' ' Cinema Romantico: 2023 Random Awards

Friday, January 19, 2024

2023 Random Awards

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

Line of the Year: “I don’t play him as an alien, actually. I play him as a metaphor. That’s my interpretation.” - Jeff Goldblum, “Asteroid City”

Best Terminology of the Year: Mojo Dojo Casa House, “Barbie” 

Best Monologue of the Year: Ayo Edebiri, Bottoms. As a high school senior unlucky in love, Edebiri brings the house down in a wild, wandering, sixty-second monologue comically embodying that singular sense of teenage defeatism in which she envisions her whole life as being over before it has even truly begun. 

Best Dog: Fallen Leaves. A canine that is not a plot device, nor one to engender cheap sentimentality, but a manifestation of the idea that dogs are balms for our broken spirits. (Honorable Mention: the dog in “Showing Up” demonstrating how dogs always manage to lie down in exactly the wrong spot, and how we don’t really mind.)

Best Shot: Priscilla. I can’t seem to source the full image, which is unfortunate, but even half the image will do, with Elvis Presley (Jacob Elordi) himself leaning over the teenage Priscilla (Cailee Spaeny) with one arm pressed up against the wall, like the wall is her high school locker, and transforming a kind of model image of youthful romantic reverie into a brewing nightmare. 

The Annual Ruffalo Award (presented to the best unnoticed performance in a movie): Summer Joy Campbell, Bottoms. Ayo Edebiri is hilarious, so is Rachel Sennott, and Ruby Cruz steals the movie, really, but it is Joy Campbell who best harnesses director Emma Seligman’s penchant for eye-level shots by rendering them a window into her scorned soul. (Honorable Mention: Indira Varma & Charles Parnell turning information drops in “Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning” into gleeful art.)

The Annual Elevator Killer Award (presented to the best cameo in a movie): Margot Robbie, Asteroid City. The most gasp-inducing moment in a movie that is a play as a television documentary is when all three of these layers suddenly give way to a fourth layer, a scene on a balcony, or two balconies, that is, one of which Robbie’s character steps out onto as she becomes nothing less than the living, breathing embodiment of the old writerly adage to Kill Your Darlings. 

The Annual Yosemite Sam Award (presented to the best Looney Tune in a movie): Margot Robbie, Barbie. Emma Stone is garnering considerable acclaim for the physical expressiveness of her turn in “Poor Things,” and it’s well deserved, but Robbie’s physical expressiveness as the living fashion doll was equally exemplary, never more than the scene when her character is fleeing the Mattel Execs. Even now I feel as if I can’t hope to express what Robbie does except to say that without the aid of effects, she seems to animate herself, her arms and legs moving with an exaggerated fluidity that improbably comes across independent of her own body. 

The Annual Buck C. Turgidson Award (presented to the best facial expressions in a movie): Michelle Williams, Showing Up. It’s not just one facial expression, even if a few of the withering glares she affixes Maryann Plunkett, playing her character’s mother slash boss, because who wants to work with their parental figure, are side-splitting, but all the facial expressions. Because this performance - this movie - is made from Williams’s facial expressions, a working, or maybe just struggling, artist appraising life all around her. 

The Annual When Strangers Do Meet in Far Off Lands Award (presented to the best Meet Cute in a movie): Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning. Reminding us why writer/director Christopher McQuarrie is the master of working around Tom Cruise’s inherent sexlessness, he turns the airport hunt for a MacGuffin into a frisky, unofficial first date between his leading man’s IMF agent and Haley Atwell’s pickpocket.  

The Annual “Isn’t This a Lovely Day (To Be Caught in the Rain)” Award (presented to the best dance in a movie): The Adults. True, the dance in “Poor Things” is also great, but that dance feels like a lateral move, in a manner of speaking, from the 2018 “Isn’t This a Lovely Day (To Be Caught in The Rain)” award winning dance in “The Favourite.” What’s more, the “Poor Things” dance just sort of exists unto itself whereas the dance of three siblings in “The Adults” not only quotes my favorite movie dance, but it also joyfully encapsulates and puts a button on a movie exploring the nature of performance.  

The Annual Ruby Slippers Award (presented to the best prop in a movie): Minifridge, Barbie. One quick image in the movie’s remarkable “Parallax View”-like montage of the patriarchy (Montage of the Year) in which a minifridge door is thrust open, functions like a wormhole, the Tannhauser Gate from a dude’s tailgate cosmically tunneling back to his college dorm. 

The Annual Penélope Cruz Award (presented to the best hair in a movie): Adam Driver, Ferrari. It’s more than a little ironic that the Annual Penélope Cruz Award goes to someone in a Penélope Cruz-starring movie that is not Penélope Cruz. But then, “Ferrari” is a Michael Mann movie, and if there is one thing we know about a Michael Mann protagonist, even if his life is falling down all around him, his hair will still look good. 

The Annual Keira Knightley Green Dress Award (presented to the best costume in a movie): Josh Hamilton, Reality. Sometimes the grim reaper comes dressed not in a black cloak but an unflattering short-sleeved shirt straight off the clearance rack at Kohl’s.

The Annual Cinema Paradiso Award (presented to the best cinema scene in a movie): Fallen Leaves. The deadpan Scandinavian version of the “Platoon” scene in “The Naked Gun.” 

The “Now We Can Eat” Award (presented to the best meal in a movie): The Iron Claw. Three brothers shoved into the front seat of pickup truck, tooling down the road, blasting Tom Petty, shoving fast food into their mouths, it’s the happiest moment, really, in a sad, sad movie. Youth has rarely seemed so ravishingly wasted on the young. 

The Annual “Then He Kissed Me” Award (presented to the best use of pop music in a movie): Crimson and Clover by Tommy James & The Shondells in Priscilla. That eternal tremolo guitar has never sounded so foreboding.

The Annual “Best of My Love” Award (presented to the second-best use of pop music in a movie): Don’t Do Me Like That by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers in The Iron Claw. See Also: Best Meal.

The Annual Tour Eiffel Award (presented to the best image of The Eiffel Tower in a movie): Full Time. When a single mother forced to spend the night in a seedy motel in Paris because she can’t get back to her home in the faraway suburbs due to a transit strike wakes up to see motel art of the famous open-lattice iron structure perched along the Seine and then goes to the window to see the city waking up in the alley below, it’s a pertinent reminder of how the City of Light looks to everybody else. 

Best Movie Tweet: See Below. For the “Michael Clayton” hive. If you know, you know. RIP Tom Wilkinson. 

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