Thoughts In-Season

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Damien
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Postby Damien » Thu Dec 17, 2009 12:56 pm

Big Magilla wrote:And I'm sick of hearing what a great musical All That Jazz was. It was a piece of shit.

God, I hated that movie. Excruciating to sit through.

I love Johnny Carson's name for it: "All That Ego"




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Postby Big Magilla » Thu Dec 17, 2009 12:50 pm

Damien wrote:
Big Magilla wrote:Have you been following Tom O'Neil? He's been predicting an Inglourious Basterds win for over a month now. He may have the last laugh after all, though I doubt it.

If there's a big musical film coming out at year's end and Tom O'Neil isn't insisting it's the front-runner, then Nine must really be bad. He made the push for Sweeney Todd two years ago.

By the way, there's a devastating review of Nine in this week's Village Voice:
http://www.villagevoice.com/2009-12....-s-nine

I've had bad vibes about this film for a while now and will probably not like it much but I still want to see it for myself.

I don;t know where this guy was when Chicago came out. I do know people who didn't like the film, but the critics were mostly rapturous at the time. Now many of the same critics who were over the moon about Chicago are turning coat and calling that film over-praised.

I don't know if Foundas is one, but I I'm more inclined to believe the critics who liked and still liked Chicago when they say Nine sucks.

And I'm sick of hearing what a great musical All That Jazz was. It was a piece of shit.

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Postby Zahveed » Thu Dec 17, 2009 11:49 am

FilmFan720 wrote:Might we have been underestimating the power of Inglorious Basterds?

Nope. I've been there all along. Hopefully it doesn't crash in the next few weeks or I'll feel like an ass.
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Postby Damien » Thu Dec 17, 2009 11:10 am

Big Magilla wrote:Have you been following Tom O'Neil? He's been predicting an Inglourious Basterds win for over a month now. He may have the last laugh after all, though I doubt it.

If there's a big musical film coming out at year's end and Tom O'Neil isn't insisting it's the front-runner, then Nine must really be bad. He made the push for Sweeney Todd two years ago.

By the way, there's a devastating review of Nine in this week's Village Voice:
http://www.villagevoice.com/2009-12....-s-nine
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Postby OscarGuy » Thu Dec 17, 2009 10:02 am

Actually, FilmFan, I posited that very scenario some time ago when discussing the Jason Reitman/Kathryn Bigelow situation. And it was brought up the list of winners this decade and I suggested that perhaps Tarantino fit better into that list than Bigelow or Reitman. It could very well happen. After all, he's never won for Directing and has plenty of cult hits in his resume.
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Postby Big Magilla » Thu Dec 17, 2009 9:55 am

Have you been following Tom O'Neil? He's been predicting an Inglourious Basterds win for over a month now. He may have the last laugh after all, though I doubt it.

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Postby FilmFan720 » Thu Dec 17, 2009 9:53 am

Might we have been underestimating the power of Inglorious Basterds? It is raking up a pretty solid number of nominations and awards, it is the strong frontrunner in Best Supporting Actor (and has been all year), at this point it is pretty much a lock for a Picture nod, Tarantino is a pretty well-liked "genius" auteur who is making his first major push in 15 year, the actors branch obviously likes the film more than expected, it could rake up a bunch of tech nods. If it comes into the nominations with 7 or 8 nods (probably leading the pack, or second to Avatar/Nine), manages to pick up a second acting nod (like it did here), couldn't Tarantino very well be on the way to pick up a second Oscar. If that is screenplay, OK, but if he starts moving towards a Best Director win (or picks up a director prize from the Globes/DGA), this could be the force to be reckoned with we have all been looking for...I know it seems a longshot, but maybe this scattershot year will be the year of the longshot.
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Postby OscarGuy » Thu Dec 17, 2009 7:46 am

Tee, you may have missed where I cited Janet McTeer, but Tumbleweeds made only $1.3 M (in a four-week run that saw a push from 27 to 307 theaters at one point). That's only $1.8 M today. It made less than $3,000 per screen its first week, then dropped to $2,000, then under $1,000 for the subsequent two weeks.

The Messenger at least started out stronger, but has been going longer. However, it's never made it above 50 screens, which is why its total is so low. Harrelson's a big enough name to still get an Oscar nomination and if he pulls a nod at the SAG, then I think that's fairly certain. Plus with the Globe and other nominations to his credit, that's going to pique interest in the film and I'll bet it emerges into more theaters after that and does far better than it currently has done.
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Postby Damien » Thu Dec 17, 2009 3:25 am

Mister Tee wrote:And it's worth noting that Streep's work these days tends to be more in films like Julia or It's Complicated (or, god help us, Mamma Mia!). In her first years on film, she worked with Oscar legends (Allen, Cimino, Benton, Nichols) or overseas auteurs (Reisz, Schepisi, Babenco), but these days, it's mostly Frankel and Ephron and Meyers. (It recalls Spencer Tracy's lament in the 60s -- If I'm the greatest American actor, howcome only Stanley Kramer'll hire me?) Julie and Julia is what Streep DOES these days. So I can live with a win there.

I had never heard that Spencer Tracy quote before, but it is poignant (though not totally accurate, as he did The Devil At 4 O'Clock and How The West Was Won in between his 4 Kramer pictures, and he probably wouldn't even make it into my top 25 greatest American actors).

There's an interview with Streep in Vanity Fair, wherein she says she doesn't institutes projects, she just selects the best of what's sent to her. Then again, who are today's Oscar legends -- Ron Howard, Sam Mendes?
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Postby dws1982 » Wed Dec 16, 2009 11:57 pm

Mister Tee wrote:dws' observation, that Hurt Locker never even got to his neck of the woods, is obviously valid, and I know it's frustrating for people who don't live near major urban centers to have to wait, sometimes in vain, for touted films to show up (my brother lives in Memphis and is constantly complaining there's nothing to see).

I think it did actually make it to my town (the next town over actually), but it was a one week only engagement at a theatre on the far side of town. I'm sure the theatre could've kept it longer if the ticket sales had been stronger. But looking at its daily per screen averages six weeks or so into its run--which is probably when it played here--I can see why they didn't keep it. The theater only gets what--about half of the ticket price? I don't know that they made money by playing The Hurt Locker at their theatre. (Of course, Harry Potter and GI Joe playing down the hall could more than offset their losses.) I know that you've said that people didn't seem to want to see it, and maybe a lot of people didn't. But I think a lot of people just didn't know about it. I never saw an ad for it on TV, or in the newspaper when it was playing. I don't think the studio quite knew how to sell it, given the way other Iraq-themed films had performed, and they (unintentionally) let it get buried.

And yes, your brother is right about Memphis. It seems to have no film scene at all, for some reason, despite being one of the twenty largest cities in the country. Nashville is much better, although it does sometimes take awhile for the films to get there. But still, things like Revanche and 35 Shots of Rum are making quick stops in Nashville, as well as a different classic every weekend (ranging from It's A Wonderful Life the week before Christmas, to Jeannie Dielman in January). Of course those films all play out of one privately-owned two-screen theatre, which is willing to show films that the big chains ignore.




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Postby The Original BJ » Wed Dec 16, 2009 11:25 pm

Regarding Stanley Tucci, I SERIOUSLY question his chances after seeing The Lovely Bones. It's the kind of role that, on paper, looks great. But he barely has anything to do in the film, and, as Tee says, the film isn't popular. I don't think a nomination is out of the question, but I'm doubting it a lot more after seeing the film.

I think what helps him, and especially Woody Harrelson, is the sheer paucity of Supporting Actor candidates. I know The Messenger's gross is tremendously low, but Harrelson is very good in the film, and he's a name, and he's done very well at the precursors. (Samantha Morton is an iffier proposition to me, simply because Supporting Actress is a significantly more crowded field.) Maybe Harrelson might be the inverse of the Sandra Bullock situation. In a thin Best Actress field, a big hit film without critical acclaim can make it; in Supporting Actor, maybe the critical praise for Harrelson will be enough to push him in despite the film's low grosses.

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Postby Mister Tee » Wed Dec 16, 2009 11:19 pm

Okri wrote:I think movie studios often do a poor job getting those films out to an audience. Children of Men will forever remain the example I cite. Now, I'm not on the Rosenbaum-led "give Hou a Hollywood marketing budget and watch the cash roll in" train, but I do think that some of these films that underperform could do much better with a smarter release. Or at least I hope that's the case. .

This is undoubtedly another case of "old timer thinks things were better in his day", but I think the primary reason many films peter out is the rushed release pattern. Back in the 70s, Carnal Knowledge would open in the major cities in June, and not hit "the neighborhoods" till Christmas -- and by then, awareness of the film would be fairly universal, so the film would be widely attended. Many of the great hit movies of that era -- MASH, Last Picture Show, Ameerican Graffiti, Cuckoo's Nest -- might have withered quickly if they were subjected to the same "wide or out in 4 weeks" method under which baically all films are released today.

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Postby Okri » Wed Dec 16, 2009 11:08 pm

I think I question that precept as well. Firstly, tiny Oscilloscope pictures is distributing The Messenger. How tiny? I hadn't heard of them before. Secondly, they did send out screeners to AMPAS, and sent them out EARLY. Using Ken Rudolph as our guide, they would've gotten them mid November (link for his receipt schedule). One thing I've consistently noticed is that for those small films, early pushes get them much farther than they otherwise would've gotten. Last year, Frozen River was first out the gate. In 2006, the first three screeners received were Little Miss Sunshine, United 93 and Half Nelson. I'm not saying the film's a huge candidate, but Morton and Harrelson are doing a surprisingly good job thus far on the critics circuit, and given how open the supporting categories are (what with Nine's underperformance and the "where do we place Laurent" game.) I don't think it's entirely wack (though I agree, it'll definitely be a test case).

Thirdly, I think movie studios often do a poor job getting those films out to an audience. Children of Men will forever remain the example I cite. Now, I'm not on the Rosenbaum-led "give Hou a Hollywood marketing budget and watch the cash roll in" train, but I do think that some of these films that underperform could do much better with a smarter release. Or at least I hope that's the case.

BJ, that was bad. And you know we're gonna hear it for the next three months.

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Postby Mister Tee » Wed Dec 16, 2009 10:55 pm

ITALIANO wrote:And of course even that OTHER great American actress won Oscars late in her career for so-so performances.

Stand it next to Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?, and Julie and Julia starts to resemble Moliere.

I certainly grasp that individual acting nominations can come from movies that have had low grosses, but I think the half-a-million of The Messenger really tests that premise. (And it's unlikely to climb; it's per-screen, as I said, is low, and it's losing theatres) Maybe it's just the startling not-even-a-million that gives me pause; all the other examples people have been giving -- while certainly viewed as from tiny grossers -- made at least SOME showing. (Some a bit more, if you factor in inflation on the older ones)

dws' observation, that Hurt Locker never even got to his neck of the woods, is obviously valid, and I know it's frustrating for people who don't live near major urban centers to have to wait, sometimes in vain, for touted films to show up (my brother lives in Memphis and is constantly complaining there's nothing to see). But long-standing economic models tell the studios that if films only perform modestly in initial runs, it's throwing good money after bad to push them further. And, as Oscar Guy says, it's not as if The Hurt Locker didn't have its shot out there, along with major critical push. People just didn't seem to want to see it. (One argument worth entertaining is whether a Weinsteinian Oscar-centered run would have turned out different)

flipp, I'm not really doing "the races" right now -- just touching on tangential things that have struck me. I guess maybe the one thing I might mention, about supporting actor, is I wonder if Stanley Tucci is in a bit of a bind right now. People expected all year that Lovely Bones would be his Oscar shot, but the reaction to the film appears to be bordering on hostile. Suddenly, a campaign for his praised work in Julie and Julia -- initially considered just a booster to the main event -- looks like a better way to go. But the Broadcasters/Globes -- dealing, as usual, in pre-establshed narratives -- have given him a nomination for the much iffier Bones. What does he do? Campaign for both?




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Postby The Original BJ » Wed Dec 16, 2009 10:46 pm

I see no situation where Where the Wild Things Are, A Single Man, and The Messenger nab Best Picture nominations before Up.

I'm with Okri -- with Nine, Invictus, A Serious Man, and (gulp!) An Education all struggling, the Best Picture chances of critical and commercial hit Up doesn't really seem to be up in the air at all. (Oh boy, that was bad. Sorry.)

To be fair, even with their struggles, there is room for all four of those films on the Best Picture list, I think. There's been a lot of talk post-Globes about how some or all of those films are "dead," but I don't see that many films that could possibly usurp them. I'm not saying the Oscar list will simply be a copy of the Broadcasters (though wouldn't they love that), but I don't view the final spots as being hugely competitive either. I guess we'll see.


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