My Favorite Moments in the Best Picture Nominees: Parasite

So my favorite Oscars tradition, aside from getting hammered and eating Chinese food during the ceremony, is, the day before the ceremony, presenting my favorite moments in each of the Best Picture nominees. I originally started it in 2011, when I felt like there was a lot of anger over certain things that were nominated (The Artist, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, The Help), and I just wanted to take that step back and remind myself and everyone else what it’s all about — this is because we love movies. We’re just giving out awards to the movies we liked best. It’s not about the damn awards. It’s about good movies and love of the art form. And it’s something I think we need to be reminded of, which is why I now do it before every Oscar ceremony. It doesn’t matter what wins and what doesn’t, it’s all about celebrating the great movies that came out this year.

Our final nominee is Parasite.

5. The discovery of it

Really one of my favorite things about this movie has been seeing everyone else discover it. I admittedly saw it a bit later than I probably should have, but I still saw it a lot earlier than most people did. Because nothing was better for me than seeing all my friends, hearing about how great this movie was, go see it and come out going, “Oh my god, that was amazing.” Even when they’d ask me beforehand about it, all I’d say is, “Go see it. Know nothing about it going in.” And it’s rare to see a movie that everyone came out thinking it was great. And it’s rare to have a movie that no one spoils for others before they go see it. There’s been a real camaraderie for people going to see this movie, which has also helped people discover it for themselves. But really, I’m enjoying seeing everyone go see this with no idea what they’re in for and come out fully understanding how great it is.

4. The infiltration

I love that entire sequence of watching this family slowly infiltrate the rich house in the first half of the film. It really draws you in and sets the stage for what’s to come later. It’s so well done. At first, when this movie starts, you really have no clue what’s going on. You’re just watching these people, and it’s kinda pleasant, but you really don’t know where it’s going or why we’re seeing them. And then the plot starts, and you’re following it, but it’s really not for a few minutes that you get what’s going on and what they’re about to do. And it happens gradually. But then, you’re just fully invested in it. It’s so wonderful because it’s purely a heist movie at that point. The brother gets in purely by chance because his friend gets him in, then he manages to get the sister in, then the dad, and finally the mom. And each time it gets slightly more difficult, but you just enjoy watching them pull this off and find a way to make it work. And it’s so entertaining. And then, of course, while you’re wrapped up in wondering if they’re somehow gonna get caught, the movie is slowly pulling the rug out from under you. Which is a good time to get into–

3. The structure

This is the single greatest cinematic moment of 2019. No film moment is as much of a seismic bomb in its movie as this is. You see this in the moment and you go, “What the hell is going on?” And then the whole movie just changes on a dime. And when you go back to watch it again, you realize just how well and how slowly the film has been setting that up, like the family infiltrating this other house has been doing. And now, we’ve got this big… reveal, I’ll just say, in case someone was stupid enough to read this article without having seen the movie… that just completely changes the entire landscape of the film in a brilliant way. Which, I guess ties into this next part–

2. The coffee table sequence

This entire sequence is genius. It begins with them enjoying their victory and drinking and eating all the food and thinking about how great their lives are gonna be going forward. And then, the simple knock at the door. And then, the reveal. And then the aftermath of that. And then… the family’s coming home. So after having this massive amount of stuff dumped on you (and the characters), all of that has to get swept aside because now we have to hide. So you have this Mission: Impossible style sequence with the family having to hide (not just themselves) and not get caught in the house. It’s probably the most thrilling, well-put-together sequence of the year. It’s stunningly done.

1. The parasite of hope

It’s amazing how many things the title stands for. Because on the one hand, this family is the parasite, infecting the household of this other family. And on the other hand, the rich family is a parasite to society. But also, the real parasite in the movie is the hope of this poor family for a better life. It’s mainly shown in the character of the son, who keeps having this plan for the family to have a better life. “We’re gonna move out of this basement apartment.” He says, when he forges his college degree so he can get the tutoring job, “This isn’t a crime. I’m gonna go to this school next year.” He thinks he’s gonna marry the family’s daughter. And then, of course, the end. Hope is what lives inside this family, feeding off their desire for a better life, ultimately destroying them. It’s a beautiful (and yet again, pessimistic) commentary on society.

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