HOUSE OF CARDS

“You know what I like about people? They stack so well.” That line alone might sump up the manipulation and hunger for power House of Cards is really all about. Featuring an editing format that oozes a signature appealing mystery, the enthralling marriage of the sly writing and the majestic cast has rightfully made Beau Willimon’s a long-running hit.

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Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright as then-congressman Frank Underwood and Claire Underwood

Adapted from the BBC miniseries of the same name and based upon the novel by Michael Dobbs (Margaret Thatcher‘s Chief of Staff), it’s no wonder how accurately well-crafted the show is when we look at the creator’s career itself – having worked in presidential and senatorial campaigns including Chuck Schumer’s (yep, her uncle) and Hillary Clinton’s, the Columbia and Juilliard-graduated playwright sorted through, summed up thousands of EU documents and held positions in Vietnam, South Africa or Estonia back in his days as a student. That may explain why the writing behind the debates, primaries process or inaugurations feels that lifelike. So lifelike, in fact, that it achieved the unlikely feat of winning the Emmy for Best Drama Series in its first year.

Kevin Spacey plays ruthless pragmatist Francis J. Underwood, who goes from congressman to VP and then President of the United States. Thanks to unapologetic manipulation and the help of the sly and ever-classy wife Claire (Robin Wright), who as of Season 4 was the other half of the re-election ballot, the ambitious marriage keeps climbing Washington’s ladder of political power, often at their own expense. The rest of the cast features this year’s Best Supporting Actor winner Mahershala Ali and Emmy nominees Elizabeth Marvel, Michael Kelly and Paul Sparks as the Underwood’s repective opponents and confidants.

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The Underwoods planning their next move in the Oval

As is the case of any long-running hit like The West Wing or Veep, not only does the writing need to be spot-on, but also consistently engaging and always up-to-date (especially after “stunning” elections like 2016’s.) To make sure of that, Willimon, Dobbs, Kenneth Lin, Sarah Treem and the rest of the team strive to find the perfect balance between fiction and reality, strength and vulnerability and impulse and restraint. In conjunction with a masterful direction (often by Ms. Right as of last season), the results are sharp, nuanced, sly and appealing enough to keep a fanbase that tuned in in Season 1 and only continues to grow. Like that, House of Cards became the first and best definition of binge-watching. Netflix struck gold by offering the possibility of returning over and over to this addictive, outstanding show.

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Supposedly submitted by mistake, Claire’s VP bid at the end of S4 leaves many open possibilities 

Spacey – this year’s Tony host! – has two Oscars, a Globe and a Tony under his belt while the uber-talented Robin Wrigth became the first actress to win a Golden Globe for a streaming TV show. So this September, the Television Academy better come to its senses and give the Underwoods what’s theirs, because we don’t want any pundits’ heads rolling down the underground. Limos, who are we kidding.

All jokes aside, I undoubtedly and highly recommend watching what has become my favorite drama show and part of pop culture, with the show’s account tweeting at Sean Spicer or fans wearing Underwood ’16 hoodies as an alternative to the insane campaigns we lived last year. Under a perfect direction, marvelous script, enticing editing format and spot-on costume design, the cast and plot only keep getting better and better. And after such cliffhangers (hi, Madam President) as the ones S4 ended on as well as the real 2016 election, we can expect a nail-bitter and very charged fifth season.

Country: United States.

Release date: February 1, 2013

Original network: Netflix.

Seasons: 4.

Awards: 6 Emmys, 2 Golden Globes, 2 SAG Awards

Grade: A++

All images are taken from Google.

THE PEOPLE V. O.J. SIMPSON

There’s nothing like the remaking of an event that thrilled an entire generation: ‘Pearl Harbor,’ ‘Apollo 13,’ Titanic…’ And what better than reviving the so-called trial of the century? From cast and writing to directing, it goes without saying that Ryan Murphy’s ‘The People v. O.J. Simpson’ did win big.

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Sarah Paulson and Sterling K. Brown as prosecutors Marcia Clark and Chris Darden

Based on Jeffrey Toobin‘s book The Run of His Life: The People v. O.J. Simpson (1997), the limited series revolves around insanely crazy, 10-month trial concerning the murder of Simpson’s ex-wife Nicole Brown and friend Ron Goldman. Back in 1995, everyone at the renowned trial was or would be a star: Orenthal James Simpson was one of the most famous and beloved running backs in football history and beloved, Lead Prosecutor Marcia Clark became a national obsession due to her looks and Lead Defense Attorney Johnnie Cochran would later take over the Snoop Dogg or Michael Jackson trials.

And in 2016, the cast is no lesser known: Sarah Paulson (‘Carol’) plays Clark, Cuba Gooding Jr. (‘Jerry Maguire’) portrays Simpson, Courtney B. Vance embodies Cochran and the rest of the cast features John Travolta, Sterling K. Brown, Nathan Lane and David Schwimmer (looks like the break is over.)

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In arguably the most decisive moment of the trial, O.J. (Gooding Jr.) shows struggle to fit the glove he was allegedly wearing when committing the double homicide

But however royal the cast, the massive popularity and acclaim is almost entirely due to the outstanding writing. The challenge was major – how do we retell a story everyone recalls in an objective yet interesting way? Doing justice to both sides but plausibly presenting it two decades later, when societal standards have supposedly changed? We start by putting Ryan Murphy (‘Glee,’ ‘AHS’) in charge. Secondly, we hire the screenwriting team formed by Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski, who accurately reflected how the defense played the race card and triggered sexism from the people, destroying the confidence of the brilliantly sharp Marcia Clark, who had to change her look repeatedly and bear the unfathomable pressure of single-handedly raising two kids, being the nation’s b*tch simply for being a tough woman doing good job (sounds familiar?) and going high even when her ex-husband released nude pics of her on the beach. And lastly, we pray Sarah Paulson, who masterfully portrayed the lawyer’s restraint and turmoil without having it be self-pitying, isn’t seducing critics opposite Cate Blanchett or Kevin Spacey. (My God! Somebody give her a movie!).

“If your show doesn’t have a dragon or a white Bronco, go home now,” 2016 Emmy host Jimmy Kimmel predicted. The result, 9 Emmys (Series, Writing, Paulson, Vance, Knight, Casting, Editing, Hairstyling and Sound mixing) out of 22 nominations, 2 Globes (Series and Paulson) and countless other accolades for the actress including the SAG Award.

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Paulson kissed her date for the night, the real Marcia Clark

All in all, I undoutedly recommend a serious binge-watching session of this fantastic all around series due to the writing, cast and brilliant characterization. Also worth saying, it starts getting addicting after episode 6!

Country: United States.

Release date: February 2 – April 5, 2016

Original network: FX.

Episodes: 10.

Awards: 9 Emmys, 2 Golden Globes

Grade: A-

All images are taken from Google.

VEEP

Biting, absolutely hysterical and seemingly predictive of the future. After five critically acclaimed seasons, HBO’s political satire Veep is going stronger than ever: Best Comedy Series and Best Casting in 2015 and 2016; Best Writing in 2015, Best Supporting Actor for Tony Hale in 2011 and 2013, and Best Lead Actress for Julia Louis-Dreyfus (who made Emmy history by beating Bergen and Tyler Moore for most wins last year after winning) in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016. She also won Best Supporting in 2006 for The Old Adventures of Old Christine and in Best Lead in 1996 for Seinfeld. The writing is glorious, far and away the best in television – in a while. And the rest of the cast generously accomodates while each providing a distinctive brand of humor.

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Vicepresident Selina Meyer and her goofy team: Mike, Amy, Gary, Sue and Dan

Filmed in Baltimore and then in Los Angeles, Armando Ianucci and David Mandel’s Veep revolves around VP Selina Meyer’s political rise. Louis-Dreyfus (who got her start on SNL and became a TV icon as the beloved Elaine Benes from Seinfeld) plays a potty-mouthed, anapologetically self-centered woman who “will pretty much say anything to stay alive politically,” the actress told Stephen Colbert. Tony Hale (Arrested Development) portrays Selina’s awkwardly mousy yet loyal assistant Gary. One zigs where the other zags, sharing a love-hate (respectively) relationship that makes them relatable and never fails to get laughs. Anna Chlumsky (yes, Vada from My Girl!) is Amy Brookheimer, the mean, workaholic and only efficient member of Meyer’s team, who occasionally fools around with Dan Egan, the ambitious and cocky CBS Anchor who used to serve as Selina’s senior advisor. Matt Walsh (original co-founder of Amy Poehler’s UCB) and Sufe Bradshaw (2009’s Star Treek) play Mike and Sue, the messy Press Secretary and acerbic secretary and scheduler.

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Selina Meyer falls asleep at an international summit

But despite the A-list cast, it is the writing that shines. As is the case of any long-running comedy show – 30 RockModern Family or SNL – the screenplay must be an absolute and solid foundation. First of all, the nature of the characters is hilarious in itself, which resonates and engages the audience from minute one. For a President to constantly swear and treat staff like sh*t is both a treat to watch and a guilty pleasure because that’s what we think is going on behind close doors in real life (who hasn’t imagined Hillary hitting Bill with a telephone after the L-gate.) Thus, the concept is immediately attractive. Secondly, the crazy incidents ensuing from her questionable management have resulted in countless unforgettable and gifable moments: Selina crying about losing Nevada at her mother’s funeral, creating a Twitter account for the mole she got on her face to appear relatable, or telling a congresswoman she’s “gonna have the IRS crawl so far up [her] husband’s colon, he’s gonna wish the only thing they find is more cancer.” I dare you to not to cry.

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Selina and US VP Joe Biden, caught eating ice-cream by veggies advocate Michelle Obama

However, probably the best thing about Veep is that it’s become a significative part of popular culture. Julia Louis-Dreyfus, a very vocal supporter of the Democratic party, appeared in character in a sketch alongside Uncle Joe and Michelle Obama in 2013, and has attented several White House events where Selina is often referenced. In her 2016 Emmy speech, referencing the election’s nonsense she said: “I’d also like to take this opportunity to personally apologize for the current political climate. I think that ‘Veep’ has torn down the wall between comedy and politics. Our show started out as a political satire, but it now feels more like a sobering documentary. So I certainly do promise to rebuild that wall ― and make Mexico pay for it.”

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Presidents Grant, Underwood, Meyer, Mayor James and Councilwoman De Forest

Presidents are fashionable and make for perfect award buddies: Kate McKinnon’s Hillary Clinton won and will win her another Emmy. Amy Poehler, Robin Wright and Kevin Spacey (my God, somebody give them the Emmy!) snabbed Golden Globes in 2014 and 2015 for their adorable and appealingly despicable presidential hopefuls, respectively. Allison Janney won four Emmys for portraying WH Press Secretary C.J. Cregg and everyone else from Tony Goldwin to Kerry Washington have been a constant presence in awards season.

In conclusion, I absolutely recommend watching Veep because being having watched every sitcom worth its salt, I can say without hesitation that it’s the best show I’ve ever seen. Razor-sharp, always up to date and … Julia Louis-Dreyfus.

Running years: 2012-

Country: United States.

Release date: April 22, 2012.

Awards: 12 Emmys, 2 SAG, 2 WGA, 2 Critics’ Choice Awards

Grade: A++

All images are taken from Google.

30 ROCK

Delightful cast, inherently relatable characters, outstanding writing and exciting cameos are a winning combination. And so, throughout its seven consistent seasons starting in 2006, critics acclaimed and awarded nonstop Tina Fey’s master sitcom, NBC’s 30 Rock.

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The cast of ’30 Rock’ wins SAG for Best Comedic Ensemble in 2009

Based off of Tina Fey’s experiences as a cast member and first female head writer at Saturday Night Live, 30 Rock (where said show is filmed) stars Fey as Liz Lemon, the head writer of a variety show called ‘TGS.’ Co-starring are studio studio head Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin) and the stars of the show Jenna Maroney and Tracy Jordan (Jane Krakowski and Tracy Morgan.)

Liz is arguably the most relatable character on television: a woman who does her utter best to keep everything and everyone together at her workplace without getting any credit, whose lovelife is disastrous and who’d honestly rather eat a sandwich and binge-watch bad programming than go have a drink or talk to neighbors. Jack is her classy, openly narcissistic boss and self-proclaimed mentor, whose relationship with “Lemon” is one all siblings can relate to. Lastly, the self-centered and childish Jenna and Tracy (un)intentionally drive her crazy every single week with their hilarious antics.

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Jenna crashes Jack’s mother’s funeral to marry her boyfriend Paul, who dresses as her in drag

However thorough and hysterical the performances, if 30 Rock stands out for something, that’s its phenomenal writing. Tina Fey and Robert Carlock (‘Friends’ producer and writer) joined forces with Tracey Wigfield, Matt Hubbard, Jack Burditt and more to consistently provide the best lines on television – winning Best Writing twice including its last season and Best Comedy in the first three. From the first episode until the very last one, the script is sharp, inventive, heartwarming, true to the characters’ idiolects and in many cases, vindicative on behalf of women. (Thanks, Tina.) Plus, the countless cameos slash recurrent characters played by Matt Damon, Jon Hamm, Elizabeth Banks, Julianne Moore, Jennifer Aniston, Al Gore, Robert De Niro, David Schwimmer, Steve Martin, Jerry Seinfeld, the late and unique Carrie Fisher, Oprah or the super adorable Amy Poehler each contribute a particular and exciting brand of humor to the show.

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Liz Lemon fangirls for all of us when meeting talk show queen Oprah Winfrey in season two

In essence, even if it never was a ratings bonanza, the inherent wit of the writing and professionally funny cast made critics fall for 30 Rock so much so that it snagged the 18th place out of the 100 best shows on TV in 2015. I absolutely recommend watching now that it’s on Netflix, because being a demanding comedy fan myself, only ‘Veep,’ ‘SNL’ and ‘Modern Family’ have made me laugh as hard.

Running years: 2006 to 2013.

Country: United States.

Release date: November 10, 2016.

Awards: 16 Emmys, 5 Golden Globes, 7 SAG Awards

Grade: A+

All images are taken from Google.

My little love letter to Tina Fey

The sentenceGravity […] is the story of how George Clooney would rather float away into space and die than spend one more minute with a woman his own age” instantly made me a fan of Tina Fey’s. 20 seconds of frenetic laughter explain why the writing and delivery were excellent. But then again, pretty much every sentence uttered by her becomes either a headline or a quote: from movies Mean Girls and Sisters and hit shows SNL and 30 Rock, to tributes to Steve Martin and Carol Burnett, the sheer wit and intelligence behind her pen has perfectly wrapped her message that women are strong, capable, funny and grounded bosses. That message struck deep and opened the doors for other comediennes like the lovable Amy Poehler and Kate McKinnon, Sarah Silverman or Amy Schumer to use their brains and create outstanding and binge-watchable work.

And that confidence is priceless when you’re an aspiring Bossypants yourself.

So for that I thank you, Tina Fey❤️

“We in the comedy community recognize genius when we see it and Tina, you are one.” – Steve Martin.

FANTASTIC BEASTS

An upcoming Harry Potter movie is always exciting news, reminiscent of great times where we all counted down the days to wave our wands again. And not surprisingly, the dazzling especial effects, screenplay by Ms Rowling herself and brand-new star Eddie Redmayne made young and not-so-young potterheads around the world anticipate Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016) almost just as much. And although the setting, especially the especial effects and Oscar-winning costume design were terrific, I thought the acting and script were nowhere near the level of the original franchise. 

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2015’s Oscar Best Actor winner Eddie Redmayne as wizard and magizoologist Newt Scamander

Set in 1926, Newt Scamander (Redmayne) has just completed a global trip to find and document an exceptional slew of magical creatures. Now in New York en route to Arizona, he encounters a muggle (No-Maj being the term for Americans) going by the name of Jacob who turns out to be a misplaced magical case. That, along with Newt losing some of his so-called fantastic beasts, gives way to an unexpected adventure which two young witches (Tina and Mary  Lou) also end up being involved in.

Eddie Redmayne is evidently a fabulous actor, with credits that include My Week with Marilyn (2011), Les Misérables (2012), The Danish Girl (2015) and of course his Oscar-winning portrayal of Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything (2014). However, you may agree with me when I say I find he lacks the range of past Oscar winners like Tom Hanks or Leonardo DiCaprio. In literally all of the aforementioned features including Fantastic Beasts, he acts mousy and overly marveled, with a permanently startled facial expression that prevents his character from appearing thridimensional. I understand this plays well with a nitche audience of British teenage girls, most of whom buy the ticket to see the handsome (and very classy) Eddie in action. But the appealing thing about the Harry Potter series was the action, the exciting storyline, rather the pretty faces (what pretty faces? Lol.)

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Snaso, one of the naughty and magical creatures wandering the Big Apple at its leisure

On the other hand, the setting is excellent: soundtrack, special effects, production, costume design and photography come together to feasibly recreate a dreamy and foggy New York in the mid-20s. Judging the books by its reviews (and greatly illustrated covers), even the most parochial must admit that J.K. Rowling unknowingly and single-handedly gave birth to legions of young new readers and set the scene for an unforgettable saga. But her screenplay was quite forgettable, likely because the studio limited her freedom and flexibility upon it being a multi million-making movie instead of a personally crafted book of her own publishing.

For all this, I’d say Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them‘s features outweigh the somewhat disappointing screenplay and Redmayne’s lack of versatility, and is sure to please potterheads of all ages, backgrounds and Hogwarts’ houses.

Running time: 2h 13 minutes.

Country: United Kingdom, United States.

Release date: November 10, 2016.

Box office: $812.5M

Grade: B

All images are taken from Google.

ARRIVAL

The hype around Arrival (2016) is not hard to fathom. Nor is the almost hysterical reaction of both critics and audiences who, after countless Sci-Fi mediocre and over-the-top productions, finally have a fabulously-crafted and well-acted film.

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Five-time Oscar nominee Amy Adams as Louise Banks

Based on the 1998 short novel ‘Story of Your Life’ by Ted Chiand, this Denis Villeneuve-directed film stars Amy Adams (Louise Banks), Jeremy Renner (Ian Donnelly) and Forest Whitaker (US. Colonel G.T. Weber.) Adams plays linguist lecturer Louise Banks, a divorced mother whose teenage daughter died from an incurable illness. As twelve extraterrestrial spacecraft land across the Earth, U.S. Colonel Weber asks her to join physicist Ian Donnelly to find out the reason for their arrival. After much hesitation, she understands it’s her duty to put her uniquely specific skills to use and joins the team at a military camp in Montana, where one of the spacecraft has set “foot.”

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The two creatures draw circles to communicate with Banks and Donnelly

After establishing contact with two seven-limbed creatures who draw circles as a way to communicate, Louise starts disentangling their vocabulary. At the same time, she starts seeing and dreaming vivid images of herself with her daughter and absent husband in what will become a very revealing and literally mind-boggling series of flashbacks. After weeks of small yet daily progress, Louise asks the aliens what their mission on Earth is, to which they reply: “offer weapons.” Scared to their bone, many nations end their cooperation, but Banks stands by her belief that they mean “tools and urged her superiors to keep contact”. Unbeknownst to her, though, Rogue U.S. soldiers have planted explosives into the spacecraft, which, along with Ian confessing to loving her, will jeopardize the mission and get the linguist’s feelings confused.

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Banks and Donnelly exit the camp after it’s all over

Arrival is one of 2016’s top ten movies according to the AFI and myself (lol.) Plus, despite me being the furthest thing from a Sci-Fi gal, I found the feature enthralling, incredibly well-thought and terrifically-acted. For Amy Adams to not even get an Oscar nomination is as mortal a sin as Denzel Washington losing out to the lesser Affleck. So much for Leo, next year the people will be roaring about “our Amy” (looking at you, The Wedding Date fellow dozen fans.) All kidding aside, I highly recommend this film, which although sluggish at first, has proven appealing to the broadest audiences by anchoring its heady themes with genuine humanity and the help of a truly fabulous cinematic technology.

Running time: 1h 46 minutes.

Country: United States.

Release date: November 11, 2016.

Box office: $198M

Grade: B

All images are taken from Google.

 

MANCHESTER BY THE SEA

Predictable, underwhelming, plainly boring and overrated. Starring former sexual assaulter and Ben Affleck’s younger brother Casey, this Matt Damon-produced film also features Kyle Chandler, Lucas Hedges and Michelle Williams. The performances are the kind where most of the cast doesn’t change their facial expressions throughout the whole piece and yet all get Oscar nominations, so clearly I’m missing out on much more than I thought I knew about acting.

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Casey Affleck as Lee Chandler, a Massachusetts native with mounting problems

Located in the Massachusetts’ namesake town of Manchester-By-The-Sea, this dramatic production revolves around the depressed Lee Chandler having to take care of his orphan nephew Patrick (Lucas Hedges.) All along, things get worse and worse, with his wife Randi leaving him and Patrick’s parents rejecting to support him. And that’s pretty much it – the film finishes, of course, with a father-son bond between the two and no hint of what their futures hold. The original script by Kenneth Lonergan was apparently good enough to win the Academy Award, as was Affleck’s performance. Direction, Picture and turns by Lucas Hedges and Michelle Williams,  who famously played Marilyn Monroe in 2011, also received nods.

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Michelle Williams marks her third Oscar nomination with Manchester by the Sea

The sandout of the feature was in my view the soundtrack by Lesley Barber, appearing in the key moments in the form of mostly classical pieces. The photography is unimpressive but holds up pretty much because of cinematic locations like Singing Beach. The same can’t be said about its mediocre cinematography, though. Simply put, it’s a movie whose only proven point is that it manages to seem lifelike. Other than that, it lacks a moral and doesn’t stand out in any way.

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One of the locations in the Massachusetts town of Manchester-by-the-sea

In essence, this utterly disappointing production ends the same way it starts: predictably and not engagingly. For Affleck to defeat Denzel Washington (see gif) in Fences is a mortal sin, and the rest of its features – costume and production design, editing, cinematography – are far from sublime, to put it nicely. Thus, I recommend saving your time and money and spare yourself the more than two sluggish hours it lasts.

–—

Running time: 2h 17 minutes.

Country: United States.

Release date: November 18, 2016

Box office: $74.9M

Grade: F

All images are taken from Google.

MOONLIGHT

“Possibility number one: 12 Years a Slave wins Best Picture. Possibility number two: you’re all racists,” Ellen DeGeneres artfully quipped when hosting in 2014. Well, not surprisingly, the story has repeated itself after a year where the absolute lack of diversity in the cinematic artform drew harsh criticism towards the Academy. Perfect timing for Moonlight (2016), a sluggish, pitiful and wildly overrated production that beat Fences in the Best Screenplay category and La La Land for Best Picture

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Oscar-winner Mahershala Ali (Juan) holds Alex Hibbert (“Little” Chiron)

Despite lacking the extraordinary gifts of playwright August Wilson (who adapted Fences from his own Broadway play) and the mind-blowing creativity of the amazingly-crafted and well-rounded feature by Damien Chazelle, this Barry Jenkins film hit the jackpot by depicting the childhood, teenage years and adulthood of a black, gay, poor man. And since, in Jimmy Kimmel’s words, “the only thing that we value more than diversity is congratulating ourselves on how much we value diversity,” the Academy felt the social need to reward it with the top prizes, or else the hashtags and the shame would have stoned its members for another whole year. This decision is frankly annoying to open-minded moviegoers like myself. And I don’t speak from a place of white privilege. So, even though my opinion is subjective, that of a non-pundit and I very well may have not understood the piece, I believe diversity should never replace actual talent for the sake of a social lesson.

Based upon Tarell Alvin McCraney’s unpublished semi-autobiographical play In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue, this 2016 film stars Trevante Rhodes, Janelle Monáe, Naomie Harris and Mahershala Ali. As disappointing as most of its features are, there’s one perfomance that stands out in my view and that’s Harris’, who played a more than convincing crack addict. Mahershala Ali apparently caught the eyes of critics, moving away from an Emmy nomination fot should-have-been 2016 ‘s Best Drama Series House of Cards to an Oscar win for Best Supporting Actor.

His performance (the first one by a Muslim to be awarded in an acting category), much like Anne Hathaway’s in Les Misérables, is not Oscar-level (15 minutes-long and miles away from trascendent), but holds up enough to represent something “out of the box” that the other nominees’ fail to – in this case the tolerance and sympathy of a black, somewhat troubled father figure. But then again, the statuette could have gone in its day to, for example, Viola Davis (12 minutes opposite Queen Meryl playing an African-American woman whose son is reportedly abused by a priest and her income doesn’t enable her to change him to another school.) The rest of the cast does the job but not impressively, in my opinion lacking the depth that the direction and script attempt to convey. The cinematography, however, is fantastic. Representative of the difficult feelings and the dark ambiance, while the music is intentionally pretty much a no-show.

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Ashton Sanders as “Black” Chiron

The unlikelihood of an LGBT movie with an all-black cast and a $1.5M budget winning Best Picture is such that makes it all the more commendable. And without a doubt, a victory for society, especially in a time like this. But previous LGBT films like Philadelphia (1994), Carol (2015), Dallas Buyers Club (2013), Beginners (2010) or Victor/Victoria (1982) won neither Best Picture nor Best Screenplay. Nor did productions featuring black actors like The Help (2011), Flight (2012), Glory (1989) or The Color Purple (1985) even though they starred performers with the potential of Viola Davis, Whoopi Goldberg or Denzel Washington. Same for this year’s Golden Globes, where nine-freaking-time Emmy winner Julia Louis-Dreyfus lost out to a critically deemed dull, underwhelming Tracy Ellis Ross simply because the latter was the most “diverse” candidate in the category, when Louis-Dreyfus won the SAG and Emmy Award (for a reord-breaking sixth time in a row.)

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Trevante Rhodes as “Adult” Chiron

In short, I’m of the opinion that Moonlight (2016) is possibly the most overrated film I’ve ever seen. I realize I go for the standard of awards and movies when, especially independent ones like this, are meant to touch audiences. But the 6,000 members of the Academy are the closest to a supposedly unbiased group of diverse voters. So let’s award diversity, but talented diversity like Hidden Figures or Fences. Otherwise the praise becomes cynism and surely unfair to groundbreaking performers who deserve it as much if not more.

Running time: 1h 51 minutes.

Country: United States.

Release date: October 21, 2016

Box office: $55.8M

Grade: D

All images are taken from Google.