Tonight is the annual political gripefest also known as Oscar Night. My friend Chris Love and I bet each year on who can make the most correct predictions. Winner gets dinner at a restaurant to be determined, compliments of the loser.
It’s a tricky thing adapting a true story to film, especially when there is already an excellent documentary on the subject. Then there’s the question of creative license. How do you tell the story in a way that will keep audiences interested while still being faithful to the truth? Where is the line between fantasy and reality, and when it comes to a real person, how far over the “line” is too far?
As a kid of the 80s, I grew up with some of the greatest high school rom-coms made, including PRETTY IN PINK, SIXTEEN CANDLES and SAY ANYTHING. These films found the right mix of humor, drama and teen angst to make them classics. LOVE, SIMON attempts to be this generation’s version of such a film, with mostly positive results.
In between political rants, the Oscars will be handed out later tonight. I didn’t get to see all of the films this year but did see some very good ones. Here are my guesses for tonight’s winners.
It’s a story that has been told many times before. During the early days of World War II, Western Europe is about to fall. The British government is in crisis. Fight or negotiate with Hitler? And making the decisions – a man who starts drinking at breakfast and has a questionable history of decision-making. So does DARKEST HOUR make this subject fresh and interesting, especially on the heels of DUNKIRK telling a similar story from a different point of view?
Time for my annual “throw a dart at some names and hope for the best” post.
The story of P.T. Barnum has been told in song before. In fact, it’s always been one of my favorite musicals. I saw the original cast in the Broadway production in the 80s and that night at the theatre has always stuck with me. So when plans for a new musical version (using new songs, not the ones I’d come to love) were announced, I was skeptical to say the least. Early reviews were also all over the place with some loving the film and others hating it. So what’s the truth? That’s a tough call, especially when the art of “humbug” is involved.
The popularity of “Glee” and a cappella groups like Pentatonix made making the original PITCH PERFECT a logical choice. With its success (the original film made over $113 million worldwide) a sequel was also a no-brainer. PITCH PERFECT 2 more than doubled the box office of the original and made a third film inevitable. Whether or not the latest offering is necessary, however, is another matter.
If Yoda were to write this review, he might start with the following warning:
“At your own risk read this. Ahead slight spoilers are.”
You have been warned.
It’s a movie, not a wedding, but still you’ll find something old, something new, something borrowed and yes, even something blue in the live-action remake of Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” that opens today nationwide.