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Monday
Jun232014

YNMS³: The Good Lie, The Drop and The Judge

That Birdman teaser was so mesmerizing that my brain had no room for other new trailers. I was putting my fingers in my ears lalalaicanthearyou when new trailers arrived to maintain the high. High expectations much? (yikes). But it's time to come down from that teasing cloud and do a quick scan of what we've missed this past week.

Reese & Corey in The Good Lie. Is this an offensive "white savior to unfortunate blacks" movie?

Herewith three trailers that have dropped with Tom Hardy as a bartender in trouble, Reese Witherspoon as a job counsellor (?) to Sudanese refugees, and two acclaimed Roberts, Duvall and Downey Jr, squaring off as an estranged father/son who are brought together by a funeral and then a murder investigation. The trailers and brief Yes No Maybe So breakdowns are after the jump...

THE DROP

YES - I recommend Bullhead highly if you haven't yet seen that Belgian Oscar nominee. The cinematography looks interesting or at least serious. Bonus points: James Gandolfini in his last (?) role... which will be tough emotionally after how great he was in Enough Said.  A showdown between Matthias Schoenaerts and Tom Hardy might be a tough guy dream as both are stellar actors. And it turns out this is the movie that granted us all those amazingly cute photos of Hardy with a puppy!

NO - This seems like the kind of movie that might kill said puppy in which case I will hate it. Also tough guy crime movies often feel enormously derivative just because there's an endless supply of them.

MAYBE SO - Why is everyone doing weird voices? Will this be miserabilism for miserabilism's sake or actually potent drama? Finally: I've tried with Noomi Rapace but I don't get her. Sorry 'bout it.

 

THE GOOD LIE

YES -Um.... Give me a second... I'm searching... I wildly love Corey Stoll so I'm always happy when he gets work. Reese at her best is magical (not that I'm suspecting this is her best) Is that 'yes' enough?

NO - This story, about a white woman who saves Sudanese refugees and they probably save her in return (emotionally) seems like it could go very very wrong in literally every scene in every conceivable way: racially, politically, narratively. The mix of tones from the violent opening to the happy smiles and inspirational upbeat music and bfish-out-of-water jokes (no lions - you're safe) is... jarring. 

MAYBE SO - America/Oscar loves tough talking women played by former romcom firecrackers (think Julia in Erin Brockovich and Sandra in The Blind Side) so who knows. You have to see movies that grab the zeitgeist even if you don't wanna. 

 

THE JUDGE

YES - It affords us the very rare opportunity to see Robert Downey Jr out of superheroic armor and facing off with a powerhouse actor in Robert Duvall. That might be more than enough if both really bring it. It's so easy to forget that RDJ was once one of the most gifted actors of his generation, before the smug Tony Starkisms became so pervasive. Stories about sons and fathers have lots of potent emotional hooks. And glossy mainstream dramas can be pleasurable if everyone is on their game.

NO - The music in this trailer gives me hives. Please let it only be a temp score and let the movie be more subtle than this. Also: Doesn't this look like a 1990s movie? Like "Moving Courtroom Drama From 1997, Thought Lost, Finally Unearthed. Coming Soon To A Theater Near You." Stories about cocky successful men finally finding their hearts due to family crisis / career shock / new love  can be super annoying, as if we're supposed to congratulate them for merely not being a dick.

MAYBE SO - I'm always curious if Vera Farmiga is involved but this looks like one of those roles that exists solely to help the alpha male find his way. (Sigh). It's not impossible to make movies that care about all their characters but it's not a strength of mainstream filmmaking.

Of the three of these I'm Maybe So (The Drop) and leaning No (The Judge & The Good Lie). How about you? Yes, No or Maybe So?

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Reader Comments (23)

The Drop: Matthias Schoenaerts and Tom Hardy. Enough said. YES.

The Judge: This looks very Cameron Crowe post Almost Famous. MAYBE SO.

The Good Lie: I do love Corey Stoll but...NO.

June 23, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSad man

The Drop - not just Yes, but YAAAAAAAS due to Hardy, who is turning out to be my bulletproof actor, wherein he can appear in absolute trash (sigh at This Means War) and I find what he does in it interesting enough that I can sit through the movie at least once.

The Judge - a big maybe, though whether that shakes out to maybe in the theaters or maybe on Netflix or maybe on discount DVD/Blu-Ray is something I'm still wrestling with. Seems so long ago that RDJ did anything but smug, self-assured assholes with a tender spot. Critics can sway me on this though, particularly if they laud his performance.

The Good Lie - this MAD TV sketch says more about what this movie looks like than I ever could: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZVF-nirSq5s. I will also take critics into consideration here though, because this is a subgenre of film that needs an overhaul, and while I don't quite see the talent here being the change needed, one cannot entirely discount it sight unseen either.

June 23, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterF

The Drop: mostly yes
The Judge: mostly maybe
The Good Lie: mostly no

June 24, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

This year could be a good one for Reese (Wild, Inherent Vice, Gone Girl), but this movie doesn't look to stack up to the rest sight unseen.

Imagine the horror if Reese stacked up four oscar noms this year though!

June 24, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRyan

Ithere a similar scene in this trailer to the The blind sides smartmouth women publically repramanding an official.

June 24, 2014 | Unregistered Commentermark

Speaking of Corey Stoll, I was quite disappointed that they didn't give him a line in the first This is were I leave you trailer. Have you seen that one, Nathaniel? The books great and I think they've tailored it to be a goo showcase for Tina Fey's more dramatic side.

June 24, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCarlos

Goddamn it Reese.....

June 24, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTB

The Drop: Maybe so. I like Rapace and Hardy, even though the trailer doesn't really sell it for me

The Judge: Jesuschrist! No,no, and no. It looks like Nebraska with a bigger budget and bigger egos, sorry, stars.

The Good Lie: There should be a warning for this one. Blond actress gone brunette for serious topic in a movie. Everything looks wrong in this trailer. And that music, are we back in the 90s and Peter Gabriel is the guy of the moment?

When is the next Woody Allen? :)

June 24, 2014 | Unregistered Commenteriggy

The Judge: The idea is: Serious father son drama about a lawyer and a judge. The execution: Robert Downey Jr is half well cast (yes, he's playing a bit of the smarmy "RDJ" type, but unlike, say, Jim Carrey (who pretty much played this character in Liar Liar), you can't believe he'd actually be amoral, if that makes any sense), Robert Duvall seems like he's trying hard in half the clips and not trying at all in the other half and the rest of the supporting cast is completely and blatantly sleepwalking. Unless this is a massive surprise hit? No Oscar hopes.
The Good Lie: Ugh. Until it happens, I completely DO NOT BUY that the mostly one person show of Wild will be a big Oscar movie (Gravity aside, they like fuller casts), but this? It's so racially questionable that it needs to be a hit. Will it be a hit? No! Reese hasn't been an actual draw for six or seven years (even Monsters vs Aliens was an underperformer relative to it's budget) and something like this will not help her case.
The Drop: This is probably the closest to an Oscar contender and I'll slot it into my top 45 when the next prospect gets bad notices or is moved into 2015.

June 24, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterVolvagia

I got the strongest feeling while watching the trailers for both The Judge and The Good Lie that those are the movies that in 20 years when Reese or RDJ superfans who are trying to be completists will see on a filmography and be like, 'she/he made THAT movie? i have neve reven HEARD of that movie.' They just both feel so anonymous. No to both, realistically, unless The Judge somehow turns out to be way less ordinary than it looks.

June 24, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMargaret

Oh my god, Reese... what? That is so offensive on so many levels. It's totally white saviour and then I saw "from the producer of The Blind Side" and I was like "really?" and THEN she goes up to the counter and says that sassy line about getting to speak with someone and I SWEAR it's a complete replica of that one scene from The Blind Side. I love Reese Witherspoon as an actress (well, when she's in good movies) but this is a no. No on so many levels. And that music...what? Bye. I'm gonna spontaneously combust at this point.

June 24, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPhilip H.

Nat, off-topic, but I've been willing to ask you this for a while: when was the last time an actress won both the Film BiTCH Awards gold medal & the Oscar for the same performance??

June 24, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterGage Creed

Oh man, all three look terrible. Especially The Good Lie. They even use the same font as The Blind Side! And THE DROP is pretty much the most bland film title of the year, right?

June 24, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterGlenn

The Drop: Very hard to say no to Gandolfini after Enough Said, and I like tough guys. Yes.

The Good Lie, OH GOD NO.

The Judge looks like Uplifting Actor Mannerisms. No.

June 24, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDeborah Lipp

I'm in a follow-Matthias-Schoenaerts-anywhere place right now. I loved him SO MUCH in Rust and Bone that I learned to spell his name without looking it up. So I'm a yes for The Drop.

June 24, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMike in Canada

Perhaps it's the "The" in the titles, but I'll wait for the DVDs from the library for all three. Though hard to resist Tom Hardy...

June 24, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPam

All three of these look like worse versions of better movies that came before them. I'm an "eh" until I see concrete evidence that any of them are any good. Having said that, doesn't it seem like Vincent D'Onofrio is overdue for some type of awards consideration, if only for being around so long without it?

June 24, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTroy H.

Has RDJ learned nothing after The Soloist? Yikes.

Re: The Good Lord, I mean, The Good Lie - let's just (re)watch that arrest video Reese made while filming it, shall we?

June 24, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMareko

"The Drop" I wish Tom Hardy and the puppy were in a romantic gay comedy- but this does look good.

" The Good Lie" inspirational Oscar bait.

"The Judge" hmmm no

June 24, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJaragon

From someone who has worked in various capacities with immigrants and refugees adjust to Western life (rather linguistically in English classes, job searching, and other bureaucratic measures necessary to survive in this country) I personally think the "white savior" complex is a redundant, knee-jerk reaction. What I do wonder about this film is if the narrative will solely focus on Reese's character's emotional journey, and gloss over the the plight of the Sudanese refugees and use them simply as functions within the story.

June 24, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAaron

I'm sorry but I can't get past the *hands ice* "this is what winter feels like in America :D"

June 24, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPhilip H.

Gage Creed - the last exact match was Mo'Nique in Precious. It actually happens most often in Supporting Actress since we also matched on Tilda Swinton in Michael Clayton and I think Penelope Cruz in Vicki Christina Barcelona (i think though i'd have to double check)

June 24, 2014 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Aaron: It probably wouldn't be such a knee jerk reaction if westerners of all racial backgrounds were used to explore narratives like this. Plus, "white saviour" stories also include: The Soloist, The Blind Side, the horrible 2011 Wonder Woman Pilot and most (excepting Dead Poets Society, Stand and Deliver and Coach Carter) inspirational teacher narratives.

June 25, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterVolvagia

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