This week’s Watercooler Musical Interlude is a suite drawn from John Williams’ score for Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln because… because Lincoln, bitches!

There’s a certain loudmouth movie blogger who is on a mission to “take down” Lincoln in favor of Silver Linings Playbook because he likes Jennifer Lawrence’s tits and ass better than he likes Spielberg. I like the T&A as much as the next person and I liked a lot of other things about Silver Linings as well (including Lawrence’s actual performance and especially that most surprisingly of Bradley Cooper), but you have to be a very special kind of cretin to think, let alone loudly argue, that Lincoln is a lesser film. This is a movie that speaks to our history and it speaks to our present and it’s a movie that will still mean something in 10, 20, 30 years. Silver Linings is likable and entertaining in spite of its many flaws, but it’s almost entirely inconsequential.

So, who cares and why am I even bothering to compare the two since they’re totally different? I don’t know. I just felt the need to do my tiny part righting a wrong before it can be believed as truth.

Plus, Williams’ work is great to listen to.

That’s all from me this week. Now it’s your turn. Has anyone seen anything lately worth talking about? Anyone care to weigh in on the artificial Lincoln/Linings divide? Lay it on me.

18 Responses to “Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the Watercooler?”

  1. lol at the title of this post.

    There’s a certain loudmouth movie blogger who is on a mission to “take down” Lincoln…

    Hmm, and who would that blogger be, I wonder?

    I was sick this weekend so I ended up watching TCM and Netflix streaming. Today I watched Queen Bee, a hilariously over-melodramatic movie, but Joan Crawford is always fun to watch. After that was Casablanca again. And I revisited Out of Sight, which I love. Great mix of action/thriller, comedy and sexiness. George Clooney is gorgeous in it (I think I say that every time I talk about this movie), the scenes between him and Jennifer Lopez are hot and I even like Lopez (who is not a favorite of mine at all) in the film. Fantastic supporting/bit parts cast, too, which includes some of my favorites like Don Cheadle and Catherine Keener.

  2. Craig: I’ll “lay” it on to you on that matter, (ha!) and much from a completely different angle. truth is LINCOLN is a five-star masterpiece and one of the very best films of 2012. Spielberg pulls back and lets Day-Lewis and company strut their stuff, and the results are monumental. SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK does have that spectacular turn for Jennifer Lawrence, but otherwise as I briefly explain below I think it’s very much overrated. Great choice for the musical leadin! I must acquire this CD at some point.

    Over the past week Lucille and I (and the boys for a few; Broadway Bob for the Friday and Saturday features) saw:

    A Late Quartet **** (Tuesday night) Montclair Claridge Cinemas

    Silver Linings Playbook *** (Friday night) Angelika Film Center

    Anna Karenina ** 1/2 (Saturday night) Lincoln Plaza Cinemas

    The Mark of Zorro **** (Monday night) Fairbanks at Film Forum

    Although lacking the handsome production values of the later versions of the timeless story, the 1920 Douglas Fairbanks Sr. version, THE MARK OF ZORRO brings together imaginative duels and chases and features the rousing swashbuckler at the peak of his physical powers and charismatic flamboyance. There’s a marvelous strain of humor, and Steve Sterner’s spirited piano accompaniment made for a terrific opening night of the Film Forum’s Douglas Fairbanks Sr. Festival. There are some great individual moments David O. Russell’s highly-regarded SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK, and Jennifer Lawrence in magnificent in her quirky role that is destined to awards, but the film is sometimes over-the-top and strained, and there’s far less magic in Bradley Cooper’s performance. Robert DeNiro as a Philadelphia cheese steak and Eagles fan is as always earthy and appealing, but the film is oddly uneven and bereft of a deeper context. But Lawrence alone if the reason it must be seen. Joe Wright’s ANNA KARENINA is narratively inert, and unable to make some of teh arresting visuals and Dario Marianelli score amount to much more than ultimately irrelevent components. The acting by Keira Knighley and others is impressive enough, but this one never establishes any kind of dramatic urgency. A LATE QUARTET features Christopher Walken, Phillip Seymour Hoffmann and Catherine Keener in superlative performances as members of a string quartet bonded despite some serious domestic issues that threaten to permanently dispand the group. The film weaves a resonating emotional spell.

    I also got to see LINCOLN and SKYFALL for a second time with hot to trot friends. LINCOLN actually got even better, and Day-Lewis once again offered up a master class of acting. Spielberg avoided sentiment to offer a realistic look at one of history’s most beloved figures. Sally Field and Tommy Lee Jones are unforgettable as well.

  3. Lincoln is tremendous. Spielberg’s best film in 10 years for me.

  4. Alison, he rhymes with Shmeff Smells.

    Awww poor Joan Crawford. I love her in Mildred Pierce and she was quite a hottie back in Grand Hotel days. I have to say I’ve never seen Queen Bee.

    Casablanca, Yeah, seen it 100 times but whenever it comes on I can sit through it to the end. Ditto Out of Sight actually. One of my fav Soderbergh’s and fav Clooney’s

    Sam I warmed up to Anna Karenina a bit after the fact. I admit I never read the book in school so I don’t have a literary frame of reference, but I went in expecting Anna to be kind of a heroine and I was surprised to see in the film how she’s dealt with so unsympathetically. Jude Law is dull, but he seems to be a good man and she’s pretty horrible to him. Afterward though, I thought it was an interesting decision and when you think of it, the whole thing is really more a problem of her uptight society trapping her in a loveless marriage. It’s not really passing judgment on any individual character, just the society in which they lived. Hardly a revelatory comment I know, but it made me think about the film a little beyond my initial cold reaction. I’d like to give it another look.

    Jennifer Lawrence was fine in SLP, but it’s too bad she wasn’t given an actual character. She was nothing more than a sketch calculated to “heal” Bradley Cooper. That’s fine. Even in the book it’s Cooper’s character’s story, but it could’ve been a great film if they fleshed out both characters equally. As it is, it’s merely good and entertaining. That’s more than you can say about a lot of pictures, but frustrating that the material was there for so much more.

    Ari, I’ve been thinking more about Lincoln after the fact than any film I’ve seen in a while. I think it’s the kind of film that will get even better with age.

  5. Alison, Queen Bee is a camp classic — I remember seeing a screening at the Castro theatre in SF with lots of hooting and hollering from the (mostly) boys in the audience. It took decades for me to warm up to Casablanca, but it’s now a deserved classic to me.

    Over the past several days I saw Lincoln, The Sessions, and – finally – The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. I’d say Lincoln has it in the bag even though I nodded off a few times during the first 30-40 minutes and despite Spielberg’s getting a tad schmaltzy toward the end. Great ensemble work.

    I really enjoyed The Sessions and am glad that Helen Hunt (who made my skin crawl beginning with As Good As It Gets) took a risky role and ran with it. Hawkes is magnificent, and the film itself is very well done — not nearly as heavy as I’d imagined going in and quite entertaining.

    Marigold Hotel is dizzying, but I see why older crowds liked it.

    I was most impressed by the trailer for Rust and Bone.

  6. I agree with Ari: Lincoln IS tremendous, and in many ways unlike anything Spielberg has done in quite some time. I enjoyed it quite a bit and defintely need to see it again.

    Smashed: I admire what they were doing with this film quite a bit, but it didn’t resonate with me as much as I would have liked.

    Seven Psychopaths: I think the best parts of this were in the trailer, which I saw too many times to count. I don’t think I can be counted amongst its fans.

  7. lol, I figured that’s who it was, Craig.

    Campy is the perfect word, Pierre. Crawford did a lot of wonderful classics, but she also did a ton of campy, melodramatic films, too.

    This weekend I’m going to hopefully see Lincoln. I’m always up for watching DDL.

  8. I doubt you’ll be disappointed in DDL, Alison. The device he used, raising the pitch of his voice, seemed to be a key to his finding the character. A bold choice that appears to have worked.

  9. From what little I read so far, he was in character the entire time they were on set and he already looks like Lincoln (supposedly they did basic make-up and minimal prosthetics on him), so that must have been an interesting set to be on.

    One review I read (A.O Scott, NYT) noted that DDL has portrayed Hawkeye, Bill the Butcher, Daniel Plainview, and now Lincoln, making DDL “our leading portrayer of archaic Americans.” And he’s not even American, either.

  10. Just came back from seeing Frankenweenie. Really great film. I’m putting it ahead of Paranorman and Brave as far as 2012 animation films are concerned. It’s on my Top 5 right now, but that’ll change pretty fast in a month or two.

    A couple of days ago I saw Magic Mike and Vamps. Vamps was alright. Magic Mike was good, but it could have been a lot better if Soderbergh ironed out a few of its rough edges [see: Pettyfer, one of the scenes near the end with Mike and Brooke, etc.]. Wished Matthew McConaughey had a bit more of screentime to stand out stronger, but MM’s about the bodies too, so w/e.

  11. Rodrigo, I also liked FRANKENWEENIE quite a bit! I’d add WRECK-IT RALPH to the short list of impressive achievements in animation for 2012.

  12. So earlier in the year at another blog from another famous film critic, a comment was made by said critic that we are in another Golden Age of studio animation. To which *another* prominent critic immediately and emphatically stated that we are not in *the* Golden Age, and said critic then pointed to a Warner Bros cartoon from the 50′s. From what I can tell, there was confusion over the use of “A” versus “THE.”

    Having not seen Wreck-it Ralph or Frankenweenie or the already buzzed-about Rise of the Guardians, I ask you: Do you feel that we are in a new Golden Age of studio animation? Or is 2012 simply a fluke?

  13. Pierre I’m not surprised you warmed to Helen Hunt in Sessions. I haven’t been a fan of hers either over the years, but she’s really perfect in this role and it’s a nice film. It seems like a pretty wide open actress field Oscarwise so she should have a shot. Hawkes too.

    I went into Exotic Marigold with few expectations but wound up really liking it. It’s not often you get to see the inner lives of people past a certain age and have them portrayed compellingly yet realistically. It’s a little too cutesy at times, but I especially loved Bill Nighy and Tom Wilkerson.

    Rodrigo, always good to hear more love for Frankenweenie. Looking back, I kind of wished it had a darker, more uncompromising ending, but that’s just not going to happen with a family movie these days. It worked for Bambi back in the day, but it wouldn’t fly today unfortunately. For me that’s about all that keeps it from being great.

    I don’t know if this is a Golden Age or not. I’d be more willing to declare it for myself if there was more animation that wasn’t specifically aimed at children.

    Haha Joel, that’s a great point about DDL. He also played whatsisname in Age of innocence and while not a real person per se, he’s definitely an American type from a certain period of history.

  14. Terms like “golden age” are labels that don’t serve much purpose when thinking of the present moment. That’s the stuff for historians taking a broad view.

    Craig, “cutesy” is a good word to describe my reaction to some of Exotic Marigold’s moments — but yes, I liked it as a whole. And I have a note for Maggie Smith: Do something about that hair!

  15. I disagree about the term Golden Age, Pierre. For me it’s simply a way of saying “Hey, did you notice there’s a lot of really good shit happening right now?”

    Sure, history will be the judge of that ultimately, but I think it’s important also to try and acknowledge/encourage it in the moment.

  16. People are free to apply their own definitions. But if we’re going to suggest this is another Golden Age, when would you say it will be over? :)

  17. We’ll know when we get there, or until another Ice Age movie comes out. Whichever comes first.

  18. Thank god we can’t recognize a general trend in the quality of things until well after it’s happened. I’ll just come back in 20 years to find out whether or not animated films today generally sucked or shined. This will also save us the trouble of bothering to discuss what we think of animated films, since we can just leave this to historians to discern in retrospect.

    Thanks. You can get back to the previous discussion of films you saw last weekend that are based on your short-term opinions and in fact are not informed by careful hindsight.

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