Tuesday, January 16, 2007

I Haven't Reviewed the Globes...

...because a) I'm busy running up against the cold, icy surface of a deadline for a review of an actual movie, to be printed in an actual magazine, and b) I can't think of a single nice thing to say about that plodding telecast. Okay, here's one: Meryl Streep is a luminous, generous person to use her time onstage to call attention to the smaller films that most need this kind of exposure on awards shows. And she was characteristically funny and impromptu besides—even though I'd hoped she'd get more suited up to her Prada occasion. Truly, I can't figure out why this woman, so vividly alive on screen and in her speeches, is so hellbent on washing herself out with her outfits.

That glowing compliment came with a backhanded chaser, so here's one more nice thing: I guess it's kind of fun that we have no idea who the Best Picture winner at the Oscars will be. And here's a third: genius composer Alexandre Desplat won a well-deserved honor last night, and I even predicted his success, so my happiness for him comes accessorized with bragging rights for myself. Sublimity. I don't care about the TV awards, but America Ferrara classed up the joint and made everybody cry. Lastly, Emily Blunt looked fabulous, even though she sounded... a little... odd.

From there onward, it sours. Dypso stars who were boring drunks or nasty drunks or stupid drunks instead of what the Globes are designed to provide: fizzy, charming drunks. A raft of uninspiring winners. (If that patchy, repetitive script of The Queen rakes in one more prize...) A disappointing moment in the spotlight from Forest Whitaker, though I can at least respect a modest man who gets overcome by this much adulatory attention, this late in an admirable career. Still, he is an actor. Whip it together, Forest! And you, too, John Lasseter, hollering "Animation is awesome!" as though you're Napoleon Dynamite minus the irony, and as though Cars were anything but a well-made and well-intentioned Pixar film minus the cleverness and the warmth.

The night's worst moment by far offered us brand-new evidence that America's "beloved" and "classy" and "decent" Tom Hanks is not above asking for a show of hands of Warren Beatty's past lovers, right there in front of his wife. (One insanely old Hollywood joke + one deeply insensitive and sexist ploy + a head that has literally, visibly swollen + a thousand childish invocations of the word "balls" = can someone please fire Tom Hanks?) Mirren and Hudson barreled onward as surefire Oscar bets despite a proficient but finally uninteresting characterization from the former and, from the latter, a striking and often powerful vocal recital stitched to a stolid, wholly uninteriorized performance. Jennifer Hudson is a formidable singer, a cheering and pretty incredible success story, and from all appearances a very nice and decent person, but is she any more suited to the screen than Julia Roberts was to the stage? Shouldn't some acting be involved in a prize-winning acting performance?

My inner grouch gets grouchier when it comes to the fashions, since even the anointed favorites of the night (bland but fussy Felicity Huffman, pretty but way way way too pink Drew Barrymore, Mattel-inspired Reese Witherspoon) left me cold, cold, cold.

Either last night was a notably joyless and slipshod Globes ceremony, or, as Sandra Bernhard said, "The critics are right; I am a petty, bilious girl." Perhaps both. For me, the question is this: if the Globes got me down this bad, how can I anticipate February 25 with anything beyond dread, or worse, a casual indifference? Have I been hijacked into some anti-Oscar deprogramming regimen without realizing it? Is this what it feels like to wander from the flock?

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Blogger Dr. S said...

I tell you, I think it's something about the second year out of grad school. This is my theory.

1:20 AM, January 17, 2007  
Blogger NicksFlickPicks said...

I truly hope you aren't right about this, but since you haven't been wrong about anything since I've known you, I gotta start worrying.

I'm gonna feel this bad till June??

1:21 AM, January 17, 2007  
Blogger tim r said...

Gosh, you really do sound down in the dumps. In the plus column, not that this will necessarily help cheer you up, I had the best birthday ever! (Thanks for the e-card.) AND you still have Inland Empire to see. AND I'd rather read you on the Globes any day than actually watch them...

So Best Picture is a genuine five-way race, right? Babel, The Departed, Letters from Iwo Jima, The Queen, Dreamgirls. Is that right? Letters aside, which I haven't seen yet, there's nothing there I rated above a B—. Don't want to depress you further, and the sheer unpredictability of the race sure is interesting, but quality-wise doesn't this have to count as the most blandly mediocre Oscar line-up in recent times? There's nothing I can even get angry about.

But maybe it's my grouchiness about The Departed raising its head again. I guess that's the one a lot of people will be rooting for.

2:47 AM, January 17, 2007  
Blogger NicksFlickPicks said...

I think it's actually a six-way race, because I think Little Miss Sunshine is still in contention. (Landing on the PGA, DGA, WGA, SAG Ensemble, and Globes lists can't be meaningless.) I'm still a true-blue Departed fan, and Iwo Jima more than deserves a nod, but I'd call this the lamest Best Picture field since 1989.

I'm thrilled that you had a great birthday, though! And as for my own mood, it swings up considerably, quite by design, in my next post.

3:26 AM, January 17, 2007  
Blogger StinkyLulu said...

I'm frankly delighted by this post. Not to dismiss your glums, but because we seem to agree entirely on Jennifer Hudson! (See my 5 Stinky Thoughts on Dreamgirls - & the ensuing discussion for more.)

I've been struggling to get excited about this year's Supporting Actress race. Especially with the weird idea that speaking against Jennifer Hudson being-the-most-fabulous-thing-evah-shut-up-haters thing going around like a big gay bug.

Anyway - don't let the trudge get you down... I'm not even really out of grad school -- at least not officially -- but it is a whole new world of trudgery....

8:44 AM, January 17, 2007  
Blogger J.J. said...

Agreed on most accounts, except I thought most of the speeches redeemed an otherwise predictable night. Streep was great, yes, but remember Jeremy Irons ("This is a nightmare. I can't remember any of your names"), Warren Beatty (graciously shifting the spotlight away from himself), Peter Morgan (The Queen baffles me, but his pointed speech put it into intriguing perspective) and Cohen (not a Borat fan, but his was a refreshing routine that the HFPA deserves).

I am most disappointed in Whitaker (who seemed to be having a stroke) and Mirren (I expected good things after hearing her "ass over tit" one-liner at the Emmys).

12:13 PM, January 17, 2007  
Blogger RC said...

i too was disappointed in hanks.

meryl did do a nice job.

it is fun not to know the winner...i certainly have a thought though (i'm sure you do to).


--RC of strangeculture.blogspot.com

12:37 PM, January 17, 2007  
Blogger trexlin said...

Bitterness? Bitchiness? Don't feel bad, Nick. I have been bitter about the Oscars ever since Crash beat Brokeback Mountain at last year's awards ceremony.

10:58 PM, January 19, 2007  

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