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Posts Tagged ‘best supporting actor’

Patton Oswalt is a stand up comedian extraordinaire and one of those actors who tries really hard to bring in as much originality, finesse and pure unadulterated awesomeness. As a stand-up, he’s dynamite on the microphone (and not just because he resembles a tub of nitroglycerin); explosively funny in delivery, brilliant in content and just under six feet of raging, scatterbrained intellect. Small town America’s repressed comedians turning into Dubya-hatin’, independent art-lovin’, under appreciated, over informed smartass social misanthropists is somewhat of a cliché but the ferocity of his commitment for original humour is something else. He’s great for the same reasons men like Lenny Bruce and Bill Hicks once were. They say it like they see it, without a filter, and secretly nurse a grudge with the world (or at least the 2% which appreciates good comedy) for laughing along with them.

After watching him in Robert Siegel’s Big Fan, I’m also convinced that soon we are going to watch this man receive a ‘best supporting actor’ Oscar statuette, nervously adjusting a ridiculous bowtie in a tasteless suit while sweating profusely and thanking his best friend, Toby the potted plant, for encouraging him through the journey. Then he’d spit at Meryl Streep and ask the Weinstein brothers if they’d like to kiss his ass for 3$ a cheek only to be escorted outside by security and never to be seen on television ever again.

It wouldn’t matter though since Patton Oswalt is one of the funniest fuckers around whether you’ve heard of him or not. Here’s a list of his cameos, movie roles, comedy tours and documentaries I’ve seen.

Down Periscope: Patton Oswalt made his feature film debut in David Ward’s comedy about a goofy submarine crew doing goofy stuff with their super serial Lt. Commander played by Kelsey Grammar. Patton barely gets any screen time as Stingray Radioman and the movie isn’t very good either except for this scene. Moving along.

Magnolia: In Paul Thomas Anderson’s 188 minutes of mindfuck of a movie, he plays Delmer Darion, a blackjack dealer stricken by fate in one of the opening montages. For what it’s worth, he makes a really mean and scurvy face after being accidentally scooped up by a firefighting airplane while scuba diving. Great performances by Julianne Moore, William H. Macy and John C. Reilly too.

Man On The Moon: He has a ridiculously short cameo in Milos Forman’s Andy Kaufman biopic as Blue Collar Guy, a sheepish-looking fellow. Nothing much to say here. Instead of moving along, maybe we could take this opportunity to discuss you, my dear minion. Tell me a bit about yourself. Did the cool kids treat you badly in high school? Do you miss listening to audio cassettes?

Zoolander: Not that it is anything to write home about, but he beats Ben Stiller (Zoolander) silly in the absurdity quotient as the Monkey Photographer. Once again he does his shtick for a few seconds and makes us giggle. I think Will Ferrell’s a barrel of hoots, but still I would have much rather had Patton Oswalt play Mugatu.

Run Ronnie Run: Troy Miller’s trailer park comedy stars a lot of people making idiots out of themselves. Considering David Cross and Brian Posehn co-wrote the script, this film’s excessive gross-out content was really disappointing…and I don’t seem to remember much of Patton did here. IMDB says he played Dozer – Editor #1. Sounds about right Oh Jeff Goldblum almost saves this film with his killer delivery of one-liners.

Calendar Girls: Nigel Cole’s 2003 comedy about none-too-desperate housewives posing nude to raise money for local hospital’s fundraiser is vaguely amusing, especially when Ciarán Hinds and Julie Walters are on-screen. The vendible valetudinarian from Virginia is barely noticeable as Larry in this, and for a wee moment, pops in and out.

Starsky & Hutch: Apparently Ben Stiller is a big fan of Patton. I bet Stiller walked up to director Todd Phillips and said, “Patton friggin Oswalt as a 80s disco jockey, man…call me when it sounds like a good idea to you?” Thank god he called. Patton and his swanky disco suit make a memorable appearance in this film and stage a douchebag dancing contest between a coked-out cop and a man child.

Blade Trinity: This was Patton Oswalt’s initiation into cinema. While his foreskin wasn’t grated and served back to him with a side order of chilli chips, he was expected to act in a truly horrendous film starring Wesley Snipes and stop it plummeting into the abyss. In David Goyer’s crapfest of a comic book adaptation, he plays Hedges – a socially challenged tech geek, which is spectacularly convenient considering Patton in real life is a socially challenged comic book geek. All sorts of Grecian justices were done here.

Reno 911 Miami: Read review here.

Ratatouille: It’d be easy to say that Patton Oswalt sold his soul by starring in a Pixar film, so you can go ahead and say it to your heart’s content. I actually liked the darn film. As irony would have it, he had the least interesting character (lead, but still) in this film but I’m at least glad to know he didn’t do anything stupid with the money like lose weight or star in another Pixar film. Just to remind you, Peter O Toole gives a glorious speech in Ratatouille as Anton Ego, the food critic.

Balls Of Fury: Robert Ben Garant’s kooky caper features one of his funniest cameos. He plays Hammer – a local table tennis prima donna looking to derail Randy Daytona’s (the film protagonist) path to greatness and awe-inspiring good ol’ American heroism. He’s barely on our screen for a couple of minutes but is hilarious enough for us to want more. Much more. The absurd cockiness with which he struts about the ping pong table makes me want to see him play a super villain. Are you listening, Nolan? You have the best man to play either The Penguin or The Ventriloquist right here.

All Roads Lead Home: So finally Patton moves up Hollywood’s ladder and ends up in the ‘main character’s best friend’ rung. Dennis Fallon’s 2008 family drama about broken hearts and sad puppies    (no, really) has the world’s smallest violin playing a stirring version of Iron Butterfly’s Inna Gadda Da Vidda (yes, kidding) halfway through the film. Patton Oswalt as Milo – a sensitive animal shelter worker and Peter Boyle (in his final film appearance), who plays a Clint Eastwood-like grandpa, give us reasons to go slow on the ‘skip’ button. Milo is sometimes sappy, but never annoying, and he’s constantly surrounded by cute puppies. Uh Oh.

Big Fan: Read review here.

Observe and Report: Read review here.

The Informant: Steven Soderbergh has a discernable talent. He hires A-list actors, gives them vaguely quirky characters and makes them behave like they took a crash course in existentialism. Credit to Matt Damon for not letting it bother him; he is surprisingly good in this film. As for the portly and paludicolous possum (don’t ask) from Portsmouth, he plays Ed Berst – one of the company lawyers out to prove Mark Whitacre (Damon) wrong. He sports a great facial expression when Whitacre unrelentingly bullshits in the conference room.

No Reason To Complain / Werewolves and Lollipops / My Weakness is Strong: He hates Republicans, hippies, bigotry, glam rock, Steven Spielberg, and politics, loves indie music, comic books, action figurines and the cleansing aura of nihilism. Plus, he’s tremendously funny. In the Werewolves and Lollipops TV special, he even gives a State Of The Urinal address, urging people not to pee on other people because it’s just not nice at all.  Yes, somebody actually peed on another person during one of his shows in Austin, Texas and yes, he’s that funny. Now I’m going to try and see of he’ll be my pen pal.

The Comedians of Comedy: This is, as Generation X and Y have so lovingly coined, the shit. In 2004, some funny people – Patton Oswalt, Zach Galifianakis, Brian Posehn and Maria Bamford – filmed one of their erstwhile stand-up tours and, with the help of Netflix, shot a documentary feature called The Comedians of Comedy. This is no Werner Herzog documentary where a collage of sounds, colours and ideas explodes in front our eyes, leaving them breathless and shivering. No need to fret about editing, the camerawork and sound-mixing either. They barely delve deep enough into their psyche to give Oprah a chance to even consider giving an itsy bitsy teenie weenie yellow polka dotted fuck. This is about four eccentric comedians trying to hustle some interest for their Gregg Turkington-influenced stand-up tour that features them performing at smaller indie rock venues instead of comedy clubs, and to bring the funnies, fast and furious.

Patton’s in usual form, transitioning from psychotic post-modern preacher mode to ‘funniest dude from college’ mode with ease. He makes Dane Cook’s jokes about society sound like Mickey Mouse’s farts against a cellophane sheet. Zach Galifianakis seems a bit like Jack Black, but not nearly as annoying. But he doesn’t get funnier after the first few minutes he’s in. I’m not a fan of pairing music with comedy either, so his song-style skits didn’t do much for me. As for Maria Bamford, she does great impersonations of people, both living and fictitious, and cute jokes about her dysfunctional family. I really liked the bits when wasn’t on stage and just chilling in front of the camera; also, she should start acting in indie movies since she has a fantastically dreary Hope Davis-like look.

Brian Posehn, for me, is the highlight of the documentary. You might know him as this guy from the sitcom Just Shoot Me, which incidentally makes you want to do just that. He is also a regular on the Sarah Silverman Program. As goes for most people who look like they skin city folks in a lonesome cabin by the hills and eat the rats that try feasting on the remains because mommy didn’t love them enough, Posehn has a great personality. While his jokes are mostly self-derogatory, the punchlines are so sharp and vicious that you never get tired of them. Plus, his uber geekdom towards comic books and arcade games are both creepy and adorable. There’s even a half of minute of proper cinematic goodness when he awkwardly hugs his wife before hitting the road with Patton.

I hope a special place is reserved for me in hell because I’m going to have to say, these guys are truly the comedians of comedy.

One more thing. Support independent musicians, film-makers and comedians. Given all the torrent-ing and thieving that happens, and will continue to do so, we should pledge our allegiance to them any way we can. So go on, order an album from Amazon, buy a DVD of eBay and more importantly, move your butts and watch them perform live.

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will-smith-in-seven-pound-001Seven Pounds: I detested The Air I Breathe for its feeble attempts at feigning intelligence. A lot of film directors feel the need to infuse some sort of pretentious intellectualism or quasi-theatrical drama into their films to give them credibility. But I ask you, since when did we, neanderthals, NOT enjoy stupid films? Remember Independence Day? Big, fun, cool visuals and er… Will Smith. Hell, sometimes even silly dramas find their way into my heart. Case in point, Green Card and Paradise. Gabriele Muccino’s Seven Pounds is a lot like our colleagues, yeah you know, those ones who read a couple of Nietzsche quotes on brainyquotes.com and all of a sudden think of themselves to be connoisseurs of existentialism. “It’s an extraordinary journey of redemption,” scream IMDB junkies. Give me stupidity over pretensions, I mumble.

00092428_The Accidental Tourist: Legend has it that the jury at Academy Awards took time-off from smoking crack in 2005. They put the crack pipes down long enough to nominate William Hurt for best supporting actor for his 15-minute powerhouse performance in Cronenberg’s History Of Violence. He’s one of the most important actors of the Nineties and look no further than Lawrence Kasdan’s The Accidental Tourist to have a peek into Hurt’s virtuosity as a performer. Also starring the ever-fantastic Bill Pullman, Geena Davis and Katheleen Turner, the film revolves around Macon Leary (William Hurt) – a travel writer for corporate travelers, now trying to get his life back on the road after a tragic accident leaves him desperately cynical towards everything furry and warm. Geena Davis, for once, does not suck and does her best “Minnie Driver” impersonation yet. Kathleen Turner and Bill Pullman, well…they couldn’t suck even if they were forced at gunpoint to act in a remake of Casablanca.

2008_changeling_001Changeling: Clint Eastwood would have got the “comeback of the year” award every year since 2000 but the thing is he never went away. In 2003, after nearly three decades of mediocre acting, mediocre directing, spaghetti westerns and Dirty Harrys, Mr Eastwood hit his peak as a director with Mystic River – a riveting drama that boasts of talent such as Sean Penn, Kevin Bacon and Tim Robbins. It won Clint Eastwood two Oscars. In 2004, he made Million Dollar Baby and subsequently became the proud possessor of four more Oscars. His next two films were not as critically acclaimed but nevertheless added to his Oscar loot with four nominations and another gold statuette. Angelina Jolie and Clint Eastwood are probably going to be nominated for the Oscars this year for Changeling – a film that was seemingly made for that very purpose. Now, now…it’s a neat film with no jarring flaws but once again, a thread of vacant emotions – similar to that which destroyed Million Dollar Baby’s credibility towards the climax – rears its ugly head. Jolie cries so much in this film that after a point, you almost find yourself rooting for the prodigal “son” to turn evil and run his mommy down with a tricycle.

Long story short, “Mom loses son. Son comes back. Son not really ‘real’ son. Mom finds out. Evil policemen have other plans.” Oh well, at least more Oscar worthy than “poor boy meets rich girl, screws over Billy Zane, screws rich girl in a different way, everyone falls of the cruise ship and the most annoying person on-board survives”. You want proof of the old man’s talent as a director? Go watch Bird.

zoe-bellDeath Proof. For my money, the third best Quentin Tarantino film behind Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction. Released in 2007, Death Proof was Tarantino’s tribute to B-grade action of the Seventies and Eighties. A sleazy, gory and stylish nightmare with an opening sequence so preposterously retro and so elaborate that it makes the discourse on Madonna at the beginning of Reservoir Dogs seem like a passing thought. A fitting tribute to non-kitschy influences of liberal thinking, I guess. What many don’t know is that Death Proof is also a tribute to J. G. Ballard’s superb novel – Crash. And to think director Paul Haggis stole some of the book’s best lines, made a corny movie and won a friggin’ Oscar for it. Eishhhh. Remember Don Cheadle saying, “People would crash into each other just to feel something (pause)…anything”. That was so ripped off from Ballard that it almost immediately ceased to be funny. Hmmm…anyway coming back to Death Proof. It’s fun, mindless and a whole lot of Zoe Bell (as Zoe Bell) beating the shit out of Kurt Russell. It’s almost endearing how earnestly Zoe chases Kurt down and opens a can of whoop ass. Now who do I have to kill to see her kick Michael Douglas’ ass?

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