Little Children

rudeboy
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Postby rudeboy » Sat Feb 07, 2009 10:32 am

I thought the best - indeed, only really good - performance in Little Children was Jane Adams, wonderful in her two or three minutes.

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Postby Sabin » Fri Feb 06, 2009 3:10 pm

Sommerville gave the best performance in the film and it's really a shame that not a single critic's group cited her. I'm pleased that Adrianna Barraza and Rinko Kikuchi were nominated but they could have done far better. O'Hara, Blunt, Sommerville, Eva Green for Casino Royale, and Carmen Maura and Lola Duenas for Volver.
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Postby Eric » Fri Feb 06, 2009 1:26 pm

flipp525 wrote:who is this year's Phyllis Somerville? That is, an under-the-radar actress who in a few short strokes created an indelible character you wanted to know more about?

Debra Winger, easily.

And, though I loathed Little Children with a passion, I think Somerville would've been a great nominee, as would've O'Hara and Blunt and Fiona Shaw and Grace Zabriskie. (Of course, that wouldn't be an Oscar lineup, would it?)




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Postby barrybrooks8 » Fri Feb 06, 2009 12:09 pm

I say Misty Upham, from Frozen River, or the neighbors in Revolutionary Road?


And I loved Little Children.
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Postby flipp525 » Fri Feb 06, 2009 11:22 am

The Original BJ wrote:I liked Little Children a lot, and still do, even though it's problematic (I know I detailed my feelings below when it first came out.)

Phyllis Somerville is EXACTLY the kind of performance that should be honored in the supporting categories but isn't because of people Cate Blanchett -- lead actors in lead roles whose careers won't change one bit after a supporting nomination. It's a shame Somerville wasn't recognized -- she's perfect, and conveys a life's worth of backstory for her character in only a few scenes.

I was glad to see that someone else liked Little Children. I don't think it has one of the Top Ten Most Horrible Screenplays of the Decade (that's just ridiculous). It had some problems, but I think it stayed very true to its source material (even if they Hollywood-ified the ending a bit; yep, in the book you find out that Jackie Earle Haley's character actually did all the awful things he's been accused of).

Anyway, BJ, your description of Phyllis Somerville's performance (who, alongside Emily Blunt and Catherine O'Hara, I think was cheated out of a nomination in 2006) got me thinking: who is this year's Phyllis Somerville? That is, an under-the-radar actress who in a few short strokes created an indelible character you wanted to know more about? I nominate Hiam Abbass.




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Postby Sabin » Mon Mar 03, 2008 1:14 pm

It's not me. I have a psychosexual disease.
"If you are marching with white nationalists, you are by definition not a very nice person. If Malala Yousafzai had taken part in that rally, you'd have to say 'Okay, I guess Malala sucks now.'" ~ John Oliver

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Postby Steph2 » Mon Mar 03, 2008 3:04 am

LMAO!! Josh, you are a weird, highly entertaining boy. Oh and I hated Little Children.

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Postby Sabin » Mon Mar 03, 2008 2:53 am

(grumble...post deleted...)

Subtle is the wrong word. Nothing in 'Babel' is subtle. However, it'd be easy for voters to pass up Barraza and Kikuchi as they just kind of fade into their roles more than the usual acting nominees. I don't like a lot of the acting in 'Babel' but my choice that year of the nominees would've been Barraza with Kikuchi just behind.

Incidentally: the final scene with Barraza just howling in misery is pretty much the quintessential boner scene for Innaritu. That's everything he gets off on.

After watching 'Babel', I called it "Whammy Bear: The Movie". I will explain: whenever in a movie there is a moment of such biblical downturn for the sake of ironic profundity, I like to deflate the moment by freezing the screen as an animated bear slams into the screen and screams WHAMMY! This is The Whammy Bear. I was so bored and annoyed by 'Babel' that I invented him. His name is Sir Whammerson III. He shows up a lot in 'Crash', as well as every one-and-a-half to two minutes in 'Babel'. He has a yellow shirt with a W on it.
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Postby The Original BJ » Sun Mar 02, 2008 5:43 pm

I liked Little Children a lot, and still do, even though it's problematic (I know I detailed my feelings below when it first came out.)

Phyllis Somerville is EXACTLY the kind of performance that should be honored in the supporting categories but isn't because of people Cate Blanchett -- lead actors in lead roles whose careers won't change one bit after a supporting nomination. It's a shame Somerville wasn't recognized -- she's perfect, and conveys a life's worth of backstory for her character in only a few scenes.

Sabin, I thought you weren't that fond of the Babel women?

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Postby Steph2 » Sun Mar 02, 2008 5:13 pm

Sabin wrote:I remain a little confused still that the 'Babel' gals did so well. They give relatively subtle performances that tower over the competition.

I like Barraza but you thought that was subtle??

Totally agree with your alternate lineup and YES MY GOD, Emma Thompson should have won the supporting actress Oscar that year! She was wonderful in that film!

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Postby Sabin » Fri Feb 29, 2008 4:34 pm

I remain a little confused still that the 'Babel' gals did so well. They give relatively subtle performances that tower over the competition. Abigail Breslin, I understand. Jennifer Hudson, I understand even though she's a lead). Even Cate Blanchett, I understand even though she's as co-lead as anybody this decade. But it would seem that Phyllis Sommersville would at least pick up some traction. I understand why Emily Blunt's hilarious performance in 'The Devil Wears Prada' wasn't nodded and also I suppose why Catherine O'Hara wasn't. But I'm mystified that Emma Thompson didn't pick up anything for 'Stranger than Fiction'. It's some of the best work she's done in years and it's Oscar-bait. The scene where she encounters Crick alone is something of a marvel of transcending cliche into something genuinely resonating. I don't care for the film too much and return to it now for only Chicagoan nostalgia, but I'm amazed that Emma Thompson was left out in the cold.

Choosing Adriana Barazza and Rinko Kikuchi is rather atypical for Academy voters. Good taste but very odd. I would have imagined the lineup to be Blanchett, Breslin, Hudson, Thompson and either Catherine O'Hara, Phyllis Sommersville, or Emily Blunt pre-precursor.
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Postby flipp525 » Fri Feb 29, 2008 4:19 pm

You should probably read the novel. Patrick Wilson is so perfect for the role of the "Prom King", it's almost ridiculous to try and imagine someone else playing it. I agree with you, though that Phyllis Somerville is one of the best things about it. She definitely should've been nominated last year (along with Emily Blunt for The Devil Wears Prada and Catherine O'Hara in For Your Consideration)
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Postby Sabin » Fri Feb 29, 2008 3:15 pm

I saw 'Little Children' again last night. It doesn't work. I initially afforded it *** because it only misses the right notes so barely. It's very easy to see in every scene how it could've worked better. Then again, when a movie misses every correct note throughout its two hour-plus duration, I'm bewildered how anybody can go as easy on it as I have. It's a stylistic disaster, careening from broad parodic to behaviorally mundane without rhyme or reason. Patrick Wilson is incredibly ill-suited to the film. Paul Rudd would've been stronger. Kate Winslet is fine but has no character to speak of. And I don't really think Jackie Earle Haley is all that good either. It's all his physicality. I certainly didn't feel like he showed me anything interesting about a pedophile.

The movie is a mess and an irrelevant one. Funniest line in the film: "I can't. I have a psychosexual disorder." Watch Phyllis Sommersville's first scene with Jackie Earle Haley in cramped, barely cinematic two shot to see exactly how Field gets it wrong. I will say that Sommersville gives by far the best performance in the film and I'm a little surprised she didn't get any traction for Best Supporting Actress.
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Postby VanHelsing » Thu Dec 07, 2006 7:57 pm

Actually, New Line is going wide with Little Children's release in January. But I'm not sure how wide. Should be around 600 theaters or less/more.
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Postby Mister Tee » Thu Dec 07, 2006 11:09 am

A problem is, in the current era, studios have become so dependent on using Oscar nominations to sell difficult films that they have few options -- they can release the film right before Christmas, and risk it getting lost among a dozen others straining for the same few baubles; release it earlier (which pretty much means means sometime after September but prior to December 1st), and risk it sinking at the box office, killing its chances; or try this modified-limited-hangout strategy New Line has chosen. None seem satisfactory, except for a lucky few, and it's open to debate whether those films that succeed are just more audience-accessible in the first place or whether the strategy was key in placing them.

It'd be nice if at least the indie branches could find a way to sell the films in and of themselves -- even to the point of opening them in springtime, when we're starved for something decent. But that's pining for a time in film history long gone.


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