Summary: A working-class Italian-American bouncer becomes the driver of an African-American classical pianist on a tour of venues through the 1960s American South.
This will be a short review.
I know there was a lot of controversy surrounding this film and I’m not going to speak to that, other than things I noticed about the film in general, but I will also not talk about historical inaccuracies because I don’t know other than what I have read due to the drama surrounding this.
Two Leads. There are characters we meet throughout the movie, including Linda Cardelini who plays Tony’s wife but they’re minor characters, so I thought it was best to just focus on the two leads. I don’t agree with Mahershala Ali being nominated for the Supporting Role because his role was just as large, is it because Tony’s son helped write the script?? lol I’m just saying.
Viggo Mortensen as Frank “Tony Lip” Vallelonga. Tony is a bouncer at the Copacabana nightclub, it gets closed for renovations, so he gets invited to interview for a driver position for an eight-week concert tour. He’s against it at first because when he hears all that Don needs from him, he’s like nah. But eventually, he ends up doing it. Tony is unpolished and a little rough around the edges, which is the exact opposite of Don. So, they do clash at times because of that. Tony is a pleasant guy and he often means well. Throughout the movie, we have moments where Tony and Don must lean on each other for various reasons, such as the letters and then the times where Tony must go off and save Don… and those moments are coupled with great acting from Viggo Mortensen. The man is a chameleon and he portray the New Jersey Italian great lol at least from my limited knowledge from media lol.
Mahershala Ali as Don Shirley. He is an eccentric pianist who is looking for a driver for his eight-week concert tour through the Midwest and Deep South. He hires Tony because of his references and after speaking with his wife. Don is very straight laced and very particular. When he first gets into the car, his butler puts a blanket over his legs lol, he doesn’t like littering, he’s very commanding which Ali acts all of Don’s quirks wonderfully. I’ve seen him play many roles and this is the first time I’ve see him really play a straight-laced person and boy he gets me every time. He’s so charismatic with such a commanding presence that any time he speaks, you listen to him. Don obviously must go through a lot in this movie being that it’s set in the 60’s, which is to be expected. Sometimes he handles it well and sometimes he doesn’t. Mahershala Ali is great!
The Beautiful Music! I love classical music and I do enjoy Jazz and Don gets to perform both of those in different parts of the movie and it’s amazing and beautiful. It takes a back seat sometimes compared to the racism stuff and the other dramatic moments, but this movie does have those moments where it’s like “Dang, is Mahershala really playing?” lol. But I have to say the choices of background music, whether the characters are listening to it in the car, or it’s musical score, or whatever Don is playing, it really sets a nice atmosphere.
The Friendship Between Don and Tony. As I said in the character section both actors are SO GOOD. If you don’t want to see this movie for anything else, the chemistry and friendship between these two is so good. There are some weird moments, like when Tony is basically telling Don “how to be black” and it can get a little weird and awkward, but a lot of their other interactions are charming and emotional. Whenever Don is helping Tony write letters to his wife, those are gold. They have a great scene outside, I think it’s snowing, great moment. I don’t particularly care for the dialogue, but the moment is well acted.
The Green Book. This is a minor thing, but the movie is called “Green Book” but it’s such a non-thing. We see the Green Book maybe two or three times. We see it when it’s first given to Tony. We don’t really see it again until later, and then we see it one more time when Tony looks at it in the car. I think it should have been a much more involved plot point because the book is the guide for African-American travelers to find motels, restaurants, and filling stations that would serve them, but they never use it seriously! I mean come on!
White Savior. So, this is part of the controversy surrounding this movie and honestly, it really does come off that way. Who knows if that was the intention or not but it’s really kind of glaring. I thought it was odd how they went out of their way to show us Don’s house and its basically Africa in there, not to mention, his “uppity” mindset, the man has a throne in his house. Then literally every situation Don gets into, Tony must come and rescue him. This happens a lot. Then there’s all those times when Tony is teaching Don about black people, because you know, all black people love fried chicken and Little Richard. Sure, sure, you can argue that it just shows that Tony is also a bit racist but still. It’s just really weird how they go about that. Plus, there’s this other scene in a bathroom that also has a weird undertone and not because of the moment but because of it was included at all? I don’t know lol. I mean, it’s like they put Don into situations just so Tony can be the savior… I don’t know if that’s how it happened in real life, but it doesn’t sit well.
Ghosts Over the Issues. Obviously with this movie being set in the 60’s there’s a ton that’s going to happen here. My problem is that it brings up those moments but don’t quite make it in understanding them through the lens of the character it’s happening to. You can argue that as the movie is clearly about Tony, and he doesn’t understand completely so that might be the problem, but I don’t think that’s an excuse. There’s a good scene that’s wonderfully acted by Ali, but the things he’s saying is stuff we hadn’t seen. He talks about not being good enough for white people except when he’s playing for them, but he’s also not accepted by black people because he’s not like them. That would have been a great moment if we ever saw that. We maybe see that one time when he’s invited to play horse shoes and declines. That wasn’t because he “wasn’t like them” they were like “man forget you!” because he didn’t want to play! That doesn’t equate! If you’re going to have a character say something like that, then give us reasons to understand WHY HE’D SAY THAT! Not to mention, Don knows he’s in the South and that he shouldn’t go off on his own, why does he keep doing it then? He’s a smart guy. I just didn’t understand that either.
Overall, I think Green Book is a good and well-made movie. The best thing it has to offer are the performances from Mortensen and Ali. They are fantastic and they play to each other’s strengths very well. Their characters are very different which allows for lots of time of learning and understanding each other and growing to trust and care for the other. All that stuff is great and probably what you should watch the movie for. The music included is beautiful, Don mostly plays a lot of Jazz and he explains why, but we also get some classical and some other types of music. It’s amazing, music feeds the soul. There are charming moments between the two for their friendship as well. Now, obviously there is of course the other stuff, like how the movie is named after something that should have been more integral than it was in the film and that’s lame. Or how it has lots of “white savior” vibes, especially in places where the scripts make Don go off and do stupid things when he is clearly an intelligent man. It doesn’t make sense or add up and I did not like that. I won’t go into it further but it’s a movie I’d recommend watching if you’re a fan of either Viggo Mortensen or Mahershala Ali, which I am of both actors, so take that for what it’s worth.
Rating: 3.69 out of 5 stars.
Have you seen Green Book? What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments below!
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So it’s that time again, where the Academy Awards season is upon us. The 90th Annual Oscars are going to be premiering on March 4, 2018 and I of course will be there front and center as always!
I haven’t seen everything yet, so I can’t really do any predictions but I do hope to see everything that’s nominated for the big stuff before the date.
I of course wanted to get in on reporting the nominations.
Below is the list of nominations!
“Call Me by Your Name” Fantastic Movie, I was enthralled the entire time.
“Get Out” Great movie, with suspense, great acting and directing.
“Lady Bird” Such a realistic view on the relationships between mothers and daughters, and growing into womanhood.
“The Shape of Water”
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Timothée Chalamet, “Call Me by Your Name” He was very good. An enigmatic innocence about him.
Daniel Day-Lewis, “Phantom Thread”
Daniel Kaluuya, “Get Out” Very good. You rooted for him, and you felt his fear when he started to fall into the weird world.
Gary Oldman, “Darkest Hour”
Denzel Washington, “Roman J. Israel, Esq.”
Sally Hawkins, “The Shape of Water”
Frances McDormand, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Margot Robbie, “I, Tonya”
Saoirse Ronan, “Lady Bird” She’s always good, and she was great here. Her character is very interesting and feels like a real teenager trying to navigate the transition into adulthood.
Meryl Streep, “The Post”
Willem Dafoe, “The Florida Project”
Woody Harrelson, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Richard Jenkins, “The Shape of Water”
Christopher Plummer, “All the Money in the World”
Sam Rockwell, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Mary J. Blige, “Mudbound”
Allison Janney, “I, Tonya”
Lesley Manville, “Phantom Thread”
Laurie Metcalf, “Lady Bird” Andy’s mom!! lol I’m kidding. She’s also great. She has great chemistry with Ronan and her character is a bit sad in her own way. You might understand her but at the same time dislike her.
Octavia Spencer, “The Shape of Water”
“Dunkirk,” Christopher Nolan
“Get Out,” Jordan Peele Definitely a strong debut!
“Lady Bird,” Greta Gerwig Another strong debut!
“Phantom Thread,” Paul Thomas Anderson
“The Shape of Water,” Guillermo del Toro
“The Boss Baby,” Tom McGrath, Ramsey Ann Naito
“The Breadwinner,” Nora Twomey, Anthony Leo
“Coco,” Lee Unkrich, Darla K. Anderson Beautiful beautiful film… it’s gonna win.
“Ferdinand,” Carlos Saldanha
“Loving Vincent,” Dorota Kobiela, Hugh Welchman, Sean Bobbitt, Ivan Mactaggart, Hugh Welchman
“Dear Basketball,” Glen Keane, Kobe Bryant
“Garden Party,” Victor Caire, Gabriel Grapperon
“Lou,” Dave Mullins, Dana Murray
“Negative Space,” Max Porter, Ru Kuwahata
“Revolting Rhymes,” Jakob Schuh, Jan Lachauer
“Call Me by Your Name,” James Ivory
“The Disaster Artist,” Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber
“Logan,” Scott Frank & James Mangold and Michael Green
“Molly’s Game,” Aaron Sorkin
“Mudbound,” Virgil Williams and Dee Rees
“The Big Sick,” Emily V. Gordon & Kumail Nanjiani
“Get Out,” Jordan Peele
“Lady Bird,” Greta Gerwig
“The Shape of Water,” Guillermo del Toro, Vanessa Taylor
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” Martin McDonagh
“Blade Runner 2049,” Roger Deakins
“Darkest Hour,” Bruno Delbonnel
“Dunkirk,” Hoyte van Hoytema
“Mudbound,” Rachel Morrison
“The Shape of Water,” Dan Laustsen
Best Documentary Feature:
“Abacus: Small Enough to Jail,” Steve James, Mark Mitten, Julie Goldman
“Faces Places,” JR, Agnès Varda, Rosalie Varda
“Icarus,” Bryan Fogel, Dan Cogan
“Last Men in Aleppo,” Feras Fayyad, Kareem Abeed, Soren Steen Jepersen
“Strong Island,” Yance Ford, Joslyn Barnes
Best Documentary Short Subject:
“Edith+Eddie,” Laura Checkoway, Thomas Lee Wright
“Heaven is a Traffic Jam on the 405,” Frank Stiefel
“Heroin(e),” Elaine McMillion Sheldon, Kerrin Sheldon
“Knife Skills,” Thomas Lennon
“Traffic Stop,” Kate Davis, David Heilbroner
Best Live Action Short Film:
“DeKalb Elementary,” Reed Van Dyk
“The Eleven O’Clock,” Derin Seale, Josh Lawson
“My Nephew Emmett,” Kevin Wilson, Jr.
“The Silent Child,” Chris Overton, Rachel Shenton
“Watu Wote/All of Us,” Katja Benrath, Tobias Rosen
Best Foreign Language Film:
“A Fantastic Woman” (Chile)
“The Insult” (Lebanon)
“On Body and Soul (Hungary)
“The Square” (Sweden)
“Baby Driver,” Jonathan Amos, Paul Machliss
“Dunkirk,” Lee Smith
“I, Tonya,” Tatiana S. Riegel
“The Shape of Water,” Sidney Wolinsky
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” Jon Gregory
“Baby Driver,” Julian Slater
“Blade Runner 2049,” Mark Mangini, Theo Green
“Dunkirk,” Alex Gibson, Richard King
“The Shape of Water,” Nathan Robitaille, Nelson Ferreira
“Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” Ren Klyce, Matthew Wood
“Baby Driver,” Mary H. Ellis, Julian Slater, Tim Cavagin
“Blade Runner 2049,” Mac Ruth, Ron Bartlett, Doug Hephill
“Dunkirk,” Mark Weingarten, Gregg Landaker, Gary A. Rizzo
“The Shape of Water,” Glen Gauthier, Christian Cooke, Brad Zoern
“Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” Stuart Wilson, Ren Klyce, David Parker, Michael Semanick
“Beauty and the Beast,” Sarah Greenwood; Katie Spencer
“Blade Runner 2049,” Dennis Gassner, Alessandra Querzola
“Darkest Hour,” Sarah Greenwood, Katie Spencer
“Dunkirk,” Nathan Crowley, Gary Fettis
“The Shape of Water,” Paul D. Austerberry, Jeffrey A. Melvin, Shane Vieau
“Dunkirk,” Hans Zimmer
“Phantom Thread,” Jonny Greenwood
“The Shape of Water,” Alexandre Desplat
“Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” John Williams
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” Carter Burwell
“Mighty River” from “Mudbound,” Mary J. Blige
“Mystery of Love” from “Call Me by Your Name,” Sufjan Stevens
“Remember Me” from “Coco,” Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Robert Lopez
“Stand Up for Something” from “Marshall,” Diane Warren, Common
“This Is Me” from “The Greatest Showman,” Benj Pasek, Justin Paul
Makeup and Hair:
“Darkest Hour,” Kazuhiro Tsuji, David Malinowski, Lucy Sibbick
“Victoria and Abdul,” Daniel Phillips and Lou Sheppard
“Wonder,” Arjen Tuiten The makeup was really good for Auggie.
“Beauty and the Beast,” Jacqueline Durran Would not be surprised if this wins because say what you want about her yellow dress, the costumes in this movie are beautiful. The attention to detail is amazing.
“Darkest Hour,” Jacqueline Durran
“Phantom Thread,” Mark Bridges
“The Shape of Water,” Luis Sequeira
“Victoria and Abdul,” Consolata Boyle
“Blade Runner 2049,” John Nelson, Paul Lambert, Richard R. Hoover, Gerd Nefzer
“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” Christopher Townsend, Guy Williams, Jonathan Fawkner, Dan Sudick
“Kong: Skull Island,” Stephen Rosenbaum, Jeff White, Scott Benza, Mike Meinardus
“Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” Ben Morris, Mike Mulholland, Chris Corbould, Neal Scanlan
“War for the Planet of the Apes,” Joe Letteri, Dan Lemmon, Daniel Barrett, Joel Whist