The M&M Report: Instant Reaction to the 2017 Oscars

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Devin and I just finished watching the 2017 Oscars. Here are our instant reactions to the highs and lows. (Holy &!S(!(*&G&&!()!))!**!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

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The M&M Report Predicts the 2017 Oscars

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Few things in life are predictable anymore…but Devin and I are trying anyway. Here are our respective ballots, compiled separately. (Two M&M Report episodes worth listening to before the show: our knock-down-drag-out fight over La La Land, and our Oscar preview with discussions of six other nominated films.)

And the winners on Sunday night’s show, starting at 8:30 p.m., will be:

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The M&M Report: “La La Land”

Devin loved La La Land. I…liked it, with some reservations. We talked it out on the latest M&M Report.

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The M&M Report: “The Big Short” and Celebrity Deaths

Big Short.jpgMark and Devin review Adam McKay’s political comedy The Big Short, which features noisy performances and bad hairdos from Christian Bale, Ryan Gosling, Steve Carell and Brad Pitt. Then they look back on a particularly painful week for celebrity deaths to analyze how people respond to the news that their favorite Hollywood stars have passed.

The Big Short discussion starts at 0:45. Celebrity deaths begins at 24:47.

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Peruse the M&M Report category page for previous episodes of the podcast. Thanks for listening.

“The Big Short”: Big Swings, Short Fuse

Everything in The Big Short is a little off. Scenes end a beat or two before one of the characters finishes his sentence. Brief snippets of unrelated events creep into the spaces between sequences. The movie’s central foursome – Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling and Brad Pitt — don’t look their glamorous best. Celebrity cameos and profane outbursts punctuate what seems at first like a standard ripped-from-the-headlines drama. Funny bits and striking melancholy appear hand-in-hand, not clashing, but not quite fusing either.

The “directed by” credit accounts for some of the movie’s unusual energy. Adam McKay, who also co-scripted this adaptation Michael Lewis’ novel of the same name with Charles Randolph (Love & Other Drugs), is best known for his big-budget, big-hit studio comedies. Most of them star Will Ferrell and a cadre of assorted funny people improvising until their ears turn blue. McKay is not the first person you’d think of to direct a politically charged account of the year leading up to the 2008 financial meltdown. But his outsider’s approach actually fits the story, which is about the sloppy-looking but sharp-thinking Wall Street outsiders who saw the crash coming. That they did nothing to stop it is the specter that hangs over even the movie’s funniest bits like a dense fog. McKay mines this rinky-dink bunch for the comedy of their absurd behavior. If you pay close enough attention, though, you see him seeding the ground for a slow-burning gut punch. These are the men who could have saved millions of livelihoods – and didn’t.

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“The Jinx”: Mic Drop

The phrase “mic drop” was invented for the last three minutes of HBO’s six-episode documentary series The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst. For five episodes and most of the sixth, the New York real-estate magnate Durst spent the majority of his screentime reasserting his innocence in the three separate murder allegations that have been dogging him for more than a decade. Then the screen goes black, a title card explains that Bob is headed to the bathroom, and all hell breaks loose.

Viewers watching The Jinx as it unspooled over six weeks last February and March got to see that moment without knowing what would happen. I didn’t have that luxury, as I didn’t start the series when it originally aired and then couldn’t avoid the barrage of spoilers and interview coverage in the days following the finale. Had I not known what was coming, I might have had nightmares about the final sequence. Even with the foreknowledge, the moment took my breath away.

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