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« Months of Meryl: The Giver (2014) | Main | Chris Gives Thanks!! »

Nathaniel Gives Thanks

Team Experience members were invited to give thanks this week so you'll be hearing from a few of us. Here's your host Nathaniel R... 

2018 was an unusually hard year for your host, given that he was starting over in his offline life after a painful breakup so first things first. I'm so goddamn grateful for The Film Experience. Thank YOU all for reading (especially those who donate to keep us on life support- see sidebar) and for being such a faithful community. This labor of love site is a continual source of pleasure and stability for me personally and I always aim to make it so for you, too. Before I get to the individual entertainment gratitude I also want to thank the Team Experience regulars: Murtada, Chris, Jason, Glenn, Jorge, Lynn, Eric, Dancin' Dan, Spencer, John & Matthew, and those we don't hear from much at the moment (life is so rude like that) but who we're always happy to work with like Nick, Ilich, Salim, Tim, Deborah, Séan, Daniel, Ben, Katey, and Joe. And both warm hugs to those who've moved on and nervous waving at those yet to come; they're out there somewhere and must make themselves known soon!

I will now attempt to give entertainment thanks without completely repeating my esteemed colleagues in their fun posts even though I love several of the movies they already spoke of. Okay in 2018 I was ever so grateful for:

• The continual shapeshifting of A Simple Favor from comedy to noir to mystery to camp spectacle to romcom to satire. It was such a great film to take friends to since it was so funny and surprising and memorable with it genre juggling. And Blake Lively's ultra modern wardrobe paired with Old Hollywood star charisma was something else... 

• The fight and stunt work in Mission: Impossible: Fallout. That poor decimated bathroom! That vertiginous cliff!

• The heist sequences in Museo, Widows, and Destroyer  and everything Anne Hathaway in the heist movie that was Oceans 8, since she stole the whole goddamn thing. 

• The animation style of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. The illusion of paper texture, the Spidey sense squiggles, the sound effects visuals like a comic book is coming to life in front of you? So cool.

 • That genius gag in Isle of Dogs where you realize the source of The Oracle's (Tilda Swinton) prophecies and wisdom.

• The year's most underappreciated good time movie was surely I Feel Pretty with its funny handling of an unusual plot catalyst (self-confidence as wildly attractive but destabilizing force), inherently positive messaging (embracing your body/beauty, whatever its shape/kind) and character quirks (bless Michelle Williams for that voice work)

• The absolutely risky, slow, maddening, but emotionally revelatory 5th episode of Wanderlust, which never leaves Angela's (Sophie Okonedo) therapy office as Joy (Toni Collette) fights against a breakthrough that's clearly coming. Okonedo is superbly patient, nuanced, and interior. And Toni Colette is simply at the peak of her (considerable) gifts at the moment. Both the creators of this fine series and the talented new director Ari Aster (Hereditary) were smart to trust their absolutely tricky material, which lives or dies by the female lead, to her formidable gifts. 10/10

• This video from Mark Kanemura which I watch whenever I'm depressed and it ALWAYS makes me smile



• That the year basically started with Nicole Kidman accepting prizes and adulation for Big Little Lies. Kidmania forever.

• Alex Newell's "Mama Will Provide" in Once on This Island, Katrina Lenk's "Omar Sharif" in The Band's Visit, Bernadette Peters in Hello Dolly (for my birthday - thanks to my best friends ❀️), and the first act of the Bengson's Off Broadway experiment The Lucky Ones -- four musical moments or performances that were so transporting I didn't come down for hours afterwards. All were rejuvenating reminders of the bliss that musical theater is when the right artists are involved.

• That the death of The Vision in Avengers: Infinity War was as seismically wrenching as his birth in Avengers: Age of Ultron had been thrillingly energizing. It's one of the few moments in the new two hour commercial for the next Avengers movie that felt worthy of an 18 film epic build-up.

• The performative punk rage and sci-fi psychedelica of the "Eat Me Alive" sequence in How to Talk to Girls at Parties

• The way the geniusly crude Big Mouth expanded its point of view in Season 2 to flesh out its superb roster of supporting characters, all those confused young things struggling with puberty... but especially for Jay's non-discriminating horniness, Missy's "mons-pushing" shame, and Matthew's sudden self-doubt.



Nathaniel R is the creator and owner of The Film Experience. He blames TV airings of West Side Story and The Wizard of Oz, the 80s filmographies of Michelle Pfeiffer, Meryl Streep, Kathleen Turner, and Woody Allen, and Oscar ceremonies for his actressexuality and obsessiveness. Later his writing career was Julianne Moore in Boogie Nights's fault. He is a member of the BFCA (Critics Choice Awards) and GALECA (Dorian Awards). Read more from Nathaniel

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Reader Comments (22)

We're thankful for you, Nathaniel. Happy Thanksgiving!

November 22, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterGian

Is Wanderlust eligible for GG consideration?? Maybe Collette will be a double nominees, like Amy Adams & Emma Stone & maybe Kidman or Roberts

November 22, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterClaran

So pleased you included that episode of Wanderlust. An incredible piece.

November 22, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterKeegan

Happy Thanksgiving everybody! Love visiting this site year after year and thank you for all you do Nathaniel!

November 22, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJamie

Yes to all those heist scenes, but my favorite heist scene by far was in the underappreciated American Animals.

November 22, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterchasm301

I am grateful for

- The beauty of Henry Cavill. With mustache, without, thin, strong, bald, hairy: that man is everything. I hope he come out of the closet soon as possible.

- Glenn Close be in the center of award season with her towering performance in The Wife. It is a little to sad that Mother of the Maid is off Brodway (can't win Tonys), her pilot series in Amazon did't become a entire season (only that episode proof how good she was and the Emmy would be true in a few months), because would be glorious if between September 2018 and June 2019, Glenn be Emmy-Oscar-Tony winner in the same "season". πŸ‘πŸ»

- The Film Experience exist, help me with my Oscar list of movies to watch, help me practice my writing and English (I am from πŸ‡§πŸ‡·), an make me laugh on te difficult days (basically: all this year!)

- For The Favourite been release and πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ» for critics and audience. I love Dangeruous Liaisons+Amadeus+Kubrick+Mean Girls wicked movies.

- For my real friends be with me this year (I love them very much).

- For I having found peace in me. 😌

November 22, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterjon

I'm so thankful for TFE. Happy Thanksgiving, Nathaniel!

November 22, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

Thank you to all at the Film Experience and especially to Nathaniel for trying to incite readers to see the movies that you like instead of making them skip the films you don't like. It's such an oasis of joy in a world where people prefer to diss and hate. Stay positive!

November 22, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterFrank JP

Happy Thanksgiving, Nathaniel - and thanks for everything you and the team do on this site! I love it! Hope your offline life has gotten easier as the year has progressed too.

All the best for awards season!

November 22, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterEdward L.

Thank you for your time and dedication.

November 22, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterPedro

Thanks for everything Nathaniel! This site is a daily source of joy for me, so thank you for your tireless efforts. They do not go unnoticed!

November 22, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterMike

Thanks Nathaniel and team for great work all year. I especially appreciated the Months of Meryl series, for the in-depth and heartfelt analysis and the diverse comments, and the Instagram or Twitter recaps (since I don't have the bandwidth for that). I am grateful this year for The Rider, Blindspotting, documentaries (Fred Rogers, Maria Callas), Black Panther, Glenn Close, Richard Madden, and Ozark. I already look forward to Mary Poppins Returns and Little Women by Greta Gerwig. I hope for impeachment in 2019 and not more disaster. Good luck to all.

November 22, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterTom Ford

UK Long time NatFan,Thanks so much for the exhaustingly entertaining Oscar charts etc etc,Your 1 of the Good Guys.

November 22, 2018 | Unregistered Commentermarkgordonuk

Thanks Nathaniel for the wealth of information.... not just movies... you bring to this site. I am relatively new to the site, but have become an avid fan.

November 22, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterrdf

Thanks so much, Nathaniel. Your site is as spirited and informative as ever.

November 22, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterPatrick T

Now I read Tom Ford's post and I want to do a longer list, too. So I'm thankful for Ethan Hawke's gracefully lined face in First Reformed, the "Shallow" scene in A Star Is Born, the U2-set sequence in The Americans' season finale, the addictive pulse of Succession, the sweet relationship between Melissa McCarthy and her cat(s) in Can You Ever Forgive Me?, and the one other woman in the theater who laughed as hard as I did at the blow job sequence in Eighth Grade (it would have been so uncomfortable to be the only one!). And of course, I'm really, really thankful for Tony Evers's victory in the Wisconsin Governor's race this month and all the people who helped make it happen.

But honestly, I really appreciate the community we have here and the fact that Nat has devoted his career to creating the best film site on the internet. Thank you!

November 22, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

rdf -- aww, thanks. I love hearing from newbies because it means we aren't dead yet :)

November 22, 2018 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Almost forgot to wish Nat n TFE a happy Thanksgiving!!

Thanks for the many wonderful n insightful articles!! πŸ˜€

Hope i not too late ya 😁

November 22, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterClaran

First of all, thank YOU, Nathaniel, for continuing to write, moderate, and be a voice of reason. I starting reading this blog in college and I've been hooked ever since. I finally found a place where I feel like I can be myself. Thank you for helping others get in touch with their inner movie nerd. Thank you so much.

November 22, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterTom G.

thank you, nat!

November 23, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterCharles O

Anne Hathaway is truly a national treasure.

As are you, Nathaniel! Hope you had a good Thanksgiving.

November 23, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterlylee

Thank you for all you do, Nathaniel! This site is a gem, and we’re lucky to have it.

November 23, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJames from Ames

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