Each week this column will highlight one winner of the Academy Award for Best Picture, progressing chronologically until all winners have been discussed. There will be a brief discussion of the film itself followed by a mention of what we wish won from the nominees in the given year (though in many cases there were films that were superior in terms of quality and/or impact that were not nominated). This week’s entry is Parasite (2019).
Have you ever seen one of those videos of someone doing a ski jump, perfectly executing the ski down the hill, coming off of the ramp flawlessly, then making a bit of a wrong move on the landing and being sent into a tumble? That’s about how I feel when watching Parasite. For about two hours, I understand all the acclaim it gets, unable to avert my eyes for a single second, in perfect rapt attention as the deceit unfolds like any of the best heist films. Then, a baffling decision at the party that no one has been able to adequately explain to me causes it all to start crashing down until a coda that tries to replicate 25th Hour or The Last Temptation of Christ lays it all out so simply that it feels as if the respect for the audience was entirely lost, as if we may not have been able to figure out any of the film’s themes on our own. But maybe that was necessary because nary a day goes by where I don’t see some bafflingly inane conclusion drawn about what the film was really about.
The Real Best Picture:
So many films that were so much better were nominated but I’m sticking by Marriage Story as the best of them.