So in case you missed it, the Oscars last night had the best Oscars ending ever, in which the award for Best Picture at first was given to LA LA LAND, and then, in a dramatic reversal, revealed to be a mistake and the Best Picture winner was in fact MOONLIGHT, written and directed by Barry Jenkins.
I don’t know how you feel about alternate universes, but to me, the accidental creation of a film called #MOONLIGHTLAND was the best possible outcome for cinema. Going into Academy Awards night, there were some strong feelings about the Best Picture frontrunners, all of them deserving, quality films (maybe not so much ARRIVAL, imo). LA LA LAND, generally considered a delightful film, but perhaps a pretty-people-meet-cute-and-sing story that we’ve seen a few hundred times before, seemed likely Oscar-bait. MOONLIGHT, a triumphantly independent production with a largely African-American cast, combining a boldly relevant storyline with classical filmmaking grandeur, seemed the outside possibility.
But as it turns out, everyone wins, because MOONLIGHTLAND was the mythical film that could satisfy everybody, a contemporary coming-of-age gay musical about chasing your dreams in Los Angeles and Florida and Atlanta, starring Oscar winners Mahershala Ali and Emma Stone, and Ryan Gosling and Janelle Monae, and a lot of cute kids. What, you didn’t see MOONLIGHTLAND? But how could you forget the part when….
…Janelle Monae broke into an energetic jazzy dance number?
…Ryan Gosling, working-class criminal with a good nature, took a young boy on a ride around in a really tricked-out car?
…Mahershala Ali broke into song?
…Emma Stone was in that other film with “Moonlight” in the title?
…or, that other film where she was Hawaiian?
…the hero has a life-changing confrontation with a guy on a beach?
…the soundtrack featured an excellent unreleased Prince song? Performed, obviously, by Janelle Monae.
Seriously, MOONLIGHTLAND, great flick, game-changer, five stars. Joe Bob says check it out.