Discover more from Y’all Weekly
Matt at the Movies: Glitz, Glamour, and a Guide to 2023
Matt takes part in Charlotte's newest Oscar tradition and looks forward to an exciting year in cinema
Independent Picture House Shines on Oscar Night
As Dana Gillis, guest writer from last week’s Oscar Exchange, and I pulled up to the Independent Picture House for Oscar night, we were greeted with a glass of champagne and a red carpet leading us into the main lobby. The Charlotte Film Society really outdid itself this time.
As a fundraiser we couldn’t have asked for a better time. Plenty of food & beverages to go with a photographer, jazz quartet, and everyone dressed to the nines. I myself went full Hollywood camp on apparel and the night kicked off with a great energy.
Brad Ritter, the president of the Charlotte Film Society, has assembled a wonderful team to pull off events like these. The planning committee for tonight included Whitley Adams, Dana Al-Husseini, Kendra Dodds, Marcie Kelso, Nesha Pai, Pam Stowe, De’ja Taylor, and Ivana Woodcock that created an atmosphere that really connected to Hollywood awards spirit.
Whether it is a local artist opening an independent film, conducting film education with local film experts, or running movies themes like the upcoming grindhouse or international noir series, the IPH is an amazing venue to visit or donate to. They are a registered non-profit and a true gem for the city of Charlotte.
Along with the glam and glitz were the nominated live action shorts, animated short films, and the red carpet live stream to view. You could pick and choose your theater and do some last minute catch up on these amazing and mostly international titles vying for an Oscar. The film society's board chair Tom Eiselt gave a great introduction, and they even premiered a new pre-movie commercial for the IPH that was fabulous.
Just like that it was time for Jimmy Kimmel’s monologue and the statues.
And the Oscar goes to …
I thought Kimmel did a great job with his monologue and keeping things pretty breezy for the night. Hollywood seemed to want a “normal” and straightforward production which is exactly what they received. No drama, some decent speeches, and Everything Everywhere All at Once (EEAAO) cleaning up most of the main categories.
I wasn’t sure why studios were renting out live space for televised commercials like The Little Mermaid or Warner Bros. creating a montage to celebrate their 100 years in the industry (though I do love a montage), but there was very little surprise beyond that. The best song nominees can be a drag that overextends the ceremony, but this year they were interesting. Specifically seeing “Nattu Nattu” from RRR being performed was a breath of fresh air. Now onto the picks!
My muse Dana Gillis took the crown back from me after three years and absolutely crushed me on her picks. In recent years, the Academy has avoided major sweeps of acting, writing, technical, and other below-the-line categories. This year Everything Everywhere All at Once and All Quiet on the Western Front dominated the completion.
EEAAO won every acting category it was nominated for along with original screenplay, editing, direction, and best picture. I really enjoyed EEAAO and it was in the back half of my top ten for the year, but to have The Banshees of Inisherin and Tár leave the night empty handed seemed quite off. I was especially disappointed that the other big winner of the night, All Quiet on the Western Front, won best score over Babylon’s all-time soundtrack from Justin Hurwitz.
Movie pundits have pointed out that the awards handed out from industry guilds in the months leading up to the Oscars have left us with no surprises on Hollywood’s big night. I tend to agree, but even so it was a great night out with great company, excellent speeches, and optimism for the future of the Oscars as ratings were up 13% from last year. Cheers!
A night with the Davidson Film Club
Besides the Oscars celebration, I was recently invited by Dr. Alan Singerman, Richardson Professor Emeritus of French at Davidson College, to lead a discussion about the Norwegian film The Worst Person in the World (2021). Professor Singerman is president of the Davidson Film Club, which began in 2013. The group is hosted by the Davidson Community Players at the local Armour Street Theater, which can accommodate over eighty people. The club is primarily focused on exploring topics and themes by foreign auteurs.
Singerman, who I’ve had wonderful conversations with over the years, has authored and co-authored textbooks for both contemporary and classical French cinema. He brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to this group that invites experts from each month's theme to come talk with the group about the film. It just so happens I write about movies and am an expert at being a Millennial!
This past Saturday featured a completely packed house as we watched the Best International Feature Film nominee from director Joachim Trier. Everyone settled in and had a wonderful time digesting this excellent example of the Millennial experience. The dramedy had a lot of laughs, existential crises, and heartache in its two-hour-plus runtime. It was my number one movie of 2021 and it’s available to stream on Hulu if you are so inclined.
When the viewing concluded, those who stayed had a very active discussion on many of the film’s overarching ideas. We discussed the director's choice in his narrative device using time as its own character. They critiqued individual scenes and how it molded the main character Julie’s decisions throughout the story. I gave many examples of how this was an excellent portrayal of millennial life that my generation is living out currently. Thanks again to Dr. Singerman and The Davidson Film Club for inviting me to participate. For more info on the club, membership, and viewings click here.
Exciting 2023 Releases
Since the Oscars are over, it’s time to look ahead to new releases coming out in the coming months that get me the most excited. The following are from stars or directors who I love.
I cannot wait to gain more insight on the indie scene as films gain steam from the international festivals. For now, here are the top ten films moving the needle with Matt at the Movies in 2023.
Oppenheimer (July 23). Technical wizard Christopher Nolan is back in a star-studded period piece on Robert J. Oppenheimer’s journey to create the atomic bomb. Nolan is a personal favorite and the news of his practical effects in creating a realistic nuclear explosion will be a sight to see on the big screen.
Dune: Part Two (Nov 3). Canadian director Denis Villeneuve is the current master of Sci-Fi moviemaking. The film will finish the second half of Paul’s journey to become the “chosen one” of the Fremen people on planet Arrakis.
Killers of the Flower Moon (Oct 20). Martin Scorsese is back with the historical telling of the murders of the Osage tribe in Oklahoma during the 1920’s. Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro, and Jesse Plemons, this should hit big at next year’s Oscars.
The Killer (Nov 10). Michael Fassbender and Tilda Swinton in David Finchner’s Netflix release of an assassin who begins to develop a conscience after years of moral decay. Shot beautifully as all his films are a masterclass in cinematography, this noir tale will be both cold and brutal.
Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning Part One (July 14). Tom Cruise saved Hollywood (according to Steven Spielberg) with his massive hit Top Gun: Maverick. He’s back in the seventh installment of the series as Ethan Hunt. Moving from spy storytelling in its beginnings to straight action blockbusters, this film with have amazing stunts, set pieces, and adrenaline
Asteroid City (June 23). Wes Anderson is the king of set pieces, twee, and creating a vibe that you would love to visit one day. Back are many of his favorite actors from throughout the past twenty five years to explore the itinerary of a Junior Stargazing convention in 1955. His last film The French Dispatch was a miss in theaters coming back from Covid, but was a wonderful series of absurd vignettes. Excited to see what he has in store next.
Air (April 5th). Ben Affleck portrays CEO Phil Knight and directs in the film about the Nike corporation staking their future on an unproven young NBA rookie named Michael Jeffery Jordan. Matt Damon plays marketing exec Sonny Vaccaro who is in charge of making the deal happen. This is Amazon Studios first theatrical only release since 2019’s Late Night. Affleck & Damon… sounds like a fun time to me.
Beau is Afraid (April 21). Horror master Ari Aster (Hereditary, Midsommar) is back with a surreal story of a middle aged man trying to get back to his mother. Starring Joaquin Phoenix, this film's trailer is an absolute head trip journey that will leave you mentally exhausted as all of Aster’s films are wanton to do.
Barbie (July 21). Three time Oscar nominee Greta Gerwig is back to direct Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling as the classic dolls come to life. Co-written by her partner Noah Baumbach, this story will detail Barbie exile from “Barbieland” into the real world with plenty of social satire to be had by all. This has me more curious than excited but if you’ve followed my #Babylonhive thread I’m all in on Robbie!
Leave the World Behind (December 10). This thriller is based on the novel with the same name and stars Oscar winners Julia Roberts and Mahershala Ali along with Ethan Hawke. Set at an Airbnb it focuses on the property owners as they try to cope with a mysterious widespread blackout. Should be in good hands with Sam Esmail (Mr. Robot) at the helm.
Like Podcasts? Love Movies? Here’s Your Fix
Be forewarned, cinephiles: there are literally thousands of film podcasts out there, and this just scratches the surface. Here are my top five podcasts with a short description if you’ve been looking for something new to occupy time as you take your dog for a walk or wash another round of dishes.
*All pods can be found on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and any other podcasting sites.
The Big Picture. Hosts Sean and Amanda talk semiweekly about news in Hollywood, new releases, upcoming films, and interview directors. Their top ten lists and movie auction drafts are a load of fun. They have amazing chemistry.
Unspooled. Comedian Paul Scheer and New York Times film critic Amy Nicholson work through the AFI’s top 100 movies one at a time. They go in depth on each episode to give background and analysis to the top films of all time.
Blank Check. Griffin & David review directors' complete filmographies episode to episode. Specifically, the auteurs whose early successes afforded them the rare ‘blank check’ from Hollywood to produce passion projects. It is quite detailed and hilarious.
The Rewatchables. Bill Simmons is a bestselling writer and sports columnist who owns The Ringer culture website. With a bevy of co hosts, they categorically dissect popular films that had long afterlives on TV. It is lighthearted, funny, and a layman’s view on some of Hollywood’s biggest films.
How Did This Get Made? Comedic actors June Diane Raphael, Jason Mantzoukas, and Paul Scheer dissect the worst critically reviewed movies of all time. It’s a pure comedic podcast that breaks down the insanity of some of Hollywood’s most terrible films.
Matt at the Movies: Year Two
Over the coming months, I’m going to work on a mix of interesting independent pictures, easily-missed lesser known films, and what to view on streaming services. The Oscars may be over but Hollywood never sleeps. See you next time at Matt at the Movies!
Y’all Weekly is a reader-supported publication. Consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.