Most Annoying Performance
ALAN ARKIN – Little Miss Sunshine
Best Ensemble Cast
A Prairie Home Companion – Garrison Keillor, Meryl Streep,
Lily Tomlin, Woody Harrelson, John C. Reilly,
Lindsay Lohan, Kevin Kline, Virginia Madsen.
WTF did I just see?
Stranger Than Fiction
Most overrated movie
Little Miss Sunshine
Best juvenile performance
Ivana Baquero, age 11; Pan’s Labyrinth
Notes from awards committee:
The Academy winners and noms for the 2007 Oscars were wildly off the mark. In the top categories – Best Picture, Best Actor and Best Actress – only ONE out of the fifteen matched up at HouseClark, namely, Meryl Streep for her role as Amanda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada. Streep’s performance is not just razor-sharp and subtle and regal; she dominates her scenes, and she is superb. This is a great actress at the peak of her power. We forgive her for all her dumb comments on politics, and award Meryl the Best Actress Simpson.
The Best Motion Picture Simpson award goes to The Da Vinci Code, a controversial, highly successful mystery, suspense, thriller. The movie has an interesting, if not fanciful storyline and is powered by the terrific, memorable performances by two of the stars; Tom Hanks and the beautiful Audrey Tautou. It is a breathless film, everything happens in fast motion, and the visuals are stunning. The movie is entertaining from the beginning to the end, and that is why it killed at the Box Office with over $200 million. Very re-watchable.
Not another Oscar snub for Tom Cruise? It is an honor to award Best Actor Simpson to Mr. Cruise. In Mission: Impossible III” Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) finds genuine emotional connections which are turned against him in powerful fashion, adding invaluable weight to his best ever performance – intense and energetic.
Fun Surprises -
The Devil Wears Prada – Amanda Priestly, played by Meryl Streep, is the impossible, heartless, horrible boss of a high fashion magazine, but to anyone who’s actually had a tough boss in private industry, she’s not that bad. In fact, Streep puts on an effective clinic on successful leadership traits. She demands excellence and hard work. What’s wrong with that? Streep is magnificent as her voice never reaches past mezzo-piano even when one of her staff has screwed up. In the best monologue of the year, Amanda delivers a perfect speech on a shade of blue called Cerulean.
A Prairie Home Companion – is a gentle, comical movie about a farewell edition of a radio variety show. It has been said that a great Robert Altman film is like being at a fun party with no boring guests. This is one of his best. Two sisters Yolanda and Rhonda Johnson (Meryl Streep and Lily Tomlin) steal the show with their lovely onstage duets, and the two singing cowboys, Dusty and Lefty are hilarious.
Mission Impossible 3 – A sequel with the best story and best acting of the franchise, to date. The film finds Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) returning to active duty after one of his students is abducted, which sends him hurtling into the path of Owen Davian (Philip Seymour Hoffman), whose bizarre, weary ruthlessness is genuinely frightening. A good quality, big-budget Hollywood blockbuster.
Cashback - This movie is a cult classic that is best remembered for three reasons: portraying the worst insomnia streak in modern human history, worst soccer game in sports history, and female nudity that Russ Meyers would approve. The two stars of the movie are Ben and Sarah. They meet while working together on the night shift at the local grocery store. Ben is on the rebound from a painful breakup and keeps mooning about his old girlfriend. It takes him a while to discover what he is looking for in a girl is right in front of him. It sounds like a serious movie, but it has plenty of fun comedy relief.
Casino Royale – James Bond, agent 007, is rebooted for the sixth time since Sean Connery hung up his spurs. Daniel Craig assumed the role with this movie and made it his own with suave style and thrilling action. In CR he teams up with Vesper Lyn played by Eva Green. She has my vote for the best Bond girl in the entire franchise.
Stranger than Fiction – this quirky movie is a fun genre mix of comedy-romance and fantasy. If you liked Groundhog Day, you will probably like this movie. Will Ferrell plays it low-key and believable as a regimented IRS agent facing a life crisis. He meets a carefree, wacky baker, played by Maggie Gyllenhaal, and, for the first time, falls in love. Emma Thompson can do no wrong and she is in the best scenes.
The Departed - I was underwhelmed by this Oscar winner – it was way too long with a talky, talky first half and a too violent second half. Perhaps I have seen enough bad cop/good cop and mob flicks, and I despise glorification of criminals by Hollywood stars. Despite all the big name (all male) stars, this movie was just plain boring to me. None of the characters were likeable and most were outright dreary and slimy. My guess is that the Academy felt they owed Martin Scorsese a best picture award after short-changing the man in 2005 when Aviator should have easily won.
Little Miss Sunshine – A weird story about a crazy family that goes on a road trip to attend a little girl’s talent show. Alan Arkin ruins the movie with his performance as the twisted grandfather. He is neither funny nor remotely believable. It's a shame that Alan Arkin was cast in it, he's from the 70's and he should stay there. Very overrated.
The Queen – This film had a Made-for-TV look and feel. The big screen aesthetics were missing, but the acting talent was above average. The movie provides middle class group therapy for those grieving over the 1997 accidental death of Lady Diane.