Notes from awards committee:
There is No room for disposable and unmemorable awards bait on the HouseClark Best Picture list, I’m afraid the same goes for lame message movies. We went with the pictures that stuck with us, that inspired repeat viewings and left indelible impressions - in a good way. 2016 was a great year for grown-up movies; there were many fun surprises and great performances – all ignored by the Academy. HouseClark changed every Academy winner and all nominations save one - the great postmodern-western Hell or High Water, our Best Picture winner. In fact every movie on our list is far better than the Oscar winging Moonlight; another dreary dirge of African failure in the land of opportunity.
John Krasinski won Best Actor for his outstanding performance in 13 Hours – as a brave, determined warrior in a desperate battle against anti-American terrorists in Benghazi, Libya. The film has a lot in common with the 2001 film Black Hawk Down, bringing to the big screen another example of the failed Imperialistic foreign policy of Rome on the Potomac.
Love and Friendship is not the sort of movie we expected to really enjoy, but the wit and wisdom of the excellent screenplay was amazing. The failures by the Academy to acknowledge Kate Beckinsale’s brilliant performance as man-eater Lady Susan, and Tom Bennett's comic turn as Sir James Martin is one of the year's great crimes. Inexcusable snubs.
Passengers is a fun romance-adventure in outer space that co-stars Jennifer Lawrence, the most delightful young hellion on the big screen in some years, and winner of the Best Actress Simpson. Passengers “triggered” a dumb PC backlash with snarky comments like "masculine privilege" and "the male gaze", but the key lesson of Passengers, insofar as explained by esteemed film critic, Sonny Bunch, “Jim was totally right to wake up the hottest woman he could find on the space ship and get her to hang out with him. Not only does this save the day, she falls in love with him and forgets about her silly feminist plans in order to spend her life with a real man. Now that is Great Cinema and we need more of it.” Enough said.
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is a fun collision between a zombie apocalypse and the country gentry of Georgian Era England. Jane Austin’s famous tale of husband hunting is followed beat for beat and includes much of the original dialogue interspersed with impressive sword fight scenes and deadpan silliness. Excellent performances by Lily James, as Elizabeth, and Sam Riley as the redoubtable Mr. Darcy.
Nocturnal Animals has The Worst Opening Scene in movie history - First you get hit with the first 3-5 minutes of grossly obese females in full nudity dancing and throwing their flabby ass at you and then see them as flabby nude models in an art show! In about five seconds, I understood that I am light-years away from the target audience. Full Stop. Amy Adams leads an all-star cast, but this flick is another example how a film is ruined before the actors show up. It is unsalvageable.
Hacksaw Ridge – The first half of the film is boring and totally predictable. The sudden shift from army boot camp to combat in the Pacific was seismic. The battle scenes of 1945 Okinawa were some of the most intense ever seen on the big screen and saved the picture from the dustbin.
La La Land – Miscast leads (especially Ryan Gosling) with average singing and dancing skills, and NO memorable show tunes you will be humming to yourself the next day.
Arrival – Not a bad “academic” sci-fi flick, indeed, it is very watchable, but far from a “Best Picture”. The film totally lacked all the elements of great sci-fi, for example; the humor of E.T., the noirsville atmosphere of Blade Runner or Dark City, the horror of A Quiet Place, the shoot-em up fun and cool twist ending of War of the Worlds, or trippy dream sharing of Inception. So what does Arrival have new to offer the sci-fi genre? Answer: A white-board and class room for aliens to learn proper Queen’s English.