Blowhard, Esq. writes:
In The Big Picture, screenwriter William Goldman says that when it comes to voting for Best Actor or Actress at the Oscars, he never chooses those who who are playing “drunks or retards.” “Actors kill for those parts,” he says, “Look, Ma, I’m acting.”
In David O. Russell’s latest, Bradley Cooper is nominated for Best Actor playing an bipolar manic-depressive who falls in love with a widowed sex addict played by Best Actress nominee Jennifer Lawrence. Russell attempts a screwball comedy about screwballs, but unlike his previous Flirting with Disaster, I never felt like this film attained his previous one’s loose zaniness or unpredictability, perhaps because this film little more than naked Oscar bait, so it has to hit too many predictable, we’re-making-a-life-affirming-happy-movie beats.
After playing the villain in Wedding Crashers and the straightman in The Hangover, Cooper gets plenty of showboaty moments to use his Sexiest Man Alive looks to gain a bit of Hollywood respectability. “Look, Ma, I’m wearing a cheap jogging suit and a trashbag while I rail at my likewise mentally ill father played by Robert DeNiro! ACTING!” It didn’t help that Russell underscores Cooper’s mania, at least in the beginning of the picture, with more cuts than a Michael Bay action scene.
Thankfully, the movie gives us Jennifer Lawrence playing a nymphomaniac prone to wearing yoga pants. But for her, I probably would’ve walked out at the halfway mark. Twenty two years-old, her face still has round, babyish chubbiness that makes her look even younger. In the film her preferred form of therapy is dance, so it was quite easy for me to tune out Cooper and plot and focus on Lawrence’s eyes, neck, midriff, and hips. The fact that she’s not much of a dancer hardly matters.
I was over the moon about “Three Kings.” Loved “Flirting with Disaster” as well. What’s happened to Russell since then? I couldn’t take more than 20 minutes of that Huckabee thing.
“Spanking the Monkey,” FWD, and TK were all top-notch. Never saw “I Heart Huckabees” because it just looked awful. Russell is widely-known to be difficult to work with — he famously fought with Clooney during TK and there’s that tape floating around of Lily Tomlin arguing with him while filming IHH. I haven’t see “The Fighter,” but that seemed like an Oscar grab too. Blah, maybe he decided to make boring films that get lots of nominations to show the studios he can be trusted.
THE FIGHTER is a lamer version of THE WRESTER. And I didn’t even like THE WRESTLER very much. Worth seeing TF for Amy Adams’ ass.
Actually, maybe I’m not being fair. The gum-popping, Bahstahn family stuff in TF is pretty good; it bears comparison to some of the anxious-sweaty family material in FWD.
>>Worth seeing TF for Amy Adams’ ass.
I stopped reading after that — that’s enough for me. I forgot she was in that movie.
I was also over the moon about 3 Kings. Thought it best of the year by a country mile and remember being incensed the Oscar went to American Beauty, which I took to be one more patronizing sermon about the strerility of the burbs. So I went back and saw his two earlier things and loved them both, too. Especially Flirting with Disaster, which has the courage of its zany convictions to the end. I really really liked Playbook, too, but I agree that with Russell now in the mainstream realm, the film had to cheat two-thirds of the way through and suddenly “cure” the two leads in order to give the film a suitable romantic comedy ending. But it was still better than most of the dreck in the theaters.
Oh, and yes about Huckabees, too. I was quite excited when it came out but I have not yet been able to sit through it after several attempts.
I’m the dissenter, I guess — I could never work up much enthusiasm about any of Russell’s films. I liked watching Alexander Payne and Andrew Fleming’s movies a whole lot better. Seeing Amy Adams’ ass sounds pretty good, though it’d have to be a heckuva scene to equal the spectacle of Marisa Tomei in “The Wrestler.”
I really like some of Fleming’s movies. Especially “Threesome.” I don’t think I’ve seen anything he’s done since “Dick,” though.
Couldn’t get through Huckabees despite multiple tries and found the current movie to be mostly boring Oscar-bait … Hey, now! Oscarbation: proposed new term for this kind of filmmaking.
As for the sterility of the burbs in that rose petal movie, I’ll see it and raise you an uptight Marine who’s secretly gay and murderous over it. There’s something really fucked up going on around homosexuality in contemporary cultural expression. The poor gays are like SWPL merit badges.