Our Anti-Oscars

DATELINE: Ten Who Dared


We saw a few movies this year, since the last Oscar ceremony, and we enjoyed them thoroughly. As you might expect, none of these movies won much of anything. In fact, they were reviled in some circles.

In no particular order, we recommend four documentaries, 2 docudramas, 6 movies about writers, and a partridge in a pear tree. They are politically incorrect for the most part.

78/52:  This little documentary gives us a full-length movie that looks at how Alfred Hitchcock put together a two-minute shower scene in Psycho.

A Ghost Story: A fascinating look at the personal, sad history of one ghost (in a classic white sheet). Eschews the normal clichés.

Chasing Pavement:  An interesting look at the life, off-screen, of a gay porn star whose life is someone else’s fantasy. Not a documentary.

Frantz:  A French-German language movie about a girl who discovers a stranger leaving flowers at her dead boyfriend’s grave after World War I.

Paterson:  Jim Jarmusch presents us with the pedestrian life of a bus driver in Paterson, New Jersey, who happens to be a poet.

The Man Who Invented Christmas:  The amusing story of how Charles Dickens invented Scrooge—and their intriguing discussions on how to tell his ghost story.

Rebel in the Rye:   J.D. Salinger’s life is told, through Nick Hoult’s performance, and his mentor (Kevin Spacey) who seems to have an unhealthy obsession with the writer.

The Gallapagos Affair: Documentary about a strange murder and disappearance in the Enchanted Isles of Darwin and Melville.

I am Nobody’s Negro:  The life of James Baldwin who never compromised his writing or life, and refused to become the black Truman Capote.

The list falls short of a top-ten litany, and that’s how it should be. Nobody really raved about hard-working filmmakers who came up with these labors of love. Their artistic integrity and small budgets defy the art they created.

You could watch worse movies, mostly from this year’s Oscar list.

William Russo compiled a couple of volumes of movie reviews this season:  Red Carpet Tickets and Is It Real? …or Just Another Movie.


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