Posts Tagged ‘Sam Rockwell’

I’d ballot in the morning.
I’d ballot in the evening.
All over this la-a-and.

Its Tony time again.  Nominations arrive on May 4 in the wee morning hours.  I was torn between writing this post on who I’d vote for this year, if I did indeed have a vote, or to write who I think will actually get nominated.  And, given that I am full of opinion, I was leaning towards just laying out my imaginary ballot.  But, alas, I’ve chosen to withhold my preferences until the esteemed official voting bloc does its thing.  Then I can complain loudly and proudly.

Looking over this year’s field, a trend I’ve noticed over the last few years has solidified into practice.  Two seasons ago, A Catered Affair reached Broadway.  It was an interpolation of an old Bette Davis-Ernest Borgnine-Debbie Reynolds film, spun by Harvey Fierstein and featuring strong performances from Faith Prince and Tom Wopat.  However, despite the obvious beauty of the show, it was clear watching it that it wasn’t quite baked.  It was rushed through development to get to Broadway.  It had its fans, but ultimately was overshadowed by long-developed shows In The Heights and Passing Strange, which both had extended Off-Broadway runs before facing off for Best Musical at the Tonys, along with also-well-developed Xanadu.  In The Heights took home the prize, and is the only new musical from that season still running.

Last year, the Best Play and Best Musical winners were both imports from Britain, God of Carnage and Billy Elliot, respectively.  In fact, both were well-loved shows across the pond before making their way here.  The development made them successful in both cities, and each easily dominated their category.  Carnage blew away very strong competition, challenge from Neil Labute’s Reasons To Be Pretty, Moises Kaufman’s 33 Variations, and Horton Foote’s Dividing The Estate.  Billy, however, faced no real challenge from its only major competition in the Off-Broadway transfer of Next To Normal.

This year, once again, the shows in contention for Best Musical are generally an imperfect bunch.  Addams Family is a morass of cut & paste.  All About Me wasn’t worth knowing.  American Idiot is a staged version of a punk album that doesn’t bother to name its female characters.  Burn the Floor was all smoke.  Come Fly Away does land enough.  Everyday Rapture should be the extinguished Special Event category, since it’s really a one-woman show.  Fela! doesn’t tell enough of Kuti’s story.  Memphis’s book completely falls apart in the second act.  Million Dollar Quartet is a stunt, aiming only at tourists’ wallets.  Each one could use some more development, but it’s no surprise the best two of the bunch (in my opinion) had Off-Broadway runs.  And the two best revivals are both British imports.  Once again, fully developed productions are few and far between.

Producers seem to be rushing shows to the big stage, rather than fully investing in a show’s development.  I read that Yank!, which I enjoyed, is coming up next season.  But, frankly, it’s not ready.  The second act needs work, and some of the songs need to be replaced.  Its simply too soon, despite a stellar performance from Bobby Steggert, for the show to make it to Broadway.

Bake it properly, and the show will rise well.  Take it out too soon, and it will fall.  Such has been the Broadway scene for the last few years.  Its economics, certainly, impacting the length of time an investor will wager on results, but the last few years have shown diminishing returns for those who don’t properly develop their shows.  And we all suffer when that happens.



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It’s one thing to use off-putting language to make a point.  However, epithets and bigotry used for the same of calling attention to yourself is entirely another story.  Martin McDonaugh is a master of being off-putting, and his newest play, A Behanding in Spokane, finds the writer very clearly in his element.  However, that’s not always a good thing.

The play opens with Christopher Walken sitting on a bed.  And just seeing his delightful scowl is enjoyable.  Walken, here as an aging white supremacist, does his best to chew the scenery and own every moment he’s onstage.  Particularly enjoyable is the final scene, where he’s on the phone with his mother.  It’s  vintage Walken, done magnificently to the nth degree.


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So, that time of year is nearing its end, thankfully: Oscar season.

Since I’m not the hugest fan of contemporary cinema, I didn’t do a year-end best of thoughts.  However, since the Oscars are the gay Superbowl of sorts (the Tonys are more apropos), I figured I’d go over most of the categories & give my vaunted opinion.

A few stray thoughts before I begin.

Something’s bothered me for the last few years with the Oscars.  The drama has been erased, and I think I know why.  In 2004, the producers of the Oscar ceremony and ABC wanted to get the show into February sweeps month for ratings and advertising dollars, moving it back from its late March timeslot where it had been for years.  In doing so, the season of campaigning went from November through early March to October through early February.  However, most of the critics awards did not change from their December/January timeframe.  The Guild Awards used to run from late January through late February.  Which meant there was more time for upsets to happen by giving time for common thinking to dissipate.

If you look at the last six Oscars, you’ll see frontrunners remaining there across the top categories.  With two notable exceptions.
2009 – Slumdog Millionaire, Danny Boyle, Sean Penn, Kate Winslet, Heath Ledger, Penelope Cruz
2008 – No Country For Old Men, the Coen Brothers, Daniel Day-Lewis, Marion Cotillard, Javier Barden, Tilda Swinton – Cotillard was an upset, though that race was muddled going in
2007 – The Departed, Martin Scorsese, Forest Whitaker, Helen Mirren, Alan Arkin, Jennifer Hudson
2006 – Crash, Ang Lee, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Reese Witherspoon, George Clooney, Rachel Weisz – Crash was the huge upset over Brokeback Mountain, due in part to some lingering homophobia behind the scenes in Hollywood
2005 – Million Dollar Baby, Clint Eastwood, Jamie Foxx, Hilary Swank, Morgan Freeman, Cate Blanchett
2004 – Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, Peter Jackson, Sean Penn, Charlize Theron, Tim Robbins, Renee Zellweger

And once again this year, we see the front runner maintaining a lead due to centrifugal force.  Seems to be the pattern.  Although, Best Picture has a unique ranking-based oriented system, which confuses me (someone who’s crunched data for over a dozen years).  Its method doesn’t seem to make sense, but what’s really interesting isn’t that they’re trying something new, but that they’re only doing it with the biggest ticket on the table.  The actors, directors, and writers would never stand for it happening in their categories, yet the producers are willing to chance chaos with their prize.  Dumb, dumb, dumb.

No issues with ten nominees.  Whatever.  But I do have a problem with the producers of the show tinkering again, eliminating the Best Song performances in lieu of a Dancing With The Stars set of moments.  When did Debbie Allen get back into the show’s plans?  Are we due again for the Saving Private Ryan ballet sequence?  Ugh.  Frak that.  Mofos can kiss my converse.

And its absolutely BS that Lauren Bacall’s lifetime achievement will not be getting televised.  Horse dukey on the Academy for screwing over a legend for the Twilight crowd.

Picks & ruminations after the jump.


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