Wanna see some Oscar shorts?

My wife and I went to the movies last night, basically blind, not knowing much about the films being shown aside from the fact that they’re short documentaries nominated for an Academy Award this year, which means at Sunday’s Oscar show on March 4. There was supposed to be a preview online with some more details on the Minor’s website, but all we saw was an “error” message. (They may have fixed it by the time you read this.)


The five films apparently are too long for one program, so at the Minor, that meant last night we saw just two. I’d heard about one called “Knife Skills,” about a restaurant run by ex-cons (although there’s much more). I had determined that that it was showing as part of “Documentaries B,” which for some reason shows first. (Today that’s at 3 p.m.)

Program B started with “Heroin(e),” a film with a clever title focusing on three heroines in the ongoing “war on drugs,” and a drug that’s killing people at a horrendous rate, heroin (and opiates of various sorts). Through glimpses of the lives (and sometimes deaths) of people involved we learn a lot about drugs and heroism. At the center there’s a fire chief, and we meet a drug court judge and a volunteer aide — the three heroines are all women, although that seems incidental. I don’t need to tell you much more except that you can watch this one on Netflix, since they’re handling distribution.

As I mentioned, I’d heard about “Knife Skills.” I was intrigued since I used to work in the restaurant business, and learned a bit of French cooking along the way. This is about the opening of a place called “Edwins” short for “education wins,” a nice restaurant with a French chef who teaches various skills (including knife skills) to folks in trouble with the law. Coincidently, some of those involved were ex-drug users and/or dealers, and we see some of them pull their lives out of those troubles. Not to go off on a tangent, but both films demonstrate how messed up America’s relationship with drugs can get.

As I mentioned we knew nothing about the films going in, and didn’t know we’d only see two yesterday. Program A has three films and I’m going to sse them today at 5:30 p.m. If all goes as planned, I’ll take my mom. If you know anything about her, you’ll understand. I’m guessing on the order, but the docs include “Edith and Eddie,” a sort of a tragic love story about an interracial couple in their waning years, who got married when they were 90-something. The preview gives you a hint about where the story goes.

“Heaven is a Traffic Jam On The 405” is about Mindy Alper, an outsider artist from SoCal who struggles with depression, anxiety, etc. through her art. Again, the preview will fill in some gaps.

Last but not least, we have “Traffic Stop,” which is about just that, a minor moving violation in Austin that resulted in the arrest and roughing up of Breaion King, a 26-year-old black schoolteacher. Since Austin uses dash-cams, a video clip showed exactly what happened (you may have seen it since it went viral for a moment. HBO is showing this one, which makes in another film you may get to watch, providing you invest in movie-watching one way or another. (We spend too much on tv and subscribe to HBO and Netflix.)

My wife and I both loves movies of all kinds, of course Oscar time is a big deal in our household. We usually have some friends over to watch, and we try to see as many nominees as possible (within reason). We saw a program of  “live action” shorts at the Miniplex, which means fiction films, shorter than features. It doesn’t look like they screen them again, but there’s also Oscar Nominated Animated Shorts screening at the Miniplex tonight at 7:30, then again Wednesday (7:30) and Thursday at 8 p.m.

Wrapping the whole movie thing up on Sunday, there’s the 2018 Richards’ Goat Oscars Party – free admission with two drink minimum, fun movie stuff to do…

And there’s the 5th Annual Red Carpet Gala at the Eureka Theater with “an appetizer bar, prizes, champagne and cocktails from the no host bar, a best dressed contest, local Film Friendly awards, and musical entertainment by the RLA Jazz Trio and solo artist Michael Dayvid, all while watching ABC’s live public telecast of the 2018 Academy Awards on the BIG screen.” Advance tix $25 ($30 at the door). Take your pick if you want go out. I’ll be watching at home…

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