Sunday, January 26, 2014

Best Picture Blitz 2014, Part 3

So, thanks to Captain Phillips being at the dollar movies, Precocious Daughter and I were able to hit a second Best Picture nominee this weekend.

Making it rain: budget edition.
We chose to see August: Osage County, a hearty slab of hot Southern Gothic drama. I wasn't sure what to expect from this film. I knew it had a great cast, including Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Ewan McGregor, and ****** Benedict Cumberbatch ******

Do you think I enjoy being a 45-year-old fangirl?
OK, maybe a little.
In a nutshell (pecan, of course), Meryl Streep is a pill-addicted, passive-aggressive bitch who drives Sam Shepard (basically playing Atticus Finch as an alcoholic poet) to his grave. When her family gathers together to grieve, all kinds of juicy hell break loose. It's pretty damn awesome to behold.

Chris Cooper is wonderful as Uncle Charlie Aiken. I have loved Chris Cooper since Lonesome Dove. He is a marvel in this movie as the long-suffering, soft-spoken but not spineless Oklahoma gentleman thrust into the role of family patriarch. And as his wife Mattie Fay, the sister of Meryl Streep's Violet, Margo Martindale kicks butt. She gets to reveal the best secret of the movie, which is saying a lot.

Benedict Cumberbatch gets to sing, guys! His part is woefully brief and frankly underwritten. But it's OK, because he sings a sweet little song in a sweet little voice, and it's magical. (And for a very sweet story about how he learned to play his song on the piano, click here.)

I think I've probably mentioned before that my sister is the most beautiful woman I've ever seen. If you want to know how beautiful, go see this movie. Watch Julia Roberts as Barbara. She looks exactly like my sis. I wish I could say her ex looks just like Ewan McGregor. He does not.

The fish scene. Oh my God, in a movie that really is pretty heavy in a lot of places, the fish scene made us laugh and laugh. When Julia Roberts tells her mother, "Eat the fish, bitch," I just about lost it. Afterwards, I asked PDaughter if she was someday going to say "Eat the fish, bitch" to me. She thought a moment, then said, "Not as long as you eat the fish, I guess." I love this kid.

My biggest quibble with the movie, and this will probably only really make sense if you live in the South: I realize that it is a time-honored convention in filmmaking that when a character gets up in the morning and steps outside, he or she puts on a light robe or sweater over his/her pajamas against the chill of the morning. Except that this is August in Oklahoma, and the extreme heat is the source of running commentary throughout the movie. Believe me, when the high temperature is 108, you don't need a wrap at 7 a.m. - it's going to be about 85 degrees already. When Julia Roberts did this in two different scenes, I was worried she was going to have a heatstroke right there onscreen.

In short, two thumbs up for August: Osage County. I don't think it has a chance at taking the Best Picture Oscar, but it's a hell of a good watch. Did I mention it's a total chick movie? Yeah, look out, males. You'll score big points if you take your lady friend. But, you know, it's a Southern Gothic dysfunctional family drama. Although it does have a sport car.


  1. I'm a guy who digs chick movies. What the hell is wrong with me? Even if I weren't married to a person of the opposite sex who wanted to see "August: Osage County" I would have, upon seeing the trailer, said, "Meryl Streep? Ewan McGregor? Dysfunctional Southern family drama? I'm in."

    Not that I have anything against Julia Roberts, who, I realize, is, objectively speaking, an attractive woman. I've just never been able to get over an early scene in "Flatliners" where she looks like The Incredible Mr. Limpet.

    Hopefully your sis has never put a pair of wire glasses low on her nose.

  2. Okay, now I have to see that movie.

    And I'm saying 'eat the fish, bitch' to at least one person today. Whether it makes sense or not.


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