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Entries in Contrarian Corner (3)

Monday
Jan182016

Contrarian Corner: The Big Short

For this edition of Contrarian Corner, we'll have to redub it "Conflicted Corner". Lynn Lee discusses her mixed feelings about the Oscar's primary dark horse.

In this year’s Best Picture raceThe Big Short is the one title that virtually no one saw coming very far in advance.  Which is appropriate for a movie about an event that only a handful of people predicted. And while it’s fallen back a little in the shadow of The Revenant’s nomination-leading surge and Globe wins, it’s still very much in play for Oscar’s big prizes. With five nominations (fpicture, director, supporting actor, adapted screenplay, and editing) under its belt, as well as a strong performance both at the box office and the Critics Choice Movie Awards, who knows?

The Big Short's ascendance hasn’t gotten it much love here at TFE, where the prevailing reaction has been a mixture of incredulity and disdain.  I get it, especially if you’re mourning the omission of better films from Oscar’s best picture lineup.  And yet, dare I say I’m neither surprised nor dismayed at its inclusion, and on the whole am pleased at its success?  Yet also oddly conflicted.

Frankly, I enjoy The Big Short, while recognizing its limitations...  

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Wednesday
Dec302015

Contrarian Corner: Age is Just a Number As J.Law Dazzles in 'Joy'

Jose continues our new series Contrarian Corner in which team members who feel very off-consensus about a particular topic can work through it... 


One of the most surreal moments in my life occurred when I was able to speak to Winona Ryder about Jennifer Lawrence. Like J.Law, Ryder became the “it girl” early during her career, and during the early 90s earned back-to-back Oscar nominations and critical/commercial adoration. Unlike J.Law, Ryder wasn’t able to make the most out of what fame and screen maturity had granted her, as she was denied serious parts because of her age. She looked “too young” to play “older parts”, and reached a point (i.e. her 30s) where she was “too old” to play younger parts. Perhaps because she has the good fortune of staying away from social media, Ms. Ryder was unaware of the constant criticism J.Law faces whenever she teams up with David O. Russell.

I don’t even know how old she is. I always thought she was the age of her characters”

Kudos to Ms. Ryder for reminding us that films are all about suspending our disbelief.  [More...]

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Tuesday
Dec152015

Contrarian Corner: Mad Max Fury Road

Lynn Lee test-drives a new, potentially recurring feature wherein TFE members voice dissent on Oscar hopefuls and critical darlings.

If you’re on this site, it’s safe to assume you pay attention to movie critics. It’s also a fair bet you’re likely—or at least more likely than the average person—to agree with the critics when they coalesce around a particular movie. But if you’re like me, every once in a while a film comes along that generates a level of critical enthusiasm you just don’t get. You’d like to share or at least understand it, but instead find yourself feeling like the lone non-believer in a church full of the radiant converted.

That’s how it’s been for me and Mad Max: Fury Road, which met with rave reviews and solid box office when it hit theaters this summer. More recently, it’s picked up a raft of critics’ awards and nominations that have kept it in the Oscars conversation - not just in the technical categories but the majors, including picture and director. Any doubt about its chances stems from the fact that it’s a “genre” film, not its intrinsic merits, which most agree transcend its genre. [More...]

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