Dune (*BP22)

The first ten minutes of Dune used the words Atreides, Caladan, Padishah Emperor Shaddam Corrino IV, and House Harkonnen as fit rulers of Arrakis, and I gave up. I had only about nine hours until the Academy Awards started and there simply wasn’t enough time to learn an entirely new vocabulary. I’d read Frank Herbert’s Dune way back in the 70s and hoped that fond memory would be enough to help me sort out the players, but nope. That information has obviously been replaced by theme songs from TV shows of the 80s. The only thing I could remember about the book was the sandworms, and I might have gotten those confused with the ones from Beetlejuice.

And then “the VOICE” spoke to me. I don’t know where it came from, but it said very clearly: “No one cares if you finished it or not. Why are you putting this pressure on yourself? There are probably only seven people reading this website, and you still have to finish making the Chicken Marbella for the party tonight.”

And so ends the great experiment of watching all ten Best Picture nominees; not with a bang, not even with a whimper. Just relief that I can stop thinking critically about movies and go watch The Lost City, which I understand requires no thinking at all.

The Popcorn Kernels of Truth give this film Two Kernels. I only watched the first half hour, but the kernels are for Timothy Chalamet and Zendaya for being pretty and simply existing.

I’m obviously going to have to create a category called FlicksIWatchedOnHBOMax because the last four entries were from that streaming service. Maybe I’ll call it FlicksWhosePasswordINicked.

King Richard (*BP22)

I wanted to like King Richard; I really did. It tells the story of Venus and Serena Williams and the father who raised them to become two of the greatest athletes in the world. The star is one of my favorite actors (Will Smith) and I usually love a good inspirational biopic. The first hour or so of Richard Williams driving his kids around in a VW minibus and talking about his plan to make champions out of his two girls was entertaining. It was heartwarming to see how he put the all-around character of his kids at the forefront, and he was obviously a major influence in making them who they are. 

But at some point, the film needed to move away from him screaming about them opening up their stance and let the talents of the girls start to take over. And while Venus is finally allowed to make her own decision about signing with a sponsor toward the end, I was much more interested in how two sisters can have such phenomenal careers and compete against each other and still remain best friends. I didn’t need to see more of Will Smith in those very short shorts.

Venus and Serena are listed as Executive Producers on the film, so they obviously approved the script and wanted to honor their father. But I felt having all the focus be on the man behind the girls gave short shrift to the fact that they were the ones standing out in the blazing sun pounding the ball into the court. Will Smith is an iconic actor but I never entirely lost sight of him, even with the lisp and the shorts.

The Popcorn Kernels of Truth give this film Two Kernels. I absolutely loved Aunjanue Ellis as the mother, but felt there was way too much of Richard Williams.

Categories: FlicksIWatchedOnNetflix (I don’t have a category called FlicksIWatchedOnHBOMax, and also it doesn’t rhyme, but the film is NOT streaming on Netflix)