‘The Fabelmans’ Should Win Best Picture, It’s That Good!

I’ve almost watched all of the movies that have been nominated for Best Picture this year. Top Gun: Maverick, Avatar: The Way of Water, The Banshees of Inisherin, Everything Everywhere All at Once, All Quiet on the Western Front, Tar, and now The Fabelmans.

Before The Fabelmans, the movie I was rooting to garner the Best Picture win was The Banshees of Inisherin, a film whose comedic moments and dark twists left me riveted. You can read my review of the film here.

Despite Banshees‘ original storytelling it has been swept under the rug by the surprise hit of the award season, the multiversal family story featuring a predominantly Asian cast in Everything Everywhere All At Once. Unfortunately, in my opinion, I found the film to be far less special than was advertised among critics and casual viewers. As someone who has watched Regular Show, a show filled with surprise shenanigans for the heroes to face that force them to sometimes become better people, and some episodes of Rick and Morty, which is jam-packed with crude humor, EEAAO felt surprisingly simple.

I ultimately didn’t like EEAAO very much, giving the film three out of five stars. I understand there are people who would find my lackluster take on the movie baffling but this just wasn’t my thing. So that now leads me to The Fabelmans.

When it first came out I remember hearing the expected positive reviews for a Spielberg movie but there was something a little different about these reviews. The acclaim was a little louder, the excitement a little grander, and suddenly, The Fabelmans was at the top of the Best Picture race. It seemed like the film would be a runaway among critics who found the movie, based loosely off of Steven Spielberg’s life, inspiring, transportive, and some of the best work in Spielberg’s entire career.

In January it won two Golden Globes, one for Best Motion Picture-Drama and Best Director. And then it was drowned out by EEAAO and The Banshees of Inisherin which have absolutely taken over the awards circuit following the Golden Globes. Now, with ten days left, it seems that The Fabelmans‘ chance of nabbing that title for Best Picture is very bleak indeed and that is actually kind of unfortunate because this is the best movie of the year.

Yesterday, I watched The Fabelmans for the first time, not really knowing anything about the film other than it was loosely based off of Spielberg’s life. Imagine my surprise when I learned it was two and a half hours long. I thought I was about to be in for a long, boring, self-aggrandizing ride about cinema and familial problems.

Instead, what I watched was a beautiful tragedy. A film about one’s love for art, a family spiraling downward into despair, and the power of the movies. It was extraordinary. Spielberg always seems to do no wrong but this movie felt like a firm reminder that he is, and will be for a while, the greatest director of all time. His work at 76 years old still manages to feel brand-new and exciting. In mere minutes he shows almost every other director in show business how movies can be magical, informative, transportive, and truly, outstanding.

There were many times while watching the film that I found myself getting teary-eyed but it wasn’t until the end, that glorious final shot, that tears of awe, joy, and sheer disbelief wet my cheeks. As I sat there, dumbfounded by its brilliance, I knew for a fact that this movie should win Best Picture.

At a time when the magic of movies is somewhat disappearing with the manufactured machine of sequels, remakes, and a vast array of superhero/action movies that collide into one robotic experience, The Fabelmans is a reminder of the power of cinema. It makes us realize that movies can sometimes be the best thing in the world.

I know The Fabelmans has a long shot at winning the Best Picture but if it did win I would be over the moon because it truly is one of the best Spielberg movies ever made, and that’s saying something.

I thank you for reading and I hope you have a wonderful day.

One thought on “‘The Fabelmans’ Should Win Best Picture, It’s That Good!”

  1. I’ve been extremely impressed with Spielberg’s last three movies, Fabelmans, West Side Story and Ready Player One. These all show a masterful clarity and efficiency of visual storytelling that I’ve seen in few other movies, even in Spielberg’s own filmography. They have beautiful cinematography, but never just pepper the viewer with money shots. Every frame has meaning and purpose. These three films are up there with the top movies of his career, like Jaws and Raiders of the Lost Ark.

    I confess I had lost some confidence in him during the 2000s, and missed a lot of his movies from that era. Some that I checked out, like The Terminal and Bridge of Spies, didn’t strike me as anything special. I’ve heard good things about The Post, his most recent movie before these three, as well as Tintin and Lincoln, so I intend to check those out. But I wonder if the exercise of doing Ready Player One has pushed Spielberg into a new level as a storytelling perfectionist. Ready Player One is the kind of exceedingly complex movie that could’ve collapsed like so many juggling balls in the hands of a lesser director. It needed to balance both a real world and virtual environment, full of connections between them and characters that move back and forth. The viewer could easily become baffled if the storytelling wasn’t executed with perfect clarity. There was no room for error there, and he didn’t make any errors. He also had a complete virtual environment to play with in Ready Player One, where every frame had to be crafted from a blank screen, just as Cameron does in Avatar. That requires an intense level of thought to put together. As for West Side Story, I heard he shot the entire thing on his cell phone first before shooting it for real. It feels like some of these new filmmaking tools have inspired him to refine his storytelling skills even more than they already were.

    The advertising for Fabelmans definitely didn’t do it any favors. It didn’t get across how rich the movie’s characters were. Fabelmans succeeds as a slice-of-life movie, one that just shows you how this group of people lived without following any predictable Hollywood formulas. It achieves moments of real joy, fascination and satisfaction without needing to depend on tropes and cliches. The movie is about a kid becoming a film director, but he stops even working on films for a long stretch of the plot. No problem. Neither the kid nor the bully bothering him can understand the emotions they go through, and the audience probably can’t either. No problem. Real life isn’t about following a straight line from the beginning to the end and understanding everything that happens. And an honest story doesn’t need to be either. Despite the melancholy nature of some of the events in the film, the trademark Spielberg optimism lifts it up throughout. For me, it even contained some of the biggest unforced laughs that I’ve had in any movie in a long time.

    I was pleased when Fabelmans won Best Drama at the Globes and would be pleased again if it won the Oscar. Whatever EEAAO’s merits are, it didn’t land on a well-balanced tone. In a universe where your realities are shifting, it would have helped the movie feel more meaningful if the tone had remained more consistent throughout. EEAAO wavered too much between sci-fi suspense, personal drama and campy comedy. Ultimately, it seemed to rely on the classic happy ending formula as much as any Hollywood production ever has. The Fabelmans had a simpler, gentler touch that felt more sincere, authentic and heartfelt in the end.

    Liked by 1 person

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