Midnight in Paris

Alternate Title: All in Good Time
2011 Nominee

I love this movie. My first time viewing it was on behalf of this blog and if I have any regrets at all about the past (I try to have none), it’s that I didn’t see this sooner!

Anyway, Gil (Owen Wilson) is in Paris with his fiancee (Rachel McAdams). Right off the bat, it’s obvious their future marriage is fucked. She keeps rolling her eyes at him and sarcastically making fun of his attempt to write a novel in front of a guy she had a crush on in college (Michael Sheen), who just so happens to also be in Paris with his girlfriend.

Gil is trying to write a book as a turn from writing movie scripts. He’s having a hard time with self-confidence and finds himself wandering off, a little drunk, one night after dinner with his fiancee and her equally unremarkable parents. Gil gets into a car and is whisked to a party, where he makes an introduction with Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald – the writer of The Great Gatsby and his emotionally volatile wife. Before long, Gil gets the impression he’s taken a wrong turn and entered a different time period.

Of course, the following day, Gil recollects his adventure to the almost Mrs. Freeze and she dismisses his rambling as idle chitchat. Then she takes him to look at wedding crap with her mom, a decorator, whose favorite phrase is, “Cheap is cheap.”
Seriously though, who wouldn’t want to marry this girl already?

Gil soon discovers that every night at midnight, a car picks him up and takes him back to the past (which is why he never manages to meet Marty McFly). He does however meet Ernest Hemingway, Pablo Picasso, a woman who makes him experience love more than the one that starred in Mean Girls, and a whole host of other well-known figments of history. It’s hard for Gil to stay focused on his fiance duties and listen to Paul’s prattling when he looks most forward to midnight in Paris.

As a writer, I do enjoy watching another writer’s idea of other writers. You see, only a writer could write a sentence that doesn’t at all sound right, right? Right. What I mean is that Woody Allen never met the writers in the film, or the other artists, but his imagination serves as the canvas for who they really were, and who the actors believe they really were, so the movie as a whole speaks to the wonderful imagination of a creative person…right?

The film is beautiful to look at and the story, while a little complicated, is still easy to follow. Perhaps that’s because the pace is a little fuzzy and deliberate, like you’ve just had one extra glass of really nice, French wine.

Now it’s Your Turn…
Midnight in Paris was nominated for Best Picture in 2011, but did the Academy get it right?

Lady Bird

Alternate Title: I was a High School Weirdo
2017 Nominee

Fuck high school.

I think the only people who really liked it were the people torturing me and people like the title character, Lady Bird (Saoirse Ronan). Her real name is Christine, but you know how you made up a weird name for yourself and had everyone call you that because you were mad at your mom? A lot of people won’t admit it, but girls are mad at their moms for a pretty substantial portion of their teenage years.

Lady Bird is mad at her mom (Laurie Metcalf), but also she dates this boy who turns out to be gay. You totally don’t see it coming because he’s really good as the lead in the school musical.

Our beloved title character is simultaneously trying to go to college on the opposite coast from whichever coast Sacramento, California is on because she love/hates it and thinks New York is cool even though she’s never been there. This is why high schoolers shouldn’t be allowed to decide which institution they get to send all their parents’ money to for an education that really consists of learning how to have sex without getting pregnant and how to drink lots of alcohol without barfing.

It all boils down to a lady (bird) and her mom. I have to say, I teared up more than once. The movie is passionate and disjointed – kind of like a high school girl. There are a lot of lovely moments that make the movie feel a little like you’re flipping through a photo album, but also fighting with your mom, which makes sense because who the fuck else ever has the idea to look through a photo album?

It’s a movie that might even make you want to visit Sacramento…and  then immediately fly to New York.

Now it’s Your Turn…
Lady Bird was nominated for Best Picture in 2017, but did the Academy get it right?