John Otteni

Oscars Fortnight Day 7: Dances with Wolves

Dances with Wolves (1990)

The 63rd Academy Awards (1991)
Wins: 7

One of the my favorite aspects of doing these Oscar retrospectives is looking back and trying to see why a particular film resonated with audiences (or at least the Academy) in its time. Why were people so into Dances with Wolves? And why did the Academy give Kevin Costner’s overbearing western epic the top prize when there was another painfully obvious choice. I’m of course referring to Goodfellas, which I would argue is among the most celebrated and quoted crime films of all time. Meanwhile, I’m not sure if Dances with Wolves would even crack a top thirty of the greatest westerns of all time.

Continue reading

Oscars Fortnight Day 5: The Goodbye Girl

The Goodbye Girl (1977)

The 50th Academy Awards (1978)
Wins: 1

I never thought the final push I’d need to watch this movie would be from a reference in a post-apocalyptic TV show about mushroom-zombies, but here we are. I am of course referring to the HBO show The Last of Us which earlier this season had a scene where a community of survivors had a movie night and what movie did they pick? Let’s just say somebody is a Richard Dreyfuss fan.

The thematic connection is clear if you’re familiar with both properties. Both that particular episode of Last of Us and The Goodbye Girl feature a child character who fears the adult they are growing attached to is going to abandon them. It’s a nice touch but conversely, I can’t imagine any child would ever want to watch this movie. Unless kids really get a kick out of Richard Dreyfuss’s flamboyant take on Shakespeare’s Richard III.

Continue reading

Oscars Fortnight Day 3: A Streetcar Named Desire

A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)

The 24th Academy Awards (1952)
Wins: 4

Like Ben-Hur last year, most of my frame of reference for A Streetcar Named Desire comes from the Simpsons. In this case, it’s the episode “A Streetcar Named Marge” where Marge is cast as Blanche DuBois in a musical adaptation of Tennessee William’s play called “Oh, Streetcar!” Here’s a recap if you don’t recall.

Continue reading

Oscars Fortnight Day 1: Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans

Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1927)

The 1st Academy Awards (1929)
Nominations: 4
Wins: 3

Welcome to another “Oscars Fortnight” where for the next two weeks we’ll be reviewing all your favorite Oscar nominated films. Films like, Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans! All the kids love 96-year-old silent movies… Right? No? Well then maybe we need a reboot. Maybe it’s about time Dwayne Johnson changes the hierarchy of the Sunrise-universe. Okay, so if the cool kids don’t care about silent movies. Why should you? Let’s talk about it and see if I can sell you on a timeless love story filled with strangulation and trippy carnivals.

Continue reading

John’s Top Ten Movies of 2022

2022 was a great year for movies. How do I know that? Because I didn’t have to try very hard to make this list. You see, in a mediocre year for movies, the mainstream releases are a let down. Which means I have to go to the ends of the Earth to find obscure indie films and documentaries to satisfy my cinematic cravings.

This year, I could throw a rock and hit a great film. A great mainstream film at that. I didn’t have to go to any creaky arthouse theaters that smell funny. I could go to the multiplex and have a great time. (Note: Please support the creaky arthouse places too).

2022 was also one of the best years for Horror that I can recall in recent memory. I don’t remember ever putting this many horror titles on a top ten list. It was truly an embarrassment of riches… Or dare I say “witches”? So I apologize if this feels redundant. I swear to you, I do like other kinds of films too.
Continue reading

John’s Top Ten TV Shows of 2022

Let’s see what’s on the ‘ol idiot box this year… I kid, I kid. Seriously though, I am more of a movie guy. TV shows are a commitment, and with the amount of “content” out there it’s getting harder and harder to even remember what I’m supposed to be watching. There are genuinely good shows I will probably never see. Does that stress me out? Oh definitely, but hey man, it’s just TV.

As for shows I started but didn’t finish, I want to give props to; She-Hulk, Andor, and Interview with the Vampire. As for shows I have yet to watch? I should probably be watching Abbott Elementary, Reservation Dogs, and White Lotus. What’s embarrassing is that I am all caught up on Euphoria. I don’t know what horrible spell that show has cast over me, but it’s strong.

Alright, Top Ten TV Shows, here we come!

Continue reading

John’s Top Ten Albums of 2022

Remember the cartoon Pinky and the Brain? You know, those lab mice (one a genius, the other insane) who every episode plotted to take over the world? Yeah, that’s me and music. Every year I plan a new scheme to discover new music and every year I still feel like I miss something.

This year, I relied heavily on Spotify’s “Discover Weekly” section. If you’re not familiar, Spotify generates weekly playlists based on the user’s listening habits. A great idea but at the end of the day I really only found one album from that process that ended up on my list (it’s in my number 2 spot btw).

Otherwise, I found out about all these other albums in a multitude of ways; the radio, YouTube, Pitchfork (which I’ve tried to wean myself off of… No good snobs!) It’s not a perfect process but I’m happy with this list and I hope you are too!

Continue reading