I admit it.

I’m addicted to movies.

Dramas are my drug of choice. I love the smell of popcorn in the evening. I love to cry in the dark. I love that movies make you feel less alone.

The best way to see a movie is with a crowd in a theater the week the film opens. It’s one of the few communal experiences left, besides synagogue and church.

And I love the Oscars. The red carpet, the gowns, the tuxes, the weirdness of it all. I love that the show is always too long, that someone always says something inappropriate, that someone wins who shouldn’t have and someone loses who shouldn’t have.

Movies celebrate the best in us and challenge the worst in us. This year, the members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences nominated eight movies for best picture: “The Favourite,” “Vice,” “Black Panther,” “A Star Is Born,” “Roma,” “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “Green Book,” and “BlacKkKlansman.”

How refreshing to see some diversity instead of #OscarsSoWhite.

In my book, “Vice” wins for best make up. Christian Bale looked more like Dick Cheney than Dick Cheney ever did. And Amy Adams, you just want to smack that woman and give her an Oscar.

“Roma” surprised me. The first time I watched it, I was too tired to read subtitles. When I gave it another watch, the black and white film felt like a live meditation. The image of that housekeeper in Mexico in the 1970s hasn’t left me. And I saw it four weeks ago.

 That’s what great movies do. They don’t entertain you. They haunt you. They reach a different part of you. They awaken something you’d rather leave sleeping. And you can’t go back to your slumber. You look at the custodian and wonder, what’s his story? You look at the server, and wonder, what’s her story? You start to really see the people you once overlooked.

I confess, I didn’t see “The Favourite.” My husband loved it, but most everyone else I know hated this movie about three strong women in a lesbian love triangle.

I also confess that I saw “Bohemian Rhapsody” three times. Yes, in the theater. Three times. It was like sitting in the audience at Live Aid. Rami Malek absolutely channeled rock god Freddie Mercury. I’d give him an Oscar and blast “We Are the Champions” from the stage. I’ve been playing “Don’t Stop Me Now” almost every day since. And you can’t stop me.

Even though “BlacKkKlansman” is based on a true story, it’s one wild ride that keeps you zigging and zagging. I love a movie that is unpredictable. Unfortunately, director Spike Lee is like Steven Spielberg. They sometimes hit you with the subtlety of a sledgehammer when less would be so much more effective. But the ending? Whoa. Definitely a killer ending.

“Black Panther” deserves best picture. Hands down. It was epic. This superhero movie doesn’t just celebrate black culture, it empowers African nations. You see power in a people you once pitied. Plus, when was the last time you saw an entire cast of people of color?

“A Star Is Born” proves Lady Gaga can act and Bradley Cooper can sing. But since I saw the previous three versions, it didn’t wow me. The first version came out in 1937 starring Janet Gaynor and Fredric March in “What Price Hollywood?” We got a remake in 1954 with Judy Garland and James Mason, then another remake in 1976, with Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson.

Do we really need four versions of the same movie? It’s just not that compelling of a story. Not now, not when we’ve seen so many other textured lives of people of all races and religions and socio-economic backgrounds.

“Green Book” stuck with me long after the credits rolled. The movie has been widely criticized for telling a story about race through the white man, not the black man. It’s still worth watching to see how people have the power to transform each other, once they are willing to see past who they thought the other person was.

So if you want to savor the magic of movies, tune into the Oscars on ABC at

8 p.m. Feb. 24. Or head to the theater or fire up Netflix.

Get out of your comfort zone and let a movie in. One that will expand your world so you can bring your expanded self back into the world and expand it for the next person.

Plus, it’s a great excuse to eat popcorn with extra butter and salt.

Connect with her on Facebook at ReginaBrettFans. 2018 Best Columnist, AJPA Louis Rapoport Award for Excellence in Commentary.


Letters, commentaries and opinions appearing in the Cleveland Jewish News do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Cleveland Jewish Publication Company, its board, officers or staff.

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