The Reel Dad names his additional “Schumies” awardees
Here are more “Schumies” to honor the achievements of the movie year!
Tangy Tale: The Report
If you enjoy entertaining political thrillers, this plays all the right chords in its tale of mystery, sabotage and intrigue. Trying to make sense of how the U.S. treated prisoners after 9/11, the film reaches beyond published accounts to consider how far a government should go to protect its people. With some important things to say, and two strong lead performances, “The Report” deserves to be seen.
Slice of Life: Apollo 11
We don’t see any surprises in this new film celebrating the achievement of Apollo 11. By the time the event occurred, the crew and people working behind the scenes were so well prepared they knew they would accomplish the impossible. Filmmaker Todd Douglas Miller comes close to duplicating this feat by assembling never-seen footage into a captivating documentary that brings history to life.
Comfort Food: The Mustang
This meaningful look at how working with a wild horse can help a man confront his demons has a lot to say about the potential of humanity. And while it’s a movie with a message, filmmaker Laure de Clermont-Tonerre resists any urge to overuse her platform to lecture. She creates a compelling study of a lonely, angry man who resists every opportunity to connect with others. Until he meets a horse.
Savory Meal: Rocketman
Once upon a time, in a land called the 1970s, a brash young man from England shook up the musical world with outrageous costumes, exaggerated behavior and brilliant music. If this musical wonder had envisioned his life as a musical movie from MGM’s golden era, the film may have looked, sounded and played a lot like this deliciously entertaining revue of the music and memories from John’s career.
Tasty and Familiar: Yesterday
The magic of romantic comedy comes to life in this feel-good fantasy tour through the music of the Beatles. The film lives in its own world, operating by its own rules and never apologizing for the outrageous plot twists it offers, from the ways the lead character “thinks” up songs to his chance encounter with people who may, actually, remember how the music was actually created.
Devilish Delight: Late Night
The great Emma Thompson reminds us that she still commands the screen, both the small one in the story and the big one in the theater. Playing against type as a driven yet vulnerable woman, Thompson digs into her richest role in years. What this lady faces - as she ages, as others invent - could be anyone’s struggle. We relish observing how this actress knows just what it takes to make us want more.
Surprisingly Memorable: Toy Story 4
At a time when the world can confuse, and divisions can overwhelm, we can be comforted by a movie where the heroes remain authentic, the villains can be managed, and the outcome, even if a bit predictable, can reconfirm the goodness we can share. While this fourth edition of the “Toy Story” franchise may not break new ground, it sure does make us feel better after relaxing at the movies.
Prime Cut: Ronstadt
Back in 1972, a dynamic singer stepped onto a stage in Boulder, Colorado. From her first moments, Linda Ronstadt let it be known that she was not just another singer making just another appearance. She had something to say. Thanks to this loving film, we join Ronstadt in celebrating the clarity of her voice, and the beauty of her spirit, as she continues to see the possibilities in every song she shares.
All the Right Ingredients: Pain and Glory
A man looks in the mirror to see what his life could have been while fearing what it may have become. Pedro Almodóvar asks many questions about how people react to aging in this insightful film. He asks his characters to consider what they want to accurately remember as well as what in history they might prefer to reconsider, suggesting that some experiences should simply be forgotten.
Reheated Leftover: Downton Abbey
Not much has changed at Downton Abbey since the television series ended. Mary can still be cross. Carson can still bark orders. And Violet can still utter the perfect punch line to wrap up a conversation. And the lives other people live remain wondrously appealing. The movie version of the hit series gives us everything we want without challenging anything we might wonder. It’s as comfortable as a film can be.
Fallen Soufflé: Best of Enemies
This history lesson offers a well-intentioned look at racial tension in the South in the early 1970s. But as strong as his intent as a moviemaker may be, Robin Bissell’s film misses the chance to create a memorable film because he fails to trust the audience with all the details. Instead of painting a picture filled with insight, he opts to create his movie with broad strokes.
There’s a lot of non-stop chatter in a film more tiring than illuminating, more repetitive than meaningful. An editor at an established publishing house is bewildered by the challenges of digital media. Like many in that world, he doesn’t how to remain relevant as tastes change. While this discussion may be interesting in, say, a podcast, there’s not much about the content that demands a movie camera.
Junk Food for the Soul: Poms
For almost 50 years, Diane Keston has made us want to go to the movies. This film may also make you want to go to a retirement community, at least to check out the cheerleaders. This oh-so-slight comedy may not offer much substance but it sure has style thanks to Keaton. Even in such a slight film, she reminds us that, when the right actress plays the part, we can count on the results.
Healthy Ingredients: Harriet
History books brim with stories about people who dare to reach beyond themselves to do what’s right for others. This film paints a picture of Harriet Tubman that may or may not follow what we learned in school. It reaches beyond the history books dares to paint a more complete portrait of a woman who struggled with disappointment and hurt to courageously imagine what life could be for other people.
Turn Up the Heat: Portrait of a Lady on Fire
This look at the evolving relationship between two women trapped in 18th-century convention avoids any temptation to scatter the screen with facts. Instead it suggests interactions that may occur between these ladies while asking us to connect these incidents into a cohesive narrative. By encouraging us to wonder why these women pursue this friendship, Céline Sciammi insists that we invest in the outcome.