Buffa’s Buffet: Protecting opinions, the Oscars, and ‘The Spectacular Now’ endurance

When did we feel the need to start taking a shit on other people’s opinions?

Don’t look scared. We’ve all done it, quietly from afar or painfully in-person. Someone says something that doesn’t quite line up with your positioning on the subject. Instead of understanding that point of views aren’t relative and everybody walks to their own beat, you launch something outside the lips that slipped past the editing bay. I’ve done it more than I would like-but have cut down the incidents over the past year.

Unfortunately, this opinion dumping happens way too often still. You’ll find it used heavily in politics, which can be exhausting but at least carries a need to care about the health of the world and its future. But in sports and entertainment, the two realms I travel in frequently, I see it way too much. One person tweets about a player struggling and the second person will tear it down, based on a stat that sits six scrolls down on a Fangraphs page. Or the bill is flipped, and someone is holding batting average’s accountability of on-base percentage. It gets old quick and has a hard time hiding. Instead of discussing it, a war breaks out. If you think it’s ugly there, just check out the world of make-believe and its consumers.

When did every single film carry the polarizing intensity of a “Star Wars” film? If someone thinks a film isn’t great, that’s fabulous. If someone thinks a film that you love is crap, that’s also fabulous. It’s a never-ending story, and not the endearing kind.

Fellow film critic and good soul Matt Neglia made a great point on Twitter with regards to the Oscars telecast tonight.

Tomorrow morning, the sun will rise and another today will begin. Whether or not Chloe Zhao or Emerald Fennell go home with the best director trophy. If Chadwick Boseman doesn’t happen to win for his career-defining work in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” it’ll be alright. After all, they are choices made by a panel of people that doesn’t include every movie lover or critic in the world. So is it accurate, or just a group’s interpretation or pick? It doesn’t matter. Watch the night to appreciate the power of movies, especially if a nominee moved me.

Thomas Vinterberg is easy to root for. He lost his daughter while directing “Another Round,” the soulful and heartfelt take on long-lasting friendships and the power of booze on a good time. Imagine losing a son or daughter, and finding a way to surge onward at your job, as if you found a metaphysical existence to get you through the toughest of times. Vinterberg’s daughter was killed four days into filming by a reckless driver. According to KCRW,  he went back because it gave him purpose and kept him from going insane. He is nominated for best director tonight. I hope he wins.

I won’t bash you over the head with why it should and how the film gets better with every watch. That’s my opinion. But I found that story-which I came upon very late-to be so touching and rewarding. It enriched the movie for me even more, especially knowing Vinterberg had a part lined up for his late daughter. All the high school scenes were filmed at her school, and her real-life friends were included. Those stories make the movies, and the subsequent awards, mean a little extra–for me.

Here’s some unsolicited advice. The worst kind, but I can’t hold back here. Have your own opinion and just protect it. Don’t forget about other people’s opinions, especially if it’s something that makes them feel more like themselves. Enrich that idea, and keep strengthening your own. Isn’t that life? Gathering material, forming opinions, and protecting those beliefs until the end. You pass them off to whoever cares to listen, like a beggar giving out free life experience on a busy street-but for the most part, they are yours; nobody else’s particular arrangement of words.

Speaking of opinions, give “The Spectacular Now” a watch if you haven’t. Adapted from a novel with the same name, it follows 18-year-old senior Sutter Keely (Miles Teller), the life of every high school party who quietly battles alcoholism. He’s the guy at the bar who carries boundless energy and aims to please each person in the room-but after closing time, he’s shouting down an empty road. But then he meets the sweet yet innocent Aimee (Shailene Woodley), and his life changes. In other words, perhaps this woman can, as Sutter’s boss (the great Bob Odenkirk) eloquently puts it, “yank you out of neutral.”

The film moves in unexpected and raw ways, often striking a chord while hitting all the notes that teen romances do. But instead of going the familiar route over the worn-down terrain, James Ponsoldt’s film curves and twists a bit. A particular late scene with Kyle Chandler’s character, the absentee father catching up with his son who already acts completely like him at 18. Any film that can spin an original take on a packed genre in 95 minutes gets an A+ salute from me.

I think that’s it. If you missed it in the headline, the “Buffa’s 5 things” catalog is being rebranded to Buffa’s Buffet. It was a grab-bag round of commentary, a potpourri of topics disassembled and then put back together in 1,000 words or less, over at KSDK News for a year-but then it stopped. So why not revive it for the Dose? This is rebirth entry #1.

Oh, and one last thing. It’s a long season. The Cardinals are showing some life, winning a series with a chance to sweep today. Just remember for when they go off course that it will get better again. Whether the Cards are an 83 or 89 win team, don’t forget to enjoy the baseball. A year ago, it was missing. This is something I continue to teach myself.

That’s it. Kick this week’s ass!

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