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The Film Experience™ was created by Nathaniel R

 Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. Also loves cats. All material herein is written and copyrighted by him, unless otherwise noted. twitter | facebook | pinterest | tumblr | letterboxd


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Beauty vs. Beast

It's a tight race this week

Comment Fun

Julia vs. Anjelica vs Dianne vs. Brenda vs. Lena

"all i can remember of julia roberts in steel magnolias is her playing her diabetic meltdown like she was linda blair in the exorcist- Par

""Don't talk about me like I'm not here!" Don't worry Julia, I mostly have nice things to say...- Tom

"wish Wiest would come back to claim her stature as the Walter Brennan of Supporting Actress Oscar winners -- she's one shy of three." - /3rtful

who gets your vote?


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Tues Top Ten: This Week's Favorite Everything

You may have noticed I've been short on time -- apologies! -- so herewith, a speedy very random assortment of...


10 Bunheads Song & Dance. The extremely odd ABC Family show in which the great Broadway star Sutton Foster plays a former Las Vegas showgirl who impulsively marries and ends up teaching ballet in a small town called 'Paradise' doesn't always work. But even when it doesn't it's compulsively watchable. It's so very much itself. And it's wonderful that that self is veering more towards song & dance, with three recent somewhat nonsensical musical interludes. Kudos to the show for casting actresses who don't require body doubles for the dancing.

09 Beau on stage. (When good things happen to good people part 1) Beau, one of our newest contributors, has been acting in a stage play in California and he's won great reviews. This one compares him to John Malkovich (Malkovich! Malkovich! Malkovich!) and this one just raves about his work. Congratulations, Beau!

08 United States of Tara. I finally finished the series thanks to Netflix. I'm only a year late. The final season wasn't as strong as the first two but I love the Gregson family so much. Toni Collette and Toni Collette and Toni Collette and Toni Collette and Toni Collette and Toni Collette and Toni Collette were awesome for those three years, don't you think. 

07 Monty Cuddles my evil ornery cat cuddled up purring for an entire 1½ hour nap the day after a very tough day. Is there such a thing as being possessed by good spirits?

06 "Oops" - Anne Hathaway as Catwoman, caught in the act. And also: Anne Hathaway in general and in perpetuity. Sorry haters!

04 "N.R.A Proposes Sweeping Ban on Movies"

Saying it was 'high time to take action against the number one cause of violence in America,' the National Rifle Association issued a statement today urging a sweeping ban on movies.

Tracy Klugian, an official spokesperson for the gun-lobbying organization, said that the N.R.A. had taken this extraordinary step because it 'could not stand idly by and watch movies tear apart the fabric of our civil society...'"

This satirical piece in The New Yorker (AKA Best Magazine in the World) was just what I needed after that horrifically depressing weekend in which an actual tragedy was followed by the not at all surprising (and even more tragic for its endless consequences) American pattern of insane* shock and political stupidity / apathy post gun violence. 

*isn't the definition of insanity doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Gun massacres should not be even remotely shocking to Americans. Unless we change laws, this is the bed we make for ourselves and we shouldn't complain about the state of the sheets. The statistics from all around the world paint an indisputable picture that gun control prevents gun violence. 

03 Saw Bachelorette with Joe Reid. (When good things happen to good people part 2) I probably shouldn't review it proper since my friend Leslye Headland made it but I'll say more when it opens. I'm predisposed to root for it on account of a) friendship b) the amazing fact that Leslye managed to channel one of our shared movie loves into a great casting coup --  Kirsten Dunst plays the Queen B in this very dark comedy about post-collegiate mean girls who can't quite let their high school selves go.

02 Cooked dinner for friends. Look at me! Boiling water is hard for me so this was akin to a Summer Event Film chez moi. I made meatloaf and corn on the cob. Friends claimed it to be delicious so I either lucked out or I have good friends.

01 Melanie Lynskey in Hello, I Must Be Going. (When good things happen to good people part 3) Or... "When good roles happen to deserving actresses!" It's so rare to see supporting actresses in their 30s get a first real moment in the movie sun (yes, there was Heavenly Creatures but teenage debuts are a different animal) and Lynskey runs with the plum opportunity. Bonus points: the trailer doesn't give away all the best parts though it does lean on the bouncy comedy and the movie is closer to a drama with smart bits of character comedy.

In short --  more when it opens --  she's very good in the film. I've always said that depression is really hard to act without flattening your charisma or the character's psychology but Melanie manages multiple layers and you can actually see her bloom rather than the easier 'snapping out of it' as she has an affair with a 19 year old and she works her way back to life post (bewildering) divorce. If they filmed out of sequence, her performance is even more impressive. 

What were a few of your favorite things this week?


The Link Squad

The Film Stage Gangster Squad, with its machine gun in the movie theater moment -- already revealed in the trailer --  may be delayed or reedited now in the wake of Aurora Colorado tragedy. (I figured this was coming)
i09 Lt Ellen Ripley and Child, painted. Other sci-fi women also iconized. 
Telegraph RIP Actor Simon Ward of The Tudors, Three Musketeers, Supergirl, and Young Winston fame. He was 70 years old.
Rope of Silicon is wondering about the Oscar chances of Beasts of the Southern Wild now that it's expanded well.

My New Plaid Pants Quote of the Day via The House of Kermit
Pajiba Dustin recounts his single most humiliating experience as a critic. Curse you, Taylor Lautner!
The Broadway Blog celebrates musical theater's belters: Sutton, Babs, Lupone and more
Hollywood Elsewhere has lunch with the Criterion Blurays of Rosemary's Baby and Sunday Bloody Sunday
Vanity Fair says goodbye to The Dark Knight Trilogy with a behind the scenes slideshow 
Vulture looks at the dissolution of the TomKat marriage
NPR this is sweet, actor Donald Faison (Clueless, Scrubs) on the movie he has seen a million times: The Empire Strikes Back
The Film Doctor discusses The Dark Knight Rises with a film major at Waffle House. Cheese, eggs, raisin toast, and spoilers.

P.S. Yes, yes. I did start a review myself and I hope to have it up today but I'm moving in slo-mo this week.


Voices of Steel

I didn't realize, watching the Man of Steel (2013) teaser before The Dark Knight Rises that I was watching only one of two versions. The virtually identical trailers have totally different voiceovers, an ingenious ploy to get people to watch the commercial twice and feel like there's added value. 

Russell Crowe, the biological father Jor-El,  who gives the earth a Superman. Sort of accidentally, but whatever.

Kevin Costner, the real father Jonathan Kent, who raises a super boy.

I'm not sure über somber "MY DESTINY!" tone and behold the glories of Nature and Kansas and Henry Cavill's beard visuals were the direction to go here since the whole reason people had such a hard time with Superman Returns was its contemplative soul in place of bam pow action (the super villain being a big island of Krytopnite essentially) and its humorlessness. And its Lois but... bygones! Point being: won't this just remind people of Superman Returns and their boredom regarding the Man of Steel? If we must have superheroes every 3 months my greatest wish is they all won't try to be Christopher Nolan's Whatever; different central characters demand differently toned films. 

P.S. Here's my vote for Tweet of the Weekend via... Fake Terrence Malick



Take Three: Eva Mendes

Craig here with this week's Take Three. Today: Eva Mendes

Take One: Live! (2007)
Building on her dramatic work in We Own the Night the same year, Mendes took on another (semi) serious role, one deviously tinged with delicious black comedy, as TV executive Katy in Bill Guttentag’s Reality TV mock-doc Live! Perfectly styled in sharp attire and a coffee ‘to-go’ in hand, Mendes' Katy is ambitious, ruthless and most likely hollow on the inside. She has grand ideas. One of them kick-starts Live!’s plot: six members of the public will play Russian roulette live on air; the sole survivor is the winner. Her flippant excuse, while delicately biting into a strawberry:

Hey, I didn’t invent the game, I’m just making it hip again.”

Katy’s the kind of person who thinks that if all of life – including death – isn’t caught on camera it’s not worth living. And she doesn’t want ratings lower than her morals - to her it’s not lives at stakes but viewing figures. She’s the kind of corporate cannibal who caresses a hefty golf club whilst listening to her staff’s TV pitches. But also, quite ironically, has a poster for La Dolce Vita behind her office desk. She’s a vile creature of business, hungry enough to have Sigourney Weaver’s Working Girl Katherine Parker in Working Girl for breakfast and Faye Dunaway’s Diana Christensen in Network for lunch. (Apparently Network is personal favourite film of Mendes’, one which served as her inspiration for this part.) Mendes’ Katy is essentially the dark centre of this goading morality exercise. It’s a performance so exactingly played, so attuned to the film’s intentions and compulsively watchable, that Mendes’ dramatic capability can’t be called into doubt. Does Katy get her way? Or does she get her comeuppance? Tune in to find out...

Two more takes after the jump...

Click to read more ...


Oscar Flashback: Supporting Actress 1998

Yesterday on twitter I ended up in a fun alternative Oscar argument with Joe, Julien, Will and Jacob and it was amusing because nobody agreed on anything...

Get your hands off ________'s rightful Oscar.

So let's expand that conversation to include TFE readers. If you'll recall had you lived through it or know the year went like so...

Winner: Judi Dench, Shakespeare in Love (also won NSFC & BAFTA)
I'm actually fine with this win (from the nominee pool, I mean) though I'm aware many internet dwellers are very anti-Shakespeare in Love



  • Kathy Bates, Primary Colors (Chicago, BFCA & SAG winner)
  • Brenda Blethyn, Little Voice
  • Rachel Griffiths, Hilary & Jackie
  • Lynn Redgrave, Gods and Monsters (Spirit & Globe winner)


So that supporting shortlist was essentially one extended cameo (Judi), three normal size supporting roles (Kathy, Brenda, Lynn) and one co-lead title character (Rachel). My feeling is that it's a dull list even though the performances are relatively good (the only nomination I objected to wholeheartedly was Blethyn's) because it's too closely tied to knee-jerk Bait when there were more inspired more challenging performances available from supporting actresses that year, many of them a bit more off the well trodden period piece prestige path.

But what surprised me more was that nobody agreed on the "wish it'd been...". What a year it was for supporting actresses. Consider these names which came up.


  • Patty Clarkson, High Art
  • Toni Collette, The Velvet Goldmine
  • Imelda Staunton, Shakespeare in Love
  • Lisa Kudrow, The Opposite of Sex (NYFCC Winner, Spirit Nominee)
  • Kate Beckinsale, The Last Days of Disco
  • Julianne Moore, The Big Lebowski
  • Joan Allen, Pleasantville (OFCS, Boston, BFCA, LAFCA & Satellite winner)

    and still more no one mentioned last night on Twitter...
  • Kimberly Elise, Beloved (Satellite winner)
  • Thandie Newton, Beloved
  • Sharon Stone, The Mighty (Globe nominee) 
  • Christina Ricci, Buffalo '66, Opposite of Sex, Pecker (Florida winner)
  • Anne Heche, Psycho
  • The Lovely Laura Linney, The Truman Show


Mine would've gone like so: Winner - Clarkson; Nominees - Dench, Collette, Kudrow and...???