starring Annette Bening, Jodie Foster, Rhys Ifans, Johnny Solo
screenplay by Julia Cox, based on the book by Diana Nyad
directed by Jimmy Chin & Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi
by Walter Chaw Film festivals are expensive and not profitable. They underpay their staff, which mostly comprises volunteers and a nomadic group of technicians who follow festivals around the country like roadies on an eternal tour, and they suffer from the need to please their wealthiest supporters, who, for the most part, have more money than taste. Certainly, they have more desire to be coddled than hunger for risk-taking. That's why, every year at the Telluride Film Festival, one of the most prestigious film festivals in the country, there's an entry like thrill-seeker documentarians Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyl's Oscar-bait biopic Nyad. Last year it was Empire of Light, and the year before it was King Richard, and the year before that it was Judy. In 2017, there was that Battle of the Sexes thing about Billie Jean King, the only one I've mentioned to get zero traction at the Academy Awards. Each of these movies is as functionally formulaic as a suppository: machine-tooled and well-lubed, with only one measure for its success or failure. It either wins the middlebrow's greatest honour, thus enriching its producers, or it fails to do so. But are these movies any good? I wouldn't know how to begin to answer that question. Is a suppository good? I dunno, man, I don't spend much time thinking about a capsule I shoot out of my ass annually around this time of year.