Today! Because if I’m doing a fake movie, it’s gonna be a fake hit –
Directed by Ben Affleck
Starring Ben Affleck, Alan Arkin (x2), John Goodman (x2), Scoot McNairy, Victor Garber (x3), Bryan Cranston, Kyle Chandler (x2), Tate Donovan, Chris Messina, Philip Baker Hall (x2), Rory Cochrane, Clea DuVall (x2), Titus Welliver, Bob Gunton (x2), Richard Kind (x2), Richard Dillane, Adrienne Barbeau, Taylor Schilling, Christopher Denham, Zeljko Ivanek
When we as a people rose up and decried in one voice that we would not allow the slighting of Ben Affleck to continue for one goddamn minute longer, Argo became the surprise Best Picture winner of 2012, despite not receiving a Best Director nomination – as rare a thing to happen at the Oscars as any. And the pointed reason for this win is attributed to this general outrage of Affleck being overlooked, which I don’t really understand. Not the overlooking (even though it was probably a little unfair), but the outrage. Why did everyone care so much? And in a year that I will go to the wall to defend as one of the best in film history? It’s not like there weren’t other deserving and/or better films available. So why did everyone lose their minds over the nominations?
Like, did this seriously have to happen?
Today! Because the rabbi didn’t look busy!
A Serious Man (2009)
Directed by Ethan Coen & Joel Coen
Starring Michael Stuhlbarg, Fred Melamed, Richard Kind, Sari Lennick, Aaron Wolff, Jessica McManus, George Wyner, Fyvush Finkel, Simon Helberg (x2), Adam Arkin, Michael Lerner, Amy Landecker
The quality of Coen brothers’ films may have gotten more than a little uneven as the years have gone on, but they’ve never been uninteresting. They’ll pop up a bunch over the next year – they squarely fit my earlier definition of directors whose films I will run out and see no matter what – but their first is this darkly comic family struggle that gave us the fantastic Michael Stuhlbarg as the long suffering Larry Gopnik. His marriage falls apart, his kid is a bit of a mess, and the rabbis are no practical assistance, while Larry continually melts down. It’s a tremendous performance in a largely enjoyable film, mostly ignored on its initial release.
It did manage a Best Picture nomination – they’d just expanded the number of nominees up to ten for the 2009 awards, and a small, mostly overlooked film like this was a main beneficiary – in a year I clearly like more than I thought. This is already the fourth ’09 film, joining #377’s I Love You, Man, #383’s Sherlock Holmes, and #387’s Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. At a quick glance, it looks like the next film doesn’t come until #329, so if you’ve only come here for 2009 movies, see you again on May 31st! Continue reading