The Oscars Recap: A Night Full of Disappointment


When my fiancee picked me up at the airport in Los Angeles on Sunday evening, she told me how she had never seen Trader Joe’s more packed than when she went there earlier in the day. The employees at the grocery store told her the three busiest days every year are the day before Thanksgiving, Super Bowl Sunday, and Oscars Sunday.

I knew plenty of people liked to watch Hollywood’s biggest night (Robin Roberts’ words, not mine), but I never thought it was cause for madness at the local markets.

I guess that means there should be lots of people eager to read a recap of last night in running diary format. Let’s dive in:

  • 4:00pm (Pacific Time): The Oscars Red Carpet Ceremony kicks off with Robin Roberts telling us we’re going to see the red carpet tonight like we’ve never seen it before. Which I think just means it’s a slightly different color of red this year.
  • 4:02: The first celebrity shown during ABC’s opening is Anna Kendrick. Never have I been more optimistic about the next six hours of my life. Kendrick = happiness.
  • 4:04: The first live interview by Roberts is with Common, his mom, John Legend, and his wife Chrissy Teigen. And four minutes into the coverage, we have our first name screw-up as Roberts calls her “Christy”. We can also hand out the award for the most aggressive dress slit of the night, as Teigen’s goes well above her vagina.
  • 4:11: Sorry, Rosamund Pike, but your dress slit is laughable compared to Teigen’s. Better luck next time. Also, adding to my dislike of this woman is the fact that her two children are named “Solo” and “Atom.”
  • 4:15: I support ABC’s decision to replace last year’s red carpet style expert (Tyson Beckford, whose most notable style comment was “She’s wearing a nice pink dress tonight.”) with this guy from Yahoo who is considerably more knowledgeable about style and considerably more gay. I mean, I don’t personally care, but I’m sure the people who watch this show to hear about the dress makers and the stars’ accessories love it.
  • 4:32: Robin Roberts says “congratulations” to Julianne Moore and it seems like they both know Moore is the guaranteed winner for Best Actress in a Leading Role tonight. There’s a chance this is going to be a very, very boring Oscars. It feels like one of those years where the odds-on favorites are going to win in each major category. Let’s hope that’s not the case. There’s nothing more boring than predictability.
  • 4:41: Kerry Washington, wear an uglier dress, I dare you to. Here’s my simple advice to the Oscars women, as a man who likes looking at women: Don’t make your hips or hip area look larger than it is. Should be simple.
  • 4:42: Chris Pratt and Anna Faris should host awards shows. I’m assuming it would be the first ever husband-wife combo to do so, but they’d kill. I would actually watch a three-hour show where Pratt does nothing more than cut a loaf of bread. He’s that hilarious.
  • 4:52: Reese Witherspoon brought her A-game tonight. And it’s not a coincidence that her dress doesn’t enlarge her body by 36 sizes like half of the actresses here tonight.
  • 4:55: I’m nominating Jennifer Lopez as the person that sparks the most “she’s still so hot at her age” Tweets throughout the awards ceremony. I think she looks fine, but nothing special.
  • 5:19: The ABC correspondent interviewing Lady Gaga says, “You never let us down with your fashion.” Really? I would have said, “You always let us down with your fashion.” And I would have put the word fashion in air quotes.
  • 5:30: And finally, we’re live from the Dolby Theatre as the 87th Academy Awards officially gets underway. Neil Patrick Harris is the first-time host. It’s raining in LA. I think the last time it did that was during last year’s Oscars. I’m going out on a limb and saying NPH’s first joke will be about 50 Shades of Grey. (He can’t joke about the weather because Ellen led off last year’s telecast with rain jokes.)
  • 5:31: “Tonight we honor Hollywood’s best and whitest…I’m sorry, BRIGHTEST.” Dammit, he went with a race joke to lead it off? Who knew?
  • 5:33: Anna Kendrick joins NPH during his opening musical number. Between Anna being the first celeb shown on the red carpet and now putting her front & center during this opening, it’s like the Oscar producers are trying to make sure one specific person stays tuned in all night long: Me. And they’ve done their job. I’m hooked.
  • 5:36: NPH’s six-minute song & dance ends after Jack Black joins in as the comic relief. It was a solid performance, but I’m already thinking this should be the new normal for The Oscars: NPH and Ellen co-host, and NPH is in charge of all the theatrics, singing and dancing, while Ellen is the joke-teller. I feel like that’s a solid compromise.
  • 5:41: I do appreciate that the Academy gives us a taste of what we’re actually here for by announcing the Best Supporting Actor as the first award of the night (before boring us with hours of technical and irrelevant categories). And in what will likely be the least surprising winner of this night, J.K. Simmons takes The Oscar for his role as the abusive jazz conductor/teacher Terence Fletcher in Whiplash. If you don’t know how large my erection is for Whiplash and Simmons, you can read all about it HERE.
  • 5:42: Wait a sec. Was Simmons tearing up while watching the 15-second highlight of his performance that the show played when announcing the nominees? Does that immediately make his performance the most powerful in acting history? The actor who played the role is crying while watching himself in that role!
  • 5:47: Liam Neeson makes what must already be the 10th joke of the night about the movies being criticized for constantly basing its stories on comics, books, remakes of old movies, etc. The football equivalent would be if the NFL did a “year in review” montage during halftime of the Super Bowl and it highlighted Roger Goodell’s 176 missteps of 2014. It’s teetering on that line between self-deprecating and awkward.
  • 5:49: Wow. I was way off tonight. It took 19 minutes into the telecast for NPH to make a 50 Shades joke. Dakota Johnson’s on stage to intro Maroon 5, who is performing a song from some movie that Adam Levine apparently acted in? This seems like a great time for my annual “this is why I DVR The Oscars” comment. No one can force me to listen to this pompous, talentless jerk-off sing on live television.
  • 5:56: And here we go. The start of what I’m sure will be a long run on categories absolutely no one cares about. J-Lo and Chris Pine are announcing the “Achievement in Costume Design” category. The Grand Budapest Hotel wins the first boring award of the night! Congrats.
  • 6:00: Reese Witherspoon, who was intro’d by an awful NPH joke about “she’s so lovely you could eat her up…with her spoon,” announces Grand Budapest as the winner of “Achievement in Makeup & Hairstyling.” Since this movie has almost no chance to win for Directing or Best Picture, I’m glad to see it taking home some of the more technical categories.
  • 6:03: Channing Tatum is on stage talking about something even more boring than the technical categories: The “Team Oscar” winners. No one understands what this is and no one cares. Who are these people? What is their purpose? Why should we care? It’s like ABC forgets that the point of a TV show is to hold viewers’ attention and therefore make money from advertisers who want as many eyeballs on the screen as possible.
  • 6:12: Congrats to Poland (or more accurately, the director from the Foreign Film winner who happens to be from Poland) for being the first to get the “wrap up your speech” music of the night. Except even that couldn’t deter him. They had to stop the music and re-start it just to let him know they meant business.
  • 6:18: Lonely Island is performing “Everything is Awesome,” the theme song from The Lego Movie. I’m pretty sure I’m the only person left in America who hasn’t seen that movie. More importantly, I wonder how many people predicted Lonely Island would eventually be on stage at The Oscars when they were producing “Dick in a Box” and “Jizzed in My Pants” a decade ago?
  • 6:26: With Jason Bateman and Kerry Washington announcing the “Live Action Short Film” award, we get a rare moment where my fiancee and I are both satisfied with the eye candy on stage.  Meanwhile, we started down this boring categories path 30 minutes ago and we’re still going strong. If only they could do the pointless awards at some off-screen ceremony where people could still be honored but the TV audience wouldn’t be subjected to such lame entertainment….Oh, what’s that? They have that exact scenario in place already? They gave out a bunch of awards on February 7th this year? Then what the hell am I doing watching speeches from the winners of “hairstyling & makeup”?? C’mon, Academy!
  • 6;27: I hate to stereotype but it appears only the foreigners don’t understand what the “get off the stage” music means.
  • 6:32: iaasieeieeeieieeeieejnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn””””””””doookkkkkkkkkffffffffffff
  • 6:34: Sorry, I passed out on my keyboard from boredom.
  • 6:35: Gwyneth Paltrow comes out…See? Here you go, Oscars. If you’re going to bore us to death with content, please roll out the hot blondes to deliver that boring content.
  • 6:46: Sound Mixing category up next. And just like that, they put Sienna Miller on stage. One minute before, they had Margot Robbie presenting (the actress from The Wolf of Wall Street and some upcoming Will Smith movie). This is a calculated move by The Academy to keep our attention just a little during this downtime.
  • 6:51: They throw us a curveball by bringing out a hot brunette as the next presenter. It’s Jared Leto! (Sorry, that was a recycled joke from last year. Had to do it.) Mark it down. Fifty-five minutes of bullshit categories and announcements. And Patricia Arquette wins for Best Supporting Actress, another category that seemed decided before the ceremony even started. Let me take this moment to wonder out loud if Keira Knightley is simply Winona Ryder after the name change?

ryder knightley

  • 7:06: Anna Kendrick is back out there to present “Best Animated Short.” Here are the people and order in which I’d organize the presenters for the entire night: Anna Kendrick, Jennifer Lawrence, Reese Witherspoon, Margot Robbie and Kata Mara (who I didn’t even know existed until I binged on House of Cards recently). Repeat that order over and over until there are no more categories left to present.
  • 7:09: I’d like to make an immediate amendment to that order above. Zoe Saldana absolutely should be included. And she will be. Once I’m the producer of this awards show.
  • 7:17: I would rate NPH’s hosting attempt as adequate so far. He’s not doing outstanding; he’s not doing horribly. He just doesn’t have the comedy chops of Ellen. I know some people will ridicule that, mostly the people who assume Ellen is only funny to middle-aged women. But she’s an experienced stand-up comedian who has been on TV, in movies, on talkshows and even host of awards shows. Bring her back in 2016!
  • 7:37: Over the past 20 minutes, they ran through a couple more technical categories and did the “In Memoriam” tribute. As we kill some time, I’ll go ahead and nominate Robert Duvall as this year’s “person in the audience who refuses to laugh or smile at any of the jokes, specifically any aimed at him.” Because this night is NOT about having fun and being self-deprecating if you’re a super serious actor, apparently.
  • 7:44: I’ve reached that point in the night where I’m fast forwarding almost every acceptance speech. I guess I’m truly in this for just the seven major categories, the hot blondes and the Ellen jokes.
  • 7:46: As Terrence Howard speaks, I have to ask, are any actors in Hollywood actually American? Or are they all from England and have simply perfected their American accents? Every year I’m confused by the number of actors with British accents.
  • 8:03: Idina Menzel is on stage. Hey, Idina, thanks for costing me $5 with your extra long rendition of the National Anthem before the Super Bowl! I hate you!
  • 8:04: Holy shit! I just heard thunder for the first time in the three years I’ve lived in LA! THUNDER! IN LA! THIS CAN’T BE! WHY DO I LIVE IN THE CITY THAT HAS THE WORST WINTER WEATHER IN AMERICA?!?!
  • 8:08: John Legend accepts the award for Best Original Song and says, “There are more black men in correction facilities today than there were slaves in 1850.” One person in the audience claps. Perfection.
  • 8:12: ScarJo! Say it ain’t so. Why are you purposely trying to look like Tilda Swinton? I know this is blasphemy, but 1) I dislike short hair on most women, and 2) That slicked back short blonde hair looks like, well:

[ linktext:Tilda Swinton]

  • 8:20: As Lady Gaga sings The Sound of Music medley and then Julie Andrews joins her on stage, my fiancee, who never wants to watch movies and seems generally disinterested in the film industry, is now schooling me on the deep history of all things Julie Andrews…vocal chord problems she used to have, reciting her IMDB page from memory. This is weird.
  • 8:21: OK, Grand Budapest just won its 4th award of the night. Granted, they are all in minor categories, but I’m starting to wonder if this groundswell of winning is going to lead to an upset in the Directing or Best Picture categories.
  • 8:23: “Wes Anderson, you are a genius” has replaced “I want to thank Harvey Weinstein” as the most uttered phrase at this year’s Oscars.
  • 8:29: Eddie Murphy is now presenting. He could say no words and just urinate on stage and it would still be more compelling than his appearance on the Saturday Night Live 40 show.
  • 8:30: I love how they stretched all those meaningless awards out over an hour in the middle of this broadcast and now they’re going to rip through the remaining five or six important categories in the final 30 minutes. This makes no sense. Anyway, Birdman wins for Best Original Screenplay.
  • 8:33: The Imitation Game wins the Best Adapted Screenplay award. I’m just going to say it and hope it doesn’t come off as offensive: These award winners make it very very difficult to make fun when every speech includes something about gay rights, racism or gender inequality.
  • 8:44: Ben Affleck announces the Directing winner, and it’s Birdman. It’s on its way to sweeping the major categories now.
  • 8:47: Cate Blanchett presents the Best Actor category, which is won by Dennis Reynolds of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia fame:


  • Whoops, sorry. Turns out Eddie Redmayne is actually the winner, for his role in The Theory of Everything:

eddie redmayne

  • 8:52: Julianne Moore wins Best Actress. So at this point, the favorite has won in the following categories: Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Actress, Directing and Best Original Screenplay. This is a tough year for underdogs.
  • 9:00: Only one more category left, the big one, the moment we all tune in for, the award we’ll be taking about for years…AND MY DVR STOPPED TAPING RIGHT AFTER JULIANNE MOORE’S SPEECH!! I EVEN EXTENDED THE BROADCAST FROM THREE HOURS TO 3.5 HOURS, AND IT STILL WENT OVER!
  • FUCK YOU, ACADEMY AWARDS! I’M BOYCOTTING NEXT YEAR (unless Ellen returns to host).
  • Oh, and Birdman won for Best Picture, which I had to google to find out.

I saw this headline on Monday morning: ABC Telecast of The Oscars down 10% in overnight ratings to four-year low.

See? It wasn’t just me. Everyone hated this year’s Oscars. So here are my quick fixes that The Academy should immediately adopt:

  1. Do away with most of the live music. It’s boring and there are almost never any songs we want to hear being performed.
  2. Do away with that full hour of bullshit categories.
  3. Fill time, if you must, with trailers for upcoming movies, highlighting specific performances that The Academy is excited about. This is a win-win because people love seeing movie previews, and it would almost definitely cause more people to go to the movies in the upcoming months.
  4. Stop celebrating arbitrary things that happened an arbitrary number of years ago (“Sound of Music turned 50 this year, let’s spend 10 minutes on that!”)
  5. Put Jon Lovitz as the last face of the “In Memoriam” tribute.

Can someone please start a petition for Ellen’s big return in 2016?

Also, where the F was Jennifer Lawrence this year?

What a disaster the 87th Academy Awards were.

Getting Ready for The Oscars With the Best Picture Nominees

best picture 2015

For those of you who strictly adhere to the Ross Watchability Scale (RWS) when deciding which movies to see, you’ve probably been a bit disappointed over the last few months by my lack of movie reviews. You’d think that as we got closer to Oscar night, I’d be seeing more nominated films and spreading the word about them. Well it turns out I have been seeing a lot of those films, but I haven’t done a good job of putting up my reviews (blame it on football season, the Patriots’ extended run through the football season, or just plain laziness…all are valid).

With the 87th Academy Awards (fancy name for Oscars) taking place only a couple days from now, I wanted to post a little primer to get people excited. Maybe this column will spark some debates, maybe it’ll cause you to run out to the theaters and see a few of the nominated films before Sunday evening, or maybe it’ll just get you in the mood for Hollywood’s most self-righteous night.

No matter your feelings on the topic, The Oscars will be talked about a lot in the days following the event. Don’t be the jerk who didn’t tune in.

Beyond this preview for the award show’s most important category, you can also expect a recap in the form of a running diary on Monday morning. Since Sunday is Hollywood’s night of unnecessary self-congratulations, allow me to be the first celebrity to do exactly that…

I pretty much CRUSHED IT with my running diary of last year’s Oscars (which you can find HERE). I just re-read it, and I’m still laughing at jokes that are now a year old. I’m the best.

OK so here’s the deal: I’ve seen six of the eight Best Picture nominees. I might see a seventh on Friday afternoon, but this blog needed to go up on Friday morning so you all could make your weekend plans accordingly. The two that I didn’t see are Selma and The Theory of Everything. So there’s a chance those two films are awesome. But I doubt it.

Here is how I would rank the Best Picture nominees that I’ve seen in order from worst to best:

6. Boyhood – The worst movie of the group wasn’t bad by normal standards, but it most certainly is not Oscar worthy. It was basically a three-hour gimmick where we got to see the actual actors age over 10 years in the context of a family in Texas growing and living, just like many families do. It was certainly an outside-the-box concept to film the story over a decade, but the stakes weren’t very high and it didn’t keep me glued to my TV at all. It was just OK. The plot could be boiled down to “boy moves through childhood and adolescence in a very normal way, with the usual highs and lows of a human life.” So someone please explain to me why this is considered one of the best eight movies of 2014??

5. American Sniper – Here’s how loaded the top five of this category is this year: American Sniper was a fantastic movie and it’s only the fifth best! It seems like this movie needs the least explaining out of all of them because there have been dozens of web articles and TV stories about this war story. And recent events have put Sniper back in the mainstream news (sorry for being vague, but I’d hate to spoil the ending). Even though this particular war movie focuses on a very specific person—the greatest sniper in American history—it’s still mainly about war in the Middle East. So I had to dock it points for originality. In many years, this could easily be the best movie. Bradley Cooper was fantastic and deserving of his Best Actor nod. But it didn’t hold my attention quite like these next four did.

4. The Grand Budapest Hotel – These days you could lose a lot of friends simply by saying you didn’t like a Wes Anderson film. It’s not very cool or hip to dislike anything this great writer and director does. But I promise you it’s not just peer pressure that made me love Grand Budapest. In classic Anderson style, we get to see a very intricate plot dressed up in colorful, precise scenery while still feeling like we’re watching an easy-going, fun adventure. If you’re at all familiar with his previous work, then you know exactly what to expect walking into this movie. This particular tale starts off a little slow, but once you get past the opening 20 minutes, the pace picks up and you really have to pay attention to keep up. The characters and the action move at light speed. Grand Budapest follows a concierge of the fictitious hotel and his loyal Lobby Boy as they try to prove the concierge’s innocence in a murder case. Like many films from the Wes Anderson archives, the plot is almost an afterthought as the characters and dialogue take center stage. Buckle your seat belts and hang on tight as this movie speeds down the proverbial (and real) alpine ski slope.

3. The Imitation Game – Trust me, I was just as surprised as you are at how much I enjoyed this Benedict Cumberbatch starring film. Set in the 1940s and ’50s, specifically during World War II, this is the true story of how Alan Turing and a handful of England’s top mathematicians cracked Germany’s brilliant Engima code. The code is what the Nazis used for all wartime communications (where to position their troops and U-boats, where to bring supplies, the positions of the Ally armies, etc). The movie includes Turing’s life before being recruited to the top secret code-cracking sector of England’s military, and his postwar life, where he was prosecuted for being a homosexual. The reason this movie is so compelling is because of the perfect blend of the high stakes of war (this small group of geniuses seems to be England’s only hope for saving millions of lives and ending the war) and the captivating story behind Turing himself. Technology buffs will also tell you that the machine Turing created during this time period was technically the first computer in human history. Not too many movies can boast that level of importance in its story. When I exited the theater after seeing The Imitation Game, I didn’t think I’d be ranking it this high, but it’s grown on me the more I’ve thought about it. Cumberbatch was so good, I think he deserves runner up in the Lead Actor category to the man who starred in this next movie.

2. Birdman – This is the one Best Picture movie that I actually did write a review for, which you can find HERE. In a nutshell, Birdman was a fantastic independent “artsy” film that featured the shoo-in Best Actor winner in Michael Keaton and a handful of other outstanding supporting performances by the rest of the cast. The parallels between Keaton’s actual career and the fictitious Riggan Thomson are impossible to ignore, and there wasn’t a more uniquely shot movie in 2014. Please click the link above to read about the plot in more detail. It’s a must-see, and for me it almost made it to the Oscars finish line as the best movie of the year. However…

1. Whiplash – For three months I’ve been telling people it would take a miracle for any movie to knock Birdman off the top of my 2014 “best films” list. At the 11th hour, a miracle is exactly what occurred. I finally saw Whiplash on Thursday and it BLEW EVERY OTHER MOVIE OF 2014 OUT OF THE WATER. I’m not exaggerating even slightly. In fact, I went into the theater hoping not to like it that much because there’s this one particular person in my life who I hate having to admit to that he’s right, and he told me a couple weeks ago that this was the best movie he’s seen in a while. Even while trying to be stubborn about it, Whiplash lapped the field in this year’s Best Picture race in my opinion. The story follows student jazz drummer Andrew (played by Miles Teller) at America’s finest music school, Schaffer Conservatory in New York. He starts on what is essentially the Junior Varsity team of bands, but is aiming to get to the next level, the studio band conducted by the legendary Terence Fletcher (played by J.K. Simmons). Let’s stop right there with the plot because we need to talk about Simmons (who has acted in a ton of stuff, with the most notable role for me being Paul Rudd’s Dad in I Love You, Man…remember his best friend, Hank Mardukas?). In Whiplash, Simmons plays the role of the fearsome, abusive, uber-demanding teacher. And he plays it just about better than any actor in any role that I’ve seen in my lifetime. As I watched him, I laughed and trembled with fear at the same time. Teller also played his part phenomenally, I thought, but sometimes an actor and a role are like a tornado ripping through the movie and leaving destruction in its wake. That was Simmons in this particular film. He’s nominated for the Supporting Actor Award on Sunday, and I don’t think a category has been this locked up before the ceremony since Daniel Day-Lewis actually mutated into Abraham Lincoln in 2012’s Lincoln. I can’t say enough about Simmons or the movie in general. Beyond the characters, the plot was even better than you could ever imagine considering it’s a story about jazz and music school. The writer/director of Whiplash, Damien Chazelle, sets us up for the ultimate “HOLY SHIT” moment not once, but twice in the second half of this movie. And to top it all off, the final 10 minutes are the most fun you will ever have watching actors play music on the big screen. After writing all this, I really want to go see Whiplash again. Like right now. You should do the same.

And because I thought Whiplash was so amazing, I’m hoping one more miracle happens. Below are the betting odds for the Best Picture category. I just had to put a few bucks on Whiplash at 66/1 odds. I’m hoping the Academy members saw what I saw in this movie and decide to reward it in the way it deserves. Fingers crossed.

Enjoy Oscar Night!

Screen Shot 2015-02-19 at 5.55.11 PM

Movie Review: Birdman


Normally I wouldn’t be first in line to see an under-the-radar black comedy about a washed-up Hollywood star who’s battling demons—real and imagined—while trying to write, direct and star in a Broadway play just to announce to the world that he’s still relevant.

Normally I wouldn’t be the second in line, the 12th, the 100th or even the 10 millionth for a movie like that. But over the past couple weeks, everywhere I turned, I kept hearing the whispers about this incredible little film starring Michael Keaton as Riggan Thomson, the main character trying to restart his career (or put on his final act…it’s definitely ambiguous as to what his ultimate goal is with opening a Broadway play).

We’re into November now, which means movies with Oscar aspirations are finally being released in theaters. The buzz over Keaton’s performance is what got me into a theater this past week, and that buzz is 100% deserved.

Birdman is the name of the movie because it’s the name of the fictitious Superhero that Keaton’s Thomson played in three hugely successful movies 20 years earlier. Then he walked away from that career-making & fortune-making role, and presumably he vanished from the A-list for the next two decades.

It isn’t too big of a leap for people to think about Michael Keaton’s career as a parallel to this storyline. He starred as Batman in the late 80s/early 90s, but walked away from the franchise after two films. We all know subsequent Batman films have gone on to make a ton of money over the last 20 years, and Keaton hasn’t really been relevant for a long time now.

Even though Keaton says in this interview that the main character’s backstory in Birdman couldn’t be any less similar to his real life, you can’t help but make the comparison while watching the onscreen Riggan Thomson in action.

This movie is so much more than “struggling actor tries to save his career by performing on Broadway.” It has many layers. Thomson and his best friend/co-producer Jake are nearly out of money before the play’s opening night even arrives. (Finally! Zach Galifianakis plays a character that doesn’t just feel like a regurgitated version of his role in The Hangover films.)

When they need to find a last-minute actor to fill a major role in the play, they’re ecstatic to land Broadway veteran Mike Shiner (Edward Norton), but that ultimately comes with problems. First, in order to pay Shiner’s ridiculous salary, Thomson has to refinance his Malibu home that was supposed to be given to his daughter one day (she’s a recovering drug addict played by Emma Stone). Then Shiner starts to steal the spotlight and go rogue on the script.

The revolving love triangles among the cast and crew are minor conflicts compared to Thomson’s internal demon. He can’t get the voice of Birdman out of his head. It’s the voice that’s repeatedly telling him he doesn’t need this Broadway play or the hassle it brings. He’s a star. He grossed more than $1 Billion worldwide.

All the pressures and issues facing Thomson come to a head when the play is running its final preview, a showing attended by the New York Times theater critic Tabitha, who has the reputation of either making or breaking your success on Broadway.

What happens in the movie’s final 30 minutes will make you laugh, cry and walk away extremely satisfied.

You should see this movie if: You love artsy indie movies; you like black comedies; you want to see a movie that’s totally unique and original compared to a lot of the repetitive junk that the studios usually put out there; you’re OK with laughing and crying at the same time; you’re a big Michael Keaton and/or Edward Norton fan; you’re into Broadway and want to see a somewhat fictitious take of what goes on behind the curtain; you want to see what will most likely be an Oscar-nominated performance (Keaton’s for sure).

You should not see this movie if: You only like films that have lots of action and a ton of special effects; you couldn’t possibly picture liking an artsy movie; you only like comedies that are pure laughs and don’t have any drama; you hate Michael Keaton and/or Edward Norton; just thinking about plays and Broadway makes you start yawning.

On the Ross Watchability Scale, I’m giving Birdman a 7.5 out of 10. The acting is incredible throughout and the plot actually held my attention a lot better than I was initially expecting. I’m very glad to have heard that buzz that got me into the theater for this one.

One final note: If you’re considering a few different movie options for this weekend, you can compare my thoughts on Birdman with two other movies that should still be in the theaters: Gone Girl and Fury. Of course, there’s a very strong chance that you’re seeing Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar on its opening weekend, but if you want to avoid those crowds, check out one of the three movies above.