Half of the ensemble cast from the 2011 comedy Bridesmaids, including Jon Hamm who plays a really big asshole, who navigate this screwy and raunchy tale of friendship, petty jealousies, and competition.
An unmarried couple like the one in the 2009 comedy-drama Away We Go who are having a kid and are scared of losing what they like about their current lives but are ultimately determined to make it work.
The 2012 sometimes-raunchy comedy Friends with Kids about a group of couple friends, including Jon Hamm who plays a really big asshole, in an unspoken competition to see who can successfully achieve love, happiness, and parenthood all at once. In the center of the film is two best friends who believe the best approach is to share the responsibilities of the child but remain platonic.
For me, Friends with Kids was a good film to watch unfold -a glimpse of how the insertion of kids may or may not affect one’s adult life - but had too cliche of an ending for me. However, it is one movie that I would still recommend anyone in the mood to laugh and/or examine the complexities of male-female friendships on screen.
1. Let Viola Davis make all the speeches: The woman is a class act. Since the start of this awards season, she has given some of the most beautifully crafted acceptance speeches as she carts off Lead Actress awards for The Help. Her words can inspire anyone. To those expecting to win on Oscar night: pull Viola on stage with you and let her do all the talking. To all those who want to see past evidence of her powerful acting abilities, see Doubt (her one major scene defines the whole movie).
2. Maybe I should give French men a chance: Here’s a secret for you - I have an thing for European men, specifically Spanish and British men (it’s the accents!). But after being exposed to the charm of Jean Dujardin of The Artist in the last few months, maybe I have overlooked what all Europe has to offer. Bonus: I was flipping through the recent GQ and saw his debonair photo spread. Oui, oui.
3. The trio of Wiig, Rudolph, and McCarthy continue to bring the laughs: My best laugh of the night came when the Bridesmaids stars introduced their cast for the Best Ensemble In Film award. When they walk on stage carting alcohol, you already knew it was going to be good.
4. Brad and George are smooth operators: You know who I’m talking about - Pitt and Clooney. The ultimate bro-migos. I don’t think its a secret how far up on the A-list they are yet they continue to be present at award shows, even smaller less prestigious ones like the SAG awards (let’s face it, it’s not the Golden Globes or Oscars). The case can be made that they are nominated and that’s why they are there but not everyone shows up (talking to you, DiCaprio!). However, I read/hear reports all the time on how gracious they are with fans and how friendly they are with everyone no matter who you are so they are aces in my book.
5. Movies definitely trumped TV this year: Maybe I’m missing something but the only show that was nominated in any category that I actually watch is “Dexter” and “Glee”, both of which I think had lackluster seasons this past year. I totally gave up on “The Office” once Steve Carrell left. I’ll give it up to “Breaking Bad” and “Modern Family”, which I hear are fan favorites but what about “Homeland”, “New Girl”? And don’t let me get started on the injustice that is the brilliant and underrated “Fringe”. Let’s get some new blood in the mix, people.
If you are curious on the complete list of winners, see it here.
Today marks the end of a great and memorable year for film. I’m excited to see what 2012 will hold. Here is what I considered to be the best in film for 2011, and therefore great suggestions if you haven’t seen them, depending on your mood:
Best Film of the Year: Shame
The movie that showed the brilliance of the collaboration of Steve McQueen as a director and Michael Fassbender as a breakout star. I can’t say enough great things about this film that was both stunning in a visual sense and in the raw emotions it conveyed.
Best Drama (which made you both smile and reach for a tissue): Beginners
My favorite film of the year next to Shame, I was drawn in by Mike Mills’ story of his father’s coming out after the death of his mother that he brings to the screen so thoughtfully. Christopher Plummer is a frontrunner for supporting actor for the major awards and he definitely deserves it. For me, this film is also Ewan McGregor’s reemergence as an actor to watch for his touching portrayal of a man who carries a sadness with him only exacerbated by the death of his parents.
Best Comedy (which made the thought of getting married even more fun): Bridesmaids
No one can deny that this movie was a force all its own. Mistakenly dubbed a “click flick” initially, it was the little movie that ignited laughter through masses of women AND men. While everyone was anticipating the release of Hangover II, Bridesmaids stole our hearts instead. Big props for this strong cast of women that demonstrated just how funny and wonderful we can be.
Best Dramedy (which made you glad you have a BFF): 50/50
I think the formula appeared to be a simple one at first - combine the bro humor that Seth Rogen provides with the enduring everyman nature of Joseph Gordon-Levitt to bring to life this film that mirrors the struggles of the screenwriter’s battle with cancer and support from his best friend. What we learned however is that Seth Rogen is sweet and enduring in his own way and JGL, in one of his best performances, can bring the funny.
Best Action Film (which was so much more than choreographed fight sequences): Drive
I’m not one for action movies and violence but I tolerated it in this stylish, arthouse entry starring Ryan Gosling and a certain white leather scorpion jacket. Sure it wasn’t some Jason Stathom action flick but that’s why it was so good. I could have done without the movie soundtrack but Ryan’s performance as the mysterious Driver made it worth it.
Best Psychological Thriller (which made you look over your own shoulder): Martha Marcy May Marlene
The film that introduced us to the great potential of Elizabeth Olsen and made us invest in her performance as a young woman who flees from an abusive cult but she is working on her psychological escape. Is she paranoid or are they really after her? That is the question this film explores. Did it make us paranoid in the process? Yes.
Best Sci-fi Film (which really wasn’t sci-fi): Another Earth
Set against the backdrop of the discovery of a second Earth, or “Earth 2”, the story is really an engaging drama of a woman who struggles to live with what she has done and in some way make it up to the man who has lost everything. Though it probably wasn’t “sci-fi-y” enough for some, the second Earth that literally hovers background and the constant wonder of what we would say to our doppleganger if we were faced with them keeps you on edge.
Best Remake (which showed it can be done right): The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
A worldwide best-selling novel. A popular, original Swedish source film. David Fincher. Trent Razor. Oscar-winning editors. Rooney Mara in the role of her career. And that’s how it’s done, folks.
Best Social Commentary Film (which justified OWS): Margin Call
If you are like me, you sometimes wonder what the point of OWS protests. Then you watch a movie like this and get it. Loosely based on the Lehman Brothers debacle, the film was both fast-paced and a slow-burn on corporate ego, greed, and backstabbing, highlighting pros in film (Demi Moore, Stanley Tucci, Kevin Spacey) and newer kids on the block (Zachary Quinto, Penn Badgley).
Okay, so the nominations for the 2011 Screen Actors Guild Awards were announced today. Being the cinephile that I am, I have a couple of comments on the nominations in the movie categories:
1. Best ensemble cast (The Artist, Bridesmaids, The Descendants, The Help, Midnight in Paris): I’ve seen the majority of these films and my money is on Bridesmaids. I didn’t really want to see this when it came out (I contend that the trailer is not funny in the least) but this movie got me at the opening scene (hello, John Hamm). It has both appealed to the masses as well as the critics, and the casting in this ensemble was dead on. Runner up for me is The Help for the female bond the actors fostered on screen in this very important story.
2. Best actor (Demian Bichir, A Better Life, George Clooney, The Descendants, Leo DiCaprio, J Edgar, Jean Dujardin, The Artist, Brad Pitt, Moneyball). This could go either way. There are alot of favorites and repeat offenders in this category including Clooney, Pitt, and DiCaprio. Also there is alot of buzz around Dujardin. I can’t call this one but I do have one question. No Joseph Gordon-Levitt for 50/50? Or Ryan Gosling for Drive?
3. Best actress (Glenn Closs, Albert Nobbs, Viola Davis, The Help, Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady, Tilda Swinton, We Need to Talk about Kevin, Michelle Williams, My Week with Marilyn). If Viola Davis doesn’t sweep this category at all the upcoming awards shows, people need to get their head examined. Meryl Streep, beware.
4. Best supporting actor (Kenneth Branagh, My Week with Marilyn, Armie Hammer, J Edgar, Jonah Hill, Moneyball, Nick Nolte, Warrior, Christopher Plummer, Beginners). I loved Beginners, probably my favorite film this year, so I’m really pulling for Christopher Plummer getting this. And I think he has a great chance. But I hope that this sheds light on this underrated gem of a movie.
5. Best supporting actress (Berenice Bejo, The Artist, Jessica Chastain, The Help, Melissa McCarthy, Bridesmaids, Janet McTeer, Albert Nobbs, Octavia Spencer, The Help). Two words - Melissa McCarthy. When she threw her leg up and slapped her thigh on the airplane, I always died. If she was running for president I would vote for her.
Between the newest issues of GQ magazine and Details, there was much fun reading for me on the plane to San Antonio today (side note: it is cold as balls here in San Antonio right now!). Yes, I’m a girl that reads men magazines. Ladies, you should try it sometime. Beautiful pictures of attractive, stylish men and thought-provoking, witty articles. Win, win.
And with that, I always learn something new in the pages of men magazines, especially where pop culture is concerned. Apparently there is some rise in the sub-culture of the “high-bro”. It’s the year of the high-bro, didn’t you know? I guess I realized it, just didn’t have a name for it. “High-bro” is supposedly where the “bro” culture (think high adrenaline action flicks, comic books, sports) meet the more “highbrow” (think classical music, literature, arthouse films). And of course, GQ runs down some of “the stuff the high-bro likes”. I loved it (does that make me a high-bro? high-broette?). Here are some of my favorites straight from the GQ list with [my own comments] focusing on, you guessed it, all things indie:
Aaron Sorkin. Wins screenwriting Oscar for Facebook movie. Nails self-aware walk- and-talk cameo on 30 Rock. Pulls off Moneyball for the big screen. A colossus. [the high-bro we can only hope to channel when we
put pen to paper open up our Macbooks]
Bridesmaids. Funny movie, with funny women in it! Note to high-bros: Enjoying it does not retroactively confer a women’s studies degree from Smith. [the movie the high-bro was initially ashamed that they wanted to see but ended up loving]