"Now I am become the Boss Baby"
-- J. Robert Oppenheimer
A few days ago, the Oscars released their full list of nominees for the most prestigious awards in Hollywood. This group of nominated movies holds a special place in the annals of film history, as they are now known to be some of the best of the best from the year 2017.
And Boss Baby made it.
That’s right, ladies and gentlemen! One of the most bonkers, incoherent, tear-your-hair-out crazy movies of the year, with a premise that makes you scratch your head and say to yourself, “Why, though?” has been nominated for best animated feature. The movie that we here at Tek 5 have been rooting for to make all the awards shows purely out of sheer irony has, in fact, genuinely made the rounds. And you can’t make the argument that all that’s needed to get into the animated feature category is a splotch of brown mass that kind of looks like a movie, because Boss Baby beat out The Lego Batman Movie. The Lego Batman Movie is better than Boss Baby in almost every imaginable way, because it actually has a plot and character motivations that make a semblance of sense, but SCREW IT. BOSS BABY.
For the uninitiated (and those who haven’t watched the greatest EFD Podcast in the run’s history), Boss Baby is the story of Tim, a boy who is maybe Toby Maguire but also a kid, who’s doted on by Jimmy Kimmel and has The Beatles sung to him every night. Then one day, a suitcase-toting baby who could “kill for some sushi right now” (obviously this is Alec Baldwin) comes into his life and ruins absolutely everything.
You may think that this is a fine setup for a children’s film. That Alec is just allegory for how a new baby can seem like the one who’s calling the shots in a home life that was dominated by an only child. For about a half an hour of the movie, I had the sinking feeling that interpretation was correct. Boss Baby was just going to be one in a long line of bland kids movies with mildly acceptable allegory.
But my friends, my friends, the plot hadn’t begun yet!
You see, in the world of Boss Baby, there is a limited supply of love in the universe, and it’s being usurped by PuppyCo., the corporation of puppies. BabyCo. has sent Alec Baldwin (we’re given a lengthy introduction into how babies are really made in the film’s opening, beginning with a shot of the Boss Baby’s ass) to investigate this discrepancy, and to get people to love babies more again. What follows is people sucking on binkies to travel to different worlds, milk that keeps people a baby’s age, a horrifically convoluted revenge plot, children drinking alcohol, Elvis impersonators, and endless repetition of a single Beatles song.
Now, I remember all of these details, but I do not actually remember viewing these on a theater screen (that’s right, I saw this in the theater). So I’m going to share with you a few moments of the experience that I do remember:
Buying a ticket at concessions and having to say, “one for Boss Baby,” aloud.
The other members of our podcast getting harassed by the usher after he looked at their tickets.
Four grown men entering a full theater that was populated, surprisingly, by mostly other adults.
Boss Baby, nakedly dancing on screen, except his junk was blurred. One of our members walked out to take a break shortly after this scene. He missed about five minutes.
Looking next to me and seeing another of my podcast mates slumped in his chair, his hands covering his face, but with his fingers parted just enough to still see the screen. His eyes said, “I’m in the theater watching freaking Boss Baby.”
Stumbling out of the theater, light-headed and awestruck, like I’d just been face to face with the tablet from 2001: A Space Odyssey.
It’s one of the most visceral and engaging theater experiences I’ve ever had, and the fact that I can remember all of those details almost a year later is incredible. In my mind, that’s what makes this film Oscar nomination worthy. Should it win? HELL NO. But I’d like to think that the members of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences all sat down to watch the Boss Baby screeners and experienced the same things I did. They reacted with such confused awe and impulsive laughter that they thought, there’s no way we can’t recognize this film. Because Boss Baby brings laughter and confused joy, it brings people together in the same way subjects of the same scientific experiments are brought together. And I, for one, hope the Academy now understands what it truly means to be a boss…baby.
But they also nominated Ferdinand, so let’s be honest; they didn’t watch any of those animated movies to begin with.
This article was written by Samuel Becker: writer for hire, Tek5 Filmscore Critic, and general hypocrite.