Saturday, 22 December 2018

Alternate Best Supporting Actor 1987: Kurtwood Smith in Robocop

Kurtwood Smith did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Clarence Boddicker in Robocop.

Robocop is an entertaining action film, biting satire, and an emotional exploration into the mind murdered police officer who is revised through robotics.

Kurtwood Smith is a proper "that guy" actor of the 80's and on in television and film. An example of a talented actor who usually is in brief often unimportant roles, though makes them feels a bit less unimportant. It is then always fun to see such an actor get an actually a role to sink his teeth into. And I feel that is a properly appropriate description for the character of Clarence Boddicker the mob boss of the Detroit of the future. Clarence is not a villain with some grand master plan or some evil scheme to rule the world. In fact in perhaps the wrong hands Clarence might be a bit disposable in more ways than one. Smith's performance though is rather great by really embracing the idea of a villain who very much is in it for the money and the joy of being a criminal. This again seemingly could be boring, but Smith's approach not only makes it work, it makes the whole character come to life in a rather special way. Smith's approach is just to really embrace the sort of inner jerk of a criminal, and it is this that so enlivens the role. This approach is interesting in that it allows him to stand out in scenes that technically really he should not necessarily do so, but does so because of Smith's performance.

This is right from the first full scene he is in where he and his gang are being trailed by the still living, eventual Robocop, Murphy (Peter Weller) and his partner. Smith brings this very distinct approach in the way he approaches the scene. As he portrays almost this specific type of annoyance rather than an exact fear. This approach that Smith fashions making Clarence in a way sort of character who kind of treats the city as his little playground. This is as in the action scene Smith combines the intrusion as bothersome, though he doesn't overplay this to a unbelievable point of indifference. Smith instead makes it something far more entertaining, while still finding a definite menace in the sort of carelessness towards life that he portrays in this. Smith finds an actual menace by portraying such a lack of hesitation, and not doing in quite  detached or a traditional psychopathic way. It is rather this sort of fascinating way of playing as well just a bit of scum. His glee in the moment for example is not excessively viciously sadistic, even though that is indeed what his actions are, but Smith instead depicts it like it is all a game that Clarence loves to play.

Smith's approach is a touch askew and that is what makes Clarence memorable, when he is technically just a general thug in terms of overall conception. We see this in the essential scene where Clarence and his thugs massacre Murphy, which eventually turns him into the titular cop. Smith is brutally effective in the scene playing the whole thing up with a blunt bit of fun as he toys with the cop before killing him. The callous enjoyment that Smith delivers in every one of his scenes is what makes him stand out so well. Again Clarence isn't the man with the grand plan yet he doesn't become overshadowed by technically the main because Smith plays the part as a guy who is entirely fine with the way things are. Smith way of handling a scene then gives it a bit of different angle that makes far more memorable. Take the scene where he kills Robocop's creator, for his boss, where Smith is mostly silent in the scene. The little looks of "you're going to die soon", with a sly grin, or the almost sensuous way he removes the grenade pin to perform the coup de grace,  not only gives Clarence more character, but the whole scene. This approach even allows his scene, where he becomes a complete coward toward Robocop giving up his boss from a bit of intimidation, not to lose anything from the character. This is as Smith plays it with the exact same "who cares" selfish attitude as anything else fitting to the proper slime ball he is. This is not only a good villainous turn but really just a fun performance as well from Smith as he subtly gives a bit of an atypical energy to what could be a standard thug.

145 comments:

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Is Holly Hunter a 4.5 or 5 for Broadcast News and have you seen The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearn, Anna and re-watched Fatal Attraction.

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Louis: Do you think had Game of Thrones adapted the truth about Tysha (Tyrion's first wife) in "The Children", it would have made his confrontation with Tywin more impactful? Cause as much as I love Season 4, I felt that Kekilli's performance couldn't make me care enough about her character.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Your ten biggest missed opportunies of Game of Thrones.

I'm actually quite annoyed that they didn't adapt Lady Stoneheart and your major issues with Stannis' arc in season 5 are well-known.

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Louis: I'm sure you've given it before (I can't find it), but could I have an updated list of your favorite actors who are yet to get a 5 from you.

Anonymous said...

Louis: Your thoughts on the editing of It's a Wonderful Life and The Best Years of Our Lives.

Bryan L. said...

A review on my birthday :)

Anyone else seen him on That 70s Show? His work as Red has grown quite a bit on me, and I already liked him to begin with.

Luke Higham said...

Bryan L: He's the highlight of That 70's Show for me.

Luke Higham said...

And Happy Birthday Bryan. :)

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Happy birthday Bryan, have a blast! :)

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Does anyone here watch GLOW on Netflix? I just finished its second season, and it's pretty enjoyable. Alison Brie and Betty Gilpin give tour de force performances that simply have to be seen.

Bryan L. said...

Luke: "You morons just hung vacancy signs on your asses, and my foots looking for a room."

And thank you (and Tahmeed) :D

RatedRStar said...

"Id like my fucking phone call" such a good villain, I in particular think his taunting Murphy with the shotgun before blowing his hand off is so chilling and tense.

Happy Birthday Bryan.

RatedRStar said...

I finally caught up with lots of films finally after taking all of christmas and some of january off lol.

They Shall Not Grow Old is such a brilliant docufilm from Peter Jackson, it was on the BBC funnily enough for free, has anyone seen it?

RatedRStar said...

Tahmeed: I do like wrestling (mostly) but never seen it lol TV defeats me too much.

Louis: It was quite good to see Ray Wise in this as well lol.

Charles H said...

Louis: Your ranking with ratings for the Disney Renaissance Era films


Happy Birthday Bryan.

Luke Higham said...

Charles: My ranking:
1. The Hunchback Of Notre Dame (5)
2. Beauty And The Beast (5)
3. The Little Mermaid (4.5)
4. The Lion King (4, The music and Irons' vocal performance are tremendous but I've always had issues with the writing especially in the last third and barely get a glimpse of Scar ruling the kingdom)
5. Aladdin (4)
6. Mulan (4)
7. Tarzan (4)
8. Hercules (3.5, Woods is very enjoyable and I do love Go The Distance, which would probably be my Song winner for 97)
9. Pocahontas (3, The animation is probably the weakest of the Renaissance films, which is astonishing considering it had a bigger budget than The Lion King and my favourite song is actually Mine, Mine, Mine)

Haven't seen The Rescuers Down Under.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Could you give thoughts on Tarzan. I looked at one of your posts from 4 years ago which had a Disney film ranking and Tarzan & Pocahontas were dead last. And if you can recall it well enough, your ratings and thoughts on Karl Swenson and Martha Wentworth in The Sword In The Stone.

Anonymous said...

Luke: Most people at Disney thought that Pocahontas would be the more successful film, funnily enough.

Calvin Law said...

Happy birthday Bryan!

Agreed on Smith here. He’s a blast, what’s your eating and thoughts on Ferrer?

Emi Grant said...

Happy Birthday Brian.

Calvin Law said...

Louis: Also, Ronny Cox and Dan O'Herlihy.

Bryan: I'm a huge fan of him on That 70's Show, in fact in terms of consistency he might be my MVP. My ranking for the cast would be:

1. Topher Grace
2. Kurtwood Smith
3. Ashton Kutcher (the role he was born to play)
4. Debra Jo Rupp
5. Don Stark
6. Mila Kunis
7. Wilmer Valderrama
8. Tommy Chong
9. Tanya Roberts
10. Lisa Robin Kelly
11. Danny Masterson
12. Laura Prepon

Emi Grant said...

Also, I just watched The Sisters Brothers and Mid90s today. I liked the former and adored the latter.

Mid90s does have some problems as in the fact that there are aspects that aren't fully developed in the story and that it feels like the film just stops rather than ends, but Jonah Hill does an incredible job on capturing the essence of that period and making it feel real and authentic

I'll give my ratings for Mid90s for the moment:

Suljic: 4
Waterston: 3 (She's barely in the film)
Hedges: 3/3.5 (Barely in the film, and I felt his character was slightly underdeveloped)
Galicia: 3
Smith: 4
Prenatt: 3.5
McLaughlin: 2.5

Calvin Law said...

Oh and how could I forget, Josh Meyers right at the bottom.

Calvin Law said...

Emi Grant: Glad to hear good things about the Mid90s young cast.

Anonymous said...

Louis: Your toughts on James McAvoy as a actor?
And past roles for him?

Bryan L. said...

RatedRStar and Charles: Thank you!

Calvin: Thanks! And my ranking would be similar to yours, with a few changes here and there.

Emi: I didn't see so much as a still of Waterston in the film, so I'm not surprised to hear about her barely being in it.

Bryan L. said...

Anonymous: He gave his past film roles for McAvoy here

http://actoroscar.blogspot.com/2018/04/alternate-best-actor-1957.html

Charles H said...

Smith playing a villain was bound to be awesome. Here's my ranking for That 70's Show as well.

1. Kurtwood Smith
2. Topher Grace
3. Debra Jo Rupp
4. Wilmer Valderrama
5. Ashton Kutcher
6. Don Stark
7. Mila Kunis
8. Tommy Chong
9. Tanya Roberts
10. Danny Masterson
11. Laura Prepon
12. Lisa Robin Kelly

Calvin Law said...

I watched The Sisters Brothers too. I thought it was a bit of a drag at points, particularly the ending, but honestly thought the great scenes were really, really great. Can give thoughts on the cast if anyone would like.

Reilly: 5
Phoenix: 4.5
Ahmed: 4.5
Gyllenhaal: 4 (his accent is wonky to the point of distraction, and I could see how someone would dislike him, but I really liked his chemistry with Ahmed)

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Calvin: Your thoughts on the cast?

Anonymous said...

Happy birthday, Bryan!

Calvin Law said...

Tahmeed:

Reilly - (really interesting performance as he's technically playing into his usual type but as a very different sort of character than he usually plays. As he has to balance his usual endearing schmuck charm and joviality with one half of a pair of infamous hitman brothers. Reilly makes this odd combination work incredibly well, and is particularly entertaining whenever he's embracing the 'fun' of the character, and makes for a surprisingly believable badass. What really makes the performance work is the poignancy he infuses into Eli's desire to retire from their current lifestyle, as he creates such a sense of strong empathy and a sense of regret from the past that is at once haunting and uplifting. Excellent work from a great actor)

Phoenix - (technically his role is a bit simpler, as the often drunken and volatile gunslinger, but I did like him a lot as per usual. I will say that he doesn't get quite as much opportunity to delve into the dramatic, but he does well with what he has in that regard. Most of the time, though, he's just a very entertaining lout while bringing some genuine menace, and his chemistry with Reilly is terrific)

Ahmed - (I thought he managed to make himself the heart and soul of the film. He fits very nicely into period and setting which is pretty impressive in itself, and creates a very intriguing portrayal of sincere naivety. In that you can immediately root for his idealistic pursuits from the outset even within the cynical landscape of the film's world. He's rather moving in showing what compels the man and why the hitmen and Gyllenhaal's Morris become so fond of him, and his final scene in particular is remarkable)

Gyllenhaal - (again, his accent is pretty hammy, and makes some of his line deliveries stick out poorly, but overall I found him very entertaining firstly as the kinda sleazy private eye, and found his transformation into someone who is on board with Ahmed's Warm both honest and strangely heartwarming)

Bryan L. said...

Emi and Anonymous: Thank you!

Luke Higham said...

Louis: See any other releases lately.

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Louis: If you have seen any movies, could you give your thoughts on the films, and ratings and thoughts on the cast.

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

*new movies

Bryan L. said...

Louis: Have you thought about doing a "Best Picture Ranking", where you rank the winners of the award btw? To go along with the "My Wins/Winning Requests/Top Tens" sector of the blog.

Louis Morgan said...

Watched Bumblebee, which was a nicely entertaining and heartwarming little action film/coming age film. Nothing too notable I'll say, but for that series, I suppose it is. Derivative to be sure but does that well, particularly due to...

Steinfeld - 4(She gives it her all to ground every part of this film to make sure you care about this transforming robot, and make it so it is an essential part of her own coming to terms with her life. It is a properly devoted work from her, that I suppose should be expected, but Steinfeld once again delivers without it seeming derivative of her work from Edge of Seventeen either despite working with similar beats to the character. She develops it as her own properly portraying a different path that seems as natural, and is moving in its own right. It's also just a properly endearing turn as she makes for an entertaining lead again.)

Cena - 3(He's pretty corny, but honestly I think his performance works for the tone of the film. It's hard to take him seriously, but that's really the point.)

Everyone else - 2.5(Similar to Cena, however they collectively don't quite do it as well, but not to the point of any distraction)

Adlon - 3.5(Honestly reminded me of Metcalf in Ladybird, and that's in a positive comparison even though she has much less to work with. She though delivers on her end though in creating a convincing mother and daughter tension even if the focus on this is relatively brief.)

Luke:

4.5.

Haven't seen Tarzan since it came out either, and I just recall it not being anything particularly special, though not bad either. Just not exceptional in any quality whether it be the Phil Collins songs, or the villain plot line. I know I didn't hate it though.

Tahmeed:

I actually felt there was enough "ammo" there already in terms of why Tyrion would kill Tywin, without including that aspect of the book, as well as I thought, despite Kekilli being underwhelming, Dance and Dinklage delivered to the point that it made up for it. The whole Tysha element also felt a touch convenient for an extra bit of cruelty to Tywin, as well as to create a reason for Tyrion to hate Jamie. I didn't mind the exclusion at all.

Disregarding any films from this year:

1. Charlie Chaplin
2. Nicol Williamson
3. David Warner
4. Robert Donat
5. William Powell
6. Roger Livesey
7. Ethan Hawke
8. John C. Reilly
9. Lee Marvin
10. James Coburn

Note: Excluded actors who technically have five equivalents from television work.

Louis Morgan said...

Luke:

1. STANNIS's end (WAY TOO RUSHED, also they could have even salvaged it with that final line to Brienne(which should have made her realize her true duty), and give the character a chance for redemption, make the final leader of the Night's watch or something)

2. Little Finger's end (It makes sense for him to die from one scheme too many, but it should have been something a little more notable than THAT)

3. Varys simplified (It's a shame as they just moved him towards a standard good guy version of Little Finger, where originally, even as far as season 4, he was similar but better at seeming kind)

4. Making Euron just a standard crazy guy.

5. Rushing Jon v Cersei v Daenerys (They could simply have made it a 10 episode season, and paced that story line properly at every point)

6. Northern Conspiracy (Make the battle for the bastards actually easier, and subvert expectations with the Small Jon being loyal instead)

7. "Why did Jon die exactly?" (I mean just it seemed there wholly just so he could quit the Night's Watch which seemed pretty weak).

8. Ser Barristan - ("We don't what to do with him?" "think of something?" "Yeah just kill him")

9. Prince Doran - (You have an actual good actor then waste him, and a pretty good set of scenes in an abysmal storyline that they instantly decided to backslide on.)

10. Roose Bolton, maybe have him kill Ramsay instead, and actually subvert expectations there again.

I don't mind the exclusion of Lady Stoneheart, for one thing I like Beric Dondarrion, also the story line itself is part of the problem with the later novels where Martin seemed to have lost the big picture.

Anonymous:

It's A Wonderful Life and The Best Years of Our Lives are of course examples of old fashioned editing, naturally. In that the editing does not draw attention to itself really at any point. Both are there just to conduct the story and the drama. One of the most essential elements of editing that sadly sort of invisible when done well, and only really obvious when done poorly. Both are excellent examples of this in just terms of making every scene and sequence cohesive and the film itself. Also importantly of conducting specific interactions that know when to rely on the actors in the edit. For example a great bit of editing is how it spends time with both Potter's and George's reaction in It's a Wonderful Life in the "Devil's offer" scene. We get those few extra seconds in each, that just adds so much to the overall scene. There examples of this throughout the film of just precise and well reasoned edits. Great work, even if seemingly straight forward. The same is true for "Years" which has an even lower key approach to its drama than the Capra film, and is equally great in terms of the careful detail in every scene. Again just an example of smart editing that allows a sense of the characters while never dragging or rushing(to quote a well edited film) a scene.

Louis Morgan said...

RatedRStar:

It's always good to see Ray Wise.

Charles:

1. The Hunchback of Notre Dame (4.5) (Beast is more consistent, but nothing compares to the heights of Hunchback for me)
2. Beauty and the Beast (4.5)
3. The Rescuers Down Under (4)
4. The Lion King (4)
5. Aladdin (4)
6. Mulan (4)
7. Tarzan (2.5)
8. Pocahontas (2, though I still haven't seen since 95.)

Some lists include Great Mouse Detective, however the style of the film in terms of animation, story, and use of music, really is of the 70's/80's era, it just happens to be really good.

Calvin:

Ferrer - 3.5(I rather like his performance as he manages to make his character likable, even though he's probably as morally duplicitous Cox's character overall. Ferrer just sells the 80's style sleaze in such a properly presentable way, with his sort of spunk chipper attitude working well to someone you'd seemingly rather work with, even if his methods are not exactly pure either.)

Cox - 3.5(Cox in turn is good as the sort of older model to Ferrer, in that he isn't particularly good at selling the product, but that's the point. Cox though ups it one from there making the sleaze a bit more intense and overt, and eventually rather maniacal. I especially love how much he plays up the satisfaction of the character in the "malfunction" scene playing it as a guy who thinks he's on top of the world.)

O'Herlihy - 3(Properly convincing as the old seasoned CEO in terms of exuding a certain respectability, despite running a not too respectable company. I especially love how he embraces though this idea in the final scene with his extremely earnest delivery of "nice shootin son".)

Anonymous:

McAvoy's interesting in that I thought him as potentially leading to the duller side of things, and perhaps even a bit miscast earlier in his career where he was being presented as the "heartthrob". There just is an innate darkness in his screen presence that seemed ill-fitting to that. Thankfully he seemed to que into this and has as such fully embraced dark twisted roles that he seems properly suited for. This not only in terms of his presence, but that he seems to thrive to essentially "Lose it" rather than remained restrained. "Filth" marked a 180 for him that his only been beneficial in my mind embracing his talents properly, and no longer hiding them within the veneer of "respectability".

Bryan:

I mean I wouldn't be opposed to the idea.

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Louis: Seeing as one of the most common questions after you finish a year is the rating for a specific performance, would you consider saying what the lowest 4.5, lowest 4, lowest 3.5 are after you list the ranking?

Calvin Law said...

My Disney ranking would be:

Tarzan (5)
Mulan (5)
Beauty and the Beast (4.5)
The Lion King (4.5)
The Hunchback of Notre Dame (4.5)
Aladdin (4)
The Rescuers Down Under (3.5)
Pocahontas (3)

Luke Higham said...

Well, I believe Williamson will get fives for The Reckoning, The Bofors Gun (Re-watch) and hopefully Excalibur (Adore that performance). David Warner should get one for Time After Time. Livesey should go up for The Life And Death Of Colonel Blimp and Hawke & Reilly will be getting fives this year as well.

Charles H said...

My ranking for Disney

1. The Hunchback of Notre Dame (5, Tony Jay makes it #1 for me)
2. Beauty and the Beast (5)
3. The Little Mermaid (4.5)
4. Mulan (4)
5. Aladdin (4)
6. The Lion King (4)
7. Hercules (3)
8. Tarzan (2)

Luke Higham said...

Oh and Chaplin should go up for The Great Dictator.

Charles: Your thoughts on the Renaissance Films.

Charles H said...

Luke:

The Hunchback of Notre Dame (These top 2 i consider all time high's for Disney. Tony Jay's voice work here is perfect & probably my favorite voice performance. Frollo would be my favorite villain of the era & the songs are all great.)

Beauty and the Beast (Has everything these films should in great songs and a great villain. The animation is once again well done & i love the characters in general.)

The Little Mermaid (I don't love it like most but i still like it a lot. The music is catchy & characters charming with a memorable enough villain,)

Mulan (Good central character and good to great songs, i find the story interesting but overall not the most memorable.)

Aladdin (Once again a great voice performance, this time by Williams. More good songs but some characters are flawed, i think it tops The Lion King for the following reasons.)

The Lion King (I;m in the group that thinks it's a terribly overrated film. Scar is misused and the writing goes way off. Of course good songs & Irons are there so it's not bad but a missed opportunity.)

Hercules (Haven't seen it a while but Woods i recall being good.)

Tarzan (Like Hercules since i haven't seen it in a while but it didn't stay with me as much as Hercules did so it was probably boring.)

Luke Higham said...

Charles: I'm in agreement on The Lion King. I've not seen Tarzan in years though I remember having a personal investment in its themes and I don't mind the songs really.

Bryan L. said...

Louis: Your thoughts on the following IASIP episodes?

The Gang Gets Racist
The Gang Gives Back
The Gang Gets Trapped (and Dennis' summary about the gangs' MO in the beginning of the ep.)

Calvin Law said...

Kevin Spacey just released the most tone deaf video ‘addressing’ the issues surrounding him.

Bryan L. said...

Louis: Oh and do you see Henry Fonda being a good fit for a 40s Sheriff Lou Ford and the title role in a 60s Captain Phillips?

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

I just saw Spacey's video myself. What a completely normal, not at all suspicious way to respond to charges of felony sexual assault.

Mitchell Murray said...

Tahmeed and Calvin:

I'm inclined to agree with both of you. Presumption of guilt is one thing, but Spacey's presentation, and his decision to release such a video in the first place.. it's quite cringe worthy at points.

Not that there accusations are entirely comparable, but if any of you have seen Casey Affleck's recent interview for Time, you'll see the differences in how both men address their controversies. However vague Affleck was in some of his responses, he did at least appear to be very sincere, and never showed any hint of arrogance or callousness towards the severity of his scandals. More importantly Affleck didn't make it seem like an act, whereas Spacey did the exact opposite.

Michael McCarthy said...

1. The Lion King (I will never find fault in this movie, I give it an edge over even Hunchback since the comic relief characters fit into the story naturally.)
2. The Hunchback Of Notre Dame
3. Beauty and the Beast
4. The Little Mermaid
5. Hercules (Woods is a great villain for sure, but I think it’s Meg who really makes the movie for me, she might be the most interesting “love interest” character in the Disney canon. Also her song is a straight-up bop.)
6. Mulan
7. Tarzan (The score and soundtrack really help)
8. The Rescuers Down Under (Solidly entertaining, but I don’t really get why people see it as an underrated gem)
9. Pocahontas (Admittedly great music doesn’t make up for the overall cringiness)

5s for the top 3, 4.5s for 4-6, 4 for Tarzan, 3.5 for Rescuers, 3 for Pocahontas.

RatedRStar said...

Hope everyone has a wonderful Oscar Worthy christmas =D night night bed for me.

Anonymous said...

Louis: Your thoughts on this:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NG0V7EVFZt4

Luke Higham said...

Merry Christmas everyone. :)

Charles H said...

Merry Christmas everyone!

Anonymous said...

does anyone have Louis' thoughts on Reynolds in the original Deadpool?

Mitchell Murray said...

To everyone here, Merry Christmas.

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Merry Christmas and happy holidays to everyone here! :)

Anonymous said...

Louis: During development of Iron Man 3, they were planning to adapt the "Demon in a Bottle" story arc, but Disney said no. Would have you preferred this instead of what we got, assuming you have read "Demon in a Bottle."

Lezlie said...

Merry Christmas y'all :)

Calvin Law said...

Merry Christmas to all!

Louis: your thoughts on the cinematography and screenplay to Punch Drunk Love?

Calvin Law said...

Also everyone’s thoughts on the new trailer to Jordan Peele’s ‘Us’?

Bryan L. said...

Merry Christmas!

Calvin: I'm looking forward to Peeles' next project after Get Out, though I have a small feeling that this could be a sophomore slump. Hope that's not the case though.

Charles H said...

Louis: Your top 20 Bill Murray acting moments

Emi Grant said...

Merry Christmas!

Robert MacFarlane said...

Merry Christmas. Vice sucks.

Bryan L. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Louis: Your top ten Rob McElhenney, Kaitlin Olson and Danny DeVito acting moments.

Anonymous said...

Your toughts on Taika Waititi and Armando Iannucci as filmmakers?

Louis Morgan said...

Belated Merry Christmas, and a Vice is awful to you!

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Thoughts on the film and cast. I'm really looking forward to this. :)

Bryan L. said...

Yikes

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Have you seen anything else lately.

Louis Morgan said...

Will get to all other requested thoughts soon, but let's talk Vice here for a bit. Where is Armando Iannucci when you need him? Honestly I might even take late era Oliver Stone over the hack Adam McKay. The sooner he gets back to dumb comedies the better, sadly the Academy did the worst possible thing by giving him an Oscar which will only increase his delusions that he is a potential "serious filmmaker" or worse a proper satirist. Hopefully the academy won't make the same mistake twice at least.

Vice has been positioned as a comedy, but it is laughable (not in the right way) in its attempts in this. This is usually through McKay stopping the film and doing some horribly conceived bit of *wink wink* towards the audience in a "aren't I clever" fashion. He's not. Of course the worst of it is in his hackneyed narrative device of the all knowing narrator, that sadly made me actually hate a Jesse Plemons performance, as he became this obnoxious reminder of both how little faith McKay seems to have in conveying his message through the main narrative, while also stroking some grand ego required to ignore the little voice in the head that says "this is a bad idea, don't use it". It's there though in case you didn't already see how McKay ham-fists every scene, he needs a jarring voice to tell you exactly what you should be thinking at every point, and make sure you know what McKay thinks again, again, and again. Just in case you might forget at any point. What's worse though is again his utterly atrocious choices to convey the story visually with the amateurish freeze frames, the laughable editing juxtapositions, and of course the mind boggling choices of flash backs and flash forwards. This is incompetent while also being so confident in itself that it is brilliant, which is a most dangerous combination, just ask Life Itself. Even McKay though fails to maintain his course, just losing narrative sense at times when he decides to randomly go off on some side diversions, especially one involving Lynne Cheney's family, that are completely nonsensical, while avoiding proper complexity to the central thrust of the story. I could go on and on. I was hoping McKay would prove himself here, change his ways, but no. No. He took a story with a great deal of potential, even in the format of an anti-inspirational biopic, and made himself a mess. I hated this movie.

Louis Morgan said...

I'll save Carell and Rockwell for the moment, I'll get into more on why on the 1st.

Adams - 3.5(As has been mentioned elsewhere this is very reminiscent of her work in The Master, to the point they should just give her the Oscar retroactively for that if they are going to give her the win for this. This is a slightly alternate take on that performance here as the seemingly quiet supportive wife with a darker incisiveness. Adams again does deliver on this but doesn't quite have the impact she did there. She is entirely fine though, and for the most part the cast isn't the problem with the film.)

Plemons - 1.5(His narration is atrociously written, but Plemons can't make it work though. His vocal work in particular frankly becomes obnoxious very quickly. This device is just terrible, and Plemons doesn't help it sadly.)

The rest of the supporting cast varies from fine (Rabe, Pill and Perry), to forgettable, to a little much, but no one stands out in a major way either way.

Matt Mustin said...

Louis: Which would you say is worse, Vice or The Big Short?

Anonymous said...

Louis: I kinda figured Vice was gonna be awful.

Bryan L. said...

We could be headed for a Bradley Cooper win after all.

Charles H said...

I had no hope for Vice since i heard it was going to be made by McKay.

Louis Morgan said...

Matt:

Ooh, that's a little bit of a tough call. As Vice's "stopping the narrative" devices are more annoying than in The Big Short (which is saying A LOT), there is something that is better than anything in The big Short, and the cinematography in Vice isn't *quite* as headache inducing. It's a bit of a trade off, I guess I'd say Vice, but then again it's far more recent in my memory.

Calvin Law said...

What did you make of the post credits scene Louis?

Robert MacFarlane said...

Louis: Did you hate Shea Wigham’s bit role as much as I did? I was shocked how bad he was, since I usually like him.

Calvin Law said...

Also I miss Anchorman McKay. I swear he never used to have these excesses in his good comedies.

Bryan L. said...

Calvin: I think Will Ferrell misses early McKay as well. Anyone see the RT score for...uh...Holmes &Watson?

Emi Grant said...

Bryan L: I hope that score doesn't hurt John C. Reilly's chances overall. I did presume it wasn't going to be great, but damn... that's bad indeed.

Anonymous said...

Louis: I watched a video recently where Nicolas Cage was being interviewed and he said that before filming commenced Panos Cosmatos initially approached him for the role of Jeremiah Sand in Mandy. Do you think Cage would've fit the role of Sand decently, and had Costmatos got his way, who would you have picked for Red?

Luke Higham said...

If Hawke doesn't get in, I guess Cooper will be everyone's pick this year.

Calvin Law said...

It’ll be interesting to see what Malek and Bale get considering Louis wasn’t a fan of either of their films, but I’d guess a 4.5 for both.

Álex Marqués said...

This looks like the weakest year for lead actor since 2015-16. I don't even think Cooper was THAT good, and outside of Hawke no other nominee seems particularly strong, judging by the thoughts I've read about Mortensen and Malek (who apparently gives more an impersonation than a performance).

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

I'd be pretty stoked if Hawke won the overall, because that's the only male lead performance this year that I really loved

Razor said...

So do you guys know any great overlooked performances from this year?

Calvin Law said...

I thought Malek was phenomenal personally and if he had a stronger screenplay behind him, I’d probably give him a 5.

Razor: all the performances I’ve found great this year have gotten attention/traction one way or the other, so I don’t know of any truly overlooked performances (for me last year it was Ethan Hawke in Maudie). Maybe Carey Mulligan in Wildlife, or Lily Franky in Shoplifters (the film won Cannes but he hasn’t really been praised that much).

Álex Marqués said...

I've heard good stuff about Reilly in Sisters Brothers, but I still haven't seen it. Regina Hall (Support the Girls) and Thomasin McKenzie gave wonderful performances that haven't gotten a lot of attention (except for some critics groups), and McAdams and Plemons gave great comedic performances in Game Night. One of my favourite supporting performances from the year, Bill Heck in Buster Scruggs, has been ignored as well.

Calvin Law said...

Alex: Come to think of it, the whole ensemble of Buster Scruggs has been ignored. Agreed on McAdams, Plemons and especially McKenzie (who is still easily my win in lead despite the heavy competition of McCarthy and Collette). If Louis wants to re-gain his love of Plemons as a performer he should look no further than Game Night.

Anonymous said...

Louis mentioned something being better than anything in the Big Short, I'm guessing that's probably Bale, so maybe a 5 isn't off the table for him.

Luke Higham said...

Anonymous: I'm going with a 4.5. I don't see him getting it for a film he really doesn't care for even with their being examples to the contrary like McKellen in Apt Pupil, Julia in Street Fighter or Rickman in Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves. Gary Oldman who had a rather similar transformation last year was in a somewhat better film and even he couldn't get it.

So we're gonna have to wait until his Out Of The Furnace review for that long overdue 2nd five.

Bryan L. said...

May I have permission to come aboard the Vice hate train? :)

Calvin: Both Oldman and Redmayne received 4.5s for McCarten-written films, so I'd expect the same for Malek. And Plemons was a hoot in Game Night indeed.

Luke: I could see Louis even giving Bale a 4 or even a 3.5 honestly, And if it makes you feel better, Bales a 5 for me in American Psycho and The Prestige :)

Calvin Law said...

He’s a 5 for me in The Prestige, Empire of the Sun, The Fighter, and Rescue Dawn.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: What films will you be able to see in the next couple of weeks.

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Bale's my win for 2006 for The Prestige, and I've given him 5's for Out of the Furnace and American Psycho.

Giuseppe Fadda said...

I’d give Bale a 4 for Vice. Kudos for being the best thing about that awful film, but he can’t rise above very good for me. The obnoxious screenplay hinders him too much.

I too would give a 3.5 to Adams. She’s fine, not especially remarkable but she’s at least better than the film.

Matt Mustin said...

Anonymous: Bale could be a 3.5 and still be better than anything in The Big Short. I'm not saying that's the rating he's gonna get, but don't get your hopes up for a 5.

Bryan L. said...

Calvin: BTW, the post (mid?) credits scene for Vice was terrible IMO, and it's probably not even the worst scene in the film.

Charles H said...

I would give Bale a 4 for Vice. He is the best thing about it. I wouldn't be shocked if Louis liked him less.

I would give Bale a 5 for The Prestige and Out of the Furnace.

Luke Higham said...

Charles: I'll switch my prediction to a 4 then.

Emi Grant said...

In regards to overlooked performances, I'll say again that I really enjoyed Joaquin Phoenix in Don't Worry, He Won't Write The Whole Title of The Film.

I'd say he's a strong 4/low 4.5 to me

Robert MacFarlane said...

Personally I don't think Bale was quite the bright spot everyone else seemed to think. Committed, yes, but also a largely blank cipher thanks to the insight-free writing. I don't think he did enough to make up for it. Hell, I'd say he did more with his thankless role in The Big Short. I had similar issues with Ali in Green Book for the same reason (though I'd argue he's actually outright bad).

I also found out that I missed out on the post-credits scene with Vice, and man that sounded awful.

Calvin Law said...

Emi: What did you make of Jonah Hill and Jack Black in the same film?

Louis Morgan said...

Tahmeed:

I could do that.

McElhenney:

1. Science is a liar sometimes
2. The Implication (Yes it is a Howerton classic, however his nervous reactions are essential to that scene)
3. Secret of Mac's Famous Mac and Cheese
4. Action movie Mac
5. Dramatic dance
6. Cat eyes/bad acting
7. Eating and heavy breathing
8. Playing a softer Bartender (sitcom lead)
9. Head injury
10. Hockey glory

HM: This https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ltqssfzVyrw

(Only a jabroni's smoke)

Olson:

1. Hungry Bird
2. Terrible Irish
3. Rock bottom
4. Martina Martinez
5. Pepper Spray
6. Golden Goddess
7. Up on Steroids
8. Boat Dancing
9. Psychiatrist
10. Why was she in a mental institution

DeVito:

1. False information - L.A. Confidential
2. Die Hard - It's Always Sunny
3. Opening narration - L.A. Confidential
4. Burping - It's Always Sunny
5. Breaking down the law - The Rainmaker
6. Bribing Jack - L.A. Confidential
7. Trash man victorious - It's Always Sunny
8. Confusing with Rambo - It's Always Sunny
9. Murder face - Throw Momma From the Train
10. Recap - It's Always Sunny

Bryan:

The Gang Gets Racist - (A little strange to see this episode where Charlie is simply one of the guys, Mac isn't gay at all, and Dee is smart. Dennis is the only remotely on his track already, though only a little bit on the road of the sociopath, and this is a more traditional sitcom setup in terms of the gang dynamic, however the situation is not. That said a pretty funny first episode as a indicator of where the series is willing to go, and do so with wit and irreverence.)

The Gang Gives Back - (An example of a great episode of the series, when the madness of each story line naturally drifts off then converges in a hilariously insane finale. This being with Charlie's "romantic intentions", matching with Dennis and Mac's not so great coaching skills, Dee's attempt to rival that, and Frank being properly used as the "wildcard".)

Louis Morgan said...

The Gang Gets Trapped - (Overall a touch unwieldy, though there are some great bits in there. Dennis's metacommentary being one of them, Big Mac's "bigness" actually being used well with his lack of food sharing, and the final gag of the family.)

Fonda going full Frank could potentially be a perfect Lou Ford, and he's also just right for the Phillips type.

Anonymous:

A master filmmaker doing an exceptional explanation of the power, skill and techniques of editing, an element of film that was always an especially important element of his films, especially Psycho. I love his example of the juxtaposition in particular, and how that alone can so change a character specifically to the medium of film.

Anonymous:

Haven't read it, but I'm nor surprised they didn't use it given they did kind of an "addiction light" thing with Iron Man 2 in the form of his impending death that wasn't very good. Although I theoretically would love to see the actor Downey as Stark cover that sort of darker material, a la Logan, it makes sense we did not get it given the tone of the Marvel films.

Louis Morgan said...

Calvin:

The screenplay to Punch Drunk Love is perhaps why we need PTA to make a film in every genre, because if this is his Adam Sandler romantic comedy, just imagine a PTA film in any genre. You can't really, and that's what makes it so special. This is fascinating in that PTA does make an Adam Sandler comedy, it has so many of the features of such, a slightly awkward love interest, "cartoon" villains, angry outbursts, and a strange job with a sidekick. PTA though takes those ideas and in weird way takes them seriously to truly explore what a guy like this would be, therefore making his journey a whole lot more potent than it would be otherwise. This is of course while still being funny, but it keeps in mind the character while still maintains that type of narrative. It just does so with so much more brilliance in terms of the character moments, creating a real intimacy with his journey, and in turn such a far powerful result to it all.

Elswit's work is a bit more subtle here, in terms of his collaborations with PTA, but quite remarkable. This is of course with the collaboration in PTA in mind, and that brilliant choice of the deep blue suit of our main character that makes him stand out, while also giving the equally vibrant red dress towards his romantic co-star. This idea is further accentuated through the brilliant composition of shots as our lead is so often the lonely man within the the wider shot, that makes the two together have all the more dramatic punch to those shots. There is a certain unassuming movement and energy in the work, granting a rather unique comedic energy at times, while also creating such a careful style in the lighting that again accentuates the quiet romanticism of the film. Once more in a very subtle way, almost taking natural light look to the film, yet still works so well.

Just an awful bit from McKay once again, that is made even worse by how it related to the film overall, though I'll get into why more when lead reviews comes around.

Charles:

1. I wonder if it remembers me - The Life Aquatic
2. A God - Groundhogs Day
3. Random stranger - Broken Flowers
4. Drawing the Line - The Life Aquatic
5. I have to kill all of you - Scrooged
6. Making the teams - The Life Aquatic
7. Checking in with Winston - Broken Flowers
8. Possessed Dana - Ghostbusters
9. "Garfield" - Zombieland
10. Staying up - Groundhogs Day
11. Meeting the Mayor - Ghostbusters
12. Taking down pirates - The Life Aquatic
13. Ghost of Christmas Future - Scrooged
14. Melancholy party - The Life Aquatic
15. Second visit - Broken Flowers
16. A Sadist and Masochist meet - Little Shop of Horrors
17. First Broadcast - Groundhogs Day
18. "They hate that" - Ghostbusters
19. Story of Mexico - Ed Wood
20. I thought you were Richard Pryor - Scrooged

Robert:

Yeah I'd so, a "classic" (terrible) hot air performance. I am rather confused though why he, and his scenes, made it to the final cut.

Anonymous:

I think the right choices were made, though I could definitely see Cage going full weird Cage as Sand and it working.

I think Woody Harrelson could've worked as an alternate Red.

Calvin Law said...

Dee hitting rock bottom is one of the funniest scenes of the series.

Calvin Law said...

Also Louis what do you think of Luis Guzman as an actor? I’d love to see him in larger roles as I always think he adds a little bit of something in his PTA collaborations especially Boogie nights.

Bryan L. said...

Louis: Mac was just born to do ocular pat downs, as he's giving the cameraman some hard stares in that commercial.

Calvin: As for Hill and Black in that film, I'd give them a 4 and a 3.5 respectively.

Michael McCarthy said...

I saw If Beale Street Could Talk today and I thought it was the most entrancing film I’ve seen this year. It could be my picture and director win, and is almost definitely my ensemble pick.

Matt Mustin said...

M:I-Fallout plays just as well on Blu-ray as it does in the theatre. Chazelle is still my director win, but I gotta say, based on this rewatch, McQuarrie is right behind him.

Luke Higham said...

Michael McCarthy: Your ratings for the cast of If Beale Street Could Talk.

Emi Grant said...

Calvin: I might be a tad biased to Hill (since I love that man) but I do feel that he did great on an atypical role for him. Black is barely in the film, but he makes a nice impression in his scenes.

I'd go with Bryan's ratings, but Jonah is bordering into a low 4.5 to me.

Calvin Law said...

Emi: love it whenever Hill goes out of his comfort zone (see: Maniac).

Louis: thoughts and rating for Paul Chahidi in Death of Stalin? He stood out really well on re-watch.

Emi Grant said...

Calvin: I fell in love with Maniac overall. I thought Hill was fantastic in it, especially on the trial scene.

Bryan L. said...

Emi: I'd also give Phoenix a 4.5 and Mara a 3. Wish she had more to do.

Calvin: I wasn't big on Maniac tbh, but I thought he and Stone were quite good. It's funny that you bring up The Death of Stalin, since I rewatched it yesterday so I could detox from Vice :)

I hate Vice the more I think about it, and I don't even dislike The Big Short, or McKays comedies (besides Anchorman 2, which was grating).

Michael McCarthy said...

Luke: Here’s what I’ll go with for the moment:

Layne: 5
James: 5
King: 4.5
Domingo: 4
Parris: 3.5
Beach: 3.5
Ellis: 3.5
Henry: 5
Wittrock: 3
Pascal: 3
Rios: 3

Bryan L. said...

Louis: Just for fun, what type of film do you see the following combinations of actors starring in?

The Sardonic: James Woods/Gibson/Downey Jr./Ryan Reynolds (It'd probably be a comeback role for Woods)
The Texans: Tommy Lee Jones/Harrelson/McConaughey/Hawke
The Unhinged: Hopper/Cage/Gyllenhaal/Phoenix (Although we did get a Hopper/Cage and a Joaquin/Jake film)

RatedRStar said...

Being that a lot of people here really dislike Vice I have a question....Who would you rather see Oscar nominated since it is likely to happen... Sam Rockwell or Timothee Chalamet?

RatedRStar said...

Everyone except Louis obviously lol.

Luke Higham said...

RatedRStar: I don't particularly care to be honest though I suppose I'd go with Rockwell just on his reputation here whereas Chalamet simply isn't on his level, yet anyway.

Bryan L. said...

RatedRStar: Hhmmm...I haven't seen Beautiful Boy yet, but to answer your question, Rockwell, since I'd love to see him get another nomination.

Mitchell Murray said...

RatedRStar: Haven't seen either film yet, but based on the general reception of both performances I'd probably be leaning towards Rockwell. One is a respected veteran just on the heels of an oscar win, who's role has been called a bright spot within a very misguided picture. The other is a young star who's performance has also been called a highlight, though the inflated zeal of his fan base, and his relative youth, may be skewing that idea a little bit. Honestly I hope Chalamet is great in "Beautiful Boy" but from what I'm hearing so far, he may have overdid this one.

RatedRStar said...

You see, I reckon that Rockwell will be nominated ahead of Chalamet thats why I think its such a good question because I see that 5th spot being between them, I just dont think Michael B.Jordan will be to the Academys taste I am afraid, I see Black Panther doing ok, but not from an acting point of view.

It is amazing that a few years ago we mention that it was a disgrace that Rockwell had never been nominated yet, here he is potentially a 2 time nominee with him winning one lol.

RatedRStar said...

I reckon that Chalamet probably did what he could, I think it ll be the way he is directed that ruins his performance rather than him making mistakes, he clearly is a talented actor with so much potential from a box office and critical point of view.

Luke Higham said...

RatedRStar: I think it could take 10-15 years before we see him hit his peak potential.

RatedRStar said...

Luke: Crikey I feel old lol haha

Anonymous said...

My bets for January 1, 2019 (Another Year and Another Official Lineup)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR:
- Mahershala Ali (Green Book)
- Timothée Chalamet (Beautiful Boy)
- Adam Driver (Blackkklansman)
- Richard E. Grant (Can You Forgive Me)
- Sam Rockwell (Vice) or Sam Elliott (A Star is Born)

BEST ACTOR:
- Christian Bale (Vice)
- Bradley Cooper (A Star is Born)
- Rami Malek (Bohemian Rhapsody)
- Viggo Mortensen (Green Book)
- Ethan Hawke (First Reformed) or John David Washington (Blackkklansman)

Calvin Law said...

Bryan: I could see the sardonic sorts in a political thriller. The Texans in some sort of slow-burning character study/action thriller (think Jones and Hawke as a father and son duo who’ve been banished from their hometown by Harrelson’s nasty sheriff, then McConaughey in the mix as a wild card). The Unhinged I could see in a very dark comedy, probably with Cage as the lead nutcase, Gyllenhaal and Phoenix as a pair of young numptys he takes under his wing, and Hopper might be able to go against type as the sane hero of the film or something.

Giuseppe Fadda said...

I haven't seen Chalamet yet, but Rockwell's performance would be completely undeserving of a nomination. It's fine and I like how he portrays Bush as an incompetent puppet but the movie never allows him to become more than an imitation. There are so many performances that would be worthier of a nod than him (Nivola, Kaluuya and Hamilton for instance).

Calvin Law said...

I’m looking forward to Nivola’s review. I liked him a lot too, but probably a bit less than everyone else on the blog, and I definitely am interested in seeing what I most likely missed out on the initial viewing.

Bryan L. said...

Calvin: That Texans one sounds awesome, and get David Mackenzie to direct.

Oh and for Hopper's character, how about if you make him a former crazed and troubled hippie who tries to find redemption by saving Joaquin and Jake? It could add another layer to his part.

For The Sardonic, how about a Death of Stalin satire? With Reynolds as a Vasily-like young wild card, Woods in the Palin role (comeback!), Gibson as Zhukov or even Beria, and Downey Jr. going a bit against type as Kruschev. I think he could make himself a bit more scrappy.

Louis Morgan said...

Saw Mary Queen of Scots, which I liked well (better than the 71 version at any rate) enough though it probably didn't benefit from watching it shortly after watching, The Favourite which I flat out loved to the point now I'm retroactively far more annoyed by that SAG ensemble lineup, and the globes snubbing Lanthimos in favor of Farrelly and McKay.

Scots:

Ronan - 4.5
Robbie - 3.5(She is supporting)
Lowden - 3
Alwyn - 2.5
Tennant - 1.5
Pearce - 1.5
Compston - 2.5
Coyle - 2.5
McArdle - 3

The Favourite:

Saving Hoult.

Colman - 5
Stone - 5
Weisz - 5(All lead)
Alwyn - 3.5
Smith - 3.5

Calvin:

Guzman is kind of a guaranteed quality type of performer, in that he's not really there for the extreme range, though he does have some, but rather for the Luis Guzmaness of his performance. No one can deliver exactly what he does, which when used well can stand out wonderfully well such as in PTA's examples.

Chahidi - 3.5(Another wonderful part of that ensemble there specifically of one of the potential toadies in the inner circle. Chahidi's good in portraying sort of the distant non-risk taking duplicitous attitude of the character, that is very funny as even his jibes are rather "weakly" delivered as this sort of wannabe power player.)

Bryan:

Sardonic - (Screwball comedy about rival news rags trying to uncover a salacious story first. Woods and Gibson as the editors, and Reynolds and Downey as their respective "star" reporters.)

Texans - (It's gotta be a taut neo-western, right. Maybe McConaughey, and Jones, as two older convicts on the run who accidentally fall into some bigger crime, with Hawke and Harrelson as the lawmen trying to catch them.)

The Unhinged - (Hmm do a reversed beguiled where the collective unhinged play celibate monks, that for whatever reason take in a young woman.

Mitchell Murray said...

Louis: I suppose our initial hesitations on Ronan for "Mary Queen of Scots" were thankfully disproved, eh.

What are your expanded thoughts on both the film's cast, and for "The Favourite", how would you say Weisz and Stone's work rank amongst their careers thus far?

Calvin Law said...

Damn, Louis has finally found a Lanthimos love!

Bryan L. said...

Calvin: And a 5 for Weisz? The sky is falling!

Another 5 for Stone! I think it's interesting to note that Lanthimos only directed The Favourite.

Bryan L. said...

Louis: The Coen brothers as directors for The Sardonic film? And David Lynch for The Unhinged? (Mid-2000s, where all those gents were still active and had broken out, in Gyllenhaals' case).

Louis Morgan said...

Mitchell:

Let me get to those longer thoughts in the comments of the next post.

Calvin:

Well it was nice of him to finally allow his actors to, you know, act.

Bryan:

Yes, and yes (though I could also see David Cronenberg).