abstew here with another edition of "Yes, No, Maybe So". Tonight's trailer of choice Lee Daniels's latest, The Butler. Oh, and please be gentle–it's my first time...
When last we caught up with the Oscar nominated director, he was dishing up a heapin' helpin of some southern fried, kitschy, camp in The Paperboy. I think people were a little surprised to see that the follow-up to the Oscar-winning Precious involved an Academy Award winning actress peeing on the star of the High School Musical movies. And, well, surprisingly the Academy didn't feel the need to shower that film with any gold of its own. So, just how will the decades-spanning Butler fair? Will it be more Precious (Oscar noms for all!) or more Paperboy (um, the Razzies are next door...) Let's take a look!
- One word: OOOOOooooPPPPPPppppPPPRrrrAAAAaaaAAAAaaAaHHhhh!!! [more]
- The one and only O is back in our lives (not that she ever really left). But I, like the rest of America, decided not to follow her over to the OWN network (no, I do NOT want to see a reality show about Shania Twain), so this is really our welcoming back. And what better way than acting in the Oscar baity role of the long suffering wife? Could this be the film to get her a second acting Oscar nom? I hope so. She is by far the best thing about this trailer. Quick someone more technically skilled than I–make a gif of Oprah slapping her son!
- Wait, Vanessa Redgrave is in this? In all the media coverage about which actors were playing presidents and first ladies, how did this pass me by? She is acting royalty and a living legend.
- "We have no tolerance for politics at the White House" I was really surprised at how much comedy Daniels was able to infuse into Precious. This cheeky line at the beginning of the trailer gives me hope that humor is to be found amongst the drama.
- Did I mention that slap?!?!
- Okay, rather than write individually about every actor that gets their name displayed. Here's a run-down of the ones that excite me: Jane Fonda as Nancy Reagan (oh.my.god. YES)! Alan Rickman as Reagan! Liev Schreiber as Johnson! David Oyelowo as the Freedom-Riding, Black Panthers-joining son!
- One thing you can say about The Paperboy is that it really had a distinct look. The story may have been whackadoo, but the cinematography and 60s look were great and consistent throughout the film. But, this film looks like...I don't want to see dull...but, dull. It looks like it could have been made by anyone. There seems to be no signature to it. After seeing two of his films, I'm still not sure I know who Lee Daniels is as a director.
- And just judging from the trailer (which, you know, is what this post is about), it just screams too much like a prestige piece wanting to win Oscars. It also doesn't help that the first thing in the trailer is: The Weinstein Company.
- Who the hell is John Cusack supposed to be? Nixon? Really? We can do better than that I think...
- (More names!) Robin Williams and Melissa Leo as the Eisenhowers, James Marsden (does he ever age?) as JFK, Lenny Kravitz as...a friend? But, the list goes on and on, which has me a little worried. With all these big name actors playing famous people, will it become too crowded? It seems that, unless the film is over 3 hours long (please, no) they'll all end up as cameos. And will the perception we have of each actor give us enough time to see them as the character? Or is it just gonna be: 'is that <insert famous name here>?' I mean, this is a film that also includes Mariah Carey and True Blood's Lafayette playing MLK and they didn't even make the trailer! And poor Alex Pettyfer is featured in the trailer, but doesn't even get a mention in the names.
- I love a history lesson. But, are they also trying to cover too much of it for one movie? There's a southern backstory, Black history, all the presidents. Like the cast, it's a bit much. If all the important details are glossed over it'll be The Idiots Guide to American History?
- I always forget that Forest Whitaker won an Oscar. And that's the thing with him as an actor, I've never been excited by his work. He's a classic character actor that works best in a supporting role. Will he be compelling enough to carry the story or will we wish we spent more time with one of the many other characters in the film? I would have loved to have seen Laurence Fishburn or Idris Elba here. Although, his character is not to be noticed and be able to keep secrets, so maybe it can work.
Despite some misgivings, I am still very much a YES.
What about the rest of you? Did Daniels lose you after Paperboy or do you think that film will be reevaluated? Is Oprah getting an Oscar? Speak your mind in the comments before you get an Oprah smackdown.