Tuesday, February 05, 2008

You're Invited ~ Day Two of the Symposium

You are cordially invited to read and comment on day two of the Oscar Symposium

We can't be held responsible for how you react to the Juno and Atonement wars therein. Also bear witness to the vice grip of Daniel Plainview (who keeps trying to get back in the mix), odd tangents on girlpower, and the strange continued absence of No Country For Old Men from the meat of the conversation.

start with day one if you're just joining us.


The Jaded Armchair Reviewer said...

That's a good topic on Unreliability that you've started. So when does it cross from the narrator's "try to follow me" into a director's "now I'm just f*cking with you" excuse in trading style and technique for plausibility and coherence?

I await the rest of the supporting actress discussion. :)

Anonymous said...


Atonement opened this past Friday (February 1) here in South Africa. I watched it on Saturday (Friday I watched the awful American Gangster) My thoughts:

I truly HATED Atonement. I tolerated the book from start to finish but the movie I passionately hated. nothing rang true. the briony character was just not believable and if one can't believe that character then the film entirely falls apart.

Keira Knightely needs to eat and then go to avery good acting teacher.

Joe Wright shold never be allowed to direct another movie again.

It is Memoirs of a Geisha redux

John T said...

I think my heart broke a little when Nick compared Atonement, a film that I am continually falling in love with weeks (at this point months) after my first viewing of it, to the really detestable Same Time, Next Year. I think the heart-breaking is because he's correct, both films suffer from characters who are created through splashy headlines in their lives. Nick, why must you be so excellent and apt in your film observations? :)

Atonement's most obvious flaw, much like Wright's previous work Pride and Prejudice, is that it is too short in the wrong places-another hour on this film, and you would have had the masterpiece that it should have been.

Kim, by the way, the picture of Hillary downing the martinis while watching McCain-I am going to be thinking that with every election return tonight; hi-larious.

Anonymous said...

Can I have Kim's phone number ?
I think I'm in love

Anonymous said...

That discussion was VILE! I disagree with almost every comment made especially the ridiculous drubbing of 'Juno' to the extent that the tedious and considerably inferior 'Ghost World' is cited favourably in comparison?
What planet are you guys on?
Also enough with the Clooney love in from the bald guy with the beard. I've never heard so much tosh as his embarrassing account of why 'Michael Clayton' is a good movie. It's a piece of shit.
Love Nat, love the film experience normally and loved last year's Oscar symposium. This year you all make the cliched comments I would expect from people who are desparately trying to be hip (seriously Tilda Swinton is a good actress, but enough with the goddess bullshit. Just because she is pale and ugly doesn't make her an amazing actress)

Emma said...


I'm there.

Anonymous said...

Tilda Swinton is not pale and ugly !!!

Well, pale maybe...

Anonymous said...

Ugh all of that "Juno" mudslinging was ridiculous. Just let the damn film be. It isn't trying to reinvent the wheel, and yes, there are adolescent girls out there who are "quippy", and it's always like this when comedies go head-to-head with the lofty "dramas" at the Oscars. Someone's artifice is another's authenticity.


anon i've seen JUNO three times now and I agree that it gets a bad rap. but it's like SASHA says early on "some films just cant' bear the weight of a best picture nomination" --and sh'es probably right about that.

it's human nature i think to attack BP nominees ;)

but i hope there's enough diversity of opinion in there. Nick clearly loves the movie. and I like it just fine.

anon make sure to come back tomorrow for more cliched comebacks from the desperately hip!

rihanna... pale definitely.

banana raccoon where are you going with Saoirse?


and by "comebacks" I mean "comments"


Anonymous said...

Re: Nick's "I love the movie that Atonement's fans describe..." Yes! I love that movie too, but the actual movie went off the rails and away from that fan-description at about the time we left the sunny estate for war-torn France. I think it's a matter of simple narrative momentum: all of a sudden I didn't know what movie we were in, what was at stake, what was going to pull me from scene to scene. And when James chases Keira on the double-decker bus, we were suddenly in Danielle Steele territory. Who cares if Briony made it up? It was still a romance movie cliche.

Anonymous said...

In honor of Super Tuesday, I'd like to elect the Oscar Symposium party over the Slate Movie Club party for best garrulous gathering of film writers. In particular, I'd like to single out shrewd, sharp Kim Morgan, the candidate closest to my own beliefs - Sean Penn in All the King's Men (Nay!), Black Snake Moan (Aye!), Juno (Nay!), Ashley Judd in Bug (Aye!).

Anonymous said...

Sasha's comment is interesting, but I don't think it's necessarily that comedies can't bear the weight of Oscar nominations, but that closed-minded people only want to see a certain type of serious film nominated for best picture, and likewise can't stand to see lightweight fare making it in there too. Meaning, it's their problem, not the film's. It wasn't as much of an issue with films like "Annie Hall", "Lost in Translation", and "Sideways", b/c they were all in one form or another dramas masquerading in comedic clothing. But with "Juno" and "Little Miss Sunshine", they readily wear their hearts on their sleeves, and now they're paying the price for it with the backlashes ("Sunshine" got it handed to them on a platter last year around this time, and "Juno"'s is arriving shortly in full-force).

And since when did little Juno MacGuff have to take on the whole freakin' mantlepiece of all that is right and all that is wrong with the state of female characterizations in films today? Just let the damn character exist for what she is, flaws and all. It's only (awesomely written) fiction that people are taking way too seriously.


true and true --i personally love it when comedies get honors. But i just don't think JUNO deserved as many as its getting is all. I mean I find it slightly ridiculous that it seems unbeatable in the screenplay race for example. Yes, it's funny but better written than Michael Clayton and Ratatouille? I dunno...

and you make a great point about JUNO in that she shouldn't be expected to carry the banner for all female characters but that is something that happens to any big hit or flashpoint film. They always are expected to carry the torch of something and are judged for things outside of themselves. I mean certainly ATONEMENT in many places by its mere association with the "eye candy prestige" mantle.

sure it fits the description but as i said in the symposium. just because something is a particular thing doesn't mean it's the same as the other particular thing.

I'M SICK. WITH THE FLU. i apologize if i'm a little dull or incoherent today

Sam Brooks said...

I'm a Juno hater and not afraid to say it.

But where's the Sweeney Todd love?

Anonymous said...

The only film I want to see win Best Original Screenplay is "Juno". That or a three-way tie to hand all of the ladies Oscars for their scripts. But anything to pry it away from Tony Gilroy's hands for that insufferable "Michael Clayton".

Anonymous said...

just because something is a particular thing doesn't mean it's the same as the other particular thing.

that makes no sense

Joe Reid said...

I know Nathaniel has mentioned this before, but it's really striking me today: why is it that all the negative, reactionary comments are all from anonymous posters? It really does make it seem like you're too afraid to stand by your snottiness when you post that way. Just write a name. Make one up, hell.

Anonymous said...

I don't have a blog, and not everyone wants to be public with their comments. What's anonymous if I place a name behind it? And a made-up one? That's meaningless. If it's a genuine opinion coming from something sincere, that's all that matters, not having a name behind it. Refer to the timestamp if you think I'm so damn "snotty".


do i have to start not allowing anonymous comments?

i really don't want to take that step.

but it does seem like anonymous people are VERY VERY touchy. and i don't really get why? what is motivating it?

Usually if someone asks you to type a name, even a fake one, it's just because they want to be able to dress comments to your comment.

it's really a simple need of conversation.what's the big deal?

Anonymous said...

I agree - it gets to the point where I just start automatically skipping anonymous comments. I feel like, if you have such strong opinions about something, and you want people to listen, then just put a name to what you're saying. Even a fake one.
I'm growing increasingly disgusted with 'anonymous' commenters.

Anonymous said...

I don't get the hatred towards MICHAEL CLAYTON. Yes, it's a "genre" movie wrapped up in the moral trappings of such thoughtful 70's dramas like THREE DAYS OF THE CONDOR (I guess Sydney Pollack as producer an actor in there is by no means casual). But, unless you think it is meaningless to you, it is no bad at all.
OK, I wouldn't put it up right there at the top -I can't get sold yet on the respectful,top lawyer suddenly turned repentant/schizo of Tom Wilkinson, and that blabbing at the opening credits might be hilarious as well as a li'l bit over the top and distracting to no avail (it comes with a label saying: "Don't try to sell it")
Anyway, I found its web of characters/plot interesting and well developed enough to sucked me in and don't bother so much on "other" things like placement, settings, acting, truthfulness, unnecesary embellishments, etc. In a way, saved some few things, it looks positively effortless.
That's more than I can say about JUNO (although I have light feet for comedies anf I liked Jason Reitmann paying homage to Wes Anderson:)and, most of all, ATONEMENT. That's my real dissapointment. When, for the most part, CLAYTON looked effortless, ATONEMENT seemed way too forceful. Like if it was, in the middle act, directed or scripted (I don't care whose fault this is) by an aspiring thespian who didn't get what was at stake. The war comes as an overlong and distracting thing instead of a harrowing one (oh, those unnecesary embellishments!), and Cecilia never had a compelling voice, like if it was missing a connective tissue between the two scenarios: Was she sad? Was she missing him? What did she do at the time? Is it because the chilly Keira Knightly was miscast and never felt for her in the first place? Who Knows?
A friend of mine said to me: "Gorgeous eyes and one hell of a dress doesn't make you a good thespian" Take that, Wynona Ry...er, I mean, Kiera!
Also, to this day, I don't know who the real Briony was (apart from a high-paid liar)nor who women of the three portrayed her best. I really felt for the soulful Romola Garai, but it just seemed like a whole other Briony!
Too much mumbling troughout the movie and, by the final act, the shocking revelation left me completely cold. I was thinking what was lost, why a clever idea (out of a clever book) ended up in a spotty movie, who has some things well done (specially in the first act)but then derails it because of some silly decisions in its staging, acting and editing. Too much to complain about and a huge opportunity lost. This could have been SO MUCH BETTER.

Anonymous said...

It's your blog. Do what you like. If you want to block readers/posters who want to remain anonymous on the boards who say things you don't want to particularly hear or don't like the manner in which they state them, then that's entirely on you.


oh get over yourself already. I have never blocked anyone for disagreeing with me. i ENCOURAGE people to talk and debate here and don't pretend like you don't know that since you're obviously reading

i just like people to type a name (fake ones will do, same diff) so that people who want to say something to them, can. otherwise it just looks like people are just trying to drop bombs and don't really want to have conversations with other people

Glenn Dunks said...

And it also just makes it hard to follow, too. How many of these anonymous people are the same person? Some of them are very nice (Anon4.14 for instance) but as other's have already said (and like I've been saying for aaages) a lot of these anonymous replies are really quite overtly negative. Take Anon3.00pm - it may be shocking to realise this, but it'll come in handy in the future:

People can have different opinions to you!

Doesn't make them any more wrong or right. It's just their opinion. They have theirs and you have your own. Don't need to become incredibly angry and foul mouthed and resort to insults just because you don't like what somebody said about a freakin' movie.

I mean, seriously. They are only movies.

It's like when three anonymous replies show up in the span of a few minutes all ragging on Julianne Moore. They ain't fooling anybody!

Dennis Cozzalio said...

Hey, Natahniel! Reading these comments is ALMOST as much fun as being in the Symposium! "Anonymous" loves making hilarious comments over at my site too. Did you see his/her hilarious rejoinder when I posted the Burt Reynolds Cosmo pic? I love that Kim is getting so much love here-- she is truly a peach-- but I'm sorry, my favorite quip comes, yes, from Anonymous:

"Also enough with the Clooney love-in from the bald guy with the beard. I've never heard so much tosh as his embarrassing account of why Michael Clayton is a good movie. It's a piece of shit."

Who could possibly argue with that kind of logic. I stand corrected. I am, however, still bald. :)

Brian Darr said...

Loving the discussion, all!

Speaking of orange tic-tacs, I finally was able to see 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days, and was astounded to see that they make a brief appearance in that pregnancy-themed film as well. What's going on here? Did the Ferrero company embark on a bizarre product-placement campaign last year? Don't tell me Waitress and Knocked Up feature the confections too...

Anonymous said...

I'm inclined to believe that the hostile anonymous posters are actually rabid fans of Hilary Swank or Renee Zellweger engaging in a complicated covert operation designed to take down Public Enemy No. 1 aka Nathaniel. As such I hereby reserve the right in future to refer to all hostile anonymous posters as either 'Renee' or 'Hilary' when addressing their posts ;)

Anyway, I'm enjoying the Symposium. Particularly the discussion of Briony in Atonement who I found to be fascinating and alienating at the same time. Oh, and I love what Kim Morgan brings to the discussion.

Anonymous said...

oh get over yourself already. I have never blocked anyone for disagreeing with me. i ENCOURAGE people to talk and debate here and don't pretend like you don't know that since you're obviously reading

Whatever. Blocking is what you're proposing b/c those people aren't playing in the sandbox the way that you like. If you block those people, whatever. There are other sandboxes to play in.

Glenn Dunks said...

So, what? Aren't tic tacs popular in America? How bizarre.