The Wrestler (Darren Aronofsky, 2008) 9/10
Nothing revolutionary about the comeback story here, yet Rourke's performance raises this film to greatness when combined with Aronofsky's ability to direct without flinching while showing real care for his subject. Rourke steps into this role so effortlessly, you almost come away from the film telling yourself that Randy "the Ram" was an actual WWE wrestler you had simply forgotten about. Between Rourke and Penn, it's definitely close as to the truly best lead actor performance this year.
Marisa Tomei is fantastic as a stripper who is washed-up and damaged in her own way. Bonus points for elevating the role to something more than a cliché. She deserves to be nominated right alongside Rourke.
The Oscar (Russell Rouse, 1966) 3/10
It's easy to see why this over-long ode to the Oscar and its requisite adoration of Hollywood meteoric rises is virtually forgotten today. It's campy without being fun, stodgily scripted without any truly memorable zingers and features a lead performance by Stephen Boyd that is completely unendearing even when he's supposed to be viewed as sympathetic -- affected, overblown (only his shirtlessness in several scenes prevents me from giving this a 2/10). It's the male version of The Valley of the Dolls saved, in part, by a fantastic turn by Eleanor Parker as Sophie Cantaro, the older woman who discovers Frankie Fane and Milton Berle as Frankie's put-upon agent. The real-life cameos of such Hollywood mainstays as costume czarina Edith Head and gossipmonger Hedda Hopper also make this a curio. Alternately, laugable cameos by Ernest Borgnine, Broderick Crawford, Ed Begley, Walter Brennan and James Dunn make this the most Oscar-populated schlocky mess since Evening rolled out last year.
The Oscar somehow failed to make our list of films which featured the Oscars or Oscar ceremonies awhile back. It begins at the award ceremony where the main character is nominated and traces his career trajectory backward to show the audience every foot he stepped on to get there. Fun for seeing Boyd pull a Bill Murray in the last scene :;):.
Edited By flipp525 on 1231023147
"The mantle of spinsterhood was definitely in her shoulders. She was twenty five and looked it."
-Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell