Waitress: The Poll

Waitress: The Poll

****
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*** 1/2
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17%
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** 1/2
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17%
**
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* 1/2
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*
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1/2 *
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Total votes: 6

Sabin
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Re: Waitress: The Poll

Postby Sabin » Sat Jul 16, 2011 8:26 pm

Man, it really didn't seem like a great year for movies at the time, but I could really use a 2007 right around now...especially considering that Midnight in Paris is ten times the trifle and amassing right now at least three times the grosses.

We really did lose a good one. It's hard to watch Adrienne Shelly's feature without feeling an intense feel of regret, yet it must be said that this undercurrent of regret grounds and saddens this film, drains it of some caricature it is guilty of. There is an intensely unlikable character at the heart of this film and there isn't a damn thing Jeremy Sisto can do to make Early anything less than the most repugnant character in ages. As a man, it's easy for me to say that you don't for a minute understand how Jenna could marry such a lout, but it must happen all the time. Just as much a stretch is how implausible it is that Nathan Fillion could be in this town at the same time with Keri Russell. I can overlook these cherry contrivances, more cherry than anything in her pies if it's made worth my while. And it is.

Adrienne Shelly has a very good off-beat touch with comedy that I almost prefer to Hartley's. The actors get to behave as recognizably human quirkathons. I found pretty much every character who wasn't Sisto to be pretty darn amusing, and you can't really level small praise onto Keri Russell. Having [purposely] missed Felicity, I wasn't aware of how strong a comedienne Russell is, but why on Earth is she not in more movies? She's unbelievably beautiful with great comic timing. What else do you need? And as if it hasn't been spread out through the web enough so far, Nathan Fillion effortlessly manages that tightrope between irony and old-fashioned matinee icon sincerity. Between this, Firefly, and Slither, he has to rank as one of the great presences in film you never get to see.

Really liked Waitress. The screenplay is as paint-by-numbers and committee as you can get but it's replete with charm. Sonic writes four years ago (AH! THAT'S SCARY TO THINK ABOUT!) that if we've gotta have movies like these, they should be like this. We kinda do need films like these. And this is a pretty good one.
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Postby OscarGuy » Fri Feb 29, 2008 1:47 pm

vote and discuss
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Postby Anon » Mon Dec 17, 2007 8:19 am

I think the problem is the film itself, not Russell. She didn't immediately come to mind as someone who was overlooked, even though I agree she was fantastic in Waitress. But the movie is a slight, enjoyable film that's easily forgettable come awards time.

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Postby cam » Sun Dec 16, 2007 4:23 pm

Sorry. It was Burstyn, I'm sorry.
I liked the insistent honking horn announcing the entrance of the villain in the piece. Transparent but effective.

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Postby Uri » Sun Dec 16, 2007 12:41 pm

The funny, or rather sad thing is that while I wasn't swept off my feet by Russell, she's still better then most of this year contenders whose performances I saw – Cotilard, Adams, Jolie – and based on Knightly track record, I find it hard to believe she'll be better too.

It's really all about Christy being in a league of her own (and what a sublime league it is), and then there's nothing much. Thanks god Linney has a leading role one can wait for.

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Postby danfrank » Sun Dec 16, 2007 10:59 am

I totally agree, Penelope. Waitress is a slight but enjoyable film, mostly thanks to Keri Russell. She is a revelation in this, and should be generating more awards buzz.

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Postby Penelope » Sun Dec 16, 2007 10:17 am

Yes, the movie is very reminiscent of Alice (the tv series with Linda Lavin), but if you forgive this element, it's still a sweet, likable film; and of course Russell isn't Ellen Burstyn, but, in a way, Russell's triumph is almost more impressive--Burstyn had a truly marvelous script with a richly developed character, while Russell has to take a somewhat thin premise and a slightly underdeveloped character and make it work--the movie rests almost entirely on Russell's shoulders, and she does, indeed, make it work; Russell's performance is, really, a miracle of perfect delivery, both in the dialogue and in the physicality.
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Postby Uri » Sun Dec 16, 2007 4:15 am

cam wrote:Alice Doesn't Live Here Any More--not the Glenda Jackson one,

Cam, there were indeed only TWO actresses playing leading role in movies of the seventies, so no wonder you mixed them up.

And like the pies served in the movie, at a certain point I felt the movie had way too many sweet ingredients in it for me to really enjoy it, albeit the good nature an warmth of it. And Russell, though very likeable, in no Ellen Burstin.




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Postby cam » Sun Dec 16, 2007 3:58 am

What a charming film--will NOT get an Oscar, but it is well-meaning. You're right , Joe, Russell is wonderfully vulnerable , and quite innocent in her discoveries. The unfortunate thing that I thought throughout the film: this is a kinder, gentler, Alice Doesn't Live Here Any More--not the Glenda Jackson one, but the TV show with Linda Lavin , and the memorable Beth Howland, and Polly Holliday. There were even physical similarities.
The film filled a niche this year( maybe there were others of the same ilk), and it is likely to replayed again in another year.

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Postby Penelope » Sun Dec 16, 2007 3:17 am

A wonderful, lovely film; yes, as others state here, it shouldn't work: at times, it does seem a bit rote, and the male characters are too thinly drawn--Jeremy Sisto is the vile redneck husband, Nathan Fillion is the true-blue doctor. But it does work, thanks to Adrienne Shelley's thoroughly assured direction--viewed now with an element of sadness knowing that she was so tragically taken from this world.

Most of all it works thanks to Keri Russell's marvelous, genuinely exquisite performance--every moment, every line reading, every emotion rings true, with a grace, subtlety and delicateness that is simply dazzling. That she isn't getting Oscar buzz is a frustrating development--right now, I think I'd place her second, below Christie and above Cotillard, on my list of this year's Best Actresses.




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Postby Sonic Youth » Sat Jun 09, 2007 7:56 pm

Compare this to 2002's similar "The Good Girl"... Compare Keri Russell's performance to Jennifer Aniston's... well, you can't. There is no comparison. "Waitress" is a fairy-tale trifle, but it shows up "The Good Girl" for the offensive fraud it is. It certainly shows up Mike White for the misogynist he is by fixing the camera in Anniston's morose face as she's being raped by her husband's friend. Keri Russell's grounded performance shows up Annistan's blank one. And the loving manner in which Adrienne Shelly photographs Russell's face point blank shows up every other Sundance-friendly director's point-'n-shoot style. "Waitress" could have been conceived by committee: Let's mix in hefty dollops of steamy romance, tantalizing food, a working class mileu, female comradeship, a controlling husband, and of course the onset of motherhood. Oh, and a happy ending, gotta have that. Voila, women's realist-escapist entertainment. It all strains credibility when you stop to think about it. (Why the hell would Keri Russell get hitched to such an asshole?) Then again, why would you want to stop and think about it? Mitigating all the conventionalities is the film's off-kilter tone and style, complete with Hal Hartley deadpan. Of course it's all female escapism, but with the megaplexes mega-bursting with male escapism, the women are entitled to theirs as well. And if there has gotta be these kinds of movies, then at least let them be like this.

P.S. When I saw "Trust" in 1990, I had the major hots for Adrienne Shelly at the time. And I mean, more so than the thousands of other women on my list. I'm very sorry she's gone.
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Postby Anon » Thu May 31, 2007 9:48 pm

I saw Waitress a few days ago, and I really enjoyed it. If it plays well, it could be this summer's Devil Wears Prada. I'm not sure I see it building up success like My Big Fat Greek Wedding, though it could be the little film that could a la Little Miss Sunshine.

Keri Russell might get later recognition during awards season. Of course that's a huge *maybe.* Really depends on the level of acting in this year's later movies. At least, I'm more impressed with her work here than what I've seen so far in the trailers featuring Angelina Jolie as Daniel Pearl's wife (that accent is awful!).

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Postby kaytodd » Mon May 28, 2007 1:30 pm

The Times-Picayune review of Adrienne Shelley's "Waitress." I liked it. I think it has a shot at being this year's Greek Wedding or LMS. It has a sort of feminist empowerment theme; maybe Oprah will do a show on it. And there is always Adrienne's tragic fate to generate publicity and add a bit of poignancy. I was even more moved when I found out she was inspired to write the story when she found she was pregnant with her first child. I hope Fox Searchlight figures ot a way to promote this film, for it deserves to be as big a hit as LMS or Greek Wedding.

I do not agree with the reviewer with his knock on Jeremy Sisto's performance. He was very good and it was a genuinely startling moment in the middle of the film when he showed his true nature.

SLICE OF LIFE
Heartfelt 'Waitress' serves up a heaping helping of both charm and wit Friday, May 25, 2007
By Mike Scott-Film Critic

Ask Andy Griffith, he'll tell you: It's easy to be happy when there's a pie in front of you.

All those competing flavors and textures: The sweet, the spicy. The creamy, the crunchy. The succulent, the savory. When done right, they all combine to form something downright irresistible.

The same can be said of "Waitress," a deliciously charming romantic comedy starring Keri Russell ("Mission: Impossible III," "Felicity") and featuring Griffith in a show-stealing role. It's sweet and it's bitter. It's funny and it's melancholy. It's cute and it's gritty. It's all those things, and they all come together to make a surprisingly engaging film.

"Waitress" isn't your typical romantic comedy, a genre that too often tends to favor one hemisphere -- either the romance or the comedy -- over the other. There's a delightful balance here in a film that is meaningful without taking itself too seriously.

There's definite feminine empowerment flavor as well, but it would be an injustice to dismiss it as merely a chick flick. At its root, it's about happiness, an emotion that is far from being the exclusive domain of the estrogen-rich.

The engaging Russell stars as Jenna, a small-town waitress and "pie genius" who is really happy only when she's baking her wildly imaginative -- and just as wildly named -- creations. (There's the "I Hate My Husband" pie. And the "I Don't Want Earl's Baby" pie. And then there's the "Earl Murders Me Because I'm Having an Affair" pie.) She's a deep dish who's filled with emotions -- she despises her husband, she feels guilty about her affection for her doctor, she resents the baby she's carrying -- except, it seems, genuine happiness.

She has plans to run away, to seek a better future somewhere other than under husband Earl's domineering thumb. But every time she makes up her mind to bolt, something conspires against it. Like pregnancy.

It all sounds like heavy stuff, but writer and director Adrienne Shelley manages it all with a deft comic hand.

Russell is well-cast in the everywoman lead role. Her Jenna is no self-pitying mope. Instead, she mostly accepts her lot in life with a grim resignation -- though never quite abandoning those dreams of getting out. She and Nathan Fillion ("Saving Private Ryan," "Slither"), who plays her charmingly awkward obstetrician and the object of her affection, share onscreen chemistry.

The scene-stealing Griffith is in fine form as crusty old sage Joe, who serves as a signpost for Russell in her hunt for happiness. ("Start fresh," he tells her. "It's never too late. Start fresh.")

But his performance is far from the only gem in "Waitress"; it's full of wonderfully quirky performances, from Cheryl Hines' ("Curb Your Enthusiasm," "RV") brassy Becky to Shelley's ("The Unbelievable Truth," "Trust") dorky Dawn to Eddie Jemison's ("Ocean's Eleven," "Bruce Almighty") oddball Ogie.

There are times when the corn-pone act can seem a trifle overdone. (A person can take only so many double negatives.) And Jeremy Sisto's Earl comes off as almost cartoonish at times. But those flaws are minor when balanced with the rest of this well-intended, and well-executed, film.

One of the more poignant moments in "Waitress" comes when the credits roll: Starring Adrienne Shelley. Written by Adrienne Shelley. Directed by Adrienne Shelley. Theme song by Adrienne Shelley. In Loving Memory of Adrienne Shelley.

Shelley, whose own pregnancy served as the inspiration for the film, was murdered in New York last year after a dispute with a construction worker over noise in her building. "Waitress" proves that her death was an enormous loss to movie-goers.

*** 1/2 (out of four stars)
The great thing in the world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving. It's faith in something and enthusiasm for something that makes a life worth living. Oliver Wendell Holmes

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Postby Sonic Youth » Wed Jan 24, 2007 9:16 pm

Waitress
By DENNIS HARVEYA
Variety


The premiere less than three months after her tragic death at age 40 of Adrienne Shelly's "Waitress" is indeed bittersweet: While the film may not be world-shaking, this warm and accomplished seriocomedy shows a talent much matured since her two prior directorial features, "Sudden Manhattan" (1997) and "I'll Take You There" (1999). While aspects verge on sitcom terrain, this tale of a pregnant small-town woman caught between a bad marriage and a risky affair is mostly as funny and charming as intended. Picked up by Fox Searchlight for a cool $5 mil, pic could do nice biz among adult femme auds, with easy transition to tube and rental play.

Jenna (Keri Russell) is a "pie genius," having inherited her late mother's gift for thinking up scrumptiously imaginative baked goods. (The desserts provide a mouth-watering visual motif thanks to Matthew Irving's heightened-color lensing.) Each day her latest creation, as well as established favorites, draws loyal customers to Joe's Pie Shop in a small Southern town.

But Jenna's life seems to have hit an unpleasant dead end: husband Earl's (Jeremy Sisto) loutish, controlling ways have killed her affection for him. She yearns to leave him, but has nowhere to go -- and there's enough threat of violence in his demeanor that she squirrels away tip money, thinking her only option is to make a dash for freedom once she can support herself for a while.

So she's not at all happy to discover at film's start that she's pregnant (from a now-rare, alcohol-induced night of marital sex). Figuring her predicament isn't the baby's fault, she won't abort, but she won't tell Earl about it either, hopeful she can bolt before he notices.

For a while, the only person who knows besides Jenna is new town medico Dr. Pomatter (Nathan Fillion), with whom she shares an almost immediate, overwhelming and most inappropriate mutual attraction.

Meanwhile, at the diner it's business as usual. Manager Cal (Lew Temple) yells at everybody. Mousy fellow waitress Dawn (Shelly), looking for love, finds it with a man (Eddie Jemison) who initially repulses her. Brassy Becky (Cheryl Hines), married to a "senile invalid," is dallying with someone whose identity she won't reveal. The restaurant's cantankerous owner Old Joe (Andy Griffith) comes in to enjoy Jenna's pies and pry into her personal affairs, though he's more softhearted than he lets on.

Soon she and the handsome doc are having a torrid affair, even as her pregnancy advances -- far enough that Earl can no longer be kept in the dark. Still, she hopes to flee somehow. When she finally makes her decision, however, it's refreshingly a simple psychological shift rather than the result of a melodramatic or comedic contrivance.

Film has an occasional case of the cutes, and the diner dynamic is a bit too much like that on late-'70s sitcom "Alice."

But for the most part, Shelly the director exhibits enough restraint and deftness to muffle her screenplay's potential for pat dramedy.

A big help in that regard is Russell's terse, down-to-earth perf, which nicely grounds the pic's serious side and provides useful contrast against the enjoyable, often broader supporting turns. Helmer gets mileage out of those reined-in emotions when they suddenly burst, in a sweetly funny montage where Jenna can't stop beaming with sudden love for the doc.

Sisto avoids making Earl a stock redneck ghoul, lending him both menace and a certain pathos, as well as enough hick haplessness to keep the airy pic from being dragged into overly grim domestic-violence terrain. Fillion's smitten physician is a goofy charmer.

Presumably completed in post after Shelly's death (she was murdered in her NYC apartment), "Waitress" is lovingly assembled on all levels, with careful attention to vibrant design aspects that look good enough to eat.
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Postby Sonic Youth » Thu Jan 11, 2007 11:51 pm

What a tragedy. How wonderful it would be if this movie was a success.

A haunting legacy
BY JANE RIDLEY
Thursday, January 11th, 2007
New York Daily News


With Sundance just over a week away, Adrienne Shelly would be excitedly packing her suitcase in her Tribeca apartment, eagerly anticipating the magical moment when her movie was to premiere at the prestigious festival.

On the cusp of fame, the striking actress and director would surely be floating on air as she looked toward the future.

Tragically, she will not take the trip of a lifetime to the snow-covered Utah resort and accept credit for "Waitress," the indie production that she wrote, directed and acted in.

Instead, Shelly's ghost will haunt the event, due to mark her proudest accomplishment when her face appears on screen at the film's opening night.

The 40-year-old was found hanged in a shower last November in what first appeared to be suicide - but turned out to be a brutal murder that shocked the city.

As our exclusive pictures - taken from Shelly's final movie - show, she died at her most confident and beautiful.

The senseless killing not only robbed New York of one of its most creative talents, it left Sophie, her beloved 2-1/2-year-old daughter, without a mother.

As she grows, friends can only hope the little girl will take comfort from knowing that Shelly's greatest hopes were realized by her entry at Sundance.

"It was her dream," says film director Reid Rosefelt, a close friend who worked with the actress. "Sundance is the place to get in, and she had never had that before.

"It's the achievement of a life-long goal."

Rosefelt will join Shelly's bereaved family and other friends at the emotionally charged premiere of "Waitress" on Jan. 21.

"Her family is so excited about the film being at Sundance," adds Michael Roff, who produced the movie, which co-stars Keri Russell from TV's "Felicity."

"I know Adrienne knows what is going on and she is very proud. She is just beaming. ... I'm focused on how ecstatic she would be.

"The film embodies who Adrienne was in such a strong way, there is no better way to pay tribute," Roff continued.

"It is really nice that it is a happy film which shows what kind of place she was in that point of her life. It was an incredibly excited, anticipatory place."

Shelly was finally getting the recognition she deserved after appearing in more than 20 movies, including 2005's "Factotum" with Matt Dillon.

The Queens native was perhaps best known for her roles in the independent flicks "Trust" and "The Unbelievable Truth," which won acclaim at Sundance, but had since moved behind the camera into writing and directing.

She was driven by a consuming passion which, in a terrible twist, may have contributed to her death on Nov. 1, 2006.

Police believe Shelly was slain by construction worker Diego Pillco, 19, after she complained about noise he was making in the apartment below her West Village office, where she craved peace and quiet to write her screenplay.

They argued, and because she threatened to call the police, the illegal immigrant from Ecuador feared deportation.

Pillco told detectives he pushed her hard, she fell, and he thought she was dead. He used a sheet to hang her from the shower curtain rod to make it look like suicide.

Shelly's family then had to suffer the agony of people thinking she had taken her own life and abandoned her daughter.

It was reported she may have killed herself because, in a chilling prophecy, she told an interviewer in 2002 that she had "gone through life with this feeling that life could end at any given moment," adding she could not accept delays in producing film projects because "in my way of thinking, I might not live another seven years."

However, the alleged murderer left a footprint and was caught four days later, confirming the repeated insistence of Shelly's husband, Andrew Ostroy, 47, and her mother, Elaine Langbaum, 69, that it wasn't suicide.

Pillco, who has pleaded not guilty, is currently at Rikers Island awaiting trial.

As Shelly's family prepare for their pilgrimage to Sundance, they will struggle to put thoughts of Pillco out of their mind. How different things would have been if she had never crossed his path on that chilly fall day.

As they watch Shelly in the movie theater, at her finest hour, they will no doubt feel a sense of both sorrow and pride.

"She dreamt of going to Sundance with this movie," said Andrew Herwitz, president of the company distributing "Waitress." "And her wish came true."
"What the hell?"

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