The OA, The Homecoming; Season 1 Episode 1; ALT Title: Reincarnation and You!


the-oa

A new year is here, which means I need to get back into the saddle and get writing! The irony is that “The OA” is from 2016…. Dun Dun Dun.  The great irony is that 2016 had creative losses, but the art was amazing: Stranger Things, People of Earth, and maybe …. just maybe The OA.  I was burned before by seemingly good art that turned out to be a steaming shit show – Channel Zero.   However, the pilot for The OA seems to have all of the weird shit that should make it great.

There are parallel dimensions, Indian Mystics, Naked Bullies, Phyllis from The Office, and Brit Marling.  Side note: If Another Earth didn’t convince you that Brit Marling won the talent lottery, this will.  There are also a number of fascinating plot touchstones: visualization of the world and experiences in general through media, clairvoyance,  and spiritual connection to a multiverse, but without The Flash, and THROAT PUNCHES!

We open with a phone video of a woman jumping off a bridge.  It’s hard to watch, but she wakes and is mostly ok, but with an obsession to get online.  The video goes viral and The girl’s parents see the video and get her from the hospital.  The OA (Brit Marling) has been missing for 7 years, but The OA doesn’t recognize her parents; instead she touches her mom’s face and this act allows her to realize it’s her mom.  Why?  Because before The OA or as they knew her -Prairie disappeared 7 years ago, she was blind!  WHAAAAA????!!!!

The OA returns home to a mob scene of well wishers.  The police try to find out where she was and get nowhere, but we do know that she was with others.  She goes for a walk and sees a guy doing Jackass style stunts.   The next scene embarrassed me… alot.  We cut to a Naked Guy and Perfect Student having pretty great sex.  I’m all for sex, but when I saw this scene, I was at the gym on the elliptical and there was a lady next to me, who looked over, looked away, and shot her eyebrows up into the ceiling.  The Perfect Student opines that she just likes Naked Bully for sex and that she has a torch for a guy in choir.  HMMMM.  Okay.  We learn that naked guy is a bully too, who from hence forward shall be called Naked Bully.

The OA is lamenting her lack of wifi access.  She goes on the hunt for it and she goes to an abandoned home and sees Naked Bully is selling drugs.  The OA wants wifi access, but Naked Bully sicks his dog on her and she takes a few bites, gives a few bites, and tames the dog.  REALLY.

The Naked Bully visits the choir and they are all singing like Glee, which makes me wish that we weren’t so effective at stamping out bullying in schools.  Naked Bully follows the guy that Perfect Student has a crush on and throat punches him. BAM!  There is now one fewer acappella singer in the world … let’s all slow clap.

Naked Bully climbs up the wall to The OA’s room and gives her a pre-paid wifi router if she agrees to pose as his stepmom and convince his teacher not to expel him because if he’s expelled, he’ll get sent to a scared straight school in North Carolina.  The OA agrees if he gets five strong people together for some weird seance thing.

Naked Bully takes her to Value Village and damn it doesn’t cost much to make her look hot… Macklemore would be proud …. POPPIN’ TAGS!  At one point, it becomes clear that The OA can read minds.  Also, we learn the OA is in love with a guy named Homer…no not that one…sorry fat guys everywhere; Homer is a briefly dead football star.

She meets with Phyllis and pretends to be his step-mom.  Phyllis says Naked Bully is a bully and sucks.  The OA lays some great new-age jibber jabber and Phyllis is totally charmed.  The plan appeared to work because Phyllis gives Naked Bully a wink, but it doesn’t last because Phyllis runs into Naked Bully’s real mom at Costco.  DUN DUN DUN.

Naked Bully’s parents confront The OA’s Parents and all appears to be lost: no seance thing and Naked Bully will be scared straight- preventing him from stopping the Acapella Hordes.  What does The OA do?  She posts an eyeball video to get people to attend her seance thing.  If you light the candles….they will come.  Yep, 3 smaller part dayplayers come, Naked Bully turns down sex for it, and even Phyllis shows up for the seance thing.

Then, whammo…..roll credits!!! VERY VERY VERY COOL!

We learn that The OA started as the daughter of a wealthy Russian Oligarch (Nikolai Nikolaeff) was her single dad.  She ran in circles of extreme wealth, but was plagued with nightmares of drowning.  Her father has her go into an icy lake to conquer her fears.  This works! Later, she is on a private shuttle to school, but careens into a ravine and everyone drowns, including The OA.  She is pulled into a multiverse galaxy by an Indian Mystic Superbeing who allows her to go back to earth, but blind because she doesn’t want The OA to see what is coming.  I know this reads as some crazy shit, but it’s very well done and truly compelling.

2016, you slipped this one right under the wire and it was awesome!!!

THe-OA-HC.png

And like that, Oscar season begins: The Gotham Independent Film Awards Nominations


As I’ve said many times in the past, I am an Oscar fanatic and Oscar season is my favorite time of the year.  Well, I’m happy to say that the 2012 Oscar season has now officially began.  The Gotham Independent Film Spirit Awards have been announced.

“The what?” you my be asking.

Well, okay, it’s true that the Gothams aren’t as influential as the Golden Globes or the National Board of Review.  But, still, for independent filmmakers who are hoping not to be forgotten in the rush to embrace mainstream films like Lincoln, The Great Gatsby, and Zero Dark Thirty, every little bit of publicity helps.

The nominations appear to be dominated by Bernie, Moonrise Kingdom, and The Master.  That’s not a bad thing because I consider each one of those films to be one of the best of the year.

Here’s the nominations.  I’m going to hold off on offering up any commentary, beyond saying that I’m glad to see that Bernie is being remembered.

Best Feature:

Bernie

The Loneliest Planet

The Master

Middle of Nowhere

Moonrise Kingdom

Best Documentary:

Detropia

How To Survie a Plague

Marina Abramowtiz: The Artist Is Present

Room 327

The Waiting Room

Best Ensemble Performance:

Bernie

Moonrise Kingdom

Safety Not Guaranteed

Silver Linings Playbook

Your Sister’s Sister

Breakthrough Director

Zal Batmanglij for “Sound of My Voice
Brian M. Cassidy and Melanie Shatzky for “Francine”

Jason Cortlund and Julia Halperin for “Now, Forager”
Antonio Mendez Esparza for “Aqui­ y Alli¡ (Here and There)”
Benh Zeitlin for “Beasts of the Southern Wild

Breakthrough Actor
Mike Birbiglia in “Sleepwalk with Me
Emayatzy Corinealdi in “Middle of Nowhere
Thure Lindhardt in “Keep the Lights On
Melanie Lynskey in “Hello, I Must Be Going
Quvenzhane Wallis in “Beasts of the Southern Wild
Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You
“Kid-Thing”
“An Oversimplification of Her Beauty”
“Red Flag”
“Sun Don’t Shine”
“Tiger Tail in Blue”