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Nebraska (viewed 01 March 2014 in theaters as part of AMC Best Picture Showcase 2014)
A while back, my family watched Napoleon Dynamite and my father’s only comment was “If I wanted to watch real life, I’d go back to living in [rural Texas, where he grew up].” Well, that’s how I felt watching Nebraska; if I wanted to watch reality, I’d just move to rural Texas with my Grandma. /sigh/ That being said, it was a good movie, just… hard. And shot completely in shades of grey (literally). Well cast and well acted, it just felt too close to home to enjoy watching it for any extended length of time. And, unlike Napoleon Dynamite, it wasn’t even trying to be funny.

Something the Lord Made (viewed at home 23 February 2014)
The partnership between a white man with a doctoral degree and black man with a high school education literally changed the world. I learned nolitangere: do not touch the heart; ancient medical wisdom that was knocked flat on its ass when Blalock and Thomas came along. The politics at Johns Hopkins and between white and black people was despicable, and seeing how crappy people have been (are still being) treated always makes me want to take to the streets in protest. It’s gotten better, but what the hell. How has it been this long since the partnership between these men and we’re still acting like collective dickheads?? Really? Argh. /flips table/

12 Years a Slave (viewed 22 February 2014 in theaters as part of AMC Best Picture Showcase 2014)
Good, hard movie. Well performed and shot. If there’s anyone who deserves the Oscar for Best Actor, it’s the guy who played the title character, no doubt. Now, as for the film itself: difficult to watch, graphic, and at times sickening. And I realize that “the slave states were actually like that” but do we REALLY have to use the n-word over and over? And coming from white people’s mouths? If a person of color wants to use the n-word as a way to reclaim it, that’s their right, but I don’t think a white person should ever say it… in jest, on screen, or otherwise.

The Wolf of Wall Street (viewed 22 February 2014 in theaters as part of AMC Best Picture Showcase 2014)
Wow no. Just. No. Sexism, heterosexism, extensive drug use, over use of the word “fuck” (539 times in 2 hours and 50 minutes, to be exact). Ugh. I didn’t like any part of this movie. So much excess and it got old really fast. It could’ve ended in like three places, at least one of them an hour sooner than it did. Black comedy? No, just blech.

Dallas Buyers Club (viewed 22 February 2014 in theaters as part of AMC Best Picture Showcase 2014)
Decent. Of the films I saw on the first day of the showcase, I’d give this one a pretty good shot for Best Picture. It annoys me, however, that people seem to give extra credit to “hard stories”—which this story definitely is—and awards to dickwads (ie: Jared Leto) for playing “impossible” characters. I’m getting really tired of straight guys being awarded for playing gay/transgender people on screen. It’s not like there’s a dearth of gay/transgender actors who could play those parts. I don’t even want that, really, I just want people to stop lauding the guys who already have everything for pretending to be something that’s so difficult to be on screen. Real people deal with that shit every day and don’t get awarded; sometimes they don’t even survive.

Viannah E. Duncan

Viannah E. Duncan is a writer and activist hailing originally from Los Angeles. She lives outside of Baltimore, Maryland, and holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Wilkes University. She has a cat, Cleo.

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