I don’t know if it’s on me or Eminem, but this is the last album of his I really responded to. He followed it with Revival in 2017, an album I listened to twice and immediately forgot. Then came the surprise 2018 drop of Kamikaze, which I gave just one listen before tuning out.
This track’s title refers to Nashville’s first country publishing house, formed in 1942 by Roy Acuff and Fred Rose. The two men vowed to start a company that would not take advantage of its artists, as so many labels at the time did.
The movie chronicles the acrimonious divorce of Charlie and Nicole, a theater director and actress played (in my pick for the best lead performances of the year) by Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson. In a just world, they would each win an Oscar this Sunday. Instead, Laura Dern (who is quite good in a limited role) will likely be the only actor in this film recognized by the Academy. You can almost always count on these guys to get it wrong.
In a shameful move by the Academy, Lupita Nyong’o was snubbed in this year’s Best Actress race for her mesmerizing double turn in Jordan Peele’s Us. Less noticed, but equally unfortunate, was the absence of Nyong’O’s Us co-star Elisabeth Moss for her work as alt-rocker Becky Something in the film Her Smell.
Written and directed by Alex Ross Perry, Her Smell is told in five real-time segments over the course of several years in the life of the horribly self-destructive Becky. The first three scenes make Uncut Gems look like My Dinner With Andre, as a drug-fueled Becky rages at her bandmates, support team, and anybody else who gets in her way.
Jennifer Lopez’s introduction in Hustlers was one of the great moments in cinema last year, musical or otherwise. And I promise I say that as a movie fan, not a guy who enjoys watching Lopez work the pole.
By framing this moment through the eyes of Constance Wu’s character, writer/director Lorene Scafaria makes Lopez’s dance not about her sexuality but her power. She is not a sex object… she’s the subject, specifically subjecting her will on the helpless men in the audience. She commands the stage, separating men from their money just as she will later in the movie through more nefarious methods. It’s appropriate that her song of choice is titled ‘Criminal.’
After getting a pep talk from his imaginary friend, a childlike version of Adolf Hitler played by Waititi himself, young Nazi Jojo (Roman Griffin Davis) takes to the streets, enthusiastically heiling everyone he sees. Then the opening credits run over scenes of Germany in the throes of Nazi fervor set to The Beatles’ German-language version of ‘I Want to Hold Your Hand.’
My top three 2019 movies (Parasite, Little Women and Knives Out) made the decade list. These films rounded out my top ten (in order): Marriage Story, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, The Irishman, Avengers: Endgame, Pain & Glory, Dolemite is My Name, and Hustlers.
I still have several films to see that could crack this list, including Waves, Portrait of a Lady On Fire, Ash is Purest White and Queen & Slim. I’ll probably be watching 2019 movies for at least a few months of 2020.