FBC 2022 OSCAR COVERAGE, PART III: Where Does West Side Story Rank In The Spielberg Pantheon?

FBC 2022 OSCAR COVERAGE, PART III: Where Does West Side Story Rank In The Spielberg Pantheon?

With his nomination for West Side Story, Steven Spielberg joined Billy Wilder at third place for the most Best Director nominations of all time with eight. He’s four behind the great William Wyler, but it’s who is just one ahead of him that I find more interesting: Martin Scorsese.

I don’t think Spielberg has much of a chance to win this year, which means he will have lost that category six times. Now, to put that in perspective, that is a very impressive number especially when you consider that he has more LOSSES than some of the greats like Alfred Hitchcock, John Ford, Robert Altman, Francis Ford Coppola, Clint Eastwood, etc.) have total nominations.

Best Director nominee Steven Spielberg arrives on the red carpet for the 85th Annual Academy Awards on February 24, 2013 in Hollywood, California. AFP PHOTO/FREDERIC J. BROWN (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)

Here’s what I find interesting about Scorsese having more nominations: while he is an amazing and influential filmmaker, Steven Spielberg is the greatest director of my lifetime. And to be in his sixth decade of moviemaking with only two Oscars and eight nominations is kind of an insult to the man. And I know it seems crazy to be so revered and decorated AND underrated at the same time, but Spielberg has been redefining the concept of success in the art of film his entire career.

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FBC 2022 OSCAR COVERAGE- PART II: NOMINATION RECAP (or, The Power Of The Power Of The Dog)

FBC 2022 OSCAR COVERAGE- PART II: NOMINATION RECAP (or, The Power Of The Power Of The Dog)

When the dust settled and I saw that I was 39-for-50 on my Oscar nomination predictions, some things were very easy to understand. I mean, I really didn’t think the Academy was going to nominate Nicolas Cage for his role in Pig, even though that was the best performance of the entire year. And it made sense that there were slight underperformances from films like West Side Story and Belfast, even though they both each had seven nominations and each film was nominated for Best Picture and Best Director.

But two things stood out in a huge way: the fact that the film I consider the frontrunner in many categories dominated the nominations even more than I thought possible, and that a little film from Japan made a whole lot more noise than I thought it possibly could have.

In short, I love the Oscars. Let’s dive into the nominations.

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FBC 2022 Oscar Coverage- Part I: Predicting The Nominees

FBC 2022 Oscar Coverage- Part I: Predicting The Nominees

When the last football game was played on Sunday and we knew who would be competing in the Super Bowl, a wonderful thought occurred to me and I was instantly overjoyed: IT’S OSCAR SEASON, BABY! I no longer have to care about football, because movies are back and we are in the full swing of awards season!

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10 Great (But Maybe Not The Best Films ) Of 2021

10 Great (But Maybe Not The Best Films ) Of 2021

My list of 2021 movies that I want to see is almost as long as the list of movies I have seen, but at some point you just need to say, “Here is what I’ve seen and loved.” And there was a lot to love about movies in 2021.

So, as we’re now starting to experience a proper winter, here are 10 films (no ranking) that you should seek out and find. Let’s get to it.

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Standing Out By Fitting In: Why Olivia Rodrigo Made 2021’s Song Of The Year

Standing Out By Fitting In: Why Olivia Rodrigo Made 2021’s Song Of The Year

There were just so many factors this past year that made it impossible to absorb as much media as I usually do. When you have a baby and a demanding job and the world is burning because of a fucking pandemic, it’s a little hard to get to the movie theater my usual 35-50 times a year. This isn’t to say that I don’t have a favorite movie (The Green Knight) or a favorite television episode (the 8th episode of the third season of Succession) or a favorite album (Tyler The Creator’s Call Me If You Get Lost), but because I don’t feel like I’ve experienced enough pop culture, it’s hard to me to hold something up and say, “This is the best the year has to offer.”

Except when it comes to the best song of the year.

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Still A Child: the Lost and Lonely Youth of Adele

Still A Child: the Lost and Lonely Youth of Adele

On 30, Adele’s first album in six years, she grapples with the fallout from her divorce, both in herself and through the lens of her son. There is an art to bring pragmatically selfish. Trying to stay together for the child or separating, the inevitability of trauma forces those involved to consider their own needs as well. The nuance of mental health for all parties involved creates a void that is only filled by the realization that the best thing to do is often the worst thing to do. The album is a loose concept based on the reconciliation and justification of her big decision, and it’s one that hits close to home for a generation speeding headlong into middle age, trying desperately to not make the mistakes of our parents.

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Fancy Boys Go To The Movies: The French Dispatch

Fancy Boys Go To The Movies: The French Dispatch

Of all the current filmmakers working today, I’m not sure that there is one with a more distinct style than Wes Anderson. Here’s what I mean by that: if there was some unearthed Anderson film the world had not seen, and you showed a scene of it, most people would be able to tell you who the director was. There’s something in the look, the dialogue, the score, the editing, and how it all blends together for a beautiful pastiche. I have often said that every frame of his 2012 masterpiece Moonrise Kingdom is so gorgeous that they could all go in an art museum. His failures (The Darjeeling Limited) are, at worst, “ambitious missteps” and his successes (The Royal Tannenbaums, Rushmore, The Grand Budapest Hotel and so on and so on and so on) are some of the best films of their years.

That is not to say that Anderson is not without his critics: people who think he is too cutesy or twee or quirky, sometimes at the sake of substance. I’m not dismissing all of those critics out of hand (though they all are wrong… and stupid… and probably ugly), but for those who do not like what Anderson has given, allow me to offer some advice about his latest film, The French Dispatch:

This film is not for you.

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What Is The Best Movie From Each Of The Ocean’s Eleven Actors: A Deep Dive

What Is The Best Movie From Each Of The Ocean’s Eleven Actors: A Deep Dive

Released twenty years ago this December, Ocean’s Eleven made $450 million dollars at the box office, and it is not hard, at all, to see why. Director Steven Soderbergh (who gave us this year’s very fantastic film No Sudden Move) made this Las Vegas heist movie fun and cool, and that was exactly what we, as a nation, needed. No one does fun and cool like Soderbergh, which is impressive considering that “cool and fun” is maybe his second- or even third- best gear. Soderbergh is aware of how successful the Ocean’s trilogy is and how well they’re known in popular culture; in his 2017 heist film Logan Lucky, he has a reporter refer to the caper as “Ocean’s 7/11”.

It is fair to say that Soderbergh stacked the deck with Ocean’s Eleven, as it seems impossible not to make a cool movie when you have Don Cheadle, Brad Pitt, and George Clooney in your cast. David Mamet (in his own heist movie, appropriately titled Heist) had a character describe a master thief this way: “My motherfucker’s so cool that when he goes to bed, sheep count him.” It’s impossible to not have these words apply to any of the three actors I listed above.

Ocean’s Eleven had a massive strength in that it had a ton of cool and fun and impressive actors all working in harmony. And while some of these actors have gone on to have more successful careers, it’s hard to imagine anyone in this movie being recast. In this film, they are all perfect. And it led me to ask myself: What are the best movies that were made from each of Danny Ocean’s (Clooney) crew that isn’t an Ocean’s Eleven movie?

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Fancy Boys Go To The Movies: The Suicide Squad

Fancy Boys Go To The Movies: The Suicide Squad

When David Ayer’s Suicide Squad was released in 2016, it was considered by almost everyone as an enormous failure, which is crazy for a movie that grossed almost three-quarters of a BILLION dollars at the domestic box office and got the Detective Comics Entertainment Universe (DCEU from here on out) their first Academy Award. Critics hated it (the film has a paltry 23% Rotten Tomatoes approval rating), fans seemed to aggressively be annoyed by it, and literally everyone seemed to dislike Jared Leto (who played The Joker) because of it. In my review for an alternate site, I was exceedingly annoyed that the film have us a character named Captain Boomerang, but none of the boomerangs the dude threw ever came back to him. THEN WHY DO YOU EVEN HAVE BOOMERANGS?!?!?

And yet, with all of the hatred from the haters (who, as the saying goes, are gonna hate), DC had prepared to make a sequel with Ayer at the helm. When Ayer left the project, the world rejoiced as James Gunn was announced as the new man sailing the Suicide Squad ship. Here was a man who knew how to make well-received and profitable comic book films, having directed the two Guardian Of The Galaxy films for Marvel. And, for the nerds, the news kept getting better. Margot Robbie and Viola Davis, the undisputed wonderful things about the 2016 film, would be reprising their roles as Harley Quinn (psychopath) and Viola Davis (government psychopath). Gunn wanted to make the film R-rated. Idris Elba joined the cast.

Expectations were sky high for The Suicide Squad, which was released in theaters and on HBO Max last weekend. People were ready for Gunn’s vision, called “horribly beautiful” in the trailers. Surely, this film would be better than the Suicide Squad which came before it. And here is where I will drop my (slightly) hot take:

Yes, Gunn’s film is better than Ayer’s. But there are a fair amount of things from the 2016 film that I like better than this current incarnation.

Let’s get into it.

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