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Who Would Win a Hypothetical Best Scene Oscar?

The Oscars: an award show that expanded the number of Best Picture nominees after it snubbed a well-made, entertaining action movie, and yet still refuses to nominate well-made, entertaining action movies. I understand The Academy’s struggle, though. There are a lot of great films each year that simply need to get nominated, such as… The Flashily-Directed Movie About Actors Pursuing Their Dreams (La La Land)

The Uplifting Movie About Black People (Hidden Figures)

The Nuanced Movie About Black People (Moonlight)

The Movie That’s Not Nearly Pretentious Enough To Even Have A Chance (Hell or High Water)

The Movie About Everyday White People Wallowing In Their Own Despair (Manchester By The Sea)

The Movie Nobody Has Heard Of And Even Fewer People Have Actually Seen (Lion)

The Acting Showcase (Fences)

The War Movie (Hacksaw Ridge)

The Beautiful, Thought-Provoking Movie About Giant Squids Spraying Ink At The Actress From Enchanted Inside a 1000-Foot-Tall Hovering Black Potato (Arrival)

 

The Oscars could use a shake-up. At this time last year, I wrote an article introducing a hypothetical Oscar for Best Scene, which would allow The Academy to nominate movies that don’t exactly fit the Best Picture mold, but still have entertaining, technically impressive or inspired sequences.

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Holy Split, Signs of M. Night Shyamalan’s Return Are Happening

Director M. Night Shyamalan gets a lot of crap, and rightfully so. Until his most recent outing, Split, he hadn’t made a good movie in more than a decade. After Earth was bad. The Happening was so bad that it was funny. The Last Airbender was so far down the scale of badness that it was no longer eligible to be funny.

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Stale Popcorn is Still Popcorn: Jason Bourne is Still Jason Bourne

If George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road set the gold standard for a director returning to an old franchise and Steven Spielberg’s return to Indiana Jones with Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is an example of a flop, then Paul Greengrass’s effort for Jason Bourne lands squarely in the middle. The action is as exciting as ever and all the performances are engaging, but the movie’s title indicates just how little effort was put into making the latest installment of the Bourne franchise fresh and unique. The film continues the original trilogy’s story of former CIA assassin Jason Bourne, once again played subtly but convincingly by Matt Damon. The details of the plot are more or less unimportant. Bourne is still on the run and he’s still trying to find out information about his past (and the sky’s still blue, by the way).

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AKABAS | Bracketology: Who/What is winning 2016?

There are many things that literally everyone on Earth hates, such as hangnails, hotels that charge for WiFi, late-2000s M. Night Shyamalan films, and that moment when you don’t check your phone for an hour and there are 257 unread messages from a single group chat when you come back. There aren’t many things that literally everyone on Earth loves, but one of those things is March Madness, the NCAA basketball tournament. A single-elimination bracket – the concept that you need to win every single game to stay in it – is ingenious. I support using the bracket concept whenever humanly possible, so let’s make a bracket to determine who or what has had the best 2016 so far. The competitors were determined subjectively by me, and the seeds, listed below, were determined primarily by number of Twitter followers (credit to former Grantland-writer Rembert Browne for this idea).

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GUEST ROOM | The Sun’s 2016 Summer Movie Preview

Yes, we have to wait until 2017 for Star Wars: Episode VIII, but, thankfully, there are some pretty fun movies to look forward to in 2016. There’s a new Star Trek installment by the director of Fast Five, who might be my favorite person on the planet. Liam Neeson is starring in a Martin Scorsese film, so we’ll see if he’s still capable of ever making a movie where nobody gets taken, because it’s debatable at this point. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is doing a comedy called Central Intelligence with Kevin Hart, which has the chance to be either really stupid or incredibly stupid. For some reason, someone thought it was a good idea to have a live-action Jungle Book and a live-action Tarzan come out within three months of each other.

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Guest Room | Who Would Win a Hypothetical Best Scene Award?

There’s almost nothing I love more in life than hating to love — to hate — to love to hate The Oscars. There’s nothing quite like hundreds of old rich white guys dressing up in tuxedos to award themselves little gold statues. When you consider what the Oscars are about — ranking our favorite movies of the year — they should really be a lot more fun. So let’s drop some boring categories (I’m sure everyone would be absolutely devastated if we got rid of Best Song and Best Makeup and Hairstyling), and add some fun ones, like Best Practical Effects, Best Low Budget Picture and Does Your Picture Have a Blind Man Wearing Red Pajamas and Playing a Flame-Throwing Electric Guitar on Top of a Moving Truck? I think the most interesting new category would be Best Scene.

AKABAS | Top 10 Dunks from the 2016 NBA Slam Dunk Contest

On Thursday, February 11th, over 1,000 scientists were credited with discovering the existence of gravitational waves. Two nights later, at the NBA Slam Dunk Contest, Aaron Gordon and Zach LaVine discovered that gravity doesn’t even exist at all. Gordon and LaVine put down never-before-seen dunk after never-before-seen dunk and needed two tiebreaker rounds to ultimately crown LaVine as the champion. They were so good that the other two candidates should have strongly considered just pulling a Ben Carson and not come out onto the stage. What follows is my attempt to rank the 10 best jams from what might have been the greatest dunk contest of all-time.

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The Big Short Supplies What Viewers Demand

The man behind Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy may seem like an unlikely choice to helm a film educating its audience about the economic principles behind the American real estate market. But The Big Short — an adaptation of Michael Lewis’s nonfiction book about the 2008 collapse of the housing bubble that left the country in financial crisis — is exuberantly directed by Adam McKay, who absolutely nails the telling of this tragic story. McKay succeeds by turning a distressing topic into, at points, a comedy. The Big Short follows three separate stories of investment experts who bet against the housing market. Whereas everyone else believes the market to be rock solid, it is actually supported by high-risk loans doomed to fail.

Spotlight Tells the Story Right

When referring to movies, the words “Based on true events” often don’t carry much weight. All too regularly, films labeled as true stories are littered with clichés or dramatic moments that could not possibly have happened in reality. With this in mind, Spotlight is a breath of fresh air — an engrossing story that doesn’t resort to overused narrative tricks and, therefore, feels one hundred percent real. The film’s title refers to The Boston Globe division that investigated the widespread molestation of children by Catholic priests in Boston and the subsequent cover-up by the archdiocese. As The Globe’s reporters methodically uncover details of the scandal, we don’t see violent threats from parties opposing the newspaper or a writer emphatically throwing a chair in an outburst of frustration.