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


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Entries in The Bening (5)


What was your 'Sophie's Choice Oscar Moment'? 

Kyle here. We’re rapidly barreling into the holiday movie season—aka, the time when we plebeians can catch up with all the fare deemed Award Worthy. I’m sure you’re aware, just how amazing our lineup of actress contenders is this year, as Murtada recently talked about. How difficult it’s going to be to be a fan this winter! Which is to say is there anything more painful than those moments when we’re torn between competing loyalties? Or between loyalty and taste? 

My most painful instance of this came in 2000, when Hilary Swank and Annette Bening duked it out for Best Actress. I loved Boys Don't Cry. It was such an important film—even its nomination was important, given its low-budget indie status—and Swank was utterly heartbreaking. But then there was Bening in American Beauty, tap dancing on that high wire. Her Carolyn Burnham is broad and deep, tenderly tragic and yowlingly funny at the same time. Bening not only achieves this difficult balance, but shows us that it’s indispensable to this character’s, this type of person’s, reality. 

So, what was your most painful Sophie’s Choice Oscar moment?


Podcast Extra: The Trouble with Diane Keaton

In this free flowing conversational extra [23 minutes]  Joe Reid tells Nick, Katey and Nathaniel  about where his devotion to Diane Keaton has taken him: to the "nothing" of And So It Goes (2014). We discuss the dangers of "comfort zones" and working with paychecks.

The conversation drifts to Edge of Tomorrow and Broadway musicals including Into the Woods. But mostly the 1989 & 1990 Oscar ceremonies. We always end up at Oscars. It's a sickness! Name checked in this extra episode: Emily Blunt, John Lithgow, Graham Greene, Michael Douglas, John Lithgow, Annette Bening, The Silence of the Lambs, Reba McEntire, Michelle Pfeiffer, and the musical stylings of Jasmine Guy. 

You can listen at the bottom of the post or wait till it shows up on iTunes (which usually takes about a day). Continue the conversation in the comments. We'd love to hear your comments on how it's going with Diane Keaton and your memories of the 89 and 90 Oscars, should you have any that is.

Articles Referenced
Joe & Kevin on Diane Keaton's career, Nathaniel on King Lear, and Nick & Joe's halfway mark capsule brilliance

And So It Goes...


Stage Door: "King Lear" in the Park

Shakespeare in the Park shutters for another year this Sunday August 17th, so you only have a couple more chances to see King Lear. I can't claim that King Lear is one of my favorite plays and as far as interpretations of it go, nobody is ever going to beat Akira Kurosawa's Ran (1985), you know?

The Bening and John Lithgow star in "King Lear" in Central Park

John Lithgow headlines and is quite strong as the rapidly declining hot-tempered looneytunes King who stupidly gives everything away to his two eldest daughters (Annette Bening and Jessica Hecht) while shunning the youngest who truly loves him. Lithgow is having a good year; I urge all of you to see his excellent work in Love is Strange when it opens later this month. I had entirely forgotten about the B story in King Lear which is like a reflection of the A story, in which another father is (literally) blinded when it comes to his sons. I didn't fully love this production where much of it was good but few things excellent. Oddly, I was most drawn to the actors I was least familiar with like Jessica Collins as Cordelia, Eric Sheffer Stevens as Edmund, and Steven Boyer as Fool. Most disappointing for me was The Bening. You know that she is my beloved but her lines were spoken without a lot of discernable emotional content (one review claimed "learned phonetically" which I thought was terribly mean but it's not her finest hour). She does memorably fire up in the final act once her loins are ah stirred by the bastard troublemaker Edmund. 

I love the tradition of Shakespeare in the Park but I wish they would go back to the time when they did more non-Shakespeare things in this summer event series like Mother Courage and Hair and Into the Woods and whatnot. This summer they only did the Bard. You know what play would be excellent to see outdoors? Tennessee Williams' Night of the Iguana.


P.S. What about Cate Blanchett and Isabelle Huppert in The Maids?

You're probably wondering why I haven't written about "The Maids" starring Huppert, Blanchett and rising actress Elizabeth Debicki (remember that wonderful first impression she made in The Great Gatsby?) and that's because I didn't get tickets. Above my price range but Shakespeare in the Park is free which is definitely within my price range! Here's a collection of reviews to read if you're interested. I've talked to two friends who've seen it and they both felt exactly the same: Debicki was best in show. How's that for a surprise... and a career-maker, at least on stage.


HBO: The "B" Stands For Bening

JA from MNPP here - while it's still quite a ways off from being a thing sitting in front of our eyeballs, if indeed it ever does, I figure this is the sort of news that the TFE readership wouldn't want to miss: Annette Bening might be headlining a series for HBO. Deadline's reporting that The Bening, as she's known round these parts, is looking at a series called The Third Coast, about "a larger than life casting director in New Mexico," that would be directed by Jay Roach and was written by Paul Rudnick.

Roach got his start with the Austin Powers movies before moving on to the Fockers series and then more recently making that memorable back-to-back pair of political powerhouses for HBO, Recount and Game Change. Meanwhile Paul Rudnick wrote Addams Family Values, and that is everything. (Seriously though, Rudnick's "Libby Gelman-Waxner" character for Premiere Magazine back in the Nineties was formative for this writer.)

If we're not already past the tipping point in mourning the flight of serious actors to the smaller screen I think we ought to be - an opportunity to check in with The Bening on a weekly basis, doing her thing, doesn't sound too shabby to these ears.


My Loyal Subjects...

Editor's Note: [trumpets! ♫♩] Please welcome back to The Film Experience our favorite very special guest.

Tis I, The Bening!

I thought I'd share a picture of my recent audience with loyal subjects like you in New York. Were you there? Someone made a terrible mistake and I was not on a raised dias. But the kids, they were all right.

Except this one who forgot to bow.

It's been two years since I last addressed you but I know that you have not forgotten about me. Especially not during Oscar Season where thoughts are surely never far from me. Who do you think we voted for? 

Your guesses will amuse us even more than Ms Swank's current film career!

Her Majesty, Annette.