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Movie Review: MUSIC

This week for “Close-Up with Camenker”,  Zach reviews . . . MUSIC! (March 12, 2021)

Click here for the blurb and viewing link of MUSIC!

Full Review

If you were to ask me whether the recent Golden Globes telecast or the film MUSIC, Australian entertainer Sia’s directorial debut, was a bigger trainwreck, my clear response would be the latter.

For those of you who watched this year’s scattered and awkward Globes, you’re probably wondering how anything could get much worse. Ladies and gentlemen, look no further than the film at hand which is easily one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen. Anyone who knows me will understand that this means a lot coming from me, especially given my openness to a variety of films and general enjoyment of the six previous ones I’ve reviewed here.

What it comes down to is this: MUSIC is not only a poorly made film, but it is also a grave insult to those with autism spectrum disorders and the community of individuals whose lives have been impacted by autism. 

While there remains little to no linear plot line, the basic premise is this: a teenage girl named Music is suddenly put under the care of her sister Zu, a recovering addict and drug dealer, when their grandmother dies. This all happens within the first 10 minutes and after that, it’s really a story of how the selfish and immature Zu deals with this huge adjustment. Oh, and the fact that their black neighbor who magically has experience with autism becomes their saviour, coming to the rescue right away. Talk about stereotypical depictions.

Laced into this disaster of a piece are several small and undeveloped plots with a host of characters who give you nothing to care about and too much to keep track of. Not only that, but the choreographed dance sequences that seem to represent what’s really going on in Music’s head are all over the place literally and figuratively.

As a teacher whose life has been touched by students and families who live each day with autism, Maddie Ziegler’s portrayal of Music is incredibly offensive. While hiring an actor on the spectrum is likely a challenge, her intense attention to stereotypical noises, actions, and expressions that folks with autism make are insulting at best.

Just as embarrassing is the fact that the talented Kate Hudson has reduced herself to playing a totally selfish character like Zu and signing onto this project. So is the fact that Leslie Odom, Jr., who plays their neighbor Ebo, has this to add to his resume in a year of such success with his other film roles.

If this film has anything going for it, it’s that it at least attempts to shine a light on the often misunderstood disability that is autism. When I say “attempts,” I mean it with little sincerity as any attempt is gone about five minutes past the film’s opening.

Whoever out there on the Internet suggested that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (who award the Golden Globes) may have been bribed into voting for this to receive nominations, I think you might be onto something.

Save 107 minutes of your life for any other film in the Red River library, ladies and gentlemen. MUSIC is not worth your time and Sia should be ashamed of her directorial debut and all that it stands for.

…But, please do read on for something better: my predictions for the Oscar nominations!

OSCAR NOMINATION PREDICTIONS: The Oscars will announce their nominations on Monday, March 15. Allow me to offer a rationale for my predictions in the top six categories and let’s see how I stack up on Monday!

BEST PICTURE: The Father; Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom; Mank; Minari; Nomadland; One Night in Miami; Promising Young Woman; Soul; The Trial of the Chicago 7

I see these nine films stacking up as the top contenders based on what awards season has shown us thus far. While there are others that could surprise and sweep in, I would imagine an Oscar night looking like this. Since they can nominate between six and 10 films, it’s hard to tell, but nine seems to be the magic number. 

BEST DIRECTOR: Lee Isaac Chung for Minari; Emerald Fennell for Promising Young Woman; Regina King for One Night in Miami; Aaron Sorkin for The Trial of the Chicago 7; Chloe Zhao for Nomadland

It’s been over a decade since the first woman took home an Oscar (Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker). It’s high time it happened again and any of the three ladies here are worthy, though I think this will go to Chloe Zhao. 

BEST ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE: Viola Davis for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom; Andra Day for The United States vs. Billie Holliday; Vanessa Kirby for Pieces of a Woman; Frances McDormand for Nomadland; Carey Mulligan for Promising Young Woman

These five ladies seem to be the ones who’ve been at the top this season. Right now, it’s kind of a toss up as to who will carry the season or win, which makes things exciting. Day surprised at the Globes while Mulligan took home the Critics Choice. Records could be broken if Davis, Day, or McDormand win… 

BEST ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE: Riz Ahmed for Sound of Metal; Chadwick Boseman for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom; Anthony Hopkins for The Father; Gary Oldman for Mank; Steven Yuen for Minari

Another crowded field as it so often is among leading men. In my opinion, it’s Chadwick Boseman’s, though the late, great Black Panther actor has some stiff competition! Hopkins and Oldman are Oscar faves. Ahmed and Yuen give breakthrough performances and could break records with their nominations. This is always a tough field to narrow to just five.

BEST ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE: Glenn Close for Hillbilly Elegy; Olivia Colman for The Father; Jodie Foster for The Mauritanian; Amanda Seyfried for Mank; Youn Yuh-jung for Minari

Poor Glenn Close! She will likely score another nomination and like 2019, this could be a Close vs. Colman battle again! Nonetheless, Jodie Foster is fresh off a win at the Globes for The Mauritanian, which was a big surprise, and Youn Yuh-jung is adorable as the Grandma in Minari

BEST ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE: Sacha Baron Cohen for The Trial of the Chicago 7; Daniel Kaluuya for Judas and the Black Messiah; Jared Leto for The Little Things; Leslie Odom, Jr. for One Night in Miami; Paul Raci for Sound of Metal

Call me nuts in thinking that Leto will get in, but being nominated at both the Globes and SAG almost solidifies it in my opinion. While I’d like to see more folks from Chicago 7 and Kaluuya seems to be the frontrunner, Paul Raci is my favorite of the bunch for giving a perfect performance that solidifies what supporting acting is all about! I hope he gets a place at the table!


Stay tuned for Volume VIII, which will reveal my thoughts on RUTH, JUSTICE GINSBURG IN HER OWN WORDS in honor of the late, great Supreme Court Justice, as well as an update on the Oscar race.

Click here to learn more about Zach Camenker!

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