‘If Beale Street Could Talk’ Review

Barry Jenkins follows up Moonlight with another incredible tale. This time it’s the power of love which drives this emotional journey which sees a wrongfully convicted man struggle with missing the birth of his son.


“A woman in Harlem embraces her pregnancy while she and her family struggle to prove her fiancé innocent of a crime.”

Barry Jenkins took the world by storm in 2016 with his ground-breaking hit Moonlight. Winner of Best Picture, after the whole wrong, envelop fiasco. Now I don’t want to know the amount of pressure that must come with trying to follow-up the Best Picture winner, but Barry Jenkins got back in the saddle quickly and now just two years later here we are with If Beale Street Could Talk. When you have climbed the highest mountain, how can you possibly repeat that feat? I think it’s remarkable that some individuals have won multiple Best Pictures, and I believe that someday Barry Jenkins will join those ranks. Beale Street was an enjoyable experience, it’s full of hope and a ton of despair. When something unexpected comes between two people in love, how far are they willing to bend before they break? When the law is out of their control and the justice system is so corrupt, how do you cope with losing the person you love most? All of these themes are explored, and it felt so real, it hit hard, and it hits hard often. In a world where this goes on daily, you seem to forget just how good you have it sometimes.

Beale Street thrives on the chemistry between its two stars. Tish (Kiki Layne) and Fonny (Stephen James). Their performances are so authentic, you can feel the passion between these two, even in the subtle glances they give one another. They both carry the film so well, and with that perfect on-screen chemistry, it makes you more invested in their love story. When characters on screen don’t have fantastic chemistry, it can take you out of the picture, but when two people who are pretending to be in love, actually feel in love, the possibilities are endless. So kudos to Barry Jenkins on handpicking these two cast members, because without them, without their journey together, this whole thing simply does not work. When their world gets turned upside down, you want them to figure this thing out, you know just as much as they do, that they belong together. The aesthetics are wonderful, the costume design, the set pieces, it transports you to a place, that might not seem beautiful but the characters and the colors around them make it so. Every outfit that Tish wore was so bright and full of life and it suits her character, who never gives up and is such a strong young independent woman. Gorgeous cinematography that will look even better on the biggest screen in your city. Some of the close up shots are truly breathtaking.

Mix in one of, if not the best supporting cast in a 2018 movie. From the lovely Regina King, who will most likely be nominated for best-supporting actress come Oscar season. Brian Tyree Henry, who shows up for 15 minutes but fills the box-score to the max. He is without a doubt one of the best-underrated actors working today and had himself one hell of a year. Rounding out the perfect assemble, Colman Domingo, Pedro Pascal, Deigo Luna, and Teyonah Parris. Sometimes getting a large actor or actress to just be in a very small scene, can do wonders for your film, and that is the case here. So much talent and when they are shown in such a small sample size, that role feels so much bigger than it should.

In my opening remarks, I mentioned how hard it must be to try and follow-up something so incredible as Moonlight. It can cause you to look at the next thing differently, hold it to the highest standards which isn’t always fair. I found myself doing this through Beale Street, and I kind of hated myself for it. I wanted to like Beale Street more than I did, simply because I kept thinking of Moonlight. The score is beautiful, the most emotionally charged pieces of music in film this year. I think I just wanted to like Beale Street more than I did. It falls under the best 20 films of the year, but when the trailers dropped I imagined it could fall into my top 5. Barry Jenkins is still a force to be reckoned with, and I can’t wait to see his next project.

Check ya later

Nate’s Movie Tour Reviews – If Beale Street Could Talk = 77/100


We Need To Talk About This Oscars Photo

“Steve Harvey ain’t got shit on me” -Warren Beatty 

So how about those Oscars? Sunday night the 89th Oscars were held and they certainly didn’t disappoint. 2016 was a great year for movies, and the best movie of the year Moonlight walked away with the grandest Oscar for Best Picture. This was a great and confusing moment; well a few minutes before this, the world was told that La La Land actually won Best Picture. You see, Warren Beatty who was presenting the award, accidentally read from the wrong envelope. Some how he read from the Best Actress envelope, which minutes earlier Emma Stone was awarded that Oscar for her role in La La Land. Rightfully so too, Emma Stone was fantastic in that and it was one of the best movies of the year, so when Warren announced who won, it wasn’t really all that shocking. Until everyone who was involved in La La Land got on stage, and even starting giving thank you speeches, it wasn’t until one of the Producers Jordan Horowitz announced to the world that it was in fact Moonlight who had taken home the last award of this very long evening. He showed the real winning card to the camera, and that’s when the internet broke. Twitter was ablaze as everyone was tweeting and rightfully so losing their shit. This was a weird situation, one – this was the first time in the history of the Academy Awards something like this had occurred and secondly – it was suppose to be Moonlight’s moment. A moment for the world to recognize as a movie about a gay black man just won Best Picture at the Oscars, in a time when the world is so divided. It truly is a beautiful movie, and that was kind of all taken away from them, because of all the chaos and confusion that was happening on stage. Jimmy Kimmel did an excellent job trying to remedy the situation the best he could, but there was a shit storm of emotion going on, and people didn’t know what to think. He even pointed out that Warren Beatty had pulled a Steve Harvey who infamously called out the wrong winner of the Miss Universe Pageant last year. At the end of the day, this is just an award show, yes people’s feelings were hurt, and I’m sure some were embarrassed, but the award went to the right movie in the end. It made for an incredible TV moment, but this photograph captured by Al Seib might be even better. So I’m going to talk about it a little bit Note: I got this article idea from Shea Serrano of The Ringer. I’m certainly not clever enough (not yet) to think of something like this to write about. Take a good hard look at the photo, or just keep referencing back to it for each person! Honestly I blame Matt Damon.

Casey Affleck 

I’ll start with Casey because well not too many people are happy that this guy won Best Actor. I watched Manchester By The Sea last weekend, and it was truly one of the most depressing things I’ve ever seen. Affleck was fantastic in it; I don’t really think too many guys could have pulled off what he did in this movie. I just think the Academy thought he did a better job than Denzel, the person every one feels should have won. In the photo, Casey has the look on his face that screams “Maybe we should get the fuck out of here before they take mine away,” as he leans in closely to the person next to him. He’s got a lot on his plate right now, with all the sexual harassment stuff going on and I feel like if they took away his Oscar last night, he would have pulled a Negan and crushed some skulls with it first.

Matt Damon

The banter between Kimmel and Damon will never get old. They really play into one another really well, and that stuff about We Bought a Zoo was priceless. I think for Matt in this photo, it’s a look of pure fear and excitement for his friend Jimmy Kimmel. Like “How on Earth is Jimmy going to get out of this situation alive,” or maybe “Does Jimmy really have the balls to pull a stunt like this at the Oscars?”

Meryl Streep

She honestly just has the look we all do when we watch one of her overrated piece of garbage performances. She’s also probably super stoked Moonlight is actually winning; she’s a certified badass

Ben Affleck

Glad Batman decided to join in on this party last night. It was such a great moment when Ben actually made a joke about Matt’s acting in We Bought a Zoo, and you could tell Matt was biting his lip so hard and just wanted to shout “Batman v. Superman” and drop the mic and walk away, but he didn’t and thank god for that. Because well Ben is Batman and he would have gone all warehouse scene on his ass, probably. Ben and Casey are brothers and you know they have some sort of telepathic thing going on, like most brothers do. I imagine this is the convo going on their heads.

Ben: “You better get out of here man”

Casey: “Why?”

Ben: “If they are taking awards away, you know yours is next right?”

Casey: “Fuck, what should we do?”

Ben: “I’m built like a brick shithouse, I’ll get us out of here”

Casey: “Thanks bro! Can I ask you something?”

Ben: “For the last time Casey, I’m not letting you be Nightwing!”

Casey: “I’m an oscar winner now man, let’s talk about this on the car ride home”

Ben: “Fine. To the Batmobile”

Casey: Ben for the last time, you’re not actually Batman!”

Michelle Williams & Busy Phillips 

Awe, these two have totally been besties since meeting while doing Dawson’s Creek. Best friends at heart, but they both have different expressions on their faces. Lets start with Busy, wait what kind of name is Bus? I really hope she changed that for Hollywood, anyways she looks petrified. Like someone just told her that her dog died. I don’t want to make any rash judgments here, but Busy looks like a basic white girl and thought La La Land was the bees knees and is totally crushed it’s actually not winning Best Picture. Or maybe she’s just upset because the Starbucks in the main lobby was closed. Michelle Williams on the other hand, looks almost happy? Look at her face, I think she’s laughing, that’s a face you make when laughing. So either she’s dead inside or she also knows that this is just an award show, and everything will be okay. She’s been through some major shit in her life, so I understand if she finds humor in other people’s sadness. Side note, she was incredible in Manchester By The Sea, she probably had a top 3 gut wrenching scene in all of film in 2016, so kudos to Michelle.

Mel Gibson

Something along the lines of “I’m to drunk, to taste this chicken.” I assume Gibson gets plastered at these kind of things. Hacksaw Ridge was phenomenal so it’s all-good. The girl behind Mel on the other hand, must be either looking at a cute puppy or literally gives zero shits about what’s going down on this stage right now

David Oyelowo 

Now, this is a man trying so hard to hide his emotions. David wants nothing more than to get up and cheer, but he can’t. No one can at this point, but look at that face. He hasn’t smiled this hard on the inside since, well I don’t know because I don’t know David personally. He’s just thinking to himself “Stay calm, in about 5 minutes this will all be over, and I can go jump for joy with everyone else who is super happy this movie won!” Pretty much the same principles of being in front of a T-Rex, if I don’t move or do anything, maybe they won’t notice me.

The Rock 

Are you in the majority or the minority if you still call him The Rock? Saying Dwayne Johnson will just never sound right, to me at least. This isn’t disrespect either; he’s become on hell of an actor. He looks so concerned in this photo, like his son is on stage bombing the school play, concerned. Let’s face it, The Rock is a goddamn hero, he wants nothing more than his music to drop and for him to be able to run on stage and steal the show. He was a wrestler he’s seen some horrible people on the microphone and every twist and turns imaginable. But nothing could prepare him for last night; he just finished making a musical himself, Moana, which was just delightful. On that note, he definitely has a soft spot for all things music and musical now, and just wants to run on stage and give everyone from La La Land a big old Rock hug. Don’t worry Dwayne; you’ll get your chance next year, because I’m officially starting the petition for Dwayne Johnson to host the 2018 Oscars! With special guest referee Stone Cold Steve Austin (Cue up glass shattering music).

Shout out to Gary from Chicago!

Check ya later.