This past weekend I attended Day 2 of the AMC Best Picture Show. If you missed my review of Day 1, you can read it here. Every year, AMC theaters hosts Oscar movie marathons, and I attended both days of the Oscar Nominated Best Pictures. While Day 1 consisted of 4 movies, Day 2 consisted of 5 movies, which meant I was going to be sitting in the theater for 12 hours. I’m pretty sure my behind it still numb from sitting through Day 2 as I write this. The nice thing about returning for the second part was that a lot of the people I saw the week before were there, so I knew I had friends in the beer line with whom to discuss the films. AMC held true to their inconsistency of when to turn the lights on and off. You never realize how dark a theater is until the credits end and the lights don’t go on. They also had the lights on during certain parts of a few films, just to even it out.
Day 2 consisted of (in order) Moonlight, Lion, Hacksaw Ridge, Arrival, and Hidden Figures. I arrived to the theater just as Moonlight was starting. Thankfully, my mother and aunt were saving a seat for me. I don’t know if it was the film or my mad dash from Pilates to the theater, but I found it hard to get into the movie at first. Moonlight is a hard film to watch, since it explores the story of a young man growing up in the projects with a drug addict for a mother, while learning to understand himself and dealing with the consequences of being different. It’s a hard film to watch, and yet, despite this, it is definitely a story that needs to be told.
After Moonlight,I headed for my afternoon beer. After all, it was 12pm and I had ten more hours in this theater. In line, I found the ladies I was talking to last week. They told me they were happy to see me, even though they knew I was hoping for my sale (I had expressed to them the week before that my attendance was dependent on SDCC badges not going on sale on February 25). After a short discussion of Moonlight, we headed back in to watch the next film.
Next up was Lion, a film that was high on my list to see and which is based on a true story. My aunt has been talking about it nonstop since we saw it. If Dev Patel doesn’t win Best Supporting Actor, I’m afraid she might riot. At this point, I had sat through five heart wrenching films without a single tear; Lion changed this as the credits rolled. They were tears of life. Lion brought us on a journey, and showed us that tragedy can also bring about joy. From beginning to end, this film tugged at my heart and when the credits rolled, your tears were from happiness and sadness at the same time.
Hacksaw Ridge was up next and is also based on a true story of a man who believes he can help others in war while maintaining his own convictions. He fights for his rights in a military that demands uniformity. War movies are never easy to watch, since you are reminded of one of humanity’s darkest traits. This film reminds us that even during our darkest hours, humanity can still shine. While no war story is truly uplifting, this film comes as close as you can get.
Finally, it was time for a dinner break. My mother had come through again. I had different meats to choose from for my sandwich, double stuffed Oreos, and peanut M&M’s (I ate my homemade popcorn earlier). I guessed that last week had been the healthy week, and I may hide from the scale for a week or so.
The next two films I had already seen, and I was intrigued to see how they were perceived by the rest of the audience.
Arrival is a stunning film! If aliens land, I imagine it’s going to go more like this film rather than follow the path of Independence Day or Attack From Mars. I was actually impressed to notice the scoring of the film this time around; my memory was faulty and remembered the film being more silent the first time. Amy Adams really brings this film to life, and I found sitting through the film to be enjoyable, even for the second time. The audience was silent at the end of the film, and I think it caught them off guard. I headed to the bar afterwards and found that Arrival was not the favorite pick of the day. One girl said she hated it as much as she hated Star Wars and Harry Potter films (who hates Star Wars????). It seemed some people had problems looking past the genre of the film in order to see its beauty. It may be a science fiction film, but it is also a drama that tells a story of this woman’s life.
Last up is Hidden Figures, and for the first time over the 2 days of movie showings, I knew I was going to watch an uplifting film. This film is based on the lives of three African-American women who did what was impossible at the time: take on primary roles in what was (then) a white, male-dominated NASA I love this film, and I feel like it will be a movie that I will still love watching 10 years down the road. These three women not only had intelligence, but also motivation and bravery. If you were only planning on seeing one Oscar-nominated film, this should be it. Hidden Figures reveals a story that needs to told and reminds you that anything is possible, but in a light-hearted way. The era this film depicts has some dark stories, and it is nice to remember that it has uplifting ones too. This film received the loudest applause of any of those in the Best Picture Showcase and was clearly a favorite.
Now that I have seen all of the Oscar-nominated films, my choice for Best Picture would be Lion. This film was beautifully written, acted, and filmed. The entire time I was watching it, I was emotionally invested. I truly just wanted to jump in the film and make everything better. If Lion doesn’t win, I would like to see Hidden Figures take home the Oscar.
Have you seen any new (or Oscar-nominated) films recently? Join the conversation on FoCC!