Friday, December 19, 2008

Friday Free-For-All

Actors stop strike talk long enough to praise selves

Don't think a little thing like potentially industry-redefining strike talks are going to stop actors from getting their self-love on. Aw, hell na'ah, they did some awesome, awesome work this year and they are going to tell each other that. "You were so amazing." "No, you were so amazing." "Well, yes, I was." It's hard to tell where the Screen Actors Guild awards stop and primping high-school girls start. Anyhoo, let's ogle the nominations shall we?

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
Richard Jenkins - THE VISITOR
Frank Langella - FROST/NIXON
Sean Penn - MILK
Brad Pittt - THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON
Mickey Rourke - THE WRESTLER

Pitt has done some amazing work in the past (honest), but this wasn't one of those performances. His accent does a happy dance (I'm Cajun! Well, not really.) sometimes sounding like an old version of Christian Bale's Batman voice, which is now the gold standard for gravelly. Good to see Richard Jenkins nominated, he's one of those "hey, it's that guy" actors I love to see honored (even in a back patting contest like this one). Of course, the logical choice to win is Sean Penn (who I want to see nab a trophy just for his inevitably awesome gay rights speech upon winning, free publicity for a good cause is always nice). But I'm pulling for Mickey Rourke. Not just the redemption angle, but because you never know what that psycho will do. Fun for everyone!

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role
Anne Hathaway - RACHEL GETTING MARRIED
Angelina Jolie - CHANGELING
Melissa Leo - FROZEN RIVER
Meryl Streep - DOUBT
Kate Winslet - REVOLUTIONARY ROAD

Don't be dingleberries, give the trophy to Winslet. Hathaway isn't a bad second option but she is the SECOND option. Jolie's nomination is a joke, and Streep (honestly) should have been nominated for Mamma Mia!, a film that has been just sensationally received. None of that matters though, because the only answer is Winslet. WINSLET! WINSLET! Seriously, SAG, don't make me come over there.

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
Josh Brolin - MILK
Robert Downey, Jr. - TROPIC THUNDER
Philip Seymour Hoffman - DOUBT
Heath Ledger - THE DARK KNIGHT
Dev Patel - SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE

Okay, so we know that Ledger will win (possibly even deservedly so), but how effing cool is it that Downey Jr is gaining real traction for an Oscar nod for a comedy role, and not just any role, but a role in which he plays a white actor playing a black man. If I went back in time, you wouldn't believe me if I told you that. Unless I went back to a time when racism was culturally acceptable. Then you'd say, "Yeah, so?"

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role
Amy Adams - DOUBT
Penelope Cruz - VICKY CRISTINA BARCELONA
Viola Davis - DOUBT
Taraji P. Henson - THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON
Kate Winslet - THE READER

Okay, I'm gonna say it, I am soooo not interested in Doubt (despite adoring Amy Adams). I won't give any award to Penelope Cruz for kissing Scarlett Johansson in Vicky because no one should get an award for something everyone wants to do for free. Taraji Henson's performance was, I'll say it, a retread of the typical southern black motherly role (she played it well, but she played a stereotypical role well, so whatever that's worth). That leaves....WINSLET! WINSLET! WINSLET!!!!

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
FROST/NIXON
MILK
SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE
THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON
DOUBT

My fear is, despite not deserving it, this will go to Doubt. It's a truly weak year and I'm surprised to not see The Dark Knight, which is in every way a superior film to the Pitt make-up fest. Odds are the actors will go with the highest concentration of big names, meaning chock up the first "real" award to the dirty priest movie.

Weekend Battle Plan: Serious Smith or Crazy Carrey? Whoever wins, you lose.

I'm not the biggest fan of Will Smith "the serious actor." Not because he doesn't have it in him, he does. It's just that he chooses the most obvious, uncomplicated stories to tell dramatically. 7 Pounds has been notably absent from all awards proceedings other than the ones he throws for himself. What? If the actors can get together and do it, why can't Big Willy throw himself a party at home? The problem with this lack of prestige buzz, is that the film remains shrouded in mystery (unless you pay attention to the previews, then it's pretty easy to figure out), and the marketing has been pretty low key. The result? You'll probably pass on this. You'll likely opt to go see the return of Crazy Pants Carrey in Yes Man, also known as the movie that would have been huge circa 1997. The film is based on a true story that was fascinating and compelling when told on NPR and appears to have been turned into a celebration of a man acting mentally challenged. Seriously, the tape-on-the-face gag gets into the PREVIEW? That means you think it's funny when he does something I did when I was 5. Hell, in comparison, his ass-talking bit is sheer comedy genius. Still, the film seems pleasant enough and does have Zooey Deschannel (always a plus). Besides, some of it was filmed in Memorial Stadium with Carrey dressed as a Husker crazy. Yippee. Whatever, during this holiday season, you could do worse. Oh, there's a movie about a cute mouse coming out this week too, but that's going to get squished. There goes my theory of the infallability of all kids movies.

That's my recommendation: If you have to see something, go see Yes Man. It won't kill you and it will make you nostalgic for a time when Jim Carrey was famous. WAIT! Actually, strike that! Go see Slumdog Millionaire at Film Streams Ruth Sokolof Theater. Danny Boyle may win an Oscar and the movie will make you happy about life and stuff. Yay for viable alternatives! Sorry about that Carrey recommendation, I slipped and fell on my "In Living Color" boxed set last night.

On DVD: I know that Burn After Reading doesn't come out until Sunday (what?) on DVD, but RENT THAT. It's soooo good. It constantly fights an ongoing deathmatch in my brain with Tropic Thunder for funniest movie of the year. You're definitely going to enjoy it if you haven't already. If you have already, enjoy it again at home! It's the best Pitt performance this year, no matter what awards shows might say.

Fearless, Flawless, Box Office Predictions

This week features another epic battle between me and losing...also between Jim Carrey and Will Smith (handicapped by a movie no one cares about). It may seem obvious that Smith would win, but he's doing the dramatic thing and Carrey is back to mocking the mentally retarded. So, with that in mind, it's anyone's game. The important thing is that, once again, I will likely be thwarted in the five-hole, which sounds dirty, but isn't.

Here's how I see it:

1.) Yes Man - $32 million

Far (but not that far) from his giganto-openings of yesteryear, I still figure Carrey's comedy brand is worth something, especially in a downer market. It wouldn't surprise me at all if this did way bigger results than this, tallying somewhere in the low 40s. Then again, maybe we've grown up as a culture...no, wait, we loved Beverly Hills Chihuahua, nevermind.

2.) Seven Pounds - $19 million

This is actually about $12 million more than it would make if it were anybody but the Fresh Prince in charge. Sadly, this movie will end his CRAZY streak of 8 consecutive $100 million movies and he won't even get an Oscar to show for it. Sadface.

3.) The Day the Earth Stood Still - $15 million

It could drop even more than this. Wow was it bad. Oh, and the title of the review last week should have been "Is That All You GORT," which was more amusing. Silly copy editors.

4.) The Tale of Desperaux - $9 million

Take your kids to see a cute movie about brave mouses and not the damn Madagascar movie again. This one was based on books, so it has good pedigree and such. It may accidentally encourage reading!

5.) Four Christmases - $7 million

Ah, next week, when this film fades from memory...hopefully...oh, God, it could surge in popularity due to the holidays. DON'T LET THAT HAPPEN! Please.
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