Thursday, November 27, 2014

Fox caught

It's 11:30 on Thanksgiving Eve and it's been two weeks since I've updated the blog and I'm still up, so I thought I'd write you a quick one. You know, to tide you over until I get back to Australia next week.

I thought November would be a comparatively dry month for movies, what with me spending over half of it on vacation. Nothing could be further from the truth. I've seen seven movies over the course of three different plane trips (of the four I've taken), and four other movies, meaning 11 total since I left. More on the plane movies when I return, and complete my total with at least two and probably more on the return flight. Wish I Was Here, I've got my eye on you. You'd make a perfect plane movie.

But what I want to tell you about now is that I achieved my goal of movies to catch, so to speak, in the theater while I'm here in the U.S.

Birdman was optional. The movie opens on January 15th in Australia, which means I can watch it and then immediately add it to my list before the list needs to be finalized a few hours later. Did it last year with Inside Llewyn Davis and Her, and it worked out great. (Though given a few more days to think about it, I would have ranked Davis -- which ended up my #3 -- even higher, and probably dropped 21st ranked Her by as many as ten spots.) And I did see Birdman our second afternoon in Maine, when my dad watched our kids so both my wife and I could go.

But the real prize was Foxcatcher, which doesn't open in Australia until two weeks after my rankings close. Last year, the delayed release date of prestige pictures kept me from ranking 12 Years a Slave, The Wolf of Wall Street, Nebraska and Dallas Buyers Club, among others. I already know I'm losing a big prize, Inherent Vice, this year. I don't think it opens until February.

Foxcatcher would have befallen the same fate, except it's already open in Los Angeles -- which means not only am I not seeing it two months later than you are, but I'm actually seeing it earlier than most of you.

This pleases me. This pleases me greatly.

And saw it I did on Tuesday morning, while my wife was on a play date with one of her friends. (Their respective children were there too.)

The fact that I'm seeing it before most of you is not what pleases me, though my phrasing might indicate otherwise. It's that I get to include it on the list. A year-end list of movies loses a touch or two of credibility when it doesn't contain, oh, half of the best picture nominees, as was the case in 2013. I don't know if Foxcatcher will receive a best picture nomination, but it definitely could, and Steve Carell is almost certain to receive a best actor nomination. (High creep factor. High.)

There may be others I will miss this year -- in fact, I'm sure there are. In fact, I can tell you some of the titles: Wild, The Theory of Everything and The Interview will all slip beyond my grasp. The Theory of Everything is actually also open here, so if I'd structured my visit a little differently, maybe I'd have seen that too.

But I'm happy enough to have caught the Fox.

As a movie completist, I now feel a little more complete.

When you do end up seeing Foxcatcher, I want you to tell me which is the most impressive artificial enhancement to an actor's appearance: Carell's prosthetic nose, Mark Ruffalo's receding hairline or Channing Tatum's cauliflower ears.


Don Handsome said...

Ruffalo's the most impressive part of the film to me by far. His transformation is more subtle but still his hairline, his hulking trunk, his hands, his bloated appearance...its just tremendous. The fact that he can convey a gentle and tender side from the midst of this appearance makes his performance the best of the three in this film.

Derek Armstrong said...

I've been thinking about it and I think you're right. The great thing about any Ruffalo performance is that there is so much less Acting going on. The man is at ease at all times. He's always on human scale ... and this makes some of the things he does seem all the more wonderful.