Tuesday, January 15, 2008


Reactions to the Golden Globes:

I miss acceptance speeches. Sure, 95% of them are pointless self-indulgences, but every once in awhile you get a gem, a moment of humor or genuine emotion. That's worth it.

The awards show was (thank you WGA) a starless affair -- unless you consider Billy Bush a star, and I don't. All awards shows are at their core kind of ridiculous. The fun of the Globes was always seeing everyone at this incredible party. And seeing alcohol loosen a few tongues. None of that this year.

Some of the award winners remain unseen by me (I'm working on it). But I know more than a few.

-- Julie Christie in Away From Her is superb, never indulging the self-pity that her Alzheimer-suffering character begs. But to me, that film belongs mostly to Gordon Pinsent as her caregiving husband, a man who came to care just a little later than he should have.

John Cleese of "Monty Python" fame once said of comedy that it was never enough to just act crazy. In order for the comedy to work, you need someone to observe someone else acting crazy. Tragedy works in a similar way. It's not enough to see Christie's downward descent. The tragedy hits home when we see Pinsent observing her descent.

-- The idea that Sweeney Todd is in (and won) a category that includes "comedy" in its title is more than a little absurd. It has its moments of blackhearted humor, but a comedy this ain't.

Johnny Depp is quite powerful in the role though, it's true. Much has been made about how he and co-star Helena Bonham Carter don't bring big giant traditional Broadway voices to their singing parts. I would say that their style here is more apt for the intimate, sometimes uncomfortable staging director Tim Burton brings to Sondheim's musical. They draw in, rather than boom out. Movies are not plays.

-- The Coen's writing and direction of No Country for Old Men is indisputably masterful. I know the film has disappointed certain people who have been programmed to expect every film to end with a gun battle. Too bad for them. Even they can't deny the skill and economy of the suspense throughout the body of the movie.

Javier Bardem's win is inevitable. It's already come to be a cliche to say his Anton Chiggurh is the most memorable film villain since Hannibal Lecter. As with a lot of cliches, the reason it's a cliche is because it's true.

-- Ratatouille is just as inevitably the best animated film of the year; the biggest no-brainer of the night. It could reasonably have challenged in the "Best Musical or Comedy" category.

-- On the TV side, glad to see the love sent the way of "Mad Men" and its star Jon Hamm. The most subtly subversive show on television this year, the first season encores on AMC starting 21 January 2008. If you missed it the first time around, catch it now when new scripted TV is rarer and rarer.

-- Comedy wins for three series that I enjoyed in 2007, "30 Rock," "Extras" and "Californication" are all welcome. I wonder a bit about classing "Californication" as a comedy, but why quibble? Congrats Dave!

-- And maybe the biggest surprise of the night: HBO's "Longford" shutting out the Emmy fave "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee" in all the TV movie categories. And in my opinion, rightly so.

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