WBEZ | silver linings playbook http://www.wbez.org/tags/silver-linings-playbook Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en The Oscars: predictions and party planning http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-02/oscars-predictions-and-party-planning-105668 <p><p><img 24="" 7="" 85th="" academy="" alt="" annual="" at="" awards="" class="image-original_image" creator="" et.="" family="" february="" hollywood="" host="" macfarlane="" p.m.="" seth="" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/seth_macfarlane_oscars_a_p.jpg" style="float: left; height: 414px; width: 310px; " the="" this="" title="&quot;Family Guy&quot; creator Seth MacFarlane will host the 85th annual Academy Awards tonight at 7:30 p.m. on ABC. (The Hollywood Reporter) " will="" />For as long as I can remember, I&#39;ve watched the annual Oscars telecast with a giddy excitement akin to opening presents on Christmas Day. In fact, I can say with absolute confidence (and not one drop of shame, I might add) that Oscar Sunday is my Super Bowl.&nbsp;</p><div class="image-insert-image ">As a geeky kid already determined to become the <a href="http://rogerebert.suntimes.com" target="_blank">next great film critic</a>, I&nbsp;devoured every moment: the parade of impeccably-dressed directors, auteurs, studio heads and stars; the thrilling spectacle of an old Hollywood theatre, lit up by a stage of living legends passing the torch of classic cinema on to the next generation; and of course, the momentous anticipation of who would win a golden statuette and who would shockingly go home empty-handed.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Almost two decades later, I still watch the Oscars with the same wide-eyed wonder and reverance for quality filmmaking that so captivated me as a child. I appreciate the Academy Awards because they continue to celebrate cinema as an <a href="http://isites.harvard.edu/fs/docs/icb.topic235120.files/RichterFilmArt.pdf" target="_blank">art form</a>, honoring true talent and innovation over silly tabloid fodder. This year, <a href="http://www.imdb.com/news/ni47531556" target="_blank">film students</a> will be passing out the awards instead of models--a positive step in the right direction for a show that has often stooped to <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VLVwDBvWH7Y" target="_blank">superficial celebrity worship</a> in years past.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Dedicated cinephiles like myself agree: the magic of the Oscars lies not in &quot;who wore it best?&quot; on the red carpet, but who made us laugh, cry and reexamine the depths of the human condition with the very best films of the year.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Here are my predictions for the big winners of 2012:</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>Best Supporting A</strong><strong>ctor</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><u>Who will win</u>: Christoph Waltz in <em>Django Unchained&nbsp;</em></div><div class="image-insert-image "><u>Who should win</u>: Philip Seymour Hoffman in&nbsp;<em>The Master&nbsp;</em>(this man can do no wrong in my eyes)</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>Best Supporting Actress</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><u>Who will win</u>: Anne Hathway in <em>Les Miserables</em></div><div class="image-insert-image "><u>Who should win</u>: Anne Hathaway in <em>Les Miserables</em> (terrible film, undeniably Oscar-worthy performance)</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>Best Director</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><u>Who will win</u>: Ang Lee for <em>Life of Pi</em></div><div class="image-insert-image "><u>Who should win</u>: Benh Zeitlan for <em>Beasts of the Southern Wild&nbsp;</em>(this young director came out of nowhere to deliver one of the most moving films I&#39;ve seen in years)</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>Best Actor</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><u>Who will win</u>: Daniel Day-Lewis, majestically playing the title role in Spielberg&#39;s&nbsp;<em>Lincoln&nbsp;</em></div><div class="image-insert-image "><u>Who should win</u>: Joaquin Phoenix in <em>The Master</em> (a riveting performance in a film that was occasionally relevatory, but mostly mediocre)</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>Best Actress</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><u>Who will win</u>: Jessica Chastain (or as I like to call her, the new Meryl Streep) in <em>Zero Dark Thirty</em></div><div class="image-insert-image "><u>Who should win</u>: Quevenzhanè Wallis (She was only six years old during the filming of&nbsp;<em>Beasts of the Southern Wild,&nbsp;</em>making her the youngest Best Actress nominee in history. As the brave heroine Hushpuppy, her performance is&nbsp;nothing short of spectacular)</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>Best Picture</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><u>Who will win</u>: <em>Argo&nbsp;</em>(dark horse: <em>Silver Linings Playboo</em>k)</div><div class="image-insert-image "><u>Who should win</u>: <em>Argo&nbsp;</em>(Since the Academy snubbed Ben Affleck for Best Director, his superbly-made film about Hollywood&#39;s involvement in the Iranian Hostage Crisis deserves top honors)&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">And if you&#39;d like to experience the Oscars outside the confines of your living room this year, head out to one of these lively Chicago viewing parties before 6 p.m. on Sunday:</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>Rockit Bar &amp; Grill</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image "><a href="http://www.rockitbarandgrill.com/events/oscars-viewing-party-hosted-by-richard-roeper-billy-dec-2/" target="_blank">Oscars Viewing Party</a>&nbsp;(hosted by Richard Roeper and Billy Dec)</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>Center on Halsted</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image "><a href="http://www.centeronhalsted.org/otrc/" target="_blank">2013 Oscar Party</a>&nbsp;(with silent auction and raffle!)</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>Sidetrack Chicago, The Video Bar</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image "><a href="http://www.sidetrackchicago.com" target="_blank">Annual Oscar Party</a> (free!)</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>Siskel Film Center</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image "><a href="http://www.siskelfilmcenter.org/oscarexperience2013" target="_blank">Oscar Experience: Chicago 2013</a> (Chicago&#39;s only Academy-sanctioned event, sold out)</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><em><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/e64EXXGu9DQ" width="620"></iframe></em></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><em>Follow Leah on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/leahkpickett" target="_blank">@leahkpickett</a>, where she will certainly be live-tweeting the Oscars on February 24.</em></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div></p> Sat, 23 Feb 2013 08:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-02/oscars-predictions-and-party-planning-105668 Best Picture breakdowns: ‘Silver Linings Playbook’ review http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2013-01/best-picture-breakdowns-%E2%80%98silver-linings-playbook%E2%80%99-review-104836 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/silver-linings-playbook-poster.jpg" style="float: right; height: 211px; width: 300px;" title="Silver Linings Playbook " />Brain-cell-slaughtering though these pursuits may have been, I am not too much of a movie snob to admit that I have taken some pleasure from the mindless Bradley Cooper farces <em>The Hangover </em>and <em>The Hangover Part II</em>, and more than once, albeit on evenings when there just wasn&rsquo;t anything else on cable. What&rsquo;s more, I&rsquo;ll not only confess to getting sucked in to the occasional Lifetime movie&mdash;who doesn&rsquo;t enjoy a good tale of a spouse done wrong seeking bloody revenge or a crippled skier struggling to come back to the land of the living?&mdash;but to actually looking forward to Rob Lowe starring in <em>Prosecuting Casey Anthony</em>, which premieres on that channel on Jan. 19.</div><p>Keep that in mind when I ask: <em>Silver Linings Playbook </em>as the Best Picture of 2012? And the only film among this year&rsquo;s nominees to additionally garner nods for best actor (Cooper), best actress (Jennifer Lawrence), best supporting actor (Robert De Niro), best supporting actress (Jacki Weaver) and best director (David O. Russell)?</p><p>Really?</p><p>By no means is Russell&rsquo;s adaptation of Matthew Quick&rsquo;s 2008 debut novel a bad film. Like the best of those in this proudly quirky writer-director&rsquo;s canon, <em>Spanking the Monkey </em>(1994) and <em>Three Kings </em>(1999), it stays on just the right side of self-satisfied irony, avoiding the forced eccentricity and hipster smugness of his more annoying efforts, including <em>Flirting with Disaster </em>in &rsquo;96 and <em>I </em><em>&hearts; Huckabees</em> in 2004.</p><p>Yet, at its core, a slightly slicker-than-usual Lifetime movie is all that <em>Silver Linings Playbook </em>really is. And that might be exactly the reason why it&rsquo;s gotten so much love from the Academy.</p><p>I&rsquo;ve already heard two commentators on Public Radio crediting the bounty of nominations to the movie&rsquo;s generally sympathetic and not-overly-clichéd portraits of the central characters, Pat (Cooper), who suffers from bipolar disorder, and Tiffany (Lawrence), whose exact mental malady never is named, but who clearly isn&rsquo;t quite right in the head (to use an unsympathetic and clichéd description, but no offense intended).</p><p>My wife, who read and somewhat enjoyed the novel, was disappointed that Russell made so much of the ballroom dancing bringing these troubled misfits together; it played a much smaller role in their romance in the book, and seemed like an obvious bid to tap into the <em>Dancing With the Stars </em>fan base at the box office. Even more disturbing to her was that the director or the producers made the typical cast-a-hot-young-Hollywood-starlet move of tapping Lawrence, fresh off <em>The Hunger Games,</em> to play Tiffany, when the Tiffany character in the book actually is much older than Pat.</p><p>One thinks of the much more appropriate pairing of William Hurt and Geena Davis in the 1988 film <em>The Accidental Tourist. </em>The age discrepancy there was jarring to those who&rsquo;d read that book, but the two troubled characters were much better cast and much more believable as misfits who don&rsquo;t fit in anywhere else turning to one another to be alone together.</p><p>Here, Lawrence is 22 and Cooper is 38. And aside from sharing an encyclopedic knowledge of psychotropic drugs, a general disdain for the mental health profession and an abiding dislike for social conformity, it&rsquo;s hard to accept that there&rsquo;s anything that brings these two together.</p><p>Believable or not as Cooper&rsquo;s love interest, Lawrence does smart, sexy and screwed-up well. And Cooper manages to make the narcissism that&rsquo;s been so unlikable in much of his other work seem like a natural part of his character here, while he delivers his non-stop spew of dialogue (also part of his character&rsquo;s disorder) so quickly that even the most obnoxious lines fly by too fast to become grating. But that&rsquo;s hardly lavish praise.</p><p>Meanwhile, for his part, De Niro just turns up the intensity a bit from the character he plays in the <em>Meet the Fockers </em>franchise to portray Pat&rsquo;s football-obsessed, possibly OCD dad. And I cannot for the life of me remember a single thing to distinguish Weaver as the recently released mental patient&rsquo;s mom, much less mark her as a candidate for best supporting actress.</p><p>At the risk of throwing a tantrum to rival the one Pat launches into upon hearing Stevie Wonder&rsquo;s &ldquo;My Cherie Amour&rdquo; (the song was playing when he discovered his wife cheating on him, triggering the breakdown that led to his stint in the mental ward), the Academy&rsquo;s fondness for Russell&rsquo;s film not only is inexplicable based on the modest charms of the movie itself, but it&rsquo;s absolutely infuriating in context. We&rsquo;re supposed to accept all of these honors for the quirky Russell&rsquo;s <em>Silver Linings Playbook </em>when the Academy almost completely shuts out the quirky Wes Anderson&rsquo;s vastly superior <em>Moonrise Kingdom</em>? Arrggghhhh!</p><p>Ah, well: Maybe next year, <em>Prosecuting Casey Anthony </em>will get the love it deserves.</p></p> Thu, 10 Jan 2013 15:48:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2013-01/best-picture-breakdowns-%E2%80%98silver-linings-playbook%E2%80%99-review-104836