It's hard to be much more bogus: How good a film is Lulu Wang's comedy-drama, The Farewell?
We have no idea! We haven't seen The Farewell. And even if we'd seen the film, we aren't experts on such matters.
Having said that, we can tell you this. When The Farewell was released last July, it was reviewed by the New York Times' A. O. Scott—and he didn't make the film an "NYT Critic's Pick."
At the Times, many films are selected as NYT Critic's Picks. Last July, The Farewell wasn't among them.
Things got worse last month. On Sunday, December 8, the newspaper's two film critics—Scott and Manohla Dargis—published their respective lists of 2019's "Best Movies."
Each picked a top ten, then kept going. Here's the way the assessments went down:
Scott posted his "ten best" list, then cited sixteen more films. The Farewell wasn't included among these 26 best movies.
Dargis went Scott sixteen films better! After posted her own "ten best" list, she listed 32 additional films! In Dargis' presentation, The Farewell wasn't included about last year's 42 best movies!
To all appearances, the Times' two critics weren't all that high on The Farewell. That doesn't mean that their judgments were right, but that what their judgments were.
Correction! Those were their judgments until yesterday's New York Times appeared. When it did, Dargis and Scott conducted a colloquy about the upcoming Oscar nominations.
As if by force of law, the colloquy began with Dargis complaining about the sexism on display in this year's Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild nominations. (Dargis and Scott now conduct these exchanges at this time every year.)
How phony can our "liberal" tribe get? The colloquy began as shown below, with Dargis complaining that the sexist idiots weren't honoring The Farewell in the ways they should!
NEW YORK TIMES (1/5/20): It’s Oscar time, which means everything new is old again. The New York Times chief film critics, Manohla Dargis and A.O. Scott, look back on a year of movie nostalgia, uneasy gender relations and Quentin Tarantino’s alt-history. Our critics also have some questions: Why are the men so sad? Why are the women so scarce? Who’s afraid of Jojo Rabbit?If you read that passage very narrowly, it can be narrowly defended. If you read her remarks very narrowly, Dargis seems to be saying that the Screen Actors Guild, which only gives acting awards, should have nominated some actress or actor from The Farewell.
MANOHLA DARGIS First, my usual disclaimer: The Oscars are irrelevant, empty, dispiriting, maddening and invariably wrong, unless “Moonlight” wins. That all said, I am curious whether the academy, when it announces its nominees on Jan. 13, is just going to affirm yet again that as far as the industry is concerned, big men always trump little women. An early warning sign came when the Screen Actors Guild Award nominations didn’t include some of the best-received movies directed by women, notably “The Farewell” and “Little Women.”
Actors constitute the academy’s largest voting branch, so the SAG nominations could forecast who the academy might smile on. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the group behind the even more idiotic Golden Globes, didn’t nominate any women for best director (no female-directed movies are contention in “drama” or in “musical or comedy”). I wish we didn’t have to think about any of this—the work is the thing! But these awards sideshows can affect careers, and they have clearly become another battleground in the continuing culture wars. Because the shabby treatment of female moviemakers isn’t about quality or box office or seriousness or relevance: it’s simply about women.
For all we know, they should have! That said, Dargis only names two female-directed films, and one of them is The Farewell! She doesn't mention the fact that she and Scott didn't rate the film very highly. Instead, she refers to The Farewell as one of "the best-received movies directed by women," then complains that the "idiotic" Golden Globes didn't include any women in its (five) nominations for best director.
Idiotic as they are, should the Golden Globes have nominated a woman for best director? We have no idea!
We have seen the new Little Women, two times, and we thought it was an absolute mess, for reasons we may discuss next week. (For today, we'll only cite the massive confusion created by the film's massively jumbled chronology.)
We thought the new Little Women was a maddening mess. Others have agreed to disagree. This includes every front-line movie critic. (Little Women's director, Greta Gerwig, became an industry "made woman" with Ladybird, her previous film.)
Should Gerwig have received a best director nomination? These are subjective judgments, until our routinely ridiculous "liberal" tribe starts to play with one of our newest toys.
After decades of overlooking every sort of misogynist conduct, our tribe is now very big on #MeToo. As part of the deal, Dargis is now denouncing the idiots for sexistly failing to honor a film she herself didn't seem to think was very good.
For what it's worth, the idiots at the Golden Globes did nominate The Farewell as best foreign language movie. Beyond that, the idiots nominated The Farewell's star, Awkwafina, for a best actress award, thus differing from the Screen Actors Guild.
(In fact, Awkwafina won a Golden Globe last night. She won the votes of the idiots!)
Speakingsofrankly, the idiots seem to have liked The Farewell more than Dargis did. Her collection of 42 best films includes at least eleven foreign language films, and possibly several more, depending on how you score it.
Did we mention the fact that she didn't include The Farewell on her lengthy list at all, while the idiots honored it as one of the five best films in the foreign language category? The sexists seem to have liked this film a great deal more than its irate defender did!
As far as the film industry is concerned, do "big men always trump little women," as Dargis pleasingly said? We aren't in a position to judge that matter, but we do know this:
Within the upper-end journalistic industry, very few standards are ever applied when one of our "rational animals" decides to start pimping the latest tribal script.
The Farewell wasn't especially well regarded at the Times. Scott didn't make it an NYT Critic's Pick. Dargis didn't even include it among the year's 42 best films!
Later, though, something worse occurred—the sexist idiots didn't sufficiently honor it! The big men trumped the little women again! It said so yesterday morning, right there in our New York Times Critic's Script!
Final point: Scott could have reminded Dargis of the way they themselves had reviewed The Farewell. Dearest darlings, use your heads! Our species doesn't function that way. It's an anthropological fact!
When our tribe behaves this way, we help people like Trump get elected. That said, our behavior won't stop.
All this year, we'll be exploring the anthropology behind this destructive pre-rational conduct. What we need is a new paradigm—a new way of understanding the failing, faux and bogus behavior of our floundering species which, we're reliably told, is now #Movingsoclosetotheend.