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All three of our fans may have picked up on the fact that I like the phrase “cute little film.” I use it too much, I know, and it comes off sort of backhanded sometimes, but in this case every word is true. Once is absolutely adorable (for which cute is an appropriate synonym), it is very little in scope and in budget (reportedly $160,000), and – yes – it is a film.

A guy and a girl (we never learn their names) meet cute on the street while he’s busking with his guitar, they play some music together, have some discussions about life, and cut a record. And that’s about it. But boy is it engrossing and emotional. For two characters whose names we never learn, I got utterly caught up in their lives. And the music’s pretty damn great.

I’ve been a fan of Glen Hansard’s band, The Frames, for a bit. They’re a fun, sort of poppy Irish rock band with a knack for writing good, passionate lyrics (director John Carney used to be the band’s bassist). Hansard’s a surprisingly good actor and does a great job selling the distraught starving artist role. Marketa Irglova… well, she’s not as good of an actress but she’s so enchanting on the screen. She’s not just very beautiful but also comes off so sincere. So even as I found her acting to be a bit off she’s sort of the cornerstone of the film and something that really makes it special. Read the rest of this entry »


Well, everyone else agreed on a little bit lower score for Charlie Wilson’s War than I did. I guess that just means I have a little bit better taste. In the interest of full disclosure, I’d put Sports Night in my top five television shows of all time, and I’ll defend Studio 60 to the death. Theoretically, a movie written by him, and starring a bunch of people in stuff I really like: Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Amy Adams (with Emily Blunt!) (and, OK, I’m a bit of a Shiri Appleby fan) should have been just about my favorite movie ever. And yes, it did score very highly with me. It made my Top 5 of the year (version 2), and while I’m not sure it will stay there, it will certainly be close.

I don’t agree with how the movie fared, in terms of Oscar nominations. Well, box office either, but that’s a different story. I heart Philip Seymour Hoffman, but wouldn’t have given him a nod for this role (explanation after the jump). I’m pretty sure I would have given Sorkin a screenplay nomination. And not just because A Few Good Men didn’t get one. If I had to choose between this and Knocked Up, because I only got to usher one pick in, I guess I’d go with the latter. But, to me, Charlie Wilson’s War was far superior to No Country. Maybe my most controversial pick from this movie, though, is that I’d suggest Amy Adams for Supporting Actress. Certainly over Ruby Dee or Amy Ryan. Even though I respect to no end that they only have seven letters in each of their names. After the jump, a bit of a Sorkin tangent.

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January 2008
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