November 10, 2011
Can we cool it with the creaming our pants, everytime a glamorous actress martyrizes herself by putting on a semi-decent methody performance? When did the documentary aspect of how much torture these actresses put themselves through become more important than how these characters function in the actual narratives? Is it really THAT interesting and revelatory to us, that if an actress puts in the hard work to immerse herself in the psychosis of a character, that it'll result in a good performance?? I don't appreciate being told how AHMAAAAZING a movie is, just to end up seeing a marginally interesting (or sometimes just downright one note and witless) movie that couldn't be saved by the much lauded female lead performance du jour by the likes of Michelle Williams and Jennifer Lawrence.
To be honest, I've been burned enough times now, that I don't actually bother going to see these movies, but I'm still sick of people cooing about these movies and performances during award seasons, and having to field questions from beloved friends and not so beloved acquaintances, who are all like "You haven't seen Martha Marcy May Marlene??? But you're a film buff, you'd love it!!!!!!!" No bitch! I would not! I'd be bored and frustrated, and only mildly engaged at best. But most of all, I hate the feeling of "But what if I'm wrong???" What if the prediction I've made based on the downright scientific methodology I've cultivated over many years of being a hardcore film nerd*, that it'd be a waste of my time, based on a measured survey of various reviews, assessment of past works by involved creators, the general taste level of the people who recommend it, etc. But when I have given these things the benefit of the doubt and Netflixed these movies, time and time again, I find that there are very few suprises in life.
*Please note that this is not a smarmy attempt at a humblebrag. This is a straight up brag, and I don't mind admitting it. ;)
June 13, 2011
April 14, 2011
My estimate of How Do You Know based on its marketing was that it was a bland romantic comedy that aspired to be decent, and that Paul Rudd was cashing a paycheck. So usually, this one would've been a skip for me, but the fact that Paul Rudd, national treasure/best comedic dancer, was in it was enough reason for me to check it out on DVD. I remember taking fleeting glances at reviews for this movie, and that they weren't that great. When I sat down to watch it though, I was surprised to find an enchanting cast of characters. Rudd and Owen Wilson do great character work, whilst also being directed to do what they do best. Reese Witherspoon gives an inspired and layered performance, and even Jack Nicholson tones it down for, whatelse, a small but crucial part. After I finished the movie, I went through my usual ritual of reading multiple reviews, and had an aha moment as I realized, of course, this is a James L. Brooks movie!
April 04, 2011
Tyler Labine is back on TV!!!!!! Mad Love is a not bad sitcom that's a sibling show in many ways to How I Met Your Mother, with which it shares the 8-9pm Monday night slot on CBS. Yes, it's yet another vanilla show about New York yuppies, but it's well written and acted, and best if all it's got Tyler Labine doing his thang. His character is like a super confident chubby Barney Stinson. He's sassy, he's sarcastic, a bit of a dawg, but oh so loveable with his cute build, his cute hair, and the man can really wear a suit.
March 24, 2011
I used this picture of Liz Taylor with Montgomery Clift, because I'm really surprised that he has hardly been mentioned in all the eulogies, even after a thorough listing of all her numerous marriages, major and minor ones. They're the most glamorous and fascinating gay/bestie hag pairing that Hollywood has ever produced, and in many ways, Clift was the love of her life. They starred in three movies together, all three of which are really worth a viewing. Particularly in Suddenly Last Summer, you can witness the easy going and conspiratorial chemistry between them, that can only come from being the oldest of friends. Taylor saved Clift's life during the filming of Raintree County (Hollywood's failed attempt at recreating Gone With the Wind), by dislodging broken teeth from his throat after a car crash. Her effort to save and redeem Clift, whose life was perpetually tragic and alcohol/drug ridden, continued until his death at age 46.
It's a weird thing to mourn celebrity deaths, especially when the world is literally falling apart, with climate disasters and wars going on. It's certainly obnoxious to log on to Facebook and see the usual jumping in the bandwagon banalities of all the RIPs. Conversely, there's the usual backlash of "why do we mourn this vapid actress's death so much, when humanitarians and scientists die every day?" While I think entertainers, like musicians and actors, do probably get more attention they deserve when they die, I think it's not the case when it comes to actresses like Liz Taylor. On one hand, there's the image of Liz Taylor as the ditzy old woman- constantly confused, preoccupied with her perfumes and jewels... But Liz Taylor, the young actress, and the body of work she has left, I think is an important one that should most definitely be celebrated. Because Taylor was not just a great beauty and a great actress. She thoroughly embodied both the real and the super woman on screen, and in my opinion, that is something just as important as the cure for cancer.
Taylor was a master at playing desperation. She acted out desperation with the ferocity of both a wounded animal and a battle scarred warrior. When her characters had to be ridiculous or weak or wicked, she played it all to a hilt. But she managed to layer even the most pitiable characters with dignified resignation. Many of her characters, the way she played them, were smarter, stronger, wiser, more resilient and patient then her male counterparts. On the screen, men didn't always yield to her will, but when she left, they were never whole again. However much this was in contradiction to her personal life, I have a hard time caring. She gave it her all on the screen and was absolutely fearless about it, and that's what I celebrate as we mourn her death.