Om Nom Noms

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I have almost seen Lincoln twice. Both times I have realized that it was nearly three hours long and opted to either see something else or stay home and get something from Redbox. I just don’t like being in the theater that long unless I’m nearly guaranteed to love the movie. Daniel Day Lewis is my favorite actor, but that isn’t saying much. Admitting that the person who is the best at a thing in all the world is your favorite person who does that particular thing doesn’t take that much conviction or depth of character. That’s like saying Batman is my favorite vigilante crime fighter or Louis C.K. is my favorite stand up.

I did, however, see The Master. I have never seen another movie with two such fantastically talented actors delivering two such compelling and nuanced performances that I hated quite so much as I hated The Master. The biggest problem with The Master is I got it. I absolutely understand what the movie was trying to accomplish and how I was supposed to feel while watching it. I know what the intended take away was, what the director was trying to say about the human condition, the way we relate to others, the way we cling to each other while simultaneously driving each other away, loneliness  compulsion, dishonesty with one’s self vs. dishonesty with others, the power of the dynamic orator over the weak minded, I TOTALLY GOT ALL OF IT. I just so happened to have abhorred the experience of actually watching it. It’s like a really expensive bad meal at the finest restaurant in town. You know what you’re eating is classy and sophisticated and a lot of thought and effort was put into it, and even though you can detect the subtle complexities of the interplay between the flavors it just tastes like a a shoe full of shit.

The Master’s biggest problem is the story of Hoffman’s L. Ron Hubbardesque author and his burgeoning cult is quite fascinating. So, obviously, the movie basically ignores all of that and uses it as a backdrop to tell the story… no there’s no actual story… to SHOW YOU SOME STUFF FOR A BIT about Phoenix’s listless, alcoholic, sex crazed dimwitted, violent drifter. Even by my description, he sounds pretty fascinating. Trust me. He isn’t. There are no less than three scenes in the film where Hoffman’s character uses Scientol… THE CAUSE to infuriate Phoenix into a state of highly suggestible mental pliability from which he can be brainwashed. Since these scenes (one where Phoenix is forced to walk from one end of a room to the other with his eyes closed at least 40 times) take up roughly 30 minutes of the nearly three hour movie. It is excruciating. Just watching a man get more and more frustrated with his antagonist in real time is not my idea of an enjoyable time at the movies or a good way to spend $18. But they both totally deserve an Oscar. No question. Great performances. Terrible movie.

COMMENTERS: Do you have any Oscar predictions?  Have YOU ever seen a film where an actor’s performance was enthralling, captivating and through provoking, but you still hated the movie?

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    • *I don't think Tarrantino will win though. Too many old people vote. Seriously, the Academy is mainly made up of geriatrics. Thats why "The Artist" won. It reminded them of the good old days.

        • Let me use a different example. The academy is filled with geriatrics. That’s why Forest gump beat pulp fiction for best picture.

          • Well they're supposed to switch over to electronic ballots this year. So maybe when they finally give up and call in their grandchildren to "work the computer" for them, the grand-kids of the academy voters can vote for good movies and just tell grandpa that they put down their selections.

  1. It's funny that you describe your complaint about The Master the way you do, because I did see Lincoln, and my complaint with it was somehow both similar and completely opposite. I also thought the movie was really well done, well written and directed, and filled with top-notch actors giving tremendous performances. But my trouble was that when it finally ended, I didn't know what the creators wanted the audience to take away from it. It was interesting in a historical way, but it wasn't a documentary, so… what else? What was I meant to be feeling, what was the message, what was the point? Besides to educate us, what? I still don't know, so I can't help feeling vaguely dissatisfied with the whole experience.

    As for The Master, I'm sorry to hear you say that. I was an extra on that film for a few days in one of the Cause rally scenes, and was actually looking forward to seeing what the film had to say about the whole "cult of personality" phenomenon, so to hear that that's mostly tucked into the background is disappointing. Ah well. I'll see it anyway!

  2. " Have YOU ever seen a film where an actor’s performance was enthralling, captivating and through provoking, but you still hated the movie?"

    Gangs of New York: Daniel Day Lewis was so freaking good as Bill The Butcher he deserved to win 12 Oscars for every second he was on screen. So many people talk about how the truly terrifying villain is the one who firmly believes that he is the hero, and I have personally never seen that concept captured more magnificently than by Day Lewis in that role.

    But the actual experience of watching that film-of enduring the plodding pace and the horrible accents attempted by sub-DDL actors-is so nut-shrivellingly bad that I will likely never get to enjoy that magnificent performance again.

    • Your complaints about that movie are valid, but I can't NOT love it specifically because of DDL's amazing performance. I could watch Bill the Butcher for 8 hours, which is only about an hour longer than the movie actually is. DiCaprio is a good actor but he drops his accent about 20 minutes in and rarely picks it back up. Very distracting. And Cameron Diaz? Who… how… why? Such an odd choice for such a grand movie. Still DDL saves it for me and elevates it to one of my favorite movies.

  3. The Fall. Lee Pace, henceforth to be referred to as The Pie-maker, is spectacular in every aspect of his performance. The cinematography is gorgeous, but the story itself is almost an almost nonsensical excuse for exoticism. The story of the injured actor fooling a child into getting him morphine to kill himself is interesting and The Pie-maker carries the emotional weight of it well. But when you get into the story within the story and the narrators pushing the story towards different endings was just painful. I understood it represented the struggle of The Pie-maker's character's suicidal tendencies and the girl's attempts to redeem him but I just could not get into it at all.

    • Thank you for finally putting into words how I felt about The Fall! I've never been able to figure out how to say that. Thank you again for referencing one of my favorite shows in a positive manner. I only ever see people bring it up in an "Oh that got cancelled." manner.

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