Oscar 2017 Thoughts Mini-Reviews

Below are the thoughts I posted on Facebook about each of the Best Picture nominees for the 89th Annual Academy Awards. They are listed in the reverse order that I watched them.

My favorite is Lion. This was definitely a weak year with only a few nominees worthy of a Best Picture nomination let alone a win. No great movies here. After seeing all 10, Lion is still my personal favorite of the nominees. The picture I enjoyed the most on 2016 was Star Trek Beyond. But, hey! Sci-fi movies need not apply for Oscars right!? 🙂 At least we have the dresses to look forward to tonight.

Until 30 minutes in, I almost abandoned the movie. It got better. As usual Viola Davis was a tour-de-force. Yet another tough movie to watch. I guess Denzel played the ultimate self-centered cad well enough. I’ve had my fill of Denzel. I wanted to dislike this movie – especially given the first 30 minutes but ended up liking it. Oscar-worthy. I don’t know. If you have 10 slots to fill maybe. But, as with my comments elsewhere I strongly suspect this nomination too was a direct result of last years protests.


It’s a movie about a a gay boy ‘raised’ by a drug addicted, prostitute mom in the Miami ‘hood. Tough to relate to from my world. Three actors portrayed the main character at three points in his life. They did a very good job of picking actors that appeared to be the same person. Some good acting but just an average to below average film. Sad to say that I think the only reason this movie was nominated is a reaction to the protests last year that not enough black people were nominated for Oscars.

Manchester by the Sea

My wife Dani’s reaction to this movie was: ‘That’s 2 hours and 17 minutes of my life I won’t get back’. My reaction is similar. As a father of two young kids, Man it was depressing! Well acted, I guess. Especially the short scene near the end with Michelle Williams. The constant cutting back and forth in time without warning was a bit disorienting. What’s up with a family that can’t have a single conversation without it erupting into an argument? For a depressing movie we did laugh quite a bit. Well, there it is. I’m pretty speechless. Another movie that is nowhere near Oscar-worthy that seems to stand a good chance of winning based on the pre-Oscar buzz.

Hacksaw Ridge

Very good movie. Was very conflicted given how much I dislike Mel Gibson. Hugo Weaving was a stand out surprise. Super acting. Never thought of Vince Vaughn as a drill sergeant but he pulled it off. Deserves its Best Picture nomination. If it somehow wins Mel owes a big apology to the world if he wants to start regaining respect again.

Hidden Figures

I I liked it quite a bit. Wondering how much ‘dramatic license’ was at play here. Octavia Spencer waltzing in and having full unsupervised access to a multi-gazzillion dollar mainframe sitting there unused seems improbable. Big Bang’s Sheldon (Jim Parsons) as a main character was a bit distracting. Kevin Costner did well. What did they do to Kirsten Dunst? They aged her 20 years. She was almost unrecognizable.


La La Land

I enjoyed this quite a bit despite it being miscast. Stone and Gosling can’t sing or dance! First musical I’ve enjoyed since Once. I probably enjoyed it more than I otherwise would have because of its jazz focus – I love good jazz, and because Stone and Gosling had the chemistry for the role. It pales in comparison to Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire musicals. Still, with the Academy’s fixation on itself, this movie about acting and performing in L.A. is a strong favorite to win.


A worthy best picture nominee. Dev Patel is very good once again. Somewhat of a Slumdog Millionaire retread but still my favorite if this years crop.

Hell or High Water

Doesn’t stand a snowballs chance of winning. But I enjoy Chris Pine quite a bit and he didn’t disappoint. Don’t really recommend it unless you want to watch a rather sad movie about two people’s responses to their lot in life set in the declining west.


Thought it was slightly above average. Too grey (visually). Well acted. Was optically difficult to watch. Too silly in parts. SPOILER ALERT: As if Russia or China would really start shooting at this thing?!! Wasn’t a credible fictional depiction of what humans would do if this happened.