It’s been a crazy few weeks between the Oscars, the finalization of lists, and more here at the Sacred Wall. I’ve been mostly focused on finishing my Top Ten lists, but I did manage to get out to see a few of the big films in theaters, as well as watch a few new movies at home. I actually managed to get out to the theater for two new releases: Aquaman and Stan and Ollie. Stan and Ollie is about what you’d expect in a biopic of classic comedians, centered by two fantastic performances by John C. Reilly and Steve Coogan – it’s worth seeing for the two of them. Meanwhile, Aquaman is…holy sh*t. Aquaman is the type of big dumb movie that makes films like Face/Off and Furious 7 so enjoyable – the film is bad, but it enjoys being bad. And I love how it just throws Lord of the Rings, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Black Panther, director James Cameron and star Arnold Schwarzenegger together, whether they fit or not. It’s hilariously excessive, and I’m somewhere between love and hate on it.
Of course, that’s not the only 2018 release I watched during the past two weeks. I also watched the indie musical comedy Hearts Beat Loud on the recommendation of critic Danielle Solzman. And you know what? It’s pretty damn enjoyable. It’s got that quirky joy that made Sing Street and Once such hits. It’s definitely worth the watch. I also had second viewings of Green Book and First Man as I catch up on Oscar contenders and Top Ten contenders. In the case of Green Book, my review of the film still stands, although I want to give it credit for the way it confronts white privilege as a part of systemic racism just as much as it does the broader aspects. I understand and respect all the critiques, but I do believe this is a smarter film than people give it credit for. Of course, it’s easy to feel the film is a letdown when it is paired with First Man, as I did this weekend. God, First Man is such a great movie. It’s technically flawless, emotionally and personally rich, and expertly crafted from the top down, even if I don’t know if I’ll give it my #1 spot anymore. As for older releases, I put Selma in on MLK Day for the first time in three years, and I’m still amazed at how excellent that movie is – Ava DuVernay and David Oyelowo really changed the biopic game with that one. And finally, I watched Edward G. Robinson’s Little Caesar, which was interesting, but didn’t really capture me the way I wanted it to. Oh well. Beggars can’t be choosers.
On television, I recently switched cable providers, which has allowed me to watch a lot more shows than normal. Of course I’m still watching Modern Family, although not necessarily for the quality anymore so much as it’s the perfect thing to throw on while I write (there’s very little thought involved anymore). I also watched Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and You’re the Worst both weeks, because those are two of the best shows on TV and their both winding down on strong final seasons (the rom-com episode of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is top-notch). Then there’s The Masked Singer, which continues to be the dumbest, funnest show on TV (and I totally called Margaret Cho). And finally, because I’m That Guy praising Peak TV now, I watched the first episode of The Sopranos and the first episode of Black Monday – one to be caught up on pop culture and one to be caught up on my 2019 TV list. The Sopranos hasn’t captured me yet, but I can see the promise and I’m excited to see where it goes from here. As for Black Monday, I’m a little worried this is just going to be a Wolf of Wall Street rehash, but Don Cheadle, Regina Hall, and Andrew Rannells are all stellar so far (as is Ken Marino playing the Lehman twins), so I’m willing to give this one a few more chances.
Well, that wraps up this week’s What I Watched, What You Watched! Let me know in the comments what you think of the films and TV I’ve been watching, and I’ll see you all next week for another exciting edition!