Patterico's Pontifications

2/25/2008

Quick Oscar Thoughts And Observations

Filed under: Movies — Justin Levine @ 11:40 am

[posted by Justin Levine]

Among the movies that were actually nominated, No Country For Old Men was the best and a well deserved winner (as Patterico himself discovered).

But unfortunately, the best film of the year wasn’t even nominated for anything- presumably since it wasn’t released in December (apparently the only month that Academy members are able to remember films that they saw).

The Best Film of the Year? No contest. Not even close.  Zodiac.

My (minority) views on There Will Be Blood have already been articulated here. Daniel Day-Lewis was by no means a bad choice for Best Actor, but I still felt that the performance exhibited a certain quality of ‘showiness’ that the Academy tends to overvalue in its aesthetic taste. If I was Oscar dictator, I’d have given Best Actor to Viggo Mortgensen for Eastern Promises.

Pleased that Marion Cotillard won a much deserved award for Best Actress in La Vie En Rose by upsetting front-runner Julie Christie in Away From Her. With Christie, I think people confused a great performance with a good performance in a great role (and a great film). In contrast, Cotillard gave a great performance in a good film.

Final note, my hero Kevin O’Connell lost his Oscar nomination again for a record 20th time without a win. Admittedly, the winning sound mixing on Bourne Ultimatum was quite good as well. Always next year Kevin. It will happen. I know it will….

2/24/2008

No Country for Old Men: A Great Movie

Filed under: General,Movies — Patterico @ 3:03 pm

The lovely Mrs. P. and I saw “No Country for Old Men” a couple of weeks ago. (We don’t get out to the movies much, and when we do, they tend to be animated movies; something to do with the two small humans that follow us almost everywhere we go.) Other than “American Gangster” and “Into the Wild,” it’s the only movie up for an Oscar that I have seen — and it’s better than those films by a country mile, so I am rooting for it. It sounds like it has a good chance of raking in some awards, which means more moviegoers will be exposed to lines like this:

Wendell: It’s a mess, ain’t it, sheriff?
Ed Tom Bell: If it ain’t, it’ll do till the mess gets here.

That line is delivered by Tommy Lee Jones, who plays the part of Sheriff “Ed Tom” Bell with humor and authenticity. He is one of the “old men” for whom this is “no country” anymore; as he tells another oldtimer in one scene, things in 1980s America just aren’t the same anymore:

Ed Tom Bell: It starts when you begin to overlook bad manners. Anytime you quit hearing “sir” and “ma’am”, the end is pretty much in sight.

Another scene captures Ed Tom’s understated sense of humor. In it, the sheriff and his sidekick Wendell enter a trailer looking for a man, and find a bottle of milk on a table.

Ed Tom Bell: Now that’s aggravatin’.
Wendell: Sheriff?
Ed Tom Bell: [points to a bottle of milk] Still sweatin’.
Wendell: Whoa, Sheriff! We just missed him! We gotta circulate this!
Ed Tom Bell: Well, okay. What do we circulate? Lookin’ for a man who recently drunk milk?

You don’t have to be a guy to appreciate this movie. But it helps. A lot of the dialogue is so funny because it accurately captures the taciturn manner that many men from Texas have.

Carla Jean Moss: Where’d you get the pistol?
Llewelyn Moss: At the gettin’ place.

. . . .

Carla Jean Moss: Fine. I don’t wanna’ know. I don’t even wanna’ know where you been all day.
Llewelyn Moss: That’ll work.

Llewelyn Moss is played by Josh Brolin, who was a standout earlier this year in the weaker “American Gangster.” But the only actor in the movie nominated for an Oscar is Javier Bardem, a Spanish actor who was, by the way, riveting in the Spanish movie Mar Adentro. He has a million great lines in this movie, but I’m not going to repeat any of them here. It would give too much away.

Me, I don’t plan to watch the Oscars. Never do. I plan to invite neighbor Jeff C. down here; he’s been here the last two Oscar nights so we can avoid them together. Jeff C., if you’re reading this, give me a call!

2/22/2008

There Will Be Blood – Puncturing The Hot Air Balloon Of Praise Before The Oscars Go Off The Deep End

Filed under: Movies — Justin Levine @ 11:34 am

[posted by Justin Levine]

With the Academy Awards scheduled for Sunday, its time to address the issue of one the nominees for Best Picture.

If people ask me ask me, “Do you think ‘There Will Be Blood’ is good?” Id say “Yes.” If forced to choose between the adjectives of “good” or “bad”, I’d go with good.

But good works can also be overrated, and “There Will Be Blood” is certainly the most overrated film in recent memory (as is the praise for its director). I’m going to primarily rely on the words of the few fellow “Blood” dissenters out there.

Godfrey Cheshire manages to nail the problem
(more…)

2/17/2008

Movie Quotes You Can Use

Filed under: Movies — DRJ @ 6:22 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

I think my family is pretty normal and like most families, we enjoy TV and movies. However, I’ve noticed that we don’t watch the most sophisticated shows. Any action movie and most comedies, along with shows that feature Monty Python, Bill Murray, Jerry Seinfeld, or Adam Sandler are popular in our male-dominated household.

I’ve also noticed that we frequently use famous and not-so-famous quotes from these shows in our conversations. In addition to the well-known ones like “I’ll be back,” “You can’t handle the truth,” “I’ll make him an offer he can’t refuse,” and “What we’ve got here is a failure to communicate,” here are some of our favorites:

“Lighten up, Francis” — From Stripes, whenever someone is taking themself too serious.

“He’s about 455 yards away, he’s gonna hit about a 2 iron I think.” — From Caddyshack, when someone thinks they can do something miraculous.

“It’s in the hole! It’s in the hole!” – Also from Caddyshack, when someone actually does something miraculous.

“Brave, brave, Sir Robin.” — From Monty Python & the Holy Grail, when someone isn’t very brave.

“Not that there’s anything wrong with that.” — Seinfeld, appropriate to end almost any contentious discussion.

“Soldier, I’ve noticed that you’re always last.” “I’m pacing myself.” — Another one from Stripes, used to explain to others why you aren’t getting much accomplished.

“It’s just a flesh wound.” Monty Python & the Holy Grail, when you’re bleeding significantly or hurt pretty bad. I’ve found this is useful where there are boys in the household.

“Be the ball.” Caddyshack, when you want someone to really concentrate.

The quotes enjoyed by Patterico and others here are much more sophisticated than the ones at my house, and I thought I’d give these less sophisticated quotes equal time. As Bill Murray might say, “So I got that going for me, which is nice.”

Feel free to add your favorites in the comments.

– DRJ

1/22/2008

Oscar’s Biggest Loser Gets One More Shot

Filed under: Movies — Justin Levine @ 6:50 am

[posted by Justin Levine] 

Congrats to sound mixer Kevin O’Connell who was just nominated for an Academy Award for in the category of Best Sound Mixing for “Transformers”.

This would make it O’Connell’s 20th Oscar nomination. Not a typo folks…Twenty times…and he’s never won. There were two years where he was even nominated twice for different films (thus effectively competing against himself and splitting his vote).

He has (by far) the longest losing streak in Oscar history.  

O’Connell’s complete list of nominations over the years is as follows -

(more…)

12/16/2007

Let’s Go to the Movies

Filed under: Movies — DRJ @ 2:01 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Either Will Smith and the Chipmunks are the most popular actors of all time or American movie-goers are desperate to see anything but the anti-war movies (like Lions for Lambs, Rendition, and Redacted) that Hollywood has offered so far this Fall:

Turning into instant box office legends, Warner Bros.’ Will Smith starrer “I Am Legend” became the highest grossing December picture of all time with an estimated opening haul of $76.5 million from 3,606 theaters and Twentieth Century Fox’s “Alvin and the Chipmunks” surpassed all expectations in debuting at an estimated $45 million from 3,475 runs.

Solidifying Smith’s status as one of the world’s most bankable stars, “Legend” is the new lord and master of the Christmas frame, beating out previous record-holder “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King,” which opened to $72.6 million in December 2003. “Legend,” which Warners produced and co-financed with Village Roadshow Pictures, is the 16th highest opener of all time for anytime of the year.

“Alvin,” showing strength across all age groups, enjoyed the second-highest December opening ever for a film rated G or PG after Disney’s “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,” which opened to $65.5 million in 2005. “Alvin” is the eighth highest-grossing December film ever.

Combined, the two films jolted the domestic box office back to life after a brutal fall, which has been posted steady declines year-over-year.

No offense to Will Smith and the Chipmunks – I like them all – but almost anything could lure me to the theater compared to Hollywood’s recent fare.

– DRJ

12/2/2007

Scorsese Does Hitchcock

Filed under: General,Movies — Patterico @ 9:22 pm

Courtesy of my brother comes a link to a fascinating short film by Martin Scorsese that will be of interest to fans of Alfred Hitchcock. It’s 9 minutes and 20 seconds, and is a recreation of 3 1/2 pages from a Hitchcock film that was never made: “The Key to Reserva.” Scorsese sets out to shoot these pages the way Hitchcock would have shot them. The result is fascinating, and pure Hitchcock.

The music is from “North by Northwest.”

Click here.

UPDATE: The comments at Metafilter indicate that the film is actually a commercial for the champagne. That actually helps it make more sense, and explains the funny “mockumentary” style of the “making of” scenes, as well as the amazing seeming familiarity of some of the scenes.

If that’s a commercial, it’s the greatest commercial I have ever seen for any product. It makes me want to run out and buy a bottle right now, just to thank them for such a cool experience.

UPDATE x2: Confirmation. Note also David Ehrenstein’s comment below, explaining the humor of the missing page, for those of us who missed it.

Jonah Goldberg On CNN’s Virtual Reality

Filed under: 2008 Election,Media Bias,Movies — DRJ @ 7:04 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Jonah Goldberg has an excellent and delightfully sarcastic column on the recent CNN YouTube Republican debate. It’s well worth reading the whole thing but I’m linking it because of one section where Goldberg references the Bill Murray-Harold Ramis-John Candy movie Stripes:

“Just as revealing were the questioners who weren’t revealed to be plants. For the most part they were a motley crew of conservative caricatures. CNN’s typical “ordinary American” (translation: “scary Republican”) was a pale, gaunt, twenty-something white dude who looked like he’d spent the last year working in the sunless bunker he’d constructed out of his mom’s basement. Several of the videos were reminiscent of the sort of thing investigators discover while searching the home of slain white militiamen after a terrorist attack.

One of these young men was, literally, a bible thumper who demanded to know if the GOP candidates were as committed to “every word in this book” as he was. Another questioner took a brief break from the shooting range to ask about gun control. But he made it clear, as he cocked a shotgun thrown to him from off camera, that the candidates answers didn’t much matter because, he implied, they could have his gats when they pried them from his cold dead hands.

Another young man asked from the comfortable sovereignty of his dorm room what the Confederate Flag – which hung conspicuously behind him – meant to the men on the stage. Sadly, the guy who played “Psycho” in the movie Stripes was apparently unavailable to record a video. Still, it would have been nice if at least one of the candidates had seized on one of the numerous opportunities to say, “Lighten up, Francis.”

Because of Stripes, “Lighten up, Francis” is part of our family’s basic vocabulary along with a dozen other memorable quotes and some great character names. (Now you know I have average American taste in movies.)

On a more serious note, Goldberg’s advice to CNN is superb. Here’s my advice from an average American: CNN needs to get over itself and report the news, not make it.

H/T Instapundit.

Update: CNN claims it did a “basic internet search” on General Kerr. Everything I’ve read suggests an initial Google search in Kerr’s name referred to his role in the Clinton and Kerry committees. I wonder if CNN does internet searches only on its own website?

– DRJ

10/25/2007

Go See “Lars and the Real Girl,” and Do It Soon

Filed under: Movies — Jack Dunphy @ 10:13 pm

[Guest post by Jack Dunphy]

Mrs. Dunphy and I went to the movies tonight. We had heard the buzz about Lars and the Real Girl, and despite the movie’s odd premise, i.e. the lead character’s relationship – and it really is a relationship – with a life-sized doll, we decided to take a chance on this “little” film.

The rewards were abundant. Every aspect of the movie is a delight, from the writing to the cinematography and of course to the acting, most especially that of Ryan Gosling in the role of Lars. And it was our good fortune to be present when the film’s director, Craig Gillespie, conducted an impromptu Q and A session with the audience at the conclusion of the showing. Lars is only Gillespie’s second feature film, but if it’s a true indication of his talent there will surely be many, many more. Go see it, then come back and let me know what you think.

–Jack Dunphy

9/24/2007

Director John McTiernan Sentenced To 4 Months In Prison

Filed under: Crime,Movies — Justin Levine @ 4:44 pm

[posted by Justin Levine] 

Astonishingly, it wasn’t because he actually directed the remake of ‘Rollerball’, but only because he hired rogue P.I. Anthony Pellicano to wiretap the film’s producer.

Live Free or Die Hard baby….

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