Sunday, 5 November 2017

Alternate Best Supporting Actor 1988: Eric Idle in The Adventures of Baron Munchausen

Eric Idle did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Berthold/Desmond in The Adventures of Baron Munchausen.

Eric Idle re-teams with his fellow Monty Python alumnus director Terry Gillaim for the third part of his trilogy of imagination. Idle plays two roles the first being one of the actors in the play about the life of Baron Munchausen (John Neville). This part of the performance is pretty limited in portraying a bit of confusion and annoyance at the strange man who seems to recognize him.We get his primary role of when we initially seem to flashback to the Baron's story about how he created war with the Turks. There we are introduced to Idle as one of Baron's cadre of super powered servants. Idle's Desmond being a superhuman runner who wears two balls and chains just to keep him slow the rest of the time. This is proper material for Idle in it is quite broad, and Idle naturally is quite good at realizing this very fast man in a rather amusing way. Idle's physical portrayal of the man's method is all a bit much, and rather enjoyably so. I especially love his actually physical portrayal of running with such a over the top gait, and his way of huffing and puffing with every single breath of his. Idle is simply fun to watch, and his absurd style feels right at home with Gilliam's mad vision for the film.

In a way Idle plays almost a third character as we jump to another adventure with the Baron where he finds an elderly Desmond as a prisoner on the moon. Idle continues to be very funny in portraying the initial confused anger at the Baron, since the Baron essentially left him to rot, to immediately accepting when the Baron just owns what he's done. Idle's timing is perfection along with Neville through his hilarious approach in showing that perhaps Desmond is a little lost if not following the Baron's lead in some way. Once he joins the Baron Idle in a way becomes the representative of the old crew of the Baron, who they slowly regain throughout. This in part as Idle just seems most in tune with the absurd comedic tone of the film. Although afterwards isn't always the focus he still makes an impact through his presence. Whether that is when he is given the chance a getting a focus, such as his run as an older man where Idle is all the more hilarious in his physical performance particularly his sheer overwhelming exasperation at the end of it, or just through reacts to the craziness around. Idle nicely adds to the film whenever he can just through his own amusing reactions to what he sees, or again just revealing the age of the older Desmond in portraying the man getting used up by the end of the adventure. It is a fun performance.  I wouldn't quite say he quite makes that next step as comedic performance goes, like say Michael Palin in A Fish Called Wanda, this very same year who really is the most talented of the Python group as an actor. Unlike that performance still feels perhaps a bit of a sketch performance, but a very entertaining performance from sketch. Idle never quite embodies fully a character, but rather is just fun to watch being funny Eric Idle, which is really enough.

24 comments:

Calvin Law said...

Well I'm definitely seeing this film then.

Omar:

Prince - 5 (she's just thoroughly great, Best Actress this year has just been AMAZING. It's actually a very simple and reactionary role in some ways as she just has to be our eyes and ears to the world of the Florida projects, and she gives such innate life and energy to the mischievous but always endearing, even when she does some silly things, little girl. She's often hilarious, and in a way that seems natural to this particular sort of kid, but the most exceptional moments are when she gives a real gravity to the darker side of things as she begins to realize just what's going on)

Vinaite - 3.5 (honestly, I liked her one-note approach to the caring but ultimately not very good parent. It's a straightforward performance that's slightly abrasive, slightly endearing, and doesn't shy away from the problematic nature of her character's actions, but also her character's love. I would say that I think a more seasoned actor might have brought more to her final scenes, but it doesn't really matter because of Prince)

Dafoe - 4.5 (you know what the more I think about this performance the more I kind of love it. I'll write more in the future, but you know, though this might not be his greatest performance or his biggest role ever, I think it's a great tribute to how someone can play Bobby Peru and some other Bobby like this one. Bobby is just the best. He's great as the gruff but understanding manager, loveable as the surrogate father figure, hilarious as the exasperated straight man, every one of his expressions adds so much to the film. I have particular affection for how he deals with one particularly unpleasant intruder. I may well bump him up in the future)

Cotto and Rivera - 3.5 (really good at just being naturalistic child performers and having great chemistry with Prince, though it really is Prince's show)

Luke Higham said...

Calvin: I guess the all-time best of 6 from 1971 will be beaten this year.

Omar Franini said...

Calvin: I'm glad you liked both the movie and Prince, that girl is amazing and her interviews are hilarious. The Florida Project is one of my most anticipated movie of the year and i can't wait to see it. Have you seen Tangerine?

RatedRStar said...

1. Cheung
2. Postlethwaite
3. Walsh
4. Lone
5. Idle

Luke Higham said...

1. Cheung
2. Postlethwaite
3. Walsh
4. Lone
5. Idle

Calvin Law said...

Luke: I'm almost certain it will.

Omar: I haven't but this has given me all the more reason to check it out.

Louis: bet you're glad at how well Ragnarok is doing on worldwide release. So happy for Waititi, I hope this helps him get more funding and creative control on whatever project he chooses next. Though wouldn't mind if he did another Wilderpeople soon enough.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Seen any new releases lately apart from Ragnarok.

Vanna Long said...

1. Cheung
2. Lone
3. Postlethwaite
4. Walsh
5. Idle

Louis Morgan said...

Calvin:

Very happy for Waititi's success though I will say I would rather he didn't direct the live action Akira remake, that he has showed interest in. Although this film proved his more overt visual chops, his comedic style would be ill-fitting for that pretty deadly serious story.

Luke:

My Cousin Rachel, didn't care all that much for it.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Could I have your ratings for the cast.

Louis Morgan said...

Luke:

Weisz - 1.5
Claflin - 3
Glen - 2.5
Grainger - 3

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Thoughts on Weisz and Claflin.

Calvin Law said...

Louis: I wouldn't worry, apparently his next two projects are a Nazi Comedy and a sequel to 'What We Do in the Shadows'.

Anonymous said...

Louis: Is the 52 version still the better version?

Louis Morgan said...

Luke:

Claflin - (I actually rather liked him in the first third of his performance where he effectively conveyed both the growing interest in Rachel, but also his growing suspicions. Then he kind of becomes a little too static for awhile failing to keep alive the paranoia, rather just reintroducing it in the third act, and doing so very oddly. There are just moments where he starts making weird reactions with his face for no apparent reason. He just seems far too random at times, and although Burton's performance wasn't perfect it felt far more cohesive.)

Weisz - (This is probably no surprise but I thought this was another example of series of her worst tendencies as an actor. I will say that this is a shame as she has a natural charisma however she once again covers it up here with an excessively tic ridden performance. In one of her first scenes she is just making the most random movements with her eyes for no conceivable reason other than to do something to seem more interesting. There is no logic to the mannerisms that she brings here. This is made worse though because Rachel is an incredibly tricky character to pull off, and Weisz fails to do so. She just seems like a different character depending on the situation, not a different facade, or a different side, just different people entirely. The only consistency there is she is sure to make some pointless expression that I would assume is suppose to mean something however it is meaningless. I wish I could say her obvious acting was showboating but it just comes off as strange more than anything. Not strange in a way that creates mystery, well perhaps just the mystery of whatever it is that Weisz is doing with all those needless tics.)

Anonymous:

This one is better in terms of aesthetic choices, however it fumbles the central tension, which the 52 version at least got mostly right. Neither would I quite qualify as even all that good, but I did prefer the 52 version.

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

1. Cheung
2. Postlethwaite
3. Walsh
4. Lone
5. Idle

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Louis: What are the top ten films that you think best utilized narration?

Omar Franini said...

1. Cheung
2. Postlethwaite
3. Walsh
4. Lone
5. Idle

Michael McCarthy said...

I'm really gonna have to guess for this one:

1. Pete Postlethwaite
2. Jacky Cheung
3. John Lone
4. M. Emmet Walsh
5. Eric Idle

Anonymous said...

Louis: What do you think Copland needed to be a masterpiece? You forgot to answer this question in another page.

94dfk1 said...

Watched Thor: Ragnarok. Very enjoyable, though the "Marvel movie" was a drag. I'd give out the same ratings as Louis did.

Matt Mustin said...

Louis what are your thoughts on J.K. Simmons cameo in La La Land? I know it's a tiny, tiny role, but I personally found his scene pretty funny.

94dfk1 said...

Matt: "What planet are you from?" and his smile at the end both got a chuckle from me haha.

Louis Morgan said...

Tahmeed:

1. The Shawshank Redemption
2. Goodfellas
3. Apocalypse Now
4. A Christmas Story
5. Badlands
6. Memento
7. A Clockwork Orange
8. The Wolf of Wall Street
9. Double Indemnity
10. Take the Money and Run

Anonymous:

Copland I think is about say at least half way there with its various elements that are all potentially rich enough on there own but as it stands all fall into good not great. The element of the former hero becoming set his ways is the best part, however I think that aspect needed just a bit more meat to it, though I do think Stallone was the right choice to the part. The sheer corruption of the town just needed a bit more development, instead they wrap too closely around just the fate of Rappaport's character. There's also Ray Liotta's arc that needed a bit more time, and Robert De Niro's character could have been better developed. I'd actually say it is probably one of those films that is just too short for its own good. It's less than two hours long and honestly it had the potential in the material for three hours, in fact you could have made a great miniseries out of the concept.

Matt:

Funny little cameo from him as we get a light bit of Fletcher in his cold yet hilarious dominance over Ryan Gosling that also makes his cheerful smile in the finale all the more enjoyable.