Oscar: The Worst of the Best The Global Tofay

Oscar: The Worst of the Best The Global Tofay Global Today
THE WORST OSCAR WINNERS

Like many movie addicts, I watched and was fairly accepting of this year’s Academy Awards. While I am sure that once I have fully digested 2019’s output (which at this early stage doesn’t look too promising…no wonder a foreign-language film won: it was hardly Hollywood’s stellar year), I will have personal preferences, at least none of the choices were cringingly bad/wrong/stupid. However, of course, the Academy has made some selections in the past that time has proven to be, at the very kindest, questionable. Here is my list of woeful winners. How embarrassing.

THE WORST BEST

WORST BEST PICTURE: The Sound of Music (1965)
   > a musical about fleeing the Nazis…what’s next…a Holocaust comedy?
WORST BEST LEAD ACTOR: Roberto Benigni in Life is Beautiful (1998)
   > yep…wrote, directed & was a total prat in a Holocaust comedy
WORST BEST LEAD ACTRESS: Glenda Jackson in A Touch of Class (1973)
   > politicians can only be funny unintentionally and never with rape jokes
WORST BEST SUPP. ACTOR: George Kennedy in Cool Hand Luke (1967)
   > he won it just because he got to say “Nobody can eat 50 eggs.” 
WORST BEST SUPP. ACTRESS: Shelley Winters in The Diary of Anne Frank (1959)
   > loud, fat whining that grates like sand in speedos…I bet they all gave her up
LEAST SPECIAL AWARD: The Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award was presented to (drumroll) Charlton “I’ll give you my gun when you pry it from my cold dead hands” Heston in 1977

Some Movies Watched:  February 2020      

A+ = Adored Masterwork   A = Excellent   A- = Very Good   B+ = Good   B = Nice Try   B- = Just Scrapes By 

C = Significantly Flawed   D = Pretty Bad   E = Truly Dreadful: Looking Into the Void   F = Absolutely Vile: The Void



THE INVISIBLE MAN (2020)

Oscar: The Worst of the Best The Global Tofay Global Today

A      FIRST VIEWING   IN-CINEMA 
d: Leigh Whannell
CAST: Elisabeth Moss; Aldis Hodge; Storm Reid; Harriet Dyer; Michael Dorman
>  an immediately-impressive horror film because it wants to do more than just scare you; Elisabeth escapes an abusive / oppressive relationship…the guy knocks himself off…but as a genius in optics, is he really dead or just not able to be seen?; canny camera placement (there’s usually room for another person in the shot) ramps up the paranoia and music / silence / the unexpected build the suspense; as an Australian, it is impossible to watch this and not think of the recent vile murder of Hannah Baxter & her 3 children by husband/father/real monster…this movie is a domestic violence story for our (and all) time; the twist in the tale is a genuine shock and I worried that the postscript was going to overdo it, but I was wrong…it’s perfect; I briefly thought of Vertigo told from the woman’s POV, but was too busy being rigid in my seat


A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD (2019)

Oscar: The Worst of the Best The Global Tofay Global Today

A-   FIRST VIEWING   IN-CINEMA 
d: Marielle Heller
CAST: Matthew Rhys; Tom Hanks; Susan Kelechi Watson; Chris Cooper; Christine Lahti
>  as an Australian, the American children’s TV persona of Mr Rogers means nothing to me… about 6 months ago, I watched a doco about the guy called Won’t You Be My Neighbour, and all through it, I kept expecting a sex scandal to emerge…I mean, how could a real person be so decent?…not perfect, of course, just decent; this film is about that decency, focusing on a troubled journalist who interviews Fred Rogers and is improved as a result; cynicism, bitterness & rage are all there and Mr Rogers calmly & gently steers the writer into dealing with it before his life is ruined (“if it’s mentionable, it’s manageable” is my new mantra); some qualms: the dream sequence is a mistake, and the ribbon at the end is tied a little too neatly, but overall, this works as a warming, self-help narrative and nobody could be more surprised than me


WISH YOU WERE HERE (1987)

Oscar: The Worst of the Best The Global Tofay Global Today

B+   FIRST VIEWING 
d: David Leland
CAST: Emily Lloyd; Tom Bell; Geoffrey Hutchings; Jesse Birdsall; Pat Heywood
>  affecting story set in 1950’s seaside England…Emily is a defiantly-contrary teenager who refuses to fit in with her father, his expectations and the fellow townsfolk’s concept of proper…in possession of a foul mouth (her catchphrase is “up yer bum”) and a hatred of pretension, she carries on regardless; starting off in the tradition of amusing eccentrics, the narrative creeps towards dour as life’s consequences take hold…but fortunately never entirely ending up in the kitchen-sink of British film; keeping our heads out of the murk is Emily: her performance is fresh and it’s such a shame that the actress was unable to build on it due to personal troubles
Award-Worthy Performance
Emily Lloyd


GOG (1954)

Oscar: The Worst of the Best The Global Tofay Global Today

B+   FIRST VIEWING 
d: Herbert Strock (great name!)
CAST: Richard Egan; Constance Dowling; Herbert Marshall; John Wengraf
>  yeah, it’s another 1950’s American sci-fi movie…no, no, wait…it’s actually not that bad; deep under the New Mexico desert is a secret US facility which carries out experiments in atomic power, giant brains, space travel, solar weapons and monkey-freezing…but something is going on…there have been accidents…is it sabotage…or is it something more…exotic?; a rare sci-fi film which takes its time explaining stuff without being boring, this uses a small budget effectively and doesn’t faff about with too much in the way of SFX (unless a couple of Dalek-y robots count); the opening sequence is a grabber (especially if you’re into animal rights) and the dreaded slide into cringy-camp only happens when the women appear and the men decide it’s time to be sexist; while the two glasses of red wine helped, I had a good time with this


THE ROOTS OF HEAVEN (1958)

Oscar: The Worst of the Best The Global Tofay Global Today

B   FIRST VIEWING 
d: John Huston
CAST: Trevor Howard; Juliette Greco; Errol Flynn; Eddie Albert; Paul Lukas
>  a rare subject: an eco-warrior trying his darnedest to stop us from hacking into nature (in this particular case, African elephants); Trevor plays the driven, preachy idealist with only so-so success… rather than obsessed / borderline-mad, he seems to be merely cross a lot (James Mason was one of the early choices for the role and I bet would have been far more effective…or maybe Michael Redgrave?); Trevor picks up stray followers along the way: Errol the drunk giving his penultimate performance and Juliette who manages to inject some heft into the token-female-occasionally-undressing role; Director John thought this was one of his failures and I know what he means: it drags, is overlong, and strangely misses being grand even when the vistas are; still, there is an emotional hook to it that sinks in…and who doesn’t like elephants?


THE LODGE (2019)

Oscar: The Worst of the Best The Global Tofay Global Today

B   FIRST VIEWING   IN-CINEMA 
d: Veronika Franz; Severin Fiala
CAST: Riley Keough; Jaeden Martell; Lia McHugh; Richard Armitage; Alicia Silverstone
>  The poster shouts out: “Scary as Hell! The next great horror film is here!”…er, no…it’s just…not bad; two kids, grieving over their recently-dead mum, spend Xmas with Dad and his new girlfriend in an isolated house up in the mountains…the kids don’t like the ring-in (she has a history of mental instability and trauma for starters)…Dad has to go back into town for a few days ‘cos of work…you’ll all be okay here on your own in the ferocious storm until I get back, won’t you?; when the creepy weird stuff starts to happen, the tension rightly mounts, mainly because you’re not sure who/what is behind it (the kids? the woman? the house? the dead mum? maybe even Dad?)…as soon as the culprit is revealed (about two-thirds in), the grip is gone; while all the actors are fine, the real star is the soundtrack: ominous drone at its best


RAYMIE (1960)

Oscar: The Worst of the Best The Global Tofay Global Today

B   FIRST VIEWING 
d: Frank McDonald
CAST: David Ladd; Charles Winninger; John Agar; Julie Adams; Frank Ferguson
>  it has been mentioned that this film’s main claim to fame is that its title song is sung by Jerry Lewis…you’d think they’d keep something like that quiet; a short (72 minutes) & sweet movie about a 9YO boy who hangs out on a pier with a collection of men who seem to have nothing more in their lives than fishing…they tell the kid a yarn about a barracuda called Ol’ Moe…the kid is determined to hook this giant because that’s now his dream, y’see…and along the way, the boy learns a little about life and what’s really important…and that, my friends, is the whole movie; quite pastoral and pensive, this never entirely makes you feel queasy (it comes close a couple of times), partly due to young David’s naturalness and mostly due to the story’s simplicity…it stays small throughout and as such, doesn’t strive to be more than pleasant


BIRDS OF PREY (2020)

Oscar: The Worst of the Best The Global Tofay Global Today

B-   FIRST VIEWING   IN-CINEMA 
d: Cathy Yan 
CAST: Margot Robbie; Jurnee Smollett-Bell; Rosie Perez; Mary Elizabeth Winstead
>  like sitting through a 2-hour amateur gymnastics show, this movie goes on and on with physical moves that are replicated by all performers to the point of monotony (how many kicks to the crotch can you watch until it becomes naff?); while all the actors achieve a certain degree of vitality (with a special nod to Jurnee…her version of Black Canary is something to savour…the woman has charisma to spare…give her a starring role), the mix of Harley Quinn’s cartoony persona with Scorsese-style urban seriousness just doesn’t take…ice-cream & pickles…so all you are left with is the rush; chair-squirming violence (face-slicing & leg-snapping & body-exploding) is the real star of the show but I’m not sure how many of us can find that truly entertaining rather than just messy; after a short run of good, this is a step back for DC


THE SHAPE OF THINGS (2003)

Oscar: The Worst of the Best The Global Tofay Global Today

B-   FIRST VIEWING 
d: Neil LaBute
CAST: Rachel Weisz; Paul Rudd; Gretchen Mol; Fred Weller
>  this is a challenging film and writing even a capsule review about it is an equal challenge…for your reaction to be maximised, you need to know as little about the plot as possible; starts off as a screwball rom-com and stays that way for a while, then quite abruptly it no longer is; a film of a stageplay, Director Neil was also the writer and he was reluctant to prune the script… like most filmed plays, this is talk talk talk with single mid-camera shots held long; its main theme: cruelty being a human attribute, should Art only reflect it or is it okay for Art to be cruel?; me?…I think humanity needs more good rom-coms which last all the way through
Award-Worthy Performance
Rachel Weisz


THE LIGHTHOUSE (2019)

Oscar: The Worst of the Best The Global Tofay Global Today

B-   FIRST VIEWING   IN-CINEMA
d: Robert Eggers
CAST: Robert Pattinson; Willem Dafoe
>  an Arty telling of a Poe short story displaying some interesting technical choices (B&W; old-fashioned TV-style aspect ratio); unfortunately, it also opts for a lot of farting around (and if you ever watch this movie, you’ll know why that’s a pun) rather than straight-ahead psychological slowburn; old salt + young blow-in take a 4-week shift at a lighthouse-on-a-rock somewhere off the coast of New England…the old guy is crusty, secretive and strange + the young is testy, secretive and strange…as a storm wells up and strands them, can madness & murder be too far away? (like I said…a Poe story); the villains are isolation & alcohol (turps!), but what’s with the tentacles & the mermaid & the wanking & the sinister gulls?; a horror movie that over-muddies reality & fantasy, so, rather than being scared or shocked, you are merely weirded out


ONE MAN’S JOURNEY (1933)

Oscar: The Worst of the Best The Global Tofay Global Today

C   FIRST VIEWING 
d: John Robertson
CAST: Lionel Barrymore; May Robson; Dorothy Jordan; Joel McCrea; Frances Dee
> Lionel is a smalltown doctor who gets paid in potatoes by his poor rural community…but he doesn’t mind ‘cos it gives him something to be noble about (along with taking in an unwanted baby, putting his son’s career before his own, sacrificing a potentially-wealthy future for an unwed pregnant hussy…and no doubt doing party tricks with loaves & fishes); May and Dorothy teeter perilously close to the edge of parody and Joel only remains bearable because we know that he vastly improves in movies to come; of all people, it is Lionel who underplays (a major achievement for this actor) and saves the movie from being total cockles-warming slop; the worst scene by far is near the end when an icky little kid sings to her dying mother in hospital, and Mom suddenly rallies…I only managed to get through it by laughing; very 1933


SILENT DUST (1949)

Oscar: The Worst of the Best The Global Tofay Global Today

C   FIRST VIEWING 
d: Lance Comfort
CAST: Stephen Murray; Sally Gray; Nigel Patrick; Beatrice Campbell; Derek Farr
>  how’s this for a potboiling plot: blind & grouchy & rich Stephen is building a cricket pavilion in memory of his killed-in-the-war son Nigel…but Nigel isn’t really dead…he ran away from being blown-up ‘cos he’s a cowardly scumbag and now he’s come back to get money and his wife (who has since remarried of course) all without father finding out…but the police are on his trail (well, sort of…there’s a lot of tea-drinking going on)…will Dad discover the truth before the first ball is bowled?; only the 1940’s British could come up with something so turgid and so well-mannered; Stephen grinds away in a yelling performance and the women wring hands as they somehow keep their hair in place; blessedly, Nigel (as usual) makes a perfect swine who you look forward to watching die and Irene Handl pops in as the cook and briefly lightens the load


SITE CHANGES, UPDATES, CORRECTIONS, ADDITIONS & GENERAL MAINTENANCE NEWS

1932 & 1933 pages updated
Movie Jukebox revamped & reinstated


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