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« Sundance Short Film Winners - clues to *next" year's Oscar list? | Main | Soundtracking: The "Alone Yet Not Alone" Snafu »
Wednesday
Jan302019

Watch at Home: Boy Erased, The Wife, RBG, and First Man

What's newly available for home viewing on DVD or Blu-Ray? Herewith a quick survey of new releases from the past two weeks.

DVD/Blu-Ray
Boy Erased - It didn't end up with any Oscar nods but it's worth seeing, especially if you or someone you love ever had to put up with the evils of conversion therapy or religious repression of natural sexuality.
First Man - It shares with Mary Poppins Returns the distinction of being the most-nom'ed movie this season that's not up for Best Picture. But that still feels stingy for a movie this well crafted, technically speaking. How on earth and outerspace did it miss in Best Original Score? The mind boggles. 
The Wife - Glenn Close's 7th Oscar bid is, contrary to internet belief, a movie that exists and that people saw. The very fact that some corners of the internet bitch about it is blatant ageism...

After all it easily trounced other nominees the internet likes better at the box office earning more than Can You Ever Forgive Me?, RomaFirst Reformed, Leave No TraceSuspiria, etc.... Now, box office has no relation to quality but it does prove that people actually go to see some movies that the internet claims no one cares aboutWe're eager for the holdouts to watch this because Close is amazing in it. Contrary to popular belief here with my now year-long plus championship of this particular performance, I am not a Glenn Close stan. I think she's deserved only 4 of those 7 nominations (Garp, Fatal Attraction, Dangerous Liaisons, The Wife) -- it's a bit of an Amy Adams situation all told -- and I think she's often as wildly overpraised as Jessica Lange when it comes to TV work but The Wife is her best star turn since Dangerous Liaisons and should she win the Oscar in February we will loudly cheer her on from our couch.

New iTunes 99¢ Deals
RBG (2018) Two Oscar nominations: Best Documentary Feature and Best Original Song for "I'll Fight" from perennial Oscar-loser Diane Warren.
We the Animals (2018) It made Team TFE's top ten list and its got 5 Spirit Award nominations and now you can see it for under a dollar. Do it.
Mr Blanding Builds His Dream House (1948) The world is awful so Cary Grant and Myrna Loy might be just the ticket to cheer us up today.
 Dead Man Walking (1995) If you've never seen this death row drama do yourself the favor. Susan Sarandon and Sean Penn are incredible in it. Despite nominations in 3 above the line categories, it missed a Best Picture nomination in the year of the shameful horror of Braveheart's win (one of those years where the film year is so rich that of course the Best Picture winner is a dud. The Globes were SO MUCH BETTER than the Oscars that year). 

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Reader Comments (33)

How come Crowe didn't make any inroads in Supp Actor,a comeback dramatic role from a previous Oscar winner a concerned Dad.

January 30, 2019 | Unregistered Commentermarkgordonuk

Mark -- i can only assume it's because the film didn't really make a mark. It was an underachiever in release ($6.7 million theatrically despite three stars) and had somewhat muted reviews.

January 30, 2019 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

I always thought that Mary Kay Place was the MVP in The Big Chill, but I recently rewatched it and Glenn's character is the glue that sticks the whole gang together. She deserved that nom.

January 30, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

I think Boy Erased was a bit underrated, and Crowe even more so. It's strange to me that people should react so much better to a film like Green Book or Bohemian Rhapsody, or even ASIB, but that's where we are these days.

The underselling of Glenn and The Wife coupled with her strong showing in the televised precursors is one of the most interesting stories of this year's awards season. Hopefully she'll indeed win and the movie will get seen by even some of these internet types who are resisting it. As for her TV work, she was incredible on Damages.

January 30, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterBruno

Did anyone see her Eleanor of Aquitaine in the remake of A Lion in Winter? Worth checking out?

January 30, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMichael R

I really liked The Wife and felt not only was Glenn Close wonderful in it, but that the film had a lot to say about artistic jealousy, artistic canons, stifled talent, issues of privilege, and white male mediocrity. Subjects all perfectly relevant today.

Def looking forward to renting First Man and Boy Erased, somehow managed to miss both in theaters, regrettably.

January 30, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterRob

OOOOooo thanks for mentioning the We The Animals 99 cents deal.

Also noticed BURNING is on itunes now too!

January 30, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJoseph

The ageism against Glenn by Twitter trolls is appalling! Not to mention the Glenn-erasure by people like Kris Tapley and by pundits in THR and Variety all season... Thank you, Nathaniel for never keeping Ms. Close far from our minds!

January 30, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMark

I didn't know you thought Sarandon was incredible in Dead Man Walking, because you always mention Elisabeth Shue as your winner of that year. My winner, by a wide margin, is Meryl Streep, but Sarandon is amazing too.

January 30, 2019 | Unregistered Commentercal roth

Of all Close seven nominations, I would easily replace The Big Chill and The Natural nods with Reversal Of Fortune (maybe one of her absolutely best turns) and 101 Dalmatians (yes, she was fabulous as Cruella). The other five nods were definitely deserving in my book: Garp, Fatal Attraction, Dangerous Liasons, Albert Nobbs (which I adore) and The Wife.

As for her tv work, she is out of this world in Damages but, yes, I thought she was meh in The Lion In Winter. I still never saw Something About Amelia, Serving In Silence or the Sarah Plain and Tall trilogy.

January 30, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterFerdi

1995 was a fabulous year: for me Sarandon and Streep were the best of the five nominees and I was obviously rooting for Sarandon to finally win. I think Leaving Las Vegas has not aged well while Safe and To Die For are cult movies now, so it would have been perfect if Julianne Moore and Nicole Kidman would have received their first nods that year.

January 30, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterFerdi

I think Cage's performance is the thing ageing badly,Shue on rewatch is so moving and revelatory,big pity she followed her nom with shitty movies like Palmetto,Molly and The Saint.

Nat,Did you consider Crowe for supporting actor he's no 3 of the year for me.

January 30, 2019 | Unregistered Commentermarkgordonuk

Yes, the constant stream of jokes from male critics about The Wife and how they’re dragging their feet seeing it has been one of the more tiresome aspects of this awards season. Bravo to Anne Thompson for calling it out for exactly what it is on the Indie Wire podcast, and of course for The Film Experience’s coverage, but doesn’t it seem like there’s a similar case every year?

January 30, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterben1283

I thought THE WIFE was a beautifully made movie, beyond just Close's fantastic performance. It's much more suspenseful, better edited and artistically crafted than similar best actress vehicles in years past like STILL ALICE, THE IRON LADY, THE BLIND SINDE or (sorry fans) BLUE JASMINE.

January 30, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterSan FranCinema

It's about time someone defended The Wife, both the film as a whole (it should have received multiple nominations), and Glenn Close's performance, which is brilliant and is NOT just worthy of a career consolation prize. I also agree about which 4 nominations she deserved and the 3 she really didn't. In addition she should have been nominated for The Jagged Edge and Reversal of Fortune.

January 30, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterken s.

That 1995 Actress list was really something. Put Sharon Stone in Supporting, eliminate Emma Thompson, and substitute Julianne Moore and Nicole Kidman and you would have had the best Actress line up of all time.

January 30, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMichael R

@ben1283: Interesting you bring up Indiewire, since they had a top 20 (I think? maybe top 15) list of performances by actresses this year that did NOT include Glenn Close. Glad to see it was addressed by one of their own.

January 30, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterBruno

It is funny to remember how good the Best Actress lineup was in 1995 in one of the very weakest Best Picture lineups of the past few decades. Braveheart, ugh.

January 30, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterRob

IMHO

Glenn deserves all her seven Oscar nominations plus more three:

Original song for Alberto Nobbs
Actress for 101 Dalmatians (she is fabulous in it!)
Actress for Reverse of the Fortune

Ten beautiful nominations and three Oscars:

The Wife
Dangerous Liaisons
Fatal Atraction

January 30, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterSoshua

In a world where Meryl has 21 nods and Lange has 2 wins you should be alright with Close being in the 7 or more club for Oscar recognition.

January 30, 2019 | Unregistered Commenter/3rtful

Oh, 1995 was such a terrific year for Best Actress line-up; I would've had nominated Nicole Kidman over Emma Thompson though, and Sharon Stone ( who IS the lead actress in Casino) should've won. My ranking that year was : Stone- Shue- Streep- Sarandon- Thompson.

Boy Erased is so terrific. Loved it. Hedges, Crowe and Kidman are brilliant. We the Animals, so Terrence Malick ( The Tree of Life), just stunning.

January 30, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterEder Arcas

Eder-

I agree with you 100% about Sharon Stone in Casino
My god she ignited the screen in that role. What a ferocious performance.
She needs a Glenn Close style comeback!

January 30, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMallinckrodt

Often wondered why Close didn't get much recognition for Reversal of Fortune. She really hams it up, maybe too much for many I guess.

January 30, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterBruno

@ Bruno

Close was top-billed in a supporting performance. I think that hurt her chances, and I think the film should've focused more on the marriage as opposed to the courtroom dynamics. Irons and Close had great chemistry in the scenes they did have together. Close, too, was hilarious in some of her more lucid moments in that film.

@ Michael R

I thought Close was fine in The Lion in Winter, and then on Youtube, someone posted a side-by-side comparison of her and Helpburn. Close clearly tried to copy the Hepburn accent, but she played a different character of sorts ... not as comically cynical. Close's portrayal was more fractured and bitter. Overall, I liked Hepburn's wit and delivery, but I equally enjoyed Close's ferocity and intensity. They're both good performances in their own right.

January 30, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMike

1995 is a year where someone who wouldn't make my top 12 for leading actress would be a contender for the win outright in 1994. But yeah, that best picture line-up was abysmal.

January 30, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterArkaan

Eder: I too loved Stone in Casino but she is not a lead actress in that film. She is barely in the first two - thirds and then features prominently in the last third. Save for a couple of scenes with James Woods she almost never gets scenes told from her viewpoint.

January 31, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMichael R

I thought The Wife to be well-done anchored by terrific performances by Pryce, Slater, Starke and of course, Close. The music, the pacing, the chilly atmosphere and the perpetual wintry sadness. They all contributed to a beautiful chamber piece of cinema.

I thought Close was aces in the highly criticized The House of the Spirits. She was ethereal, unforgettable and incandescent as Ferula Trueba -- one of the film's strengths. A nomination for that would have been fitting. Or her turn in Altman's least-discussed Cookie's Fortune and even that tragic-hilarious turn in The Stepford Wives. She's extraordinary in Damages as Patty Hewes. That season 5's scene with her dying dad is a great moment on TV. She's electrifying as Isabelle Arc in the Public's Mother of the Maid and her fragile and more heartbreaking turn in the second iteration of Sunset Boulevard.

Finally, she was stellar in rarely seen performances like Aunt Bernie in the single-episode Amazon TV offering called Sea Oak. She's also wonderful in Heights, Reversal of Fortune and in ensemble pieces like Low Down and Anesthesia.

The Wife as rightly noted here is a marvelous performance and should not be seen only as a reward for an illustrious career onstage, film and TV. It is a performance that can be used in film classes on movement-image.

January 31, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterOwl

I get the sense that Glenn is less beholden to studios and directors and to an "I will only play the lead" mindset than other actresses. It seems like she does the roles that she wants - whether movies or tv shows or tv movies - and is less concerned about who is attached to the project or how high profile it is. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. But I don't think anyone can say that she isn't a consummate professional, who is indeed a working actress. She seems to have a consistency that many don't have.

January 31, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterCharlieG

Wow, you gave us a lot to unpack about Glenn!

I think her nomination for The Big Chill is one of her best: up there with Fatal Attraction and Dangerous Liaisons. The rest I can take or leave. Even Garp.

Damages was a role of a lifetime for her, in a league with the three performances I just mentioned. I haven't seen all her TV work (The Shield, Serving in Silence, etc.) but hated her Lion in Winter. So I suppose some of her TV work is overrated but nowhere close to Jessica Lange.

There's a lot she can't do. But I stan.

January 31, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterHayden

Cal - yeah, Sarandon would probably get my silver or bronze but i think it's only her third best performance after BULL DURHAM and THELMA & LOUISE.

January 31, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Michael R.-

I see what you mean, but SHARON STONE's Ginger is a very important character in the story of Casino she doesn't have as much screentime as DeNiro, but has a lasting effect on the movie in her scenes and that effect is so strong that I couldn't claim that she's not a co-lead at least. She gradually reveals the dark side of Ginger and boy, is it impressive! Every time she's back on screen, she's dynamite, it's a brutal, chaotic and disturbing performance. That's why she would be my winner that year.

Mallinckrodt-

Yessss....STONE needs a powerful vehicle which encapsulates her 90's stellar presence and intense performances, it was (most of the time) all that stood between the audience and the void; it's rare to point out another actress whose films are so dependent on her star turn, especially in bitterly hard-edged roles ( think Last Dance, Diabolique )

January 31, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterEder Arcas

Eder: did you watch Mosaic on HBO? How was she in that? I missed it.

February 1, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMichael R

Michael R-

I did, It's very Soderbergh, if you like him (like me) you'll enjoy it, if you don't, well , give it a try, it's a very addictive limited series..Sharon (in a Supporting Role here) is just great , her character is narcissistic, flawed and vulnerable, but she’s also alluring, and that is in no small part due to Sharon’s incredible on-screen magnetism, she displays terrific range and depth and holds the screen with effortless charisma.

February 1, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterEder Arcas

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