Other than Dunkirk, which is outstanding, and even though I would get paid to do it, this year I did not see a single one of the other eight movies nominated for Best Picture. This was not a boycott on my part, nor a protest, nor me trying to make some kind of a statement. I love movies. It is just that as I get older, my time feels more and more precious.
That might sound like a cliché, but wait until you hit your fifties. With most of the sand piling up at the bottom of my movie-watching hourglass, and with the quality of today’s movies scraping barrel bottoms and with my own Bluray collection bursting with titles I will never get enough of, the idea of exposing myself to some of this stuff is too much to ask.
And if you look at the box office returns on everything other than Dunkirk and Get Out, I am far from alone. So maybe I can help Hollywood by explaining why I (and the rest of America) did not even bother to bother.
Call Me By Your Name ($17 million)
This looks like a remake of last year’s Best Picture winner Moonlight, but whiter.
To be honest, though, I haven’t seen Moonlight, and that is because I am done watching gay movies. Yeah, I know you’re not supposed to say that.
Darkest Hour ($55 million)
Because of my regard for Gary Oldman, if this pops up on Amazon Prime or Netflix, I will give it a shot. The problem is that I am a bit Winston Churchill’d out. HBO has done two or three biopics and there was the first season of The Crown.
Get Out ($176 million)
No more lectures from conformist, cowardly, wealthy, pious left-wingers who know less about real life than I do about rocket science.
Lady Bird ($48 million)
These cutesy, ironic, snarky, smarter-than-thou coming of age things… Maybe Lady Bird is better than that, but it looks like warmed over Juno.
Phantom Thread ($20 million)
1) Paul Thomas Anderson — the director behind four movies I love (Hard Eight, Boogie Nights, Magnolia, and Punch Drunk Love) — is getting weird and esoteric. Also, I find Daniel-Day Lewis cold and distant, although he was very good in Lincoln.
2) After not even being able to finish Inherent Vice and The Master, there was no way I was diving into 130 minutes about a guy who gets pissy because some waitress won’t let him make women’s clothes.
The Post ($80 million)
Meryl Streep is an excruciating screen presence and has been since she started buying into her own hype. She is all technique, totally transparent, fingers on a chalkboard. Post-2000 Meryl sucks.
The Post also looks like an HBO movie.
The Shape Of Water ($57 million)
Guillermo del Toro is the most overrated director working today, and the fact that he is still fighting the anti-communists during the Cold War… Man alive.
And hey, I love Creature from the Black Lagoon, and the subtext about the Creature’s attraction to Julia Adams is interesting and adds a lot to the movie, just like Kong’s attraction to Fay Wray does in that classic, but that doesn’t mean I want to watch them do it.
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri ($52 million)
This is the only one of the eight I actually do want to see. It just never made it to my local theater.
But look at those box office numbers. In awards show after awards show, during a narcissistic awards show season that lasts an eternity and delivers a ton of free publicity, other than Get Out and Dunkirk, those seven titles averaged only $47 million. Which means only 5 million people in a country of over 300 million bothered.
Talk about out of touch.