As you may know, I’ve been trying to go back and watch the films that I’ve already reviewed for 2019’s TBT section. Last week aside, I’ve been going through them in chronological order. Then I went rogue and watched a film that I wanted to. And the floodgates opened. There is no more order and the rule book is out the window. Maybe it’s because I know the next film coming up is one I’ve watched recently and don’t really want to go there again? Or maybe I’ve just got tired of setting myself these parameters for no reason? Either way, this week I had a craving to watch something random and I went through the films available on Prime and ended up here. Drawn in by Ewan McGregor’s face because, let’s be honest, the early 2000s were the peak time for his face. One year before Attack of the Clones and four years before the beardy goodness of Revenge of the Sith: Moulin Rouge is classic Ewan McGregor beauty. And he’s singing. I don’t know whether it’s the amount of Disney films I watched growing up but, for some reason, I’ve brought myself round to the idea that the ideal romantic partner is one who is an amazing singer. I feel like most people don’t see this as a vital ingredient to love but it is. It definitely is. So, let’s jump in.
So, after a brief stop last week, normal service is resumed and I have a book to review. This is one that has sat on my shelf for a while. I bought it a year or two ago when I decided to try out more short story collections. I figured it might make me a better or, at least, quicker reader. As expected, it did neither of those things and I just shoved it away with my other unread books. But I’m trying really hard to get through my unread books this year so I randomly plucked this off the shelf a few weeks ago. I can’t remember what prompted it but it was probably because I, naively, believed it would be a quick read. And February hasn’t exactly been a stellar reading month for me. I’ve still got two books on the go and this marks my second finished read. I’ve been doing so well so far that this is a genuine crushing blow. Still, let’s not start this review on a downer. Especially as I started this book with high hopes. A short story collection connected by a common theme and character? It sounded wonderful.
Fucking Bradley Cooper, man. I can’t say that I’ve ever been a massive fan but, once again, I seem to be in the minority. We’re in a situation in which the guy has been nominated for an acting Oscar 4 times. 4 times! One Best Supporting and three Best Actor. I just don’t get it. His best role to date, in my mind, is his voice performance as Rocket Raccoon. His performance in Silver Linings Playbook was messy and over-the-top. His performance in American Hustle wasn’t exactly stand-out either. Basically, I’ve just never seen him do anything that really wowed me. He’s just been lucky enough to be surrounded by better actors who make manage to disguise him. So, when I heard he was starring in and directing a remake of A Star Is Born I was hardly queuing up outside the cinema to see it. But then is got all sorts of fucking praise and attention during awards seasons. I kept putting this film off for as along as possible but I finally had to accept that I needed to watch it. So I did. And I have some thoughts.
What? A review? On a Sunday? No, you aren’t going mad. I’ve decided that, in order to get all my pre-Oscar reviews up before the big day, that I’m going to have to change my schedule for a bit. I started writing this yesterday but ended up feeling so bad that I went to bed early. But that’s not important because, at this point in my life, I have watched all of the Best Picture nominees. The only ones I want to try to watch before the ceremony, if I have the time, are The Wife and At Eternity’s Gate. But, if I don’t then I won’t do feel bad. I managed to watch the films I wanted to and well on time. Unlike last year when I was watching them up to the last-minute pretty much. I think I saw my final one the day before the ceremony. In fairness, there were 9 nominees last year. That’s a whole extra film to find the time for. It was tough! But I digress… So, I’ve seen all the nominees but I still need to review 3 of them. And, let’s not forget, the actual ceremony is on February 24th which is just over a week away. If I’m going to have the reviews up in time then I need to hurry the fuck up. Meaning the fact that I’m starting my extra reviews with a non-Best Picture film is kind of absurd… but I watched this before the other two. And I’m not really looking forward to having to write the final 2. To say I have mixed feelings about them is an under-statement.
Today is Valentine’s Day and, to get in the mood, I was planning on finding some ridiculous romantic-comedy to review. I’ve been getting into the spirit on my Instagram so I might as well do the same here. My plan was to get home from work and watching something disgusting. Probably a Richard Curtis film or something. Instead, I had a dreadful day and really lost my romantic spirit. There’s nothing like your manager unnecessarily calling you a liar to really ruin your entire day. So, I decided I wanted to watch something a little less conventionally romantic this evening. As I was going through my film collection and found this beauty. It seemed to tick every box: romance, mindless violence, humour, Gary Oldman, Patricia Arquette’s boobs… it was all there. I don’t think I’ve ever really made a definitive list of my favourite films ever because it would be too long and ever-changing but, if I did one day, I’m sure this film would be on there somewhere. And I’ve never really talked about it on here before. I think it’s time.
I’m going to be honest, I’d forgotten that today was Tuesday until a few minutes ago. I was happily sorting everything out and trying to organise my shit when I realised. I needed to hurry up and write this damn review. It’s all because my shifts have changed this week so I’m all off. I keep thinking it’s Sunday or something. But it’s not and I have another Best Picture nominee to review. The BAFTAs took place on Sunday and, despite having several nominations, Vice didn’t do too well out of the ceremony. Winning an award for Best Editing, it missed out on the other 5 categories it was up for. Christian Bale looked like a real contender for Best Actor but Rami Malek beat him out. Whether that changes Bale’s chances at the Oscars remains to be seen but, if you ask me, he’s still a pretty strong possibility. Malek was great but will it speak to the Academy? Especially when Bohemian Rhapsody was so disappointing. Who can say? But, all I know is, it’s never a good idea to discount Bale whenever he drastically alters his appearance for a role. I mean the guy even went to the lengths of thickening his neck. If that’s not commitment to a character then I don’t know what is.
When I looked back on my blog to find out what today’s TBT film was I audibly groaned. I’ve never wanted to see this film again. Especially now I’ve seen the amazing stage production. That was genuinely an emotional triumph and a beautiful adaptation of a (frankly) stupid story. Stupid because, for me, the story of an animal’s journey through World War 1 is never going to compare to that of a human’s in terms of emotional resonance. 2018 was the centenary of the end of World War 1 and Peter Jackson’s They Shall Not Grow Old was a film experience I’ll never forget. During the run-up to the actual centenary I got annoyed by the knowledge that an animal charity had designed their own purple poppy badge in memory of the animals who died in warfare. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love animals and think remembering their sacrifice is a good thing. BUT I don’t think it’s right to focus on them over the human sacrifice and you know there are people out there who will have only worn a purple poppy. As another example, I was recently witness to someone compare having to have their dog put down to having a child on life-support. As a former dog owner who went through the experience of having to do that, I know how much it hurts but you can’t compare the situations at all. Animals are great but, surely, we can all agree it’s not the same, right?
So, as I’ve been pointing out far too often on my blog and Instagram lately, I’ve been ill for the past few days. I must have caught flu from somebody at work so have been achy, shivery, and pathetic since Friday. I’d hoped that I would spend the time in bed to get ahead with some reading but I’ve basically had no energy. The idea of picking up a book and trying to take it in was more than I could cope with. It meant that I was faced with another Wednesday without a review, which made me feel even more pathetic. But, thankfully, Haruki Murakami came to my rescue. In honour of his 70th birthday this year, Murakami’s short story Birthday Girl was released in its own adorable edition. The story focuses on the 20th birthday of a waitress so, I guess, it’s kind of fortuitous that today my Facebook memory was from 11 years ago: one month before my 20th birthday. I hate this long-term memories just remind me of how horribly pretentious I was. Highlighted by the fact that my status update was an Oscar Wilde quote. I mean, geez. So, god knows what would have happened if this story had happened to 20-year-old Laura. It doesn’t bear thinking about.
After last week’s disappointing Bohemian Rhapsody, I was ready for a better Best Picture nominee to review. So, I went for one that I’ve been looking forward for ages. Any story that sounds so insane yet is based on a real-life event is something you just have to watch, right? Plus, and without wanting to prove just how superficial I really am, Adam Driver is looking good in that trailer. I admit that I kind of lost interest thanks to his nipple-height trousers from that scene in The Last Jedi but the minute I saw him in a plaid shirt I was back. And it’s great that he’s been given a nomination for his role here. Hell, it’s great that this film got a Best Picture nomination. Not only because I get an excuse to watch it but also because of the lack of recognition for If Only Beale Street Could Talk. Barry Jenkins obviously killed with Moonlight but the Academy have done the least possible for his latest film. Neither the director or the film are being recognised. I know I haven’t seen it yet but everything I’ve seen leads me to believe it deserves a place. Especially now I’ve seen Bohemian Rhapsody. But we can’t have everything.
How has your week been? What have you been reading?
Not to be too melodramatic, today I’m dying. Okay, so I’m basically just recovering from a touch of the flu so have been in bed all weekend. I’ve been shaky, cold, coughing since Thursday. So, I was kind of delighted to be told that work wasn’t going to open today. I know it’s bad but it did mean I could spend the day in bed. I’m still coughing like I’ve got TB but, as you’ve got to find the positives somewhere, I’m hoping it’s making me sound sexier. In other news, on Friday I had the sheer joy of seeing Boyzone during their goodbye tour. We got my older sister tickets for her birthday but, as we were all fans back in the day, my twin and I were loving it just as much as she did. Singing 90s pop songs at the top of my voice wasn’t exactly the best thing to do with my cough but I don’t care. It was an amazing night.