Sunday, February 28, 2021

Sunday Best: Golden Globes 2021


Long time readers of this blog will know the time and energy I have spent on award shows.  They will also know how over the years I have mourned their continual slip into irrelevancy.  I mean, does anyone care about the last 5 Best Picture Oscar winners?  Can anyone name them?

This brings us to this year's Golden Globe Awards.  Often looked at as a precursor to the Oscars but also a look at TV, this year looks to be incredibly uninteresting for two reasons:

1. COVID prevented a number of high-profile movies from being released this year.

2. A lot of the television involves shows I don't watch.

I'm sorry that the second reason is more personal, but I can't do my usual critique of the nominees by pointing to low ratings.  Streaming services are notorious for keeping their viewing numbers private, so it is impossible to tell if a show is popular with viewers or only with critics.

I am still curious and there are few suprise nominations here, so below are my thoughts about the awards tonight.  I'm only going to comment in categories where I have seen at least one nominated program:

Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy

“Emily in Paris” (Netflix)

“The Flight Attendant” (HBO Max)

“The Great” (Hulu) 

“Schitt’s Creek” (CBC) 

“Ted Lasso” (Apple TV Plus) 


This show was such a delight and a surprise.  Not perfect, but one filled with heart and optimism overcoming cynicism with a great performance by Jason Sudekis.

WILL WIN:  Schitt's Creek

This is the critical darling and I don't see that changing.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Drama

Jason Bateman (“Ozark”) 

Josh O’Connor (“The Crown”) 

Bob Odenkirk (“Better Call Saul”)

Al Pacino (“Hunters”) 

Matthew Rhys (“Perry Mason”) 


Best Performance by an Actress in a Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television 

Cate Blanchett (“Mrs. America”) 

Daisy Edgar-Jones (“Normal People”)

Shira Haas (“Unorthodox”) 

Nicole Kidman (“The Undoing”) 

Anya Taylor-Joy (“The Queen’s Gambit”) 


Best Director – Motion Picture

Emerald Fennell, “Promising Young Woman” (Focus Features)

David Fincher, “Mank” (Netflix) 

Regina King, “One Night in Miami” (Amazon Studios) 

Aaron Sorkin, “The Trial of the Chicago 7” (Netflix) 

Chloé Zhao, “Nomadland” (Searchlight Pictures) 

SHOULD WIN: David Fincher

The movie was terrible, but it looked amazing.

WILL WIN:  Regina King

Based on the critical reaction to this movie, I'll bet on this one.

Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy 

Maria Bakalova (“Borat Subsequent Moviefilm”) 

Kate Hudson (“Music”)

Michelle Pfeiffer (“French Exit”) 

Rosamund Pike (“I Care a Lot”)

Anya Taylor-Joy (“Emma”) 


Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama

Riz Ahmed (“Sound of Metal”) 

Chadwick Boseman (“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”) 

Anthony Hopkins (“The Father”) 

Gary Oldman (“Mank”) 

Tahar Rahim (“The Mauritanian”)

SHOULD AND WILL WIN: Chadwick Boseman

Boseman gives an amazing performance that serves as a capstone to a career cut too short.

Best Television Series – Drama 

“The Crown” (Netflix)

“Lovecraft Country” (HBO Max) 

“The Mandalorian” (Disney Plus) 

“Ozark” (Netflix)

“Ratched” (Netflix)

SHOULD WIN: The Mandalorian

Easily this should win.  It is as hit with Star Wars fanboys and with general audiences, with a season finale that is one of the most delightful things I have seen in many years.  It should win for those last 15 minutes alone.

WILL WIN:  The Crown

As this is the foreign press who is judging, I'm putting my money on something from across the pond.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Drama 

Olivia Colman (“The Crown”) 

Jodie Comer (“Killing Eve”)

Emma Corrin (“The Crown”) 

Laura Linney (“Ozark”) 

Sarah Paulson (“Ratched”) 


Best Performance by an Actor in a Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television 

Bryan Cranston (“Your Honor”)

Jeff Daniels (“The Comey Rule”) 

Hugh Grant (“The Undoing”) 

Ethan Hawke (“The Good Lord Bird”) 

Mark Ruffalo (“I Know This Much Is True”) 


Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy 

Sacha Baron Cohen (“Borat Subsequent Moviefilm”) 

James Corden (“The Prom”)

Lin-Manuel Miranda (“Hamilton”) 

Dev Patel (“The Personal History of David Copperfield”) 

Andy Samberg (“Palm Springs”)

SHOULD WIN: Lin-Manuel Miranda

There is a reason that Hamilton has become such a big hit.  Of the people nominated that I have seen, Miranda gives the best performance.

WILL WIN:  Sacha Baron Cohen

My guess is that this will be his reward for doing his part in the overall political climate of 2020.

Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama

Viola Davis (“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”) 

Andra Day (“The United States vs. Billie Holiday”) 

Vanessa Kirby (“Pieces of a Woman”) 

Frances McDormand (“Nomadland”) 

Carey Mulligan (“Promising Young Woman”) 


She is an amazing actress that can transform into whatever the role calls for, and in this case she is a force of nature

Best Motion Picture – Drama 

“The Father” (Sony Pictures Classics) 

“Mank” (Netflix) 

“Nomadland” (Searchlight Pictures) 

“Promising Young Woman” (Focus Features) 

“The Trial of the Chicago 7” (Netflix) 


I've only seen Mank and that is one of the worst movies of the year.  

WILL WIN:  Promising Young Woman

A movie critic recently came under fire for his criticism of this movie, so my guess is that the Hollywood Foreign Press is afraid of what will happen if they do not give this movie a win.

Best Actor in a Supporting Role in Any Motion Picture

Sacha Baron Cohen (“The Trial of the Chicago 7”) 

Daniel Kaluuya (“Judas and the Black Messiah”) 

Jared Leto (“The Little Things”)

Bill Murray (“On the Rocks”) 

Leslie Odom, Jr. (“One Night in Miami”) 

SHOULD WIN: Jared Leto

His performance in this movie Is perfectly creepy and ambiguous and it does what a supporting role should do: set up the characters to complete their arcs.

WILL WIN:  Leslie Odom Jr.

For this and Hamilton I think he will win.

Best Original Score – Motion Picture 

“The Midnight Sky” (Netflix) – Alexandre Desplat 

“Tenet” (Warner Bros.) – Ludwig Göransson 

“News of the World” (Universal Pictures) – James Newton Howard 

“Mank” (Netflix) – Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross 

“Soul” (Pixar) – Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross, Jon Batiste 

-I'll be honest: even though I saw most of the movies on this list, I could not recognize the music from any of them.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy 

Lily Collins (“Emily in Paris”)

Kaley Cuoco (“The Flight Attendant”) 

Elle Fanning (“The Great”) 

Jane Levy (“Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist”) 

Catherine O’Hara (“Schitt’s Creek”) 

SHOULD WIN: Kaley Cuoco

I stopped watching this show, but the first few episodes showed more nuance and intensity than I'm used to for this actress.

WILL WIN:  Catherine O'Hara

This is the critical darling and I don't see that changing.

Best Television Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television 

“Normal People” (Hulu/BBC) 

“The Queen’s Gambit” (Netflix) 

“Small Axe” (Amazon Studios/BBC) 

“The Undoing” (HBO) 

“Unorthodox” (Netflix) 


Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television 

John Boyega (“Small Axe”) 

Brendan Gleeson (“The Comey Rule”) 

Dan Levy (“Schitt’s Creek”) 

Jim Parsons (“Hollywood”)

Donald Sutherland (“The Undoing”) 


Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy 

“Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” (Amazon Studios) 

“Hamilton” (Walt Disney Pictures) 

“Palm Springs” (Neon) 

“Music” (Vertical Entertainment)

“The Prom” (Netflix) 


This was the best movie to come out this year.  Perhaps I am being optimistic, but the hype behind this show still endures, so that might be enough for the critics to give it the win.

Best Actress in a Supporting Role in Any Motion Picture 

Glenn Close (“Hillbilly Elegy”) 

Olivia Colman (“The Father”) 

Jodie Foster (“The Mauritanian”)

Amanda Seyfried (“Mank”) 

Helena Zengel (“News of the World”)

SHOULD WIN: Glenn Close

She was best actress of the year for this fantastic and powerful and authentic performance.

WILL WIN:  Olivia Coleman

I know that critics savaged Hillbilly Elegy so I don't think it will win anything, so I guessed at another winner.

Best Motion Picture – Foreign Language 

“Another Round” (Samuel Goldwyn Films) 

“La Llorona” (Shudder) 

“The Life Ahead” (Netflix) 

“Minari” (A24) 

“Two of Us” (Magnolia Pictures)


Best Screenplay – Motion Picture 

Emerald Fennell – “Promising Young Woman” (Focus Features) 

Jack Fincher – “Mank” (Netflix) 

Aaron Sorkin – “The Trial of the Chicago 7” (Netflix) 

Florian Zeller, Christopher Hampton – “The Father” (Sony Pictures Classics) 

Chloe Zhao – “Nomadland” (Searchlight Pictures) 


Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy 

Don Cheadle (“Black Monday”)

Nicholas Hoult (“The Great”) 

Eugene Levy (“Schitt’s Creek”) 

Jason Sudeikis (“Ted Lasso”) 

Ramy Youssef (“Ramy”) 


As I said, Sudekis was fantastic and it was a real breakout role for him as a leading man to carry a series.

WILL WIN:  Eugene Levy

This is the critical darling and I don't see that changing.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television 

Gillian Anderson (“The Crown”) 

Helena Bonham Carter (“The Crown”) 

Julia Garner (“Ozark”) 

Annie Murphy (“Schitt’s Creek”) 

Cynthia Nixon (“Ratched”)


Best Original Song – Motion Picture

“Fight for You” from “Judas and the Black Messiah” (Warner Bros.) – H.E.R., Dernst Emile II, Tiara Thomas 

“Hear My Voice” from “The Trial of the Chicago 7” (Netflix) – Daniel Pemberton, Celeste

“Io Si (Seen)” from “The Life Ahead” (Netflix) – Diane Warren, Laura Pausini, Niccolò Agliardi 

“Speak Now” from “One Night in Miami” (Amazon Studios) – Leslie Odom Jr, Sam Ashworth 

“Tigress & Tweed” from “The United States vs. Billie Holliday” (Hulu) – Andra Day, Raphael Saadiq


Best Motion Picture – Animated 

“The Croods: A New Age” (Universal Pictures) 

“Onward” (Walt Disney Pictures) 

“Over the Moon” (Netflix) 

“Soul” (Walt Disney Pictures) 

“Wolfwalkers” (Cartoon Saloon) 


Not one of PIXAR's best, but it was better than Onward, which is the only other movie nominated that I saw.


Friday, February 26, 2021

TV Review: Superman and Lois (Pilot Episode)


I am an unabashed fan of Superman.  He is one of my favorite fictional characters.  

When Superman was first introduced in the CW Arrowverse I was not terribly impressed.  No offense to actor Tyler Holchin, but with the iconic nature of the character, I just didn't think that they did the Superman justice.  On Supergirl, it felt like they were terrified that Kal-El would overshadow his cousin in her own show.  

But as the promos for the new show emerged, I became very interested.

The concept for this show is the Lois and Clark are raising two twin teenage sons.  This is a side of Superman we really haven't seen.  His romance with Lois has been the subject of lots of stories.  And the idea of them raising a child has been explored in great detail by writers like Peter J. Tomasi.  But the dynamic of two teen sons is incredibly intriguing.

Quite rightly, the show leans into the mythic father/son dynamic at play.  Teenage sons can see their fathers as old-fashioned and out of touch.  In the same way, Superman is often looked at as a relic, lacking the edge that modern pop culture looks for.  And despite this, the father towers over the son's life like a superman.  

The plot involves Clark and Lois (Elizabeth Tulloch) coming back to his hometown of Smallville just after Clark has been fired from the Daily Planet.  With them are Jon (Jordan Elsass) and Jordan (Alex Garfin), about to enter their freshmen year.  The boys act as foils to each other.  Jon is outgoing, athletic, and charismatic.  Jordan is introverted, pensive, and has a social anxiety disorder.  Clark has been keeping his identity a secret from them, worried about if his sons develop his powers or worse if one does and the other does not.  Once back in Smallville, they encounter Clarks old girlfriend Lana Lang (Emmanuelle Chriqui) who is married to fire chief Kyle (Erik Valdez).  Their teenage daughter Sarah (Inde Navarrette) seems to instantly connect to the Kent boys.  Through the course of the story, they decide to move back to Smallville.

First, I have to say that this is a beautifully shot pilot.  It feels like something out of a Terrence Malick movie.  The landscapes are gorgeous and when you get to Smallville, you really feel the wide open spaces and the pastoral beauty of this world.  

Second, the portrayal of family life is fantastic.  Superman can turn back tides, but he struggles with making the right decisions for his family.  It's also really refreshing to feel like Clark and Lois have real struggles like losing jobs or having to go to therapy appointments for his kids.  Smallville has also seen better days, with family farms being edged out by big corporations.  There is something incredibly grounded about this superhero show.  It's this take on the characters that I really love.  Shows like Smallville explored Clark as a teen growing up into Superman.  Shows like Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman looked at his early days as a hero and his courtship of Lois.  But just as I've gotten older, it's nice to see Superman's life mature along with me.

Holchin is actualy terrific as Clark.  He plays the duality of invincible super hero and struggling father very well.  His chemistry with Tulloch is fantastic.  Their relationship has a strong, lived-in quality of a couple who are decades into their relationship.  The love and affection are still there, but all of their focus is outward towards their kids instead of inward.  Elsass and Garfin do a good job capturing the angst and arrogance of teenage life.  Their relationship is written well where there is rivalry, but they are not cartoonish enemies.  They are siblings, with all of the complexity that goes along with it.  

The pilot was not perfect.  The special effects are a bit on the cheap side sometime.  Also, there is a political conversation that takes place between Lois and Kyle that feels awkward, particularly because one side is clearly prefered by the writers.  

Despite this, I am hooked for at least the rest of the season.  And honestly, I think this is exactly the shot in the arm that the Arrowverse needs now.  Arrow is gone after dippping in quality in the later seasons.  The Flash has been starting to lose some of its steam.  Batwoman is a disaster.  Stargirl is a CW DC show, but not officially part of the Arrowverse.

Monday, February 22, 2021

New Evangelizers Post: Are the Gospels Historical



I have a new article up at  

Christianity is an historical religion. We make claims of history. Unlike other religions from the ancient world, the central story of our faith is based in fact, not myth.

If you were to ask an ancient Roman about when Hercules lived, he may say something like, “In the days of legend that came before,” but he could not give you a specific date. A great deal of ancient Greeks and Romans in the 1st Century understood that the stories in their mythologies really did not happen.

But if you asked a Christian when Jesus lived, they could point to a specific time in history, beginning when Augustus Caesar was Emperor of Rome and Herod the Great was King of Judea through the reign of Tiberius Caesar when Pontius Pilate was procurator, after which He ascended into Heaven. We pinpoint the events of Christ’s life that remind us that these are not mythological, but historical events. This is why the only other human named in the Apostles and Nicene Creed besides Jesus and Mary is Pilate.

The Gospels are the main source of our historical information about Jesus. How historical are they?

This is a large question about which many books have been written. This article will attempt to give a brief answer.

It is important to remember that we have to read each book of the Bible in its proper context. Leviticus is a book of law. The Psalms are a collection of poems. When we read the Gospels, we have to remember that they are not like modern biographies.

Modern biographies look for journalistic detail. If you were to write a biography about Robert Downey Jr., you would have to make sure that all of the events of his life are in the proper order and that all of the quotes were exact. If you wrote that Iron Man came out before Sherlock Holmes or if you quoted one of his movie lines as “I am Iron Person,” you would be rightly criticized as a bad biographer.

People in the ancient world did not write this way. Jesus did not have a group of reporters who were taking down quotes for print in articles later. The Gospels were written years later. However, they are based on the eyewitness accounts. Only the author of the Gospel of John claims to be an eyewitness to the events. Luke states at the beginning of his Gospel that he is not an eyewitness, but he is basing his account into an orderly narrative based on the eyewitness accounts.

The Gospels are salvation history.

You can read the whole article here.

Sunday, February 21, 2021

Sunday Best: Rest in Peace Christopher Plummer


photo by Carl Van Vechten

I will be honest, Christopher Plummer scared me a child.

Partly it was because of his stern portrayal of Captain Von Trapp in The Sound of Music.  To a child, his hard, authoritative presence was frightening.  And even though he softens his persona as the film goes on, my young mind had not the attention span to follow it.  The first impression was the strongest.

The second reason was that I confused him with Christopher Lee who played Dracula in the Hammer horror films.  Look at a picture of Lee from Dracula Has Risen From the Grave and tell me there isn't a resemblance.

It wasn't until I was older that I began to really appreciate Plummer's decades-spanning career and appreciate his talent as an actor.

As mentioned above, the film that he will be remembered for more than any other is The Sound of Music.  I have seen many productions of this show on stage, but Plummer stands out.  Partly its because the movie gives the actor more breathing room to show the slow thawing of his heart.  His Captain begins the movie as a stern, but broken man.  And yet you see his easy charm with Max and the Baronness.  It is something I did not appreciate as a child, to see how grown-ups let their guard down when the children are not around.  But the moment that the movie gives him his best moment is when he hears his children singing.  It is a beautiful scene where he has to show you how music awakens his heart for the first time in years.  The stage show rushes this moment so that it often feels forced.  But here, Plummer nails it.  You see the music act as arrow that pierces his armor and conquers him.  And yet, he still remains the strong, masculine presence of the film.  He boldly stands up to the Nazis with principled fortitude.  All the while, you can understand how Maria begins to fall in love with him.  Unlike the juvenile love of Liesl and Friedrich, Maria falls for a man who truly is a man.  And Plummer gives us such an image of masculine romance and affection.

But Plummer was an incredibly versatile actor.  Looking back, I was amazed at how he has been a constant presence in films over the years.  His villainous turn in Dreamscape encapsulates the conniving, subtle villainy that he played so well.

He also was a gifted comedian.  His turn in Dragnet showed a side of him I have never seen.  I still can't believe it was him who delivered the lines "Evil bringeth hear our plea, she's as pure as she can be.  White and clean as driven snow, from Orange County, here we go!"  He plays Rev. Whirley with such cynical malevolence masked by a benign niceness that it makes his performance all the funnier.

One of the best performances of his for me is his turn as Herod Antipas in Jesus of Nazareth.  His Herod is the exact opposite of Captain Von Trapp.  Plummer plays Herod as vain, lustful, callow, and lacking any kind of backbone.  Watch how he gets pushed around by his wife Herodias and how he lays his feelings at John the Baptist's feet.  I love how Plummer embodies that spirit of man where we feel in our hearts what is right, but that utter self-contempt we have when we don't follow through.  

And just as an aside, Plummer plays a pivotal role in one of my top ten movies: Somewhere in Time.  He plays Robinson, the manager to Elise.  And throughout the movie he warns her that one day a man would come who would destroy her life.  He is convinced that this man is Richard, the man who comes back in time to be with her.  I have often wondered if Robinson himself was also a time traveller who was trying to save Elise's life in his own way.  Plummer plays the character with just enough ambiguity to make you think this is a possibility without giving away the store.

As a sci-fi fan, I love the fact that Plummer stood toe-to-toe with Captain James T. Kirk in one of the best Star Trek films, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.  Plummer's literally Shakespearean take on his Klingon General Chang elevates what could have been a simple scenery chewing villain.  Plummer infuses his character with all the passion and deviousness that is needed to be a worthy adversary.  I would say he is the best Star Trek film villain after Ricardo Montalban's Kahn.  And as my good friend Rick-O has pointed out, when Chang realizes what Kirk has done in his final move, he stands at attention.  You can see in Plummer's performance that his rage and taunting give way to acceptance and respect for a superior foe.  

Plummer also did a lot of memorable voice work in movies like An American Tail, Up, and The Gospel of John.  He kept working as a nonagenarian.  He won his first and only Oscar just 11 years ago for his role in Beginners (a movie I have not seen.). He also appeared in several other movies I've seen like A Beautiful Mind, 12 Monkeys, Knives Out, The Insider, The Man Who Would Be King, Malcom X, Dolores Claiborne, Nuremberg, Hector and Search for Happiness, National Treasure, Wolf, Must Love Dogs, and Dracula 2000.

In his personal life, he was married 3 times in 14 years, but his he and his third wife were married for over 50 years until his recent death.  He was not a religious man.  He instead devoted himself to the arts.  Despite this, he helped participate in some wonderfully Catholic dramatic films.  So let us pray for the repose of his soul.

Rest in Peace, Christopher Plummer.

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Lack of Updates February 2021

 Dear Reader,

Please forgive my lack of updates for the last few days.

No worries, there is no crisis here on my end.  However, there has been a convergence of time-consuming things such as:

-Master's Class:  I am pursuing another master's degree.  I usually never take classes in the Spring because of my schedule, but there a course that is only available now that I had to take.  I usually like to bank a number of my assignments early so it gives me more time to work on my final project when it comes up.  This is where a good deal of my writing time is going.

-Theater:  We are in the process of preparing our spring musical, but we have hit a number of snags and roadblocks and miscommunications with the licensing company that has required a great deal of time to sort through.  In addition, we've had to figure out a way to perform a show with all of the COVID restrictions.

-Teaching:  I am about to begin a new section that I have never taught before.  Other teachers will understand what I mean when I say that the first time you create a lesson plan is what takes the most time.

-Home: My most beloved mother-in-law moved in with us recently.  She has been a wonderful addition to our house and home.  This gift comes with it more responsibilities to help make her stay with us as comfortable as possible, which includes taking more time to enjoy each other's company.  

As with every brief interruption to this blog, I assure you that I have every intention to resume regularly scheduled content soon.  I still have many film reviews to write, including a "non-film review" for a movie I recently watched that was so bad I stopped watching part way through.

Thank you again for hanging in with me, dear reader, after all of these years.  It warms my heart to know that someone, somewhere has enjoyed any part of my digital scribblings.

God Bless!

Catholic Skywalker

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

New Evangelizers Post: Why We Must Prioritize the Unborn



I have a new article up at  

“The threat of abortion remains our preeminent priority because it directly attacks life itself because it takes place within the sanctuary of the family and because of the number of lives destroyed…”

The US Catholic Bishops made the above statement in Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship. While they acknowledge that there are other very serious issues to deal with like racism and poverty, the evil of abortion should be placed ahead of most other social/political concerns.

Currently we have the second American Catholic as President of the United States. However, this President is very actively and substantially supportive of expanding abortion rights. This could lead to a great deal of confusion in the minds of American Catholics regarding being a faithful son or daughter of the Church and abortion.

Many books and articles have been written to articulate this view. But in these times, especially with many people in political office who are in favor of allowing the unborn to be killed, it is a good idea to reiterate why we stand with the unborn and why we prioritize them.

If there are so many evils in the world, why do we elevate the question of abortion?

Human life begins at conception. Supporters of abortion are quick to say that this is merely a religious belief. That is an attempt to marginalize the Pro-Life position to an idiosyncratic moral stance that is only for those who accept the faith. This relativizes it to somethe analogous to a Jehovah’s Witness refusing blood transfusions.

However, the quesiton of when human life begins is one that can be answered by observation without religious beliefs. A unique indiviusal comes into being when a person’s unique DNA strand comes into existence and is the active genetic force in its formation and development. This happens at conception.

If you accept the premise that human life begins at conception, then the intentional killing of that unborn life is, by definition, murder.

What makes abortion an absolute priority is that it is legalized murder.

You can read the whole article here.