Online Film Critics Society Ballot 2019

Below is my December 26th ballot for the 23rd annual Online Film Critics Society Awards honoring movies released domestically in the United States during the 2019 calendar year. Each category is ordered according to my preferential rankings. Group winners were announced on January 6th, 2020 and are labeled in red.

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REVIEW: Uncut Gems [2019]

Black Jew power. Writers/directors Benny and Josh Safdie‘s debut feature bowed at Cannes in 2009 to spark a rather prolific career spanning shorts, music videos, documentaries, and critically acclaimed independents featuring an increasingly more familiar stable of actors at the lead. I mention this because that’s also the year that the Safdie brothers approached Adam Sandler with the idea that became Uncut Gems. That’s before Lenny Cooke. Before their breakthrough Heaven Knows What. Before they let Robert Pattinson loose in New York City for Good Time. That’s Hollywood. Maybe Sandler…

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REVIEW: Top Five [2014]

“What did the room smell like?” I’m prefacing this review with an admission anyone who reads my thoughts already knows: I think Chris Rock is a pretty terrible actor. Love the guy’s stand-up, find him hilarious in real life and on paper, but stick him in a movie and he almost looks scared. The only comedian more unnatural on screen is Jerry Seinfeld—whose cameo here helps prove it—another funny dude always seeming to be waiting for the “cut” or laugh, whichever comes first. I say this because that attitude on…

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Wiig, Gyllenhaal, and Monster Love at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival

Friends and family think me crazy for driving up the QEW so I can sit in darkened theaters for around thirty of a total eighty-hours in Toronto, but I wouldn’t spend my early September days any other way. This is what the Toronto International Film Festival does—it makes you look sanity in the face, say no thanks, and go the exact opposite way towards a world-renowned cinematic spectacle those same people are jealous about once I tell them I saw Kristen Wiig tell a joke. It was a funny one too…

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TIFF14 REVIEW: The Cobbler [2015]

“I’m not gonna eat you!” Adults need fairy tales too and Thomas McCarthy—with cowriter Paul Sado—deliver one in The Cobbler. They don’t try to pretend it’s something more either as its opening prologue can attest thanks to older tradesmen on the Lower East Side speaking Yiddish around a table to think up a way to defeat the evil landlord raising their rent to drive them away. Cut to the local shoe man deemed their savior stitching up a pair of loafers with son in tow and we learn his machine…

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TIFF14 REVIEW: Men, Women & Children [2014]

“I guess I was just scared” We are the pale blue dot. Earth? No. The intermittently blinking light on the end of an out-of-touch parent’s device for transparently spying on a daughter’s electronic path when he/she should be proud for having a smart and compassionate teen unlike the majority populating the local high school. Our world’s different from the one Carl Sagan represented by filling the Voyager spacecraft with records of music, languages, and calls of whales. Now in a post-9/11 America we fear strangers as well as friends, peers,…

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REVIEW: Blended [2014]

“And the mustache is rattled” When an overused gag showed up for the third of about five times during Blended‘s runtime, the twenty-something college dude chowing down on his mall food court dinner uttered to his buddy the telling phrase, “This movie’s off the hook”. Now while this is a stunning and apt commentary on the state of America’s appetite for easy physical humor, it turns from educational thesis into farce when I tell you it was this gentleman’s second time saying it. He pretty much epitomized the demographic Hollywood…

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REVIEW: Here Comes the Boom [2012]

“I’m having a crazy month of meeting people” Let’s face it, I haven’t thoroughly enjoyed a straight Happy Madison production—I exclude Apatow‘s and Binder‘s because they would have probably been made with or without the shingle—since 2004’s 50 First Dates. In all actuality, looking at the list now makes me think it may be the only film I’ve given three stars to at all. And this is coming from a long-time Adam Sandler apologist. I’ve finally decided to wake from the drunken stupor Billy Madison‘s greatness put me under so…

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REVIEW: Hotel Transylvania [2012]

“What? Now there’s no sheep in the road.” After the abysmal failure of That’s My Boy, seeing Adam Sandler and Andy Samberg highlight another film’s marquee this year didn’t instill confidence. Cartoon or not, the pairing still left a sour taste in my mouth that the addition of their larger-than-life comedic buddies Kevin James, David Spade, and Molly Shannon did nothing to alleviate. Only the names behind the scenes gave me a sliver of hope that Hotel Transylvania could end up a fun hybrid of writers Robert Smigel (“SNL’s” TV…

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REVIEW: Grandma’s Boy [2006]

“Sweetie, don’t curse. You’re better than that.” Looking at the list of films Happy Madison Productions has made since 2006, I can honestly say dramatic oddities Reign Over Me and Funny People prove to be the only entries more watchable than the unbridled insanity of Grandma’s Boy. And this is coming from someone who ignored the comedy for six years before watching it less than a week after the excruciatingly horrible That’s My Boy almost forced me to swear off Adam Sandler‘s shingle once and for all. It’s stupid, crude,…

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REVIEW: That’s My Boy [2012]

“Secret tickle time” Just when you thought Adam Sandler had hit bottom and could only improve upon a lackluster string of film’s that have to make you question the quality of his earlier gems, he proves it can always get worse. From Sean Anders (the director of Sex Drive) and David Caspe (creator of “Happy Endings”) comes one of the most unoriginal comedies in years. Recycling the ‘disastrous wedding’ trope that I’m sad to say was actually done better in Meet the Parents—a film I also abhor—we’re made to watch…

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