The Bedsit Cinema Awards 2019
|artwork by Lindie Kukkuk|
Here we are then, 2018 is done, and now that I’ve looked at what I’ve just written so is 2019. The Bedsit Cinema Awards are back and I’ll try my best to remember what year it is. Was. Whatever. It is now New Year’s Day 2020 and for everybody, much like every other New Year's Day, it involves waking up hungover, having a quick one off the wrist to see if it alleviates the headache, then reading the Bedsit Cinema Awards.
My notes for this piece say “put in some jokes that aren’t crude”. So I did at least know where this writing was headed as it floated down to dick joke island on a river of sploosh. Hey, I have to have fun too, but I imagine a psychologist would have a field day here.
I’m glad you’re back, and by the way you missed a bit, hurry or it’ll stain.
Up front I’ll say that 2019 was far from my favourite year of film. I’m a dedicated film watcher but sadly I can’t see absolutely everything so perhaps I missed some classics (please let me know what I have missed- I haven't seen Parasite yet, for example). 2019 did at least throw me some pleasant curve balls.
The normal Bedsit Cinema rules apply, I have to have seen the film/ TV for the first time in 2019 irrespective of when it was made, and I have to have made up the rules.
Despite a paucity of quality new movies, there was still loads to love in the constellation of cinema I saw.
I’ve seen less TV this year because we, erm, may have got a warning from Warner Brothers about “someone in my house” potentially Bit Torrenting shows. That same unnamed person may also hate the streaming sites so had to settle for watching TV shows on, erm, TV. I mean, who even does that anymore?
Nonetheless it is a fiercely competitive category.
Peaky Blinders was exactly the same as every other series it’s put out. Sorry not sorry, but anyone kidding themselves it is clever TV is wrong. That doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy it, and it's well made but like Ray Donovan it is ruled out because of its dogmatic adherence to formula.
Although I very much enjoyed Game of Thrones (apparently unlike every other ingrate with a keyboard), appreciated the freshness of The Boys, loved Watchmen’s weirdness and joyfully mourned Deadwood’s grave, Chernobyl is the top show of 2019 for me.
Sickening, devastating, emotional television, and something of an expose. Utterly brilliant and completely unrivalled in my eyes.
I haven’t been to the cinema much this year, which is lazy because PeckhamPlex is £5 all day every day and walking distance. Past winners were The Meg and Kong: Skull Island, both creature features and while Terminator: Dark Fate isn’t necessarily a one watch wonder, it isn't something that time will be kind to.
Midway is a genuinely decent film which I advise seeing, a solid 7/10 was I to properly review it.
Winner: Jumanji: The Next Level
FOUR D! Jumanji wins purely for adding a whole extra dimension, and that fourth D in your face distracts from it being nowhere near as good as the 90's one. Still a fun two hours, but best suited to the big screen.
Proud previous winners are Jurassic World’s fire dinosaurs and the entire King Arthur: Legend of the Sword film.
Winner: Border- sex scene
I don’t want to spoil quite how “what the actual fuck did I just see” Border’s sex scene is, because you need to see it. Hands down the weirdest winner of this award. Great film, too.
Who am I to decide this kind of thing, part of me thought. Then I realised all of these awards are
Florence Pugh has performed a mixture of roles and been excellent in all of them. 2019 saw her star and excel in comedy Fighting with my Family and emotional horror Midsommar. There’s a chameleon like brilliance to Pugh and I can’t wait to see what she does next (after Little Women).
Something about her screams “I’m going to be around a while” and that’s no bad thing at all in my view.
The Guilty Pleasure Award
In the last year I have lost my guilt. Guns, murder, boobs, red meat! Yaaaaaaaaay.
I decided to change the name because I realised it’s usually just Peter Bradshaw I’m talking about. I’m sure he’s a lovely man, it’s not a personal attack, I have no idea what he’s like but his opinions on films I almost always do not agree with (despite excitedly reading them and hoping for the best). Our film nights would not go well.
Because it’s not just horror my film opinion opposite reviews- the award now encompasses all genres, and will be the one I hated that the Guardian (PB) loved.
Winner: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
Hooray for Hollywood! Once Upon a Time in Hollywood has the dubious honour of being the first film to win two awards for crapness.
In the interest of fairness, Peter Bradshaw scored these films I’m desperate to see very highly. If he’s right, I will do a late award. Maybe. Will I? We shall see, Peter, we shall see...
I bet the revered film critic with a long line of employment doing what he loves is trembling with anticipation now.
Special mention here to Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich for its high rate of quality, inventive kills, but I couldn't pick one in particular. A few TV shows had several great last breath moments: Watchmen, The Boys and of course Game of Thrones.
My pick of the Game of Thrones deaths is kind of a positive one, because it's badass, but I'll leave it there. Watch Game of Thrones (and don't complain about it).
Winner: Rock face- Midsommar
Ari Aster's Midsommar takes it, and he almost won last year with Hereditary's "Head it". Keep 'em coming Ari; rock face was sickening in its simplicity.
Florence Pugh- Midsommar
Joe Pesci turned in a career best performance in The Irishman, simmering with quiet danger as ageing mob boss Russell Bufalino. He’s excellent; but in a runaway win, Joaquin Phoenix evolving from Arthur Fleck into the Joker is one that really struck a chord with me.
Winner: Joaquin Phoenix- Joker
I have watched a LOT of crime docs this year.
Upsettingly, I have apparently only watched crime docs this year and yet am stuck to think of a genuine great. Oh no wait, no I'm not...
The Confession Killer
Winner: Fahrenheit 11/9
This award goes to an excellent film on the Criminal in Chief, Michael Moore's Netflix documentary Fahrenheit 11/9, detailing the terror of Trump. It's scary, but delivered with enough hope and rationale that it makes for both powerful and entertaining viewing. Please go and watch it. I'd lend you my Netflix log in, but I already have five people using it.
While it hasn’t kicked me in the nuts with cinematic brilliance, 2019 did at least have the decency to give me a reacharound. Here’s to being surprised by something new.
A very strong field lies in the shadow of a film I almost turned off. Nobody told me Rocketman was an out and out musical. Nobody could have guessed how much I’d love it- least of all me. I still have the songs on repeat in my head. A wonderful, happy film. I like happy.
I’ll be blunt here- a poor year for new films overall- in my opinion. I’ve only seen one new film that blew me away and you all know what it is so without any teasing the winner is
My only solid 10/10 for 2019 and honestly I don’t think there were even any new 9/10s. I’d check but, ugh. If you haven’t seen Joker, see Joker. If you have and you didn’t like it, you’re wrong*.
Over at the wonderful What the Flick, I wrote a little piece on the mental health elements and what I saw as beauty in Joker. The whole site is worth checking out, so do have a rummage.
Horror is, perhaps more than any other genre, governed by subjectivity. It is also incredibly broad stylistically. 3 From Hell is humans being horrible to humans in a way which doesn’t adhere to the norm. Midsommar is much the same and runs a close second in a competitive field, but I waited fourteen years to watch the Firefly family again and was overjoyed to see them still as funny, fierce and fucked up.
Sid Haig has died though, which is sad. Thank you for bringing my favourite ever horror character to life, Sid.
This really made me laugh. Maybe it shouldn’t have, but it did.
Given the Bedsit Cinema awards are set out to be for films I’ve only seen for the first time, I thought I’d give a shout out to those I’ve rewatched which still carry a load of power and entertainment. I Score Bedsit Cinema on how much I’ve enjoyed that particular viewing, knowing that could change with a fresh watch days, years or months down the line.
I bought a £60 projector from Amazon and it’s pimped out the Cinema brilliantly, meaning I can revisit classics on a huge screen. In a year with such paucity of great cinema it was very welcome. Maybe there’s something here you haven’t seen. Even if you have, splash out £60 and revisit!
Finally - a massive thank you to For Your Eyes Only in Forest Hill. A local rental store run by a film fan and staffed by film fans- it's the kind of place I could spend hours in (I often do) and while Twitter and the internet is a fun place to talk cinema, it would be sad if shops like them ceased to exist.
Local businesses need support and many of the films listed on here I picked up from For Your Eyes Only. Cheers Gulam and John.