Since I was in junior high, I’ve made a goal every year to watch all the Oscar nominated Best Picture Films.
And every year events conspire to thwart me.
This year was no different.
I started with Joker, a film for which I had a visceral dislike. In fact, I have not felt such anger and despair coming out of a movie theater since 2004, when I saw Million Dollar Baby, which incidentally won best picture that year.
Surely the worst was over. (Spoiler alert: It was.)
One down, eight to go.
Then I saw Little Women and all my Oscar plans went down the drain.
Greta Gerwig, the film’s writer and director, brings some of Alcott’s subtler messages to the forefront, but she doesn’t say anything that doesn’t exist in the text. The movie is about the coming of age of the March sisters, as it should be, but also brings forth themes about women and art, commerce, and marriage.
Any careful reader of the novel chafes at the ending. Gerwig has found a clever way to honor both the story Alcott told and the one the readers suspects she wanted but was unable to tell due to the dictates of the time.
But I must leave Little Women and soldier on. More Oscar films await. The next weekend I decided to watch JoJo Rabbit.
Except when I got to the ticket counter, I said, “One ticket for Little Women, please.”
Instead of the Irishman, I watched Little Women.
When it was time to see Marriage Story? You guessed it. Little Women.
Reader, I’ve watched it four times in the theater.
And I’m not sure I’m finished.
If it were up to me, I’d give every single Oscar to Little Women, including Best Original Song, even though there was no singing.
So we’ve established that my objectivity is shot to hell. With the being said, I crammed in as many other nominees as I could.
A quick roundup:
Once Upon A Time In Hollywood…If you’re under 40, read Vincent Bugliosi’s Helter Skelter before viewing or you will have no idea what’s happening.
Parasite…If you know nothing about it, it’s probably enjoyable. But it doesn’t live up to the critic’s hype. And I’m not sure it’s worth dealing with subtitles.
1917…I didn’t care if those two boys lived or died, and I’m pretty sure that wasn’t what the filmmaker was going for.
Truthfully, if I had to do it over again, I’d have seen Little Women for a fifth, sixth, and seventh time instead.
Oh, and Ford V. Ferrari? I know her part is small, but I won’t watch anything with Caitriona Balfe in it until after the Outlander TV series ends. I want my vision of Caitriona as Claire Fraser kept pure.
Irrational? Of course.
But to love something that much is the gift of making and consuming art.