Tuesday, January 22, 2008

I Am A Golden God!


Brief thoughts after skimming the Oscar nominations:

1) Why haven't I seen more of these movies? Looking over the nominations, I felt like Longfellow Deeds in the Big City, gawking at these cinematic city slickers and their hip violence, these movies and performances and set designs I haven't experienced. It's like trying to have a conversation about love in a foreign tongue.

2) The film blogs seem distressed at Zodiac's shutout, which seems a little like being concerned about Fred Thompson dropping out of the presidential race: this meandering thing is the dreamboat you pinned your hopes on?

3) Cate Blanchett was nominated for Elizabeth II: Electric Boogaloo? Really? I bow to no one in my admiration for Ms. Blanchett, but...really?

4) Good for Ellen Page, George Clooney, "Falling Slowly," Julie Christie and craggly, loveable Deep Throat Hal Holbrook. Boo on the Academy for once again overlooking the joy of comedies and musicals, which means that neither Amy Adams nor James Marsden got nominated for any of their multifarious delights in Enchanted, Hairspray or Charlie Wilson's War.

5) Is Juno poised to be this year's Crash (It's already got Roger Ebert's "Best of the Year" blessing)? It's a much better film than Crash, but I already sense a backlash developing, especially since revisionist Westerns like There Will Be Blood and No Country For Old Men seem to have 2007's hipster cred locked up, and fierce partisans bullying on their behalf (this is not a bashing of either film, both of which I'd like to see, just a noting of the shape the conversation seems to be taking).

6) I agree with what Shamus/Larry posted a few months ago: part of me thinks that if the Academy really wanted to be daring, they would've tossed Julie Taymor into the mix for best director: Across the Universe is deeply flawed, but its batshit audacity is as vibrant and imaginative and memorable as any other directing I've seen this year (and, I mean, they nominated Julian Schnabel).

6 comments:

Jonathan Lapper said...

So do you not like Zodiac? Cause if so I'm telling Larry and you are so going to be in trouble! I liked it a lot and saw some great acting that really should have been nominated.

As for NCFOM and TWBB, I loved them both. I think NCFOM is better but I love the over the top operatic audacity of TWBB. In my humble (and always 100% correct)opinion too many people confuse over-acting with big acting. Mediocre actors overact (Betty Hutton, William Shatner) but a great actor can give a big over the top performance and make it a joy to watch (Daniel Day-Lewis in TWBB, Charles Laughton, Gary Oldman, even Laurence Olivier was not immune to the "big" performance, and I love Orson Welles "big" performance in Touch of Evil). Same with movies. There are directors who overdo it because they're bad (Michael Bay, Roland Emmerich) and directors who make big operatic films that teeter on the brink of near train-wreck disaster(Apocalypse Now, TWBB) but emerge as grand pieces of art/entertainment on the other end.

Juno feels more like this year's Little Miss Sunshine rather than this year's Crash. I haven't seen it yet but I despise the trailer and I am not looking forward to it. I may be pleasantly surprised (trailers often distort a film beyond recognition) but everything I've read thus far leads me to believe I will be seeing the oh-so clever witty dialogue of Gilmore Girls and Dawsons Creek for two hours which makes me feel dirty inside.

Cinephile said...

Hey Jonathan,
Long time no see! (: I thought Zodiac, unlike Fred Thompson, was interesting but erratic-- I blogged about it back in October when i finally caught up with it through Netflix, and basically felt it was fascinating and meandering, gripping and boring, too long and somehow incomplete, as if we were seeing the world's most labored-upon sketch, if that makes any sense. There was clearly a lot of time and talent and exquisite detail going into the film, but it added up to so much less than its brilliant parts for me. I agree the acting was good, esp. Mark Ruffalo, but I actually prefer Downey in the little-seen GAME 6, where he does a much funnier, more low-key take on the ways in which obsession deranges us. Actually, in many ways, I think the writing on the film-- larry's, jim emerson's, yours, and manola darghis's lovely description of downey standing like a character in a toulouse-lautrec painting, a phrase which hasn't left my imagination for four months-- is so much more interesting to me than the film itself. As a fan of cinephiliac writing, I guess we have that to thank the underrated David Fincher for.

Your descriptions of NCFOM and TWWB are mouth-watering, and make me want to see them even more.

I liked Juno a lot, but see the connection you make with Little Miss Sunshine, which I also enjoyed, but whose strangely disingenuous oscar campaign was nicely summed up by one blogger (can't remember who) who wrote, as if imitating the producers, "Our film is about the fallacy of striving too much for dumb awards...so please give us an award for making it." Maybe we'll get lucky, and no film will ever be "this year's crash" again. (:

Jonathan Lapper said...

I just wrote up further thoughts on There Will Be Blood today on Cinema Styles but you probably don't want to read it until you've seen it. I discuss the ending in detail and I'd love to hear your thoughts so see it soon. Don't make me come up there and drag you to a theater okay? Cause I'll do it - I'm only four hours away. I could be back before dinner.

BTW, next time I feel the urge to visit the NFL Hall of Fame I'm looking you up. It's been a couple of years, surely they have some new features I want to see.

Cinephile said...

Wait, there aren't any Patriots in the Hall yet, are there? (:

I look forward to reading your thoughts on PT Anderson after I see the film. As I think more about Juno (a film I will eventually blog about in the next few days), I think the Gilmore Girls comparison is apt (which I say as a bigger fan of the show, I gather, than you), and also wonder if Garden State doesn't also fit. The latter is a film that seems less interesting to me now than when I saw it x number of years ago, but I thought of the comparison because it seems to be dividing audiences along similar generational lines.

Jonathan Lapper said...

John Hannah - Best Guard in the history of the Game!!!

Anywho, please read the comments too, although they derail for awhile as they always do and concentrate almost entirely on the nature of spoilers until Ed Hardy somewhere around comment 22 brought it back to TWBB. In fact, I think that was the first comment about the movie. That's not saying much for my comment section huh? Maybe I should change the name of it to "Cocktail Lounge" instead of "Comment Section".

Cinephile said...

I love your comments section, precisely for the way it veers back and forth between on-topic and off-topic stuff, with great humor. And "cocktail lounge" should be everyone's name for their comments section.