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2020 Oscar Rankings/Predictions

February 9, 2020

Oscar Rankings

I won’t rank any movies in parentheses because that means I haven’t seen them yet.

Best Picture
1. Parasite
2. Joker
3. Marriage Story
4. Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood
5. 1917
6. Jojo Rabbit
7. The Irishman
8. Little Women
9. Ford v Ferrari

Prediction: 1917

Best Director
1. Sam Mendes, 1917
2. Bong Joon Ho, Parasite
3. Todd Phillips, Joker
4. Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood
5. Martin Scorsese, The Irishman

Prediction: Mendes

Best Actress
1. Scarlett Johansson, Marriage Story
2. Renee Zellweger, Judy
3. Saoirse Ronan, Little Women
(Charlize Theron, Bombshell)
(Cynthia Erivo, Harriet)

Prediction: Zellweger

Best Actor
1. Joaquin Phoenix, Joker
2. Adam Driver, Marriage Story
3. Leonardo DiCaprio, Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood
4. Jonathan Pryce, The Two Popes
(Antonio Banderas, Pain & Glory

Prediction: Phoenix

Best Supporting Actress
1. Laura Dern, Marriage Story
2. Scarlett Johansson, Jojo Rabbit
3. Florence Pugh, Little Women
(Kathy Bates, Richard Jewell)
(Margot Robbie, Bombshell)

Prediction: Dern

Best Supporting Actor
1. Brad Pitt, Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood
2. Al Pacino, The Irishman
3. Anthony Hopkins, The Two Popes
4. Joe Pesci, The Irishman
(Tom Hanks, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood)

Prediction: Pitt

Best Original Screenplay
1. Parasite
2. Knives Out
3. Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood
4. Marriage Story
5. 1917

Prediction: Parasite

Best Adapted Screenplay
1. Joker
2. Jojo Rabbit
3. The Two Popes
4. Little Women
5. The Irishman

Prediction: Jojo Rabbit

Best Animated Feature
1. Toy Story 4
2. Klaus
3. Missing Link
4. I Lost My Body
5. How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World

Prediction: Toy Story 4

Cinematography
1. 1917
2. Joker
3. The Lighthouse
4. Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood
5. The Irishman

Prediction: 1917

Costume Design
1. Little Women
2. Joker
3. Jojo Rabbit
4. Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood
5. The Irishman

Prediction: Little Women

Makeup and Hairstyling
1. Joker
2. Judy
3. 1917
(Bombshell)
(Maleficent: Mistress of Evil)

Prediction: Bombshell

Production Design
1. 1917
2. Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood
3. Parasite
4. Jojo Rabbit
5. The Irishman

Prediction: 1917

Visual Effects
1. 1917
2. The Lion King
3. The Irishman
4. Avengers: Endgame
5. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Prediction: 1917

Score
1. Joker
2. 1917
3. Marriage Story
4. Little Women
5. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Prediction: Joker

International Feature
1. Parasite
2. Honeyland
(Pain & Glory)
(Corpus Christi)
(Les Miserables)

Prediction: Parasite

Documentary Feature

Prediction: Honeyland

Original Song

Prediction: Elton John & Bernie Taupin, “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again,” Rocketman

I don’t know anything about film or sound editing or sound mixing and I haven’t seen any of the shorts, so I won’t make any predictions there.

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2020 LAPC Event #6: $600 H.O.R.S.E.

February 6, 2020

On Tuesday I showed up for this event only to discover that I had my days mixed up and the $600 Stud Hi tournament was that day. I was on the fence about that one when I headed down to LA, but I showed up that day to play a tournament so I hopped in.

I decided not to blog that one just to switch up my mojo and when I got off to such a blistering start that my tablemates couldn’t help but express their jealousy I thought maybe I was going to do a typical Dark Knight thing: crush a tournament I didn’t really plan to play.

Alas, it doesn’t matter much how you start, it’s all about how good you run/play when the limits are large. I ran pure for the first three levels but after that, not much good happened for me and I whimpered along to a 19th place finish – ten spots off the money and my second straight day of wasting 10+ hours to outlast nearly 80% of the field and still not really sniff a cash.

Yesterday, my wife and I decided to go to Universal Studios and it was amazingly empty so we didn’t have to wait in hardly any lines. Last time I was here, the Jurassic World ride had just opened and had a line with a three hour wait basically all day… so I didn’t bother going. Yesterday, we waited maybe two minutes after walking through the queue.

Some pics:

We capped our night with dinner at the Italian restaurant on the Universal City Walk and a viewing of Bad Boys For Life.

I dropped my wife off at the airport this morning and now it’s back to business. This is my last chance for redemption. I can’t play the Draw Mix tourney on Friday because it’s a 2-day event and I fly out early Saturday, so this is my last hurrah this trip.

20k starting stacks, 40 min levels

Let’s.

Go.

First Break

Card dead first three levels. I defended QJo in Hold’em and got the KT9 flop and a check-raise in on the turn during the first level and that’s the only cool thing that’s happened so far. I’ve played zero O8 hands, zero Razz hands, and zero Stud Hi hands so far.

18k coming back to 400/800 betting limits.

Second Break

Groan. I was up to about 28k before an ugly last couple of hands in Limit Hold’em before the break.

Hand #1: Guy opens, I 3-bet AQo, Frank Kassela caps from SB, BB calls it off, and four of us see a 952 flop. Frank bets and we all call. Turn is a jack and it checks around. River pairs the 9 and Frank gets called in one spot and his TT is good.

Hand #2: Very next hand, Ari Engel opens from lojack, I 3-bet AQo again, Frank caps button, and the three of us see KKx flop. It checks around. Turn is an ace, Ari leads, I call, and Frank overcalls. River is a blank and Ari still bets. I hate my hand. I think AQ is one of the worst hands Ari would value bet in this spot and I don’t think he’s ever bluffing here, so I figure I’m rarely scooping this pot. I think Frank is capable of checking back a king on the flop, but I’m guessing he’s usually betting, so I figure I have him beat. I’m getting almost 11 to 1 though, so I torch off the 1200, Frank folds AJ behind me and Ari tables the K8hh.

19k coming back to 800/1600 limits.

Third Break

I have crumbs. Tournaments are so weird. It’s pretty rare for me to string together multiple days in a row in cash games where I never have an extended upswing but in tournaments it can be like clockwork. I think I had a two hour period this whole series where I can say I ran well.

I’ve played almost 40 hours in tournaments the past 10 days.

The rest of the time I’ve lost most of the important hands I’ve played with a random pot that goes my way every few hours or so.

Blah.

More of the same these last three levels. I start with 74-3 in Razz and an opponent with a 9 up gets all her chips in. She makes a QT low. I can’t beat it.

I have 8bb in LHE when Ari raises from SB. I defend 64dd and we see a flop of 932dd. He bets, I raise, he calls. Turn is Ks and he check-calls. River is the Js and I have one big bet left. I decide to save it and check back. He’s never folding anything with showdown value. He tables… Q6o. I know he was calling but it’s still just sickening.

Then I have < two bigs left and call Ari’s raise with K9o. Three others tag along. Flop is A54 and it checks to a nit on the button and he bets. I text my friends that I’m out. Everyone else folds and he shows AJ but then the board runs out 9-9!

Quintuple!

Then I had a bad o8 orbit where I opened twice, bricked and folded.

3500 coming back to 300/1500/3000

Need things to go exceedingly well for me to get back in this thing and not have a BUSTED update in the next few minutes.

BUSTED

A fitting end to my series. I start with A5-4 in Razz with a 5 and 4 dead and all the deuces and treys live. Ari opens with his 5 up, I 3-bet and he calls. I catch a 3 on 4th and he gets a 7. I bet he calls. I pair the 3 on 5th and he gets a deuce. He leads and I’m all in.

His final hand is Q752x.

I can’t beat it.

My board runs out A5-433K-3.

And I’m out. And I’m done for this trip. I don’t fly out til Saturday so I’ll probably play cash tomorrow but I’m actually going to look into flights for tonight.

Get fucked, L.A.

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LAPC 2020 Event #4: $600 Omaha 8/B

February 3, 2020

And… we’re back. I played 40/80 cash all day on Saturday and bounced back from an early -$2k start to finish at +$2575 and get February off to a solid start.

Yesterday was the Super Bowl so I headed to the movie theater for entertainment and caught a couple of Best Picture nominees in Jojo Rabbit and Ford v Ferrari. I won’t post my thoughts on those movies before the Oscars so I’ll just say this: Jojo Rabbit is probably a top ten 2019 movie for me and Ford v Ferrari was better than I thought it was going to be – certainly in my top 20 and probably in my top 15.

This event started at noon and is actually a 2-day event, something I didn’t know before coming down here, and this info has thrown a wrench into my plans. I was going to play the $600 Draw Mix tourney on Friday but I fly out early Saturday so I can’t play that one now. I could change my flight to Sunday but I’d rather not travel on Oscar day.

20k starting stacks, 40m levels, blinds starting at 100/100.

Check back here for stack updates on breaks every couple hours or so.

First Break

Not a bad start considering some of the run outs I’ve had so far:

AQ63 vs A32 on Q6228

AJ42 vs A842 on AAK68

AA32 vs A73x on 86452

I did have one lucky one that went my way when I raised one limper with double suited A632 and then he donked into me on JT3ss. I had two players behind me and decided to raise to possibly clear out some duplicate backdoor lows and take a likely free card if I brick the turn against a passive player. And if everyone calls two bets, I’m fine wit that because I have the nut flush draw here – AND BOTTOM PAIR. The other two players do fold though and I check back the 5 turn. I think betting here could be fine since I’m not getting scooped on the river very often, but I know if I brick this guy isn’t folding so I might as well wait until I have the best hand to put more money in. I check back and the river is a 4 and he check-calls and I scoop.

25.4k

The most chips I’ve had in three tournaments so far is 133% of the starting stack so I have a chance at a peak series stack on the next pot I win. 😂

Pretty sad, but you gotta start somewhere.

Second Break

Card dead this stretch but I did reach a series peak stack of 145% (29k) but I’ve dwindled back down after getting scooped on the first hand back from break. I had a couple of interesting hands but I don’t have time to talk about them.

20.5k

Third Break

Well, I haven’t made it this far yet, so that’s something. But variance is not being kind to me and I can’t take advantage of the punts. Dude calls my 3-bet cold with KK93 and then calls down on T824J in a 3-way pot when I have AQT3 double suited. A different guy opens button when I have AA52 in the big and gets the KQ86T runout with QJ76 and scoops me. Blah.

I’m ready for my first rush of this series… right… now.

15.5k coming back to 1000/1500 blinds.

91 entrants. 12 cash. 56 left and I think we play to the money today.

Fourth Break

Momentum!

Found a nice scooper with AK64 on AK32Q and peaked at around 43k but lost a couple non-showdown hands before the break.

30.5k coming back to blinds of 1500/2500 with 38 players left.

Fifth Break

No justice in poker. I might still be in this thing but I haven’t run even remotely decent.

I got up over 45k when I had AK82hh on 962hhJTh board in a 5-way limped pot, but I was short so I wasn’t pushing the action and no one called my river bet.

And then pain.

First, I limp along with J542 double suited on the button and raise a bet from the cutoff on T65ss. I’m just trying to clean up outs by getting this heads up if I can. Everyone else folds and he just calls. Mission accomplished. Turn is a 3 and he donks into me. Kind of strange but it seems like he should have at least 42 here also, so I just call. River is a beautiful ace and he still leads. I go into a long enough tank that this dude probably thinks he’s getting the whole pot no matter what I have and I just think he has to have 42 here also so I just call to prevent myself from losing extra chips when I’m in a worst case scenario. He turns his cards over and emphasizes the 42 in his hand. I’m showing my 42 also and the dealer is trying to figure things out and my opponent does that thing where they get all annoyed and say, “it’s a chop,” so it’s up to me to mention that this fucking guy has a 7 in his hand and I end up getting quartered.

Then I get quartered again with AK72hh on 766hh59 against AQ92. 🤦🏻‍♂️

Then I get scooped when I have AT82 vs an all in opponent (4bb) holding AQ32 on AT8JK.

I went all the way down to 15.5k but I got some mercy folds with AAKTdd when two players called pre and I put my tourney life on the line on a 773dd flop. Definitely happy to win that one uncontested.

25k coming back to 2000/4000 blinds and 28 players remain.

BUSTED

Today couldn’t have been more agonizing. I would have rather busted out six hours ago. I ran like shit all day and won just enough pots to keep me alive but almost every hand I played had a comically horrible outcome.

On the hand that crippled me, the cut opens and I defend with AK74. Flop is AT3 and I check-call a bet. Turn is a king and I donk out and he calls. River pairs the ten and I bet and he raises. I go into about a two minute tank but I know I’m beat here because he’s never bluffing so I’m mostly just cursing my unending brutal bad luck. Part of me just wants to toss my last two bigs in and make the call but that’s just a give up, so I finally fold. He didn’t show but after we redrew for finally three tables, he told me he had AT which is exactly what I thought he had. So fucking sick.

I fold to my big blind and put my last chips in vs utg raise without looking. I turn over KQJ9 which isn’t bad and I even make trip jacks but he has AJ22 and I busted out in 21st, nine spots off a cash, despite running like dog shit all day long.

Sigh.

HORSE tomorrow.

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LAPC Event #3: $400 T.O.E. (Stack Updates)

January 31, 2020

What’s T.O.E.? Well, it’s 2-7 Triple Draw, Omaha Eight or Better and Stud Eight or Better.

The rest of the details are the same as the first two tourneys: 15k start, 30 min levels, no re-entry, etc.

I slept miserably last night and woke up later than usual so we have an ETA if roughy 2 PM right now so we are going to miss the first two levels. That’s pretty sad because I expect to have a pretty large edge in 2-7. If the field is reasonably sizable I’d imagine only a handful of people are playing 2-7 on any regular basis. I play it all the time and I’ve had to learn the hard way how easy (and costly) it is to make mistakes in this game. If you don’t play it regularly and never study it, chances are you are going to SUCK. Needless to say, it would be ideal to play as many hands of 2-7 when this event is at its softest and loosest.

But here we are.

Ducky has departed for SeaTac and Fanboy said something about “buying” Palm Springs, so this one is just going to be Joker and myself.

I feel like I should point out that my group is currently a combined 0-8 in tournaments so far this trip.

I went +$421 in the Mix at The Bike on Wednesday night and +$1617 in the Commerce Mix last night, so apparently I am actually capable of stringing some winning hands together. Check back here for stack updates every break and hopefully one of us can finally do something interesting today!

First Break

Well, I only got half an hour of play in before the first break and in typical tournament fashion I had almost zero playable spots. We actually started with 2-7 Triple Draw and I folded 6 of 6 hands, including giving the big blind a walk twice when I was in the small blind. That was kind of painful, but I’m not going to go out of my way to get involved with weak holdings. That’s what they do!

I won a small pot with KJ95 double suited when I opened from the button and flopped top two, but that’s all I have to report so far.

Dark Knight 14.6k

Joker 13k

Second Break

Holy hell. I have all the injustice tilt. I am not allowed to win pots in tournaments right now. I’ve won three hands today but only one of any significance and, honestly, it was basically a punt on my part. I’ll say this much: there were raises on two streets and my hand at showdown was J7643 in 2-7. Super gross.

Here’s another absolutely sick 2-7 hand: I open with 8652 and guy behind me 3-bets, and I 4-bet. I draw one and he says, “whoops” and draws two. I bet dark and he calls. I draw one and… he pats?! Wtf. I brick and check and… he checks back?! Good God, what kind of garbage am I about to lose to? I make a J8 on the third draw and part of me thinks maybe? He checks back and shows T98xx.

I can’t even fathom it. This is why I was excited about 2-7 today… but I am super crippled. I got all in on the last hand before break drawing to three scoop outs with a nut low draw. I made the low, so I survived but both of my opponents had A4 for the same low so I only got 1/6 of the pot.

Dark Knight 1800

Joker 18.8k

I have three big blinds now so this could be quick for me.

Dark Knight BUSTED

What a joke this is. I double up utg on the last hand of Omaha 8 and then we move on to Stud 8.

I’m bring in with A2-5 and some ding dong opens with K3-3 and we eventually get all my chips in on 5th and going into 7th I have A2-5456 vs K3-3K2x (edit: he had K3-3J2x on 6th and rivered a 2) and I brick 7th and he catches two pair. No double.

Then I lose a smallish pot where I give up on 5th and then former LAPC co-TD Justin Hammer opens with a 7 up in front of me. I have 95-A with two diamonds and only three big blinds so I decide to go with it and we get all in on 4th and he shows 97-79 and all I have at showdown is a pair of 5s.

So I’m out. And I’m pretty bitter about it. I haven’t even been close to being in one of these things yet.

Joker still in with a starting stack. I’ll keep his progress updated here. I’m going to bang my head against a wall for about an hour before I decide what cash games I’m going to play tonight.

My next tournament isn’t until Monday so I won’t have any new posts until then.

🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬

Update:

Joker BUSTED

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2020 LAPC Event #2: $400 H.O.R.S.E.(Stack Updates)

January 30, 2020

Same details as yesterday. Just Joker and me in this one. Radio Mike doesn’t play mix and, after showing up three hours late and busting in 15 minutes, Ducky claims that “tournaments are boring.” So… he’s sitting this one out. However, FanBoy has arrived in LA and says he’s “coming for [me].” So I guess we have three sweats today.

We took our time getting ready and our ETA is about 1:30, so we are looking to sit down sometime just after the start of level 2… which is actually the same structure as level 1.

First Break

A decent start so far. I’ve won some small pots and got half a big multi-way Stud 8 pot with a queen high flush.

Dark Knight 20k

FanBoy 18k

Joker 12k

Update

Ducky couldn’t handle my ribbing and has decided to torch another $400 by registering this tournament.

Second Break

Not a good stretch for me. I had some good Razz starters that turned to dust and basically played no other hands. I’m back to starting stack.

Dark Knight 14.2k

Ducky 17k

Joker 14k

Fanboy 15k

Third Break

Still card dead. I had a dumb Stud 8 hand where I’m drawing to a better low than my opponent and make 8s and 4s instead but get scooped by a very disguised three of a kind.

I also had KQdd in Limit Hold’em when I had nine bigs and UTG raised and UTG+1 3-bet… I was next to act and decided to pitch it. It ended up getting capped 3-ways and then this was the board on the turn:

One of the guys in the pot had TT with a diamond so I didn’t fold a Royal Flush but the 4d on the river would have more than tripled me up…. because if I go with the hand, I’m capping it and I’m never folding.

Instead, I’m taking less than 8 bigs to the next level.

Dark Knight 8k

Fanboy 22k

Ducky 8k

Joker 9k

BUSTED

Poker tournaments are so brutal sometimes. I get moved to a new table where I’m the shortest stack and they greet me with three straight bring ins when we are playing Razz and then I finally get a playable hand holding 65-7 but there are two 8s, two aces, and two deuces dead. One of the 8s opens and Barbara Enright raises with a deuce up. I’m next to act with an ace still behind me. Sigh. I’m starting rough and half the outs I have to the best hands I can make are already accounted for. I feel like that makes this a fold but I honestly don’t know. I had like 5-6 bigs at this point. I ended up mucking.

Then I anted all the way down to 3500 (2.33 bigs) and finally had half the table fold to me in Stud holding a AT-K. I decided to go with this one and someone with a 9 up put me all in after thinking about it for a while. He had K9-9 and I caught a bunch of totally worthless cards and busted out.

Ducky busted a little bit before me and Fanboy was on fumes when I left the room. No idea what Joker has but he’s probably not in great shape either.

We all suck.

I’ll post updates on how Joker and Fanboy are doing.

Update

Joker BUSTED

Update

Looks like Joker and I are starting a 20/40 Mix with James Woods, Ron Ware, and Miami John

Update

Fanboy BUSTED

Confirmed we all do suck. Fanboy in 60/120 LHE now, Radio Mike and Ducky in 20/40 LHE, and Joker and I still in 20/40 Mix.

$400 T.O.E. tomorrow.

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2020 LAPC: $400 Limit Hold’em Tournament

January 29, 2020

I started my trip off with a -$464 in some 20/40 LHE last night. It was one of those instances where I didn’t really want to play and then I go play anyway and book a loss and wonder why I do this to myself. The loss isn’t big, or even noteworthy, it’s the nit listening to myself that bothers me.

I woke up at 8am and spent the next 8+ hours in travel mode. We were talking about putting in a session around 5:30 PM and the 12 mile commute to The Bike was a solid 45 minutes or so and it wasn’t looking like I would get in a game until 6:30ish and I didn’t really want to play past midnight… so what was I doing? I thought they might get their 25/50 mix game off the ground and that’s what ultimately pushed me out the door. But that never happened. And for most of the time I spent playing 20, the games were pretty blah. Of course, it didn’t help much having my friends Radio Mike and Ducky at my tables most of the time.

But then I got moved to the third table – the main game – and suddenly the game looked pretty ripe. I saw six different players at the table employing limping into their strategy and some of them were showing up with some LOL hands.

My favorite hand of the night: two players limp in and I check my option with 98dd. The flop is A83 with two clubs. I bet and the second limper calls. The turn is a 6 and it goes bet-call again. The river is a 4 and I don’t see much value here, so I check it over to him and he checks back. I table my hand. The dealer pulls my cards in and shows my 5-card hand and my opponent stares at it for a solid 10+ seconds. I’m not sure what all the theatrics are for in this micro pot but it seems pretty obvious that my hand is good and then he confirms this by flipping over an 8 so I guess he’s just slow folding because he’s annoyed that I have him outkicked here? Another 5-8 seconds go by before he flips over a ten and wins the pot. I have no history with this player so I don’t know wtf is going on here but wow.

Unfortunately, I was too tired and it was approaching midnight so I didn’t get a chance to play much in what looked to be a juicy game. I didn’t want to push myself on my first day here and start my first tourney wishing I had gotten more sleep.

The Limit Hold’em tourney starts in about an hour. Ducky got buried last night and played until the early morning hours trying to get even (and booked a $500 win!) so he will not be joining Radio Mike, Joker, and myself for this $400 LHE event – at least not for the start of the tourney. I think he tumbled in around 9am and late reg closes around 4, so I’ll be pretty surprised to see him sign up today.

Check back here for stack updates for all three of us and maybe some notable hands if I feel like sharing and have the time.

Details: 8-handed play, 15k starting stacks, blinds starting at 100/100, 30 minute levels

My table is 6-handed right now and I don’t recognize anyone.

First Break: Rough start for me. I lost a third of my stack before winning a pot, whiffing a 3-bet pot with AQss on 962ss, whiffing a 4-bet 3-way pot with KTdd on JJ9dd, and the grossest one: QQ vs 77 in a 4-bet 4-way pot on T5347.

I finally got one when I defended K8o 3-ways and got the K84sss flop and got a check-raise in on the turn and my hand was still good on the 7-7 runout vs Kx. Then I defend 65o 3-ways, donked the 642 flop, bet the 9 turn and picked off a bluff on the King river vs 55.

I’m coming back to 13.4k and blinds of 200/300.

Joker 10k

Radio Mike 14.6k

Ducky 😴😴😴

Second Break: I just won my first pot… outside of a big blind defense. That means I’m losing with all my best hands… including, over the last 90 minutes, JJ vs 99 on 997 in a 4-bet 3-way pot (I got off the hook for 1.5 big bets post on that one though) and AT vs 65o on T5546.

I’m pretty frustrated and I think it has cost me some bets. For instance, on that AT vs 65 hand, I had opened preflop and my opponent called a raise from the small blind, so while he probably shouldn’t show up with trips or an overpair here very often, the fact that he is check-raising me means he has it. At least this guy does. He’s not bluffing here. So why do I call down then?

Currently collecting myself on break with a reminder to not waste bets when I’m obviously toast.

I’m coming back to 10k with blinds going up to 300/600. Time for some run good!

Dark Knight 10k

Radio Mike 24k

Joker 24k

Ducky… 15k! Yup he made it in.

BUSTED

First hand back, I open AT on the button and lose half my chips to the small blind’s KT when he makes two pair.

Then I get my last four bigs in 4-ways with A8dd and get a dreamy looking AK4dd flop, but the turn is a king and two of my opponents have one of those cards and show the unsurprising bad news when the river bricks me.

Not sure what I’m going to do now. I’ll probably wait to hop in a cash game until after my wife gets off work and we talk, but I will post stack updates for all three of my friends that outlasted me. 😂

Update:

Ducky BUSTED

Joker BUSTED

Radio Mike avg stack with 48 left

Ducky and I are playing some 20/40 Mix at Bike and I have lost every hand I’ve played so far.

Update: Radio Mike busted in 24th, nine spots of the money. We all suck.

$400 HORSE tomorrow.

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January 2020 Movie Reviews

January 28, 2020

Parasite (2019, theaters) *second watch – I had to watch this one twice before I wrote about it just to be sure that it was as truly great as I thought it was the first time. It’s official now: Parasite is my favorite movie of 2019 and it’s unlikely that anything I haven’t seen yet will top it at this point. The film is just pure brilliance: it’s gripping, funny, surprising and beautifully filmed, all while acting as a commentary on the divide between social classes, plus the ensemble cast does a great (and mostly overlooked) job. Maybe the cast has been snubbed by American awards because Parasite is a Korean film and American audiences are spending a good deal of the movie reading the subtitles instead of watching the performances. You definitely can’t appreciate an acting performance to its full extent if you don’t understand what they are saying and your attention is elsewhere most of the time. I guess that’s understandable, but still… I thought the cast was great overall and, even without knowing the language, I could see that Kang-ho Song (poor dad), Yeo-jeong Jo (rich wife), So-dam Park (poor daughter), and Jeong-eun Lee (housekeeper) all gave standout performances. I think Parasite deserves the Best Picture Oscar (but I think 1917 is probably the favorite) and the Oscar for Best Screenplay should be a lock as anything else winning would be laughable. Parasite is the best movie of the year and possibly the only truly sensational film to come out of 2019.

9/10 (Sensational)

1917 (2019, theaters) – This movie is a technical marvel. It’s a war picture that’s presented to look like everything was filmed in one shot (it wasn’t). I think it’s a cool concept and while I could spot certain times where they probably made a cut (i.e. the actors disappear behind a solid object so there are no moving parts on screen), I think they sold it really well and I would imagine some of these sequences still had to be extraordinarily long and that’s pretty damn impressive, both from a filming aspect and the ability of the actors to carry out the scenes convincingly. The set designs in this film are unreal and I would imagine 1917 has a really good shot at the Production Design Oscar. The story follows two soldiers sent to the front lines to deliver a message to stop their attack, or something of that nature. The character development in this isn’t a strength but I didn’t mind. I may not have been emotionally invested in the story, but I was definitely blown away by how it was presented. I could see people that don’t appreciate the technical aspects of films thinking that 1917 is pretty meh, but I loved it and I think it firmly lands in my top 5 of the year.

8/10 (Must See)

Uncut Gems (2019, theaters) – This one has polarized audiences – people either seem to love it or absolutely loathe it. I was in the former camp, as I was entertained the whole movie and thought it was borderline hilarious, but not in the in-your-face kind of way an Adam Sandler comedy usually is. Uncut Gems is much more subtle with the humor, possibly because a lot of the funniest parts are also a bit horrifying. I’ve heard this movie described as a two hour panic attack and that’s not a bad description. The movie opens with Sandler’s character getting a colonoscopy and that’s by far the most relaxing moment he has in the entire movie. After that point, he’s nonstop on the go and the tension basically never lets up. This movie is about a foul-mouthed (Uncut Gems has the 7th most “F-words” in cinematic history) NYC Diamond District jewelry peddler that bets big on sports and spends his life looking for ways to stay in action while dodging the loan sharks he owes. It’s grimy. It’s unsettling. It’s definitely disturbing. But I liked it a lot and Adam Sandler is great in it. I’m not sure he got snubbed for an Oscar nom, but I wouldn’t have found it alarming to see him get a nod. I’m hesitant to recommend Uncut Gems because so many people disliked it, but if we have similar taste, you might find yourself enjoying this just as much as I did.

7/10 (Highly Enjoyable)

Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood (2019, rental) *second watch – My first review for this movie wasn’t that favorable but a second viewing made a huge difference. Maybe it’s all about expectations? I’ve gone from wondering what the heck I just watched to loving this film. Previously, I thought the plot meandered along with no meaningful connection between the multiple storylines and the climax rubbed me the wrong way (and maybe it still does) but now I can’t help but appreciate the sheer brilliance of everything that’s happening on the screen – from the unreal performances from both Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt, to the ridiculously detailed old school Hollywood set designs, to the music, to the wonderful cinematography. Also, there are multiples sequences in this movie that will probably wind up being iconic. I still think the ending of this movie is weird and probably disrespectful, but… it’s also kind of cool? Same with the Bruce Lee scene. Disrespectful? Yeah, probably. Hilarious and awesome? Uh… yes. I can’t think of too many movies that have grown on me this much with a second watch, but this is now one of my favorite films of the year.

8/10 (Must See)

Little Women (2019, theaters) – I’ve never read the classic novel or seen any of the previous film versions of this story, so I have nothing to compare it to and that might be a good thing. I was excited to see Greta Gerwig’s follow-up to her excellent Lady Bird and the cast looked unreal. Unsurprisingly, the cast absolutely delivers. Saoirse Ronan is arguably the best actress under thirty and earned her fourth Oscar nomination in the last twelve years and it is well deserved. Pretty impressive for someone that hasn’t had their 26th birthday yet. Florence Pugh completed a trifecta of great performances in 2019 (the others being Fighting With My Family and Midsommar) and capped off her amazing year by getting an Oscar nod for this movie. I’m not even sure it’s even her second best performance of the year, but I’m definitely happy to see her get nominated… she deserves it. Maybe not for this role… but something. All of them? I was enjoying Little Women for most of the run time, but the last act really brought everything together wonderfully and kicked my rating up a tick. It’s a fun film about people that only cements Gerwig’s status as a top notch film director. I give it a strong recommendation, but it’s definitely not a bro movie.

7/10 (Highly Enjoyable)

Judy (2019, rental) – I did not enjoy Judy, but I do give credit to Renee Zellweger for her great performance and it’s definitely the highlight of the movie. I’ve enjoyed plenty of depressing films – and Judy Garland’s last few years on earth are definitely sad – but I just didn’t get into this one. It’s possible I just wasn’t paying enough attention, as I was multitasking while watching it. Zellweger is wonderfully unrecognizable and dives deep into character, convincingly selling herself as an old time celebrity trying to recapture the limelight while battling addiction and alcoholism and struggling to hold her family together. And she also bets out some impressive songs. I loved Zellweger’s performance. I did not love the movie.

5/10 (Decent)

I Lost My Body (2019, Netflix) – Nominated for a Best Animated Feature Oscar, this is a weird, but cool little film that finds a severed hand escaping from a laboratory to reconnect with its body. This was definitely an enjoyable movie with some pretty awesome animation and a quirky story. I accidentally watched the English dubbed version of this and the subtitles often didn’t match up with what was being said and that was kind of aggravating. I didn’t realize this is actually a French film, so if any of you choose to watch this on Netflix, I would recommend setting the audio to French and using English subtitles – the way it is meant to be watched. After Missing Link won the Golden Globe for Best Animated Feature, I have no clue what to expect from the Oscars in this category, but I’d be pretty surprised to see this edge out Toy Story 4.

6/10 (Recommended)

The Mustang (2019, rental) – A long imprisoned man that can’t connect in any meaningful way with people, including his daughter, forms an unlikely bond with a stubborn wild mustang when he enters a rehabilitation program while doing outside maintenance at the jail. It’s a touching and sad film with solid performances from Matthias Schoenaerts and Bruce Dern. I give it a solid recommendation.

6/10 (Recommended)

21 (2008, Netflix) *second watch – It’s been over a decade since I watched this movie, long enough that I have mostly forgotten everything that happened in the Ben Mezrich book it’s adapted from. I really liked the book and thought the movie did a poor job of bringing the story to screen, either because they left stuff out or changed too much. I just know I didn’t like the movie because I didn’t think it did the book justice. But I don’t remember the differences between the two mediums now so I’m judging this second watch just based on the merits of the movie alone. I guess it’s a good sign that my friends started the movie and I didn’t leave the room or turn it off after they went to bed. That’s something. But it’s also pretty stupid. The concept is cool: a group of MIT students and their professor develop a card-counting system designed to avoid detection and take Las Vegas for heaps of dollars.

5/10 (Decent)

Yes Man (2008, Netflix) – A decent Jim Carrey movie that’s pretty similar to Liar, Liar in concept but not as funny. It was moderately entertaining while I was watching it, but it didn’t stick with me at all and was basically instantly forgettable.

4/10 (Forgettable)

Oscar nominated movies I haven’t seen yet: Jojo Rabbit, The Two Popes, Ford vs Ferrari, Pain and Glory, Bombshell, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, Richard Jewell, Harriet, Honeyland, Missing Link