So those were definitely some Oscars, huh? There were definitely a few very good choices (Daniel Kaluuya winning Best Supporting Actor and Youn Yuh-jung winning Best Supporting Actress were chef's kiss), but if that wasn't the most strangely anticlimactic ending of the Academy Awards of all time, then I don't know what could top it. Maybe Ricky Gervais baby birding an Oscar statue to himself? Don't get me wrong, Anthony Hopkins was astounding in "The Father" and he might have given the best performance of the year, but Chadwick Boseman's work in "Ma Rainey" was truly revelatory. We all know Sir Hopkins is the GOAT, but Boseman proved in his final screen performance that he wasn't just a movie star, but an actor that could disappear into a role without any ego. The 2021 Oscars would have been the perfect chance to award him, not just for his amazing performance, but for a legacy cut off way too soon. A huge missed opportunity.
With all of that said, here are a few things I enjoyed this month that will definitely not be nominated for any Academy Awards.
- Photo courtesy of Netflix
- "Shadow and Bone" is the next "Game of Thrones." I'm calling it now.
In Pod We Trust:There are so many new podcasts springing up every day that it's literally impossible to listen to even half of them—which is why podcast studio Cadence13 and host Steve French have deeply upset me by launching an "Unsolved Mysteries" podcast and adding another show to my already deep bench of addictions. It's got unsolved murders. It's got aliens. And it's got enough paranoid conspiracy theories to keep you up at night staring at the stars. Don't start this one unless you plan on listening to all of them.
The New Beverly Cinema in Los Angeles (owned by Quentin Tarantino) has been temporarily closed for many months because of the pandemic, but it's hard to keep a good cinephile down. "Pure Cinema" is the official podcast of the theater and does some of the finest deep dives into movies and filmmakers I've ever heard on a podcast. One of the new episodes really starts unpacking the work of David Lynch and it's one of the most fascinating and illuminating looks at the director I've ever heard. A must-listen for film nerds.
Now Streaming:Yes, I've obviously watched the new "Mortal Kombat" movie on HBOMax and, while it is pretty dumb, I'm not sure I needed it to be smart. There's a ton of great martial arts and also people getting turned into ice and then shattered...can't that just be enough sometimes?
One show that has definitely surprised me with its quality is the new Netflix fantasy series "Shadow and Bone." I haven't read the series of books by Leigh Bardugo, but just based on the strength of the first three episodes, consider me next in line to check them out. The world-building and writing are so intricate that the first episode is almost impossible to understand, but, similar to "Game of Thrones," once the series starts expanding and letting the audience fall into the rhythms of the storytelling, it becomes genuinely fascinating and exciting. Season One is only eight episodes, so here's hoping enough people get sucked into the series that we get to see the entire story completed—especially since Netflix has been in the terrible habit of canceling things lately. If you're missing "The Witcher," this might tide you over until that show's return.