The Golden Globes and that Meryl Streep moment getting all the attention

The anticipation that surround Christmas for a child is filled with wonder and delight; the decorations remind us of hope to come and we anxiously await our presents to be so perfectly placed under the Christmas tree. It’s truly a magical time.

Unfortunately, we lose this as we grow up, but I’ve found a replacement: Awards Season.

As a movie lover, few things bring me more joy than hearing awards buzz and knocking some of the year’s best off my list. It becomes a challenge to see all the nominations. I do this because I love to be informed and I HATE when people think the show or movie they watched should win simply because it was the only one in the category they saw. Sadly, that doesn’t guarantee it was the best.

The 74th Annual Golden Globes officially kicked off my Awards Season. Sometimes I watch the Critics Choice but it’s not really the same level for me. I won’t respect the Emmy’s because Big Bang Theory is always inexplicably nominated and I don’t care about the Grammy’s. Anyway.

To no one’s surprise, La La Land was the big winner of the night, winning Best Score, Best Original Song, Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy, Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy, Best Director, Best Screenplay and Best Musical or Comedy. It won every award in every category where it received a nomination. In addition to that impressive accomplishment, it became the most winningest film in the award show’s history.

I’ve reviewed La La Land, and I loved it (minus the ending because of my preference), but some of the wins surprised me. I assumed it would sweep in the Musical or Comedy category based on the love its receiving and how good and original it is. Heck, I even thought it could pick up the musical awards because the score and songs were a delight. But when Damien Chazelle won for best screenplay AND best director, especially over Kenneth Lonergan in both categories, I was shocked.

Comparing Manchester by the Sea and La La Land is apples and oranges. They are two very good, very different movies. Both heartbreaking in their own ways. While La La Land is charming, I thought Lonergan would win for screenplay and directing because of the real, raw emotion and depth of love he captured in Manchester. Not that La La Land isn’t filled with love, it’s just different and truly I thought it wasn’t as heavy as the big awards sometimes favor.

While I don’t think 2016 was a great year for movies, there were clearly stars who ended up in the wrong year. Like everyone against Leonardo DiCaprio last year, there are just a few films I don’t think can be beat. With heavy hitters like La La Land and Manchester, there is little room for other amazing films like Lion, Captain Fantastic, Arrival and Fences, to name a few.

Also, let’s not forget Moonlight is a strong contender as well.

The Golden Globes allow different movies to shine in their respective categories, but the Academy puts them together for an intense race against each other. Will La La Land hold its own against Moonlight and Manchester? If the Academy remains as white as in past years, Moonlight may receive no love, but I hope they learned from all the backlash in 2016.

I’m most interested in the acting wins. Both Casey Affleck and Ryan Gosling won for their amazing performances in Manchester and La La Land, respectively. Both are clearly favorites. In little over a month, they may face off directly for best actor. We also have Emma Stone against many amazing performances, including Isabelle Huppert from the French film Elle who took home the Globe last night. It seems like she could be a strong contender for the Oscar as well, if nominated. It’s not common for an actor from a foreign film to make it into the acting categories so one assumes when it happens, you should pay attention.

Overall, the night was filled with speeches filled with love and surprising wins from deserving shows and performances. But to me, the politics stood out the most.

I’m never the person who thinks entertainers are there to entertain and have no business getting political. Even if I don’t agree with their position, I acknowledge they’re in a tremendous position and can influence others. It’s a waste of what you can do if you keep your opinions to yourself, especially if they’re important.

So last night they obviously talked about Trump.

In 11 days, @realDonaldTrump will take office and I think more than 50 percent of America is concerned. Jimmy Fallon included jokes in his monologue and Hugh Laurie was thankful to receive an award at the ‘last ever Golden Globes’ because it was centered around the Hollywood Foreign Press, also known as the three things Mr. Trump hates most.

It was Meryl Streep, however, who divided the nation almost as much as Mr. Trump.

Rightfully receiving the Cecil B. Demille award, Streep used the opportunity to speak out against hate. Yes, that is how I’m phrasing it because it wasn’t political. The comments made last night weren’t like when celebrities made fun of Bush. It’s beyond anger that Hillary didn’t win. She began by detailing how Hollywood was a land of foreigners, and began rattling off the histories of her fellow actors in a way that made you realize Meryl Streep is truly one of a kind.

Then she transitioned into discussing the most harrowing performance she had seen all year: when a presidential candidate mocked a handicapable person.

“When the powerful use their position to bully others, we all lose.”

She never said Trump’s name, but she didn’t need to. She called out the need for arts and to keep fighting for love. Her words almost brought me to tears because so many people still don’t understand. People still think the democrats are just being cry babies because their candidate didn’t win. People aren’t seeing the bigger picture of what Donald Trump represents.

Personally, I don’t care if you thought the fact he wasn’t a politician gives him a real chance of doing something good. Or because he wasn’t a politician means he doesn’t have skeletons like Hillary. I’m sure he has skeletons, probably a few hidden in those tax returns he still won’t release.

While many applauded Streep’s speech and the fact she completely used the opportunity to speak against hate instead of discuss her career, others felt it was wrong that ‘leftist’ Hollywood got involved and claimed this is why Trump was elected in the first place.

Twitter user J. Benson (@BenzHasFriends) summarized it best in his tweet sent last night:

“We have a serious problem when someone encouraging us to be kind and empathetic is seen as a political statement. #GoldenGlobes #MerylStreep”

Streep didn’t attack his policy or plans. She wasn’t being a crazy liberal. She was simply being a human concerned for our nation under a man who doesn’t care about diversity and hates what is different from himself.

After she finished with a quote from Carrie Fisher, internally I was the GIF of her at the Academy Awards when Patricia Arquette won for Boyhood and discussed the wage gap and Meryl Streep was out of her seat, pointing in excited agreement.

The crazy thing about this campaign/election/candidacy is there’s nothing political about it. If nothing else, I am proud of the people who refuse to blindly fall in line because they have to. We cannot let hate win, and we must continue to be kind and fight for the truth. I am with you, Meryl. Thank you for your continued bravery and dedication to fighting for what’s right.

So basically we saw a very diverse awards show, moving speeches and echoing messages of the importance of fighting for love in our country which soon could be covered in a shadow of hate and intolerance. In an industry where many recognize their opportunity to help us escape, it was a lovely reminder that they, the dreamers, know they can bring us joy and will continue to work to create the beautiful art we enjoy.

Keep dreaming. Keep loving.

Manchester by the Lion or maybe A Long Way to Manchester by the Sea

Last night I saw two movies because the first left me so broken I needed a pick-me-up. Manchester by the Sea was the third great movie I’ve seen in a row, but it was also the third movie in a row where everything is sad and a little too real for my heart that longs for escapism.

I went into Manchester knowing it would be sad. Clearly Casey Affleck is tortured and struggling in the trailers and I know something horrible happened in his hometown of Manchester, causing his desire to take his nephew away instead of move back. In the words of my best friend, “I sobbed no less than six times. God.”

Casey plays Lee, a janitor for a company that rents apartments. He isn’t particularly personable, but you learn why later. He receives the call his brother has died, and returns home to take care of his nephew. Through flashbacks, we see the relationship between the brothers, Lee and his wife as well what led to the downfall of them all. We see them as Lee is tortured in different moments, presented with truths and struggling with the demons of his past. It’s quite compelling. Essentially, it is a story about how weird and deep love can be (also the words of my best friend) and the lasting effects of a truly broken heart.

Because my heart was broken, I wanted to end the evening on a brighter note. The theater was showing Manchester by the Sea, Jackie and Lion. I think I made the right choice with movie number two.

Lion (aka A Long Way Home) also explores the relationships that define us and our need to find out who we are and where we come from. Saroo, played by Dev Patel, is lost as a young boy in India and after months of surviving on his own is taken to a home for lost children and eventually adopted by a lovely couple in Australia. His life seems full and nice, but while taking a hospitality course in Melbourne, he suddenly remembers details of his life and is presented with a method to trace his way back home.

This one gave me major Slumdog vibes, and that’s not a bad thing. The young Saroo, played by the delightful Sunny Pawar, is so cute, even when he’s filthy and begging for food. Though we see him with his family for only a short time, the relationships established seem so real and touching that you feel his heartbreak at being lost. Also, Dev Patel is a total babe. I loved him in Slumdog, and I like him better with a little more meat on his bones and that luscious mane of hair. Before we get to the point that explains the name ‘Lion,’ I was convinced it was because of his hair.

Both movies are excellent and total awards bait. We see a tragic backstory and tortured present and a long lost boy tracing his roots back to his poverty-stricken village in India. What more can you ask for? I recommend both, but with the understanding that if you’re emotional, you should probably see Manchester and then do something cheery or have someone with you to hug.

Okay enough of this

Time for the real show and spoilers


I figured Lee had done something horrible that led to his self-imposed exile and separation from Michelle Williams. I picked that up from the trailers alone. I assumed, based on his alcohol consumption, he was in a terrible car accident while drunk and maybe someone died.

And then we meet his children in a flashback.

There is no indication he has children in the trailers. I was thrown. He had three, to be exact. Two girls and a baby boy. When they slowly revealed all of them and their happy little life, I panicked. This was not good. He lives in a one-room apartment in Boston now. Best case is he isn’t allowed to see his children because of what happened? Maybe he got drunk and was abusive? I don’t know, there isn’t a best case scenario.

Turns out, it was worst case scenario. All of the comments about his drinking were going to catch up to the story. That’s why I thought car accident. I wished for a car accident. Basically he was partying one night with all his friends at home like he frequently does, drinking and doing drugs, and decided to watch some TV after they left around 2 a.m. He lit a fire because it was cold and decided to go to the store for a few things, including diapers which we sadly see in the top of his bag. We learn he thought about if he put the screen up before he left, but decided it was fine and continued his walk. When he returned less than an hour later, the house was in flames.

He sees his wife screaming her kids are inside, but it’s too late. She was on the first floor and they pulled her out before the furnace blew, trapping the three children upstairs. Lee breaks down as they pull the body bags out of the wreckage and again we see the diapers in the bag, never to be used. His brother is right there with him, holding him up.

This was terrible, but I think the worst part was later at the police station where he’s telling the story, admitting to the horrible mistake he had made that killed his children. Because it was an accident, he’s free to go, and understandably this doesn’t sit well with him. Casey did such a great job conveying all these emotions while not over-selling it. You could tell he wanted to put away. He wanted punishment for what he had done. As he left the interview room, he pulls a gun out of a police officer’s holster and tries to shoot himself in the head before he is thwarted by the officers and his brother.

You can see the anguish in his eyes and perfectly understand his feelings. Watching his performance as he processed everything made you think yeah, that is what you would do. Also tragic: he has to see his ex-wife really pregnant with her new husband and they hug and all I could think was how sad was it for him to feel her belly and remember everything and see everything he lost.

One of my favorite details from the movie was the three photos Lee took from his apartment in Boston and brought to Manchester. We never see them outright, but it’s clear they’re his children, his only external reminder of the love and joy he once knew.

The ending was unsatisfying for me because Lee realizes he can’t stay because he can’t beat this and he doesn’t want to take his nephew, Patrick, away. Always the optimist, I wanted Lee to confront his demons and become a guardian again with Patrick and begin to heal. Instead we get a real look at the brutal honesty of love and heartbreak and making the hard choices you know are right.

This drama packed its humorous moments as well, particularly in most of the character interactions. They were all very stereotypical Massachusetts residents, throwing the ‘f’ word around and yelling over each other constantly. It added levity to a very heavy movie.  

Okay so now Lion or A Long Way Home, depending on who you ask. I like that this story was told chronologically, not through flashbacks. I think flashbacks can be effective, but sometimes it’s nice to watch the story unfold in a linear way. This movie was well-acted all around, and filled with the word ‘mate’ because it was very Australian.

Both Dev Patel and Nicole Kidman are nominated, and I think one of those makes sense. Dev is engaging and you can see his slow decline to madness and how haunted he is by his desire to let his family know he’s fine. Nicole, who plays his adoptive mother, is great, but I wasn’t like wow this performance is award-worthy. If she wins, she did a good job, so I won’t complain.

What else can I say about this movie? It was very touching and sad and again reminded me of some of the horrible things that go on around the world. The worst part, I think, was learning his beloved brother Guduu had died before he made it back. In fact, he died the night Saroo got lost. He was hit by a train after he left his brother to find work and was never going to return. In a way, getting lost eventually saved Saroo, even though it was a long journey home.

See what I did there?

Quick thoughts

  • Didn’t Michelle Williams get burned up with her family in Shutter Island? Her affinity for tragic fires is like Rachel McAdams’ for time traveling husbands
  • Casey Affleck, let me save you.
  • Everyone always looks so cold in this movie. Never moving to New England.
  • This movie is trying to break my heart. It’s official.
  • Why are Christians always portrayed so weirdly in movies? We don’t all wear our Sunday best to dinners. We are normal people. I don’t care if you say Amen after we pray for our food.
  • I feel like Patty’s storyline with his mom wasn’t fleshed out enough. We clearly learn it isn’t a good fit for him, and that he fiancé is crazy, but we see a glimmer of her current unstableness. Did she go to the kitchen for a drink? I NEED ANSWERS
  • How did Patrick balance both those girls, and why did he bother with Sylvie in the first place? She seemed like the worst and Sandy seemed great because she wasn’t trying to protect his feelings.
  • Do Australians really say ‘mate’ this much or is it simply something we Americans assume they do? Kind of like shrimp on the Barbie? I don’t know, but I like Australians
  • Dev Patel has nicer hair than me. I would kill for his hair.
  • I’ve never wanted to go surfing but seeing him in that surf suit makes me want to try
  • I’m focusing a lot on Dev’s appearance so yeah his acting is great too


Rogue One and the time I left the theater crying

When I first heard about the expanded Star Wars Universe on top of the new trilogy, I was STOKED. I love all the intertwining stories and couldn’t wait to see backstories expanded. In a good way, though, not the terrible prequel way.

Rogue One, however, suffered what I like to call ‘Captain America fatigue’ for me. Information and trailers kept trickling for so long it reached a point where I lost interest. It wasn’t as bad as The First Avenger, where the trailer was released A WHOLE YEAR in advance, but in a similar way my excitement waned.

I purchased my Force Awakens tickets the day they went on sale and arrived at the theater early to guarantee a good seat among my fellow nerds. I even took Chinese food and a book with me to entertain myself in line. I was all in.

For Rogue One, however, I waited and waited. I heard good reviews and my friends loved it but I couldn’t muster the enthusiasm I needed to actually take the time to see it in theaters. Finally, under the lure of reclining seats, I decided to go after a late shift at work.

Briefly, it was great. Yes, a lot of it is rushed and you might find yourself missing character development, but overall it flows nicely. Even though you know the mission is successful (A New Hope is based on its success), you still feel the tension throughout. Most importantly, it intelligently answers one of the biggest questions in the Star Wars Universe and that makes it worth your time.

Felicity Jones continues the delightful trend of Star Wars featuring incredible female leads who are tough and independent. Her Jyn Erso fits well with Princess Leia-turned-General Organa and Rey. Diego Luna plays Cassian Andor who shows you the less glamorous side of the rebellion that feels very real and adds weight. I’m trying to think of other people to talk about but they all feel like spoilers so I’ll just move there.




Basically, Rogue One should’ve been called the one where everyone dies. I had a suspicion in the back of my mind this might be the case, but I wanted to be wrong. If they lived, surely they would’ve shown up in the original trilogy. You can’t steal the Death Star plans and then disappear away from the rebellion. They probably would’ve received medals with Han and Luke (not Chewie for some reason although he was there too) for their involvement in stalling the Empire.

I figured one of the temple guarders would go, but when they both went minutes apart from each other, that’s when I knew. I thought Chirrut’s last reminder of being with the Force would carry Baze to survival and he would continue to spread the word about the Force, but nah. He’s mowed down a few feet away after taking down a few more people.

Maybe the defector cargo pilot, Bodhi, would live but I never thought he would. I assumed he would die some valiant way showing his true dedication to the rebellion after being a part of the Empire. No, he makes communication happen (very important) and then someone throws a grenade where he is and he looks sad.

All of this to say, I appreciated the realness. Sometimes too many main characters live when everyone dies and if a main character dies, there’s weight to the sacrifice. Perhaps this is the strongest selling point. Yes, everyone dies, but they’re on a suicide mission and they severely tick off the Empire who now possess a weapon that can destroy planets.

With most villains, they talk too much and give the good guys a chance for escape. In Star Wars, the Death Star takes an entirely too long to prepare itself almost as if it read the script and knew how long it needed to take so everything worked out for the best. In the final blow to the planet that kills all the characters we’ve spent two plus hours rooting for, Governor Tarkin doesn’t hesitate. He simply says destroy the city and boom the Death Star is powered and up the city goes.

I cried as Jyn and Cassian embraced on the beach because IT WASN’T FAIR DANGIT! They’ve had hard lives! Give them some happiness together! But I also felt in that moment, they were comforted by the presence of the other, and recognized the weight of what they had just done. I scurried out of the theater so no one else saw me crying because I was a little embarrassed. After this and La La Land, I just need to see two people who love each other can be together OKAY?!


Mads Mikkelsen played Galen Erso, Jyn’s father. I was sure he was going to be bad because I didn’t think Mads Mikkelsen could play a good guy but I was wrong. He defects from the Empire, only to be found again. Eventually General Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn), whose power climbing annoyed me and Vader the whole time, finds him and kills his wife. She went down like a BA though, telling him he would never win and refusing to be quiet. Jyn sees this and runs until she is safe, but Galen is taken and forced to create the Death Star.

This brings Jyn into the fight, after she avoided it for years. Her apathy is exchanged for passion as she helps in the search for her father and his secret message. I’ll skip through a lot because here is the exciting part – they are the reason there’s a weakness in the Death Star and people know about it! Ever wonder how the rebellion knew the one weak point and how to find it? Galen put it in and told his daughter how it could be destroyed, even calling the secret plans Stardust (his nickname for her), so she could find them. So haters, be quiet. It all makes sense now.

There were a lot of great moments, including K2 trying to say “I have a bad feeling about this” but being quieted by Cassian and Jyn. I particularly enjoyed the Vader moments, especially seeing he lives on the planet where he basically lost all his limbs and has to spend time in a recovery tank. It’s interesting because for someone so powerful, our old pal Anakin is also pretty weak. He also sees through Krennic’s BS and calls him out with the best dad joke about choking on his ambition WHILE force choking him. Classic.

When we see him again, he’s coming for the rebellion to stop the plans from falling into the right hands. He lands on a ship and you see why everyone was afraid of him, not just because he mowed down all the child Jedis like a real coward. He’s throwing people and swinging his lightsaber and yeah he’s on the bad side but HE’S SO COOL. You see the poor people on the ship desperately passing off the plans from person to person as they are all killed until finally it lands in the hands of our dear Princess Leia as she escapes Vader and perfectly segues right into A New Hope. She literally says the plan gives them hope which is like the perfect segue as I said.

So all in all, pretty great. Very sad. It’s probably good there wasn’t a lot of character development because it was hard enough watching all of them perish with minimal knowledge. It was a very real story that I loved in a world where the good guys always make it out relatively unscathed and everything is great now. It kind of parallels well into The Force Awakens where we see how broken these people are.

Quick Thoughts:

  • They flash to a lot of different planets in the beginning and all I could think is am I supposed to remember these? They can’t possibly expect that
  • Governor Tarkin looks like Jim Carrey in that animated Christmas Carol movie and that is not a good thing. Just recast. Fans of the series will understand and no one else will even notice.
  • I thought Leia looked pretty great though.
  • When I first saw Jimmy Smits at the rebel base I was like maybe he wasn’t on Alderaan when Vader blew it up but then fatefully he says he’s going back and I had to resist shouting ‘no’ in the theater
  • Jyn has really practical hair. I appreciate that in a female character. Star Wars is great with practicality.
  • Did Cassian shoot that other guy in the rebellion so he could get away? What a rough gig
  • I really didn’t think our pilot friend Bodhi friend was going to have any significance past delivering the message. I thought Saw would kill him. I’m pleased I was wrong. Riz Ahmed is delightful and I hope he wins the Golden Globe.
  • Why can’t people get beamed up in Star Wars? They have holograms. I know it’s a Star Trek thing, but beaming would be really helpful and maybe Jyn and Cassian could live happily ever after. Maybe only in my mind. It’s fine.
  • Jyn is climbing a lot in this movie. Her arms must be really sore. She must be pretty strong.