Movie Views: Oscar Run 2018 Launches with LADY BIRD

Movie Views: Oscar Run 2018 Launches with LADY BIRD

For those of you who have been reading my blog for a while, you know that I have a serious addiction to all things Oscars. I’ve been watching the ceremonies, seeking out nominated films and performances and memorizing the winners since I could walk. (Years ago, I officially admitted to my affliction in my essay “Therapy from the Aisle Seats.”) Each year, I do my best to see as many of the year’s nominees in six key categories: best picture, best acting in a lead role for actor and actress as well as supporting roles for both, and best director. I affectionately refer to it as my Annual Oscar Run, and I even hooked my hubs into going with me to most of them over the past two decades. In recent years, we have tended to see what we can at the theaters or on demand at home, but given the rise in movie ticket prices (and honestly, the  lesser caliber of recent films nominated), we have not been quite as dedicated to knocking off all of those six categories of nominees.

 

This time, however, I feel differently. For the first time in a while, I am excited about seeing this year’s crop of films and performances. For the most part. I’m still a little bummed that WONDER WOMAN was not a Best Picture nominee, as it was my favorite film from last year. With 9 films nominated for best picture, the Oscar contest includes 34 nominations in those six core categories which span 14 different films. Going into the 2018 Run, I had seen only one of those films to knock off 3 nominations:  GET OUT. I must tell you as I enter Oscars season. I thought GET OUT was a thought-provoking and impactful film that probably said more in its 104 minutes of running time than most films come anywhere near accomplishing. So out of the starting gate, I’m rooting for this one. But…I am keeping an open mind for there are so many films left to see.

 

GetOut

 

 

On Tuesday, just hours after this year’s Oscar noms were announced, I was already embarking on the Run. The announcement, by the way, was one of the most bizarre and mispronounced unveilings ever courtesy of the always curious Tiffany Haddish and seemingly amused Andy Sirkis (enjoy a good chuckle and see it for yourself by clicking here). Since I’m blogging more about movies this year and the occasional review when I feel compelled, I thought I’d blog about my progress and offer some thoughts about what I have seen. My first film on the Run…LADY BIRD.

 

lady bird

 

LADY BIRD (which checks off four of the core 34 nominations) stars Saoirse Ronan and Laurie Metcalf in what is being described as a coming-of-age story about a 17-year-old in Sacramento who spends most of her senior year bemoaning the fact that she is in Sacramento and much of her energy wishing she were somewhere else. We were all 17 and restless once, and the creatives and arty-farty folk among us (me included) felt misunderstood especially, so I could relate to that part of the film. The relationship between Christine (who names herself Lady Bird) and mom Marion is also a familiar one, where the quiet observer (we the audience) can see two people talking at each other, both not wanting to directly hurt the other but indirectly doing so at every sentence.

 

At times, I really enjoyed LADY BIRD (the JV football coach subbing for drama class is one such scene that had me in stitches) but most of the time, I found LADY BIRD interesting but not quite as charming as I hoped it would be. My quick, informal review to my closest friends as I stepped out of the theater  was “Liked it, didn’t love it.” That about says it all. I really wanted to have that same connection to the young lead characters in the film as I did JUNO, THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER and GHOST WORLD, But though Ronan nails the performance, I could not truly get a complete read on Lady Bird and every time I thought I did, the character would go in a different direction that seemed not so believable to me. I had a similar reaction to the lead in RUSHMORE, another film whose soundtrack was wonderful but which as far as plot and character development go, left a taste of meh in my mouth even though I went into it with the highest hopes.

 

The acting in LADY BIRD is top-notch. If Ronan or Metcalf win, it would be well-deserved. But I can’t root for the film for Best Picture or Best Directing, because I didn’t feel I had seen something that wowed me, not the way GET OUT did and as I hope some of the other remaining nominees do. Thanks for reading. ~ Chris K.

 

On a scale of 0-100, I give LADY BIRD an 84.

 

 

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