' ' Cinema Romantico: 2021 Random Awards

Monday, February 07, 2022

2021 Random Awards

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

Line / Line Reading of the Year: “Let’s get this over with so we can go home and eat banana cake.” – Nicolas Bro, “Riders of Justice”

Line of the Year runner-up: It was another time, it was another Ennui. Must be nearly six months ago, I guess.” – Timothée Chalamet, “The French Dispatch.”

Line Reading of the Year runner-up: “Fuck off, teenagers!” – Alana Haim, “Licorice Pizza”

Monologue of the Year: “Precisely! He’s a Renaissance master of the highest order! He mines the same vein as Piperno Pierluigi when he illuminated the Christ before God’s heavenly altar in 1565! ‘Maw’! Nobody has an eye for things nobody has ever seen like ‘Maw’ Clampette of Liberty, Kansas! We should be ashamed to even gather in her presence! Why the fuck did she say fresco?” – Adrien Brody, “The French Dispatch.” Part of this mini-monologue’s success is the baroque verbiage, certainly, and how it hilariously emphasizes the concluding ‘fuck’ that much more. But it’s also Brody’s delivery. If his art dealer character is realizing the masterwork in question is, unfortunately, painted into a prison wall, negating its commercial potential, the way he does not even give “Why the fuck did she say fresco?” a split-second to breathe after everything he has already said makes it seems like he is recognizing in his mind midway through his mini-monologue that she said fresco but he still needs to get everything else out for his own sake before he acknowledges that recognition. 

Best Shot: tie between, respectively, “Passing” and “The Card Counter.” In the first shot, director Rebecca Hall and her cinematographer Eduard Grau transform the shop from which Tessa Thompson’s Irene has just been passing for a white person into The Sunken Place (coinage: Jordan Peele) while the second shot, the final image in “The Card Counter”, is Paul Schrader returning once again to the end of his beloved “Pickpocket” (1959) but elevating it into the mystic. 

Best Craft Services: Toast, “Get Back.” How much toast and marmalade did those four lads from Liverpool go through during recording anyway? 

Best Accent: Riley Keough, “Zola.” I want to be clear: Keough’s so-called blaccent in Janicza Bravo’s sensational film is good in terms of quality, not in terms of moral righteousness. When it comes to the latter, Keough’s accent is pure evil, which is what it’s intended to be, embodying appropriation rather than merely appropriating. It is so revealingly terrifying, in fact, that it seems to have frightened virtually every film awards voting body from acknowledging that Keough’s bravura turn even exists. 

The Annual I Like My Brandy In A Glass Award (presented to the best drink in a movie): Suicide, “Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar.” God tier throwaway joke. 

The Annual “Now We Can Eat” Award (presented to the best meal in a movie): tie between the pan-roasted squab, chanterelle mushrooms, pommes Anna, and huckleberry jus that Nicolas Cage’s character serves in “Pig” as both a peace offering and conscious rejection of violence and the Shabbat dinner in “Licorice Pizza” that comically reminds us sometimes meals are not about food at all but expressing bewilderment at your daughter’s choice of boyfriend. 

The Annual Penélope Cruz Award (presented to the best hair in a movie): Willem Dafoe, “The Card Counter.” One look at that hair and you know everything you need to know about Major John Gordo.

The Annual French Connection Award (presented to the best car chase in a movie): “Licorice Pizza.” Like the award’s namesake, Paul Thomas Anderson impressively only needed a single vehicle (and no gas!) to mount a spectacular car chase. 

The Annual Muslin Sock Award (presented to the best special effects in a movie): The Green Knight.In this, the CGI age, so often special effects that are supposed to be of our world never feel that way, too artificial, too far away. When The Green Knight enters King Arthur’s hall, however, he is in the room, gloomy realism mingling with ancient magic in a way that is as fabulous as it is foreboding. 

The Annual “Isn’t This a Lovely Day (To Be Caught in the Rain)” Award (presented to the best dance in a movie): Ed Harris, “The Lost Daughter.” There’s this thing guys do, guys that specifically can’t dance, where they try to dance, sort of, for awhile, and then give up and just start enthusiastically jumping up and down. And in the most unlikely “Livin’ on a Prayer” scene in movie history, Ed Harris nails this faux-dance. 

The Annual Keira Knightley Green Dress Award (presented to the best piece of clothing in a movie): George Harrison’s Psychedelic Boots, “Get Back.” See Above. Also, honorable mention to the entire wardrobe of Glyn Johns in the same film.  

The Annual Ruby Slippers Award (presented to the best prop in a movie): Angelina Jolie’s Ray-Bans®, “Those Who Wish Me Dead.” Those sunglasses will forever mark my glorious 2021 return to the movies (before Delta & Omicron). 

The Annual “Then He Kissed Me” Award (presented to the best use of pop music in a movie): “Everyday People” by Sly and the Family Stone in “Summer of Soul.” Bit of a cheat, perhaps, because this is a performance in a concert documentary rather than soundtracking a moment or scene in a fictional film. But in this case, the judges (me, me & me) have ruled an exception is in order. Because man, the organ at the start is asking the congregation to rise and the congregation, baby, is America. This, I realized in the moment, should be our National Anthem. “They simply seem,” wrote Wesley Morris of the sequence, “sent from an American future that no one has to mourn.” Listen Here

The Annual “Best of My Love” Award (presented to the second best use of pop music in a movie): “Stumblin’ In” by Chris Norman & Suzie Quatro in “Licorice Pizza.” Paul Thomas Anderson honors the 1970s as the height of movie theme songs by incorporating an actual 1970s song as what essentially functions as his main characters’ unofficial theme. Listen Here

The Annual “Nowhere Fast” Award (presented to the best original song in a movie): “My Heart Will Go On” by The Math Club in “Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar.” I am no doubt certain that a remix of a preexisting song, one that has already won an Oscar no less, would not qualify for Best Original Song under the arduous, asinine Academy Award criteria. But this is Cinema Romantico. And in Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo commissioning their very own “My Heart Will Go On” remix for an unlikely party hearty sequence between two middle aged ladies from Soft Rock, Nebraska and a mixed-up assassin who just wants to be in a committed relationship, “Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar” demonstrates that a quarter-century later the legend of Rose DeWitt Bukater endures. Listen Here 

The Annual Buck C. Turgidson Award (presented to the best facial expression in a movie): Kirsten Dunst, “The Power of the Dog.” See Above. Friends, let me get personal for just a moment. There’s this thing that happens when you’re an introvert, when you’re at parties where you don’t really know anyone or don’t really know anyone well and the person you’re with goes off with someone else and all of a sudden you’re just left standing there alone and this hot flash of fear surges through your body. In this shot, as the socially overmatched Rose Gordon, in her pained expression and her subtle yet undeniably desperate little move toward her husband who has just departed, like she’s spiritually trying to reach out and grab him and bring him back, Kirsten Dunst captured this sensation implicitly and perfectly. I crumbled

The Annual Runaway Jury Award (presented to the best middling thriller of the year): “The Courier.” Not sure a Top 10 Films is in the cards this year. Mentally, I just don’t feel up for it, though you can kind of discern from these awards what movies might have made it. What I will say is that Dominic Cooke’s thriller “The Courier” would have likely been slotted in at #10. It is imperfect, certainly, and not really the 10th best film of the year, of course, whatever the hell best means. But it’s got some pace, and it’s trying some things visually, and its actors are mostly playing something, and the scene where two of the main characters attend the Bolshoi is like a last supper at the ballet, and I really wish we could get ten more movies in its vein every year. 

The Annual Elevator Killer Award (presented to the best cameo in a movie): [redacted], Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar.” No, not the cameo at the end; the cameo midway through. This cameo was so good I simply refuse to spoil it for anyone who hasn’t seen it. Reader, my jaw literally dropped. It was my single happiest moment in the COVID hotel. 

No comments: