The month of January is typically reserved for post-holiday blues and sludge-trudging, but, truth be told, it is one of my favorite times of the year because it means I get to go to the movies about once a week and not feel bad about it because THE OSCAR RACE HAS OFFICIALLY COMMENCED. All of the contenders come out to play around the same time, as though they’re collectively nervous that if they’d decided to release in March the Academy would forget about them (which, it seems, they do). I remember the January of my senior year of college, when I went to Birdman and Foxcatcher and Whiplash with various cohorts of pals in what felt like an endless barrage of really good movies after several years where there, like, weren’t any. Though I tend to prefer seeing movies alone, I love nabbing whoever I can to share the screen with this month, to look over at each other dumbfounded or crying at the end of whatever the heck just happened. When I have a semi-respectable space to do so (not presently), I love to host an Oscar party and print out ballots and shush all of my guests while watching all the pretty people thank their mothers and be told they’re extraordinary.
I love going to the movies; always have. When I was in elementary school, the greatest treat was when my mother came and picked me up early from school to see a movie (particularly when that movie was The Lizzie McGuire one). She had excellent taste, and gave me my very first viewing of Pride and Prejudice at age 11, a gift I can never repay. Movie theaters are the hallowed halls of middle school group dates spent itching to hold hands, or solo voyages when you need a good cry in the dark. They are perfect for rainy days, or when you’re living in Holland and going stir crazy in your host family’s house. The best is when you luck out and get a theater all to yourself – objectively, it sounds like it should be spooky, but experientially it feels very luxurious. I used to keep every movie stub I acquired in a pile by my bed, until it grew to a size that required containment. There are still little boxes of stubs in my childhood bedroom and an ever-growing bouquet in my wallet because I can’t quite seem to kick the habit.
A great Oscar mystery, rooted in legend and the 90’s
Here’s what I’m tryna see this month in my first round at the theaters before February:
Phantom Thread – bonus appeal: final film performance of Daniel Day Lewis </3, king of my heart; deterrent: looks scary!
I, Tonya – bonus appeal: I tried figure skating for two weeks when I was 7 years old and I’m eager to learn how my life could have turned out!, coincides beautifully with Sufjan Steven’s Tonya Harding singles, so I’m already emotionally prepared
3 Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri – I want Frances McDormand to win all accolades possible, including for her supporting role in Something’s Gotta Give
The Greatest Showman – because of who I am as a person
Here are the movies I saw throughout 2017 that I just have an opinion about and hope will at least get some vague nomination, i.e., Best Cinematography
Baby Driver – I don’t really know what it could be nominated for (best writing? Cutiest trust fund boy-turned-actor-boy? Idk) but it’s still my fave movie of 2017
Wonder Woman – mostly just to ensure national exposure of the first 20 minutes in which the Amazon women are generally kicking all of the asses
Get Out – unlike any movie you will see this year and also ever
The Shape of Water – I normally hate the phrase “grown-up fairytale,” but it absolutely applies to this one, and it’s beautiful
Lady Bird – I didn’t love it as much as everyone else but I love that Greta Gerwig directed it and would like there to be 5 women alive who have been nominated for Best Director so!
Star Wars: The Last Jedi – well, duh!
Here are the movies I know I’m supposed to want to see but feel totally! ambivalent! about:
Call Me By Your Name – saw one other Luca Guiadagnino movie and am too scared to see another one (but will probably cave bc peer pressure and bc important)
Darkest Hour – love Gary Oldman, love Winston Churchill, the math just isn’t there! (but also if someone paid for my ticket I would more than likely rally)
How crazy is it that over a hundred movies get made every year and there are some that only a handful of people see when there are thousands of people (this blimp included!) trying to make them? And every year someone has to win, even if it’s not as good as the winner from the previous year? It makes no sense! Emma Stone should not have won for La La Land! There, I said it! Cat’s outta the bag and running towards 2018!
Please do let me know if there’s something missing from my list – I have 6 glorious weeks to add to it, and I #dontwannamissathing.