Thirteen’s the charm?

Thirteenth blogiversary. So strange.

I owe myself a post, but it’s late.

So how about this? My ranking of the Oscar nominated films from worst to best.

10 – Avatar 2 (didn’t see)

9 – Top Gun 2 (didn’t see)

8 – Women Talking (really boring)

7. -All Quiet on the Western Front (clichéd, and why did they change the ending?)

6 – The Fabelmans (too long, self-indulgent)

5 – Elvis (fine, but nothing special apart from the leading performance)

4 – Tár (good but VERY cerebral)

3 – Triangle of Sadness (I really liked this, but occasionally felt it was a little slow)

2 – Everything Everywhere All At Once (I loved this, esp the first half hour or so)

1 – The Banshees of Inisherin (Loved this, and it was slightly easier to follow than #2)

What say you?

~ by Servetus on February 27, 2023.

81 Responses to “Thirteen’s the charm?”

  1. I say …I’ve only seen Tár, which I loved and thought Cate Blanchett was extraordinary (for once) and the wonderful sad Banshees of Inisherin.
    I’m intrigued by Triangle of Sadness, because Östlund’s other films were great, but the puking in the trailer was off-putting. Happy blogiversary!


    • Sadness: There is extended puking and it’s not even the most revolting aspect of that section of the movie — but the general social satire is not to be missed.

      Tár: I did think it was very good; it just didn’t move me like the films above it did. I also think the supporting performances in Tár were excellent (e.g., Nina Hoss). I admit I’m also seriously over Blanchett since this whole Riseborough thing knocked Viola Davis out of the Best Actress category.

      Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

      • It’s such a shame too because, like Davi, Riseborough is an astonishing actor, who has been performing with little fanfare for years and now her reputation has been tarnished. She seems to be getting much of the blame but I wonder the extent of her involvement rather than her publicists etc.


        • Is Riseborough getting the blame? My perception is that Blanchett is getting it along with Jennifer Aniston (and deservedly so — Blanchett’s behavior has been pretty jackassy this year. She seems not to have stopped to think that maybe she shouldn’t simultaneously say “awards don’t matter” publicly at an awards ceremony while running a campaign to get her friend an award, or that maybe she could have checked her privilege a bit. I feel like there is more than a little bit of Lydia Tár in Blanchett).

          At least here Riseborough is getting no attention and the tone in the press seems to be that she has been the victim of her well-meaning friends. I didn’t know who she was till this happened. Looking at her credits, the only one I’ve seen was “The Death of Stalin.” I am fairly sure no one I know saw “To Leslie.” The distributor only showed it in six theatres. (As opposed to something like “Triangle,” which almost no one I know saw, but was at shown on 600 screens nation-wide.)


  2. Happy 13th! 😀

    P.s. haven’t seen any of these, haven’t been in a cinema for since the Covid started, if my memory serves me right.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Congratulations on the blogiversary. Lucky number!?
    There were a number of films on your list that I would have liked to see (but I don’t get to go to the cinema often these days). I have shied away from Inisherin and AQOTWF so far. Triangle of Sadness and TAR looked really interesting. The one Oscar-nominated film I have seen, is not on your list (An Cailin Ciuin – The Quiet Girl). Worth seeing (but is only being released in US now, I think).


    • I think “All Quiet” would be OK if they just hadn’t called it that. I’m in the segment of the audience most likely not to like it, though (historians of Germany; fans of the book).

      re: Inisherin — I’ve read some stuff about Irish people not liking the picture of Ireland it shows and I can understand that as a critique. For me, though, the film really “hit” as a commentary on life in a small, isolated town (akin to Local Hero sort of tangentially being about Scotland). That said, the very ending of it does offer a brief but potentially preachy political commentary about Irish history, so I can see how that would grate.

      Both Tár and Sadness would be fine on a small screen. Sadness would potentially be better on a small screen. I had not even heard of “The Quiet Girl” but the films in the “foreign” category (whatever they are calling it now) have gotten even less attention than usual this year in the US.


      • Yep, I read All Quiet as a teenager and was so impressed by the book. That is a hindrance here because I don’t want the good impression of the book ruined by a Netflix show. – As regards Inisherin, I was more concerned with the (one bit of) gore in it that I have heard rumours of. I’ve seen a number of McDonagh films, and he really doesn’t hold back on that meh. Fingers crossed that I get Tar and Sadness on the small screen in the future.
        Pity that The Quiet Girl has not seen much exposure so far. I recommend it wholeheartedly. Some of the plot you can see coming a mile a way, but it is such a quiet, beautiful film, even though filled with sadness, too. Anyway, they didn’t do well at the BAFTAs, so I don’t expect much for the Academy Awards. With the whole Ukraine war as a backdrop, it is pretty clear which foreign film is going to win the race…


        • There’s definitely gore, although it was always possible for me to look away in time to not see it. But it is somewhat of a concern. It’s less violent than “Three Billboards” was — that was really rough.

          I imagine you’re right about the “foreign film” winner. Although it’s hard to map that film on to the war in any coherent way.

          Liked by 1 person

  4. Congratulations!


  5. I’ve only seen Top Gun 2 and All Quiet on the Western Front, though I’ve been very intrigued about The Banshees of Inisherin. the first half of Top Gun 2 was total fan service, taking things that happened in the original movie and just having the same things happen to new characters. things picked up once the ‘mission’ was in progress but overall I think it’s just an action movie for those who like to watch vehicles go fast and do death defying things (which I do). it surprised me greatly that it got nominated.

    as for All Quiet on the Western Front, I went into the movie having no prior knowledge of the story. I knew historical things about the war but not that particular book/movie. I thought the ending was very cliched and I saw it coming well before it actually happened. I watched the movie b/c my 18yr old daughter wanted to see it. she loved 1917 and so wanted to watch another war movie like that. this was not like that one and it really upset her. after she saw the one character get set on fire she wanted to quit the movie but made herself finish it. so on one hand, the horrors of war was definitely brought home to her, but for someone who is used to watching war movies like me, I was again surprised that it got nominated. it really wasn’t anything ‘new’ in my opinion, only that it was told from the opposing side. speaking of that, we watched the dubbed English version and I wish we would’ve just watched the German version with subtitles b/c the strong British accents were not only hard to follow at times but they kept taking me out of the setting, making me confused about where the story was set/which side I was supposed to be viewing it from.


    • Top Gun: what I’ve read suggests that it was nominated because the film kept the movie theatres going this year. I feel like since the superhero films have been dominating the box office, the traditional tension between mass audience films and artier films in the nominations have been heightened. And the last two years there haven’t been nominations of films that all that many people saw.

      (I did not see the first Top Gun movie, incidentally. I may be the only one.)

      All Quiet — I was really frustrated that the script made into a “will he survive until the end of the war” plot. In the book (a good read if your daughter has not read it and wants to read something written close to the end of the war) Paul dies in an almost random way — on a day when no big campaign is going on, the point of the German title, which is more literally translated as “nothing to report on the western front” — and a month or two before the war ends. It has a much more strongly pacifistic vibe than this film had. I do get that after “1917” there were probably German filmmakers who thought they wanted to make the film from the other viewpoint, but I also feel like the whole “Germany was responsible for starting WWI” idea has receded into the past. Historians don’t think that any more, and if my recent students are any indication, students don’t really think it anymore because they don’t remember anything about the war, anyway. There are a bunch of frustrating errors and implications on the historical level relating to weaponry and peace negotiations (not least, that Erzberger was not a Social Democrat — he was actually a conservative) and the whole “crazy general” thing seemed to me more like “Apocalypse Now” than WWI. In spring of 1918 it looked like the Germans were finally going to roll back the Entente; the turning point that ended the war (more so than tanks) was the arrival of the American troops; and the German generals, while they didn’t like the terms of the peace, wanted the war to be over, particularly after Kaiser Wilhelm abdicated, and the most famous German general of all, Paul von Hindenburg, urged Erzberger to sign the Armistice. Erzberger’s son died of the flu, so the implication that he had sacrificed his son to the trenches was just wrong (even if the intensity of that pandemic was probably related indirectly to the war).

      I didn’t love 1917 (also lots of cliches, just different ones). If your daughter still has any stomach for WWI movies, I would suggest she look at the recent Peter Jackson documentary. It’s not as hard to take visually and it relies heavily on restored contemporary footage.

      As far as the language goes: I watched in German with subtitles in a cinema and it was so loud that half the time it was impossible to understand what they were screaming, anyway.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Happy 13th Blog Anniversary! As for going to see any movies not since the last Hobbit movie, I hate to go by myself. Not sure on the Top Gun movie, friends have said it is good. I saw the first when it came out on VHS, my husbands family rented it. As for All Quiet on the Western Front, is this a remake, I want to say we have seen an old movie but maybe not. Maybe we rented it from Amazon when staying at our middle sons house. We will rent but has to be something the guys want to watch( only seem to rent at his house). Even if it is my Amazon account they win, lucky I will watch a war movie. A big hit has been foreign movies with just subtitles, my husband has over the years learned some German with the boys learning a bit as well as the youngest teaching himself Polish. The middle son has been to Japan to teach English and picked up Japanese.


    • WOW. That’s like — seven years?

      All Quiet — yes, there was a classic black and white film that won Best Picture in the 1930s.

      Lots of great Polish film to watch if you ever want to move in that direction!


      • There was actually also a TV film of All Quiet from 1982. it featured John Boy from the Waltons as the protagonist.


      • Yes a long time, but that’s ok. I really don’t which movie it was or who knows maybe both. I let the boys pick something out or son 2 will find something good and wait till we come to his house. I don’t know if you saw The Witcher but son 2 would have to wait to read the books until they came out in English. We have been watching lots of different ones and I think at least a couple in Polish.


  7. Congratulations on 13 years!
    I confess I haven’t seen any of the above movies, I watched the first Avatar movie on DVD and it sent me to sleep. A film has to exert a huge pull to get me back to the cinema these days, not that I went more than once or twice a year anyway, but I enjoy just watching from the comfort of my couch! Of the ones I’ve seen on streaming channels one that stood out for me was Where the Crawdads Sing.


    • That did really well here in the box office. I didn’t see it. It might have been a non-starter for political reasons, though (the author of the book is apparently a person of interest in a murder investigation or something)


  8. Congrats on the blog anniversary!


  9. P.S. They changed the ending?!


    • IKR? It’s the ending that really points out how horrible war is, and they gave this film a very conventional ending. It’s kind of why I said, it might have been an OK film if they just hadn’t called it an adaptation of the book, because the ending of the book is kind of the whole point.

      Liked by 1 person

      • there was a point in the movie where they’re just walking across a field, thinking they’re home free b/c the war is ending , and you as the viewer could just feel that something was going to happen. that feeling is something I’ve always thought about in relation to survivors- you’ve made it, you get to go home, but then one day/one week/one month later you’re out walking your dog and get hit by a car, or some other random tragedy. I think that fear would be with me for a long time afterwards.


        • This is one of the changes — in the book, Paul dies in October of 1918. Remarque doesn’t set it up as a race to see whether Paul can outlast the war (because in a way, after all these horrible experiences, the person Paul was before the war is already dead). But this film version does make that more suspenseful.


      • Knowing that, I’m not sure I’m going to watch it. Will think about it.


  10. Happy Blog Anniversary !

    10 – Avatar 2 : much the same story as the first but much too long. Beautiful but a bit boring;

    9 – Top Gun 2 – not a fan of the first so… won’t see it.

    8 – Women Talking : not yet on screen in France (next week)

    -All Quiet on the Western Front : haven’t seen it

    6 – The Fabelmans : too recent (in theaters last week)

    5 – Elvis : a nice one and, yes, evrything is about the lead character.

    4 – Tár : didn’t see it (maybe..)

    3 – Triangle of Sadness — Sans filtre : well, no, won’t see it. We heard a lot about it here.

    2 – Everything Everywhere All At Once : haven’t heard of it (but we can see it …).

    1 – The Banshees of Inisherin : my choice. Good movie, loved it.


    • given your willingness to read sci fi, you might like Everything Everywhere.

      I agree with you, though, about your choice of winner. By a nose.


  11. Happy 13th blogiversary, Servetus!! I know blogging is much less frequent for you but I hope you still continue to stick around, even if only intermittently.

    I watched Everything Everywhere All At Once yesterday and was very impressed. I need to watch it again. Banshees is next on my must-see list before the Oscars air in a little over a week…
    Avatar 2 was really beautiful to watch on IMAX 3D. Story is not too special but the visuals are wow.
    Haven’t seen Top Gun 2 either. I’ve never been a fan of the first so don’t feel an urge to see the second.
    And Fabelmans – you’re confirming my suspicion that it’s OK but not too special and I may do the Elvis movie sometime if the mood strikes. All the accolades for Austin Butler have made me somewhat more curious about it than I initially was.
    Only one I don’t know on this list is Triangle of Sadness.


    • Thanks. I do keep vowing to stay around!

      Butler was excellent as Elvis (although I don’t see impersonation as the goal of acting — even if there are a lot more biopics now, or so it seems).

      Triangle of Sadness — see if it you liked “Parasite.”


  12. Happy 13th!! 👍👏😁

    as for “all quiet on the western front” – the book gave me nightmares for at least 3 months when I read it as a child/teenager especially because of the “pointlessness” of it all. certain scenes/ descriptions are so ingrained in my brain that even now, about 20 years later, I just have to see the title to be reminded / revisit it in my mind. it’s giving me the shivers right now.
    that’s why I always shied away from the various movies and remakes because if it’s depicted as real and horrible as in the book, I really don’t want to add those scenes to the ones I already imagined and if it is sort of “not as bad” it would just feel disrespectful 🤷‍♂️


    • Thank you!

      I totally respect that (and that feeling that there’s no way an adaptation can measure up to the original is a factor in my abstinence from a number of things that have been highly praised in the past few years).

      I’d also add that there’s something about WWI films — this whole generation that rushed to the front and then died in a combination of artillery, mud, and germs — that makes the anti-war elements of this story even more important. WWI was really the last possible moment at which society in general could view war as somehow ennobling. It was all over after that. In many ways this film makes WWI look a lot like WWII, i.e., totally predictable mass destruction that everyone participated was expecting.


  13. Avatar 2 was very good, could watch it even with my 7 years old son and my dauhter and my husband we all liked it, top gun 2 is apparently very good too (didn’t see it actually but much heard of it), vintage, voluntarily cacicaturous and nowadays it’s daring Id’ say, lol, and I didn’t see any of the others. Have a nice day. Take care


  14. Happy belated blogiversary and hopefully many happy returns!

    I only saw one of the movies on your list (Top Gun 2, but never got around to write about it – weird) and don’t get much pull from the rest to watch atm.
    Nina Hoss might be a reason to watch Tar at some point and I also might watch ‘Banshees…’, ‘Women talking’ (great cast on paper) and ‘All quiet…’ via stream or DVD when it’s possible


    • Thank you!

      Nina Hoss: agree. She should have been nominated in the “best supporting” category but I think Cate Blanchett sucked all the air out of the room for that movie.

      Women Talking: definitely a great cast, although imo Claire Foy was chewing the scenery. There’s also something incongruous about getting really famous actors given the subject matter.

      All Quiet: as a German you are required to have an opinion.


  15. Happy belated blogoversary! I do love movies. My list would be:

    10 – Top Gun 2 – didn’t see it and I don’t think I can make myself see it.Avatar 2 (didn’t see)

    9 – The Fabelmans – didn’t see it as I thought it looked boring. My son saw it and confirmed that it was boring.

    8 – Avatar 2 – yes, it was beautiful, but the dialogue and the story were very predictable, clichéd, etc.

    -All Quiet on the Western Front – will see it at some point. My son saw it at a film festival. Sometimes the audience makes the film. At that one, he said that it had a powerful impact and everyone sat in silence for several minutes at the end, absorbing it. (I did see the Peter Jackson documentary which I thought was very well done with all the real footage.)

    6 – Triangle of Sadness – I think I will watch it tonight. My son enjoyed it.

    5 – Women Talking – it was boring and lacked dramatic tension. It’s too bad. I was really looking forward to what Sarah Polley would do. I just listened to her autobiography, which was a good telling of a tragic story of a child actor.

    4 – Elvis – I thought the use of modern music/rap during the movie was really interesting. Austin Butler was great, and I actually didn’t think it was as much of an impersonation as many biopics are nowadays — he was like him, but wasn’t being him. I really, really, really hate Tom Hanks lately and his caricature of the Colonel was ridiculous.

    3 –The Banshees of Inisherin – I’m really into the Irish movies lately. I liked The Wonder, too.

    2 – Tár – Enjoyed this a lot and the opportunity it opened up for thinking more about it and discussing it.

    1 – Everything Everywhere All At Once – Loved it. It had everything – story, action, humour, acting.

    I also saw The Whale. Brendan Fraser’s performance was excellent. I hope he wins, but I suspect it will be Austin Butler.


    • All Quiet: I do think that the whole combination of score and cinematography is very impactful.

      Elvis: I do think Butler benefits from the fact that we all seem to watch Elvis impersonators now — our idea of “what Elvis is” is a lot bigger than it was. One of my colleagues in this job does it (he calls himself an “Elvis Tribute Artist”) and it’s interesting to go to a performance. Not just his performance, but also the way the audience reacts. Honestly I never thought I would find myself singing along at the top of my lungs to Elvis songs (and I am amazed at how many of them I know the words to).

      I still need to see The Wonder. It’s on Netflix, which I have not even loaded on my TV in about a month. I recently canceled Hulu because I just don’t ever thing to turn it on even though there is plenty of stuff there I am interested in. Hanging on to Netflix for Armitage, I guess.

      And Fraser did win! I was very pleased with the results of this year’s voting.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Lol I contradicted myself in there as I initially copied your list. I did in fact see Avatar2 and found it boring.


  17. The only one I’ve seen is Tar and liked it very much.


  18. I watched Triangle of Sadness last night. It was not really what I expected based on the trailer. I liked the concept and I liked the beginning and the end pieces. Not as sure about the parts that took place on the cruise, although I thought Zlatko Burik was great. As well as Dolly De Leon and Harris Dickinson.


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