Even though McKay's Netflix climate change satire film is up for Best Picture and Best Original Screenwriting and two other categories at Sunday's Academy Awards, it has been critically derided with a 55% Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score. Yet the McKay-produced Winning Time, after just two episodes, is a far superior product, says Derek Robertson. "The biggest surprise of the series so far — its first two of 10 episodes have aired as of this weekend — is how much more successful as a survey of American life it is than McKay’s actual political films," says Robertson. "It’s no secret that explicitly political filmmaking is hard. The (mostly) light touch and pre-packaged social drama of Winning Time, however, draw into sharp relief how overdetermined and didactic McKay’s recent work has been — and how much more insightful it can be to let our American myths simply speak for themselves on the screen." Robertson adds: "Its first episode, the only one to date directed by McKay himself, does bear some of his storytelling excesses, like an aggressive and overly simplistic telegraphing of the racially coded Magic/Bird rivalry. But even when the series is serious, it’s a hell of a lot of fun — which makes it far easier for the viewer to buy into its second-level social critique, something McKay seems to have been slowly forgetting over this second leg of his career."
TOPICS: Adam McKay, HBO, Don't Look Up, Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty