Monday, January 07, 2008

Bests of the Bests Keep Getting Better

After telling you yesterday about all the great year-end features happening around the Web, two Near'n'Dears of Nick's Flick Picks came through yesterday with really delicious treats. StinkyLulu hosted the second edition of his grand annual party on behalf of supporting actresses. How I longed (and intended!) to attend. Had I found the time, I was going to ask, why is everyone so mad at Knocked Up for selling out the smart, classy dame to the barely redeemable schlump when Marge Simpson has been consigned to the same fate for more than a decade? In case we didn't notice, Marge is still the best thing going in The Simpsons Movie, and Julie Kavner makes something heroically poignant out of Marge's video-recorded goodbye to Homer, which made me only a little less tempted to scream, "YESSS!! She's finally getting away from him!"

I know we're supposed to love Homer, and yeah, I sorta do, but does he have to be that idiotic and congenitally self-absorbed? Does he have to steamroll his whole town and pull every rug out from under his entire family three or four times in the space of 90 minutes, and still get to star in the heroic finale? Oh, well: at least he keeps setting up Marge/Kavner for her sad, beautiful, bizarrely affecting variations on patience and marital resilience. And yes, the movie is hilarious, if a little standard-issue for the big screen. Lots of the jokes are zesty, but Kavner's voicing of that farewell made for one of the few moments truly worthy of the big screen. Then again, speaking of Supporting Actresses: why is Lisa in so little of this movie? She catalyzes the whole environmental-crisis angle and then gets all but buried? The whole movie's about fathers and sons. It's the There Will Be Blood of Simpsons narratives. No country for female Simpsons. The Emancipation of Bart Simpson from the Imbecile Homer Simpson. Harrumph. Women couldn't get a break in '07. Then again... not a new story.

But try telling that to Marisa Tomei, who this year continues a bright and eclectic career on film in Before the Devil Knows You're Dead and on stage in Oh, the Humanity and other exclamations. If two estimable artists like Sidney Lumet and Will Eno don't already constitute an amazing year for an actress, Marisa keeps her game high high high in '08 with Darren Aronofsky and Nick's Flick Picks idol Caryl Churchill. Wanna hear about it? And way, way, way more about from the enchanting and talented Ms. Tomei? Well, fire up the positraction, and speed over to Nathaniel's site for his first-ever podcast, which starts with a generous, revealing, and vivacious interview with Marisa Tomei and ends with Nathaniel, Joe Reid, and I coffee-klatsching over the Screen Actors Guild nominations (well, the film categories). Now, why Nathaniel had to cast a wee pall over this delightful 45 minutes with even a short clip of Helena Bonham Carter "singing" is a little beyond me... but he won those points back a dozen times over by asking Marisa my pre-submitted question about pet indie films from her back catalogue that she wishes had gotten more attention. If you want to know which ones, you gotta listen! And why aren't you already listening, anyway? (Seriously: way to go, Nathaniel!)

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Blogger Sam Brooks said...

I love your comments on the SAG Nominations, and, again I agree with you on Jolie. Too many people dismiss the love for this performance as a throwaway, and just a love of her celebrity. I'd love to see her be considered a threat for the trophy; but the dual power of Christie and Cotillard will be hard to break.

It's seriously a strong performance, one of the best of the year and just evidence of her growing prowess as an actress.

The only place where we diverge opinions is on Helena Bonham-Carter in Sweeney Todd, it seems. I'm a total diehard for this performance. Maybe it's just my irrational love of her. I even found her voice rather pleasant, if unremarkable.

4:57 AM, January 07, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Thank you so much for writing that blurb about Julie Kavner's work in The Simpsons Movie - my jaw was on the floor after that videotape scene. It really gave me boosepumps reading what you wrote- I've been pimping that performance as much as possible, but hadn't found anyone else who shared my enthusiasm!

An otherwise uninteresting film that inexplicably gave us one of the very best Supporting Actress turns of the year... this is the kind of performance Stinkylulu's blog-a-thon was made for!

3:36 PM, January 07, 2008  

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