Friday, September 13, 2019

2020 Oscar Predictions: September

It’s about time we get an update on the Oscar race. We now have trailers for basically every perceived contender. Some movies have come out and lived up to expectations. Some movies came and went without a whisper. Some films are making their debuts at the prestigious fall festivals. Some movies we won’t hear from until at least December. See how the race is shaping up with my updated Oscar predictions!

The Predicted Five
1. The Irishman – Steven Zaillian – I left the movie off my previous predictions because I had it all over the board the two years previous, but we finally have a release date. It looks epic, expansive, and altogether amazing. It could be our generation’s Once Upon a Time in America, minus the distribution failure.
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2. Jojo Rabbit – Taika Waititi – Reviews for the movie have been ecstatic or negative without much in-between. The concept alone could pull it into the screenplay race.
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3. Joker – Todd Phillips, Scott Silver – The movie was able to secure the Golden Lion at Venice, whose previous winners were Roma and The Shape of Water. It is officially an awards heavyweight, and screenplay seems like a safe bet for it to hit with the Academy.
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4. Little Women – Greta Gerwig, Sarah Polley – We have seen the story told many time throughout Hollywood history, and the previous adaptations have fared well at the Oscars. This one looks slightly different, and everyone is hotly anticipating Gerwig’s follow-up to her Oscar darling Lady Bird.
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5. Dark Waters – Matthew Michael Carnahan, Mario Correa – The Todd Haynes film is about a corporate defense attorney taking on a pollution case against a chemical company. It sounds like an easy choice for an Adapted Screenplay nomination, but we still don’t know anything about the film. It’s still a wait-and-see, but I have confidence in it.
Image result for dark waters movie 2019 haynes
Others in contention
6. Toy Story 4 – Stephany Folsom, John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton, Josh Cooley, Valerie LaPointe, Rashida Jones, Will McCormack, Martin Hynes – The last installment in the franchise got nominated here, and while this one wasn’t as unanimously acclaimed, I still feel like it is knocking on the door. We all adore Toy Story, and this one had the same type of emotional punch that made the third one a Best Picture nominee.
7. Ford v Ferrari – James Mangold, Jason Keller, Jez Butterworth, John-Henry Butterworth – I had my reservations about the film’s Oscar potential, but it is playing really well throughout the festivals. Even if it is just an action movie like Rush, it has movie stars. That could be enough to pull it into the major categories.
8. Motherless Brooklyn – Edward Norton – The detective movie got some really good feedback from its screenings, but it has an uphill climb to get nominated here. It needs to be a hit at the box office, and I’m not sure it has the juice to get there.
9. The Truth – Hirokazu Koreeda – Fresh off Shoplifters, Koreeda makes this film about an actress and her reunion with her daughter following a big film and her memoir. Catherine Deneuve, Juliette Binoche, Ethan Hawke…keep an eye on this one.
10. The Laundromat – Scott Z. Burns – Burns also has another screenplay in the mix, so we will have to see which of the two similarly plotted films hits harder. This film certainly has the cast and importance to be Spotlight, but the reviews for the Soderbergh picture are only so-so.
11. Downton Abbey – Julian Fellowes – The previous Oscar-winner is adapting his Emmy royalty show for a film, and something about it makes it feel like it’s not just another Sex and the City or Entourage. It is a wildcard in the race, but it’s hard to gauge how much of an impact it will actually have.

The Predicted Five
1. Waves – Trey Edward Shults – It may be more of a coming-of-age story than is typically rewarded by the Academy, but Shults is ready to break out. And the trailer looks amazing. It is the best reviewed movie of the year.
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2. Marriage Story – Noah Baumbach - One of the real winners at the fall festivals has been Baumbach’s devastating Marriage Story. He has been nominated here before, and this seems like his most accessible movie yet. This is the biggest lock nomination in any major category.
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3. Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood – Quentin Tarantino – The movie has been a smash at the box office, and everything about the movie lived up to expectation or exceeded it. The buzz as of right now is quiet, but that’s because we talked about it for 2 months and its run is over. It will need a nice awards season campaign to get back into the conversation after its summer release.
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4. Queen & Slim – Lena Waithe, James Frey – Waithe is an Emmy winner, and the trailer looks really dark and a true original. If it is as controversial as it seems, then this will become an easy nomination.
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5. Parasite – Joon-ho Bong, Jin Won Han – The Cannes champion seems to be the next in line of foreign films to break through into the major Oscar categories. Bong’s previous films have been popular genre pictures, but this is real Oscar stuff.
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Others in contention
6. The Farewell – Lulu Wang – This movie is the indie darling summer release that is going to be in the conversation all throughout the fall. It had a nice box office run, and it really has the emotional beats to break through with Academy voters.
7. The Two Popes – Anthony McCarten – This movie supposedly is way lighter and cutesier than expected, which actually plays into its favor in the eyes of the Academy. McCarten has three nominations under his belt, and this is one that could be an easily digestible choice for the older voters to get behind.
8. Pain and Glory – Pedro Almodovar – It has been a while since Almodovar has really made a splash at the Oscars, but this is a movie about a filmmaker, maybe even in the style of 8 ½. It has the potential to get in. I really feel like the foreign films this year make some of the strongest cases for screenplay nominations.
9. 1917 – Sam Mendes, Krysty Wilson-Cairns – For whatever reason, war films are not considered achievements in screenplay. This is one of the big movies that we will not know anything about until Christmas, so even if it feels like we have a frontrunner, this could be our Million Dollar Baby.
10. A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood – Micah Fitzerman-Blue, Noah Harpster – The movie has gotten good reviews thus far, but similarly to Saving Mr. Banks, it appears that the movie is not about Fred Rogers at all. I’m not sure if that plays into its favor. We’ll have to wait and see how it plays with the public to gauge its Oscar merit.
11. Knives Out – Rian Johnson – Evidently, the movie is the most fun movie of the year in the eyes of festival voters. Screenplay seems like the only major category that this type of movie can get in, which is basically how Looper was for Johnson.
12. The Report – Scott Z. Burns – Burns makes his first big directorial effort with this movie about the post 9/11 Detention and Interrogation Program, which sounds like it has “Oscar” written all over it. Reviews have been strong, so this is one of those to not count out until its box office run.
13. Us – Jordan Peele – How much will we remember this beguiling and confusing thriller from Oscar-winner Jordan Peele? We will have to wait and see. If it can appear on the NBR list or the Golden Globes then we might have a contender.

The Predicted Five
1. Annette Bening – The Report – She plays a public figure (Senator Feinstein), and while it is not praised as being her best work, it might finally be the easiest way to reward the constantly nominated and somehow overlooked Oscar darling.
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2. Laura Dern – Marriage Story – The best reviews from the movie have been for Dern, who has been in and around the Oscars for almost three decades. This seems like an easy nomination, but she will need the SAG win to really be taken seriously as the winner.
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3. Zhao Shuzhen – The Farewell – She is everyone’s favorite part of the film, despite it being her first role ever. It feels like June Squibb in terms of her appeal, and that will take her all the way to the Oscars.
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4. Maggie Smith – Downton Abbey The two-time Oscar winner won a Golden Globe, three Emmys, and five SAGs for this role, so it seems like a foregone conclusion that she will get her first nomination in almost two decades for that role on the big screen.
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5. Florence Pugh – Little Women She has the juiciest supporting role in the movie, plus she has had a huge year with Midsommer and Fighting with My Family. If she gets in, then the movie has a real chance to be one of the Best Picture favorites.
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Others in contention
6. Jennifer Lopez – Hustlers If she is billed as supporting, then this is a real possibility. There seems to be an unexpected groundswell for her to get nominated, which is always an interesting factor to evaluate.
7. Margot Robbie – Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood The controversy around her role can either go for her or against her. The lack of screen time is the main detriment to her chances, but if the movie is as popular with the Academy as it was with audiences, then she has a real chance to win.
8. Meryl Streep – Little Women She is always in the conversation. She also has The Laundromat this year, so she will be on our minds all season. Who knows how much screen time she will have, but she is Meryl. She could extend her nomination record this year without too much trouble.
9. Penelope Cruz – Pain and Glory Roles like these are hard to judge before seeing the movie, but it just seems like one of those Sally Hawkins in Blue Jasmine-type nominations where the supporting player gets swept in with the leading juggernaut.
10. Jennifer Hudson – Cats The Oscar winner has had a few chances to really blow us away again, but this has to be right up her alley. I’m sure she will have a show-stopping moment in the movie to remind us that she is really talented and deserved her Oscar.
11. Anne Hathaway – Dark Waters Predictions like this one are just pure speculation. She is a previous winner and in a potential sleeper film in the race. Something about her in a Todd Haynes movie just seems perfect.
12. Scarlett Johansson – Jojo Rabbit Her reviews have been almost unanimous, but she also has Marriage Story and Endgame. I don’t think a double nomination is possible for someone who has been constantly snubbed by the Academy over her remarkable career.
13. Catherine Deneuve – The Truth - It is unclear if she is lead or supporting, but it has been almost three decades since she has been nominated. Her role sounds complicated and emotional. If she can upstage Binoche, then I see this becoming a real possibility.

The Predicted Five
1. Brad Pitt – Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood Immediately after seeing the movie, I knew he was going to win Best Supporting Actor. Because he is the lead, but he will go supporting, and it is the purest movie star performance I have seen in a long time. It’s finally his time to go home with acting gold.
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2. Sterling K. Brown – Waves I’ve been on this nomination since January. He is as popular in Hollywood right now as anyone, and this movie needs to get some acting nomination to be taken seriously as the frontrunner. This is that role, and he can add to his Golden Globes and Emmys if the movie really hits.
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3. Al Pacino – The Irishman He plays Jimmy Hoffa, and I’m sure that Scorsese will reignite the fire that made him one of the greatest actors of all time. He hasn’t been nominated since he won in 1992, which is way too long.
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4. Wesley Snipes – Dolemite Is My Name Every review raves about how Snipes is back! Can he take that momentum to the Oscars? It will need to be a huge hit on Netflix, but I can see it. The material is a tad niche, but I like his chances.
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5. Tom Hanks – A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood He looks perfect in the role, and reviews have been ecstatic about his portrayal. The documentary got snubbed a year ago, so it is hard to predict how this will be treated. I think he will finally get another nomination after almost 20 years away.
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Others in contention
6. Matt Damon – Ford v Ferrari It is one of those situations where there are two leads, but one of them is going supporting. I suspect it will go this way, but I don’t know. He has had this situation before with Invictus and it worked out.
7. Joe Pesci – The Irishman I would love to see Pesci back in the Oscar game. Scorsese had to beg him to come out of retirement because he was so perfect for this part. I can’t wait to see it.
8. Willem Dafoe – The Lighthouse Dafoe will win one eventually…I hope. This might not be the vehicle to get there, but I’m sure he will be amazing.
9. Jamie Foxx – Just Mercy His role looks electric in the Destin Daniel Cretton film. The trailer looked overly sentimental and kinda awful, but reviews have been consistently decent.
10. John Lithgow – Bombshell He plays the villain Roger Ailes in the Jay Roach workplace drama. The buzz is quiet on the film, but Roach (in television especially) is capable of making an awards film.
11. Robert De Niro – Joker De Niro appears to be doing a throwback to The King of Comedy in the film. I don’t know if he has the screen time to get nominated, but with this and The Irishman, he will clearly be talked about throughout the season.
12. Ben Mendelsohn – The King I don’t know how many big films he needs to be in to finally get singled out, but this could be the film. The reviews aren’t too great, but he has the Oscary supporting part.
13. Alan Alda – Marriage Story The surprising part of the festival reviews was Alda being singled out. He could get swept in with a frontrunner film like he was 15 years ago for The Aviator.
14. Lucas Hedges – Waves The previous nominee has yet another huge Oscar film. Depending on which characters in the ensemble the audience get behind, he could snag his second nomination in his young and fruitful career.
15. Gary Oldman – The Laundromat Oldman being directed by Soderbergh is intriguing, and I’m sure that his role will be juicy and unrecognizable. The movie’s buzz isn’t booming right now, but it is worth keeping an eye on.
16. Anthony Hopkins – The Two Popes If one of the popes goes supporting, it would likely be Hopkins. It seems like a package deal, but I am hesitant to really get behind this movie yet.

The Predicted Five
1. Alfre Woodard – Clemency I was hesitant to include this because I thought she had an Oscar film recently with Burning Sands, but that movie didn’t even come out. This movie sounds too good to ignore though, playing a prison warden carrying out death row executions. She hasn’t been nominated in over 35 years.
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2. Scarlett Johansson – Marriage Story She could finally get her due for Noah Baumbach’s marriage and divorce picture. Reviews sound like this is a foregone conclusion. She should have at least three nominations at this point.
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3. Cynthia Erivo – Harriet The buzz on this movie is silent, but Harriet Tubman has to be the most Oscar-destined role of the decade.
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4. Renee Zellweger – Judy Reviews all highlight Zellweger’s comeback and channeling of Judy Garland. It seems almost too good to be true, almost to the point of leaving her off the list.
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5. Jodie Turner-Smith – Queen & Slim This will be the welcomed newcomer in the acting categories. The movie looks like it is going to be a real emotional ride, and she is a more expressive performer than her costar Daniel Kaluuya. I think this is happening.
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Others in contention
6. Saorise Ronan – Little Women She was nominated for Gerwig’s last directorial effort, and she has the lead and most important part in the film. This role is always singled out by the Academy, but this is a pretty stacked category.
7. Awkwafina – The Farewell She was terrific in the film, but a Best Actress nomination might be overstating it a bit. If she gets in, then this is a Best Picture contender.
8. Felicity Jones – The Aeronauts The movie seems really strange, but she is reunited with Eddie Redmayne, and the cast and crew is intriguing.
9. Lupita Nyongo’o – Us Her reviews were glowing six months ago. Is this movie really as good as Get Out? Can it be remembered in another four months? We have to wait and see.
10. Natalie Portman – Lucy in the Sky It could be overshadowed by the other space movie Ad Astra, but it has gotten some good remarks so far. Portman should always be considered when she makes a movie.
11. Julianne Moore – Gloria Bell It isn’t as good as the original version of the film, but Moore is amazing and daring in the lead role. It would be a surprise if voters remember it, but she can do it.
12. Charlize Theron – Bombshell I don’t know who is lead in the film, but she is on a hot streak right now. It isn’t translating into Oscar nominations, but this could be her most Oscary role in quite some time.
13. Meryl Streep – The Laundromat She’s Meryl…she will be in the conversation and probably get a double nomination at the Globes.

The Predicted Five
1. Antonio Banderas – Pain and Glory This has been my prediction since January, and there is nothing to deter me from that stance. Banderas has never been nominated, but he hasn’t had this type of role. Almodovar has never directed an Oscar winning role, but this just feels different.
Image result for antonio banderas pain and glory
2. Joaquin Phoenix – Joker Reviews have been bonkers for Phoenix, which is encouraging. It still feels a little oddball for the Oscars, almost like Fight Club meets Taxi Driver, but voters don’t like to be told what to vote for. He’s getting in.
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3. Adam Driver – Marriage Story Fresh off his first nomination, he is going to make a run at his first win. He also has The Report, but this will be the one they go with. He is so understated, so seeing him win would be glorious.
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4. Leonardo DiCaprio – Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood It is undeniable how good DiCaprio is in this movie. He really goes for it, almost to the point of The Wolf of Wall Street. He is getting nominated and probably should win the thing.
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5. Christian Bale – Ford v Ferrari It seems like he is in contention every time he makes a movie. It doesn’t seem like an Oscar movie, but reviews have said otherwise. I suspect that he really upstages Damon and snags the leading credit.
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Others in contention
6. Robert De Niro – The Irishman He probably has the most difficult role to play of anyone this year. It seems foolish to doubt that he will get nominated, but I have seen this before.
7. Taran Egerton – Rocketman He is amazing as Elton John. The movie came out too early. A Golden Globe win would be the only thing that could secure his Oscar nomination.
8. Daniel Kaluuya – Queen & Slim It seems like he has a more boisterous role than we have seen from him previously, and the movie will be in the conversation all season long. He could easily pick up his second nomination here.
9. Eddie Murphy – Dolemite Is My Name He is an interesting choice for that role, but it looks like he is really going for it. In a less crowded year, he would be a lock.
10. Jonathan Pryce – The Two Popes He is getting best in show reviews for the Fernando Meirelles buddy pope film. He has never been nominated, which is surprising. He also played Don Quixote in that weird Terry Gilliam movie this year.
11. Adam Sandler – Uncut Gems I know he isn’t actually getting nominated, but this movie just seems so incredibly perfect for his dramatic persona. If the movie hits with audiences, then it becomes a possibility.
12. Brad Pitt – Ad Astra This James Gray sci-fi film seems like In the Valley of Elah for Pitt. If they don’t get him in for supporting, then this shoots up the list for leading.
13. Edward Norton – Motherless Brooklyn He plays a person with Tourettes, which comes almost naturally to him. The movie needs to really hit the throwback notes with voters to be singled out here.
14. Michael B. Jordan – Just Mercy I don’t have much faith in the movie, but Jordan has been snubbed a few times now, and this is the most Oscary role he has had yet.

The Predicted Five
1. Sam Mendes – 1917 The WWI movie is said to be all in one take, which is the flashy type of direction that wins. The Best Picture-Best Director split is almost expected nowadays with the current voting structure.
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2. Martin Scorsese – The Irishman Another case of obvious and flashy direction is this movie that spans decades and had a very public run with the de-aging technology that is still being perfected. Plus, it’s Marty. He is always nominated.
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3. Trey Edward Shults – Waves The newcomer does not have the directing ticks that promote a win in the category, but his movie has so much momentum that he will snag a spot.
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4. Joon-ho Bong – Parasite Bong’s film could be this year’s Amour and really devastate everyone and be the first film in the remarkable career of the foreign director to break through at the Oscars.
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5. Noah Baumbach – Marriage Story The movie seems a bit more complex than expected from Baumbach. The momentum is there right now. It needs to sustain it and be a huge Netflix hit for this to become a reality.
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Others in contention
6. Quentin Tarantino – Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood I can’t believe I am leaving this off, but this is a really tough category. The movie is so unbelievably Tarantino that it might not seem like as much of an achievement as these other directors stepping out of their comfort zone.
7. Terrence Malick – A Hidden Life A three hour war epic by Malick sounds like as easy of an Oscar movie as any, but Malick has had a decade of misses. We will see how this plays in theaters.
8. Greta Gerwig – Little Women This story never really wins big at the Oscars, but nominations can pile up. Direction might be a bit of a stretch.
9. James Mangold – Ford v Ferrari He is a recent nominee for screenwriting, but his directions are always more subtle and ignored by the Academy.
10. Todd Phillips – Joker - Is the director of The Hangover films really going to be an Oscar nominated director? If Adam McKay can do it and Peter Farrelly can win Best Picture, then why not?

The Predicted Ten (I predict 9 will get nominated)
1. Waves (Trey Edward Shults) – I might be jumping the gun here, but this is the type of movie that wins Best Picture now. It could be this year’s Moonlight.
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2. Marriage Story (Noah Baumbach) – This is destined to be Baumbach’s most successful movie ever, and it is right there with Waves as being the frontrunner for this category.
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3. 1917 (Sam Mendes) – The big war epic by the Oscar winning director could very well win Best Picture, but it just seems like a directing and technical marvel than one that will be singled out as the best movie of the year.
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4. Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood (Quentin Tarantino) – My January prediction is still a possibility, but it needs to really ramp up its awards campaign in the coming months.
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5. The Irishman (Martin Scorsese) – I hope the movie isn’t a disaster, but there is still that possibility. It could be our generation’s The Godfather: Part II or the post-production mess could crush its chances at the Oscars. We have to wait and see, but this is a safe spot for it.
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6. Joker (Todd Phillips) – Every review seems like it is pushing for the film to end up getting nominated, which is a bizarre stance, but it seems like it’s happening now regardless.
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7. Little Women (Greta Gerwig) – I am skeptical of its overall Oscar potential, but the talent involved and the hype around Gerwig secure its spot in the Best Picture race.
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8. Parasite (Joon-ho Bong) – Cannes winners aren’t always as big of hits in America, but this movie really feels like one of the special ones that makes a run at all of the awards.
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9. Queen & Slim (Melina Matsoukas) – The controversial choice always has legs. I really like the potential of this movie to come into the race late and really surprise with its Oscar impact.
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10. Ford v Ferrari (James Mangold) – It will be nominated for several awards, but I am going to have to see it get the Golden Globe Drama nomination and the Critics Choice nomination before taking it all that seriously here.
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Others in contention
11. A Hidden Life (Terrence Malick) – The buzz is quiet for the movie, but I am sure it will ramp up when it gets closer to December. Reviews are solid.
12. The Farewell (Lulu Wang) – It is going to need a creative awards campaign to make this happen due to its release date, but it did feel like an Oscar movie when watching it.
13. Ad Astra (James Gray) – It might not be an Oscar movie at all, but Gray’s movies are always so much more serious than they ought to be. It could be like High Life, but with Brad Pitt that movie gets remembered.
14. Dark Waters (Todd Haynes) – We really know nothing about the movie yet, so it remains in the race. Haynes has had one hit (Carol) and miss (Wonderstruck) with material that wasn’t his own.
15. A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (Marielle Heller) – The movie got a nice boost from the festivals so far, but it might be too light for a nomination here.
16. The Report (Scott Z. Burns) – It has the pedigree and the timely nature of the story to be a big hit, but there has to be a reason Burns had to direct and couldn’t have gotten a more polished director to helm the project.
17. Avengers: Endgame (Anthony Russo, Joe Russo) – If Black Panther can get nominated, then why not the biggest box office film of all time? It would be a shock if it gets in, but this is a possibility. Probably more of a possibility than we want to realize.

There you have it! What is your Oscar frontrunner following the fall festivals? What is your favorite movie of the year so far? Who else can’t wait for Oscar season? Let me know in the comments!

Thursday, August 8, 2019

The Farewell (2019) Review

Directed by
Lulu Wang

Every summer, amidst all the big budget blockbusters, there is always a couple small independent movies that emerge as surprises.  They may not end up making a whole lot of money at the box office, but they are remembered at the end of the year on awards lists and critic top tens.  The Farewell is bound to be one of those films in 2019.

Written and directed by Lulu Wang in only her second feature film, she tells a deeply personal story from her own life.  The story is told from the point of view of Billi, played by Awkwafina, as she discovers that beloved grandmother, Nai Nai (Shuzhen Zhou), has cancer and only a few months to live.  In Chinese culture, the family often lies to the dying family member about their prognosis to avoid depression and help extend their life.  Billi was born in China, but moved to New York City when she was six which makes this tradition sound insane and dishonest.  However, she goes along with it as the whole family travels back to China to say goodbye to Nai Nai.  To mask the reason for their journey Billi's cousin gets "married" to his girlfriend of three months.  With this premise, the whole family tries to hold it together to not give anything away and make this the positive experience for Nai Nai it is intended to be.

It is obvious how personal this story is to Lulu Wang as it is told with such tenderness and heart.  Every scene feels real and intimate, probably because Wang has actually lived every scene in this movie.  Awkwafina, who is emerging as one of the freshest faces in comedy, shows her true acting chops in this subtle and subdued performance.  However, the scene-stealer is Shuzhen Zhou as Nai Nai.  In her first film role, she gives the most memorable performance of the film as the clueless, brash, endearing matriarch of the family.

The famous Jim Valvano ESPY's speech says there are three things you should do every day: laugh, cry, and think.  It is rare that a film brings about all three of these.  The Farewell is one of those rare films.  It is heartwarming and heartbreaking.  It is extremely funny and extremely tragic.  It is, in so many ways, life.  I kept waiting for that inevitable moment that comes up in all films like this that is the emotional center of the story.  Where is Awkwafina's Oscar moment?  At first I was slightly disappointed when it never came until I realized that it is too grounded in reality for it to occur.  In the place of an emotional monologue is a look, a hug, a nod, and all the other subtle ways we actually connect with each other.  The more I reflect on it, the more I love it.

There had been a lot of buzz surrounding this film since its debut at Sundance.  Going into this movie, I only hoped it lived up to the hype.  The funny thing is it lived up to the hype despite being nothing like what I expected it to be.  This will be a film remembered at the end of the year as one of the most surprising and heartfelt films of the year.  I know that's how I will remember it.  If it is playing near you, go see it while you can.

3.5 stars

View the trailer here:

Saturday, April 6, 2019

2019 NFL Mock Draft

We are now entering the part of the year where college basketball is about over, and since no one really cares about the NBA or MLB, we have just one last order of business before the long summer leading up to football season...the NFL Draft!

The draft is one of my favorite things in sports. I live for college football, and this is the one time that all of those hundreds of hours a season watching games and getting to know players for 3-5 years pays off. These guys are heading into the league, and I now have been doing this long enough to actually remember when every NFL player was in college. That definitely makes me feel old, but it also makes me enjoy watching the NFL even more. Read up and enjoy my annual NFL Mock Draft!
 Image result for 2019 nfl draft

1. Arizona Cardinals – Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma
This has been the talk of the draft ever since Kliff Kingsbury was given the keys to the Arizona Cardinals. Josh Rosen does not fit the profile of his air raid system, so they have to trade him the year after taking him in the first round and draft Murray, who will immediately be the one of most interesting players in the NFL. He is an astonishing athlete and a much better passer than any true dual threat QB entering the draft.
 Image result for kyler murray
2. San Francisco 49ers – Nick Bosa, DE, Ohio State
The 49ers are in the strange situation where they have a free roll in the draft. Their QB was hurt all year, and they were pretty horrible. Jimmy Garoppolo will be leading this team going forward, and now they get the #2 pick without needing to fill that position that most teams would need when picking this high. The 49ers are going to take Bosa, who is the best player in the draft. The only red flag is that he sat out basically all of his final season in Columbus, not wanting to test his core muscle that he injured and subsequently had surgery on.
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3. New York Jets – Josh Allen, OLB, Kentucky
This is a predictable pick for the Jets. They are always looking to draft playmakers on defense, and Allen was arguably the best defensive player in college football last season. Going into the year, he was not exactly rated that highly as a potential draft prospect, but he had a monster year and was the main reason why Kentucky actually put up a fight in the SEC East. He will be an immediate impact player in New York.
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4. Oakland Raiders – Devin White, LB, LSU
There are plenty of needs for the Raiders, and they have three first round picks to address them. White is one of the safer picks in this class. He has the speed to stick with tight ends, and he is a tackling machine.
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5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Rashan Gary, DE, Michigan
The Buccaneers will have a new look under Bruce Arians. They have some playmakers on offense, so they will probably start rebuilding that defense first. Gary was one of the top prospects coming into college a few years ago, and he ended up quietly having a pretty good career in Ann Arbor. He impressed in combine workouts and could easily get rewarded with being taken in the top 5.
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6. New York Giants – Montez Sweat, DE, Mississippi State
Drafting Eli Manning’s replacement? Replacing OBJ? The Giants are too conservative for that. I think they will make a rock solid pick here, getting their new edge rusher to lead their defense in the coming years and wait for their offensive reinforcements. Sweat is absurdly athletic for his size, and he had an insanely productive year in 2018.
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7. Jacksonville Jaguars – Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida
After getting Nick Foles in the offseason, the Jaguars now think they have their guy and solved their problem. Next step is to get him some protection and give Leonard Fournette some quality run blocking. Taylor is a monster lineman and will be a great pick for Jacksonville.
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8. Detroit Lions – TJ Hockenson, TE, Iowa
The Lions have a lot of needs, but Matt Patricia is desperate to recreate the Patriot system. With Gronk now retired, he can no longer try to trade for him. Look for the Lions to take the best tight end in the class, one who is an expert route runner and can block. This will be a little bizarre since most feel Hockenson’s teammate Noah Fant is the better pro prospect, but this just feels too obvious for the Lions to pass up.
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9. Buffalo Bills – Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama
I am not projecting trades, but maybe I should. There’s no way that Williams drops this far, but we’ll go with it. The Bills do need to give Josh Allen some weapons on offense, but they take the best player on the board and wait for the skill positions. Williams was the rock on Alabama’s defense and will be for Sean McDermott’s group in Buffalo.
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10. Denver Broncos – Devin Bush, LB, Michigan
He had one of the top 40-yard dash times at the combine, and he had an incredible year for Michigan. The Broncos seemingly got their solution at quarterback by getting Joe Flacco, and they will need to get him some help at receiver, but Elway is stubborn and will continue to spend resources on defense, when that is not what they need at this point.
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11. Cincinnati Bengals – Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State
I would normally go out of my way to find the guy in the draft with the most character questions and arrests for the Bengals, but there is actually a new regime there…finally. I don’t think that Zac Taylor is going to kick the tires for too long on Andy Dalton, so the Bengals go with the record breaking in-state prospect to be his eventual replacement.
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12. Green Bay Packers – Andre Dillard, OT, Washington State
The Packers moved on from Mike McCarthy, so the first thing to get on their arrogant QB’s good side is to get him some stability on that offensive line. Dillard is one of the most solid linemen in the class, particularly as a pass blocker coming from the air raid system in Pullman.
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13. Miami Dolphins – Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson
The Dolphins traded away Robert Quinn, so now they need to fill that spot. Ferrell was never the most publicized player on that all-time worthy defensive front at Clemson, but his game most easily translates to the NFL. New head coach Brian Flores also has the opportunity to trade up for a quarterback if the situation fits, but I think he will go conservative with his first draft. I mean, they have Ryan Fitzpatrick, so…
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14. Atlanta Falcons – Ed Oliver, DT, Houston
The Falcons need help in a lot of areas. Oliver is one of the five most talented players in the draft, but concerns over his size and late season issues with his head coach are bringing him down the draft board a bit. This will be an excellent pick for Atlanta, and it will be the start of the reload for Dan Quinn’s defense.
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15. Washington Redskins – Jonah Williams, G, Alabama
The Redskins are in a difficult spot. They don’t have the resources to trade up in the draft again to take a quarterback, and their guy Alex Smith is coming off a gruesome injury. Case Keenum is just a band-aid at this point. They could go with a flier on Daniel Jones or Drew Lock, but I think they will go more for pass protection and run blocking for Adrian Peterson and company.
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16. Carolina Panthers – Cody Ford, G, Oklahoma
The Panthers need to repair their offensive line. All of the linemen from Oklahoma are versatile given the diverse looks that they gave defenses over the past few years. Ford will be a player that can open holes in the running game and can pull and pass block as well. Carolina needs help on the defensive line as well, but giving Cam Newton longevity is the bigger issue for the organization.
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17. New York Giants (from Browns) – Daniel Jones, QB, Duke
The connection is there with Jones being coached by Manning family mentor David Cutcliffe, plus this pick is not going to cripple the organization if it misses. The Giants have other holes, but they need to find a realistic successor to Eli at some point. Jones has a pro-style game, and unless we hear about a trade for Josh Rosen at some time in the near future, then this is the next in line of guys that looks like a Giants QB.
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18. Minnesota Vikings – Kaleb McGary, OT, Washington
The Vikings want to be able to run the ball and protect their highly paid QB as well. McGary made a career at Washington as one of the top pass and run blockers in the conference, and he will fit nicely into the culture in Minnesota. In a perfect world, they would trade down a handful of slots before picking him, but the purposes of not getting too abstract, this works.
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19. Tennessee Titans – DK Metcalf, WR, Mississippi
At times, the Titans offense looks absolutely dreadful. They need to start investing in some more weapons, and after the insane combine that Metcalf had, this should be an easy choice for the organization. Receivers are usually overvalued in the draft process, so a team might take him before here, but this would be a steal if it works out like this.
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20. Pittsburgh Steelers – Byron Murphy, CB, Washington
I don’t believe that they will reach for a receiver to replace Antonio Brown just yet. They still have a bunch of weapons for Big Ben. Murphy is the most natural cover corner in the draft. Being in the same division as the Browns, they will need several DBs who can cover and also be able to tackle in space. Murphy is a logical pick here.
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21. Seattle Seahawks – Nasir Adderley, S, Delaware
The Seahawks have to fill the hole vacated by the departure of Earl Thomas in free agency. The organization loves to take players from smaller schools, and Adderley has the playmaking ability in the secondary to be an immediate impact player. I imagine they will trade down, though, seeing as they only have 4 picks in the draft.
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22. Baltimore Ravens – Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma
He has absolutely electric speed. This is the type of player that will be needed for the Lamar Jackson run game experiment to actually work. They will need receivers that are willing to block, but you also need a player that can keep the defense honest and burn everyone downfield. In this draft, that player is clearly “Hollywood” Brown.
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23. Houston Texans – Dalton Risner, OT, Kansas State
The Wildcats have produced some really good offensive linemen in recent years, and that is the position that is most needed for the Texans. Deshaun Watson can’t do everything himself all the time, so Risner will come in from a spread attack system and stop some of the bleeding.
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24. Oakland Raiders (from Bears) – Brian Burns, DE, Florida State
The Raiders need to find someone who can try to fill the position that Khalil Mack had dominated. Burns will not be close to his level, but the positional fit and size are there. I suspect they may trade up for one of the more highly rated edge rushers, however.
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25. Philadelphia Eagles – Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama
The Eagles have invested a lot in running backs over the last handful of years, but they still are looking for that guy who can take the reins and pound the rock. Jacobs was always in a several running back system in Tuscaloosa, so he will still be fresh enough, unlike past Bama backs who have worn out in a year or two,
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26. Indianapolis Colts – Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson
I had a tough time picking between Wilkins and his teammate Dexter Lawrence, but I went with the more consistent of the two. The Colts are set at linebacker, but they need run stoppers in the middle. Wilkins can also get pressures from the interior. They also need receiver help, but the depth at receiver in this draft will become evident in day two.
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27. Oakland Raiders (from Cowboys) – Greedy Williams, CB, LSU
If the Raiders screw up this first round, then Vegas might just reject them. This will be the third pick defensively for Jon Gruden, and it should pretty much shore up all three levels of that unit. Williams was a great player at LSU. Even when the team was struggling, he was locking down the best receiver of the opposition.
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28. Los Angeles Chargers – Deandre Baker, CB, Georgia
The Chargers need secondary and offensive line help. Baker is one of the best corners in the draft, and while this may not be an exciting pick for a team that is so close to being the best team in the NFL, it will be a smart pick. They need someone who can attempt to cover the Kansas City offensive machine.
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29. Kansas City Chiefs – Garrett Bradbury, C, NC State
This would be a classic Andy Reid pick. The team needs a flashy edge rusher, and they got rid of Kareem Hunt (who somehow only got an 8 game suspension), so they address one of those needs so they can take out the Patriots, right? No, they take a center. Bradbury is actually excellent value at this spot.
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30. Green Bay Packers (from Saints) – Noah Fant, TE, Iowa
I can’t believe I still had Fant on the board. The Packers are going to need to get Rodgers a go-to target, and while WR would be an easier way to do that, giving Jimmy Graham a partner in crime will be a nice touch. Fant is the most athletic tight end in the draft, and his game fits the NFL system way more than it did in college.
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31. Los Angeles Rams – Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson
Aaron Donald is going to need another guy next to him with Ndamukong Suh leaving town. Lawrence is the type of player that might not jump off the tape, but he can swallow up blocks and prevent double teams on Donald.
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32. New England Patriots – N’Keal Harry, WR, Arizona State
The Patriots would love to get one of the Iowa tight ends, but unless they trade up, I don’t see any way that happens. They probably need help at defensive end, but they could also use another playmaker on offense. Harry was a monster at ASU, and he will be in New England as well. Keeping weapons at Brady’s disposal will ensure his production doesn’t dip and he stays happy.
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So there you have it! What are your thoughts? What do you think your favorite team will do in this draft? Let me know in the comments!