The Chicago Indie Critics Honor Nomadland, Da 5 Bloods, and Ma Rainey!

The Chicago Indie Critics announced their picks for the best of 2020 earlier today.

Yes, Nomadland won.  Again.  Because the CIC gives out two best picture awards — one for the best low-budget indie and another for the best big-budget studio production — Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom won as well.  And because there was a tie in the Best Big Budget Studio Production category, Da 5 Bloods won as well.

As far as the acting winners went, it was the usual suspects.  Frances McDormand took best actress for Nomadland.  Chadwick Boseman took best actor for Ma Rainey.  Boseman also won Best Supporting Actor for Da 5 Bloods.  And, of course, Maria Bakalova got another award for Best Supporting Actress.

In other words …. kinda boring.  Nomadland may be the greatest film ever made but there’s nothing more boring than an awards season where all of the critics groups vote for the same movies and the same people.  Then again, I remember that this previously happened with The Social Network.  The Social Network won over all the critics but the Academy preferred The King’s Speech.  I supposed that could happen this year, though Nomadland seems to have even more momentum than The Social Network did.

At this point, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Boseman nominated for both Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor.  Could he possibly win both?  I think he could.  I do think that, if he only wins for one, it’ll probably be for Da 5 Bloods, just because of the nature of his role in that film.  That said, it does seem inevitable that Boseman will follow Peter Finch and Heath Ledger in winning at least one posthumous Oscar.

You can see the CIC nominations here.  And the winners are listed below!

Best Independent Film (Budget Under $20,000) — Nomadland

Best Studio Film (Budget over $20,000) — Da 5 Bloods and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Best Foreign Language Film — His House

Best Documentary — Boys State

Best Animated Film — Soul

Best Director — Spike Lee for Da 5 Bloods

Best Original Screenplay — Emerald Fennell for Promising Young Woman and Aaron Sorkin for The Trial of the Chicago 7

Best Adapted Screenplay — Ruben Santiago-Hudson for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Best Actor — Chadwick Boseman in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Best Actress — Frances McDormand in Nomadland

Best Supporting Actor — Chadwick Boseman in Da 5 Bloods

Best Supporting Actress — Maria Bakalova in Borat Subsequent Moviefilm

Best Ensemble — Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Best Cinematography — Nomadland

Best Production Design — Mank

Best Costume Design — Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Best Makeup — Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Best Editing — The Trial of the Chicago 7

Best Musical Score — Soul

Best Original Song — “Speak Now” from One Night In Miami

Best Visual Effects — The Invisible Man

Trailblazer Award — Steve McQueen

Impact Award — Chadwick Boseman

What Lisa Watched Last Night #214: The Wrong Real Estate Agent (dir by David DeCoteau)

Last night, I watched the first Lifetime premiere of 2021, The Wrong Real Estate Agent!

Why Was I Watching It?

It was the first Lifetime film of 2021 so how couldn’t I watch it?

Add to that, I love the “Wrong” series.  The “Wrong” films are all directed by David DeCoteau and they all feature Vivica A. Fox in a supporting (or, in this case, a lead) role.  These films are always a lot of fun and, since they’re all filmed in Canada, there’s always chance you might spot someone from Degrassi in the cast.

(Admittedly, The Wrong Real Estate Agent is the rare “Wrong” film to feature no one from Degrassi.  But it’s the first Lifetime film of 2021 so we won’t hold that against it.)

What Was It About?

Julie (Vivica A. Fox) and her daughter Maddie (Alaya Lee Walton) have just moved into a wonderful, beautiful house but, unfortunately, they’re renting from the wrong real estate agent!  Charles (Andres Londono) used to date Julie and it’s obvious that he wants to win her back.  However, Charles’s idea of how to win someone back involves a lot of lies and a lot of murder.

Soon after moving into their new home, Julie and Maddie begin hearing strange sounds and seeing weird movement in the shadows.  Most disturbingly to me, someone has been using the shower when Julie’s not home.  Seriously, you don’t use someone else’s shower without asking first!

And let’s not even get started on the mysterious room that’s always locked off….

What Worked?

Vivica A. Fox has appeared in all of the “Wrong” films but usually, she’s cast in a supporting role.  She usually plays some sort of no nonsense authority figure who shows up at the end of the film to announce, “He messed with the wrong cheerleader” or “He was the wrong wholesale jewelry importer” or something like that.  In The Wrong Real Estate Agent, she played the lead role and it was a nice change of pace.  I thought she did a good job in the lead role, even if Julie sometimes seemed to be impossibly naïve.

Alaya Lee Walton also did a good job as Julie’s daughter, Maddie.  She and Fox were very believable as mother and daughter and their relationship rang true.

Finally, I loved the house!  That may sound like a small compliment but seriously, a good Lifetime film always features a great house.  So far, the “Wrong” series has been very good about using the right house.  If I ever do move to Canada, it’s going to be because of both Degrassi and the numerous Canadian produced Lifetime films that have left me convinced that every house in Toronto is a mansion.

What Did Not Work?

Charles was just a little bit too obviously crazy.  In general, it’s a good idea to suspend your disbelief when it comes to a Lifetime film and to just kind of go with whatever happens but, in this case, Charles really was so obviously unstable that you kind of wondered how anyone played by Vivica A. Fox could be naïve enough to trust him.

“Oh my God!  Just like me!” Moments

I related to Maddie, particularly when she argued with her mom about whether or not she should shut the window in her bedroom.  Her mom thought the open window was an invitation to sickness and danger.  Maddie knew that she had to keep the window so her boyfriend could sneak in and out of the house.  Of course, Maddie couldn’t explain that was the reason why the window needed to be open but, to her credit, Maddie stayed her calm and talked her mom into letting her keep the window open until it was time for bed.  Good job, Maddie!  I wish I had been that good at winning arguments when I was that age.

Lessons Learned

When it comes to renting or buying a house, make sure you’ve got the right real estate agent.  Because the wrong real estate agent will not only try to get you to go out of your price range (that’s something I learned from watching House Hunters) but he’ll eventually try to kill you as well.

The other thing I learned is that every profession has at least one wrong person.  Someday, I’m hoping to see a film called The Wrong Administrative Assistant or maybe The Wrong Stunt Double.  Seriously, this series can go on until the end of time.

Artwork of the Day: Wild and Wicked (by David Hatfield)

by David Hatfield

Wild and Wicked was first published in 1965, by Midwood Books.  Laura DuChamp was a pen name for Sally Hastings, who wrote several soft-core books for Midwod.  She also wrote under the name March Hastings.  The artist responsible for this cover is unknown.  When I saw it, my first thought was “Church group gone wild.”

8/1/21 UPDATE: David Hatfield has contacted us to let us know that he’s the artist responsible for this wonderful cover.  His signature can be seen on the right side of the cover, next to the shoulder of the boy in the striped shirt.  Thank you, David, for letting us know so that we could properly credit you for this cover!

Music Video of the Day: View From A Bridge by Kim Wilde (1982, directed by Brian Grant)

Not to be confused with the Arthur Miller play of almost the same name, View From A Bridge was the second single to be released from Kim Wilde’s second album, Select.  The song tells the story of a girl who discovers that her boyfriend is cheating on her so she goes to a bridge and considers jumping off.  Though it’s open to interpretation, the song suggests that she ultimately does just that.  This song is a good example of a song about something that no one should do in real life.  No one is worth jumping off a bridge for so if you’re thinking about doing it, don’t.

When it was released in 1982, it became on Wilde’s biggest hits in Europe and Australia.  It was especially popular in France.  If it was released today, at a time when we are all very aware of teen mental health and the dangers of suicidal ideation, this is one of those songs that would probably be very controversial.  I know that when I was growing up, there was tendency to laugh off threats of suicide as just teenagers being dramatic or looking for attention.  Luckily, that’s no longer the case today.

The video, fortunately, does not feature Kim on a bridge.  Instead, it features her and the band performing in a pink-tinted room.  This was a popular look for music videos in the 80s and the pinkness of it all helped to keep people from noticing how depressing the lyrics were.

The video was directed by Brian Grant, who was one of the go-to video directors in the 1980s.  He did videos for everyone from The Human League to XTC to Peter Gabriel and Duran Duran.  According to Wikipedia, he directed a total of 225 music videos during the 80s.  He has also directed several shows for British television, including the episodes of the Doctor Who reboot.