Multiple Enthusiasms

Infinite jest. Excellent fancy. Flashes of merriment.

Awards season

In the midst of all my traveling and holidaying, I think I missed that the Hollywood Foreign Press association had announced their nominations; they’ll name the winners on Sunday night, apparently. E! online has a full list of the nominees right here, if you’re interested.

I was, until I then read them, after which I felt decidedly less interested.

I admit I used to be into the Globes and the Oscars. I watched them every year during college. I generally recall very little about the winners; I remember the year Roberto Benigni stepped on Spielberg’s head as he made his way up to accept his acting award for Life is Beautiful, beating out the likes of Edward Norton (American History X), Tom Hanks (Saving Private Ryan), and Sir Ian McKellan (Gods and Monsters). He didn’t, unfortunately, beat Joseph Fiennes, who was basically the only person not nominated for Shakespeare in Love even though he was, in fact, Shakespeare in love. The only thing I remember about the Globes is the year Jack Nicholson gave part of his acceptance speech (As Good As It Gets, I think) out of his ass, a la Jim Carrey in Ace Ventura, Pet Detective.

So, this year’s Globes nominations.

I’ve seen precisely none of the movies nominated for drama, and only two nominated as comedies: Burn After Reading, which I wish somebody had burned after editing, and In Bruges, which actually ended up being one of my favorite films all year. Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson in the titular Bruges, which is a city in Europe, and it’s odd and weird and surreal and extraordinarily off-beat but never overly so, and plus written and directed by Martin McDonagh. McDonagh is a critically acclaimed playwright, but never once does it show through. Usually, I’ve tended to notice that movies written or directed by playwrights, or even based on plays, tend not to be able to disguise their roots (I’m looking at you, David Mamet. Especially House of Yes, which I thought less of as a movie than as someone just recorded the theatrical performance); In Bruges busts that wide open, and it’s actually rather terrific. Farrell gives the kind of performance that he should have become known for ages ago, rather than . . . well, what exactly was he known for, besides partying and Bullseye?

It is, ostensibly, a crime movie; Farrell and Gleeson play hitmen, but there’s actually very little in the way of actual crime in the movie. Its events occur after a particular job, so it’s more like they’re on vacation. I’ve heard some people expecting a Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels have been disappointed, which makes sense as it’s not at all like Barrels, but it’s certainly a great between-crimes movie on its own. It’s subtle and even moving while still managing to be pretty fucking cool.

Besides that single movie, however, the rest of the Globes’ movie nominations are less interesting. I’m interested in both Revolutionary Road and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, but in neither case am I rushing out to see them, obviously. I’ve heard great things about Langella’s performance in Frost/Nixon, but the movie itself remains named after a guy interviewing a president during the 70s: meh.

Robert Downey, Jr., gets nominated for Tropic Thunder, which I shut off after twenty minutes because it was kinda dumb, but totally ignored for the totally rad Ironman, while Heath Ledger picks up his all-but-handed-already-to-him nomination for The Dark Knight. I mean, they basically filled the entire rest of the supporting actor category with also-rans; Tom Cruise for Tropic Thunder? Novelty at best, and no one’s yet ready to forgive Tom Cruise for the past few years, which is a damned shame because Valkyrie looks completely rad. Ralph Fiennes and Philip Seymour Hoffman get the other nods, and I don’t call them also-rans because they’re not both extremely terrific actors, but rather because everyone just seems to want to give Ledger a posthumous statue for a performance that was certainly good but by no means great, and which lacked all the subtlety, technicality, and craft he brought to, say, Brokeback Mountain and even 10 Things I Hate About You.

WALL-E gets its nomination for animated feature, of course. I keep hearing people fawn over it, but they often seem to have forgotten its second half, which: not very good. Some mention the physical comedy of it, which seems a bit of a stretch given that it’s a CGI movie starring a robot, but which I’ll go with because the first half of the movie, which is pretty much dialogue free, is rather excellent. Technically virtuoso, even. Pretty amazing. And is Fred Willard the only live-actor to have ever appeared in a Pixar movie? Because that’s pretty rad. Otherwise, I mean, I liked it, but I didn’t love it like I loved The Incredibles. Still, I know they set out to accomplish different things, and both managed to mostly achieve it. I guess I just can’t get past WALL-E‘s second half and the flaws that really come out there, whereas I thought The Incredibles was note-perfect. Also: I’m totally ready for Bolt. That looks awesome.

Television . . . confession: the sole reason I’ve owned a television during the past decade was to play my Playstation 2, last year. Besides that: not much in the way of need.

Still, I do manage to catch some great stuff; lately, I’ve been loving The Mentalist, and of course I can’t wait for Supernatural and House to return. Were it up to me, the cast and crew of House would sweep the whole category, while Supernatural would win the comedy category (which it’s not, exactly, but it is genre, which seems to be what “comedy” means in the context of the Globes). And besides, I mean, I’ve seen The Office, Entourage, and Californication, and House is way funnier than any of them.

Still, come Monday morning, I’m sure fewer people will be talking about who won what than about what zany thing Jack Nicholson did. He’s always good for something zany, isn’t he?


  1. I loved Benjamin Button and Gran Torino.

    I’m going to watch Slumdog Millionaire tonight. Donny wants to see Burn After Reading… but I’m not too interested in that.

    Oh, I totally Stumbled this.

  2. I like this so much more than blogspot.

    I want to blog for ::whines::

    Where was I? Oh yes. I need to watch a LOT of movies. I am considerably behind.

  3. @Nina: oh, I’ve heard good things about Gran Torino. I really want to see it, in fact. And Eastwood is, and always will be, awesome. I mean, he’s, like, 80 and could still kick most people’s ass. Because he’s Eastwood.

    @Chrissa: Thanks! I never really used blogspot. But I’m glad you like it. And guest blogs sound like fun. I’m certainly not closed to it.

  4. The only thing I have to look forward to this award season is your mock acceptance speech. Well? I’m waiting Will…

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