Every year we watch the Oscars and last week was no different. Mainly we watch to find out the good movies we need to check out. Nobody could keep up with all of them and sometimes the best movies are the sleepers. Also, I’m a bit cheap and can’t see parting with that kind of money unless it is something with a lot of hype. I can do without the political commentary and fortunately, there was not much other than Brad Pitt and his 5-second swipe, even if he may have been correct. It is not the place.
In any event over the last week, we were able to see three of the shows, all on pay per view or Netflix. I like it that Netflix is developing shows that are now in contention for an Oscar and win. A few years back I watched Mudbound on Netflix just because it looked good and I heard nothing about it, then later I saw it was nominated for a few Oscars. This year two of the shows I recently watched won.
First, the show that had a lot of news, the Joker. Joaquin Phoenix won for best actor but I found the movie a bit boring. It was nothing like I expected. I thought it would be more in line with how the joker came about and interacted with batman. It was more about the Jokers psychology and his story with a little tie into Batman. I’m not into comics so maybe that is why I did not get it or like it much. I was thinking more of an action movie, not a psychological movie.
Now for the first of the two movies, I did like, both from Netflix. The first was “Marriage Story”. It started a bit slow but I stuck with it and it was quite good. It was a story of two people going through a divorce and navigating through that period of their life while keeping their careers going, adjusting to a new way of life and not disrupting the life of their child as much as possible. Several big names in this film and Laura Dern took home an Oscar.
The other was “American Factory”. This was a documentary and it was very good. It features what happens to the lives of people in the Midwest, Ohio that had been out of work for 4 years when a GM plant closed at the start of the financial crisis. A glass company from China decided to invest in America, modernize the old GM plant and put people back to work. What it showed is the culture clash between how foreign companies operate and how Chinese workers function. The safety laws were sometimes problematic for the Chinese company because safety in the workplace is not a high priority in China and the Chinese employees work whatever hours they are told, clearly a dynamic that did not sit well with the American workers. It tells a great story that has both a somewhat positive outcome, people back to work but also a bit of a negative, a far lower salary and the workforce still struggling with automation and the expense of individual workers.
I’m guessing the Joker had a far bigger budget but it was just not for me. It was good to see other shows getting this type of recognition without having to go to the big screen. Maybe this is the trend. I know a few years back Steven Spielberg spoke out against these streaming services getting Oscars but I like it and hope it continues. The shows are great and I’m a bit lazy. I like to sit in my house and watch a good movie. I can pause it, the bathroom is 15 feet away in one direction and the snacks 10 feet away in the other. What’s not to like about that?