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Oscars Winners That Actually Deserved To Win (Anyway, That’s All I Got)

oscars winners

It’s been a week or two since the Oscars, so we decided to recap some of the winners from this year. Oddly, we all felt relatively satisfied with how things turned out in 2018 (minus one or two categories, but hey, we get into that). Afterward, we go back in time to talk about some films from the past that have won big awards, specifically winners we actually agree with for once.

We’d love to know what some of your favorite Oscar Winners are, and what you thought about this year’s ceremony, plus any topics and ideas you’d like us to discuss in the future!

Go on…Oscars Winners That Actually Deserved To Win (Anyway, That’s All I Got)

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Part-Time Characters: Movies We Missed From 2016

2016 movies revisited

The Post Hurricane Episode

How many 2016 movies did you mean to watch but never got around to it? In this week’s episode, we discuss movies from last year we only recently saw for the first time. We also talk about movies we rewatched and if our opinions changed at all.

We start all the way back in January 2016 with movies like The Revenant and Kung Fu Panda and finish with the end of year Oscar Nominees like Hidden Figures, Moonlight and La La Land.

Go on…Part-Time Characters: Movies We Missed From 2016

What’s New on Netflix? – Now Conspiring

Netflix

This week on Now Conspiring, the gang reviews Netflix shows that we’ve been watching and we throw in some quick reviews for La La Land and Hell or High Water. We also decided to change things up even more this week and replace “Show & Tell” with a little “Would You Rather?”

Question of the Week: What voice should Sam do for an entire episode? What would you rather us ask when we play “Would You Rather?” What Netflix show will you be watching soon?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments and we will read them on next week’s show! Also, don’t forget to follow us on Facebook so you can send us direct messages and get podcast updates. Be sure to subscribe on iTunes and/or Stitcher, where you can also rate/review the podcast if you like it!

You can also download this podcast episode on iTunes and Stitcher.

This Week’s Cast: Maria Garcia, Bridget Serdock, and Sam Noland

02:32 – Games: Would You Rather? [Movie Edition]

22:07 –  Main Segment: New Netflix Original Shows

51:09 –  Movie Reviews [La La Land, Hell or High Water]

59:50 –  Commenting on your Comments

62:21 –  Movie Releases [Get Out, Rock Dog, Collide]

What If ‘La La Land’ Were A Pixar Movie? – The Pixar Detectives

 

This week, The Pixar Detectives (Jon Negroni and Kayla Savage) went live from Lake Tahoe (live audience for the win!) to illustrate La La Land as a Pixar movie, taking your suggestions along the way for other Oscar movies deserving of the Pixar treatment.

Kayla walked us through tons of illustration tips, the devices we used, the app you’re seeing in the video, and more. And as always, we read your comments live and did a short Disney song challenge at the end of the show to close everything out.

Oh, and we gave away a Pizza Planet T-Shirt! If you want to enter our weekly giveaways, be sure to tune in live every Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. (Pacific). Follow the link below or just click the video above. We give away Pixar-related goodies like shirts, books, blu-rays, and tons more. And we’re always open to new suggestions for prizes you all might be interested in!

Hope you enjoy the show, and don’t forget to like Super News on Facebook, so you can check out all kinds of awesome shows and giveaways coming out daily. That includes vide game live streams, other Disney talk shows, superhero news, and plenty more. See you all next week!


Thanks for reading this. Seriously. You can subscribe to my posts by clicking “Follow” in the right sidebar. 

Or just say hello on Twitter: @JonNegroni


2017 Oscar Predictions – Now Conspiring

oscars

With the New Year comes new changes to our podcast. Jon Negroni is starting a new podcast called Cinemaholics, leaving Maria as the new host of Now Conspiring. Not to worry! We are all still here, talking about our silly lives and all the things we love about movies. This week, Adonis tells everyone about the new play he is in and the gang discusses the main Oscar Nominations and who they think will take the golden statue home.

Question of the Week: What is your Oscar pick for Best Picture?

Go on…2017 Oscar Predictions – Now Conspiring

‘La La Land’ Is Not Overrated Because You Hate It

la la land

La La Land, starring Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling and directed by Whiplash director Damien Chazelle, is a clear frontrunner for Best Picture at the Oscars this year, and it will likely win. Weirdly enough, a lot of people across the filmgoing spectrum aren’t very happy about that.

The set up for the movie is deceptively simple: two dreamers living in present-day LA fall in love as they both struggle to accomplish their audacious creative goals. If that sounds a lot like Singin’ in the Rain, then you’re on the same page as the director. But as you watch the actual film, you’ll probably notice more material riffed from The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964) than anything else.

It’s a contemporary musical, essentially, with original music and some bold homage cinematography, especially toward the film’s vigorous “What if?” epilogue. And though many critics and audiences have gone head over heels for the film, myself included to an extent, there’s been a decisive backlash against the merits of La La Land and whether or not it deserves all the praise it gets.

Yes, people are calling it overrated, and these complaints will absolutely be exacerbated if the film continues to clean up this awards season, already cinching several key Golden Globes this past week.

Overrating is Overrated

la la land

Now, I’ve always been quite open about my stance on calling films “overrated,” in that I think it’s an empty criticism. For the most part, I’m reacting to the fact that I didn’t resonate with a movie that was demonstrably more effective for a wide group of people at a very specific time. That may not “last,” and the film may fade away despite its momentary fame (see films like Crash and Avatar). But that doesn’t invalidate the positive moviegoing experience genuinely had by many…even if some watchers cling to a popular opinion instead of what they they really think, which doesn’t mean a film is overrated. It’s just been overhyped. Propped up on what it represents rather than what it does.

You can make an argument, then, that La La Land is overhyped, but I would also disagree with that, as well. Though the film can be as negatively deconstructed as any other creative property, it’s still incredibly well-realized and well-made. Even if you disagree with some of its core messages and what the script intentionally tried to communicate.

From here on out, this post contains SPOILERS for La La Land

The Subtlety of Homage

la la land

Some of the criticisms of La La Land are definitely valid and meaningful observations. The idea that it might lift a bit too much material from movies like Umbrellas and Singin’ is a worthwhile concern, especially in how the final moments of the film are directly inspired by the former. Simply put, a film’s use of homage has to be backed up by originality and imagination in many other areas, which is where I think La La Land expertly makes up the difference.

See, the music of La La Land, while good, is not intended to be the film’s main hook. Sure, it’s catchy, but as you’ll notice, it’s not amazing. The singing and dancing portions aren’t perfect, and that’s sort of the point. Chazelle set out to present a fantasy movie with dreamy cinematography, noted by the very first scene/musical number, which is a literal dream sequence to kick things off. But a “dreamy” fantastical movie wouldn’t have worked without grounded, motivated characters.

The world of La La Land would have been a pretentious bore (much in the same way it’s wrongfully criticized) if the main leads were allowed flawless performances. The point isn’t to entertain with flashy perfection, but rather with likable showstoppers who suck us in to a believable world, a musical trick that’s a lot harder to pull off if you’re at all familiar with the legacy of Broadway.  La La Land presents a creative solution that might come off as sloppy work otherwise if you’re not already aware of the real talent from Stone and Gosling.

One example is when the two leads sing the reprise of “City of Stars,” and part of the way through, Mia messes up and laughs it off in the song. This one moment goes pretty far to encompass what La La Land is really prioritizing, and it’s not perfection.

Beginning and Ending

la la land

There’s also something to be said about how the film opens and how it ends: with a “Cinemascope” throwback and then a clear lift from Umbrellas, a timeless classic in the same celebratory vein. But this type of homage works because it fits the context of the movie, with aspiring talents who also compare themselves against the past. It makes perfect sense for someone like Sebastian (a movie buff established through his James Dean fixation) to fantasize his career, romance, and the struggle between the two within the backdrop of a familiar dream sequence.

When I first watched La La Land, I admit I was a bit cold from how the film transported Mia and Sebastian to their lives “five years later.” I found it quite convenient that both characters got exactly what they wanted, though the film presents it as a “Yeah, but at what cost?” By the end, both characters have given up their passionate, seasonal romance for their careers, and they seem bittersweet about it. But at first glance, it can be hard to reckon a message that suggests that giving up your love for others is what will lead to the exact success you want. It’s not very realistic, even for such a dreamy movie.

Thinking on this more, I’ve come to accept that La La Land traded its relatable character work in order to hammer the final message home more effectively, in that we would have missed Chazelle’s point if both or even one of the characters fell short of their goals. And the film’s more subtle explanation is that their amazing romance and support of each other is what pushed them through the impossible obstacles that kept them focused on getting what they each want.

Mia confronts Sebastian, for example, when he’s selling out his real dreams for momentary fame. If she hadn’t have done this, then perhaps the ending would have been more “believable” for us. Likewise, if Sebastian hadn’t traveled all the way to Nevada and demonstrated his love in the simple act of remembering even the obscure details of a girlfriend, Mia’s ending would have been the typical “I tried LA and failed” story.

Perhaps the movie makes you work a bit harder to accept all of that, but it hardly detracts from the film as a whole. If anything, it supports the case for La La Land being one of the more rewatch-able films of the year, despite the fact that it’s not even in my top 5, strangely enough. It’s still a movie I applaud, though, and will fondly revisit for years to come.

One last thing…

la la land

One frequent criticism of this movie that I do take umbrage with is the attempt to trivialize this story through a racial lens. That the movie is stuffed with “white entitlement” and “out of touch” elitism from Hollywood, which is supposedly why the movie is being so widely accepted by people in the industry.

My simple response to that is stop. I’m not white and I don’t live in LA, but I do have basic empathy. I can watch a movie with two leads who have harmless (and well-written) motivations that are shared by living breathing people in that very town, and I don’t have to cut down the purpose of this movie because it’s not something I directly relate with. For the same reason I can connect with Chiron in Moonlight through flawless filmmaking and writing, I can follow and hope for the best with Mia and Sebastian.

Is it so bad that Mia wants to become an actress? Should we stop making movies about people dreaming big and suffering to get it because of the connotations of appearance and privilege? Is it so bad that Sebastian wants to preserve music that’s quickly being forgotten, even if it’s not tied to him ethnically? The idea that he’s purported to be a white savior type suggests that his agenda is to “save jazz,” which is a projection of the critic, not something founded in the movie. Sebastian instead wants to celebrate a legacy in his own way, surrounded by others who do it justice and celebrate with him.

It’s just a shame that with a movie as technically impressive and crowd-pleasing as La La Land, we have to assign it so much baggage from other, lesser properties that actually commit these flaws, simply because we recognize a morsel of it and smell blood.

Wrapping Up

Despite my defense of La La Land, it isn’t among my favorite movies of 2016, though it lands in the top 10. It works the whole way through and has some tremendous moments, and I do want to shine a light on the great ideas here, rather than shout it down for its popularity. For many fans of musicals and movies in general, La La Land really is a must-see film.

Grade: A


Thanks for reading this. Seriously. You can subscribe to my posts by clicking “Follow” in the right sidebar. 

Or just say hello on Twitter: @JonNegroni


Ep111: What We’re Watching In December

december

We’ve watched a lot of movies this year, but as we wind down in December, what are the movies we plan to check out in theaters and at home? Featuring special guest and the film critic’s film critic, Will Ashton.

This week, we talked a lot about early reactions to Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and did our standard Show & Tell segment toward the end of the show for a change.

You can also download this podcast episode on iTunes and Stitcher.

QUESTION OF THE WEEK: What was your favorite superhero movie of 2016, if any? Also, what movie from 2016 do you want to see the most that you missed in theaters?

Go on…Ep111: What We’re Watching In December

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