With so many films being released every year, there are a bunch that, for whatever reason, get overlooked by the general audiences. Whether it be because of the smaller budget, or because of the lack of marketing/hype, both members of the Music City Drive-In have compiled what they believe might be some of the most overlooked of the year.
- Jacob: Fighting With My Family
This movie edges out Hustlers for the “worst trailer for a great movie” because, the marketing for this film was plain awful. The trailers for this film, and the marketing behind it, called it a “family comedy” and did not try to steer past that. In reality, Fighting With My Family is a very powerful family drama about regret and the fight to move forward. Florence Pugh gives what might be her best performance in an absolutely stacked year, and Jack Lowden is just as good.
- Ricky: Luce
“What’s the difference between punishing someone for being a stereotype and rewarding them if they’re not?”
The screenplay is one of the best of the year. It tackled the lines of lies, betrayal, prejudice, and racism. What Kelvin Harrison Jr. brought to the Luce character was a tremendous display of acting. He had this was of wanting to give him empathy but in a cold and calculating way, it was tremendous. The entire cast was magnificent. This film has not been getting the love it deserves and it is a true travesty.
- Jacob: Lorene Scafaria – Hustlers
It is a real shame that Scafaria is being mentioned as one of the “overlooks” of the year. She took a story and a film that by the trailers and everything before could have been such a miss. Instead, she doesn’t make it a comedy or anything short of miraculous. She gives this story a real feel and creates a heartwarming and touching film with one of the year’s absolute best scripts.
- Ricky: Melina Matsoukas – Queen & Slim
Her direction on this film was one of my favorite of the entire year. That opening scene which could be a stand-alone short film that could be shown in classrooms across the country. You also have the way she was able to beautifully piece together Queen and Slim (with the help of Waithe amazing writing) and their foundation of the relationship built from literally the ground up.
I truly can’t wait to see what Matsoukas has in store for us next because this was a fantastic first crack.
- Jacob: George MacKay – 1917
MacKay gives a top 3 performance of the year in a film that could, and should, win Best Picture at the Oscars. It is a riveting, almost theater-like, performance that is mesmerizing with how much he can do with how little he says. The performance is basically what Leonardo DiCaprio did in The Revenant, but much better. With the “one-shot” style of the film, the camera basically never leaves MacKay, so he has to be on point with everything he does. I am not sure why MacKay is not at least being mentioned in the Best Actor race, but it is disappointing he isn’t.
- Ricky: George MacKay – 1917 & Brad Pitt – Ad Astra
I am 100% on-board with Jacob. This film does not work without MacKay’s performance of Schofield. He is the heartbeat of this film. He made you care not just about the words coming out of his mouth but with his actions and his facial expressions. He would slam dunk be in my top 5 if I was casting a ballot for the Oscars this year.
Brad Pitt in Ad Astra gave an eerily similar performance. He carried Ad Astra to extra heights, not just with his acting but in those subtle moments in which nothing was happening. He gave one of the most emotionally charged performances of the year.
It’s going to be sad that neither of these two get Oscar Nominations.
- Jacob: Constance Wu – Hustlers
For all the love Jennifer Lopez is deservedly getting, Constance Wu is not getting a thing. I was surprised that she did not get a Golden Globe nom because she really did give one of the best female performances of the year. It was a layered performance that gave for so much growth in her character over the course of the film.
- Ricky: Isabelle Huppert – Greta
Greta is one of those films that not a lot of people saw and I was blown away with how much I enjoyed this film. Isabelle Huppert was an absolute STAR in this film. She played this crazy mad woman and she just killed it. She was vicious, vile and ruthless, one of the best antagonists I’ve seen in a movie this year.
- Jacob: Lucas Hedges – Honey Boy
Shia LaBeouf and Noah Jupe are getting the love they deserve for this film, but there is another part of the Shia Story Puzzle that is not getting any credit, and that is Lucas Hedges. No, he doesn’t have the screen time of the other two, but it is what he does with his time that is so wonderful. Just how Shia’s James Lort is a broken person, Lucas Hedges’ older version of Otis is parallel to that brokenness, while also being parallel to the wonders of Noah Jupes’ younger Otis. It is a clash of characters in a way that we see brokenness and despair in the face of potential hope. The older version of Otis does not believe anything is wrong and refuses to believe it as well. It is just as heartbreaking as Shia and Noah’s performance, just not as memorable.
- Ricky: Jonathan Majors – The Last Black Man In San Francisco
I was extremely happy we were able to have him as one of the nominees for the 1st ever MCDI: Whiskey awards.
One scene, in particular, was so beautifully shot, and such a poetic moment was the “Play” scene. It was Majors, the camera and the script. It’s still one of the best scenes I have seen in any movie this year. Majors was a HUGE star in this film and he is lost in the shuffle right now during the award season.
- Jacob: Julia Fox – Uncut Gems
In her first-ever film, Fox absolutely demanded the screen. A Safdie Brothers film might be one of the hardest pair of directors to start your career with because you have to be on your game throughout the entire film with a camera right in your face for most of it. She is phenomenal in this film and brings some real depth to what could have been a shallow character.
- Ricky – Caitriona Balfe – Ford v Ferrari
She gave one of my favorite supporting performances of the year. She was the heart of Mollie Miles and it showed on several occasions. She never wanted Ken to give up on his dreams but at the same time wanted what was best for their family. The way she stood tall at the end of the film and was a force within building this car, set her apart. Without her, I don’t think this film works the way it did.
I truly thought in this rather weak crowd of Supporting Actress and the love for this film, that she could sneak into the final five of the Oscar race.
Jacob is a film critic and co-founder of the Music City Drive-In. He is a member of the Music City Film Critics’ Association and specializes in the awards season. You can find him on Twitter @Tberry57.