Media Diet: February and April 2021

I planned to write one of these each month for my own personal whatever and then life happened and I got through January’s before it came to a screeching halt. Letterboxd tells me I’ve watched two movies this year, both within the last week. But seeing as how the Oscars were last night, might as well write up something as I did manage to see some of the movies nominated.

Nomadland

As a movie by itself, it was really good. Frances McDormand as Fern was a worthy Best Actress win and Chloé Zhao was a well-deserved best director win. But when you compare Nomadland the film to Nomadland the book, it’s a pretty weak movie. The movie too often plays up Fern’s restlessness as the reason for what’s happening, rather than the economic issues that grew out of the Great Recession. Yes the mine in town closes and Fern is forced to stow everything in a storage locker, but by the end of the movie she’s a woman of the road, unable to stay in one place beyond a few months. All of the heavier exploration of the economic inequality over the last decade is really sanded off throughout the movie. Better than giving Aaron Sorkin a win but Minari by all counts was the stronger movie (disclosure: I haven’t see Minari)

Another Round

I made a list at one point of Oscar nominees and what streaming service they were on because this was probably the best year ever to really have an opinion on the nominees. And yet I watched two nominees by the time the ceremony started. Turns out they both won. I enjoyed Another Round quite a bit, both because of the story and characters and because it was a nice look into Danish homes. I honestly spent as much time looking at the house interiors in the film than anything else. The only real downside was Vinterberg’s speech last night was obnoxiously long.

Seaspiracy

Nothing in this is particularly new or unexpected, but it achieves its goal in being a well-packaged look at the issues of fishing in the 21th century. I did appreciate the fact that it focused a lot of the future actions on governments needing to step in and regulate more. Too often these kind of documentaries trail off with “eat less fish,” “do less this or that,” or similar personal shaming. Everyone isn’t going to start eating plant-based shrimp and while some people making personal changes can have an impact, it’s not going to solve the fundamental issues of overfishing.

Q: Into the Storm

Admittedly I still have two episodes left of this mini-series documentary, but so far…it’s ok? It’s a decent overview of the QAnon movement and it presents an interesting evolution of 8chan/8kun’s major people. Yet it’s also something that could’ve been easily edited into a much tighter 2 hour documentary. There’s a lot of points in the last few episodes that just seem like the director wanted to use some of HBO’s money to jet around the world. At one point he visits the monastery in Italy where Steve Bannon was going to establish an “academy” only to quickly note Bannon isn’t there and really hasn’t ever been there. On the one hand you really get to feel what it’s like at times as the director goes down the wormhole of untangling Q, but too often it’s easy to zone out. The interviews with QAnon believers are probably the most revealing part of the documentary and worth the time to see what it looks like.

That’s it for now.

updatedupdated2021-07-272021-07-27