Thomas Blalock’s review published on Letterboxd:
Oh boy, I should have known when I threw this on the poll that it would win. It's become of the more controversial best picture winners, for plenty of reasons, mostly for its rather simple take on race issues and all that stuff. But all that has been addressed by plenty of people elsewhere. (Mr. Coat's recent video is a good place to start imo) so I wanna focus on the actual movie, as I think the all background stuff overshadows the actual movie and it feels like some people over exaggerate it simply because it is an unworthy Oscar pick.
And it's pretty whatever. It's a basic road trip movie featuring mismatched pair, but it's set in the south in the 60's so it's between a white and black man, and prejudge ensues. I can enjoy a good odd couple road trip movie and this has some charms at times, but I lot of it was a bit too generic for what ended up being such an awards force.
It has some decently charming moments alongside parts that just drag. Mahershala Ali is pretty good, but Viggo is kind of miscast although I'm a sucker for lame Italian accents so he was weirdly amusing in that regard. Despite being "inspiried" by a true story, the racism stuff feels tacked on so it can claim to have some substance somewhere.
The handling is rather basic, although I'd say the worst it gets is that friend chicken scene, otherwise it's just there. It's also too damn long for the kind of movie it is, so i checked out at times. By the end, it's just a half passably fine enough, half sloggy and forgettable movie that can have some charm due to the chill nature of some of it, but doesn't rise too far above that.
Which is cool for a simple crowd pleasing movie, not so much for a best picture winner. Frankly, without the awards stuff, this would have came and went, even with the problems.
I get the Academy's tastes won't always line up with everyone else's but this does stand out among other winners from the decade in how average it is.
Also, why the hell is Brian Stepanek here?