Thursday, December 02, 2004


True to Oscar season tradition, the National Board of Review was the first out of the gate to announce their "Best of 2004" movie awards. "Finding Neverland" took home the top prize. I saw the movie tonight and thoroughly enjoyed it. It's a very sweet movie, celebrating imagination and youth with a lot of heart, great costumes, and a bunch of excellent performances. I'm reluctant to admit it, but I teared up repeatedly during the third act, and that simply doesn't happen very often for me.

As far as the best film of 2004 is concerned, I'm still sticking with "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind." How that didn't make the NBR's Top Ten (listed below) is beyond me.

National Board of Review's Best Films for 2004:

1. Finding Neverland
2. The Aviator
3. Closer
4. Million Dollar Baby
5. Sideways
6. Kinsey
7. Vera Drake
8. Ray
9. Collateral
10. Hotel Rwanda

There were no real shockers in the acting nods. Jamie Foxx for "Ray", Annette Bening for "Being Julia", Thomas Hayden Church for "Sideways", and Laura Linney for "Kinsey". I know the NBR announcement is usually treated with a grain of salt by the critical community, but if nothing else, the acting awards will only serve to solidify these four actors as the Oscar favorites in their respective categories. However, the biggest lock of the Oscar season has to be Charlie Kaufman and "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" for Best Original Screenplay. I'd mortgage the farm on it, that is, if I had a farm.

Michael Mann winning for "Collateral" surprised me. I think it's a good movie with a ton of style, but it's not in my personal Top Ten and I seriously doubt that it'll be nominated for Best Picture. In a year likely to see Oscars spread out over a large number of films, can Mann really win for Best Director even if the film isn't up for Best Picture?

Tuesday, November 30, 2004


Whenever I see the word "piker" in a mass media print publication, a charge of electricity runs through my body. Yesterday, I came across my favorite word in Todd McCarthy's review of "The Aviator" in Daily Variety. Shockingly, it was used in reference to Katherine Hepburn.

Once the startling impact of her impersonation has subsided, the relationship successfully defines itself as a pairing of two completely self-absorbed misfits. The bond is strengthened by the rarefied air they share as two of the most famous people in the world, romanticized in a lovely "date" on Hughes' plane over Los Angeles at night and unsettled in a brilliantly funny sequence in which Hepburn takes her beau to the family compound in Connecticut, where the eccentric clan's air of self-obsessed superiority makes the famous daughter look like a piker (Frances Conroy's cameo as Mrs. Hepburn is indelible).

If Kate Hepburn is a piker, I'm honored to call myself one. Ah, who am I kidding? I've always been a proud piker.