your classmates and believing that they are giving it to you because they believe you are the most important person ever, not because their mom forced them to write a card to everyone in the class. It’s artificial. It’s a good gesture, but it’s easy to see through.

"No Mom, I don't want to give Tyler a valentine. Ugh."

“No mom, I don’t want to give Tyler a valentine. Ugh.”

In Inception, Christopher Nolan created an amazing thriller with its own laws of reality. Because he was inviting viewers into this bizarre sandbox, he used Ellen Page’s character as a newbie to explain the concepts to the audience. As we had questions, Nolan answered them promptly. It made for a tight thriller that was not that confusing. In Interstellar, we are answered questions we didn’t even ask. In one scene the ship knocks some ice off an ice cloud. A character immediately says “that was an ice cloud!” We know. We just saw it. Nolan writes about wonder and seeing amazing things in his screenplay but he doesn’t connect these things with what we actually see or don’t see.

If the movie looked fantastic a lot of these issues we could move past. But the framing of this movie is really poorly done. The shots of space for the most part look like Christopher Nolan slapped a Go-Pro camera on the port side of a model ship and started swinging the ship in a circular fashion. It may be realistic, but he could have at least tried out some different sides of the ship to make it more interesting. There are a few big shots of planets and space that look beautiful but they aren’t anything to brag home about. Similar scenes in Tree of Life and 2001: A Space Odyssey jumped out more. Too many scenes are closely framed on the actors faces, usually of Matthew McConaughey looking in awe or of doe-eyed Anne Hathaway looking like she’s on the break of dreaming a dream. The further I get from the movie the more the more powerful shots slip away. Probably because Nolan changed aspect ratios a lot during the movie. Many scenes that are supposed to be more personal and emotional are unfocused because the size of the image is changed and expanded. Blurry shots of Matthew McConaughey really jump out when you are expecting the crisp clarity your $15 AVX ticket promised you. In other Nolan movies, he switched aspect ratios for scenes he shot with different cameras. The IMAX action scenes in The Dark Knight were not inter cut with non-IMAX shot scenes. The film never looked blurry or grainy because of the sizing swap.

Do not expect Interstellar to make an appearance in the nomination list for editing or sound mixing, but how about the screenplay? Well, I am going to tackle the plot now. Here is your first spoiler warning. Jump down to the end of the page if you don’t want to know what happens. I have no spoiler images either so don’t worry about accidentally seeing one.

SPOILERS AHOY!

Okay people. I am going to get into some spoilers now as I try to comprehend the plot. Here is your third warning. I should give a few more and pretend I am Michael Caine regurgitating “do not go gentle into that good night” like he is a girl on Facebook posting Marilyn Monroe quotes. Spoiler warning. Spoiler warning.

"Come at me, plot holes"

“Come at me, plot holes”

Matthew McConaughey plays Cooper. A former test pilot turned farmer. He lives with his two kids and father-in-law on a farm in the middle of heartland America. He really gets along with his daughter Murph (played by Mackenzie Foy, better known as Renesmee, Bella and Edward’s love child from Twilight). He doesn’t give a rats ass about his son who he forgets exists halfway through the movie. I don’t even remember his name, because the whole movie is mostly either someone saying “love” or “Murph.”

Murph is afraid of a ghost in her bedroom. Cooper assures her it can’t be a ghost but wants her to perform a scientific experiment on it anyway. Yes, this is a movie about ghosts.

During a dust storm the ghost tells Cooper and Murph through Morse code and dust the word “STAY.” Cooper then says it isn’t a ghost, it’s gravity or some unknown intelligent being. Okay. The ghost then uses Morse code to outline coordinates on a map.  Cooper goes to the coordinates and that little rascal Murph sneaks aboard his truck. The coordinates take them to a secret base. Cooper finds out that the base is in fact SECRET NASA. Yes, Secret NASA. Just like in How I Met Your Mother when Barney says he works for Secret NASA to pick up chicks. A ghost tells Matthew McConaughey to go to Secret NASA. I’m not simplifying the plot at all or being flippant. This is the plot of the movie at this point.

About as scientific as this movie.

About as scientific as this movie.

The poor world-building at this point really blows up. The only thing it does is get you excited to leave Earth out of hope that there are more interesting worlds out there. At the base, Cooper is interrogated by a former military robot. There are remarks about how the world is free of conflict in its search to find a solution to the food crisis. So does this mean that there is a global committee to find the solution to go into space and solve our problems? Apparently not. We are told that the US government has started teaching in schools that the moon landing was faked to bankrupt the Soviet Union. For a movie so obsessed with the idea of discovery this falls apart. The ra-ra, ‘MERICA FUCK YEAH attitude begins to fully emerge.  The moon landing being still in public memory and a mis-education campaign would be absolutely torn to shreds. Interstellar is under the belief that you either are fully committed to being a scientist or you have to be dead set against it. For the most part, any person who is not scientist is portrayed as a blocking character and not a dreamer. It is like being stuck on Reddit. But good thing the government has been still functioning long enough to keep taxing what little remains of humanities corn so they can build Secret NASA completely independent of other nations contributions. America wants to save mankind but apparently it has to do it alone.

It turns out that Michael Caine is the lead of a project at Secret NASA to help save humanity. It also turns out that Michael Caine was a former professor of Cooper. It also turns out that they have a rocket they are sending into a wormhole to another galaxy. It also turns out they forgot to find a properly trained pilot. Good thing a ghost told Cooper where to go!

Apparently in this world of collapse they had difficulty making the day’s drive to find a pilot. Maybe they don’t have phone books any more, or a census, but they are still able to collect corn tax to fund rocket ships. The whole Secret NASA base, which is made of concrete, is actually a spaceship that is meant to be an ark for humanity. He is missing part of a MacGuffin gravitational equation to make the concrete ship functional.

Space Mutiny also had ships made of concrete and it is considered to be one of the worst movies ever. It is however one of the best MST3K's

Space Mutiny also had ships made of concrete and it is considered to be one of the worst movies ever. It is however one of the best MST3K’s

Michael Caine has two plans: plan A and plan B. Plan A is to send astronauts through the wormhole to gather information from a previous scouting mission whose reports say three planets are potentially habitable. The mission will take a long time due to time dilation that would age the crew of the spaceship faster than people on Earth. They also want to study gravity so they can figure out the gravity MacGuffin equation. Plan B involves establishing a colony on one of those planets and using human zygotes to re-establish humanity on another world, starting humanity anew but abandoning those corn-chowing suckers on Earth.

The team is thrown together and Cooper quickly joins. We don’t get a training montage or any scene of Cooper really contemplating the levity of the situation. This is kind of good because it gets us right to the action. Cooper quickly leaves home, has a tearful goodbye with his daughter, practically forgets about his son, then drives off. Like every good truck drive-off, Murph runs out the door to chase after him just before it’s too late. Countdown 10, 9, 8, 7, etc. We’re in space in a rocket to get to another spaceship, the Endurance, that has more efficient landing craft that could have taken them up anyway without a multistage rocket. Michael Caine then reads “do not go gentle into the good night” by Dylan Thomas for the first of four times.

Hammer impact skull. We get it, Nolan.

Hammer impact skull. We get it, Nolan.

The crew is made up of Cooper, Anne Hatheway as Amelia Brand, a token black guy and a white guy with a beard. It also has two pretty cool robots who crack jokes in an otherwise jokeless odyssey. One of the best scenes of the movie has Cooper giving the token black guy earbuds so he can listen to a .mp3 of nature sounds. The token black guy is very likeable.

Two years later, they get to the wormhole and travel to the other galaxy. They explain the concept of flying through wormholes the exact same way as they did in Event Horizon.  This is intergalactic travel, not interstellar travel, but don’t tell Nolan this. The scene looks really cool and it is really intense and it is a feast for the eyes… until the dialog happens. Anne Hatheway sees a hand and reaches out to touch it. It’s the otherworldly intelligent beings she cries at the camera! Nolan doesn’t want us to figure things out ourselves. Anne Hatheway talks about how nature can’t be evil and asks Cooper why he didn’t tell his daughter he was saving the world. Cooper says he didn’t want to lay it on a 10-year old that the world was dying. When I was 10, if the only thing I was eating was corn, I’d ask about it and probably figure out the world was dying. Less out of wanting to save the world and more of the fact that I want to know where my damn potato chips were. Murph is presented as precocious, it’s shocking that she wouldn’t figure it out.

They go to the new galaxy and decide to go to the planet closest to a black hole first. That would be a really easy planet to settle and keep civilization in because our current civilization totally does not have satellite technology that could easily get sucked into it. The black hole causes time dilation meaning that spending one hour on the planet means that seven years on Earth will pass. “This has the potential for some great drama,” I say to myself in the theatre. It’s like the climax of Inception but scientifically accurate. But there’s one problem with the planet. It is made up entirely of knee-high water. Humanity figured out what Pluto’s surface was made out of in the 1980s but apparently Secret NASA thought that settling human civilization on a planet of knee high water next to a black hole was a sound plan?

Knee-high water is a great place to raise your kids. Human babies can breath in water right?

Knee-high water is a great place to raise your kids. Human babies can breath in water right?

They go down to Waterworld but leave the token black guy to crunch some numbers up on the Endurance. Due to the time dilation they find out that the scout they sent before had just crash landed and died minutes before they got there. As the bearded guy, Anne Hathaway and the robot search the wreck, Cooper sees a giant wave coming towards them. The wave is massive because of tides due to the black hole. Science! Well, apparently science can only go so far as the bearded guy and Anne Hathaway don’t notice the wave of the century until Surfer Dude Matthew McConaughey points out the radical wave. Beardy guy doesn’t make it because of dramatic tension, Anne Hathaway and the robot make it back. Beardy guy isn’t mourned. They get back up to the ship and the token black guy tells them that 23 years have passed since they went down to the planet.

Oh snap! Poor guy, being all up there alone and doing math for two decades. The emotional power of this scene goes away pretty fast as they are told they got messages from their family waiting for them. The ship can receive messages from Earth but they can’t send anything. Cooper’s son sends his ungrateful father a bunch of messages.  Matthew McConaughey nails the scene. You really start feeling devastated for him… until Cooper’s son tells him that he tried to name his son Coop, after his father but his wife said no. The wife may be the only smart person in the movie up until that point for realizing that Coop Cooper is a pretty stupid name. Meanwhile Murph has sent him no messages because she resents Cooper for leaving the family behind.

Back on Earth, Murph has grown up to be Jessica Chastain. She resents her father for abandoning the family to the point that she joins Secret NASA to work on the same project that her father is. She works right next to the machine that sends messages to her father, but she still hates her father for joining a cause that she is now a part of. It’s jarring. She works with the barely aged Michael Caine to try and figure out the gravity equation.

The space crew decide what planet to go to next. Both options are terrible for different reasons, but Anne Hathaway wants to go to the planet where a man she loves was sent as a scout. Her lady bits take over and Christopher Nolan’s inability to make good female characters become apparent. Anne Hathaway then  gives a long speech about how love is the most powerful force in the universe. “Love isn’t something we invented — it’s observable, powerful, it has to mean something… Love is the one thing we’re capable of perceiving that transcends dimensions of time and space,” she says, crying.  Most of Interstellar‘s dialogue seems like it belongs in The Notebook or pasted as a quote on a 14-year old girl’s Tumblr blog. Anne Hathaway is a good enough actress that she can sell the terrible, corny dialogue but I felt worse for her as an actress giving a monologue in this then when I did when her character sold her hair and teeth to feed her daughter in Les Miserables.

They decide “fuck Anne Hathaway” and go to the planet her loved one isn’t on. They try and track down Dr. Mann on the ice planet and find him in cryosleep. They awaken him, and… it’s Matt Damon! Wow. What a way to take you out of the film experience by having a big-name Hollywood star make a surprise appearance and remind you that you are watching a movie. The casting is bizarre. He isn’t good in the movie. They hid him from the cast list on every promotion of Interstellar yet Matt Damon has been talking about being in the movie forever. This surprise doesn’t work. 12 Years a Slave did something similar when they brought Brad Pitt into the movie near the end. It was a bit weird, but he wasn’t hidden from the cast. People knew he was coming, they just didn’t know when. Ellen Burstyn is in the film much later and they don’t hide her appearance and she’s named on a lot of posters. It’s a cheap “twist” that creates one quick shock followed by the audience racking their brains to remember what other movies he’s been in.

Michael Caine is dying back on earth. The sound mixing is so bad in the movie that it is hard to hear what he says. It sounds just as incomprehensible as Bane did in The Dark Knight Rises prologue before fans complained. Interstellar has the worst sound mixing I have heard in a big-budget movie. Usually it shouldn’t stick out but you can barely hear what characters are saying over Hans Zimmer’s impressive score. Caine mumbles “do not go gentle into that good night” again to Jessica Chastain and tells him that plan A was always meant to fail because they needed data from the centre of a black hole, and that plan B was the real point of the mission.

Okay. This means that Michael Caine sent his daughter, Anne Hathaway, into another galaxy as the only human female to repopulate humanity with human zygotes. They sent one woman on the mission. One. Not only did they forget to plan the mission around the pilot, they forgot to plan the mission around having females to impregnate.

I'm sure these fine gentlemen on the voyage of strong uteri capable of raising the future of humanity.

I’m sure these fine gentlemen on the voyage have strong uteri capable of raising the future of humanity.

Michael Caine tells Jessica Chastain. Jessica Chastain tells the robot through a message. The robot tells Anne Hathaway about the plan. Anne Hathaway tells the crew about the plan. Cooper reiterates the plan. In the span of a couple minutes we hear about it five times. Christopher Nolan really doubts the ability of his audience to retain information.

This is where Interstellar goes full cliché. Every space exploration movie needs someone to go berserk and betray everyone. This time it isn’t the robot that goes crazy. Matt Damon even explains that robots can’t do these missions because they lack survival instinct. It still seems like a cop-out, I’d much rather send three of these super-smart and capable robots who mess up then someone like Anne Hathaway who just reacts off of emotion. So who goes berserk? It turns out Matt Damon faked the planetary data so that the Endurance would come and rescue him so that he could go home. It turns out a planet full of glaciers isn’t ideal for human civilization either. Cooper calls him a coward, then Matt Damon starts monolouging like he was a comic book supervillain. They get into a fight and Cooper tries to save him which Matt Damon responds by cracking his space helmet open. The token black guy is trying to recover the data from Matt Damon’s robot, but the robot is rigged to blow up, killing the token black guy. Token black guy is not mourned despite being probably the most grounded and likeable character in the movie. Anne Hathaway is able to save Cooper but not before Matt Damon takes a ship up to the Endurance. How evil of Dr. Mann! Do you get it? Mann is man’s worst enemy! Oh ho, that Christopher Nolan sure is subtle!

In a tense Gravity-like scene Matt Damon tries to dock with the Endurance. While giving another cheesy monologue, he blows up himself and part of the Endurance. Cooper uses computer magic and his impeccably good Jedi-style pilot skills to dock with the Endurance with him and Anne Hathaway aboard despite it spinning ridiculously fast. A huge chunk of the Endurance is gone and they wonder how they will finish their mission with limited fuel while Anne Hathaway cries and Cooper mumbles. They plan to slingshot around the black hole so they can save on fuel and get to the last third planet.

They put the plan into motion. Cooper ejects a shuttle with himself in it to into the black hole so that the Endurance is lighter. Cooper falls into the black hole with only his robot companion with him.

Then the movie turns into 2001: A Space Odyssey directed by M. Night Shyamalan. The black hole scene looks really, really cool and again, Matthew McConaughey is able to sell the intensity and isolation. Cooper ends up in a weird, plaid looking, Inception-style twisty dimension. Meanwhile, Jessica Chastain as Murph decides to go back to the farm she grew up on to visit the neglected son, now grown up and played by Casey Affleck doing his best Ben Affleck in Argo impression. Murph realizes the kids at the farm are coughing a lot due to the dust but Casey Affleck refuses to leave. The neglectful parent gene is in the Y-chromosome apparently. Murph and her boyfriend, the poorly cast Topher Grace (Eric Foreman from That ’70s Show) set the corn field on fire to get the kids out of the house and so that Murph can go back to her bedroom where the ghost from her childhood was.

In the black hole, Cooper is floating in a weird space. He explains everything to the robot because Nolan does not want anyone to be confused, not even your stoner friend who just walked into the movie two and a half hours late. The black hole is a fifth dimensional space that was created by humans who evolved into fifth dimensional beings in the future (this is not how evolution works). Everything Cooper does he explains to the robot who you do not see. Apparently in this fifth dimension where no signal can reach out, basic radio frequencies still work for robot-human communications. This is when the big reveal of the movie happens. It turns out… COOPER WAS THE GHOST THE WHOLE TIME! Wowie! How original! Ten Oscars for Christopher Nolan, greatest and most original movie of all time.  You could see it coming a light-year away once they introduced the ghost in the bedroom at the fifteen minute mark of the movie.

This is another problem most time travel movies have. Why would the future humans, aliens or whoever it was who set up this fifth dimension rely on Cooper telling Murph through a ghost in a bedroom how to save humanity? The Terminator did this well by having the point of time travel to be to kill someone’s mother before humanity’s saviour was born. Back to the Future had an accidental time jump that then caused consequences. There were logical reasons for the where and when of time travel. Appearing as a ghost in a bedroom only satisfies the plot from an emotional standpoint. For being a big movie with “big” ideas about saving humanity, why would it be so pinpointed? Pure emotional manipulation.

Cooper can manipulate things slightly in our world slightly from the plaid zone. The bedroom is the only thing he can access but he can access it through any point in time. That’s convenient because that means he can communicate with Murph. He tells Murph “STAY” because that’s what the ghost told him earlier. He can’t tell her “It’s Coop” or “I’m Dad” because the movie has locked itself in a time paradox. Cooper says what he says because future Cooper tells him to say it. And future Cooper tells him what he says because future Cooper tells him to.  Cooper knew about the Secret NASA coordinates because Cooper told him the Secret NASA coordinates. This paradox is an infinite loop. Having it revealed to be aliens would be a more logical and satisfying explanation. However, Nolan goes for the big emotional punch of Murph finding out. This isn’t a movie about fate. This is a movie about love and science. Other science fiction works like Dune and Lost can get away with this because fate and faith were big issues in them. Interstellar falls back to pseudoscience because it realises that the hard science it uses is not as emotional or engaging as it hopes.

pseudoscience-2

Cooper is somehow able to manipulate the hand of his watch enough so that it affects Murph’s watch. He gets the gravity MacGuffin equation from the robot and he uses Morse code to communicate it to Murph. Murph catches on and begins translating the supposedly overly complex equation into words or numbers. Apparently it is simple enough that she doesn’t need to sleep, eat or take a break with translating it. Meanwhile, Topher Grace yells that Cassey Affleck is coming back to the house and is mighty pissed that she decided to burn some of the last corn crop humanity has to eat. Murph translates the equation and ultimately solves how to get a ship made of concrete into space.

Thank god Christopher Nolan casted some good actors in the movie or else it would have been even more unbelievable. Chastain and McConaughey  are both amazing actors so it still packs a bit of an emotional punch as long as you don’t think about how ludicrous the paradox is. It’s the same paradox that has Kyle Reese knock up Sarah Connor in The Terminator but you bought the romance so it wasn’t as confusing to witness. Not that Interstellar is ever confusing because Christopher Nolan is sure to slap you awake the second you have a question about anything. You feel emotionally invested at this connection that Murph and Cooper have through time and space because the movie tells you that they love each other and that time and space is no way to stop true love. You cry on cue. Nolan tells you how to feel instead of letting you react to what’s going on. In Titanic you don’t cry when Jack dies because Rose gives a speech about how he was the only love of her life and that she changed because of him. Titanic showed you a relationship that you grew to care about then severed the ties between them. You felt the cut. I’m using Titanic as an example because it is another super popular, melodramatic movie about relationships that was a visual spectacle. It is not the saddest or most emotional movie ever.  Interstellar reads like a textbook. It’s a step-by-step instruction about how you should feel about a movie. It’s blunt and offensive.

At this point Murph runs outside and hugs her brother Casey Affleck and goes back to the cement Secret NASA base and tells everyone she has figured out how to make cement aerodynamic. Love really did transcend time and space like the movie trailers said to save the day. Anne Hathaway’s speech was right. Love is quantifiable because it is a strong emotion that audiences can relate to. Fear and hate? Nah, those aren’t strong enough emotions to carry a full movie. Thank goodness for ghosts and time paradoxes and extremely convenient coincidences.

Cooper then of course travels a bit through the fifth dimension, shakes Anne Hathaway’s hand as they are travelling because he was the ghostly other being the whole time, then he wakes up outside of Saturn. He is recovered by a shuttle and brought to a space station and to the worst part of the movie.

Joker

At a hospital on the space station Cooper is told he is now over a hundred years old. He asks about his Murph, not giving a single shit about his son. The son is never mentioned again. The son that cared enough to send messages to his father while he was on a suicide mission doesn’t even get a passing thought. Why was the son even in the movie other than to get Murph back to the farm so that Jessica Chastain can cry while staring at a bookshelf? It turns out Murph is now in a cryosleep and is being brought back to the station so that she can say hello to her long-lost father.

Cooper’s old farmhouse is considered a historical landmark and has been recreated on this space station. The station can only exist because of the equation that Cooper sent to Murph. Humanity’s ark is named Cooper station after Murph Cooper. There is a landmark for the Endurance crew who saved humanity where we get to see Dylan Thomas’s “do not go gentle into that good night” poem for a fifth time. At this point the movie has gone from having the subtlety of a jackhammer to the subtlety of an atomic bomb with speakers blasting Ke$ha as it drops.

Then we have the moment we’ve all been waiting for: Murph and Cooper finally reunite. Murph is surrounded by her kids and grandkids at a hospital. She is old now and played by the not-secretly-cast Ellen Burstyn. Cooper brushes past his extended family and descendants to say hello to the daughter he has spent almost a century getting back to. Murph says she always knew he would come back just to jerk at your heartstrings a little, then starts talking about Anne Hathaway. Anne Hathaway is still lost in the other galaxy on the third planet. Murph tells Cooper to save her, apparently she didn’t consider sending a recon team out to find her beforehand. Cooper then is like “okay, peace.”

This movie built up a father-daughter relationship for 169-minutes and then dumps it in the toilet so that Cooper can go get some. This is a movie that kept telling us that “love can transcend time and space.” Interstellar got us so invested in the father-daughter love plot that this would have been a logical point to end the movie. The movie didn’t give damn about token black guy or beardy guy, but now suddenly Anne Hathaway is the most important person in the universe. It’s like we are living Anne Hathaway’s perception of the 2012 Oscar race all over again. Cooper doesn’t say a word to his extended family despite the movie yammering on about how important it was to save humanity for the future generations. These are the future generations. Cooper suddenly doesn’t care. He cares about being with Anne Hathaway for some reason now. Interstellar betrayed everything it spent the whole movie it tried to build up. It would be like if Batman went on a killing spree and started illegally downloading music at the end of The Dark Knight Rises, it goes against everything we were led to believe about the character and where the movie was going.

A lot of comparisons can be drawn to Prometheus in how many plot holes a science fiction movie can have, but while Prometheus may have had dumb characters who made dumb decisions it all led to a point narratively that made sense. The movie ends with Cooper stealing a spaceship to go find Anne Hathaway. We see Anne Hathaway on the third world. It is not made of water or glacial ice so it is confusing about why they didn’t just go there first. There is probably a scientific technobabble gobbledy-gook reason they didn’t go there first but from a narrative standpoint the first two planets fell flat so a third one fails to be exciting. She is burying the body of who can be assumed to be the dude she loved that got her hormones going enough to make a grand speech about love as a unit of measurement. The only thing interesting about it is that it looks like a fresh grave site and a fresh base have been set up which means the time dilation is stronger than it was on Waterworld.

For a movie that was not about lust, Interstellar spent an offensive amount of time looking at how women made brash decisions based on needing a man in their life. So that’s where the movie ends, with Cooper bailing on another one of his kids to rescue or hook up with Anne Hathaway.

I honestly expected Interstellar to end with “I Don’t Want To Miss a Thing” by Aerosmith playing as the credits rolled. It was just as sappy of a mess as Armageddon but at least in Armageddon you believed the relationships and the movie wasn’t so far up its own butt that it couldn’t have fun. Ben Affleck feeding Liv Tyler animal crackers was more fun this space romp. No post-credits scene, just slight ambiguity if Cooper makes it or not to Anne Hathaway. Humanity has lived on, but we only see a selfless hero ditch his daughter, again, for another suicide mission.

 

SPOILERS END HERE!

Interstellar is a mess. The science is sort of sound but the plot is jarring, convoluted and manipulative. If it weren’t for the good actors in the movie, the movie would not have been able to sell the terrible dialogue that it dishes out. Critics and fans call Interstellar ambitious but I just can’t see it. Christopher Nolan made a movie about love that was set in space and had some real science behind it. Beyond that, there’s nothing too ambitious about it. It has the same DNA as other space travel dramas, but what it tries to do uniquely doesn’t feel unique.

I’m sure you may think I’m trying to poke too many holes in this movie but this movie itself is a giant black hole. It’s a singularity that sucks in everything that is wrong with Christopher Nolan as a director: bad female characters, logic leaps, simplification of what could be complex themes and  iffy dialogue that only works with the best actors in the business delivering it. Whereas his previous movies were so grand and so well-plotted that you missed the flaws because you were amazed by the movie experience, you can tell that Nolan should have never touched Interstellar. Chris’s brother Jonathan Nolan wrote the movie planning on having Steven Spielberg direct it. Everything that was wrong about Interstellar could have likely been fixed by Spielberg. Spielberg can sell hokey love stories with ease. Saving Private Ryan, Jurassic Park and E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial all moved past the flaws in their plots because they had enough charm and zippiness that you still believed in the magic of the movie experience. Interstellar feels calculated. You can tell when you are supposed to cry because Nolan tells you to cry. You can tell when you are supposed to laugh because there are only about three jokes in the movie. The Deer Hunter is funnier. You can tell when you are supposed to be in awe of the visuals because Nolan frames the camera on Matthew McConaughey’s face instead of actually showing you the visuals.

I wouldn’t completely skip Interstellar if you are mildly interested. Nolan fans seem to be very passionate about the movie. I would never watch this movie on the small screen so I would see it in theatres if possible. This is not the greatest movie ever. This is not the second coming of Christ in film form. A lot of Christopher Nolan fans want it to be. They’ve already rated it the 11th best movie of all time on IMDb (as of the time of writing). The best thing that can come of this movie is that it does well enough that they trust other directors to enact on different ideas. Interstellar is far from original but you can tell that Christopher Nolan was practically given a blank cheque to make this film. There is no other way the dialogue and sound editing should be this bad in a big budget film done by an Academy Award-nominated director who has made some of the greatest movies of the past few decades. Interstellar is not the greatest movie ever. It’s not even a good movie. There’s nothing below the surface, it’s just knee-deep water of hokey gushy love talk spread across three hours of good music and disappointing visuals. What you see is what you get. Demanding and dreaming of more is what Interstellar preaches, and we should take that to heart when it comes to looking at our movies.

Say your prayers, Hollywood

Originally published in Cheek & Jowl as part of a school project.

Photo by Ben DuPlessis

Photo by Ben DuPlessis

Oscar Wilde said that life imitates art, but if that’s the case then why aren’t we living in a post-apocalyptic wasteland fighting over an irradiated can of tuna? The end of the world is a hot topic everywhere in fiction. Why are we so obsessed with our own demise and how have we turned it from a legitimate fear into an overused cliché?

Zombies, nuclear war, plagues, climate change, alien conquest and asteroids range in plausibility with their likelihood to happen but you could probably name a few dozen works of fiction off the top of your head that tackle each doomsday scenario.

 

REVELATIONS

 

Talking about the end of the world has been trendy for a few thousand years. “Every ancient religion has its own myth about the end of the world,” Dan Aykroyd’s character says inGhostbusters. Christianity and Islam both have the defeat of a false messiah and a judgment day that will save those who have been faithful. In the 7th century BCE before those religions were founded, Zoroastrianism wrote of Frashokereti: the destruction of evil and the creation of a unified universe with God.

Other religions saw the end of the world as a path to ushering in a new world. The ancient Norse believed that Ragnarök, a battle between the Gods and old enemies would make the world inhabitable. Hinduism has repeated cycles of creation and destruction that will last trillions of years until everything starts over again brand new.

We all want a better world don’t we? All of these end-of-days scenarios see it as either a way to reach perfect harmony or a chance to start anew. The word apocalypse originally meant “uncovering” in Greek and referred to the disclosure of knowledge. In Christianity the final judgment was outlined in “The Book of Revelation,” the revelation being the knowledge that God discloses to John. We have taken the word and appropriated it to be synonymous with “doomsday” and we have also taken out any thought of the end of the world as being a good thing for our spiritual well-being. An apocalypse is a fantasy scenario of adventuring the nuclear wastelands of our world instead of the next step in spiritual salvation and unity with a divine power.

 

 

DOOMSDAY SCHMOOMSDAY

 

In an increasingly secular society we have not brushed off our fascination with religious predictions about what the end of world means. On the other side of the Earth as the starting points of all the other religions mentioned, the Mayan civilization’s calendar ended on December 21st, 2012. This end point suggested that the world would enter a new era, but many took it to mean that existence would end. This was discredited by every Mayan scholar, but people still believed the world would end. And we got the John Cusack disaster movie 2012 that was marketed using fear.

You are reading this now so clearly the world did not end. It also did not end at the stroke of midnight on December 31st, 1999 when Y2K bug fears suggested that our electronically connected world would shut down. It didn’t end in 2011 when Christian radio host Harold Camping mathematically predicted it would, citing biblical evidence. The world has not ended with an alien invasion like the actor Dan Aykroyd believes.

The evidence is against the world ending any time soon but that’s not stopping people from buying into the fantasy of it.

 

APOCALYPSE (CASH)COW

 

Various religions believed the dead would rise before the end of days but now we see the walking dead as the end of civilization. Zombie fiction is a very popular way for Hollywood to cash in.

From a dramatic writing standpoint you cannot do much with zombies. There is a very good chance a character will struggle with killing a reanimated loved one. The Walking Dead has shown us this for four seasons on TV and eleven years in comics. The focus of zombie fiction is always on the forced change zombies have on society. If a zombie uprising occurred right now how would you react? Would you cower in fear? Grab a shotgun and sheriff’s hat and rally your community? What would the new world order be like?

That is the essence of the post-apocalyptic sub-genre of fiction.World War Z has zombies, the Fallout video game series has nuclear wastelands, The Stand by Stephen King did away with humanity using a weaponized virus, The Day After Tomorrow had Dennis Quaid take refuge from a world-ending storm in the product placement sanctuary of a Wendy’s restaurant. All of these works feature a radical shift in society, abruptly freeing humanity from the shackles of dystopian government. Anyone can be the unlikely hero… even you!

Although there are a lot of works about surviving in a wrecked world, the threat of the world ending is a great way of thrusting protagonists into action. Sometimes it is the threat of a giant asteroid crushing us like in Deep Impact and Armageddon (both came out the same summer.) Gravity and dumb luck are the real villains in these situations. Most movies about a hero trying to save the world have a villain with motives. Last year Planet Earth was the victim in Pacific Rim, Man of Steel, World War Z, G.I. Joe: Retaliation, After Earth and countless others. It seems Hollywood has run out of ideas. In comedy, the apocalypse setting was parodied in four movies: for The World’s End, Rapture-Palooza, It’s a Disaster and This Is the End. There sure was a lot of destruction in 2013. It sells well, but it was also a poor year for critically acclaimed blockbusters. There were no movies like The Dark Knight, Inception, Star Wars or Jurassic Park. Bigger isn’t always better.

The worst offender for the end-of-days scenario of 2013 was Thor: The Dark World. The villain is not just trying to destroy New York, Earth, the solar system or a galaxy, he is trying to destroy the whole universe and all existence. Hollywood is all about going bigger and better but The Avengers: The Age of Ultron and the third Thor movie will not be able to top existence ending as a threat. The first movie in the Marvel series, 2008’s Iron Man, had Tony Stark fighting to prevent the sales of guns to terrorists.Captain America fought Nazis, The Incredible Hulk fought a deranged mercenary, and The Avengers was essentially about saving New York City. In a span of five years, the franchise that has seven more movies already announced has run out of credible threats.

These movies are insanely successful and audiences keep coming back for more. Saving the world is a way to keep societal structure in place. The aliens in The Avengers and Pacific Rim do not offer salvation or entry into heaven. It is true destruction.

 

DEATH WISH 101

 

Fear of total annihilation peaked in real life thanks to the existence of nuclear weapons. Godzilla and the entire Kaiju monster genre were a Japanese reaction to the two atomic bombs dropped on Japan that ended World War II. The Cold War and the Cuban Missile Crisis raised fears as nuclear deterrence and mutually assured destruction were the only things keeping us all from buying our own fallout shelters. This was the closest we have come to achieving our terrifying post-apocalyptic fantasy.

Maybe it’s less of a desire to live in a different world and more of an attempt to confront our fear of death. Death does not discriminate. The rich and the poor, the powerful and the weak, all end up in the same place. Hamlet debated this concept while holding up the jester Yorick’s skull. Shakespeare was invoking the concept of “memento mori,” a symbolic reminder of death. Early Christian art featured skulls as a reminder of death. Danse macabre, the dance of death, was a popular medieval art subject that showed Death bringing people from all statuses of society to the grave. The Day of the Dead in Mexico is a contemporary festival that celebrates death. It falls around the same time as Halloween.

 

THIS IS THE END

 

The end of the world is the ultimate dramatic threat. Not only are the hero, the love interest, and the local daycare at risk but literally every person and societal institution are as well. In post-apocalyptic fantasy world you are not working a dead end job. Your job is now fighting the dead until the bitter end.

There are not many pieces of fiction where total annihilation of the human race is logically justified by the antagonist but it is something we can all relate to. The Spanish conquistadors believed in the end of the world as much as the Mayan civilization they destroyed. It is a tale as old as time, and likeBeauty and the Beast‘s love story, we can all understand the plot and to Hollywood marketing gurus mass appeal is better than taking financial risks.

It does not seem like the world is going to end anytime soon, at least not until 2060 by Sir Isaac Newton’s doomsday prediction. It seems like it’s a good way to sell movies, so don’t expect this multi-millennia fad to end anytime soon. At least we have all learned some tips on how to survive threats to Earth such as calling up Superman.

2014 Emmy Nominations and Predictions

emmys

Here we go again. The Emmys are airing on Monday night and with it will come some deserving winners, a lot of upsets and a lot of head scratchers (Jeff Daniels beating anyone last year for example). Here is the list of the nominees and who I think should win and who I think will win. Let’s see if I can Nate Silver this the best I can. I have seen every drama series all the way through except for House of Cards (I jumped the same time Zoe did) and I’ve seen all the comedies except for Louie. The only miniseries I’ve seen is Fargo and I’m going to try and watch The Normal Heart before the ceremony.

 

Drama Series

Breaking Bad

Downton Abbey

Game of Thrones

House of Cards

Mad Men

True Detective

Should win: True Detective

Will win: Breaking Bad (I can see True Detective pulling ahead but I think it’s going to be a good sweep for Breaking Bad)

 

Comedy Series

The Big Bang Theory

Louie                                                                                            

Modern Family

Orange Is the New Black

Silicon Valley

Veep

Should win: Veep

Will win: Modern Family (I don’t think Orange is the New Black has been getting the same awards buzz it did before and Modern Family was actually really good this year.)

 

Lead Actor in a Drama

Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad

Jeff Daniels, The Newsroom

Jon Hamm, Mad Men

Woody Harrelson, True Detective

Matthew McConaughey, True Detective

Kevin Spacey, House of Cards

Should win: Matthew McConaughey

Will win: Matthew McConaughey.

 

Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Movie

Chiwetel Ejiofor, Dancing on the Edge

Martin Freeman, Fargo

Billy Bob Thornton, Fargo

Idris Elba, Luther

Mark Ruffalo, The Normal Heart

Benedict Cumberbatch, Sherlock: His Last Vow

Should win: Billy Bob Thornton

Will win: Billy Bob Thornton

 

Lead Actress in a Drama    

Michelle Dockery, Downton Abbey

Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife

Claire Danes, Homeland

Robin Wright, House of Cards

Lizzy Caplan, Masters of Sex

Kerry Washington, Scandal

Should win: Tatiana Maslany (but of course, science fiction doesn’t get nominated)

Will win: Julianna Margulies. This is only based on buzz. I’ve only seen Homeland and Downton the whole way through. Claire Danes was amazing this year but the lack of other major nominations make it seem like she stands no chance. Margulies is getting a ton of buzz right now.

 

Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie

Jessica Lange, American Horror Story: Coven

Sarah Paulson, American Horror Story: Coven

Helena Bonham Carter, Burton and Taylor

Minnie Driver, Return to Zero

Kristen Wiig, The Spoils of Babylon

Cicely Tyson, The Trip to Bountiful

Should win: N/A I’ve seen none of these

Will win: Cicely Tyson

 

Lead Actor in a Comedy

Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory

Ricky Gervais, Derek

Matt LeBlanc,, Episodes

Don Cheadle, House of Lies

Louis C.K., Louie

William H. Macy, Shameless

Should win: I’m honestly not sure

Will win: Jim Parsons

 

 

Lead Actress in a Comedy

Lena Dunham, Girls

Melissa McCarthy, Mike & Molly

Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie

Taylor Schilling, Orange Is the New Black

Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation

Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep

Should win: Amy Poehler or Julia Louis-Dreyfus

Will win: Julia Louis-Dreyfus

 

Reality Competition Program

The Amazing Race

Dancing With the Stars

Project Runway

So You Think You Can Dance

Top Chef

The Voice

Should win: N/A

Will win: The Voice

 

Variety Series 

The Colbert Report

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

Jimmy Kimmel Live

Real Time With Bill Maher

Saturday Night Live

The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon

Should win: The Colbert Report

Will win: The Colbert Report

 

Miniseries

American Horror Story: Coven

Bonnie & Clyde

Fargo

Luther

Treme

The White Queen

Should win: Fargo

Will win: Fargo

 

Television Movie

Killing Kennedy

Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight

The Normal Heart

Sherlock: His Las Vow

The Trip to Bountiful

Should win: N/A

Will win: The Normal Heart

 

Supporting Actor in a Drama

Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad

Jim Carter, Downton Abbey

Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones

Josh Charles, The Good Wife

Mandy Patinkin, Homeland

Jon Voight, Ray Donovan

Should win: Peter Dinklage

Will win: Aaron Paul

 

Supporting Actress in a Drama

Anna Gunn, Breaking Bad

Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey

Joanne Froggatt, Downton Abbey

Lena Headey, Game of Thrones

Christine Baranski, The Good Wife

Christina Hendricks, Mad Men

Should win: Anna Gunn

Will win: Anna Gunn

 

Writing for a Drama

Moira Walley-Beckett, Breaking Bad

Vince Gilligan, Breaking Bad

David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, Game of Thrones

Beau Willimon, House of Cards

Nic Pizzolatto, True Detective

Should win: Moira Walley-Beckett (the episode is “Ozymandias” which is one of the best episodes of TV ever written)

Will win: Moira Walley- Beckett

 

Directing for a Drama

Tim Van Patten, Boardwalk Empire

Vince Gilligan, Breaking Bad

David Evans, Downton Abbey

Neil Marshall, Game of Thrones

Carl Franklin, House of Cards

Cary Joji Fukunaga, True Detective

Should win: Cary Joji Fukunaga (the episode is “Who Goes There” which features that amazing tracking shot)

Will win: Cary Joji Fukunaga

 

Supporting Actor in a Comedy

Andre Braugher, Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Adam Driver, Girls

Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Modern Family

Ty Burrell, Modern Family

Fred Armisen, Portlandia

Tony Hale, Veep

Should win: Adam Driver

Will win: Andre Braugher

 

Supporting Actress in a Comedy

Mayim Bialik, The Big Bang Theory

Julie Bowen, Modern Family

Allison Janney, Mom

Kate Mulgrew, Orange Is the New Black

Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live

Anna Chlumsky, Veep

Should win: Anna Chlumsky (I haven’t seen Mom yet)

Will win: Allison Janney

 

Writing for a Comedy

David Crane and Jeffrey Klarik, Episodes

Louis C.K., Louie

Liz Friedman and Jenji Kohan, Orange Is the New Black

Alec Berg, Silicon Valley

Simon Blackwell, Tony Roche, and Armando Iannucci, Veep

Should win: Silicon Valley (because of this scene)

Will win: Louie

 

Directing for a Comedy

Iain B. MacDonald, Episodes

Paris Barclay, Glee

Louis C.K., Louie

Gail Mancuso, Modern Family

Jodie Foster, Orange Is the New Black

Mike Judge, Silicon Valley

Should win: Orange is the New Black

Will win: Orange is the New Black

 

Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or Movie

Colin Hanks, Fargo

Jim Parsons, The Normal Heart

Joe Mantello, The Normal Heart

Alfred Molina, The Normal Heart

Matt Bomer, The Normal Heart

Martin Freeman, Sherlock: His Last Vow

Should win: N/A

Will win: Matt Bomer

 

Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie

Frances Conroy, American Horror Story: Coven

Kathy Bates, American Horror Story: Coven

Angela Bassett, American Horror Story: Coven

Allison Tolman, Fargo

Ellen Burstyn, Flowers in the Attic

Julia Roberts, The Normal Heart

Should win: N/A

Will win: Allison Tolman

 

Writing for a Miniseries, Movie, or Dramatic Special

Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk, American Horror Story: Coven

Noah Hawley, Fargo

Neil Cross, Luther

Larry Kramer, The Normal Heart

Steven Moffat, Sherlock: His Last Vow

David Simon and Eric Overmyer, Treme

Should win: N/A

Will win: Fargo

 

Directing for a Miniseries, Movie, or Dramatic Special 

Alfonso Gomez-Rejon, American Horror Story: Coven

Adam Bernstein, Fargo

Colin Bucksey, Fargo

Stephen Frears, Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight

Ryan Murphy, The Normal Heart

Nick Hurran, Sherlock: His Last Vow

Should win: Colin Bucksey, Fargo

Will win: Ryan Murphy

 

Directing for a Variety Series

James Hoskinson, The Colbert Report

Chuck O’Neil, The Daily Show

Jonathan Krisel, Portlandia

Don Roy King, Saturday Night Live

Dave Diomedi, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon

Should win: The Colbert Report

Will win: Saturday Night Live

“Winter’s Tale” is the best movie of 2014

Winters Tale Horse

A bit of a foreword. I had most of this written back in February right after I saw the movie but then school started kicking my ass and it fell along the wayside. A few of my friends really wanted me to publish what I had. I haven’t cut anything down or edited anything. Instead, here is an unabridged 1,000+ word ramble of my favourite movie of 2014.

Winter’s Tale is the current rival to The Lego Movie for the best comedy of the year so far. Unfortunately, it was not meant to be a comedy.

Unlike other unintentional comedies like The Room or the Twilight saga it is not dull or repulsive. This is a movie with a pulse. There is some energy to it that makes it watchable but the nauseating dialog and hammy performances kill the magic the movie tries to sell.

Winter’s Tale is not based on A Winter’s Tale by William Shakespeare (that play this blog is named after). It is instead based on the 1983 novel of the same name by Mark Helprin. This is a book that people seem to love. As an adaptation, Winter’s Tale feels like the director Akiva Goldsman is lightly slapping the fans of the original in the face compared to the sucker punch M. Night Shymalan delivered fans of The Last Airbender.

And here we go

I’m going to try and explain the plot as best I can. We see Colin Farrell alive in 2014. Two immigrants in the late 19th century try coming to New York, they are turned away because they are sick. They throw their son overboard in a tiny model ship which sails through a storm to land in America where he can have a good life. Twenty years later the baby becomes 37-year old Colin Farrell with an awful haircut. He is raised to be a thief Russell Crowe’s sometimes Irish character. Russell Crowe also happens to be a demon, maybe. During a dull chase, Colin Farrell finds the Tristar Pictures horse that helps him escape. Russell Crowe and his demon gang keep referring to the horse as a dog making things more confusing.

I know this a long summary but this movie makes zero sense and I’m only like ten minutes into the movie.

insomnia

Finally, the cure for insomnia.

Apparently the demons have rules where they can’t leave New York so Colin Farrell tries to escape but he decides to rob some houses on the way. He runs into Lady Sybil from Downton Abbey who is dying from consumption (Wikipedia says this is an archaic term for tuberculosis). The disease is actually some weird thing where she has to stay cold, so she lives on a roof. She has some sort of special attunement with magic… maybe. There is some weird lens flare when she is talking about the universe. They fall in love instantly with very little dialogue.

But wait! Russell Crowe has a vision that Colin Farrell has some sort of destiny with a red headed female and tries to stop him for some reason. Russell Crowe makes the assumption that there is only one red-head in New York City because apparently there has never been an Irish American presence in New York City. They escape the demons via magic horse and end up at Jessica Brown Findley/Lady Sybil’s family cottage.

I am going to yield the rest of my summary into a spoiler filled section and a non-spoiler section.

NON-SPOILER (It was in the trailer)

The plot progresses a bit, Colin Farrell ends up in 2014 with no memory and he meets Jennifer Connelly’s character that helps him figure out what’s up. Everything remains boring. If you actually care about the plot then go read the book. This blog post is me trying to piece together a pile of debris.

I just can't get over the terrible haircut.

I just can’t get over the terrible haircut.

SPOILER SECTION

Jessica Brown Findley’s father, played by a bored William Hurt, interrogates Colin Farrell about his intentions with his dying daughter. The conversation is sidetracked by William Hurt going on about how fillet is pronounced with a hard ‘T’ because you wouldn’t pronounce wallet with a soft ‘T’. It’s jarring and hilarious. His younger daughter shows Colin Farrell a greenhouse with a bed. The bed is magical and can apparently save dying people. Why the family has a magic bed is never explained. It doesn’t even have a Serta mattress.

The movie goes from cheesy, to hilariously awful with a bad cameo. Russell Crowe consults his demon boss Lucifer who may or may not be the same Lucifer from the Bible (the movie makes no sense anyway). Lucifer is played by Jaden Smith’s father, Will Smith. It is definitely the worst acting of the movie. Russell Crowe sends one of his cronies to put an end to the two’s romance.

Will Smith needs to stop taking acting advice from Jaden.

Will Smith needs to stop taking acting advice from Jaden.

The two lovers practice slow-breathing techniques to keep her heart-rate down so she doesn’t die. They go to a New Year’s Eve party together where the demon cronie slips some magic roofie in her wine. Somehow Jessica Brown Findley leaves the party without Colin Farrell. Colin Farrell finds her naked back at the cottage. They have the most boring and unconvincing sex (the actors lower bodies don’t move). The demon magic from the drink kicks in and she dies. Colin Farrell freaks out, takes some time to put some pants on knowing that time is of the essence, and rushes her down to the magic bed. The magic bed does not work and she remains dead.

After her funeral Russell Crowe confronts Colin Farrell and tries to kill him. The magic horse is trapped under a net in a poorly choreographic fight that resembles the music video to “Beat It.” Colin Farrell falls off the bridge and apparently awakens in 2014 with no memory of the past. Not much of an explanation is given about his memory loss or seaming immortality beyond the concept of DESTINY.

Lost was more coherent than this.

Lost was more coherent than this.

Destiny upsets Will Smith and Russell Crowe and the demon Irish gangsters still try to kill him. Colin Farrell does his best modern Colin Farrell and becomes a convincing homeless drifter. He remembers his past, and proceeds to get the same terrible haircut. He runs into Jennifer Connelly and her red-haired daughter. The daughter has consumption today presumably because Jennifer Connelly’s character is an anti-vaxer. Colin Farrell rushes her off to the manor, chased by the demon gangsters. Russell Crowe dies during a fight and Colin Farrell saves the girl by putting her into the magic bed. Colin Farrell and the horse then fly into the sky and become stars. The credits roll as I try to resist ROFL’ing in the middle of the theatre. I don’t know what I just saw, but damn did I love every second of this train wreck.

END SPOILER SECTION

The plot makes absolutely no sense. The more you think about it the more baffling it is. This is a failure of an adaptation, but it is one that I really hope becomes a cult classic.

Oh hi cult classic.

Oh hi cult classic.

The movie does have some positive aspects. Jessica Brown Findley and Colin Farrell have similar chemistry that the leads had in The Notebook. Their acting is pretty decent half the time. The delivery of their dialog is so unconvincing however. It’s better when they are silent. Uh… what else was good. The movie has a lot of confidence in itself. You can appreciate the ambition. It creates a good sense of intrigue that actually makes me want to read the book.

Akiva Goldsman may have won an Oscar for writing A Beautiful Mind but this movie channels my favourite superhero disaster: Batman & Robin, which he also wrote. He may have hoped that lightning would strike twice but instead he has created a movie cheesier than Arnold Schwarzenegger making ice puns for about two hours. Maybe Goldsman can’t write any movie that involves the cold.

I am anticipating the DVD release because this is one of those movies that would be a blast to watch with some friends with a few beers in hand. There are so many great opportunities for drinking games.

Thank you, Akiva Goldsman. I love your movie so much but for all the wrong reasons.

My Official Oscar Predictions

These are my final predictions. You can all laugh at me on Monday when half of them turn out to off-the-money. I bet there will be a director/picture split. “Gravity” will take home the most awards but not the big one. “American Hustle” may upset “12 Years a Slave for the big win”

BEST PICTURE

“12 Years a Slave”
“American Hustle”
“Captain Phillips”
“Dallas Buyers Club”
“Gravity”
“Her”
“Nebraska”
“Philomena”
“The Wolf of Wall Street”

BEST DIRECTOR

David O. Russell, “American Hustle”
Alfonso Cuaron, “Gravity”
Alexander Payne, “Nebraska”
Steve McQueen, “12 Years a Slave”
Martin Scorsese, “The Wolf of Wall Street”

BEST ACTOR

Christian Bale, “American Hustle”
Bruce Dern, “Nebraska”
Leonardo DiCaprio, “The Wolf of Wall Street”
Chiwetel Ejiofor, “12 Years a Slave”
Matthew McConaughey, “Dallas Buyers Club”

BEST ACTRESS

Amy Adams, “American Hustle”
Cate Blanchett, “Blue Jasmine”
Sandra Bullock, “Gravity”
Judi Dench, “Philomena”
Meryl Streep, “August: Osage County”

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

“American Hustle”
“Blue Jasmine”
“Her”
“Nebraska”
“Dallas Buyers Club”

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

“Before Midnight”
“Captain Phillips”
“Philomena”
“12 Years a Slave”
“The Wolf of Wall Street”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Lupita Nyong’o, “12 Years a Slave”
Jennifer Lawrence, “American Hustle”
June Squibb, “Nebraska”
Julia Roberts, “August: Osage County”
Sally Hawkins, “Blue Jasmine”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Barkhad Abdi, “Captain Phillips”
Bradley Cooper, “American Hustle”
Michael Fassbender, “12 Years a Slave”
Jonah Hill, “The Wolf of Wall Street”
Jared Leto, “Dallas Buyers Club”

BEST ANIMATED FILM

“The Croods”
“Despicable Me 2”
“Ernest & Celestine”
“Frozen”
“The Wind Rises”

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

“The Grandmaster”
“Gravity”
“Inside Llewyn Davis”
“Nebraska”
“Prisoners”

BEST COSTUME DESIGN

Michael Wilkinson, “American Hustle”
William Chang Suk Ping, “The Grandmaster”
Catherine Martin, “The Great Gatsby”
Michael O’Connor, “The Invisible Woman”
Patricia Norris, “12 Years a Slave”

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

“The Act of Killing”Joshua Oppenheimer and Signe Byrge Sørensen
“Cutie and the Boxer” Zachary Heinzerling and Lydia Dean Pilcher
“Dirty Wars” Richard Rowley and Jeremy Scahill
“The Square” Jehane Noujaim and Karim Amer
“20 Feet from Stardom” Nominees to be determined

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT

“CaveDigger” Jeffrey Karoff
“Facing Fear” Jason Cohen
“Karama Has No Walls” Sara Ishaq
“The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life” Malcolm Clarke and Nicholas Reed
“Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall” Edgar Barens

 

BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM

Aquel no era yo (That Wasn’t Me) – Esteban Crespo

Avant que de tout perdre (Just Before Losing Everything) – Xavier Legrand and Alexandre Gavras

Helium – Anders Walter and Kim Magnusson

Pitääkö mun kaikki hoitaa? (Do I Have to Take Care of Everything?) – Selma Vilhunen and Kirsikka Saari

The Voorman Problem – Mark Gill and Baldwin Li

 

BEST ANIMATED SHORT FILM

Feral – Daniel Sousa and Dan Golden

Get a Horse! – Lauren MacMullan and Dorothy McKim

Mr. Hublot – Laurent Witz and Alexandre Espigares

Possessions – Shuhei Morita

Room on the Broom – Max Lang and Jan Lachauer

 

BEST FILM EDITING

“American Hustle” Jay Cassidy, Crispin Struthers and Alan Baumgarten
“Captain Phillips” Christopher Rouse
“Dallas Buyers Club” John Mac McMurphy and Martin Pensa
“Gravity” Alfonso Cuarón and Mark Sanger
“12 Years a Slave” Joe Walker

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

“The Broken Circle Breakdown” Belgium
“The Great Beauty” Italy
“The Hunt” Denmark
“The Missing Picture” Cambodia
“Omar” Palestine

 

BEST MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING

“Dallas Buyers Club” Adruitha Lee and Robin Mathews
“Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa” Stephen Prouty
“The Lone Ranger” Joel Harlow and Gloria Pasqua-Casny

 

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE

“The Book Thief” – John Williams

“Gravity” – Steven Price

“Her” – William Butler and Owen Pallett

“Philomena” – Alexandre Desplat

“Saving Mr. Banks” – Thomas Newman

“Happy” from Despicable Me 2 – Pharrell Williams

 

BEST ORIGINAL SONG

“Happy” from Despicable Me 2 – Pharrell Williams

“Let It Go” from Frozen – Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez

“The Moon Song” from Her – Karen Orzolek and Spike Jonze

“Ordinary Love” from Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom – U2

 

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN

American Hustle – Judy Becker (Production Design); Heather Loeffler (Set Decoration)

Gravity – Andy Nicholson (Production Design); Rosie Goodwin and Joanne Woollard (Set Decoration)

The Great Gatsby – Catherine Martin (Production Design); Beverley Dunn (Set Decoration)

Her – K. K. Barrett (Production Design); Gene Serdena (Set Decoration)

12 Years a Slave – Adam Stockhausen (Production Design); Alice Baker (Set Decoration)

 

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

Gravity – Tim Webber, Chris Lawrence, Dave Shirk, and Neil Corbould

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug – Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon, David Clayton, and Eric Reynolds

Iron Man 3 – Christopher Townsend, Guy Williams, Erik Nash, and Dan Sudick

The Lone Ranger – Tim Alexander, Gary Brozenich, Edson Williams, and John Frazier

Star Trek Into Darkness – Roger Guyett, Patrick Tubach, Ben Grossmann, and Burt Dalton

Chaos and anarchy reign as the internet tries to play one game of Pokémon together

The infinite monkey theorem suggests that if you give an infinite number of monkeys an infinite number of typewriters they will eventually write a William Shakespeare play. It was first written about by mathematician Émile Borel in 1913.

The best episode of The Simpsons featured such an experiment.

On Valentine’s Day thousands of people tried to do something just as crazy on the internet. While some binged House of Cards to see what Frank Underwood was up to and to see who he would choo-choo-choose as his valentine, Zoe or Claire, many tried something a bit more ambitious.

Apparently if you give millions of humans one game of Pokémon they may be able to beat it. Twitch.tv has been hosting a live game of the classic 1996 game Pokémon Red. Players submit their inputs in the chat field in order to control the game. This would be pretty rough for even a few people to coordinate, but somehow about 14 million (with a peak of 90,000 at one time) people have been doing it and making some actual progress.

Pokémon is a pretty simple role-playing game for the Game Boy. It doesn’t require quick reaction time and it has a reasonable difficulty level. The Gameboy only has a few buttons to press: up, down, left, right, B, A, select, start. With tens of thousands of people telling you to turn left while ten thousand other people are telling you to go right it is as frustrating as going on a road trip with your parents.

The collective gamers picked Charmander as their starter (inferior to the best pick which is obviously Bulbasaur) and set out on a journey that has made Flappy Bird look like a cakewalk. Charmander was later released into the wild and they have been relying on a Pidgeotto to get ahead. They are at the half-way mark of the main game. They have defeated four of the eight gym leaders that are required to tackle the Elite Four to become the Pokémon champion.

Because it was clear that the game was devolving into total anarchy, the input system was changed slightly. Players can vote for “anarchy” where every input is used or “democracy” where every 20 seconds the most popular input is put forward to the game. People occasionally troll the chat to switch it back to anarchy to hinder progress, especially in the tough caves and mazes that are frustrating in a normal, sober play through.

As with all things on the internet, the live-stream has inspired artwork and memes. A subreddit has been created to develop strategies and jokes. The Pidgeotto even has a great Twitter account. A fascination has been developed over the Helix Fossil which keeps getting selected in the item menu. Other items are frequently thrown away just for fun.

Helix Fossil

Even if you are not a fan of Pokémon it is still fascinating to watch. It really shows how crazy the internet can be but also how it can band together to make some actual progress on a project. I’m hoping someone will study this in a sociology class someday.

I will keep tuning in because I am cringing at the thought of the horrible uses the collective internet might have for the Master Ball. We are definitely living in the blurst of times.

“Flappy Bird” proves that plagiarism should be punished

Flappy bird

This review is based off the iOS version played on an iPhone 4S with iOS7 installed.

What are all the young people up to this week? The ones who haven’t been killed in the neknomination pandemic are all playing a mobile game called Flappy Bird apparently.

Flappy Bird is an ad-congested mess of a game that is insanely addicting. It involves you tapping your phone’s screen to fly a bird through some green pipes. You get one point for each pipe you fly through. My record was 33 before I deleted it off my iPhone.

It’s simple enough to play and it’s free, so why should I complain? I’m complaining because it’s a sloppy game. The concept is not original. I can think of at least a dozen games like this such as Bit.Trip Runner, Temple Run and Jetpack Joyride that seem to have at least put a bit of effort into their games. Those games feature original music, sound effects, animations and fonts.

You were always told that plagiarism is wrong and you will be punished for it. The creator of Flappy Bird should have his pants sued off by Nintendo. If you are going to steal the design of a game, avoid stealing it from Super Mario World. Super Mario World being part of that Super Mario franchise, you know… the best-selling game franchise ever. The font in which the score is displayed is the iconic font of the Grand Theft Auto series. I cannot wait until the next Grand Theft Auto game finds a way to satirize this.

Kotaku made this comparison image between Mario World and Flappy Bird. Which is which?

Kotaku made this comparison image between Mario World and Flappy Bird. Which is which?

Green pipes are a staple of the Mario franchise. .GEARS Studios could have used anything else for their obstacles. Instead they use the very iconic Mario green pipes and modify the animation sprite of the Cheep Cheep fish enemy from Mario for their basic gameplay. They are using the familiarity to suck you in and use you for ad revenue.

Flappy Bird and the Mario games have a gameplay element called “hitboxes.” The hitbox is the point in your character’s animation that when it collides, you take damage. The green pipes have a widened lip throwing making the game far more challenging than it would be with an original animation. The derpy-looking Flappy Bird does not have the same hitbox as the Cheep Cheeps in Mario. Instead of being within the animation itself, it is outside of it. If the outside of the Flappy Bird hits the widened rim of the pipe you die. The whole game is based around this. When you lose, half the time it is the games fault, not yours. This artificial difficulty is more frustrating than rewarding.

The game is free, but it is full of ads. These ads love popping up at the top of your screen when you are in the middle of a game. In a reaction based game, these distractions will kill your flappy bird and your sanity. If you somehow ignore that, you won’t be able to ignore the game slowing down to load-up the ads.

The one thing that Flappy Bird does right is the simple score system. In today’s gaming world where a kill in Call of Duty nets you 100 points instead of 1, it is much easier to comprehend a similar scoring scale. Getting 10 points means you got through 10 pipes. This makes it easier to brag to your friends about how you wasted 14 hours of your life poking a fish-bird between two pipes.

This all doesn’t really matter anyway, the developer of the game says he’s going to take the game down tomorrow.