Green Book (2018)

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(Originally reviewed for The LAMB Devours the Oscars – original post here)

Director: Peter Farrelly

Genre: Biography, Drama, Comedy

Runtime: 130 Minutes

Main Cast: Viggo Mortensen, Mahershala Ali, Linda Cardellini, Sebastian Maniscalco, Dimiter D. Marinov, Mike Hatton, Don Stark, Tom Virtue, Brian Stepanek

Plot: Inspired by a true friendship in 1962, Green Book tells the story of Tony Lip, a club bouncer who accepts a job driving pianist Don Shirley on a tour through the Deep South, in the days when African Americans were reliant on the Green Book in order to find accommodation where they were welcome.

My Thoughts: In my painfully long wait for Green Book to get it’s UK release, I read many a review. A lot gave praise to the movie – but not enough for its attention during this year’s award season. I almost felt like a hardened movie critic when I headed to the cinema last week but let me cut the chase – Green Book very quickly melted my cold heart.

It’s impossible to look past the racism shown, and as always with movies like this, it’s difficult and sickening to think that this is what life was actually like – or in fact still is in some places around the globe. Human beings can be just the worst sometimes. Cutting through the seriousness though is a beautiful story of an unlikely friendship. Tony is rough around the edges, he’s quick to anger, he isn’t well spoken and at highbrow events, he sticks out like a sore thumb. Don is the complete opposite in every single way, and yet as the two spend more time together their friendship feels so genuine.

I can understand the frustration around Green Book’s attention. There’s nothing groundbreaking here, the plot is predictable without any surprises. It relies on the performances of the two leads (why is Mahershala Ali up for Supporting Actor?!) to carry it, but they do a stunning job. If it wins the Oscar later this month, I wouldn’t be mad.

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Best Bit: I’ve seen it already at least 100 times in the trailer that my cinema has been flaunting in my face for at least 5 months, but the fried chicken scene never fails to make me laugh. What was even better was that it was a recurring gag in the movie – although I think I was the only one who laughed out loud when it was served at that fancy dinner in honour of Don Shirley.

Worst Bit: This is minor I know, but the only thing that niggled me was how quickly Tony went from throwing away glasses simply because a black man had drunk from them, to happily attending an interview to drive Don around for 8 weeks. It felt like either clunky writing or a chunk of the movie being edited out before the final release.

Fun Trivia: The pizza scene is drawn from real life: Nick Vallelonga said Tony Lip used to order a whole, unsliced pizza pie, fold it and eat it. Upon hearing the anecdote, Viggo Mortensen insisted they try to fit it into the movie. Peter Farrelly protested, saying there were enough funny eating scenes but agreed to try it. When the crew burst out laughing, he agreed to leave the scene in.
(Note to every movie director – you can NEVER have enough funny eating scenes)

My Rating: 4 and a half huge pizzas that Tony Lip folded in half and ate. What a man, ladies and gentlemen.

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Going Off Topic (#16) What Up, Dingdongs?

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I’m giving myself a pat on the back for posting regularly throughout the whole of January, but I’ve had a bit of a dry weekend and so in the hope on continuing my regular posts throughout February, today is the perfect time for an Off Topic ramble!

I finally watched Green Book (2018) last week and was actually pleasantly surprised. Perhaps it was my low expectations after reading a lot of reviews but I really enjoyed it. It had that perfect mix of seriousness and entertainment that I felt when I watched Hidden Figures (2016). I’ll have my review up soon but I snatched it up for the LAMB Devours the Oscars feature so it’ll be posted there first.

On the Netflix front, I’ve actually been watching some TV! I started with The Good Place. Oh my God – I haven’t loved a show like this since Parks & Recreation. It grabbed me in the very first episode and I’ve already started rewatching it whilst blogging on an evening. Probably another reason as to why I haven’t watched many movies. I also binged You in 2 days whilst I was sick. It wasn’t as dark as I thought it would be but it was so entertaining. Can’t wait for Season 4!

Over the weekend I tried to get into Sex Education as it’s all everyone seems to be raving about. I’m struggling with it to be honest. It feels way too predictable and the novelty of the rudeness grew old pretty quickly. I’m tempted to stick with it for Gillian Anderson alone though – lady knows how to made a married woman question her sexuality!

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I also watched Velvet Buzzsaw (2019) at the first chance I got, like the diligent Jake Gyllenhaal fan I am. It was good – but I was kind of hoping for a bit more, some kind of dark twist or open ending…I don’t know. Well worth a watch though!

Sleep is not my friend lately. My little 1 year old seems to either have a cold or be teething constantly and I’m averaging at about 5 hours sleep a night broken up into pieces. Ugh. It’s a good job she’s cute. To be honest she’s actually pretty hilarious now she’s starting to pick up words. Her favourite right now is banana, but she can’t just say it quietly. It’s like “Daisy, would you like some banana?” “Buh……NA NAAAAAAA!” Like alright kiddo, way to make the strangers think we never feed you.

It’s the BAFTAs this Sunday! I am so excited! I’ll get some predictions put together very soon just for fun. Joanna Lumley is hosting again like last year, although I missed last year’s ceremony so I didn’t get to see if she was actually any good. No one can replace Stephen Fry, but I have faith that Lumley is a good substitute otherwise she wouldn’t have been invited back.

Tonight I think I’m out to see How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (2019), and I’ll probably try and catch Alita: Battle Angel (2019) later this week. What are you guys hoping to see this week?