2013 Robert Downey, Jr. Entertainer of the Year Award

2013 Robert Downey, Jr. Entertainer of the Year

James Franco

In what ended up being a prescient post I was assigned James Franco in a Facebook Actor Game. Basically I was assigned him by a friend and asked to categorize movies he’d been in. Here were my observations, both general and on one of his films of this year. In general:

In my first time playing I was assigned James Franco, which is a pretty interesting choice, and not just because he’s already in the running for Entertainer of the Year this year. So I figured I’d share my thoughts in something slightly larger than a Facebook post here. Also, if you’re so inclined you can like The Movie Rat’s Facebook page here.

And on the specific film from this year, This is the End:

It’s too early to tell if this film really is a game-changer, however, what can be said is that it’s a fantastically executed concept and uproariously funny. Crass and immature, yes, but funny too.

As it turns out it was a bit of a game-changer for James Franco, as opposed to a comedy trend (as of yet), because I saw a few other titles with him since then that sealed the deal.

Oz the Great and Powerful is no great shakes, but it wasn’t in my estimation a poor or disconnected Franco but rather a fairly flat film that he made a little more interesting and a less-than-admirable character.

This is the End (2013, Sony Pictures)

As for more specifics about his participation in This is the End, if it was the last film I’d seen him in this past year, I’m likely picking someone else as a winner. However, the fact that in the middle of the performances of his I saw is a hilarious send-up of how he’s perceived (being perhaps overly-intellectual and perhaps pretentious) while shouting down Danny McBride’s masturbatory habits is the jewel in the crown, for lack of a more humorous term.

Following that I saw Homefront. In Homefront he plays a character named Gator in what is essentially one of the more ideal Jason Statham vehicles yet devised. And while I’d fall short of calling his antagonistic turn there multi-faceted it is a bit more dimensional than most characters of that ilk are given the leeway to be. Franco’s handling of the character and the way he operates surely make Gator stand out more than he likely wold have in the hands of most other actors.

Spring Breakers (2013, A24)

Lastly, at least based on what I saw, there was Spring Breakers, now you’ll note I didn’t particularly care for that film. However, make no mistake about it that there are things about it that I appreciated, and had it not been for Franco as Alien I may not have even have had the desire to complete it because after a certain point he was all that tethered me to the narrative.

That just takes into account what I could see. Many other things Franco was involved in hit Netflix later in the year, or didn’t even get there by year’s end, and they are things I do want to see, like: Interior. Leather Bar., Lovelace, As I Lay Dying, Palo Alto and Child of God.

And that’s just film work. With Franco going to adapt classic works of literature like The Sound and the Fury, I’m more than a little curious about his fiction. All that and he’ll be back perhaps a bit more inspired of all this for the continuation of the Apes prequels. One way in which this award can be viewed as in a career-path altering one, at least in terms of perception. My first selection, the namesake, was a comeback; next a multiple hat-wearer; next a breakout star; next an established star with a varied year; here it’s more an established name elevating his standing in my eyes based on an incredible run, may it keep going.

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Best Films of 2013: 30-26

The easy question to ask is: “why do a list at all when you already have an awards slate on your site?” It’s a good question and I finally may have formulated the best response to it yet. Basically, it’s a less comparative discussion on each film that you feel marked the year fro you. In writing a list you discuss each film and a only every few numbers or so get bogged down in discussing placement.

I will try my best to avoid redundancy and will link and self-quote where I deem necessary but it was in re-watching something that I came upon the aforementioned truth. Awards with their winners and fellow nominees and then snub-ees can be read as a slight, though that is never the intent. A list as celebratory, if not more so because of the insularity of conversation.

Now 30 is a high number and I could’ve increased it. I saw the most eligible titles ever this year, but I wanted to further honor these films by having the percentile they represent be a smaller fraction than prior lists.

Let us begin with 30 to 26…

30. Romeo and Juliet

Romeo-and-Juliet-Carlo-Carlei-directed-film-2013-cover-romeo

This was a movie that came and went without much ado at all and was one of a handful of new adaptations of old, oft-told tales that was dismissed in part due to redundancy. I, for one, did not mind this new take at all. And found the twist, this version’s raison d’être was in not just going with casting closer to the characters’ actual descriptions but also who they got to be involved. The entire cast, not just the aforementioned faction, is superb. The scoring is quite wonderful. Even knowing many of these scenes as I still do they had the desired dramatic effect; even if a truncated version there’s less glitz and more viscera in this rendition than the Luhrmann re-imagining.

29. The Almost Man

The Almost Man (2012, Big World Pictures)

If you look at the score I gave this film at the bottom of my mini-review it belies the fact that it’s grown on me from its first viewing. Ultimately there were some worthy re-interpretations of old tales and a remake that I left off this list in favor of more original fare. This is a film with laughter, heart and a more stunning case of arrested development than found in Frances Ha.

28. Insidious: Chapter 2

Insidious: Chapter 2 (2013, FilmDistrict)

In the interest of full disclosure, I did make some decisions in light of trying to avoid redundancy. It was not a bad year for horror. I did see less, and see a lot of horror titles I didn’t like, but I do have a genre-specific list piggybacking this one such that if I could avoid duplicates I would. I could because there was a crazy amount of effective drama from the world over I found this year.

What made Insidious: Chapter 2 my favorite horror film of the year was the fact that I got from it a similar scare factor, crazy risk-taking and another great turn in the horror genre from Wan and Whannell.

27. This is the End

This is the End (2013, Sony Pictures)

Similar for horror, barring a specific list, I don’t think the year was a bad one for comedies. However, the spot where I usually slot the funniest movie of the year, in a year such as this, slid down.

Is it goofy, off-the-wall and immature? Yes. However, it’s perhaps the perfect comedic antidote for a celebrity-obsessed society where you can now be famous just for being famous. You have actors playing themselves in a tongue-and-cheek lampooning of their onscreen personae that hits it out of the park time and time again.

In terms of my awards I was hard-pressed to eliminate any of the supporting performances of the cast, but it proved to hard to pick just one to represent them so they sort of canceled each other out. What will not be lost on me though is the fact that it’s the film I laughed hardest, longest and most often during this year and the one I went back to theatrically.

26. The Deflowering of Eva Van End

The Deflowering of Eva Van End (2012, Film Movement)

With a title like that you almost have to tackle it right away. I did so in my original write-up:

Eva is our entry into their world. She gives us our first glimpse of them and thus we see them in a very broad stroke. As Veit (Rafael Gareisen), the German exchange student who turns their world upside down, changes their behavior we learn about them, what their insecurities were and what they try to do to take control of an alter their lives.
It’s a very funny film in both its exaggerated renditions of reality, but also a very real one with dramatic consequences. The characters progress but are not perfect; they remain flawed in the end, but better for the experience. Veit could be the only one who walks through it unchanged. He is what he always is, it’s what the family projects him to be that alters.

Through artful cinematography, editorial finesse and music that enchantingly encapsulates this odd world, there are well-executed tonal shifts and visceral impact that far overcome any minor quibbles I may have. The Deflowering of Eva Van End is a film that paints the portrait of a family far more fully than its title suggest and is recommended viewing if you see it about.

This list continues with 25-21 tomorrow.

Facebook Actor Game: James Franco

Like many things on Facebook, this game has waxed and waned in popularity over the years, and, for whatever reason; I never participated until just recently. Essentially, it functions kind of like a chain letter. Someone mentions who asked them and if you like the status you’re assigned an actor by the author of said post.

In my first time playing I was assigned James Franco, which is a pretty interesting choice, and not just because he’s already in the running for Entertainer of the Year this year. So I figured I’d share my thoughts in something slightly larger than an Facebook post here. Also, if you’re so inclined you can like The Movie Rat’s Facebook page here.

Movie I Loved: This is the End

This is the End (2013, Sony Pictures)

It’s too early to tell if this film really is a game-changer, however, what can be said is that it’s a fantastically executed concept and uproariously funny. Crass and immature, yes, but funny too.

Movie I liked: Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011, 20th Century Fox)

As the above linked-to review supports, I did like the film. I can’t say that I slammed him for this one but it seemed to be one of his disconnected parts though. Those, unfortunately, do come around from time to time.

Movie I hated that I liked: Pineapple Express

Pineapple Express (2008, Columbia)

I interpreted this one as kind of meaning overrated. There’s no so-bad-it’s-good in his works, those are rare. This movie is OK but no big whoop like some made it out to be.

Movie I hated: Spider-Man

Spider-Man (2002, Columbia)

This selection has very little to do with Franco and a lot to do with the effects I never liked, the casting and the story that didn’t get me to engage at all.

Movie(s) I keep meaning to see but haven’t yet: 127 Hours, Howl

127 Hours (2010, Fox Searchlight)

I really wanted to see 127 Hours in the year it was released. Essentially, it would’ve been just to see him. Unfortunately, that never happened. Same story for Howl except that I was anticipating that a bit more as a film.

Movie(s) I can’t wait to see: Spring Breakers, The Little Prince, The Sound and the Fury

Spring Breakers (2013, A24)

Spring Breakers has a lot of hype for his part so I’d like to see it. The last two titles are if they happen, obviously as they are in development and pre-production respectively. If he get to tackle The Sound and the Fury as a director I’d want to see that. However, even more intriguing to me, albeit another animated version, would be a The Little Prince. It’s a book I’ve read in three languages so any new version is something I look forward to.

Conclusion

I was glad to have participated in this game. At times we seem to always be in the present or thinking about the future, therefore it was good to do a little retrospective.

2013 BAM Award Considerations – June

Last year I had one massive running list and it became very cumbersome to add to, and to read I’m sure. By creating a new post monthly, and creating massive combo files offline, it should make the process easier for me and more user-friendly for you, the esteemed reader. Enjoy.

Eligible Titles

Deadfall
Brooklyn Castle
The Ghastly Love of Johnny X
Room 514
Upstream Color
The Giants
The Magic Flute
Kai Po Che!
This is The End
Imaginaerum
Man of Steel
Fast & Furious 6
World War Z
Upside Down
Hanson Re Made in America: The Making of Anthem
23:59
Monsters University
Into the White
The Heat

Best Picture

Deadfall
Room 514
The Giants
The Magic Flute
This is the End

Best Foreign Film

Room 514
The Giants
Kai Po Che!
23:59
Into the White

Best Documentary

Last year this was an omitted category, due mostly to the fact that too few total candidates existed to make the slate feel legitimate. I will hope to be able to rectify that this year.

Brooklyn Castle
Hanson Re Made in America: The Making of Anthem

Most Overlooked Film

As intimated in my Most Underrated announcement this year, I’ve decided to make a change here. Rather than get caught up in me vs. the world nonsense and what a film’s rating is on an aggregate site, the IMDb or anywhere else, I want to champion smaller, lesser-known films. In 2011 with the selection of Toast this move was really in the offing. The nominees from this past year echo that fact. So here, regardless of how well-received something is by those who’ve seen it, I’ll be championing indies and foreign films, and the occasional financial flop from a bigger entity.

Deadfall
Room 514
Brooklyn Castle
The Magic Flute
The Giants
Imaginaerum
Into the White

Best Director

Deadfall
Room 514
The Giants
The Magic Flute
The Heat

Best Actress

Olivia Wilde Deadfall
Asia Naifeld Room 514
De Anna Joy Brooks The Ghastly Love of Johnny X
Amy Carson The Magic Flute
Amitra Puri Kai Po Che!
Amy Adams Man of Steel
Sandra Bullock The Heat
Melissa McCarthy The Heat

Best Actor

Charlie Hunnam Deadfall
Udi Persi Room 514
Joseph Kaiser The Magic Flute
Zacherie Chasseriaud The Giants
Jay Baruchel This is the End
Sushant Singh Rajput Kai Po Che!
Henry Cavill Man of Steel
Florian Lukas Into the White

Best Supporting Actress

Sissy Spacek Deadfall
Kate Maberly The Ghastly Love of Johnny X
Lyubov Petrova The Magic Flute
Emma Watson This is the End
Joanna Noyes Imaginaerum
Diane Lane Man of Steel
Daniella Kertesz World War Z

Best Supporting Actor

Kris Kistofferson Deadfall
Eric Bana Deadfall
Treat Williams Deadfall
Guy Kapulnik Room 514
Creed Bratton The Ghastly Love of Johnny X
Rene Pape The Magic Flute
Benjamin Jay Davis The Magic Flute
Didier Toupy The Giants
James Franco This is the End
Danny Mcbride This is the End
Michael Cera This is the End
Craig Robinson This is the End
Asif Basra Kai Po Che!
Amit Sadh Kai Po Che!
Francis X. McCarthy This is the End
Russell Crowe Man of Steel
Kevin Costner Man of Steel
Timothy Spall Upside Down
Tommy Kuan 23:59
David Kross Into the White
Rupert Grint Into the White

Best Performance by a Young Actress in a Leading Role

Best Performance by a Young Actor in a Leading Role

Zacherie Chasseriaud The Giants

Best Performance by a Young Actress in a Supporting Role

Teale Hansen Deadfall
Keyanna Fielding Imaginaerum
Sterling Jerins World War Z
Abigail Hargrove World War Z

Best Performance by a Young Actor in a Supporting Role

William Dutton The Magic Flute
Luke Lampard The Magic Flute
Jamie Manton The Magic Flute
Martin Nissen The Giants
Paul Bartel The Giants
Digvijay Deshmukh Kai Po Che!
Quinn Lord Imaginaerum
Dylan Sprayberry Man of Steel
Cooper Timberline Man of Steel
Fabrizio Zacharee Guido World War Z
Elliot Larson Upside Down

Best Cast

Deadfall
Room 514
The Magic Flute
The Giants
This is the End
Kai Po Che!
Imaginaerum
Man of Steel
Into the White
The Heat

Best Youth Ensemble

The Magic Flute
The Giants
Imaginaerum
Man of Steel
World War Z
Upside Down
23:59

Best Original Screenplay

Deadfall
Room 514
Upstream Color
The Giants
Imaginaerum
Upside Down
Into the White
The Heat

Best Adapted Screenplay

The Magic Flute
This is the End
Kai Po Che!

Best Score

The Ghastly Love of Johnny X
The Giants
Upstream Color
Kai Po Che!
Imaginaerum
Man of Steel
Fast & Furious 6
World War Z

Best Editing

Deadfall
Room 514
The Magic Flute
Upstream Color
The Giants
This is the End
Kai Po Che!
Imaginaerum
Man of Steel
Fast & Furious 6
Into the White
The Heat

Best Sound Editing/Mixing

Deadfall
The Magic Flute
Upstream Color
Imaginaerum
Man of Steel
Fast & Furious 6

Best Cinematography

Deadfall
The Ghastly Love of Johnny X
Upstream Color
The Magic Flute
The Giants
Kai Po Che!
Iamginaerum
Man of Steel
Upside Down
Into the White

Best Art Direction

Deadfall
The Ghastly Love of Johnny X
The Giants
The Magic Flute
Imaginaerum
Man of Steel
Upside Down
Into the White

Best Costume Design

The Magic Flute
The Giants
Imaginaerum
Man of Steel

Best Makeup

The Ghastly Love of Johnny X
The Magic Flute
Upstream Color
The Giants
Into the White

Best Visual Effects

The Ghastly Love of Johnny X
The Magic Flute
Upstream Color
This is the End
Imaginaerum
Man of Steel
Fast & Furious 6
Upside Down

Best (Original) Song

The Ghastly Love of Johnny X
The Magic Flute
The Giants
This is the End
Kai Po Che!
Imaginaerum