The long-awaited commercial release of Denis Villeneuve‘s Dune is only days away. Theatrical + HBO Max on Friday, 10.22, with many theatres launching the night before. And with that, Average Joes and Janes will render a verdict about whether or not Dune belongs on a list of potential Best Picture contenders.

In this light, Dune has four Gold Derby handicappers in its cornerIndieWire‘s Anne Thompson (#2), Yahoo‘s Kevin Polowy (#1) and Variety‘s Clayton Davis (#3) and Tim Gray (#1).

So in a sense these four critics will be facing the music this weekend also. As you and your movie-watching brethren watch this 155-minute sand epic, say to yourself “it wasn’t just the usual gifted suspects who created this film — director-cowriter Villeneuve, dp Greig Fraser, screenwriters Jon Spaihts and Eric Roth and star Timothee Chalamet — but also Thompson, Polowy, Davis and Gray, who’ve done what they can to lend award-season cred.”

In a strictly illegal sense, Dune “opened” yesterday morning when pirates began streaming an alleged HD version. I’ve only pirate-streamed two movies in my life — Roman Polanski‘s J’Accuse and Woody Allen‘s A Rainy Day in Manhattan — and see no reason not to wait for Thursday.

But I’m telling you right now I can’t wait to hate this thing. At least I’m honest about this. Every fibre of my being wants to loathe it. By the same token if I like it and say so, it’ll mean more than praise from some snivelling gladhander critic.

And then two weeks later comes Chloe Zhao‘s Eternals, which I’m also looking forward to despising with every fibre of my being. Because Eternals hates me. I know how it’s going to make me feel, and so I’m turning it around and pledging to give it back before the fact. Death to Marvel unless it’s the Marvel films I like. Death to superhero franchises. Death to superhero wisecracks. Death to dinner-table camaraderie. Death to all of it.

Friendo: “Technically Dune is wonderful.  It will probably sweep all the tech awards at the Oscars.  Still stuck with that storyline which is a bit on the ‘who cares?’ spectrum.  Oddly enough the most compelling and likable character is Jason Momoa‘s.

David Lynch‘s 1984 version is 2 and 1/2 hours long. The new film ends at around the 90 minute mark of the Lynch film, so basically it’s another hour of storytelling that if they get to make Part 2, which will actually take a lot longer than an hour.”