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157. Conan the Barbarian

Like any right-thinking human being, I’m a fan of the original Conan the Barbarian.  And I don’t subscribe to the philosophy that remakes are inherently bad, so I was looking forward to this one.  And I think I may have put it in my predicted top 20 summer box office list.  Whoops!  In retrospect, maybe we should have seen this coming.  The original is fun in large part due to its campiness, which is really difficult to duplicate, so instead this version took itself super seriously, with self-evident results.  As an aside, the reported budget for this film was $90 million dollars.  Two comments there.  First, the movie does not look like $90 million went into it.  Second, a movie about a barbarian probably could have figured out a way to have been done a little more frugally.

156.  Hugo

I honestly cannot understand what anyone sees in Hugo.   The script is populated by terribly uninteresting characters, almost none of whom have any discernible arc, and filled with unmemorable dialogue.  Not to mention the entirely superfluous ode to Georges Melies.  Hey, I love film and I’m all for celebrating its heritage.  But tacking on a half hour subplot to end the movie because the characters weren’t doing anything anyway?  That’s inexcusable.

155.  Your Highness

Danny McBride is the worst.  I cannot stand the guy as an actor.  As co-writer and co-star here, he makes a fantastic premise: medieval adventure comedy and an absurdly stellar cast: Zooey Deschanel, James Franco as the dashing hero, Justin Theroux as the archvillain,  Natalie Portman as a warrior (this is the film with her infamous thong shot), and Damian Lewis as a bad guy, and noted indie/Pineapple Express director David Gordon Green, just miss completely.  Unfunny and poorly plotted, the movie is a waste of everything.

154.  The Bang Bang Club

I fell asleep during two separate attempts to watch this film about a group of professional photographers in South Africa capturing the country as apartheid drew to a close.  I think Ryan Phillippe was a little miscast as the lead here.  I mean, it is based on real life events, maybe he did a good job capturing the guy, but to me, Phillippe always seems just a little bit sinister and douchey, and I think he’s a much better fit as a bad guy.  Malin Akerman and Taylor Kitsch are both not nearly in the movie enough.

153.  The Iron Lady

I’m not expert on British history, and I don’t even play one on TV.  But my understanding is that during the decade she served as prime minister, Margaret Thatcher did stuff.  Probably stuff that, I don’t know, significantly affected England and maybe even the world.  Screenwriter Abi Morgan decided the most interesting and relevant part of Thatcher’s life is as an elderly woman apparently battling dementia.  Which is a choice seemingly meant to give Streep the Oscar and bore everyone else out of their minds.

152. Love, Wedding, Marriage

Mandy Moore plays a newly married marriage counselor who finds out that her parents (James Brolin and Jane Seymour) are planning on getting a divorce.  It’s a shame the script is so amateurish because the cast is a lot of fun.  I’m a huge Mandy Moore fan, and I think the first network that can pair her with a halfway decent writing staff is going to have a hit on their hands.  Brolin goes all out as his character rediscovers his Jewish roots while trying to relieve his bachelor days.  And Seymour matches him step for step.  Plus there’s Christopher Lloyd in a bit part as a crazy marriage counselor and the extremely lovely Jessica Szohr as Moore’s sister.  Alyson Hannigan has a cameo, but that pales in comparison to the voice cameo by director Dermot Mulroney’s My Best Friend Wedding co-star, Julia Roberts.  I’m a little surprised the publicity staff couldn’t built more buzz around that.  Mulroney, incidentally, seems to have an unsurprisingly deft touch with romantic comedy conventions, and I’d be interested to see him tackle a better-written script.

151.  The Dynamiter

The Dynamiter was up for a couple of Spirit Awards: The Cassavetes award and Cinematography.  The film wasn’t included in the screeners sent out, and it is tough for us to get to New York or LA for the screening, so the filmmakers were kind enough to send us a copy.  Because I’m easily bought, I’m not going to say anything negative about the film.  It was a somewhat depressing look at growing up without parents, and I think the film conveyed that emotion very well.  And I liked the main actor, thought he did a good job.

150.  The Chateux Moreaux

Would you believe this is the second romantic comedy centered around a vineyard featuring Christopher Lloyd in a supporting role that made this post?  Madness.  Anyway, as long as people keep casting Marla Sokoloff as the lead in romcoms, I’m going to keep watching.  Which probably isn’t the most sane statement I’ve made in my life.  Not caring about wine probably didn’t help me like this movie, but based on everything else in the script, I’m guessing wine connoisseurs wouldn’t exactly say the film depicted anything close to reality.  Sokoloff inherits a failing vineyard that she has to turn around make profitble, Barry Watson is the love interest/winemaker/son of the bad guy (Christopher Lloyd), Amanda Righetti is the best friend and That Guy Taylor Negron shows up. The script is just unspeakably bad.  I don’t know if that’s on the screenwriters, people not telling the screenwriters the draft was crappy, the director going out on his own, or what.  But the continuity is poor, character motivations inconsistent and development nearly random.

149.  Cracks

This film from Ridley Scott’s kid stars Eva Green as a teacher in a 1930s English boarding school with Juno Temple as head girl in the class, along with Imogen Poots, among others.  I like those three actresses a lot, I just wish there was a better story to serve them.  There’s not really much that happens, save for a few audacious reveals near the end that the film seemingly spent forever building to.  It is a shame, because it felt like there was an interesting story there, with the teacher whose stories of faraway travel hide a weakness and the impact a new girl has on a tightly-formed clique.

148.  Terri

Garnered a Spirit Award nomination for First Screenplay, though it certainly wouldn’t have if I were on the committee.  It is too simple to say this film about an overweight, struggling high schooler (Jacob Wysocki) who lives with an uncle (Creed Bratton!) flickering in and out of mental clarity and a guidance counselor (John C. Reilly) trying to get him down a better path is the shoegazing answer to Precious, but, I mean, you can’t just pretend the similarities aren’t there.  The movie felt too slight to me and while I don’t need a film to have complete closure, necessarily, I prefer feeling like a complete story was told, which I’m not sure was the case here.

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An occasional series highlighting films I think more people should know about.

Title: Irish Jam

Writers: John Eyres, Max Myers

Director: John Eyres

Stars: Eddie Griffin, Anna Friel, Mo’Nique 

Synopsis: An all talk, no walk black guy (Griffin) from the U.S. wins a contest that grants him ownership of a bar in Ireland.  Culture clash then ensues, along with an evil landowner vs. the townspeople plot apparently cribbed from a Scooby-Doo episode.

Why You Should Know About This Movie: Perhaps I didn’t describe the plot clearly enough.  Eddie Griffin wins a poetry contest that gives him the deed to a bar in Ireland.  Also, it co-stars Anna Friel and Oscar-winner Mo’Nique (more on them later).

Why You Should See This Movie: You know how sometimes you are watching a movie and you get frustrated when there’s a character or scene or whatever designed to give a whole lot of exposition?  And then maybe you think to yourself, “Self, I’m a smart person.  I don’t need this long-winded speech or awkward dialogue to understand what’s going on.”  Well, here’s your chance to test that theory out!  At best you get some explanation four or fives scenes too late, but most of the time you get to make up your own backstory for such things as how the town decided a poetry contest was the best way to raise money, or what the heck Mo’Nique’s character is doing in the movie.  Although, to be fair, it probably wouldn’t matter if they had put any exposition in, because between Eddie Griffin’s manic slang-filled incomprehensible near-monologues and everyone else’s Irish brogue, it isn’t like I really understood anything anyone was saying anyway.

Another good reason is that this film is, ostensibly, about African-American and Irish cultures.  Which is an impressive feat for writers Eyres and Myers to pull off, considering they apparently had never actually seen an African-American or Irish person.

Or maybe the actors.  It confuses me that there was a time when Eddie Griffin was a viable leading man, because all his tics may be charming as a wacky sidekick, but man do they get tiresome over the course of a film.  You gotta respect Anna Friel, acting like there was any chance anyone would ever see this movie.  Friel, by the way, is awesome in everything, even if she has terrible luck picking projects.   And there’s Mo’Nique, of course, playing an ugly ugly character that some probably would consider racistly-written.  I’d probably go with ignorantly-written, but at least she’s only in the film for a handful scenes (popping up seemingly randomly).

Also Appearing: Kevin McNally is the bad guy.  He’s been in the Pirates of the Caribbean films as Joshamee Gibbs, which might mean something to me if all of those films didn’t put me to sleep.  Otherwise, I’m not coming up with too much.  Tom Georgeson is a respected stage actor who’s been in a bunch of films.  And rapper Petey Pablo has a cameo buying pot from Eddie Griffin.

Fun Facts: I don’t really have much for you here, sorry.  Seems like the general consensus on this direct-to-DVD release is that some rich people needed a vehicle for tax breaks.  Even though imdb won’t confirm it, because they don’t show a soundtrack listing for the film, I’m positive I saw Anna Friel’s name in the credits as actually singing the songs that her character sings in the film.  I was going to say “inexplicably sings in the film”, but then I remembered that, duh, all Irish lasses sing mournful folk songs at bars without needing a reason to do so.  Let’s go ahead an embed a clip of that, which includes a mercifully dubbed Eddie Griffin:

 

Quotes: “That’s great.  I don’t understand a word of it, but that’s great.”

I’ve long been fascinated by actors and actresses who decide to record music, possibly stemming from a present I received at a 5th grade birthday party, Shaq Fu: Da Return.  Everyone has heard William Shatner’s recordings, but every so often I’ll share a lesser known foray into music.

Now up: John Corbett

John Corbett is best known for his roles in two iconic televison series: Northern Exposure and Sex in the City, receiving a Golden Globe nomination apiece.  On the small screen he also was in the recently-cancelled United States of Tara and starred in the shortlived (but Emmy and TCA-nominated) Lucky, along with Craig Robinson.  But he’s also found steady work in (admittedly generally uninteresting) movies, highlighted by his turns in My Big Fat Greek Wedding and Raising Helen.  And he’s really fantastic in a personal favorite of mine, Wonderland.

On screen, Corbett tends to exude a laid-back, chill persona.  I make no claims to knowing the man, but given that his music could be described similarly, perhaps Corbett really is John Q. Public, at least how we’d like to see ourselves: capable, easygoing, always in control without needing or appearing to be so.  Erlewine, at AMG, calls these traits “naturalistic.”  Perhaps.  My theory, based on the day I recently spent in Wheeling, Corbett’s hometown, is that’s just how people from Wheeling are.

It follows, then, that Corbett’s self-titled country album wouldn’t resort to any celebrity music gimmickry.  There aren’t any famous guest artists and there’s no apparent work by producers to hide or alter Corbett’s voice.  It is pretty straightforward country music.  No exaggerated twang or crossover potential, just the stuff you listen to while sitting on your front porch, beer in hand, maybe shooting the breeze with your friends.

Released in 2006, the album reached #45 on the country music charts and #21 on the independent chart.  It somehow figures that Corbett wouldn’t sign with a label.  That could be the reason I haven’t seen the album on Rhapsody or Spotify.  But don’t worry, I own the CD, which features a cover photo (pictured left) by Bo Derek, Corbett’s longtime girlfriend.  Oddly, I may actually remember buying it.  If I recall correctly, Brian and I were rooming together in Virginia and had ventured out to Total Wine, likely to pick up some beers for a taste test.  There was a music store going out of business in the same strip mall.  Most of the stuff had been picked clean, but we found a couple of good things in there, I won’t embarrass Brian by naming what he bought.

There was one single from the album, “Good to Go”, which reached #43 on the Country Singles chart.  They made a generally disappointing music video:

Or, if you prefer, you watch his performance of the song on The Tony Danza Show.  I think my favorite song from the album, though, is “Revival”:

Brilliant, Banal, or Bizarre – I probably need another category here, but banal, unfortunately.  Part of that is on me.  I tend to like my country either really poppy or heartbreakingly sad.  For me, a lot of stuff in the middle, especially those without big hooks, sounds a little bland.  I did kinda like the album, but I’ve never had any John Corbett tunes stuck in my head.

I’ve long been fascinated by actors and actresses who decide to record music, possibly stemming from a present I received at a 5th grade birthday party, Shaq Fu: Da Return.  Everyone has heard William Shatner’s recordings, but every so often I’ll share a lesser known foray into music.

First up: Emmy Rossum

You probably at least know Ms. Rossum from her turns in The Day After Tomorrow (where she plays opposite Jake Gyllenhaal) or The Phantom of the Opera (don’t forget, that was Gerard Butler as the Phantom).  She’s currently starring in Shameless, airing on Showtime, in a performance that several critics felt deserved Emmy consideration.  As did I, for three main reasons:

  1. She really is fantastic in the role.
  2. Come on.  Emmy nominated for an Emmy?  Can you even begin to imagine someone like Bruce Vilanch taking a crack at that for awards show banter? 
  3. I’m madly in love with her.

Rossum actually has had a long relationship with music.  Along with Phantom, she’s sung on the soundtracks to her films Nola and Songcatcher.  And at a young age she joined the Metropolitan Opera’s Children’s Chorus.  She apparently has perfect pitch and can sing in a dozen different keys.  Which I can totally relate to, having a singing voice that caused my copy of Rock Band to pop out of the console and slap me in the face.

Rossum released her album, Inside Out, in 2007, where it reached #199 on the Billboard 200 and #2 on the New Age charts.  AMG’s Stephen Thomas Erlewine writes:

 “In its gently swaying melodies and cool textures, Inside Out resembles nothing so much as a teeny version of Watermark, lacking the spooky Celtic overtones of Enya‘s 1988 masterwork but retaining the same dreamy, shimmering qualities of her music, then marrying that wet, glistening sound to a relatively updated production (mainly heard via skittering electronic rhythms) and lovelorn pop tunes. Naturally, this makes for a much lighter record than Enya‘s, one that’s closer in spirit to an old-fashioned teen-pop record because it’s all about love, sweetness, and dreams, and the remarkable thing is that all this earnest adolescence doesn’t jar with the ethereal music.”

Which I copy because he does a much better job than I was going to do of describing what I thought of the album.  Unsurprisingly, given that description, I’m a pretty big fan and I’ve listened to it a number of times over the years.  And I’d definitely agree with Erlewine, the album sounds like it comes from a world where the pop music that reigned supreme sprang from Enya (rather than Madonna).  Impressively, she co-wrote all one but one of the songs on the album (her cover of “Rainy Days and Mondays” is perhaps my second favorite song on the album).  She also recorded an EP of Christmas songs, but I have a fairly low tolerance for holiday music.

I’m especially a fan of the single “Slow Me Down”.  Her sort of choral a cappella arrangements are particularly effective, serving to heighten the tension in the song, matching well with the lyrics.  The music video is below, and I think you’ll see why I’m madly in love with Emmy Rossum, as she’s crazy talented and the camera just adores her.

 

Brilliant, Banal, or Bizarre – Definitely brilliant.  Sure, she’s got a bit of the breathy celebrity singing voice, but that’s a conscious decision here.  She can certainly carry a tune and her stuff is interesting and original.

Thanks for reading our past four installments. Hope you’ve enjoyed, and if Jared and I are lucky the movies covered in past posts and the ones below will be good enough to make repeat appearances come Oscar season (either as snubs or maybe even nominees!)

JARED

5. Thor – Sure, the fact that initial reviews are positive helps some. But to me, this movie seems less like a “comic book movie” and more like a plain ol’ badass film. Perhaps partially because this comic book hero is based in mythology. The trailer was sufficiently awesome, I thought. Also because the film is directed by noted Shakespearean Kenneth Branagh, who has been in saying in interviews he feels Thor’s story could be something out of the Bard’s writings. Also, I mean, any movie with Natalie Portman AND Kat Dennings? Come on. That’s just not fair. Fun fact about co-screenwriter Ashley Miller: According to imdb, he graduated from Thomas Jefferson HS in Virginia. Which was a quiz bowl (or It’s Academic, to use the term more familiar to us) archrival of the high school Brian and I attended.

4. X-Men: First Class – How does the saying go? Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me two, no, three, no, four times, shame on me? I really wasn’t a fan of the X-Men trilogy or the Wolverine spinoff. So what’s the difference here? Well, Bryan Singer isn’t directing and David Hayter isn’t writing, that’s a start. Matthew Vaughn has taken over the helm, and he’s got quite the filmography. Layer Cake is a great movie, one that made me believe Daniel Craig was a better choice than Clive Owen for Bond. Really, in a lot of ways, it is the Bond movie people think Casino Royale is. Stardust was a flop, and while it didn’t quite meet my admittedly lofty expectations, it is a must-see film. Even if only for De Niro’s best role since Wag the Dog, at least. And Kick-Ass, which I didn’t like as much as others, but still, I think the movies all combine to show Vaughn has a unique, refreshing, and eminently watchable style for action flicks. And the cast is all kinds of awesome, with James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender excellent choices for eventual nemeses, Oliver Platt and Ray Wise lurking in the background, not to mention Oscar nominee Jennifer Lawrence and the underrated Rose Byrne.

3. 30 Minutes or Less – Let’s see. Original premise, fantastic-looking trailer, crazy hot buzz, directed by the guy who did Zombieland, with Jesse Eisenberg and Aziz Ansari? The film certainly has the pedigree to be the funniest film of the summer. So what’s keeping it off the #1 spot? Danny McBride. I realize I’m in a distinct minority here, so maybe I’m the one with a complete and total lack of a sense of humor. Or maybe there’s really nothing funny about Danny McBride. Sure, he was tolerable in Pineapple Express, but he still brought the movie down and was only supporting by everything else being so fantastic.

2. The Guard – I realize this pick is a little bit out there. But stay with me for a sec. The film played Sundance to generally favorable reviews. All of which seem to boil down to some variant of: Yeah, this totally isn’t In Bruges, it just also stars Brendan Gleeson, shares a sense of humor, has great action scenes bookended by hilarious musings on life, and oh yeah, was written and directed by the brother of the guy who wrote and directed In Bruges. So yeah. It also features Don Cheadle and Mark Strong (in a bad guy role, naturally). In Bruges was a favorite of this here blog, and The Guard sure looks to be shaping up as its successor.

1. Super 8 – Gavin was very much unimpressed when I said this movie was atop my list. “You don’t like J.J. Abrams”, he claimed. I’d counter that I like his ideas. Lost, Undercovers, if you want to count What About Brian, all were pretty great concepts. That, sure, didn’t finish as strong as they started. But he also directed Star Trek, which was fantastic. And worked on the screenplay for Armageddon. So there’s that. I also responded that I liked how no one really knew what the film was about. Gavin, of course, responded, “Cloverfield” Which, fair. But that was always a one-trick monster movie. This film appears to be shaping up as a scifi thriller with the depth you’d expect a Spielberg-produced film to have. Plus, any movie that nabs FNL‘s Coach has to have some idea what it is doing.

BRIAN

5. Harry Potter 7, Part II — Truth: part of the reason I have this so high is to defend my bold prediction last year that the last chapter of the Potter franchise would be the frontrunner in the Oscars Best Picture race this year. But I also am eager to see how things are wrapped up cinematically and most crucially, how the battle at Hogwarts will look. The Momma Weasley retort to Bellatrix LeStrange has the potential to be among the most cathartic movie experiences of the year — if done right. I was underwhelmed by the first half released last year, but that may have been intentional, with the unresolved loose ends and all. I wish that director David Yates had ignored J.K. Rowling’s cheezy and tacked on epilogue, but he didn’t. Maybe I’ll just leave the theater with a smile on my face before the final 5 minutes, but then again, I’m the guy who’s not supposed to care about endings.

4. Captain America: The First Avenger — I don’t understand Jared’s trepidation here. Not only do we get Nazi baddies, but we get to see one of the most iconic superheroes. Give me a movie where we’ve fought Nazis, and it hasn’t been good. Then, leading the enemy forces is Hugo Weaving as the Red Skull. Hugo Weaving — also an excellent bad guy. The trailers have only increased my anticipation, and Chris Evans looks to be the ideal guy for the role. We haven’t really gotten a sense of what Steve Rogers’ personality will be like — but I have confidence in Evans as he was one of my favorite parts of Scott Pilgrim. I may be one of the few defenders of The Phantom, a superhero movie of a pre-CGI era that was silly, goofy camp — but I get a similar light-hearted, America Fuck Yeah, feel for this one.

3.Green Lantern – I may have confused Ryan Gosling and Ryan Reynolds in an earlier post written in a sleep-deprived haze, but the sentiment still stands; I like them both. With the release of each new trailer, my expectations continue to skyrocket. Back in the days of Justice League cartoons, the Green Lantern was my favorite character. The ring that can essentially do anything was like a kid’s imagination. What if you could….have a giant sledge hammer, or a saw, or a sword, or a baseball bat, or a HUGE FIST! Throw in Peter Sarsgaard as the creepy villain (the role he was born to play) and I’ll be there for the midnight showing.

2. 30 Minutes or LessJared hit most of the right notes in his preview. Zombieland remains one of my biggest surprise loves of all-time, with Jesse Eisenberg playing a large part in that (the ear tuck!), so consider that the reason why it’s so high on my list now. He’s also right about Danny McBride. No, Jared, you aren’t alone on this one. Danny McBride isn’t funny and never has been funny. Yet another knock on Will Ferrell. And considering that, at least based on the trailer, we could have at least one epic, hilarious bank heist? I mean, one thats intentionally funny unlike The Town?

1.  Super 8 I haven’t been this excited for a movie in a while, and the reasons why begins with Kyle Chandler as a lead character and ends with Spielberg producing. As a sucker for movies about fathers and sons, I’m loving that these two are involved in the movie. Friday Night Lights was all about Coach as the surrogate father to the Panthers and then the Lions and some of Spielberg’s best has focused on these themes as well. Some (Gavin) might call me an apologist for late-era Spielberg like Minority Report and War of the Worlds, but those were damn good crackerjack films that I’ll see again and again. The previews present a movie that looks like a mix of The Goonies, E.T., and Iron Giant — all solid films in their own rights. There’s even some early M. Night Shyamalan in there. Call me a sucker, but this has tear-jerking nostalgia written all over it. 

I’m going to start spotlighting some lesser-known and/or underappreciated movie folk.  People whose association with a film has gotten me to put that movie on my queue, por ejemplo.  And I promise no more than 30% will be ridiculously attractive starlets from Veronica Mars.

Gotta go to Mo's!

So naturally, I’ll kick things off with Mo Henry.  I’m the type of person who doesn’t move from my seat until the credits have finished rolling.  I’m not entirely certain why.  I may have picked up the habit from my mom.  Part of it is that I like seeing what songs were in the film.  Probably a lot of it is just that I’m lazy.  Anyway, at some point I realized I kept seeing Mo Henry’s name in credits.  A lot.  So I investigated.

Typing “Mo Henry” into Google counts as investigating, yes?  Turns out that Ms. Henry is the negative cutter to the stars.  A negative cutter, near as I can tell, is the person who takes the final edits made by the editor (on a lower quality piece of film) and does the physical cutting on the final film that’s sent out for processing into prints.  It seems much more complicated than that, though, with lots of coding and logging and whatnot.  (Here’s an article about her that helps explain some of the finer points.)

Anyway, Henry’s imdb page is great fun to check out, as she’s worked on dozens and dozens of movies over the past couple of decades.  And it turns out I’m not the only one who has noticed her.  She has a fan club on Facebook that’s 163 members strong and gets wall posts nearly monthly.  She also has a slightly larger Yahoo! Group fan club.  And a tribute page on which someone  spent literally minutes.

According to this site, she babysat John Wayne’s kids and her first (uncredited) work was on Jaws.  Also, she’s left-handed, but film cutting has to be done right-handed for some reason.

So here’s to you, Mo Henry.  Thanks for giving me a reason to watch movies until the very end.

Oscar nominees are announced on the 25th.  Yay!  So let’s summarize what we (the royal we, at least) know.  Keeping in mind, of course, that when it comes to the Academy, no one knows anything.  Especially me.  This time: Best Supporting Actor.

VIRTUAL LOCKS

  • Christian Bale, The Fighter
  • Geoffrey Rush, The King’s Speech

These two have been nominated in pretty much all Oscar precursors and split winning them.  Both have gobs of screen time; it is fairly easy to imagine their respective movies undergoing relatively minor rewrites to portray each as the main character.  Bale plays a loose cannon crack addict who can’t let go of the past, constantly reliving past fights, which is getting in the way of training his brother.  His performance is all kinds of showy, especially contrasted with Mark Wahlberg’s patented stoicism.  Rush, as a speech therapist tasked with helping a future king, is tasked with a more subtle role, playing mentor, friend, inferior to Colin Firth’s regal stutterer.

LIKELY IN

  • Andrew Garfield, The Social Network
  • Jeremy Renner, The Town
  • Mark Ruffalo, The Kids Are All Right

The Academy has tendency to shower films it likes with lots and lots of nominations, so if it has caught the lovefest bug for The Social Network, we could hear Andrew Garfield’s name called.  He co-starred this year in the mostly-ignored Never Let Me Go and will be donning Peter Parker’s spiderduds in the upcoming Spiderman reboot.  Garfield’s character in the Facebook movie served an interesting and perhaps necessary counterpoint to the increasingly powerdrunk Zuckerberg.  The Town raked in a ton of dough and is generally well-liked, for reasons I can’t quite understand.  It boasts a strong ensemble, but awards buzz has focused on Jeremy Renner, nominated last year for The Hurt Locker.  Renner’s character doesn’t necessarily add anything new to the sidekick who is always looking for an edge even (or especially) when bending the rules.  Think Worm from Rounders, only from Boston.  But Renner is clearly quite talented.  In The Kids Are All Right, Mark Ruffalo plays a laid-back restaurateur who finds out that a sperm donation from nearly two decades ago has yielded two kids.  The idea isn’t novel to me, but I believe Ruffalo’s talent appears so natural that his work isn’t appreciated nearly as much as it should be.

FIRST ALTERNATE

  • Matt Damon, True Grit

I haven’t seen the film yet, so I won’t comment on Damon’s role or performance.  Buzz has been waning some, but count out at a respected, well-liked guy in a critical and commercial success at your own peril.

DARK HORSES

  • John Hawkes, Winter’s Bone
  • Michael Douglas, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps
  • Sam Rockwell, Conviction
  • Justin Timberlake, The Social Network
  • Armie Hammer, The Social Network

In a just world, Hawkes would see a nomination here, he truly turned in great stuff.  I just saw Wall Street 2 on the plane to Vegas, and while the movie was nothing special, Douglas does have an Oscar scene or two, and is a beloved industry veteran who was just in the news for kicking cancer.  I don’t think anyone saw Conviction, including yours truly, but Sam Rockwell is supposed to be very good.  Since the inevitable backlash for The Social Network hasn’t hit yet, you can’t count out Timberlake or Hammer, especially since they both have memorable scenes and lines.

SHOULDA BEEN A CONTENDER

  • Michael Shannon, The Runaways
  • Tom Hardy, Inception
  • Vincent Cassel, Black Swan

Hello everyone!

So we’re making it easier this year for you to beat the Grouches at picking the winners of the Golden Globes. Fill out the form below. The first question for each category asks who you think WILL WIN. And if you have preferences on who you want to win, fill out the SHOULD WIN question below. Be sure to answer the tiebreaker at the end.

Fill out the form here: https://spreadsheets.google.com/viewform?formkey=dFVtT1pIOUdxOEpjbmp3bmpzV1ltREE6MQ

Check back in later tonight for the liveblog!

– Brian

I realize we’re just starting with the 2010 Oscar season, with the ceremonies in February of 2011, but having just came out of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows, Part I, I can say with near certainty that Part II will be nominated for Best Picture and will be the early favorite for the win.

Part I was pretty good, and was one of the best of the series — perhaps the 3rd movie was better. David Yates is the right director for the job, he did a bang-up job with a lightly plotted film. Part II will give him a lot to work with. Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, and Daniel Radcliffe have came into their own as actors and they too have a lot of scenery to chew through in the next film. The corollary to the Lord of the Rings series isn’t perfect, as those films were all very strong and it could be argued that Return of the King was deserving as the best of the series. But…I’m calling it now — there will be a lot of pressure to reward the series in next year’s Oscars.

July 2019
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