“(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again” (Rocketman)
“I’m Standing with You” (Breakthrough)
“Into the Unknown” (Frozen II)
“Stand Up” – (Harriet)
Speechless – Aladdin
My Overall Thoughts:
This is a year with some great songs, and throughout the Awards season, there have been different films and songs that have been slightly in the lead, but things have remained quite close throughout. The question remains as to which of these songs, the Academy will chose to give the award to… guess we’ll just have to wait and see.
5. I’m Standing with You
4. Into the Unknown
3. Stand Up
2. I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away
1. (I’m Gonna) Love Me Again
5. Breakthrough – Interesting premise that fails to work because it all feels presented in too much of a preachy way. The characters aren’t developed well enough and they all pretty much seem like stereotypes and archetypes. The cast is quite talented, yet they are mostly wasted here and fail to help make this story more enjoyable or engaging to watch unfold. The film also feels very unbalanced since the first half is more compelling and the second half is deliberately slow and somewhat boring while also giving off the feel that it is being drawn out too much. The Oscar nominated song – I’m Standing with You is the best part of this film because it definitely captures the message that they are trying to give over here in a much more succinct and poignant way than they are able to do with the movie itself.
4. Harriet – Intriguing story that unfortunately isn’t as powerful as one might hope that it could be. Harriet Tubman is an important historical figure and this film helps explain why she has become so famous due to her actions. Erivo does a wonderful job in the title role and helps make this character more tangible in all that she does. She was deservingly nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Actress for her work here and she might get an Oscar nomination when they announce. The biggest problem here is that this story is told in a very formulaic way and fails to be more poignant or groundbreaking which is quite a shame.
3. Frozen II – Good sequel that builds on the previous film yet doesn’t manage to eclipse it in any factor. The music isn’t as memorable, the story is a bit weaker and the characters are pretty much the same yet it’s still nice to revisit Arendelle once again. The voice cast all come back and allow us to meet these characters again following the events of the previous film along with the changes that were made based on their previous adventure. The new adventure that they embark on is filled with mystery and surprises along the way and works for what it tries to do.
2. Rocketman – Interesting biopic that has great music, but the narrative itself is quite flawed. Egerton is quite good as John and gets the flamboyant personality just right. The story is presented in a disjointed way that hurts things a bit because it’s all shown in a fantastical way instead of via a nice linear story. The songs are great and I really loved the way that they have various characters sing the hit songs of John as the story moves along. Like many biopics, they try to do too much with this story and instead of giving us a segment of his life, they try too hard to cram together too many episodes an all of them feel too rushed given the run time of the film which isn’t long enough to give us an even better sample of his life.
1. Toy Story 4 – Another great addition to this series, but it unfortunately fails to add anything to what we already know about these characters and their lives. The voice cast is once again superb and it was even great hearing Rickles again (despite the great actor’s passing two years ago). Being reunited with these characters one more time is so much fun and brings forth a flood of memories yet, it isn’t able to bring things up to the level that was reached in all 3 of the previous installments. This isn’t an Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008) type of mistake, but things would have been fine had this film not been added to the mix. Woody is such a great character (and leader) that it was such a great choice to focus on his character even more in this film since we learn more about how integral he is to the “toy community” due to his personality. Once again they manage to blend the humor and drama quite well here and make us want to spurt tears in both situations because either we’re laughing so hard or ready to cry because we are so touched by the events and characters in the story. The animation is amazing and I kept forgetting that I was watching an animated film. The message of the film is great and we get so much to ponder about the meaning of life and why we are all here from the perspective of toys. As fun as this film is, it’s a slight disappointment for something with the label of Toy Story on it.
Do I agree with the Oscar winner? – Absolutely! EJ’s song is by far the most powerful of the nominees and was a very worthy choice.
Let me know what you think about these films and my rankings!