Patton Oswalt tries desperately to regain his fans.3:01 PM, Jan 27, 2015 • By ETHAN EPSTEIN
It’s been several weeks since the actor and comedian Patton Oswalt (you may remember him from his star turn as “Toast A Bun Manager” in 2009’s Observe and Report) outraged his tens of thousands of Twitter followers with the following suggestion:
The reaction from Oswalt’s apparently overwhelmingly left wing and seemingly humorless fans was swift and merciless. By proposing laughter, Oswalt—a (white straight cis male, don’t you know?)—was “victim blaming.” His tweet was “problematic.”
Since the contretemps, Oswalt has been desperately attempting to get back in the good graces of his former fans. But like Mitt Romney maladroitly referring to himself as a “severe conservative,” Oswalt is rather obvious in his cloying attempts to ingratiate himself with “the base.”
He mocks Ted Cruz—so edgy! He refers to Dinesh D’Souza with an obscenity—daring stuff! And in an interview with New York Magazine published Monday, the comedian takes up the latest cause celebre of the online Left: Selma. In the interview, Oswalt laments that the acclaimed film was supposedly snubbed by Oscar voters. The movie, after all, “only” garnered Best Picture and Best Original Song nominations.
“The thing about Selma that bothers me: It's just logic,” he sighs. “It goes beyond race. So it’s a best movie nominee, and yet none of the performances, none of the writing, none of the directing, none of the cinematography—none of them did an Oscar-worthy job, but the movie is Oscar-worthy. That doesn’t make sense.”
But of course, it absolutely does make sense: movies can be more (or less!) than the sum of their parts. Titanic, for example, was a fine film (I’ll admit it), but nobody would suggest it was particularly well written, or that Leonardo DiCaprio gave a particularly remarkable a performance. (The opposite can also true: Steve Carrell's Oscar-nominated performance in Foxcatcher was one of 2014’s most impressive, but the movie, while good, was not one of the year’s best and was not nominated.) That a movie was one of the year’s finest does not imply that the performances in it were as well.
But more pertinently, there are eight films nominated for Best Picture, while there are only five nominees in the acting, writing, directing, and cinematography categories. Contra Oswalt’s musings, it actually makes perfect logical sense that a film might be nominated for Best Picture but not for Best Actor. Indeed, it’s a logical certainty that this will happen.
An actor (and film buff) himself, Oswalt is no doubt aware of all this. His musings are simply boob bait for the uninformed and the quick to be outraged. Or to put it another way, Patton is pandering. That’s a bad enough look for a politician. But for a comedian? Nothing short of fatal.
1:04 PM, Jan 27, 2015 • By MARK HEMINGWAY
Last week, I wrote about how the professional left was attacking Clint Eastwood's new biopic about Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle. American Sniper is almost exclusively about the struggles and heroism of one remarkable man who fought in the Iraq war, but the film's critics can't seem to forgive the fact a film was made about the war on terror that mostly eschewed politics and didn't go out of its way to attack Bush-Cheney and/or denounce American imperialism.
By any measure, you won’t forget Gugu Mbatha-RawJan 5, 2015, Vol. 20, No. 17 • By JOHN PODHORETZ
Who is the best young actress in the movies? The obvious answer is Jennifer Lawrence, all of 24 and with a deserved Oscar to her credit for Silver Linings Playbook and a second she should have won for her supporting role in American Hustle.
Fans aren’t exactly flocking to the cineplexSep 22, 2014, Vol. 20, No. 02 • By JOHN PODHORETZ
The summer of 2014 confirms it: Hollywood is dying. By “Hollywood,” I mean the industry that produces mainstream, conventional movies that are made and distributed by big studios.
For Tom Cruise, from top gun to second fiddle? Jun 23, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 39 • By JOHN PODHORETZ
Movie stars go cold. It’s part of the way popular culture works. For a long time, people just love watching them. People can’t get enough of them. And then, after they go to the well once too often with a formula that has gone flat, or after their messy personal lives get all mixed up in the characters they’re playing, stars become even slightly distasteful.
'I'm a really good nag.'11:46 AM, Mar 28, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
A top of advisor to President Barack Obama is in Los Angeles to try to get Obamacare written into scripts of TV shows and movies. Valerie Jarrett explained in an appearance on Top That! on PopSugar.com:
"That's the cool thing," a host said to the presidential advisor. "You've been reaching out to people that are, you know, outside of the norm of what the president might work with. Who else are you working with? Like celebrities, personalities, things like that?"
2:31 PM, Feb 26, 2014 • By JONATHAN V. LAST
Harold Ramis died on Monday morning. Having written, directed (or written and directed) five of the funniest movies of the last 40 years, I think it's safe to put him on the short list for Funniest Guy of His Generation.
The ‘American dream’ survives an armed assault.May 13, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 33 • By JOHN PODHORETZ
Wildly successful movie directors often bemoan their successes and say they long for a time when they will be able to just make smaller and more personal films. Then they don’t.
Familiar premise (art heist) meets tired device (amnesia).Apr 22, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 30 • By JOHN PODHORETZ
Trance has to be judged one of the great disappointments in recent cinema, given that it is only the second movie Danny Boyle has made since Slumdog Millionaire. That Oscar-winning worldwide smash may have been the best film of the past decade.
4:49 PM, Apr 4, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
President Obama released the following statement on the passing of film critic Roger Ebert:
The busy life, and the busier television schedule, call for desperate measures.Mar 4, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 24 • By JOHN PODHORETZ
Someone living in Barack Obama’s America, circa 2013, says these words to you: “I’m so behind.” In previous epochs—say, the Age of Lewinsky, or of disco—this might mean any number of things. A person might have failed to collate the year’s receipts for his accountant. Another might not have completed the longitudinal analysis necessary for her dissertation. A third might not have cleaned out the attic.
No longer. In Barack Obama’s America, those words refer to only one thing: the inability to keep up-to-date with a serialized television program.
There are bumps along the way, but Les Misérables is worth the trip.Jan 14, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 17 • By JOHN PODHORETZ
Les Misérables grabs you by the lapels from the first moment and never lets you go. In this respect it is little different from the stage musical from which it derives—and not so different from the Victor Hugo novel from which the stage musical derives.
Brilliant cinema in the service of one-size-fits-all faith. Dec 24, 2012, Vol. 18, No. 15 • By JOHN PODHORETZ
"This story will make you believe in God,” says the title character in Life of Pi, the visually ravishing adaptation of Yann Martel’s 2001 bestseller. Apparently, Barack Obama himself thought the same thing of the novel: “an elegant proof of God,” the president called it in a note to Martel.