You may recall a certain plan I made that set out to view most/all movies up for major awards at the upcoming Oscars. I am happy to report that I have succeeded – AND MORE. This was mostly made possible through actual movie passes and the wonder that is MoviePass – I mentioned it in our SyncSwim newsletter (you’re not signed up!? go to!) but it deserves a second shoutout because it is a #game #changer. I am in fact not a wealthy goddess woman and cannot afford to see all these movies on the big screen at face value. Imagine my joy when, lo, my pal told me about a magical piece of plastic that allows you to see unlimited movies for $10 a month and isn’t lying! (Apparently right now it’s for only $8 a month based on the link I just put in? How is that possible??? Where was this when I was 14???) Aka, what movie dreams are made of. You can also quit whenever, so it is very much worth getting it for just one month and then making a mad dash to the nearest theater near you. Ergo, thank you to both the Academy and MoviePass for sponsoring my journey into cinematic bliss (but not you, Harvey Weinstein. You and your sliminess can kindly stay out of here).
That said, if you’re feeling disoriented on the road to the Oscars, or if you’re just looking for one or two to see to stay relevant, or if you don’t care at all, or if you care too much – here’s my take on how to prioritize, in the order I saw them, followed by the order I would recommend seeing them in if you’re pressed for time. If you’re anywhere near Chicagoland, there will be ample opportunity to escape the rainy, snowy days ahead in the walls of your friendly neighborhood theater (unless you’re trying to see Black Panther. Good luck getting a ticket.) If you’re like me, you can movie hop while you’re there, and catch the second half of another flick (I’m looking at you, Greatest Showman) because why the heck not!
And so, without further ado,
- I, Tonya (3)
I remember reading about Tonya Harding in various People collectibles that detailed crimes that shocked America, and I always had questions about this one. There was a lot of talk about Nancy Kerrigan being saintly and pretty, but not a ton about Tonya Harding the person. No more! The acting is excellent, but the best thing about this movie is how little it actually focuses on alleged crime and instead finally gives Tonya her due, making her sentencing way more heartbreaking. She’s a badass beyond measure, and even with the beautiful skating taking place at the Winter Olympics this year, still holds her own as one of the very best in history. Also, shoutout to the guy that plays the bodyguard, aka maybe my favorite supporting character ever. Also also, listen to the Tonya Harding singles and read Sufjan’s cutie note about her for the full experience. This movie rules.
2. 3 Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (1)
Let’s just get out of the way now that this was my very favorite of the bunch, and the one I think you should see if you’re going to just see one. Okay! That’s done! The writing is incredible, the story is unpredictable, there’s a lengthy feature of Abba, Frances McDormand is a punch to the face. It’s not for the faint of heart – my roommate describes it as “emotionally violent” – but it’s the most original of the bunch while remaining very much on the nose about the typical. Might just go see it again right now. Wanna come?
3. The Post (5)
I would not have seen this had my mother not asked me to accompany her, and I am oh so glad she did! It is predictable in certain senses (due to the whole Stephen Spielberg-Meryl Streep-Tom Hanks thing), but it’s really riveting anyway. Nothing against Queen Meryl, but it’s one of the few performances of hers in recent years that I think actually merits the nomination (obviously she’s the best but come on, give someone else a try!). Nothing like a movie about journalism to cut right to the point, while simultaneously managing to make you long for a gold caftan and the lives of Washington’s elite.
4. The Greatest Showman (6)
Haters, back off. Think I’m exaggerating all you want, but I cried 3 times while watching this movie out of sheer joy, and I have snuck into it twice since seeing it to catch whatever left of it I can after my real movie is over. I get why people are like “meh,” but I also don’t think that’s a fair response if you account for the fact that it’s just trying to be what it is – a joyful celebration of good entertainment done well. And, it is. Also, the acrobatic love ballad between Zac Efron and Zendaya is one of the most romantic things I’ve ever seen and they did all of it themselves!!! Which, arguably, should be the case if you are getting paid millions of dollars! But still!! Acrobats! Of love!