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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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Entries in Marcia Gay Harden (8)

Monday
Apr202015

Tribeca: A Second Look at "Grandma"

Lily Tomlin with writer/director Paul Weitz of "About a Boy" fameJoe Reid reporting from the Tribeca Film Festival

After months of feeling left out for not being at Sundance when this little gem debuted (Nathaniel reviewed it), I was at long last able to see Paul Weitz's Grandma, featuring as charming and exciting a central performance by Lily Tomlin as you've heard. Tomlin plays Elle Reid (no relation...though that's not what I'll be telling people), a thorny old lesbian who at times she describes herself both as a misanthrope and as a "terrible person," yet the good heart at her center never gets covered up all that effectively. She's just dumped her lover (Judy Greer) when she's visited by her teen granddaughter, Sage (Julia Garner), who needs money for an abortion. Elle doesn't have it, but she thinks she knows where she can get it, and pretty soon, we've got an old-fashioned road trip on our hands!

Road-trip movies have a natural episodic structure to them, and Grandma keeps some fun casting decisions around each corner. Here's Laverne Cox! Here's Sam Elliott! Here's Elizabeth Peña! (I let out a whimpered "aw" when the late Peña showed up; I found out after the film screened that a friend of mine did the same thing when she saw it.) Here's Marcia Gay Harden! The casting decisions are all quite sharp, which keeps it from feeling like a parade of familiar faces designed to cozy up to an indie audience. In particular, Elliott does some impressive work in his one scene. If Tomlin ends up folded into awards talk for her performance (she should), expect more than a few for-your-consideration pleas on Elliott's behalf.

While Grandma becomes as much of an abortion comedy as Obvious Child was, the focus never leaves Tomlin's Elle. It seems for a while that the movie is going to be a succession of dupes for Elle to mow down. Certainly that's how thing's go for Sage's boyfriend (Nat Wolff, making his requite festival rounds this year). But the film proves to be unexpectedly generous to most of its other characters, including an energetic third-act stomping-through by Marcia Gay Harden, who gets my vote for the movie's funniest line (it's about condoms).

Friday
Jan302015

Sundance: Lily Tomlin's "Grandma" is a Sharp-Tongued Joy

Nathaniel reporting from Sundance. Or, rather, from Manhattan, while still thinking of Sundance and possibly my favorite film from that trip...

The first chapter of Grandma, an ornery new female-driven comedy, is called “Endings” a counterintuitive opening title, perhaps, but appropriate. Elle Reid (Lily Tomlin) doesn’t have much taste for beginnings. A year and half before our story begins, this "writer-in-residence," who had a brief period of reknown as a feminist poet,  lost her life partner of nearly 40 years to cancer. She’s still bitter about it. We know that her new girlfriend of four months Olivia will soon be shown the door because she's played by Judy Greer who is contractually obliged to never have more than 3 scenes in a movie. [More...]

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Nov222014

Tweets o' the Week

Clash of the twitter threads. I recently started muting words on twitter on subjects I just had no interest in hearing about anymore and in some cases never did despite the rest of the world's inexplicably insatiable interest (my timeline is blessedly "Kardashian" free - you should try it! I'm missing nothing) and I've been so much happier.

Twitter is still a colossal time sucker in some ways but it keeps the pop culture conversation lively and my favorite thing about it is hearing smart people say amusing things that I didn't think to say - that I felt but never put into words (like the first tweet below). Anyway, here are a dozen or so tweets that amused or edified. Just because it's fun to share them.

 

 

More after the jump including Viola Davis, Janis Joplin biopic, Matthias Schoenaerts, Selma, and the greatest title card of all time...

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Apr262014

ICYMI, A Smackdown Addendum

Busy busy week but that was mostly the team running around catching Tribeca Screenings. (We'll finish the write-ups very soon). But other than the film festival, I hope you didn't miss these five key posts from the week that was.

A Year With Kate reaches the Spencer Tracy years
Podcast Gets Under the Skin the gang's all back to discuss Noah and Under the Skin 
Looking Back at Pocahontas Disney's ambitious epic 
April Showers: The Piano Holly Hunter was the surprise star of the week because we also finally got to...
2003 Supporting Actress Smackdown Renée vs. Shohreh vs Holly vs Patty vs. Marcia Marcia Marcia. (What a strange Oscar year that was)

Film Bitch Addendum
For those of you wondering which actresses I voted for back in 2003 (many of you weren't around these parts in those early early days), here was my ballot which only had a little Oscar overlap. FWIW, David Cronenberg's Spider got a one week qualifier in 2002 but back then I went only by NYC release since I wasn't privvy to Academy screeners. Of course AMPAS ignored it as they do most one week qualifiers but Miranda Richardson was all kinds of haunting in it x 3. Curiously my finalists list suggests that I thought The Lovely Laura Linney was equal to Marcia back then within the confines of Mystic River. No more. The only part of the movie that's aged well for me at all is Harden's performance.

 

Today's Retro Watch
Given the 2003 Smackdown discussion, it's a great time to look back at this classic Cold Mountain sketch from French & Saunders as they poke fun at Nicole Kidman's whispering & posing and the Zeéeeee's overacting in the Cold Turkey DVD commentary track

Thursday
Apr242014

Supporting Smackdown '03: Holly, Marcia, Patty, Renée & Shohreh

For the latest edition of StinkyLulu's Supporting Actress Smackdown -- which was delayed for reasons I won't bore you with again --  Stinky and I welcome you to a much-discussed Oscar contest, ten years back. This was not, as we've rediscovered, a particularly strong vintage despite a certain nostalgic pull for any storied shortlist that combines five very distinct performers. The truth of it is that most of 2003's acting races were messy affairs with little precursor agreement or too much of it. Further complicating matters was a mix of various stages of career momentum, a frontrunning film without any acting bids (Return of the King), and that semi-annual deadly combo that always mucks with Academy discernment: weak prestige pieces and much of the best work occuring in genres Oscar doesn't care for. The Best Actress race, for example, was historic but totally odd and disatisfying, and Best Supporting Actress coalesced around these five players...

THE NOMINEES


Shohreh Aghdashloo, a "discovery" at 51 though she was already famous in Iran, and previously snubbed character actress sensation Patricia Clarkson were the first timers. Oscar winners Marcia Gay Harden and Holly Hunter were also included for anchoring gritty dramas as desperately confused mothers. And finally Renée Zellweger, the eventual winner, on her third consecutive nomination but her first for a drama after two lead nominations for popular comedies. (All legitimately supporting roles. That doesn't happen over a whole supporting field anymore)

You know who won the Oscar but who will win the Smackdown? Read on...

THIS MONTH'S PANELISTS

Nick Davis, Guy Lodge, Joe Reid, Nathaniel R, Tim Robey, Stinkylulu and You (we tabulate reader votes as well and quotes from your ballots appear).

2003
SUPPORTING ACTRESS SMACKDOWN

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Dec052013

Silent Linking

Variety glorious piece gently berating Disney for their self-loathing Frozen marketing ('no, this isn't about girls and it's not a musical, either!')
Towleroad James Franco's '50 Shades of Batman & Robin'. Ha! I know a lot of people hate Franco's absurdities and his ubiquity but I love that he has turned the boredom of professional acting (all that time not acting on film sets or between jobs) into performance art.
EW Marcia Gay Harden will play Christian Gray's mother in 50 Shades of Gray. Can the movie just be about her instead?
MNPP which is hotter retro reminder: American Hustle's JLaw or... 

Vanity Fair Katey wonder whether Lena Dunham or Kristen Stewart have the Sundanceiest Sundance movie
Time Wispy beautiful Gal Gadot from Fast and Furious 6 will play the world's most famous Amazon warrior, Wonder Woman. Or at least Diana Prince in that likely-to-be-terrible Man of Steel 2 Men of Steel? Batman vs Superman? World's Finest. (I don't care what it's called. So bored of superhero movies... especially Batman. He's been on movie screens regularly since 1989... hibernate in the cave for a bit, PLEASE. Make us miss you)
Cinema Blend Two competing live action version of The Jungle Book are headed your way. It's Alejandro Gonzalez Innaritu vs. Jon Favreau. I can't be the only person who still remembers the 90s live action version with Jason Scott Lee, can I?
The Wire Joe Reid on Her's NBR win
Hollywood Elsewhere Jeffrey Wells is grossed out by some hearsay that someone somewhere who is savvy about Oscars thinks Saving Mr Banks is going to win Best Picture. (P.S. You can find someone somewhere who thinks anything... even among people who are generally not completely dumb about the Oscars)
Coming Soon a new Ira Levin adaptation is coming: Veronica's Room. If it's anywhere close to as good as previous Levin adaptations like Rosemary's Baby or The Stepford Wives (original) than we are in for a treat.

Today's Must Read
Gawker Tom Scocca's essay about "Smarm" and social media. A lot of food for thought. Don't dismiss it unless YOU'VE written a 9,253 word thinkpiece...

Finally... 

Library of Congress findings on Silent Films

Finally, I'm noticing a lot of news sites suddenly reporting about these awful stats about the survival of silent film... or the lack thereof that is. This chart and many of the articles, are stemming from a September 2013 report from the Library of Congress which you can read in full here.