Savant Column

Tuesday December 19, 2017


We’re sort-of getting into Christmas, and I’m mostly starting my overeating of Xmas sweets much too soon. But plenty is happening on the video side of things as well. The Oscar-hopeful pictures are shaping up as a nice batch. Besides my rave reviews for The Shape of Water and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, I liked I, Tonya quite a bit, especially Allison Janney as the worst woman ever born — the movie could have been titled, ‘I, Deplorable.’ Mudbound and Get Out are award caliber pictures too. Gary Oldman’s Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour is a terrific characterization but the film is just terrible. Oldman and Brian Cox’s Churchill movies this year both use the exact same awful construction, of having a demoralized Winston bounce back to write a great speech after being inspired by ‘the common folk’ — his secretary in one film, and a phony cross-section of Londoners in the Underground in the other. I still haven’t seen Lady Bird and a couple other highly recommended pictures.

Fun links! TCM’s Obituary Montage for 2017 is one of their best — less art, more beloved performers that passed on, including a lot of European greats. With Robert Osborne getting the final nod, there’s now elbowing stars to see who gets top billing, leaving everybody else, in Billy Wilder’s true observation, relegated to ‘additional dying by’ status.

Ace correspondent Edward Sullivan favors us with some fun Vimeo gag videos, called the Fabrice Mathieu Mashups. Ed recommends that we start with Darth by Darthwest or Master of Suspense to get the flavor of the rest…

Joe Dante steers us to a great YouTube piece from RocketJump called How Star Wars Was Saved in the Edit. The analyst has great ideas about how to organize scene content in the right order to introduce elements in the right order, maintain audience interest, etc. Very cool — and more fun than getting one’s blood up to be enthusiastic about the new movie. Thanks, Steve Wilkinson, for straightening out the link for me!

Thanks for reading — Glenn Erickson