Oscar History

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FiLM BiTCH AWARDS - Villains, Divas, Heroes, Thirst Traps

"THANK YOU!! I love these!" - Billybil

"sexpot: frankie from Beach Rats - looks like harris dickinson, doesn't talk much, into older guys. so damn hot i had to log onto grindr midway through the movie" -par

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Entries in Burlesque (13)


Tweetweek at the ballet with a wacky neighbor and frosted pop tarts

Two Tweets that are consuming most parts of my brain at the moment...  


Babs getting verklempt over Hathaway is too camp for even me.

I mean. Between those two tweets who can we think of anything else now? Okay we'll try after the jump with tweets on tv feminism, Sully anticipation, Sally Field's range, and finding Mr Darcy...

Click to read more ...


Randomness: The Hunt, Film Scores, Burlesque Memories

I'm experiencing something a bit like ADHD today. I've started several articles none of which got past a few lines and worked on a few oscar chart updates or revisions none of which ever felt like I'd finished (visualdocumentary and music / sound charts). And I also spent some time stressing about Sundance which starts in less than a month and which The Film Experience will be covering. But mostly my head has remained a jumble of criss-crossed movie thoughts, so in the effort to get unstuck, I'm just blurting out a handful of random ones, a couple of which might feel familiar if you follow me on twitter.

• I'm curious to hear what your favorite film scores of the year because in this regard, I'm not sure I have any! I tend to be a fan of Alexander Desplat's work but I can't even remember Philomena's score which I saw so recently and which one assumes is an Oscar shoo-in on the composer's name alone. (See also: John Williams and The Book Thief)

• January 16th is going to be insane: Oscar nominations, Sundance's Opening Night, and the "Critics Choice" ceremony are all taking place within 12 hours of each other. Spread it out a little, showbiz! Seriously.

• I watched The Hunt last night, Denmark's finalist for The Foreign Film Category. Mads Mikkelsen is always super and his face, so full of confusion, disbelief, and hurt that's cutting as deep as the lacerations on his face from town beatings. He won Best Actor in Cannes way back in May 2012 and if the film wins its Oscar category in March 2014 The Hunt may well serve as the new poster boy reminder of how deeply strange global cinematic culture is in terms of distribution models. I've heard that people get seriously worked up about this movie, loving or hating it but frankly, either reaction is, um, foreign to me. It's an effective drama, and wholly plausible -- see also the Meryl Streep drama A Cry in the Dark (1988), a predecessor in how ugly "guilty as soon as your accused" mob mentality can be -- at least until the ending which seems tacked on as failed provocation. But it's also not doing anything particularly interesting cinematically or in the screenplay. I expected more from Thomas Vinterberg, who once made the genius Festen/Celebration (1998) which was famously snubbed by Oscar despite causing quite a stir with cinephiles. And I kept feeling like the final scene was shot at the same house where The Celebration took place. Am I crazy or is this true?

• I was at a party the other night (not a film crowd) and an older gentlemen, hearing that I was a film critic, asked me what my favorite movies were. When I got to "Woody Allen's Manhattan" he interrupts... "you mean Annie Hall?"

• Back to the foreign film finalist list, 3 of the 9 finalists each year are selected by special committee with the other 6 coming from popular vote. So which films do you think are which? I'm guessing the committee shoved Cambodia's The Missing Picture and maybe Bosnia's A Day in the Life of a Iron Picker but otherwise I can't suss out which film needed a committee boost since the other 7 finalists strike me as having obvious wide appeal Oscar hooks.

• Today Burlesque was on Oxygen and it remains insanely watchable. "Wagon Wheel Watusi"! It's not a movie that reveals something new everytime you watch it but rather a movie which just reconfirms everything you felt the first time and heightens it. It's RIDICULOUS but in a good way. And it's nice that Kristen Bell got Frozen since Burlesque has a bad case of Yentlitis -- "Only the star may sing even though we've cast a bunch of people with musical chops in this!"

• Finally, I don't know why I didn't tell you this sooner but I swear to god, last week I dreamt that Nicole Kidman was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for Blue is the Warmest Color. When I woke up I tried to go back to sleep since I didn't want this nonsensical actressexual dream to end. It's been haunting me ever since...

No wonder I can't concentrate!

What's going on in *your* movie addled mind?


I link for the applause, plause

The Backlot has an interesting thing to say about Marilyn Monroe. Interesting Monroe thoughts are rare!
The Playlist the new project Nasty Baby from Sebastian Silva sounds fun. With and Kristen Wiig and Tunde Adebimpe 
In Contention on the supporting/leading category placement decisions of upcoming performances. I'm really hoping Amy Adams (American Hustle) goes lead since that would be a nice change of pace.
Pop Blend Sigh. People still care about Jennifer Aniston's feelings about Angelina Jolie!

Kveller lol. the best use of Christina Aguilera's "Burlesque" since Burlesque itself. That's one pricey flamboyant Bar Mitzvah celebration
Pajiba writes an open letter to Showtime since they're still airing Dexter. (I'm SO glad I quit that show. I only wish I had quit it a couple of seasons before I did.
The Advocate terrific op-ed about waning enthusiasm for Lady Gaga and gay man + diva love affairs

I’ve heard other gay gripes about Gaga and wondered if it had less to do with Mother Monster and more with an approaching expiration date with the gay man/diva treaty (signed around 1900 between Sarah Bernhardt and Oscar Wilde, possibly). 


Pajiba cast changes at Orange is the New Black. Thrilled that Lorraine Toussaint (Middle of Nowhere) is joining!
New York Times a revival of the musical adaptation of The Color Purple (for the stage) is winning raves in London - I didn't know there was a new one so that's not why we were talking about it. I guess it's in the ether. 
The Dissolve "shocker" critics more critical than general moviegoers 


From Russia With Link

i09 the best of the new Disney/Star Wars mashup art
Vulture "Matthew McConaughey's awards campaign for Magic Mike begins now"...it's about f***in' time!
NPR on an Asian remake of Dangerous Liaisons 
MovieLine Daniel Day-Lewis doing an Eastwood in London 
/Film Tom Hanks as Walt Disney in Saving Mr Banks

Stale Popcorn Glenn, our favorite fellow fan of Burlesque, has words about the proposed Diane Warren jukebox musical. So many Oscar nominated power ballads from that one!
In Contention on the new Les Miz trailer. Why haven't I written it up, you ask? I can only write about Les Miz so often people and the movie isn't even out yet. Plus I already did a Yes No Maybe So once and my policy is not to repeat that with a single movie... I mean, some movies release five trailers, people!

Natasha VC "Ja!" 
Pajiba wonders why all the best Bond girls have the worst names. (If by worst they mean best... because those campy names are essential! They're so missed in Skyfall!)
The Mary Sue Willow and Oz reunited!!!... but on How I Met Your Mother. zzzz...
PopWatch Jennifer Lawrence on complaints that she's too well-fed for The Hunger Games

In Hollywood I'm obese.  I’m Val Kilmer in that one picture on the beach."

Ha! This make me love her so much more. 


I thought about writing a review of the revival of Annie on Broadway but Adam Feldman's Time Out Review is so incredibly spookily spot on on ever single point I might have made (seriously go and read it)  that it's not worth writing my own -- hate it when that happens! So Annie is in my brain currently and "Tomorrow" is the only song that's battling "I Dreamed a Dream" for earworm revival of 2012. I nabbed the video above from my friend Tom's Broadway Blog. He's always worth a read and he finds the most incredible videos. This one is the musical comedienne Christina Bianco doing various über famous divas doing Annie. They may as well cast Bianco right now in an American remake of Little Voice (1998) she's so good at impersonating other vocalists!


Rock of Ages Will Rock You... (Or At Least Lightly Jostle You)

This review was originally published in my column at Towleroad

At a recent press screening in Manhattan, heavily attended by the gays, the choreographer turned So You Think You Can Dance judge turned movie director Adam Shankman cheerfully introduced the screening of his latest stage-to-screen musical Rock of Ages. It's his first musical since the exuberant Hairspray (2007) and he charmingly expressed his nerves and excitement about showing it off. He invited the assembled crowd to not take the movie too seriously, "dumb fun!", and sing along with it if they felt the urge. I was sitting near the front and as Shankman bounded up the stairs to exit from the back, he shouted out  'Oh, and I'm gay' as a "no shit" style punchline. The crowd laughed and the lights went out. 

The energy of Shankman's introduction can't have hurt the screening but his invitation to sing-along proved redundant. It doesn't take long for the movie to send out its own karaoke invitation.  In the jukebox movie musical's very first number we meet a small town girl, living in a lonely world, who takes a midnight train bus going anywhere. Her name is Sherry Christian (Julianne Hough) but she's not exactly going anywhere. She's purposefully headed to Los Angeles to try to make it in the music business. No sooner has she begun singing "Sister Christian" (get it? Um… haha?) than the unnamed extras on the bus start grabbing solo lines from the verses until the whole bus is singing about Sister Christian. Her time has come!  

Upon her arrival in the big city, this girl from the sticks lands both a new job and a new bartender/songwriter boyfriend (Cam Gigandet) at a famous club operated by a beleaguered old pro (Cher) and her gayish sidekick (Stanley Tucci). The club is having financial trouble thanks in part to a mercenary money man (Eric Dane) and hopes that a big voice (Christina Aguilera) will resurrect its fortu--- NO, WAIT. THAT'S BURLESQUE! More after the jump...

Click to read more ...


Box Office: Dolly & Queen vs. Cher & Xtina?

I would have been all about Joyful Noise this weekend, had I not been suddenly ill. I even had to miss a bestie's birthday dinner. Boo! I think it's worth noting that Joyful Noise had a nearly identical debut to Burlesque in 2010.

Opening Day
Burlesque (11/24/10) | Joyful Noise (01/13/12)
Weekend Gross
Burlesque $11.9 |  Joyful Noise $11.3
Weekend Rank
Burlesque #4 | Joyful Noise #4
Theater Count
Burlesque 3,037 | Joyful Noise 2,735
Per Screen Average
Burlesque $3,934 |  Joyful Noise  $4,148

Given that Burlesque opened during holiday craziness (lotsa movie-going) and Joyful Noise opened in January's dumping ground, you might have to hand this battle to Joyful Noise. But will it be able to beat Burlesque's final gross of $39.4 domestic / $89.5 international? I say this with the caveat that I have not seen it yet but from the stills and trailer it certainly looks cheaper than Burlesque production wise so perhaps it'll turn out a much tidier profit. I can't imagine that it's better than Burlesque though. But we shall see. Or rather I shall see the second I feel like venturing out into the cold again.

Takeaway: $11.5 million opening weekends are the new decorative fanciful glass ceiling for dueling multi-media singing divas.

BAKERS DOZEN (Estimates)
01 CONTRABAND  $24.1 new  
02 BEAUTY & THE BEAST 3D  $18.4 rerelease  
03 MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE -  GHOST PROTOCOL $11.5 (cum. $186.7)
04 JOYFUL NOISE  $11.3 new
06 THE DEVIL INSIDE $7.9 (cum. $46.2)
09 WAR HORSE $5.6 (cum. $65.7)
10 THE IRON LADY $5.3 wide (cum. $5.9)
11 WE BOUGHT A ZOO $5.2  (cum. $63.6)
12 THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN $4 (cum. $67.7)
13 TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY  $3.1 (cum. $15.1) 

Talking Points
Beauty and the Beast had a successful first weekend but nothing compared to The Lion King. I hate rooting against such a great movie but the whole 3D craze? Oh, I hate it more and more each month. Do. not. want. I do not want to wear glasses while watching movies. I just don't. It never adds enough to the experience, even in its best moments, to justify changing the whole freaking experience of the movies. GO AWAY.

A Separation continues to fill its theaters but it has yet to expand. Are SPC letting their tiny window on this one close? Let's suppose someone watching this week's awards shows (BFCA thursday & GLOBES tonight) wanted to see it after Thursday's win and tonight's possible win? Nope. They're out of luck. Just 6 theaters for this one in its third week. Carnage finally expanded in its 5th week but interest in it looks to have already crashed. Too bad it didn't open when competition was less severe for all-star adult-oriented films.

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows just lept-frogged The Help and Bridesmaids on 2011's top box office chart. Now, the top dozen have no originals among them - only franchise movies allowed at the top of the charts. This is why we can't have nice things and it's also our fault as audience members. We need to stop chasing old highs at the box office. Seeking out familiar experiences is what television series are for. That's their whole raison d'etre, the same characters each week but with new twists on the same old via new chapters. That's not what movies should be for. Different strengths and different purposes for different mediums.

What did you see this weekend?



I know I've already plugged the maximum lolz tumblr "Bachmann-Eyezed" which only uses "100% real Michele Bachmann eyes" to change up famous people and uh things. But because I check it daily for updates and the joke will undoubtedly be shortlived,  I thought I'd share my six favorite movie centric editions.

Not to be confused with John Wayne Gacy, y'see.


three more eyed photos and a bit of political commentary (you have been warned) after the jump...

Click to read more ...


Reader of the Day: Dominique

For today's reader interview we have the lovely movie-mad Dominique who lives here in New York.
Nathaniel: Do you remember your first ever moviegoing experience?

DOMINIQUE: The first film I remember seeing in theaters is Disney's Beauty and the Beast. I would've been a little over 5. My dad had been reading an abridged version of it as a bedtime story and so I kept wondering how they could make a whole movie out of a ten-page picture book. I guess I assumed the film would be pretty short or something. Naturally, I was blown away and it remains a favorite film of mine until this day.

When did you start reading The Film Experience?
I think it was around 2007.  I'm attracted to how unpretentious the site is. All the writers and collaborators seem to genuinely love film and I can feel that in every article. I also love random features such as First and Last or April Showers/May Flowers... Just little tidbits of cinephilia that are always refreshing. Also I'm an Oscar nut.

Have you ever dressed up as a movie character for Halloween? 
I am a Halloween lover and have been dressing up as pop culture characters for the past few years: Mia Wallace, Becky from Sin City, Holly Golightly, Joan Holloway, Sherrie from Rock of Ages and this year Lisbeth Salander.

Want Pictures!
Which film genre do you think needs a little time out and why? And the inverse: What kind of movie do you wish they'd start making more of?
I'm not sure what genre needs a time out. I'm pretty open to everything and I think some great filmmakers can convince me to watch something I assume I won't like. If anything, maybe certain filmmakers need to take a little time off. Tim Burton, anyone? (Here's another reason I will keep reading this site: no one managed to describe why I hate Eyesore in Wonderland quite as well as you did, Nathaniel.)

What I want to see more of are good musicals. I have always loved musicals and I am thankful to live in New York where I always have the opportunity to go see something great on (or off) Broadway. But what about in film? Is Burlesque really the best we can do? It was silly, but it was no Moulin Rouge! and that's what I want more of. Something epic. If the godawful Glee can remain this popular, can't musicals have a comeback with a film that's actually good?

I'm a film student and they always tell us to make the films we want to see. Two years ago I wrote and produced a musical comedy short and my thesis project which I will be shooting later this year is a dark musical. So at least I'm trying to work on the problem.

Best Wishes... sincerely. Let's end with your three favorites actresses. Who they be?

Marlene Dietrich, Barbara Stanwyck and Kate Winslet. Of course, ask me any other day and my answers would probably change.

I just love women who don't take shit from men. And then seduce them.