Do Oscars still matter? Yes, they do. Oscars matter because once nominated, every contender is much easier to find online. This is especially true for the big winners (Argo), but even the losers who made millions just being nominated are still readily available and worth a watch.
Which brings us to Robert Zemeckis’ Flight. The film opens with Denzel Washington in a hotel room waking up classic post-party style surrounded by empty bottles and a beautiful naked woman. The phone rings, his ex-wife is looking for money, so a good morning swig from a half-empty beer, a snort of cocaine and he’s ready to roll.
And roll he does, with confidence right into his pilot’s uniform and into the cockpit of a commuter flight from Orlando to Atlanta. The dread continues to build but the flight that starts with some very rough turbulence ends in a mixed blessing.
The flight sequence is amazing but the true battle is between Denzel and the bottle — a fight that is fascinating, if not a laugh riot to watch. What is fun to watch is John Goodman in pretty much anything he touches and here he is awesome as Denzel’s dealer.
On the opposite end of the “man vs. the bottle” movie spectrum, might I suggest the 1991 cult classic Shakes the Clown, currently streaming on Netflix. Snubbed by the Oscars, Bobcat Goldthwait’s directorial debut is everything you could possibly expect from a movie whose entire advertising campaign was the phrase “The Citizen Kane of alcoholic clown movies.” Yes, it’s that awesome and bonus points for a younger Robin “I will never publicly admit to being in this movie” Williams playing a mime.