Even if you have a circumspect attitude about Jordan Peele‘s horror satire, there’s no denying that Get Out has become an award season cultural topic that won’t subside. The torch has been burning for nearly a year now. This Honest Trailers riff just popped yesterday.
It almost goes without saying that films about musicians will focus on boozy, self-destructive behavior — Walk The Line, Bird, I Saw The Light, Payday, Michael Apted‘s Stardust, The Joker Is Wild, etc. But Blaze feels home-grown and self-owned in a subdued sort of way. It has a downmarket, lived-in vibe. I wasn’t exactly “entertained”, but every line, scene and performance felt honest and unforced.
(l. to r.) Blaze star Ben Dickey, cowriter Sybil Rosen, director-cowriter Ethan Hawke.
Gifted but temperamental with a serious booze problem, Foley (Ben Dickey) never really got rolling as a recording artist, but he was a well-respected outlaw artist with a certain following in the ’70s and ’80s. Dickey’s purry singing style, similar to Foley’s, reminds me of a sadder Tony Joe White (“Polk Salad Annie”).
Hawke focuses on the guy’s soft, meditative side and particularly his relationship with real-life ex Sybil Rosen (Alia Shawkat). He gets a truly exceptional performance out of Dickey, a hulking, elephant-sized musician who’s never acted prior to this. Dickey’s Foley is such a good fit — centered, settled, unhurried — that I nearly forgot about the bulk factor.
Blaze offers noteworthy supporting perfs from Kris Kristofferson (as Foley’s dad), Sam Rockwell, Richard Linklater, Steve Zahn (as a trio of record company partners) and Josh Hamilton, among others.
The script was co-written by Hawke and Rosen, author of a relationship memoir titled titled “Living in the Woods in a Tree: Remembering Blaze Foley“. You can just sense that Hawke knows musician behavior like his own. Hell, I was one myself (i.e., a mediocre drummer) for a while, and know the turf to some extent, and it all feels right.
Does the 127-minute length seem a bit long? Maybe. I was talking to a couple of critics who felt this way. I wasn’t bothered — the laid-back pacing agrees with the rural milieu and contemplative, occasionally surly country-dude attitude.
There’s a documentary called Blaze Foley: Duct Tape Messiah, directed by Kevin Triplett and released in 2011.
I’m not feeling the hunger today. I feel a bit drained. I’m just gonna see what I can at a casual pace. Nobody’s in a hurry, everyone’s an adult. Jason Reitman‘s Tully (Focus, 4.20) will screen at the Eccles early Thursday evening (6:30 pm).
The weather has been in the low 30s and 20s and even the high teens late at night. These shorts were being worn yesterday by a Sundance volunteer.
“I accept this award cheerfully, under no duress. With deep obligations and thanks to many. Particularly to the Zanucks, father and son, who gave the Patton project their confidence and support during the 20 years which have elapsed since I first proposed it. Thank you.” — Patton producer Frank McCarthy.
Ava DuVernay‘s A Wrinkle In Time (Disney, 3.9) doesn’t feel like a “problem” film as much as a guarantee of howling agony…no offense. Really not looking forward.
HE answer: Don’t be tedious. There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
“Okay, you could call the relentless, never-ending cycle of creation, destruction and renewal a divine thing if you want, but the only reason any of us are here boils down to mere chance. In other words, we got lucky.
“Ava DuVernay and Jeffrey Wells were born on this blue planet for exactly and precisely the same reason that a certain blade of grass sprouted on a large fairway at the Bel Air Country Club last March. Why did this particular blade of grass happen to punch through the soil? Because God has a plan.
“Oprah Winfrey plays Mrs. Which, Reese Witherspoon plays Mrs. Whatsit and Mindy Kaling plays Mrs. Who. (The latter is rumored to be the great granddaughter of Who, the baseball player from the Abbott & Costello ‘Who’s On First?’ routine.)”
Regarded by virtually everyone as one of the most transcendent and emotionally affecting love stories of the 21st Century, Call Me By Your Name was nominated this morning for a Best Picture Oscar — great. Does it have even a slight chance of winning? Nope. Two widely respected but imperfect films with plot holes, unlikely occurences and reality detachments up the wazoo are far more favored in that regard; ditto a socially relevant horror satire that’s been absurdly, reflexively overpraised.
Does anyone care if (a) the three leading Best Picture contenders are clearly flawed to some extent while (b) a brilliant, unblemished masterpiece has been relegated to the “almost but no cigar” box? Answer: Nobody cares, it doesn’t matter, things are as they are.
Why did Luca Guadagnino‘s film, which has a 96% Rotten Tomatoes score, get kicked downstairs into the “we really like you but forget it” realm? Because another gay film won the Best Picture Oscar last year, and because the Academy’s old male fart contingent has been cool to the Guadagnino all along.
Does anyone care that Call Me By Your Name is easily one of the three best films of the year (along with Dunkirk and Lady Bird), and that Michael Stuhlbarg‘s climactic monologue in Guadagnino’s film — without question the most emotionally affecting stand-alone scene of the year — never even began to acquire award-season traction? Answer: Nobody cares, it doesn’t matter, things are as they are.
From “Maybe It’s Not Over,” posted on 1.12.18: “Accept it — a Best Picture Oscar for a very handsomely composed genre film about rapturous mercy sex with the Creature From the Love Lagoon might soon be placed alongside the statuettes for Birdman, Spotlight, The Hurt Locker, 12 Years A Slave, Platoon, The Godfather Part II, A Man For All Seasons and The Best Years of Our Lives in the Academy’s golden display case in the upstairs lobby. Almost certainly.
“It will therefore cinch a hard-fought triumph over (a) one of the boldest, most avant garde and stunningly captured war films ever made, (b) the most emotionally affecting and transformational gay love story since Brokeback Mountain and probably of the 21st Century, and (c) one of the sharpest, punchiest and most fetchingly performed coming-of-age tales about a young woman at the start of her adult life, and in a year that obviously cries out for a top-tier woman-directed film and/or a female-centric story to be celebrated above all.
Hollywood Elsewhere respects Bill McCuddy‘s award-season gut calls, but his recent dismissal of the Best Picture Oscar chances of Guillermo del Toro‘s The Shape of Water, which collected 13 nominations this morning, is a head-scratcher. I told him this morning that he “has to answer for Santino.” McCuddy’s stonewalling reply: “I didn’t say it wouldn’t get nominated. Won’t win. Fantasy. LaLa Land.”
The Oscar nominations for the 90th annual awards were not only announced this morning from the Samuel Goldwyn Theater but in a few instances mispronounced, eccentrically personalized and generally murdered by the colorful Tiffany Haddish. Her inwardly grimacing co-presenter Andy Serkis helplessly stood by.
Is it too much to ask presenters to rehearse or otherwise summon the elocutionary discipline to pronounce names and titles correctly? Haddish conveyed disrespect, stress, indifference, “too much for my realm,” etc.
13 nominations for Guillermo del Toro‘s The Shape of Water, eight noms for Chris Nolan‘s Dunkirk, seven for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri and a general inclination to diminish the traditional classy sheen and to transform the Oscars into the People’s Choice Awards, at least on a here-and-there basis.
Hooray for Lesley Manville‘s Best Supporting Actress nom for her perfect Phantom Thread performance.
All hail Mudbound dp Rachel Morrison for landing the first Best Cinematography nomination for a woman in Oscar history, and cheers to Lady Bird‘s Greta Gerwig for becoming the fifth woman in Academy history to snag a Best Director nom.
Best HE comment so far from “alexandercoleman“: “So the two big frontrunners are The Shape of Water, which failed to receive a Best Ensemble Award nomination at SAG, and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, which failed to receive a Best Director Oscar nomination. Though the former seems to have the momentum, for whatever that is worth, by traditional standards both would seem to have clay feet.”
“Call Me by Your Name”, “Darkest Hour”, “Dunkirk”, “Get Out”, “Lady Bird”, “Phantom Thread”, “The Post”, “The Shape of Water”, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.”
“Dunkirk,” Christopher Nolan
“Get Out,” Jordan Peele
“Lady Bird,” Greta Gerwig
“Phantom Thread,” Paul Thomas Anderson
“The Shape of Water,” Guillermo del Toro
Timothée Chalamet, “Call Me by Your Name”
Daniel Day-Lewis, “Phantom Thread”
Daniel Kaluuya, “Get Out”
Gary Oldman, “Darkest Hour”
Denzel Washington, “Roman J. Israel, Esq.”
HE comment: Denzel deserves this nomination (I loved his Asperger’s savant legal-eagle performance) but how many saw a nomination coming? Denzel took over, I guess, in the wake of the apparent James Franco snub in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations. Right?
Sally Hawkins, “The Shape of Water”
Frances McDormand, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Margot Robbie, “I, Tonya”
Saoirse Ronan, “Lady Bird”
Meryl Streep, “The Post”
Co-Oscar nomination announcer Tiffany Haddish: “Ah gotta see this Dunkirk. A lot of people seem to like it.” Co-announcer Andy Serkis grins, inwardly winces. Haddish meant this, I think. Film culture — this morning at least — is no longer hanging in the balance; it’s been dropped on the floor like a cracked egg.
I especially like the way Haddish pronounces Baby Driver as “Baby Drahver.”
Haddish cavalcade: (a) She mispronounces Luca Guadagnino; (b) She mispronounces Daniel Kaluuya‘s last name; (c) She pronounces “Ebbing, Missouri” as “Ebbin Missourah”; (d) Michael H. Weber is pronounced Michael H. Wilbur; (e) “All these [exotic-sounding] titles make a woman from an urban area very uncomfortable.”
Haddish is deliberately stumbling…right? It’s a bit? Or she couldn’t be bothered to rehearse?