The Irishman

I knew watching this movie was gonna be an ordeal. 3 hours and 27 minutes of gangster movie. It kinda makes sense that it would be on Netflix and not in theaters. But this is a Martin Scorsese film we’re talking about, which means he has to be in the awards conversations, so limited theatrical run it is! My options were basically gonna be The Landmark or Alamo Drafthouse. Comfy seats and good food made my choice a no brainer. I’d even put it off a week from opening because I knew it would basically take up my entire Saturday. Definitely a win on the venue. Buffalo cauliflower and creme brulee french toast got me thru it. Shout to to my server whose name I never caught. He told me he’d been forewarned that people would be constantly ordering more beers during the film, and I spotted him make more rounds scouting for order cards than any server I’ve seen at a dine in theater. I made sure to tip a little extra since I’m sure one long movie equals less tips overall than two normal movies.

The Irishman is Robert DeNiro. A few chance encounters with some heavily connected wiseguys leads him into the mob where he works his way up, gaining favor with some of the top guys. We spend the first hour or so watching that rise. Then he meets Jimmy Hoffa, at the height of his power and fame. The two become close friends and we see the events of a few years unfold leading up to Hoffa’s infamous disappearance. That’s the next two hours or so. The last bit is an uber long epilogue.

There is a lot going on here. It’s a sprawling narrative, which utilizes some de-aging technology (think Nick Fury in Captain Marvel). But the cast was the ultimate draw for me. This movie gave us a chance to see Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino work together in a good movie (not that Righteous Kill BS). Harvey Keitel is in the mix too. Then you’ve got some of today’s up and coming legends like Bobby Cannavale, Jesse Plemmons, Ray Romano, and Anna Paquin (who only has one line of dialog, which I have mixed feelings about). However, the ultimate draw and what really got me excited to see this movie, JOE PESCI !!!! He was talked out of retirement (reportedly after lots and lots and LOTS of asking) for a key role in this film and I loved every second he was on screen. Regardless of how I feel about the rest of the film, he made it worthwhile.

Scorsese has been making a lot of waves lately about his dislike of Marvel movies. Now we know I’m pretty die hard for the MCU, but I’m totally cool with someone not liking them. Phase 1 in particular isn’t all that strong, and you really hafta stick with it to Phase 3 to get the full impact. It irks me that he’s bashing them hard and making broad generalizations without actually watching them. One of his arguments was that they’re too formulaic and by the book. Um kinda ironic he says that because I sort of felt that way about The Irishman. However formulaic doesn’t imply bad. I acknowledge that shortcoming in the MCU, but I still love those movies. I think formula is okay as long as you dress it up well. The Irishman was a really good movie, dressed up with a great cast and a strong story. It just didn’t feel particularly groundbreaking to me in any way.

I definitely felt the long run time too. I think it’s a pitfall of the freedom that Scorsese had with this being a Netflix film. The epilogue absolutely went on too long, and despite being really into the story, I’d still check my watch in disbelief that I was gonna be sitting there for how much longer. I feel like there’s things that could have been tightened up, but if not then at least give us an intermission. Yes I sat thru Endgame 4 times, which is nearly as long, but I felt that utilized the time better with more differentiated bits of story. I also had a little trouble following some of the details. It’s hard to stay focused on intricate dialog when you’ve been in the same spot for so long. Shout out again to Alamo drafthouse though because I was comfortable and well fed. That goes a long way. And also solidifies the argument that this film does belong on Netflix.

All of that boils down to this is a good movie. If you like gangster movies, no one does it better than Scorsese. And seeing so many legends on screen together is such a treat. I just don’t think this one is the be all end all of gangster movies. It’s still worth your time, provided you can squeeze that runtime into your life

The Irishman – \m/ \m/ \m/ \n

Last Christmas

I couldn’t tell you why I wanted to see this movie. No really, I have no idea. I hate rom coms, I don’t go for those sappy Hallmark movies, and it’s still too early for Christmas anyways. I like Emilia Clarke, but I wouldn’t blindly follow her. Henry Golding’s kinda hot, but I’ve skipped many rom coms with gorgeous leading men. I like George Michael, but only know the same handful of songs everyone else does. So no really, why did I feel like I needed to see this movie?

Emilia Clarke is the anti-ingenue. She’s cynical and crass and has nothing in order in her life, couch surfing among the few friends she has left and just barely keeping her job at a Christmas shop. Then she meets Henry Golding, who tries to get her to turn her life around and maybe practice a little self care, just in time for Christmas.

This movie is far from perfect. It’s cheesy and contrived, and while it thinks its really clever, its more borderline dumb than anything else. And yet, it made me smile pretty hard. It’s utterly watchable and the cast is perfectly charming. I even came close to tears a couple times (close okay, it didn’t actually happen because then my brain started working). Also it’s nice having a manic pixie dream boy for a change.

I have mixed feelings on how George Michael and his music were utilized. On paper, awesome idea. Behind it 100%. But in practice, it felt like he was shoehorned in. They made a point to highlight him and put his songs wherever they could (mostly using Last Christmas), but except for an “I love George Michael” and a few posters on the wall, they didn’t really make him part of the story. I feel like either they should have really gone for it (which would have been amazing) and integrated him more, or just backed off and taken out all the additional songs. This halfway method didn’t quite do it. Oh also what didn’t quite do it, it seems like Emma Thompson (who wrote this with her husband) had a lot to say about different social issues (immigration, Brexit, etc) but also didn’t really commit to any of them. They felt more like an after thought.

Speaking of Emma Thompson, she stole a few scenes as Emilia’s Mom. I wish she would have let herself steal a few more because those moments were gold. She was otherwise a mostly unlikeable character. Emilia on the other hand was a good fit for the type of comedy. More please!

Now about the twist which has already become infamous. I won’t flat out spoil it, but it might be worth skipping this paragraph if you don’t wanna know. I halfway figured it out. I had picked up on a few clues, but took it in a different direction that I got stuck on. I’m hearing lots of people figured out the full extent of the twist themselves. The twist is mostly what I was referring to when I say the film wasn’t as clever as it thought it was. The people behind me busted out laughing at the reveal. I think I let out a surprised expletive, as I was mad that while I recognized some of the tells, I still hadn’t pieced it together myself. No matter what, people are gonna be debating its merits for a very long time.

So yeah, not a good movie, but I had a lot of fun watching it. And I’ll take an enjoyable bad movie over a good movie that’s a struggle to get thru anyday.

Last Christmas – \m/ \m/ \m/

Doctor Sleep

I’m quite the Stephen King nerd. We’ve established this. I’m currently halfway thru Blaze, which is likely the last of the Richard Bachman books I’m gonna tackle at the moment (I think I’ve only got The Regulators left). The number of King books I’ve read is at least in the teens and counting. But it also means I’m very critical of his adaptations. You’ve heard my rant on The Shining recently enough that I’m not even gonna link it (short version is it’s a phenomenal horror film but a crappy adaptation). I’ve railed against prioritizing horror over characters, bland interpertations, and either sticking too close or veering too far from the source. I’m protective of these stories that I love, and I want to see them done right. Doctor Sleep is Stephen King done right.

Doctor Sleep is a sequel to The Shining. That’s a lot to unpack right there. How does that even work? Danny Torrance and his mom escaped from The Overlook and have gone on with their lives. Now Danny is all growed up, battling the same demons of addiction and alcoholism that plagued his father. He physically meets a young girl named Abra, whose Shine is even more powerful than his own, and he’s not the only one that’s noticed. A traveling band of nomads (I guess that’s just a synonym for traveling group) that feed off of “steam” (a person’s soul or essence at their death) of those that shine have sensed Abra and set their sights on her. In order to help her, Danny has to confront his own fears that he’s been running from for years.

And now I pause my writing because an interview with Stephen King came up on my YouTube watch list

My first concern, the clown makeup covered elephant in the room, how the hell do you adapt this book in a way that honors Stephen King’s source material without shunning Kubrick’s changes? Kubrick left out a whole lot of important things that are likely factors in this story, but his imagery is iconic. If you leave it out, you’ll have riots in the street. Enter writer director Mike Flanagan. He came on to the project with the same concern, and the interviews I read with him alleviated my concerns. The article I read where King said that he was happy about how the film turned out went even further. Flanagan’s approach was to think of Doctor Sleep as a child with two parents: King and Kubrick. He threaded the needle incredibly well, using much of Kubrick’s visuals and weaving in King’s themes. The result was epic!

Anytime I talk about Stephen King, I always say that the key to his stories are the characters. The books are so rich because you sympathize with the characters, and then weird stuff starts happening. If the films can get that character connection, everything else falls into place. Doctor Sleep had incredibly solid characters (just like It Chapter 1, or The Green Mile, or Shawshank, or Stand By Me). They are three dimensional with interesting back stories and strong actor portrayals. Give me anything with leading man Ewan McGregor, goddess Rebecca Ferguson, and promising newbie Kyliegh Curran. The film clocks in at two and a half hours, but I was ready to stay in my seat for another two hours if necessary.

I haven’t read Doctor Sleep yet, but I’m very keen to. I was super invested in this story. Normally when you think of a horror movie sequel, it’s basically a rehash of the original. The killer comes back. Someone else visits the haunted house. A new item is possessed by the same demon. This really is a logical next step in the story. What did happen to Danny? Surely his life couldn’t have been entirely normal. And as far as the setting for the ending, that was a Mike Flanagan creation again attempting to marry the two conflicting sources. But if we learned anything from It Chapter 2, endings aren’t King’s strength. So The Mist taught us that a new ending can make all the difference in the world in knocking the film out of the park.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a Kindle-full of more Stephen King to go read.

Doctor Sleep – \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/

Harriet

How is it that there hasn’t been a movie about Harriet Tubman before now? I always kinda just assumed there was. When the trailers for this started playing, I’d initially dismissed it as formulaic Oscar bait of a story that we all knew. But I went because I love Cynthia Erivo (who absolutely walked away with Bad Times at the El Royale). It wasn’t until partway thru that I realized, I really didn’t know this story and no I hadn’t seen it before. IMDB trivia confirmed it later. This is the first Harriet Tubman feature. I’d ask why it took so damn long, but this movie was almost worth waiting for.

We generally all know the story of Harriet Tubman. She escaped slavery and then played a key role in the Underground Railroad guiding more slaves to their freedom. But think about it. What do you really know of her story? What did those journeys look like? Who was she as a person? This film seeks to fill in those blanks that you probably didn’t even realize were there.

Yes, it was pretty classic Oscar bait. Fantastic performances (more in a minute) and overall quality on all fronts, but nothing that was too revolutionary. Fifteen years ago, this would be a shoo-in nomination, but for now it doesn’t push the creative boundaries of filmmaking. However, there was one unexpected aspect that really impressed me. This film is incredibly suspenseful. The majority of the film is her escape attempts which are all incredibly tense. I realized later that the story was structured very well, in building around a consistent antagonist. The technique was rather effective, and I was so absorbed that I’m pretty sure I only looked at my watch like twice, which is pretty low.

Cynthia Erivo is fantastic. I knew she would be. Oscar nomination possible. I don’t think it’s strong enough for the win (moreso because the writing didn’t give her that extra moment to shine than anything she could have done better). I also loved that there were excuses to hear her sing because girl can do that like few can. She had a solid cast around her too. Leslie Odom, Jr and goddess Janelle Monae. Mostly a bunch of unknowns otherwise, but all the better to make Erivo stand out.

So I don’t know how much of a factor this is gonna play in the awards conversation. That was my main reason for going to see this, but I’m glad that I made the trek out. It was a worthwhile movie all on its own.

Harriet – \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/

Terminator: Dark Fate

Let’s be real. The Terminator franchise is messy. The first Terminator is an awesome horror/action film. T2 is the best sequel of all time, and one of the best ever blockbuster style action flicks. Then it all goes off the rails. T3, Salvation, Sarah Connor Chronicles, Genisys. Some of them take place in the robot future. Others are still trying to fend it off. Sometimes Sarah’s dead. Sometimes Ahnold’s around. Sometimes there’s extra time travel. They’re all over the place, and none of them really connect to the others that well. My personal theory is that the problem is that Judgement Day was in 1997. Once we passed that date IRL, it got difficult to work around. Dealing with the future is complicated enough, but moreso when we already know what happened in it. In comes Dark Fate to say you know what, only T1 and T2 happened. Let’s not try to tie in everything else. Set up our own rules about Judgement Day and Skynet and our mains (John, Sarah, T-800) and we’ll go from there.

It’s present day. 1997 Judgement Day never happened. Skynet was never a thing. A new model of Terminator has been sent back in time to kill a new mark and an augment human is sent to protect her. Sarah Connor gets involved. Arnie’s back. It’s great. Yes, this plot sounds awfully derivative of T1, but sometimes you need to go back to basics and just hit the massive reset button. The simpler plot worked very well as a vehicle for a solid action flick.

What I loved most about this was the girl power! Sarah Connor, Grace the augment, Dani never playing the victim!! I was watching a scene of just the three of them thinking there was no reason it needed to be all ladies, and that’s exactly why it’s so awesome that it was. Maybe that’s what we needed to rescue this franchise all along. Forget John Connor and Kyle Reese (Ahnold can stay). Keep our original Sarah (Linda Hamilton) and add from there. I think the next most successful Terminator attempt was The Sarah Connor Chronicles and our protector was played by Summar Glau. I’m seeing a pattern here.

So no, this doesn’t surpass T2, but I don’t think anything ever will. Instead, we get the first film that’s actually worth of its legacy. And that’s pretty cool.

Terminator: Dark Fate – \m/ \m/ \m/ \n

Motherless Brooklyn

I have been waiting for this film for approximately 15 years. I know I was in college the first time I read it, after hearing that my favorite actor at the time, Edward Norton (now he shares that title with Robin Williams) had been working on an adaptation. This is quite possibly my second favorite book ever (after LOTR, my definitive first fave) and I’ve been patiently waiting for this movie, having reread the book multiple times in the interim. It was no question I’d be at the very first show I could possibly make it to.

The story is about Lionel Essrog. After growing up in a Brooklyn orphanage with three other orphans who became like brothers, a man named Frank Minna takes the boys under his wing. Minna runs a tiny private investigation firm, but it’s mostly a front for some small time criminal dealings, and the now adult orphans have worked for him for years. Minna is killed under mysterious circumstances, and Lionel takes it upon himself to investigate exactly what Minna was into that got himself killed. Oh, and did I mention that Lionel has Tourette’s?

Even though I’ve read this book several times, I couldn’t tell you too many details of the plot beyond that. I still don’t even remember who the killer was (or at least the person who orchestrated the killing). But I could paint you vivid images of some of my favorite scenes and moments. For me, this book isn’t about the plot. It’s about getting inside Lionel’s head. To say it’s fascinating is an understatement, but I love figuring out what makes him tick (and tic) , finding empathy in our similarities, and just spending time with this character that is unlike any other that I’ve ever encountered. The actual events were secondary.

On that front, the film felt rather unsatisfying. Understandably the film does focus more on packing in the plot details than on just living with Lionel. I felt like I was definitely reading between the lines a bit, filling in the gaps with prior knowledge. For example, we do see Minna asking Lionel to tell him a joke, and I know it’s because Lionel’s condition makes it so difficult for him to ever get to the punchline, that ends up being funnier to Minna than the joke itself. I know it’s just the nature of film that I wouldn’t get the depth I wanted, but it still left me wanting.

Every time I read this book, I always pictured Edward Norton in the role that I knew he’d eventually take on. He captured Lionel’s tics perfectly, but I wasn’t blown away by his performance like I expected. There wasn’t much room in the film to capture Lionel’s arc and depth, so it ended up being more showy than substantive. There is a phenomenal supporting cast in play (Alec Baldwin, Bobby Cannavale, GuGu Mbatha-Raw, Willem DaFoe) and it was fun trying to figure out their connections to Norton (who called in a lot of favors) but none that really wowed me. I did love Bruce Willis as Frank Minna, and I wanted more of them. Their relationship in the story is such a central piece, that I felt like I didn’t get quite enough of it.

One major deviation that I probably should have mentioned by now is the setting. This late 90’s novel originally had a contemporary setting, but Norton moved it to the 50’s to give it a more film noir vibe to it. The mystery certainly does fit that, and the details of that enigma he’s trying to solve are so dense. There is so much going on in the story that I couldn’t even try to keep the details straight, I had to just trust that the pieces were fitting. At times, I did find myself completely swept up in it (for which I also credit the jazzy score that knew how to build tension), but mostly I just wanted to spend more time figuring out Lionel. I think this would likely take multiple viewings to get everything sorted out, but those viewings still won’t give me what I most want out of this story.

I’m really having a hard time rating this movie. Because my expectations are so high, there’s a lot that I love and a lot that fell short. It’s difficult to be completely subjective about it. I’m kinda grading on a curve, giving more points because i love the source, but at the same time detracting points because well they say the book is always better, and that is true here. It’s why I typically prefer to “go backwards” and read the book after watching the movie. If I had done that, then the pieces of the story would have fallen into place better (even though I couldn’t tell you how much they deviated beyond the setting) and I would have discovered all those personal moments with Lionel that I was missing. But if I hadn’t read the book, it’s an amazing story that I would have missed out on. It’s been my go-to recommendation for years and so many other friends have experienced it at my behest, and I wouldn’t trade that. I think that ultimately there is enough here that’s good, even if it didn’t live up to my expectations. I’ll just have to revisit the book again soon, which is something I’m always more than happy to do.

Motherless Brooklyn – \m/ \m/ \m/ \n

Honey Boy

I think every time I talk about a Shia Labeouf film, I always feel like I hafta start by defending him. His off screen reputation tends to overshadow his on screen one, but I’ve always felt so strongly about his on screen ability, that I’ve stuck by him. This film gives us a glimpse into exactly who and why he is.

Shia wrote this fictionalized version of his life story, focusing about 2/3 on his days as a child actor living with his unstable father (who Shia plays) and the other third as a successful but troubled adult actor, trying to come to terms with his past in rehab. I was so absolutely moved by this film, I don’t know that I’ve ever seen something that felt so personal. So personal, in fact, that it felt like I shouldn’t even be watching it. And that vulnerability that Shia gives us is what struck me so much.

Yes, this film elicited quite a bit of sympathy, but to me that’s not the point of this film. It exists solely as catharsis for Shia. It gives him the opportunity to make sense of his past and confront his father, and I’m awestruck that he invited an audience to share in something so intimate. It also made the film so much more powerful that he took on that role. I’d watch the scenes and start feeling bad for the young kid, finding myself hating the father, except the father was played by the kid himself, so I couldn’t hate him. So layered and poignant.

My heart hurt so much by the time I walked out of the theater. I really don’t want to give away too much about the specifics, but it was so well written. The first two scenes had this beautiful parallel to them, that I knew right away I was in for something special. I don’t know if Shia has another film in him, but you can bet that the next time he writes something, I’m going to be there to see it.

Honey Boy – \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/

The Lighthouse

Oh man this movie. Where to start. I saw the trailer a few times and could not get a feel for it. It looked weird. I like weird, but not all weird. And I had no idea what this movie was truly gonna be about beyond the obvious surface. Well, I watched it, and I still don’t know what it was really about.

Robert Pattinson and Willem DaFoe are lighthouse keepers on a New England island way back when. And they start going crazy or something? I really don’t know. I couldn’t tell what was real and what was imagine and or if the story was nonliner or when things were happening. Some of the artistic choices that people are raving about made it even more difficult to grasp the film.

It was filmed in black and white with a really tight aspect ratio, meant to look like it was made in the time period it was set in. I like the idea of that, and it looked really cool, but it made it that much harder to follow. The small frame felt frustratingly claustrophobic, like maybe there was something I couldn’t see that would have helped. And it was difficult to get the indoor lighting in black and light, so I couldn’t see expressions or details as I would have liked. Throw in the really thick colloquial accents and I didn’t understand what they were saying. All of which resulted in a very uphill battle.

The performances were great, which is where a lot of the Oscar buzz is coming from, but I couldn’t fully appreciate them without having a complete understanding of what was going on. It just didn’t add up to my flavor of weird. It’s working for some people, but for me, it just didn’t.

The Lighthouse – \m/ \n

The Current War (Director’s Cut)

Before diving into the history lesson in the film, we’re gonna get into a small history lesson about the film. You prolly find it kinda weird that this film you likely haven’t heard of is being billed as a director’s cut. Why is that a thing? Follow me down the rabbit hole.

The Current War was initially set to be released two years ago. It made the rounds at a few festivals and trailers were playing in theaters. Then it was suddenly pulled from theaters? Why? Me Too. This was the last film that was being held by The Weinstein Company when that bombshell dropped and broke open Hollywood. TWC would never be releasing a film again, so this film got stuck in limbo.

But the story goes deeper than that. Other films that TWC had in its store just got sold off and released by other distributors. What was the problem here? Well besides being known as a rapist asshole, Weinstein himself was nicknamed Harvey Scissorhands because he would edit the crap out of his films, and usually not very well. He would try to make things more cinematic adding more action or unnecessary sexual content and basically destroying any artistic vision. This was well documented over various films and The Current War was another [I hate to say victim because a film is nothing in comparison to his human victims, but I can’t think of a better word]. When this film finally broke free of its studio, it got recut (it says director’s cut, but someone told me Scorsese edited it, and I’m too lazy to Google to confirm).

Personally, I think releasing this as a director’s cut is genius publicity. First off, if you know nothing about this film, “Director’s Cut” is a phrase that’ll get your attention. People typically associate Director’s Cut to mean “better version of the film” whether it’s actually true or not. And then if you do know the film, it gives you hope that maybe it’s not actually as terrible as the initial reviews would lead you to believe. AND if you were unfortunate enough to see the original cut two years ago, maybe this would feel distant enough to give it another chance. Genius.

Hoo okay that was a lot of backstory. What the heck is this movie even about? We follow Thomas Edison (Bennedict Cumberbatch) vying against George Westinghouse (Michael Shannon) to bring electricity and artificial lights to the whole country. Edison’s direct current method is safer but inefficient and expensive. Westinghouse’s alternating current can reach farther for cheaper but raises some safety concerns. Nicola Tesla (Nicholas Hoult) is also involved, and also worth shouting out that Edison’s assistant Insull is played by Tom Holland. All those names I just mentioned are exactly why I kept up with this movie for these two years.

I liked this movie. The story itself is so interesting, and I’ll admit my knowledge of history in this area was a little lacking, so I was absorbing every bit of information that was being presented. I appreciated the way that information was presented as well. It was almost clinical, without many frills or flourishes, and that worked. The history has enough built in drama, that it didn’t feel like there was any manufactored drama thrown on top of that. Besides that, neither side was portrayed as the obvious villain or hero. My loyalty switched with every scene, and I legitimately did not know who I wanted to be most successful. It’s a difficult needle to thread, and I think the film did so well.

So it was a long journey getting this film in theaters, and I’m glad that this film did finally get seen. I don’t know that I’d call it an entertaining film by Hollywood standards, but I absolutely enjoyed how much I learned watching it. That was enough.

The Current War (Director’s Cut) – \m/ \m/ \m/ \n

JoJo Rabbit

I was really excited to see this movie, but opening weekend, it was only playing at two theaters. I figured I could hold out until the next week, hoping it’d expand to AMC. Besides, my Saturday was pretty busy. I had an escape room at noon and my Halloween yoga class in the evening. Squeezing the movie in between (and also making a grocery run) would be tricky. Earlier that morning, I’d even told myself that if I only had one event or the other, I totally woulda been willing to actually pay for tickets to see this, I was that excited. As luck would have it, our team escaped the room with 17 minutes left. I got in my truck and checked Google Maps. I’d have enough time to make it to the next showing at Landmark, which was early enough to get me to groceries with a good buffer before yoga. I am oh so glad it all worked out because this may be the best impulsive movie decision I ever made.

Written and directed by Taika Waititi, we meet a young boy named Jojo, growing up during WWII and obsessed with being a helpful little Nazi. He’s so obsessed, that his imaginary friend guiding him in his journey is none other than Hitler himself (played by Waititi). Everything he believes comes into question when he finds a young Jewish girl hiding in his sister’s room.

I don’t even know where to start gushing about this movie, but I absolutely loved it. The hook to draw you in was the humor. Waititi is known for his particular brand of funny, and it was on full display. Really only he could properly set the tone for a film like this. Besides the absurd dialog, his performance absolutely killed me. I’m starting the campaign now for him to be nominated for supporting actor. I’d campaign for things like screen play and picture, but those feel like much more sure things.

I say the humor is only the hook because the story goes so much deeper than that. Yes it’s hilarious, but there are themes that go beyond. I not only laughed but I was close to tears and I was angry and I was shocked, and basically every other emotion at some point in the film. It’s a very important film about tolerance and understanding and I think history is going to remember this film as fondly as I do.

While Taika stole the show, his wasn’t the only amazing performance. Our kids (Roman Griffin Davis, Thomasin McKenzie, Archie Yates) were utterly brilliant. You’d think they had all been acting for decades given the level of presence they had on screen and the nuance in their performance (Yates especially cracked me up with his perfect comedic delivery). Even if nothign else had blown me away about the film, I’d have left there utterly affected by their performances.

One more I wanna highlight: Scarlett Johannson as JoJo’s mother. No one ever really gives ScarJo credit as a comedic actor, but I’ve come to realize how valuable her sense of humor is. I’ve long said that she’s the Avenger that most got Joss Whedon’s sense of humor back in the day, and delivered his dialog to perfection. Now she’s adapted to Waititi’s absurdity and in many ways is the heart of the whole dang thing.

I truly did love every second of this ridiculous film and I expect it to be in many conversations as awards season kicks in to high gear. It might even be my early best picture pick

JoJo Rabbit – \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/