Win Win

As I promised in my review for Barney’s Version, I went out to see Win Win with my new found interest in Paul Giamatti.  He didn’t disappoint me either, supported by a network of rich characters.  Tom McCarthy’s The Station Agent and The Visitor set me up for something spectacular.  Was it spectacular?  No, but it was entirely enjoyable and left me satisfied with a good concoction of humor and warm fuzzies.  It’s important to know that Win Win didn’t abandon common sense in order to contrive its feel-good moments.  It felt honest.  Tom McCarthy has demonstrated the ability to write in enough complexity and flaws into his characters to create sincere connections amongst his characters that don’t require cheap happy endings for warm fuzzies.

Jackie (Amy Ryan) is the wife of Mike (Paul Giamatti) and mother of two girls.  Rather than simply a sounding board to the central male protagonist, Jackie is a separate force of spunk and integrity.  Leo (Burt Young) and Terry (Bobby Cannavale) are delightful side characters that offer lots of comic relief in the somber story of ordinary folk.  Kyle (Alex Shaffer), a troubled teenage boy, falls into the hands of Mike, a struggling small town attorney and an even worse-off high school wrestling coach.  As anticipated by the trailers, Kyle turns out to be a remarkable wrestler.  As exciting as wrestling can be (I have no idea what that feels like), this movie isn’t the one to showcase its awesomeness.  It’s not really about the sport, or the game.  In other words, I wouldn’t get your hopes up for a heroic showdown of squirming prepubescent boys.  Overall, a pretty good film.  Do you need to go see it?  No, but if you’ve got a few dollars around and would like to treat yourself for a couple hours, go on ahead… $7

Recommendations from Yolkie:

The Station Agent
Sideways
The Fighter

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… Oscar Picks

So I gotta say, I haven’t seen all the nominated films.  But I got all excited reading the mug’s nominations so I gotsa to fill in mine.  Ditto on the order, best to suckiest, with N/As on the bottom that I haven’t seen.  I’ll update along the way after I’ve watched the other films.  So far I agree with the mug, the best leading actor should have gone to Ryan Gosling for Blue Valentine.

BEST PICTURE

Commentary:  Black Swan rocked it this year.  I mean, visually orgasmic, emotionally riveting, powerful performance by Natalie Portman.  That said Winter’s Bone I thought was a wonderfully crafted beautiful movie.  Social Network was good, but somewhat overrated, and I ❤ Pixar.
Black Swan
Winter’s Bone
Toy Story 3
The King’s Speech
The Fighter
The Social Network
The Kids Are All Right
True Grit
Inception
127 Hours

ACTRESS IN LEADING ROLE

Commentary:  The best actor/actress roles are always difficult for me, because it’s hard evaluate.  Do you pick who is the most true to the role and most believable, or who you think did that role better than anyone else could, because the two are not always the same.  In this case, I think they are a bit different.  Natalie Portman gave an amazing performance that would have been difficult to replicate for anyone else.  That said, Jennifer Lawrence was so real, so raw in her role, she did an amazing job, especially given her young age.

Natalie Portman
Jennifer Lawrence
Michelle Williams
Annette Bening
Nicole Kidman (N/A)

ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

Commentary:  The best actor nominations were a huge disappointment this year.  Really… Jessie Eisenberg was chosen as a nominee over Ryan Gosling?  First of all, I have issue because Justin Timberland (Justin TIMBER-lake for god’s sake) and Andrew Garfield totally stole Eisenberg’s thunder in the movie.  Eisenberg was little more than a wallflower, which is fine if that’s what it’s supposed be about, but honestly, a movie about Facebook where Zuckerberg is supposed to be a wallflower?  Seems a bit unbelievable.  Not only that, but the role was hardly a stretch for Eisenberg.  Given the two qualifications above in the leading lady category, being realistic in the role, and not seeing anyone else who could do the role better, Eisenberg fills neither qualification. I mean, I still confuse Eisenberg with Michael Cera and sometimes Adam Samberg.  Also, though Colin Firth was good in The King’s Speech, he still seemed to be little more than Mr. Darcy with a stutter.

Colin Firth
Jeff Bridges
James Franco
Jesse Eisenberg
Javier Bardem (N/A)

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Commentary:  Melissa Lao does a remarkable job of the messed up mom of Mickey Ward. Hailee Steinfield does an admirable job of keeping up with her co-stars, especially given her age, but even so I didn’t think it was the best I’ve seen of Jeff Bridges or Matt Damon.  Also, why is Steinfield in the supporting role category whereas Jeff Bridges is in the leading role category?

Melissa Leo

Hailee Steinfield
Amy Adams
Helena Bonham Carter
Jacki Weaver (N/A)

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Commentary:  This was a difficult decision.  I was all set on John Hawkes, and then I saw the Fighter.  Christian Bale did an incredible job as Nicky Ward.  However, John Hawkes had an amazing portrayal of Teardrop, and cannot believe he’s also freaking Lennon on Lost AND Dustin Powers on Eastbound and Down, AND he doesn’t seem like an asshole in public.  The man’s talent knows no bounds.

Christian Bale

John Hawkes
Geoffrey Rush
Mark Ruffalo
Jeremy Renner (N/A)

DIRECTING

Commentary:  Darren Aronfsky’s directing for Black Swan was remarkable, marvelous and awe-inspiring.  Beautifully tangled, artfully directed, though one comment I have is that did anyone else think it’s weird that Black Smoke monster music was on while the Black Swan emerged?  In addition, Tom Hopper did a bang-up job for The King’s Speech, some innovative camera shots and close ups especially considering it’s Victorian context.  I’d add Blue Valentine here as well, and although Derek Cianfrance’s methods are certain unconventional and probably inapplicable for any other setting, the style ended up being so overly intimate, it would be hard to imagine anything else more appropriate for that film.

Darren Aronofsky for Black Swan
Tom Hopper for The King’s Speech
Coen Brothers for True Grit
David Fincher for The Social Network
David O. Russel for The Fighter

OSCAR PICKS

In anticipation for the upcoming Oscars, the Fat Kids are making Oscar picks.  Here are the picks for the Mug.  They are RANKED in order from choicest pick at the top, to suckiest at the bottom.  The films that have not been seen are marked “N/A”.  And for the record, best leading actor should have gone to Ryan Gosling for Blue Valentine.

BEST PICTURE

Black Swan

 

 

The Social Network
The Fighter
The King’s Speech
True Grit
Winter’s Bone
The Kids Are All Right
Toy Story 3
Inception
127 Hours (N/A)

ACTRESS IN LEADING ROLE

Natalie Portman

 

 

Nicole Kidman
Michelle Williams
Jennifer Lawrence
Annette Bening

ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

Colin Firth

 

 

Jeff Bridges
Jesse Eisenberg
James Franco (N/A)
Javier Bardem (N/A)

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Hailee Steinfield

 

 

Melissa Leo
Amy Adams
Helena Bonham Carter
Jacki Weaver (N/A)

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Christian Bale

 

 

John Hawkes
Geoffrey Rush
Mark Ruffalo
Jeremy Renner (N/A)

DIRECTING

Darren Aronofsky for Black Swan

 

 

David O. Russel for The Fighter
David Fincher for The Social Network
Tom Hopper for The King’s Speech
Coen Brothers for True Grit

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