The Black Film Critic Circle Select Dolemite Is My Name As The Best of 2019!


On Sunday, the Black Film Critics Circle announced their picks for the best of 2019!

And here they are:

Best Film: Dolemite Is My Name
Best Director: Martin Scorsese (The Irishman) and Kasi Lemmons (Harriet)
Best Actor: Eddie Murphy (Dolemite Is My Name)
Best Actress: Lupita Nyong’o (Us)
Best Supporting Actor: Brad Pitt (Once Upon a Time In Hollywood)
Best Supporting Actress: Da’Vine Joy Randolph (Dolemite Is My Name)
Best Original Screenplay: Lena Waithe (Queen & Slim)
Best Adapted Screenplay: Steven Zaillian (The Irishman)
Best Cinematography: Roger Deakins (1917)
Best Foreign Film: Parasite
Best Documentary: Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am
Best Animated Film: I Lost My Body
Best Ensemble: Dolemite Is My Name
Pioneer Award: Ruth E Carter
Rising Star: Kelvin J. Harrison
Special Mention: Lloyd ‘Kam’ Williams

The Kansas City Film Critics Circle Honors 1917 and Da’Vine Joy Randolph!


The Kansas City Film Critics Circle went their own way earlier today and selected 1917 as the best film of the year!  I haven’t seen 1917 yet so I’ll withhold on saying whether it deserved the award more than Irishman or Parasite.  However, I have seen Dolemite Is My Name and I am absolutely thrilled that the KCFCC selected the excellent Da’Vine Joy Randolph as best supporting actress!

Here are the winners:

BEST FILM: 1917

BEST DIRECTOR – Sam Mendes, 1917

BEST ACTOR – Adam Driver, Marriage Story

BEST ACTRESS – Lupita Nyong’o, Us

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR – Joe Pesci, The Irishman

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS – Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Dolemite Is My Name

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY – Little Women

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY – Knives Out

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY – 1917

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE – Toy Story 4

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM – Parasite

BEST DOCUMENTARY (tie) – Amazing Grace & Apollo 11

THE TOM POE AWARD FOR BEST LGBT FILM – Portrait of a Lady on Fire

THE VINCE KOEHLER AWARD FOR BEST SCIENCE FICTION, FANTASY or HORROR FILM – Us

The African-American Film Critics Association Honors Us


The African American Film Critics Association has selected Jordan Peele’s Us as the best film of the year!

Here’s a full list of their winners:

Best Film: “Us” (Universal Pictures)

Best Director: Jordan Peele (“Us,” Universal Pictures)

Best Actor: Eddie Murphy (“Dolemite Is My Name,” Netflix)

Best Actress: Lupita Nyong’o (“Us,” Universal Pictures)

Best Supporting Actor: Jamie Foxx (“Just Mercy,” Warner Bros. Pictures)

Best Supporting Actress: Da’Vine Joy Randolph (“Dolemite Is My Name,” Netflix)

Best Breakout Performance: Kelvin Harrison, Jr. (“Waves,” A24)

Best Animated Film: “Abominable” (Universal Pictures)

Best Documentary: “The Black Godfather” (Netflix)

Best Foreign Film: “Parasite” (Neon)

Best Independent Film: “The Last Black Man in San Francisco” (A24)

Best Screenplay (Presented with The Black List): Bong Joon-ho, “Parasite” (Neon)

Impact Award: “Queen & Slim” (Universal Pictures)

We See You Award: Taylor Russell (“Waves,” A24)

The AAFCA 2019 Top Ten Films

1. “Us” (Universal Pictures)

2. “Dolemite Is My Name” (Netflix)

3. “Just Mercy” (Warner Bros. Pictures)

4. “Clemency” (Neon)

5. “The Irishman” (Netflix)

6. “Queen & Slim” (Universal Pictures)

7. “Waves” (A24)

8. TIE “Parasite” (Neon) and “Atlantics” (Netflix)

9. The Farewell (A24)

10. “Harriet” (Focus Features)

People of Earth, Season 1 Episode 9, Lost and Found


people-of-earth

Open: Richard and Robot Nancy are on a date; however, Scroty is controlling Nancy’s reactions and movements (Descartes would have a field day with this episode).  They have an awkward kiss and we learn that Scroty likes Ayn Rand.  Scroty continues to ask questions about Gina and it occurs to Richard that Nancy is jealous and The One.  Scroty resolves to hunt Gina down and kill her.

Ozzie is having food with his mom and needs to get critical documents, leading him to go to his father’s place.

Chelsea visits Father Doug.  Father Doug is getting the band back together… by an Outlet Mall! Chelsea is crushing on him big time!

Gerry is selling insurance … rather well.

Starcrossed is a shambles: they meet at the furniture store and a barn.  The barn is the Last Straw (wakka wakka wakka)! They disband.

Jonathan sees LOTR-G and is shocked that he’s working at a coffee shop.  LOTR-G is really sweet and reminds me of people I knew in Vermont: quiet, in touch with their feelings, and salt of the earth types.  Jonathan gets LOTR-G to give him a free coffee and his tips.

Ozzie visits his father who’s into buddhism for now.   His father is a slob who keeps important documents in garbage bags.  Ozzie finds a photo of him on a drug store horse ride, triggering a Beacon memory and a family meeting.

Father Doug is playing at the lounge and Chelsea show and groupies big time. It’s sweet.

Ozzie’s parents explains that they lost him at the grocery store.  He describes a lizard person and they give him many drawings of him with this Lizard Man friend (Jonathan). In the past, Ozzie had gone into the back room and sees all of the Reptilians, including Jonathan (lizard Jonathan).

Chelsea goes to Father Doug’s motel room that he’s staying at for his gig and they pork.  It’s very human.  This show really knows how to balance the drama with the comedy.

We close with Gina enjoying a glass of wine while Nancy is lying in wait in the closet.  Scary!

No awesome song this week, but a good episode in any case.

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People of Earth; Season 1 Episode 7, Last Day on Earth


people-of-earth

People of Earth is usually 80/20- Comedy/Drama; however, this particular episode was full-on tug at your heartstrings 80/20 Drama/Comedy.  If not done well, this switch can undermine or derail a show, but Norm Hiscock  (writer) really delivered something unique and tenderhearted.  In fact, I’ve been thinking about his episode for most of the time since I watched it.  You begin thinking that the story will be all about Jerry saying goodbye; instead, Norm gives us an episode about love, family, and basic human… even tribal bonds.

When I first learned screenwriting, my teacher made me make list all of the things that would worry a caveman.

I responded: finding a mate, a bad king, predators, and natural disasters.

He responded: SEE!

Then, he wrote on the board “When Harry Met Sally”, “Nixon”, “Predator”, and “Day After Tomorrow”.  “We are moved by movies because they tap into our genetic fears and desires.”

This episode did that for me.

We open with Gerry telling Ozzie about a clear pattern of abductions that all occur at a specific area and he wants to be the next in the line.  This abduction will be permanent because no one ever returned when they were taken at this time.  Gerry states that he has quit his job and Ozzie shows concern for this, but Gerry is determined to be a full-fledged Starcrossed member, even though it means never returning to Earth.

Gerry cleans himself up and does A LOT of grooming, including an abundance of nail clipping.  Then, he packs a Go Bag and with his “Family Photo”- it’s a selfie-stick shot of him with the Starcrossed group.  This shows a clear, visual example of familial/tribal love.

Gerry’s determined to tell Yvonne his feelings, but chickens out.  This is the emotional and physical love.

Coffeehouse: Kelly visits LOTR-Guy at his coffeehouse.  Kelly tries to apologize and LOTR-Guy shuts her down with an apology on behalf of all men because he was a nosy-pants and male privilege something.  Kelly is now all over LOTR-Guy like a Today’s Man Suit.

Ozzie follows up on a lead about Senator Pelosi’s connection to Glint and how Jonathan suppressed stories at Glint.  My favorite: This Privileged American Life – Ira Glass.  If you’ve never heard This American Life, you should, BUT be prepared to become depressed.  “However, this shouldn’t matter because happiness is a lie we tell ourselves so we can wake up everyday.” Just kidding, Ira never said this because he’s much more upbeat than I am.  

Nancy overhears that Ozzie is getting close to uncovering the conspiracy.  Jonathan is ordered to get a donut.. again.  Jonathan tries to stall and arranges a lunch with Ozzie.

Gerry says goodbye to Richard and gives him all of his alien research.

The Lunch: Jonathan tries to bully Ozzie using the carrot and stick technique formerly used by Henry Kissinger.  The Stick: Jonathan threatens to expose/discredit Ozzie for being a member of “Space Losers”.  The Carrot: “Brews Skettah”.  It fails.  Jonathan shall eat his “Brews Skettah” all alone.   Michael Cassidy has some real drama chops.  He should consider some drama or Jason Bourne-ish action movie stuff.  What was great about this scene is that when Jonathan is saying “After all that I’ve done for you” He means it literally because he helped raise and protect Ozzie since he was a child, explaining why Jonathan has empathy unlike his purely Reptilian counterpart Nancy.  This hammers home the fatherly love that Jonathan has for Ozzie and this was shown in previous episodes wherein he gives Ozzie veggie drinks and mentoring.

Gerry goes to Yvonne’s house and he nearly chickens out, but Yvonne helps him along and they make sweet love.  However, he still wants to try to get abducted and say goodbye for good.

The Date:  LOTR-Guy is REALLY in touch with his feelings.  They try to dance and it’s awesome.  It reminded me so much of the dancing I saw at clubs in Europe … like seizures. Kelly shows a protective and physical love for LOTR-Guy by trying to get him to assert himself in many different ways.  At one point, a waiter spills a drink on him and he goes beyond Canadian levels of politeness, saying that “I was sitting way too close to the spill.” She pushes him to insist on getting the drinks for free and owning it! Boom! It’s awesome.

The Donut:  The Alien Overlord orders Jonathan to pick a weapon to use to kill Ozzie.  Jonathan doesn’t want to and he remembers being on the Ship with Young Ozzie.  He comforts Ozzie when he’s scared and promises him that he won’t hurt him.  Michael really delivers this scene well.  He knows how to play the silence without dragging it. Good beat.  Jonathan chooses the gun and it’s hard to watch.

Jonathan goes to Ozzie’s hovel.  I won’t lie – I gasped a little, when he reached in his coat pocket and was relieved when he pulled out a jumpdrive.  Jonathan gives Ozzie the proof he needs confessing how he suppressed stories.  This is an obvious act of fatherly love and has improved Ozzie’s life.  Jonathan, like all good Dads, with his mission of pushing his son forward complete, takes a step back and sets him free to succeed or fail without him.

Yvonne and Gerry are in bed and she gives him a lift to the abduction location, even though this may be their last time together; it’s very sweet.  H. Jon Benjamin provides some comic relief along the way.

Kelly forces LOTR-Guy to be empowered and self-confidant.  There’s just love burgeoning everywhere in this episode.

Donut Part 2:  The Overlord is furious and wants to kill Jonathan and Ozzie.  Jonathan thwarts this by revealing that there is a code he needs to enter every 12 hours or their lizard plan will be published worldwide.  Jonathan flashes to when he and Young Ozzie were on the ship and Ozzie made him a drawing of them holding hands like father and son. He puts on a brave front, but leaves the meeting with some fear and pain on his face because he has left his family to save his adoptive son Ozzie, but in doing so, he will be forever alone.

Gerry gets to the abduction site…..and they never come.

Once again, the near credits delivers an amazing song that presented what could’ve worked as the scenes for the series finale.  Not a bad song, not Kmala my Friend or the Ship song from earlier episodes, but a solid – not bad.

We see Ozzie’s article with a big picture of Jonathan as a story suppressor, ruining him forever. Jonathan packs up his things from his office and says goodbye to his moving desk.

The group stares at Gerry’s empty chair and is relieved when he returns, completing their tribe.  They console him for not getting abducted, but he states sheepishly and in love, “It wasn’t all bad.” *sniff*

LOTR-Guy returns to the ship all swagger.  It’s pretty badass.  Scroty shows him respect for the first time and informs him that the Main Ship is coming.  We also learn that Gerry would’ve been abducted if LOTR-Guy had been at his post.

BOOM!

unicorny

People of Earth – Pilot, Season 1, Episode 1 – Review by


people-of-earth

People of Earth is the amazingly quick-witted and fast paced comedy show that you better watch or ALL of the unicorns will die… especially the cute baby unicorns- they’ll die first!

I was primed to like this show more than a 50% discount on Blue Jays tickets.  The comedy cast is overflowing with known national treasures: Wyatt Cynac, Ana Gasteyer, Brian Huskey, and Oscar Nunez, but is blessed with new talent who have quick comedic timing that matches perfectly with the snappy dialogue.  In short, this is NOT a show to knit to, tweet during, or otherwise be distracted by when watching; so, take your adderall and focus because this show is NO SHIT LEGIT!  SIDE NOTE: I’m seriously thinking about getting on the adderall bandwagon; weight loss inducing intellectual steroids sound pretty fucking awesome to me!

The pilot begins with Ozzie (Wyatt Cynac) having a nightmare about hitting a deer in Beacon, New York with a deer behind him saying, “Don’t get weird, but you’re about to hit a deer” and he wakes in a sweat.  He’s on assignment to Beacon to investigate a UFO Abductee support group.

At the support group, we learn that there are three types of Aliens: Reptilians, Whites (who look like Lord of the Rings Elf People), and Greys (who look like scrotums).  Also, we learn that the jokes fly fast.  The group therapy scenes are the heart of the sitcom.  The jokes play off of one another brilliantly!

Ozzie finishes his alien support group article and goes to his boss Jonathan Walsh (Michael Cassidy) in New York City who basically runs a Buzzfeedish clickbait listicle mill.  His boss doesn’t get humor and speaks in business school-ease at all times like a young Mitt Romney.  Jonathan wants Ozzie to return Upstate to Beacon and learn more about the people in the support group.

Upon returning to Beacon, Ozzie discovers that the abductees all have boring jobs or don’t work.  Ozzie learns about the abductions and that their stories are similar.  However, there are two people who don’t share abduction stories: the group leader Gina and Gerry who has never made contact with an alien, but wishes that he did.  There have been some reviewers who think this points to these two or either being aliens, but I don’t know or care because their delivery is fucking great and I don’t want to go down that rabbit hole.  Ozzie realizes that his nightmares match the stories that he is hearing.

Ozzie believes that HE was abducted.  Ozzie becomes furious when he discovers that his boss published his draft article about the group with their REAL names, causing Ozzie to quit his job with Buzzfeedish.  He decides to explore his abduction memories and takes a job in Beacon at the local paper.

The show ends with us learning that Jonathan is a Reptilian – DUN DUN DUN.

ROLL HILARIOUS CREDITS!

There are aliens on the mothership above earth being hysterical.  The funniest and snarkiest alien is the scrotum looking whom I shall call Scroty on the show he’s named Jeff, but Scroty is more apt.

This show is THE funniest show on television.  Period.  Remember, if you don’t watch, ALL the unicorns will die!

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