*This review only covers the single-player campaign*
I’ll get this out of the way now: Doom’s 2016 reboot is one of the greatest first-person shooters of all-time. The gunplay, the fluidity, the music; all coming from a game that I had absolutely no expectations for going in.
On its own merits, Doom Eternal is a very good game. But as a follow up to a generation-defining release, it is a step back and a far muddier & overbearing experience.
Taking place two years after Doom (2016), you play yet again as the Doom Slayer. Now on demon-infested Earth, you are tasked with killing the three Hell Priests (hell yeah) who serve Khan Maykr, a demon trying to sacrifice mankind. You fight your way through a truly fucked Earth, shotgunning demons and ripping and tearing ghouls all the way.
Luckily, Doom Eternal’s main strength is exactly what it needed to be: its gameplay. Tasked with your trusty arsenal of shotguns, rocket launchers & assault rifles, you take on dozens of demons at once, ranging from smaller, zombie-like enemies to the terrifying Marauder and Doom Hunter. The pacing is furious, forcing you to feed your resource loop: Glory Kills for health, the chainsaw for ammo and the new Flame Belch for armor shards.
Rather than allowing the player to pick the systems that fit their play style, it is all but required that the player interact with each and every system. The results of this necessity are mixed: it turns each enemy encounter into its own combat puzzle, forcing the player to decide when to back off and when to charge in, but it can also become frustratingly difficult to manage in the game’s latter sections. Add in a dash and wall-climbing, and it is incredibly easy to become overwhelmed.
Even with this influx of systems, when Doom Eternal is on, it’s on. The mix of gunplay and movement is virtually unmatched by anything besides maybe the Titanfall series; the tense combat situations and the pounding soundtrack can feel otherworldly at times. There really are few things as satisfying in gaming as charging in for that Glory Kill when you are on your last bits of remaining health.
But gameplay alone does not make a modern Doom game. If you asked me about the story or tone of any Doom game prior to the reboot, I’d say, “Who the hell cares? It’s Doom!” But along came Doom (2016), and in addition to it’s frantic gameplay came a story so pitch-perfect in its tone & humor that I’d honestly say it’s one of the stronger stories of the generation. There is this underlying level of camp that is so subtle it seems like it could be an accident, and the Doom Slayer’s total disregard for anything besides his mission paired perfectly with the melodramatic, self-serious nature of every other character.
Then along came Doom Eternal. It seems id Software learned all the wrong lessons from its successes, and as is the case with seemingly every other aspect of their game, they doubled down and added more. More story, more jokes, and way, way too much more of the Doom Slayer. Gags are constant, and so few of them work that it is teetering on embarrassing. And instead of his old portrayal as a machine-like destroyer, we see all of the Doom Slayer, all the way down to his unmasked, way too clean face.
If you were looking to Doom Eternal as a pure FPS experience, or if you could not have cared less about the reboot’s story, this won’t disappoint. It has enough brutal slaying to please even the most sadistic of players. If you are looking for a continuation of Doom (2016), I definitely recommend Eternal, but don’t expect nearly as polished of an experience.
Being stuck at home during a global pandemic sure does give you some free time, and what better way to utilize that time than to watch movies & play an absolute ton of video games?
Check out the following list for what has been occupying me throughout my quarantine. With the way we seem to be heading, it seems we will be due for a Part 2 (and probably Part 3).
Movies (in alphabetical order):
Beyond the Mat
An incredibly interesting subject matter that is brought down by some dated filmmaking. I’d be interested in a modern sequel to this, but knowing the little that I do about Vince McMahon, he sure as hell isn’t letting another outside camera crew in anytime soon.
Exactly what I needed. Charming as hell and genuinely hilarious-a reminder of both the comedic and dramatic talents of the late Robin Williams.
Deliriously entertaining & unbelievably horny. The reaction shot of the Colonel when he first sees Dirk’s dick is honestly an all-timer. If Paul Thomas Anderson ever released a 5-hour cut of this, I’d watch it in a heartbeat.
I constantly see this listed on people’s favorites on Letterbox, and I noticed that the Criterion Channel (which I highly recommend) had it avaible for streaming.
It toes the line between the mundane and the profound, and for the most part, I’d say it works. One of those films that you likely need to watch a couple of times to truly grasp everything that it is going for.
A charming if slightly benign film that I will unashamedly say I watched solely to see Anya Taylor-Joy.
I’d seen this a couple of times already, but after falling madly in love with Uncut Gems last year, I knew I was due for another watch. Powerhouse of a film with absolutely killer performances out of Robert Pattinson and Benny Safdie.
If this is what the Safdie brothers are putting out at this stage in their careers, I can’t even begin to imagine what they have in store.
Ahh, Scorsese. Leave it to him to make his one & only family film to date about George Melies and the silent movie era.
Kidding aside, this really is a magical movie. It kinda feels like an excuse for Scorsese to gush about early film, but when you are as talented and passionate about film as Scorsese is, you can do whatever the hell you want.
Marc Maron End Times Fun
I listened to this while cleaning my bathroom and I’ll say-I had a delightful time!
Pete Davidson: Alive from New York
I think Pete Davidson is a real funny dude. But even with a 45-minute runtime, this still manages to meander quite a bit. With some tighter material and a longer set, he could really be on to something.
There Will Be Blood
Yes, I’m a big idiot who took 13 years to watch this. Daniel Day-Lewis is routinely stupendous, but damn, Paul Dano is giving some career-best work here. The handful of bigger dramatic scenes the two share are outstanding, a perfect mix of tension, humor and utterly committed physical performing.
Geena Davis and Jessica Lange made my heart swoon.
An obvious inspiration (if not the inspiration) behind First Reformed. Luckily, First Reformed is one of my favorite movies of all-time, so that’s a pretty good way to catch my interest.
An absolutely soul crushing experience, one of those that grabs ahold of your stomach from minute one, twisting and twisting until you’re curled up into a ball. What a picture!
Games (in alphabetical order):
Animal Crossing: New Horizons (Switch)
I’ve put a whole hell of a lot of time into this over the last week, and I gotta ask: is this a perfect game? I may be biased due to my preexisting love for the series, but this has to be the strongest entry to date & one of Nintendo’s finest games in recent memory.
Also, I bought my girlfriend a Switch just so she can play this, so I’m glad that decision is paying off.
Doom Eternal (Xbox One)
A great game? Definitely. But I’m a lot more mixed on this one than I am on the 2016 reboot. The action is still fast-paced and buttery smooth, but I can’t help but feel they tried to juggle a few too many systems. You got your Glory Kill for health, Flame Belch for armor, a meter for your Blood Punch, a dash and a hundred different skill trees-all while trying to deal with the dozens of enemies thirsting for your blood.
Also-they completely killed the tone of its predecessor. The reboot’s humor was so subtle that it seemed like something they stumbled into, but Doom Eternal has constant forced comedy that rarely works. And most importantly-don’t show me Doom Guy’s face!
Murder by Numbers (Switch)
I haven’t put as much time into this as I’d like, but it’s a delightfully weird cross between Ace Attorney and Picross. Looking forward to diving back into this.
Out of the Park Baseball 21 (PC)
Do you love baseball? Do you love (and I mean love) reading spreadsheets? Do you love when your five-star pitcher gives up back-to-back homers to the bottom of the Baltimore Oriole’s lineup? Then Out of the Park Baseball is the game for you!
Some mediocre Picross, but if you are looking for a cheap little time killer, you could do worse.
Let me be clear: being a 13-year-old absolutely, 100% sucked. The hormones, the acne, the growing pains. No one looks fondly back on their middle school days; we hide from them, blushing when they are brought up.
Wide Ocean Big Jacket, the most recent project from Turnfollow, does the impossible and shows those retched years as a time of discovery. It reminded me that yes, I once was a smitten, geeky 13-year-old, and yes, it was one hell of an exciting time.
In Wide Ocean Big Jacket, you bounce between Cloanne and Brad, who are taking their niece, Mord, and her boyfriend, Ben, on a camping trip. Gameplay is simple, and you switch between the four characters as you complete tasks such as unpacking or setting up the tent. The gameplay is purposeful in its simplicity, as the focus of the game is clear: its characters and their stories.
While Brad and Cloanne are both tremendously written, and there is a lovely bit about their relationship and its history, the true stars of Wide Ocean Big Jacket are Mord and Ben.
Mord is outlandish, saying whatever comes to her mind, no matter how awkward or inappropriate. Ben could not be more different. He is visibly anxious, his posture slumped and his eyes aimed toward the ground. But when they are together, there is so much giddy, so much young love. It is remarkable how authentic their voices are, especially when you consider the difficulty of writing such young characters.
To give away too much would be to spoil the many wonderful moments. But there are moments between Mord and Ben that are as nostalgic and heartwarming as I can think of, not just in video games, but in media as a whole. It revels in its childlike sense of adventure, giving you the butterflies that you know are swarming in Mord and Ben’s stomachs. Playing this feels like reminiscing with an old friend, sharing those memories that seemed so formative at the time.
While it can be completed in one sitting (it took me a little more than an hour), Wide Ocean Big Jacket can not be dismissed as some frivolous experience. It is a simple story, sure, but it’s a universal one. It’s a story of love and friendship and exploration, and I simply cannot recommend it strongly enough.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 | Reviewed on Nintendo Switch
I’ve caught myself saying this every year for the past few years, but this year really felt like a special one for film. Don’t get me wrong, it had its fair share of trash (I’m looking at you, Rambo: Last Blood), but the movies that connected with me this year truly connected. Each film on this list impacted me in a profound way, and here’s hoping 2020 can match this savage pace.
After whittling away on a list, these are my ten favorite films of the year, and my favorite scene from each of them.
And be warned-spoils ahead. You’ve been given your one and only warning.
10. The Beach Bum
Favorite scene: Captain Wack’s dolphin tour.
Let’s start this list off with something fun! Martin Lawrence plays Captain Wack, an old friend of Moondog (a career-best work from Matthew McConaughey) who now runs a low-rent dolphin watch down in the Florida panhandle. The two friends, alongside the whitest family in the history of American cinema, take off to see if they can find some dolphins.
As expected, things don’t go quite as expected for our lovable dufuses. Captain Wack mistakes a handful of sharks for dolphins, takes a swim with them, and proceeds to have his foot bitten off by one of them. It is some pitch-perfect comedy, accented by the young daughter of the family who seems totally oblivious to Wack’s suffering (“When was the last time he clipped his toe nails? Seriously, that’s gnarly, man.”).
The Last Black Man in San Francisco is the most beautiful film of the year, but it is also one of the most heartbreaking. Our lead, Jimmie Fails, has a complicated relationship with Kofi and his friends; enemies in some scenes, seemingly close friends in another. But after Kofi is killed, emotions start to spill, and tensions begin to mount between Jimmie and one of Kofi’s closest friends, Jordan.
But right when you think Jordan’s going to explode in fury, he does the opposite: he breaks down, sobbing into Jimmie. It is such a tender scene, as Jordan’s pain feels so raw, so painful. It’s highlighted by Jordan’s friends in the background, who force themselves to look away in attempt to hold back their own tears. It’s a brutal bout of grief, as well as another example of the film’s willingness to challenge masculinity and the confines that it creates.
8. The Farewell
Favorite scene: Billi’s goodbye.
I lost my grandmother at a young age. My grandfather then remarried, but his wife died soon after their marriage. He remarried yet again, but this time, he passed away first, with his third wife dying soon after. Although I wasn’t the closest with my grandparents, I’ve certainly experienced my share of grief from them. Almost too much, in fact, that the pain eventually became numb.
Yet the finale to The Farewell brought me back to the moment when I found out that my grandmother was passing, or when I was told my grandfather had a few days left to live. That pain, that anger, that anxiety. And while The Farewell does ultimately have a happy ending, the look that Billi (Awkwafina) and Nai Nai (Zhao Shuzhen) share was oh so familiar. Thank you, Lulu Wang, for making such a beautiful film, and damn you for making these memories come back.
7. Ad Astra
Favorite scene: Roy’s call to his father.
Daddy Issues in Space wasn’t anything close to what I expected from it, but I certainly wasn’t disappointed. For a film so purposefully cold, Ad Astra was one of my most emotional moviegoing experiences of the year. And no scene better exemplifies the film’s emotional power than when Roy McBride (Brad Pitt) sends out a last ditch call to his father Clifford (Tommy Lee Jones).
In what is the year’s most underrated performance, Pitt reads a letter calling for a response from his father, who alongside his crew members went missing during a space exhibition. The camera is tight on Pitt’s face, his eyes watery but refusing to let a tear drop fall. It’s a painful plea, one that Pitt masterfully performs, and it sets the foundation for the film’s later emotional payoffs.
6. Marriage Story
Favorite scene: Charlie & Henry read a letter.
Is it cheesy? A bit. Is it obvious? Maybe. But did this scene make me well up with tears? Most certainly!
Marriage Story wraps up its melancholy tale of lost love and divorce with its most tender of scenes. Charlie (Adam Driver) walks in on his son reading a letter from Nicole (Scarlett Johansson), Charlie’s now ex-wife. After watching his young son struggle to read through the letter, Charlie reads the letter aloud, in which Nicole described all of the things that she loved about Charlie. It is beautifully written & yet another showcase for Driver’s immense talent, and it serves as a painful reminder that even love doesn’t always work itself out.
Favorite scene: Geun-sae’s revenge.
Parasite has a hell of a lot of influences; it bounces from comedy to drama to even some horror, all while maintaining its allegory of class conflict. No one scene better exemplifies these influences than the Park’s birthday party. This is a scene that so heavily relies on previous context that it would be a waste to spoil it here, so just know that Bong Joon-ho sure knows how to stick a landing. And that shot of Geun-sae coming up the basement stairs? Shivers, man. Shivers.
4. Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood
Favorite scene: The home invasion.
Coming into Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood, I was worried how they’d handle the, you know, whole Manson murder thing. Luckily, we don’t have to sit through the dramatization of the murder of Sharron Tate. Instead, we get to see the two coolest motherfuckers of the year brutally kill three members of the Manson family. I mean, c’mon, what more do you need?
Also, the reveal that Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) was holding onto his flamethrower from The 14 Fists of McCluskey in his pool shed may be the funniest gag of the entire year.
The Lighthouse is without a doubt the least conventionally scripted film on this list. A majority of scenes consist of unintelligible screaming and arguing, especially once our good ole sea captain Thomas (Willem Dafoe) has gotten some booze into him. The last act of The Lighthouse almost entirely consists of scenes such as this, and Dafoe and Patterson give powerhouse performances, weaving between humor and tragedy so fluidly. It’s a damn shame neither of them will be recognized come the Academy Awards.
Scorsese’s The Irishman is full of contenders vying for the film’s top scene. But one scene has stuck out each time I’ve watched the film, realizing the horror of what preceded it: when Frank (Robert De Niro) has to call Jo to comfort her, despite being the murderer of her husband, Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino).
Robert De Niro is, hands down, my favorite actor of all time. But throughout his countless roles, many of which are some of the most acclaimed performances of all time, no one scene of De Niro’s has impressed and moved me as much as this. De Niro stumbles through his words, obviously distraught at having lost his best friend, but also ashamed at having to face the repercussions of his acting. It is a remarkable bit of acting, a reminder that De Niro still has plenty left in the tank.
1. Uncut Gems
Favorite scene: The last 20 minutes.
I know that I gave spoiler warnings, but I don’t think I can in good conscience write about the final 20 minutes of Uncut Gems. If I was to spoil the ending for even just one person, I would be robbing them of one of the greatest cinematic experiences that I’ve ever experienced.
Please, everyone, go see this film. I’m going to try to avoid too much hyperbole (for now), but there has not been a film I’ve enjoyed more than this in years.
2019: absolutely, 100 percent a miserable, pathetic excuse for a year. 2019 video games: they were alright! I played a hell of a lot of games this year, but only a slim fraction of them held my interest past the half hour mark. There are just so many games, all being released just days of each other, that I found myself unable to stay focused on a single game. I found myself drawn to shorter games or games that I could play in bursts, and services such as Xbox Game Pass and Apple Arcade have allowed me to dabble without cashing out $60 for every game that catches my eye.
A brief shout out to the year’s two Dragon Quest games, Dragon Quest Builders II and Dragon Quest XI S. If I had put more time into the two of them, I’m sure they would both be placing quite high on my list.
That being said, here are my top ten favorite gaming experiences of the 2019.
10. Sayonara Wild Hearts
The only game this year to be narrated by Queen Latifah, so it was an automatic lock for this list.
Sayonara Wild Hearts is the love child of a modern pop album and a runner, a lovely audio/visual experience that can be beaten in just one sitting. No one aspect is revolutionary, but this proves that yes, some games are greater than the sum of their parts.
9. New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe I know this is fundamentally just a souped up Wii U game with a handful of new features. But here’s the thing that a lot of people aren’t mentioning: New Super Mario Bros. U was one hell of a game. Controls are just as tight as expected from a mainline Mario game, and there is some Super Mario 3 quality level design in here.
If you don’t have a Wii U or don’t want to dig it out of storage, this is the optimal way to play the best entry in the New Super Mario Bros. series.
Grindstone is, by many measures, an evolution of the color matching games that popularized mobile gaming during the early years of the iPhone. You attack by matching the color of these little goblins, and if you run a long enough pattern, you get a Grindstone which allows you to continue your attack but on a different colored enemy. It’s a fundamentally simple game, but upgrades and new enemy types help to add some challenge and longevity.
Grindstone is the perfect mobile game, as it works in both short bursts and during extended play sessions. I eventually forced myself to put the game down, as no matter what I was doing, whether it was seeing a movie or trying to fall asleep, I couldn’t stop playing through imaginary levels in my head.
7. Apex Legends
A great game that reminded me just how magnificent Titanfall 2 was.
6. A Short Hike
I first heard about adamgryu’s A Short Hike when it launched earlier this spring. I remember looking at its store page, thinking it looked absolutely adorable, and then moving on. I finally got around to playing it this month, and Jesus Christ, what a heartwarming surprise.
The main story only took me around an hour to beat, but that hour was full of such charm and whimsy, only matched by the likes of the Animal Crossing series. As a self-proclaimed lover of fishing in video games, A Short Hike may have the most relaxing version of fishing that I’ve yet to play. If you could bottle up and consume the feeling it gave me, there’d be nothing else that I’d ever drink.
2019 was the culmination of the horrifically depressing last few years, and A Short Hike was the perfect bit of therapy.
5. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
There are a lot of Call of Duties. Somehow Call of Duty, which was the hottest series back when I was in elementary school, is still somehow one of the most successful franchises a decade plus later.
Ever since Black Ops 2, I have been the most casual of Call of Duty fan. I would pick them up a year or two after their release, breeze through their campaign and put some time into the online (if I was able to find a match). But this year, I decided to pick it up on launch day to see if I could rekindle that old flame. And rekindle that flame is exactly what Modern Warfare did.
The combat is as tight as ever, with overhauled sound design that made shooting a machine gun feel rightfully terrifying. Online matchmaking is incredibly smooth, and not since Modern Warfare 2 have the attachments and challenges been as addicting to unlock. In other words-Call of Duty is very good, and Modern Warfare is the best entry in years.
4. Mortal Kombat 11
Coming into 2019, I think I played a cumulative 2 hours of Mortal Kombat spanning across all of its entries. As a child I wasn’t allowed to own M-rated games, and something like Mortal Kombat, with all of the blood and bones and painful death cries? Not a chance you’d see that in the Costa household.
Now that I am an adult with my own job who can make his own purchasing decisions, I thought, “Hey, maybe I should check out that new Mortal Kombat!” So that’s exactly what I did, and oh man, my 12 year old self would be so jealous.
Mortal Kombat 11 is exactly what I want as a casual fighting game fan: responsive controls, a wide variety of characters and absolutelygruesome violence. When you pair this with its campaign, which is delightfully rooted in B-movie sensibilities, MK 11 is a must-play, regardless of skill level or familiarity with the franchise.
3. Katana Zero
How did this game not blow up? It’s been all but forgotten in countless outlet’s end of the year wrap-ups, despite the fact that this is one of the smoothest, most satisfying indie action games of recent memory.
In an attempt to not spoil its many surprises, all I’ll say is please give Katana Zero a shot. Even if you enjoy the game only a fraction as much as I did, you’ll still have quite the time.
2. Pokémon: Sword & Shield
I have always been, and will likely always be, a sucker for Pokémon. I don’t look to it for the online battling or for the breeding. To me, Pokémon is a child like pleasure, a pure piece of escapism in a world that so desperately needs it.
The world & charm of Pokémon remains very much intact, with some much needed quality of life improvements, most notably the ability for experienced players to skip the tutorial. For new & seasoned players alike, Pokémon Sword & Shield is one hell of a game.
1.Super Mario Maker 2
I have a terrible confession to make. My favorite part of Super Mario Maker 2 wasn’t the building, nor was it playing user-created levels.
It was the single player story mode.
Super Mario Maker 2’s Story Mode is one of my favorite 2D Mario games. Given that it is basically serving as a tutorial for possible building options, it isn’t nearly as focused as a Super Mario World or Super Mario Bros. 3. However, each level feels wholly unique from the last, and the constant changing of graphical styles feels almost romantic, a love letter to the rich history of Mario.
When combined with the actual Mario Maker parts of Mario Maker 2, which have been streamlined to account for the loss of the Wii U’s gamepad, it was hard for me to spend my time playing much else. Go out, buy yourself that Hori D-Pad Joy-Con, and bask in the glow that is 2019’s game of the year, Super Mario Maker 2.
Ahh, the Golden Globes. The unofficial start to the greatest season of them all: awards season. But it is a bit difficult to get too caught up in the allure of the season this year. First, we have to deal with Ricky Gervais hosting for a fifth (and fingers crossed final) year. And then the nominations, which are to put it quite mildly, dreadful. They are just so painfully obvious (Annette Bening for The Report? Emma Thompson for Late Night?), until they suddenly stop being so (how in the world is there no Bobby De Niro?). Alas, here are my picks for who will win, who should win, and who should have been nominated for the 77th Golden Globe Awards.
Also, no television predictions because a) who has the time to watch thirty different television shows and b) we already have the Emmys.
Best Motion Picture-Drama Will & Should Win: The Irishman In a nice turn of events, it seems the most deserving film will-gasp-actually win Best Drama. Scorsese’s The Irishman is a masterpiece, a perfect bookend to the career of one of Hollywood’s most illustrious directors. Should Have Been Nominated: The Lighthouse
Best Motion Picture-Comedy or Musical Will & Should Win:Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood A loving portrayal of Hollywood starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt AND Margot Robbie? Not a chance this doesn’t win Best Comedy or Musical. Doesn’t hurt that this is one of Tarantino’s strongest (if not the strongest) films to date. Should Have Been Nominated:The Beach Bum
Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture-Drama Will Win: Renée Zellweger, Judy Biopic of an actress? Check. Horribly depressing tale of drug abuse? Check. Prestigious actress “transformed” via makeup and hair styling? Check. No matter the quality of her performance, this was a match made in Golden Globe heaven. Should Win: Scarlett Johansson, Marriage Story Am I biased here? Most certainly. Not only is Johansson great in the role, but she still has no Golden Globe wins, so I’m using my one and only cop out pick on her. Should Have Been Nominated: Elisabeth Moss, Her Smell
Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture-Drama Will & Should Win: Adam Driver, Marriage Story The cynical side of me thinks that Phoenix will win it this year (I love Phoenix, please don’t give me shit). But my instincts tell me that this will be the year that Driver gets his first win, in what will very likely be the foundation for a very decorated career. Should Have Been Nominated: Robert De Niro, The Irishman / Brad Pitt, Ad Astra
Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture-Comedy or Musical Will & Should Win: Awkwafina, The Farewell I don’t know if my opinion of an actor has shifted as much as it did between seeing Awkwafina in Crazy Rich Asians and then The Farewell. A fantastic performance, especially when partnered with Zhao Shuzhen, that thankfully didn’t get forgotten due to its early summer release. Should Have Been Nominated: Julianne Moore, Gloria Bell
Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture-Comedy or Musical Will & Should Win: Leonardo DiCaprio, Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood This performance absolutely kills. Who would have guessed that DiCaprio would become one of our best comedic performers? His physical humor and timing is virtually unmatched in modern Hollywood. Should Have Been Nominated: Adam Driver, The Dead Don’t Die
Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role: Will Win: Laura Dern, Marriage Story Listen, I love Laura Dern as much as the next guy, and she is great in Marriage Story. But it’s hard to think that this isn’t just a celebration of Dern’s very accomplished, very worthy career. Should Win: Jennifer Lopez, Hustlers J-Lo in that big coat? That mama bear energy? Give the woman her damn award. Should Have Been Nominated: Zhao Shuzhen, The Farewell
Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role: Will Win: Brad Pitt, Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood I don’t think I stopped talking about Pitt’s performance for a solid 3 months. Pitt is just so effortlessly cool in the role, and it marks a highlight in an already studded career. Should Win: I plead the 5th. This all boils down to choosing between Pitt, Pacino and Pesci. As long as one of those three come home with a statue on January 5, I’ll be just fine. Should Have Been Nominated: Will Dafoe, The Lighthouse / Jonathan Majors, The Last Black Man in San Francisco / Wesley Snipes, Dolemite Is My Name
Best Director-Motion Picture Will & Should Win: Martin Scorsese, The Irishman To take dozens of characters and locations, show them across the course of several decades AND make a 3.5 hour run time feel quicker than most 90 minute comedies? Truly one of the great American directorial feats of recent memory. Should Have Been Nominated: Robert Eggers, The Lighthouse
Best Screenplay-Motion Picture Will Win: Noah Baumbach, Marriage Story In a film with such realized & powerful characters, it is remarkable how Baumbach is able to give each their chance to shine. Baumbach blends the mundane with the tragic, a style he has come to master over his past few films. Should Win: Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood I can firmly say that this is my favorite Tarantino script, and it is one of the best of the century. Every word, every action is perfectly calculated, leading to one of the most captivating films in years. Should Have Been Nominated: S. Craig Zahler, Dragged Across Concrete
Best Foreign Language Film: Will & Should Win: Parasite Not only is Parasite a lock to win Best Foreign Language Film, but there is a pretty good shot it also pulls in Best Director. This will be a very, very exciting film to follow come the Academy Awards-this is a legitimate candidate for Best Picture, and a possible winner at that. Should Have Been Nominated: Knife + Heart
Best Animated Feature Film: Will & Should Win: Toy Story 4 In what was a rather weak year for mainstream animated films, Toy Story 4 seems the frontrunner in what would be Pixar’s 10th Golden Globe win. Don’t count out How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, whose conclusion to the acclaimed trilogy may net the franchise its 2nd win. Should Have Been Nominated: I Lost My Body
Best Original Score-Motion Picture: Will Win: Thomas Newman, 1917 Some lovely music by a prestigious composer! Just too bad that it’s his cousin who deserves the win. Should Win: Randy Newman, Marriage Story While the category isn’t “Most Listenable Score,” it’s hard to knock a score that’s this damn charming. Newman’s score is its own character in Marriage Story, accenting the ebbs and flows of our beloved Nicole and Charlie. Should Have Been Nominated: Disasterpeace, Under the Silver Lake
Best Original Song-Motion Picture: I couldn’t care less about the other nominees, there is only one song worthy of being nominated: Jimmy Buffet & Snoop Dogg, Moonfog