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Podcast: Philomena Catching Fire

This week NickNathaniel, Katey, and Joe discuss the blockbuster Philomena and that little arthouse indie The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. Spoilers you might want to avoid for Philomena are here (32:00-32:20 / 35:00-35:30).

Some questions that need your answers in the comments:  Is Jennifer Lawrence better as Katniss than in her Oscar roles? Would The Hunger Games be better as a TV series? What is going on in the Hemsworth family gene pool? Is Philomena at 98 minutes too padded or too short or, paradoxically, both? And how many nominations can it hope for having conquered the auntie demographic?

You can listen here or download the conversation on iTunes

Philomena: Catching Fire

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Reader Comments (37)

Is Jennifer Lawrence better as Katniss than in her Oscar roles? Absolutely, I'd say even her Mystique is better than her Oscar roles.

Would The Hunger Games be better as a TV series? Absolutely, but they already did that. It's called Lost.

December 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPJ

PJ -- Mystique? ewww. She's terrible in that role. Her only bad performance imho

December 9, 2013 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Really? Ok, truth be told I can't remember that role or that movie a lot, I just wanna discredit her Oscar winning role in SLP, LOL.

December 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPJ

She's not bad as Mystique it's just that the movie was all about Erik and Charles and the script forgot that Mystique was the third most important character, according to them, that they made the characters caught in the middle lack any sense of tension and drama.

December 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCMG

My ranking of J.Law's performances that I've seen:
1. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
2. The Hunger Games
3. Winter's Bone
4. Silver Linings Playbook
5. X-Men: First Class (agree with you Nathaniel, really not good)

High hopes for American Hustle, but the clip with the burning toaster oven was not impressive. And I'm definitely going to have trouble believing her to be Christian Bale's wife and a mother.

I agree that The Hunger Games would be better as a series! The new one was way too rushed.

December 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJoe

Evil Nuns:

Sister Mary Ignatius and also Meryl Streep in Doubt, because her Sister Aloysius is terrifying and runs 180 degrees from Cherry Jones (whose Sister A felt more like the nuns I did know).

Non-film choice: Mother Angelica of EWTN. Terrified me as a kid. Especially during that period when she had an eye-patch.

December 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCMG

Regarding the Best Actress lineup, do we really think Amy Adams cannot budge Streep out of the fifth slot? I think Blanchett, Thompson, and Bullock are locked at this point, Dench almost there, but I still don't feel Streep is even "safe" in that fifth place. No one is really talking about her, at least not to the degree that people are talking about the other four ladies, or even as much as people are talking about American Hustle, not excluding Adams. Anyway, I'm pretty sure this category is going to turn into a 2006 again: boring lineup because we know two months prior who's going to get nominated, so much that there is absolutely no room for error in your predictions :P

Also, Nathaniel, is Adams > Streep? They're the only two performances I've yet to see in this category.

December 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBVR

Oh my god. More Derek stories please.

December 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJake D

Nick has the best childhood stories. I dunno what his boyfriend looks like and I can visualize the entire sequence of events.

December 9, 2013 | Unregistered Commenter3rtful

Only 10 minutes in, but Nick just articulated everything I feel about THE HUNGER GAMES. I do think CATCHING FIRE is better than the first one, but what's the bar we're setting, exactly?

December 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterWalter L. Hollmann

Walter, me too! Nick totally shares my thought that the politics of the Hunger Games make no sense (Ok, so Katniss and Peeta both survive the first games. Why should any revolutionaries give a hoot about her? She obviously couldn't care less about them). Also, I echo his point that the scene in District 11 was by far the strongest.

December 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterEvan

I'm loving the idea of interrogating colleagues on their actress preferences. Think I might start asking people what they think of Sophie Okonedo - not that I care, but just as a social bellwether.

December 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCarlos

I liked her Mystique, too. The character is a total brat and she sculpts a pretty impressive character arc despite a screenplay that's more focused on fights than characters. House at the End of the Street is her worst, by far. She has no material to work with and the film is just terrible.

But, yes, Katniss is her best role. She won my Best Actress for that last year and didn't even come close to placing with Manic Pixie Dream Girl with a Scowl, The Movie. She's circling my list right now for Catching Fire. Much more competitive year for Best Actress with all the amazing indie films with strong female leads we got this year (The East, Frances Ha, Short Term 12, Before Midnight, The Spectacular Now, Stoker (wait, was that indie?), etc.).

December 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRobert G

I really hope Derek didn't watch. Painful.

Evil nun - well she turns out to be a good guy in the end, but Maggie Smith battling Whoopi Goldberg in Sister Act was pure joy.

December 9, 2013 | Unregistered Commentereurocheese

Nick's Derek story was amazing. Right up there with "I can't write you a note to skip school to watch the oscars."

Virtually ever novel would be better as a TV show.

December 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterArkaan

Delicious podcast!

The cousin from 30 Rock is married to Mariska Hargitay. I know because I had to google him after seeing him in the show.

December 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJames T

I think this years Best Actress will be a 2006 Redux,the other films and performances for consideration are from unknowns adele and brie or comedies gerwid,dreyfus or films that have mixed reviews winslet and jones.

December 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMARK

Big fan of Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss. Since her public persona always seems to be in motion, her onscreen stillness in a few of scenes of CATCHING FIRE is remarkable. I'm looking forward to her career, and hope she can withstand the media/Internet onslaught.

Caught up with PHILOMENA, with a packed house that I swear had a median age of 75! While the film is good, heartbreaking yet enjoyable, it did seem spare, and a bit rushed at the end. The fact that he found her son so quickly was crazy--I don't care who you know in the State Department. Judi Dench and Steve Coogan gave nice performances, but in my opinion, neither the movie nor the performances are Oscar-worthy. Only in TWC's dreams.

I also don't get why Sandra Bullock would be considered a lock for a nomination, in such a year full of really great performances. Have yet to see a critic's or commenter's note on any blog that convinces me that her work in GRAVITY, outside of the space suit, wires, CGI machinations, is the stuff of legends. Good movie, serviceable performance. I liked her better in THE HEAT.

December 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPam

@Pam: I liked her better in The Heat, too. And I liked McCarthy better in The Heat, though to be fair, the film is designed to provoke that reaction.

@Everyone: I would happily tell Derek to do more amazing, hysterical things to delight you but I don't need to because he does them all the time. Next time one is thematically appropriate, I'll drop it.

December 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNick Davis

Nathaniel—I'm not saying it's likely he'll get nominated, but you can't be serious ranking Joaquin Phoenix behind Whitaker, Bale, Isaac, and especially Jordan. Her is *getting* nominations in Picture and Screenplay, he's fresh off a beloved (and nominated) performance in The Master, and he's the film's viable shot at an acting nomination—not to mention he's brilliant.

Phoenix is a solid #7, in my opinion.

December 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHayden W.

I'm a HUGE JLaw fan and I'm actually glad she won for SLP, but I do agree with you guys that she wasn't that great as Mystique. If that was her or a poorly written role or both is debatable.

And Joaquin Phoenix deserved to win last year. He was so incredible in The Master. I can't wait to see his performance in Her.

December 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSad man

Phoenix is a guarantee Globe nominee. If he manages a nod with SAG this year he'll certainly be in the running to unseat McConaughey at the nominees table on Oscar morning.

December 9, 2013 | Unregistered Commenter3rtful

Is it bad that I loved "Philomena"? Lol. I'm rooting for Judi Dench to get her next Oscar nomination for this role. Haters gonna hate. Eff 'em.

I know it's cool to be on the Jennifer Lawrence love boat right now, but I'd be perfectly fine if she went away for like a good five years or so. I know that's never going to happen, but it would be nice all the same. You have your franchise and your Oscar. Take a vacay for awhile and get back to us in a few years when you've grown up some. And no, I don't think she's better as Katniss than Tiffany. NO, no, no!

December 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSamson

The only way Lawrence could jeopardize her good career fortune is pregnancy.

December 9, 2013 | Unregistered Commenter3rtful

Hayden & 3rtful -- i am serious. Because

a) Best Actor is way too crowded - he's a distant 8th place AT BEST and i really think it's only between the top seven men. with a huge gap after Michael B Jordan
b) he's the lead in a romantic drama and that is not a genre where men typically are strong contenders... total gender bias
c) the role is not showy
d) he doesn't really have any "clips"... the film is a mood piece and he is moving in it but in subtle ways.
e) he's not a big campaigner and it's not the kind of role that can win prizes without a campaign like The Master.

i'm not saying he's not great in it. Just saying I'm talkign Oscar probabilities.

December 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNathanielR


We're you just being sarcastic listing Phil as blockbuster &
Catching Fire as little engine that could?

December 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMark

I was not impressed with Philomena. I wanted to like it far more than I actually did, and felt the same way about Dench's performance. I felt like the film always took the less interesting path; there were so many interesting avenues it could have taken, and it either completely ignored or glossed over each one of them. Dench was very good (because she's Judi Dench), but I thought there would be... well, MORE. Her big scene comes halfway through the movie (and it's a damn good one), and from there on out, it's all perfectly nice enough, but nothing that provoked any sort of reaction out of me at all.

December 9, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterdenny

Dear Katey-
Even though THE IRON LADY is a terrible film in so many ways, Streep's portrayal of an old lady is much more remarkable than her performance as Thatcher. Can't wait until the summer of 2014 for your review. ;)

For fans of Phoenix, just watched PARENTHOOD again. "Leaf" is freakin' amazing. His conversation on the phone to his dad is heartbreaking. Although I was bothered by THE MASTER, I would probably see anything with Phoenix, and can't wait for HER's release.

December 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPam

Phoenix masturbates in Parenthood, To Die For, and, The Master.

December 9, 2013 | Unregistered Commenter3rtful

I'm so afraid of inciting a pile-on here, but I still think Phoenix's performance in The Master is one of the most miscalculated blunders I've ever seen by a great actor. I am really hoping he's great in Her because I want to admire him again.

December 9, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

Anderson went for a Kubrickian approach to performance. Natural is good but interesting is better.

December 9, 2013 | Unregistered Commenter3rtful

Not sure how miscalculated it can really be. I've never seen the script of The Master but I think PTA always wanted something elusive about Freddie in a more Orson Welles kind of way than anything else.

December 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCMG

CMG, if the choices regarding the overwrought mechanics in Phoenix's performance were Anderson's, that's truly unfortunate. Yet the result is the same, and actors always get the blame despite bad direction.

December 9, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

Phoenix is proud of his work in The Master and was more than willing to work again with Paul Thomas Anderson and make the kind of movies that only the two of them combined could make. Hate The Master you probably have shit taste.

December 9, 2013 | Unregistered Commenter3rtful

3rtful, we're all used to your juvenile behavior here. Get some therapy.

December 9, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

Whoah, I could totally see an elder Katniss or Jennifer Lawrence being played by Dame Judi.

December 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSanty.C

Peter was Peter Hermann! How did you all not know that? He's also Mariska's husband lol.

December 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKenny

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