' ' Cinema Romantico: Random Awards 2018

Tuesday, January 01, 2019

Random Awards 2018

As always, her eminence Nicole Kidman is here to present Cinema Romantico's annual awards of cinematic randomness.

Best Line of the Year: “Do you want to die having never been to Europe? Or do you want to go to Europe and die having been to Europe?” - Kate McKinnon, “The Spy Who Dumped Me”

Best Line Reading of the Year: “First thing tomorrow we need to go to every landmark in that book, see if we can sniff out anything suspicious.” - Sally Hawkins, “Paddington 2”

Best Laugh of the Year: Ethan Hawke, “First Reformed.” Ethan Hawke forcing laughter at Cedric the Entertainer’s A Mighty Fortress is our God joke well after the punchline, like Hawke is trying to will himself to laugh in the face of the absolutely not funny, is pretty much my prevailing mood.

Best Monologue of the Year: Chelcie Ross, “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs.” Chelcie Ross has long been a splendid character actor and yet that very character actor nature is what has long prevented him from truly getting a chance to step to the forefront of a movie screen and belt one out to the back row. I reckon many movie-goers know him as the guy sitting there silently while every Notre Dame football player deposits a jersey on his desk to convince him to let that pugnacious Rudy play. But The Coen Brothers, bless their souls, designed an ingenious, lengthy monologue for Mr. Ross, playing a fur trapper, in their western “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs.” The monologue is a virtual run-on sentence with Ross allowed to go and go and go, constantly seeming to be about to stop to only keep chugging. It is comical, certainly, as much from the When-Will-This-End? momentum as the actual words, though it improbably builds to a stopping point that illuminates the film’s overriding theme of all at once denouement.

Best Extra of the Year: You Were Never Really Here.” We see this woman only because the movie is lingering on the stream from a water fountain where our main character just was, and her physical languor improbably becomes not only the perfect juxtaposition to the sequence’s tension but to the overwhelming noise inside the main character’s head.

Best Title Card: “A Star Is Born.” Gloria in excelsis Gaga, the title card stretches all the way across the screen, allowing just enough space in the middle to let Gaga’s character twirl, making you long for a world where we could have glimpsed Stefani Germanotta in Technicolor.

Best Impersonation of the Year: Rachel McAdams, “Game Night.” In performing the Amanda Plummer stick-up bit from “Pulp Fiction” because she thinks the situation in which her character is in is all just pretend, what you think will merely be a funny gag erupts into spur of the moment spirit possession, leaving Jason Bateman’s expression to speak for all of us.

The Annual Cary Grant Award (presented to the best double take in a movie): Andy Garcia, “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again.” It’s hard, it’s real hard, to stop the show a second time after Cher’s already stopped the show, but that is precisely what Andy Garcia does upon doing a double take when he spies Cher.

The Annual Clint Eastwood Squint Award (presented to the best gesture in a movie): Sam Elliott, “A Star Is Born.” Though boxers might be fond of cocking their heads to one side as a means of from-across-the-ring intimidation aimed toward their opponents, neither Michael B. Jordan nor Florian Munteanu from “Creed II”, nor any other actor as boxer in the history of film come to think of it, can menacingly cock their head to one side like Sam Elliott does every time he strides on screen in “A Star Is Born.”

The Annual Norma Desmond Award (presented to the best close-up in a movie): Richard E. Grant, Can You Ever Forgive Me?” When Grant and Melissa McCarthy’s crime-committing drinking buddies find themselves in the money, they naturally go out for drinks. And as Grant’s Jack Hock sidles up to the bar, while the film’s official theme song, Lou Reed’s “Goodnight Ladies” is crooned in the background, director Marielle Heller basks in a close-up of Grant’s beaming face that is one of those grand Hollywood moments where character and actor intrinsically converge so that even as you feel Jack Hock’s reverie in the fleeting moment you also feel Richard E. Grant’s reverie at living out this wonderful role.

The Annual “Isn’t This a Lovely Day (To Be Caught in the Rain)” Award (presented to the best dance in a movie): Rachel Weisz & Joe Alwyn, “The Favourite.” Yorgos Lanthimos’s film both is concerned with period specificity and not concerned with it at all, as the dance between Weisz’s Lady Sarah and Alwyn’s Baron Masham astonishingly, hysterically evinces in a routine that is baroque crossed with Leslie Nielsen and Priscilla Presley in “The Naked Gun 2½.”

The Annual “Anybody Got a Match?” Award (presented to the best entrance in a movie): HALO Jump, “Mission: Impossible – Fallout.” So much pre-release discourse was spilled over Tom Cruise performing his own high altitude low parachute open jump for his latest M:I movie. But whatever you thought of his decision, and whatever of you thought of the moment’s rendering, he was HALO jumping directly into a Grand Palais gala meaning he was – and I still can’t get over this – HALO jumping into the club. As Lauren Bacall is my witness, more movies need that sort of joie de vivre.

The Annual Toto Award (presented to the best dog in a movie): Charlie, “A Star Is Born.” Comb through the Google and you will find a lot of headlines like The Real Star of A Star is Born is Charlie the Dog. But that’s not right and not just because anyone trying to claim Lady Gaga isn’t the star of “A Star Is Born” needs to check themselves before they wreck themselves, but because Charlie is a supporting actor, enhancing the proceedings, not commandeering them. He is not the point of the movie’s worst blow, for instance, his presence just softens the blow, even as his presence makes the worst blow just a little bit worse.

The Annual Ruby Slippers Award (presented to the best prop in a movie): Cravat, Paddington 2.” Hugh Grant’s character spying his reflection in a window as he sashays down the pavement and discovering he is, inadvertently, sans cravat (Runner-Up for Line Reading of the Year), effortlessly converts the moment from a plot device to get his antagonist home to catch the heroes sneaking into it to a true-to-character moment of sartorially imperious comic glee.

The Annual Then He Kissed Me Award (presented to the best use of pop music in a movie): “Too Late to Turn Back Now” by Cornelius Brothers & Sister Rose in “BlackKkKlansman.” What music does, whether it’s on your headphones, in person, or at a club, is let you slide into an in-between place for a few minutes at a time. That’s the sensation Spike Lee’s implentation of the Cornelius Brothers & Sister Rose’s 1972 hit captures. And in “BlackKkKlansman”, after the thrill of the Kwame Ture rally and then the pain of the activists at the rally getting stopped by the police, when “Too Late to Turn Back Now” appears, that’s where the characters briefly, blessedly go...into the in-between of both those places.

The Annual “Now We Can Eat” Award (presented to the best meal in a movie): “Set It Up” & “The Sisters Brothers.” If the former is intended as a conduit to the inevitable Will They/Won’t They? moment of sexual tension for the characters played by Zoey Deutch and Glen Powell, the simple yet breathtaking gastronomical bliss of drunken late night pizza entirely sans sexual tension actually resonates more. In the latter, John C. Reilly’s night out by himself gives us brief glimpse at something like a hipster food hall by way of old west chuckwagon.

The Annual I Like My Brandy In A Glass Award (presented to the best drink in a movie): St-Germain & Mello Yello, “Gemini.” No commentary required.

The Annual Elevator Killer Award (presented to the best cameo in a movie): Carol Kane, “The Sisters Brothers.” Here’s the situation: You need an actress who can, simply in her very being on screen, convey, in an instant, where The Sisters Brothers come from and why they are the way they are. Hence, Carol Kane.

The Annual Buck C. Turgidson Award (presented to the best facial expression in a movie): Vanessa Kirby, “Mission: Impossible – Fallout.” When Tom Cruise’s Ethan Hunt, posing as the ultra dastardly John Lark, coolly mentions he has killed women and children as a means to evince how the person he’s impersonating has no line to cross, Kirby, playing an evil arms broker, seems to virtually, woozily breathe in the vapor trails of those vile words and then, as if overcome when she does, lets her bottom lip tremble almost imperceptibly. I tried to grab a screenshot but it was not worthy of whatever it is she does. I ask again, why on earth wasn’t she the principal villain?

Best Closing Credits Sequence: “Paddington 2.” Folks, this award gets no pithily referential moniker because the closing credits sequence to “Paddington 2” is the new gold standard. This is no self impressed, spell breaking bout of outtake rubbish (I loathe outtakes) but a witty furthering of the movie’s theme of rehabilitation. Whatta movie.

The Annual Scarlett O’Hara Curtain Dress Award (presented to the best article of clothing in a movie): Cate Blanchett, blue suit, “Ocean’s 8.” The movie, sadly, was trash; that suit, however, was the shit.

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