I Will Be the Arbiter of the #Oscars Thank You

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Listen, I have spent my entire life worshipping the Oscars but this year I just don’t care. At all. I think it’s probably related to the inescapable and crushing malaise that has us all collectively praying for death, which incidentally will be the overarching theme of whatever “I ❤️ the Trump Years!” clip show VH1 beams directly into our skulls in 2030. Zany Gen Z improv comedians will be like “What’s so funny about the Trump Years is all the suicides! Everyone thought millennial death humor was just social commentary but no like my ENTIRE family over the age of 30 is deceased lol!” Then the “I ❤️ the Trump Years” logo animates on, the ‘T’ becomes an AR-15 that blows the ❤️’s brains out, smash-cut to commercial.

Anyway, I’m still going to watch the Oscars because pretty ladies in dresses! and also it turns out somehow I’ve seen all of the Best Picture nominees without even meaning to, which of course qualifies me to fart out my opinions onto the internet and call them definitive and so here are those definitive opinions.

The Shape of Water

Everybody’s freaking out about the whole sexing-a-sea-monster thing and sorry NEWP, I can’t get into a lather over this because yo, you ever had sex with a man? They ain’t shit. The years between my Saturn return and the first debilitating depression of my 30s were replete with a nonstop parade of anonymous dee as per custom, and I can count the number of dudes who were any good at it on one hand and still have enough fingers left over to tickle my taint or whatever. If that’s the kind of ineptitude with which gay men are coming incorrect, I shudder to think what sort of scams straight men are running in these streets.

So if a sea monster knows how to turn that shit out the way you like then by all means Karen, get yours. Poseidon bless.

No, my problem with The Shape of Water is that Sally Hawkins seduces her sea monster with hard-boiled eggs. Hard-boiled eggs are fucking disgusting. Even people who like hard-boiled eggs would admit to being repelled by hard-boiled eggs if they could just be honest for one goddamn second in their disgusting sulphur-scented lives. The entire reason the phrase “egg farts” exists is because egg farts smell like hard-boiled eggs. These are facts, as inviolable as the sun, and yet Guillermo del Toro comes in here and asks in good faith that we be beguiled by a love story predicated on hard-boiled eggs. That dog won’t hunt. Oscar denied don’t @ me.

(In reality I really loved this movie a lot but still don’t @ me.)

The Darkest Hour

This is the sort of film for which nailing down superlatives is an exercise in futility. Joe Wright’s meditation on Churchill is such a tour de force that LOLOLOLOLJKJKJKJK I lied I did not see this movie due to not caring.

Also Gary Oldman apparently hits ladies and look, separating the art from the artist is all fine and good when we’re talking political peccadilloes or Madonna’s infuriating insistence upon wearing grillz but in this case we’re talking about endangering women’s actual lives so HARD PASS on this particular brand of moral relativism see also: Allen, Woody.

Next!

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

I am a cynical art fag ready to burn everything down but before I was that I was your nice gay uncle from the 90s who wore a lot of polo shirts and bragged about knowing all the lyrics to “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.” (For the children, that was the hallmark of what we now call “performative wokeness” before it was supplanted by “voting for Obama twice.”) And so at first blush my dumb white lizard brain saw this movie and was like WOW O WOW MUCH TWISTS SUCH MCDORMAND.

But I kept having moments of “wait but what?” and “ok but y tho” and “excuse me 1992 called and it wants its tokenization of Black people back amirite thank you.” Then I opened the internet and saw that many folks are really angry about this movie and I was like “Oops I whited again, this movie is kind of trash!”

Now, “trash” is a strong word, but you know what I mean. I won’t go into the racial dynamics because 🎶what the world needs now is less white people talking about race, sweet less white people talking about race🎶, but I will say, to my fellow whites: this movie is what happens when you try to parse race without seeking out any actual Black folks’ lived perspectives about it. Like, eyes akimbo heads-up seven-up.

And it’s that kinda shit, I can only assume, that would lead one to think that a movie that redeems unrepentant racists in 2018 is anything besides tone-deaf or that a white British man is the vessel through which to address contemporary American social structures. Like confidential to writer/director Martin McDonagh, America is not Ireland so you can’t just take a script about Ireland and change all the place names to “Missouri” and all the “pikeys” to the n-word and then look in a mirror and chant “2006 Best Picture Winner Crash” three times and then Warren Beatty appears and hands the Oscar to the wrong movie. That’s not a thing. I see you.

So anyway Idk man Frances McDormand is thrilling and Sam Rockwell is great and wow o wow did I love the cinematography but like why is this movie? Like seriously why is it. I just …

It’s gonna win though, you can bank on that. America needs to fall into a sinkhole and be melted into the Earth’s core.

Anyway!

Phantom Thread

****SPOILERS DO NOT @ ME YOU’VE BEEN WARNED****

I do not know what this movie is. Near as I can tell it’s like this guy makes clothes — very good clothes! the best clothes even! — and he meets this waitress and is like hi hello be my bride please and she’s like sure yes ok fine and then it turns out he’s a giant dick and she hates him and so she poisons him but he survives and then he’s like *eyebrow raise* hey baby you know what really gets my wee willy winkie suppurating is more near-death experiences at the hands of your poison the end. Are they into some heavy S&M shit or? Is this an art-house Fifty Shades of Gray? I just … I don’t … Why would …

And look, I stan PT Anderson. I saw Magnolia in the theater three times. One of those times was in an un-air-conditioned cinema in London with the worst sunburn of my life and popcorn that had fucking sugar on it, which sorry Her Majesty’s United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, that sugar popcorn scam you’re running is not good! But I put up with it anyway because I love PT Anderson that much! Sometimes of an afternoon I watch Julianne Moore’s “Suck my dick” monologue just, like, because! One time I smoked a cigarette with drugs in it and watched the opening crane shot from Boogie Nights over and over again for 35 real minutes for literally no reason! This is the power of PT Anderson!

And yet!

I do not get this movie. It’s beautiful and that lady is very good and Daniel Day Lewis really Daniel Day Lewises the Daniel Day Lewis out of the thing but I do not understand this movie.

Idk 5/5 because I’m so perplexed by this thing I don’t feel qualified to discuss it good night.

Dunkirk

Wow o wow what an incredible feat of filmmaking! The film and television professional in me has deep appreciation for this movie because it really is something technically and also I heart Christopher Nolan but the trouble is they sort of forgot to, like, make characters? And so I literally remember nothing about Dunkirk except for excellent technical execushe and Tom Hardy’s filthy sex pillows (lips) and the extent to which I was blessed by Harry Styles’s jawline.

Dunkirk!

Call Me By Your Name

Guys can we be real? If this movie were about straight people literally nobody would care about it at all even a little bit like at all. That’s reductive, and I get it, but still. I don’t hate it or anything. It is very pretty! And Timothée Chalamet is, I mean, Jesus H. that kid is good and that ending credits sequence wawaweewa!! Arm and Hammer is also very good! Arm and Hammer is also very hot! And if nothing else we can praise the fact that there is actually cum on Arm and Hammer’s chest after one of the sex scenes because can we please just come the entire fuck on and stop treating gay sex like something outré from whose lurid realities the corruptible straights must be shielded? We are all adults and know that jizzlies jump out of men’s peepees when they’re happy and it’s fine!

Also the peach thing was sexy as fuck and I don’t care what anyone thinks about it goodbye.

Also that Michael Stuhlbarg monologue was a torrential downpour of tears. What a magnificently crafted moment.

So ok maybe I liked this one more than I thought.

But still, people were out here calling this the best film ever made and stuff and I just … Idk man. Arm and Hammer’s character is definitely going to be miserable because closet but Timothée’s character has a very bright future ahead of him as an impossibly beautiful and rich man about boystown and about all I could muster for this movie overall was “Oh this again.” I am just saying! How’s about a gay romance movie that has no romance whatsoever and where the gay man is a mentally ill neurotic with a body that looks like a 6-foot tall baby and whose family rejects him so he has a mental breakdown and nearly dies and then becomes the kind of weirdo who all-capses his stream-of-consciousness Oscar rants into the internet???? GIVE US SOMETHING RELATABLE FOR ONCE GAYLLYWOOD.

The Post

Everyone hates this picture but my whiteness and I really liked this picture! I am a gay white who still listens to Sheryl Crow and occasionally cooks casseroles and is old enough to remember a time when literally everyone didn’t literally hate each other and this movie had big stars I have known all my life uniting to do a thing that used to mean something (journalism) and I really liked that circling overhead shot of Meryl on the phone and she wore some really A+ caftans and I thought this movie was fine!

Lady Bird

I don’t know man. I’m starting to think the theme of this year’s Oscars should be “White Gays From the 90s: What Do They Like?” because, again: I am a white gay from the 90s and my momz and I had some very similar relaysh dynamics and it made me miss her a lot even though she’s crazy and hates me and so I loved this little movie. A lot. And while I’m not drowning in a bathtub full of my own cum over it like all the other 90s whites are, I thought it was lovely and heartfelt and funny and Shoeshirt Ronan (this is the best joke I could come up with in re: the pronunciation of Saoirse and I am sorry but also owning it so) was revelatory and Laurie Metcalf is a treasure and I have tried and tried and tried to hate Greta Gerwig and I just don’t okay.

I JUST DON’T AND I THINK YOU ALL HATE THIS MOVIE BECAUSE IT’S EASIER TO HATE THINGS THAN TO LOVE THEM WHICH INCIDENTALLY IS THE TITLE OF MY MEMOIR GOODNIGHT.

Get Out

Look. This is the best movie of 2017 and if you disagree I just don’t know what you’re doing. It’s airtight and perfectly executed and daring and DIFFERENT and how often — be honest — how often can we EVER EVER EVER EVER EVER say that about mainstream movies period, let alone ones that are Oscar nominees? Nearly never. Not only did I yell and cheer in this movie, but I was also embarrassed 480 times by stupid white shit I have done over the course of my life and I think white people could do with a little embarrassment nowadays because HAVE YOU SEEN WHAT WHITE PEOPLE ARE UP TO LATELY IT IS ALMOST UNIFORMLY VERY BAD. So if you’re not pulling for this to be Best Picture you need to GET OUT hahahahahahahahahahaha oh we do have fun.

It won’t win though, because Three Billboards will or the vote will split and Churchill, Actually will and then this’ll be another Gandhi beating E.T. or Shakespeare In Love beating Saving Private Ryan and when was the last time you watched Gandhi or Shakespeare in Love?

OKAY WE GET IT THEATER NERDS YOU WATCH SHAKESPEARE IN LOVEEVERY FRIDAY NIGHT WHILE LANGUIDLY MASTURBATING IN A LAVENDER-SCENTED BATH I MEAN BESIDES YOU AND IN THAT CASE THE ANSWER IS LITERALLY NEVER BECAUSE SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE IS DUMB AND AS FOR GANDHI IT IS VERY BORING.

I think I’ve made my point.

Other bits and bobs:

Best Foreign Film

A Fantastic Woman is a fantastic movie HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA SEE I DID IT AGAIN OH WHAT MIRTH.

But seriously. This film is … man I can’t even be funny about it. It’s just so incredible, and the fact that Daniela Vega isn’t nommed for Best Actress makes this year’s Oscars, the whole entire shit, feel like a total fraud to me. Do yourself a favor. Go.

But here’s what foreign film DON’T GO TO:

The fucking Square.

As my Uncle Jim would say, JEEEEsus JENny, this fucking movie.

This movie is 487 hours long and about literally NOTHING. This is precisely the kind of movie I hate, one that purports to be an incisive satire of a thing, in this case the art world, but is just high-falutin’ nonsense. I am not a stupid person and I spent LITERALLY AN ENTIRE WEEK inside a theater staring at this motion picture and I have not one idea what it is about.

Here’s a thing that will give you a sense of this movie: there is a scene where Elisabeth Moss and Swedish Clive Owen have sex while her pet chimp watches. This monkey has nothing to do with anything and is there for no reason and what the fuck is this movie.

Then, the climactic scene is a “performance artist” pretending to be a gorilla trying to rape a woman at a white tie banquet and nearly succeeding because nobody intervenes because “respect for art” or whatever. Satire!

Man fuck The Square.

Best Documentary

I can’t be funny about this one either.

Faces Places was my favorite movie of 2017. What I love about Agnes Varda — or, I should specify, the elderly version of Agnes Varda (I haven’t seen her earlier stuff) — is that she is unafraid of confronting the idea of death and is hence able to use her relative proximity thereto to ground her ruminations on life. Which sounds really simplistic and dumb, and maybe it is because trauma has made me maudlin and I only completed one semester of film school, but I feel like if you see it, you’ll understand what I mean. She and her partner in this film, the French artist JR, have made a thing that cracks open the idea of humanity and lays it so bare that somehow the act of watching it makes you feel seen. For the times in which we live, it is a buttress and a balm.

And now you’ll see it and fucking hate it because I talked it up so much DO NOT COME FOR ME.

Also, to my actual IRL friends NO I DON’T JUST LIKE THIS MOVIE BECAUSE IT’S FRENCH I HATE YOU ALL NEVER TALK TO ME AGAIN.

Okay well that’s it I guess! I am not excited about the Oscars but will watch them anyway because this is America in 2018 and what is anything! So see you on the internet I suppose bye!

Find John on the Twitter and the Instagram social media things @JohntheCraptist if you care about that stuff!

This post also appears on Medium

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