There seriously needs to be more hours to the day… or at least one more day included in the weekend. Right?

It’s been a busy few weeks… read a lot of books, saw a few movies and a couple shows on Broadway. I’m also 25+ chapters into the book I’m writing, have submitted query letters for the book I finished writing a few months ago, and have been having all sorts of terrible interactions with guys. (Ranging from seeing a guy jerk off in public to getting dumped by a guy via text even though we weren’t dating. Good riddance to that, though. The text guy was really rude and called me all sorts of names – “weird,” “crazy,” “complicated” – all because I wouldn’t tell him where I lived or agree to go with him to go see a movie right when he asked. Mind you for that last one, I was already in bed with a migraine. But this self-proclaimed “nice guy” told me he was done with me and wished me good luck finding someone as nice as him. Because, you know, “Just keep in mind I never asked for any obscene pics or anything like it.” Gross, right?)

But enough about my oh so entertaining personal life. This post will be about the three movies I’ve seen in the last two weeks.

The Maze Runner

I’ve read all four books in Dashner’s Maze Runner series and The Maze Runner is by far my favorite. I was really scared heading into the movie that it was going to be dumb… but it wasn’t. The Maze Runner movie was actually really well done for the most part. The cast (led by Teen Wolf’s Dylan O’Brien) was a capable group of young actors and they brought a real sense of urgency to the story. The guys in the Glade have been there for years, but the audience is introduced to them at the end of their respective ropes – Thomas (O’Brien) and the lone girl Teresa are the last two Gladers to arrive and then everything basically goes to shit. The large walls surrounding their Glade suddenly don’t provide the protection from the Grievers that they once did and they either need to find a way out of the maze or everyone will die.

There were some huge variances from the books that bothered me (the shape of the maze and Thomas and Teresa’s lack of telepathy, among others), but I bet if you haven’t read the books it wouldn’t affect your enjoyment of the film because you didn’t know what you were missing out on. I was looking forward to the cliff, but was okay with it not being there. I was not a fan of the big exposition-filled monologue at the end of the film. The movie was hugely entertaining leading up until that, and then it just felt like someone was sitting you down and explaining all this stuff you had absolutely no idea about if you haven’t read the books. But for the people who have read the books, it’s adding insult to injury by not using better plot devices to foreshadow what’s going on outside of the Maze.

Although I wasn’t a fan of The Scorch Trials or The Death Cure, I will see the latter films in this series. (I know The Scorch Trials is already in production…) I don’t watch Teen Wolf, but some of my friends do and have told me repeatedly of their infatuation with O’Brien.

I get it now.

This is Where I Leave You

A cast that strong deserved an infinitely better script than what they had to work with. I haven’t read the book from which this film was based on, but I think I probably would have liked it better just because it felt like the movie was missing something meaningful.

Four siblings and their mother gather to sit Shiva after the father/husband die (even though they don’t actively practice Judaism). Everyone’s got some sort of problem or secret going on in their personal lives – all stemming from relationship issues. It seems that just about everyone is unhappy, so they cheat on their SO or get cheated on by their SO or want to get pregnant or blah blah blah.

I am so sick of movies and shows that use cheating on people as a main plot point. Like, seriously? Maybe this is just me being naïve, but is that really a plot point that a majority of people can relate to? I know that I rarely side with a character that cheats. To me, that’s a cowardly way out of one’s problems and often causes even more problems later on. WHY CAN’T PEOPLE JUST TALK TO EACH OTHER? Hash out your problems instead of just screwing someone who isn’t your SO. You’re unhappy in your relationship? THEN TALK TO YOUR SIGNIFICANT OTHER AND DEAL WITH IT LIKE A FRIGGIN ADULT.

To top it all off, on top of all the cheating and whatnot, the movie wasn’t even that funny. It’s mostly a drama, but there were obvious attempts at moments of comedy and a lot of them fell flat. And as much as I love Tina Fey (I LOVE her. So much. She’s my lady hero and I’m actually in the middle of reading Bossypants right now…), she was not the right person to play the sister. Or maybe she would have been the right person if that character was written better. (The female characters were horribly underwritten and there were clichés everywhere. EVERYWHERE.)

You could tell that these characters were supposed to be complex, layered people… but they all just read as flat, douchey privileged people whose lives were falling apart because they were making dumb choices left and right.

I wanted to love this movie. But I couldn’t.

The one thing I did love… Will Swenson was the dad! He kept popping up in photographs and then he had a 30 second flashback. That 30 seconds was the most I was engaged the entire film.

I was so disappointed. On paper, that was one of the best ensembles of the year. On screen, it was just a bunch of talented people being underused as they told a story about irresponsible people making irresponsible choices.

Pride

A friend had free passes to see an advanced screening of Pride and I’m so grateful she asked me to join her.

Pride is based on the true story of how a small group of lesbians and gays in London helped raise money for a Welsh mining community in the mid-1980s. This film reminded me a lot of Billy Elliot, The Full Monty and Brassed Off… basically Margaret Thatcher, unhappy coal miners and how hope and a sense of community can go a long way.

The epically sad thing is, is that I had never heard about this story before seeing the movie – and I took a film class in college that dealt exclusively with the Thatcher Era and what was going on in GB during that time. Obviously this movie wasn’t out while I was in college, but we did study what was going on in the news at that time and this story wasn’t part of that.

Pride was one of the most inspiring films I have seen in awhile. It was really powerful to see the members of the LGSM (Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners) raising money for a mining community simply because of solidarity. The lesbians and gays had dealt with adversity from the government and members of their community and thought that the miners shouldn’t have to deal with similar situations.

Of course there was a culture clash. The small mining community the LGSM was raising money for was not entirely receptive of the charity because some of the people in said community were homophobic. The LGSM and Welsh community came together through little events and meetings and eventually more and more people realized that the LGSM was just trying to help when seemingly no one else was.

Juxtaposed with the striking miners was the rising awareness of HIV and AIDS within the gay community. This plot line was not at the forefront of the film, but its weight could be felt throughout.

Though Pride was dealing with a low point in recent history, its overall message was incredibly powerful. It was a nice reminder that kindness to others really can go a long way and change peoples lives for the better.

What was really cool about the screening was that some of the actors and creative members from the crew (the director and screenwriter) were in attendance, but even more awesome was that some of the people whose real lives were portrayed on screen were there too! The LGSM member who was the second person in London to be diagnosed as HIV positive was there (according to the “where are they now” bit at the end of the film, he just celebrated his 65th birthday), as was a woman from the Welsh community who later went on to be a member of the government. I didn’t get a chance to talk to them, but I did see them in the lobby as I was exiting the theater and they were chatting with people about the film and their experiences when the strike was actually happening.

I did have a super brief moment in the lobby with Andrew Scott. Most people know his as Jim Moriarty from the BBC series Sherlock, but in Pride he played a member of the LGSM. He was taking pictures with people and talking to press and I was able to tell him how much I admire his work and did get a picture with him.

Pride opens in LA and NYC on September 26th, but I hope it goes wider because more people need to see this wonderfully uplifting film.

Probably because I had a strongish drink and the whisky is getting to me.

The joke is on you, though, if you think this blog post is going to be chock-full of spelling errors because I’m not even remotely tipsy. Just tired. Really tired.

I stayed up past midnight last night as I was watching Richard II on PBS and then texted with a friend regarding our mutual love of Tom Hiddleston. (He was not in Richard II, but will be in Henry IV and Henry V, which will air on upcoming Fridays on PBS. He was shown in some BTS footage and some interviews. We swooned a bit as we fancy him.)

I thought I would get decent sleep last night as I had no where to be this morning, but a roommate (or someone else in the apartment building at the very least) had a very loud alarm that went off at 7:00am. I was not pleased.

That being said, laundry was done by 9:30am and I spent the rest of the day reading, writing and researching.

This whole upcoming health care thing with registration starting on October 1st will impact me, so I was trying to look up what all that entails. I am the first to admit I have absolutely no idea what any of it means (something that I told my mom earlier this week), but she said that I’m an adult and I need to figure this out. How on EARTH am I to figure this out? Do you know how much “official” paper work I’ve read through this year with regard to health insurance stuff and whatnot? I am a very, very smart girl but I do not understand a majority of the overly verbose crap that is written on those documents. It’s like the government is setting us up to fail. (This isn’t me blaming Obama. I love Obama. This is me blaming the people at the top of the life food chain who make stuff for us peons below much harder than it needs to be.)

I did some reading. I finished reading John Green’s “Paper Towns.” I find myself wholly loving his writing style but getting frustrated with some of his characters. This time I was frustrated with Margo Roth Spiegelman. I mean, I get why she did what she did (to a point), but I thought she was super selfish… and that Quentin deserved better. I need to reread the last chapter (as I was distracted by something that was on my television), but I don’t think it’ll change my opinion.

I’ve said this before on here that I’m trying to read more YA books because I’m writing one. I wrote a few pages today and am up to 11,000+ words. I’m on the sixth chapter and it’s progressing all right. My biggest problem when I write is that I fixate so much on what I’ve written and what’s likely wrong with it that I’m slow to move forward. I’m trying to just keep going. I have an idea of where it’s headed, but there is filler stuff that needs to be written out and that is not my forte. I still feel like I’m in an exposition-y stage and need to explain the different teachers and what classes my protagonist is in, in addition to his progressing attraction toward who will eventually be his BFF/love interest.

The BFF/love interest is likely going to be my favorite character. I feel slightly guilty that I’m building him up as this great person when I know that in a few chapters he has to mess up really badly in order for the rest of the story to unfold. Nobody is perfect, but that doesn’t mean that that person can’t be perfect for someone else. So, for now he’s going to be this golden boy, but I’m going to have to knock him down a little later. But knocking him off his pedestal is going to help the protagonist find his own footing and be able to accomplish stuff he didn’t think he could or would.

I’d apologize for this being so vague, but I don’t want to give away too much of the plot. Not that I think anyone would steal my idea or anything… but this is mine until someday when I hope I will be able to share a finished entity to anyone who wants to read it.

Tomorrow is the Broadway Flea Market. I had hoped to go to a movie beforehand, but the film I wanted to see is no longer playing and the other film I want to see is not playing at a convenient theater/time, so I shan’t be attending a screening (at least not tomorrow). I will go to the flea market (depending on the weather), as I’d like to get some more window cards to hang in my room. There are some from shows I’ve seen that I really want, and hopefully I’ll be able to track down a couple at a reasonable price.

Tomorrow night is also the Emmys. I have a standing text and watch date with my sister, so hopefully we’ll be able to do that. It’s nice to still “watch” something with a sibling even though we can’t actually be together.

I miss my family. I miss them a lot. I talk to my mom almost every day (especially since she and my dad are apart for a couple months while he’s off in a different state for work stuff), but I haven’t seen any family since June. I miss my siblings. My sister was supposed to visit this month, but she couldn’t swing it because of her job. I’m supposed to see my brother and his wife next month, but it’s not a certain. I just hope to God I am able to make it back to see my family for Thanksgiving. I will be an emotional wreck if that does not happen. I need family hugs.

Whelp. My movie is just about over. (I was watching Atonement because I love it dearly and had been aching to re-watch it for awhile.) I think I’ll shut down my computer, brush my teeth and curl up with another book or perhaps continue watching Safety Not Guaranteed (a movie I started to watch on Netflix). I hope to sleep in tomorrow. Should someone else’s alarm wake me up, I cannot be responsible for my actions if I go all Hulk on someone. You wouldn’t like me when I’m (super tired and) angry.

Have a good one

P.S. I got my ticket for Little Miss Sunshine today. I am so freakin’ excited to see this musical. (The cast alone is bonkers amazing… Will Swenson, Rory O’Malley, Wesley Taylor. Granted I’ve seen all of them on stage before, but not all in one show!!!!)

My brother and I have taken to having movie nights together.

It is important to note that my brother lives in Ohio and I live in NYC and yet this is completely doable with the power of technology and some sibling ingenuity. 

It all started when my brother texted me a few months ago that he was watching Witness. As that is one of my favorite movies, I was like “No way! I love that movie. Maybe I’ll put it on too.” And so my brother paused his movie, I dug my DVD out of my movie binder and asked my brother which part he was watching… he hadn’t gotten too far, so I fast forwarded the movie to the proper spot and our first movie night was born.

While we watched, my brother and I would text each other and make comments about what was on screen or quote our favorite lines of dialogue. Watching Witness was fun because the little Amish kid looks like my brother did when he was little, so we would comment on what his onscreen doppelganger was doing.

In addition to Witness, we’ve watched Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I, and Wet Hot American Summer. (We have to watch movies I already own on DVD b/c I can’t stream Netflix and text at the same time because my computer is too slow to stream movies and I can text and watch Netflix on my phone at the same time. I, however, own hundreds of DVDs so it’s not too hard to find something he can stream or get from the library that I have access to.)

My brother and I would watch movies all the time when we were little and we still do any time we get together nowadays. We like to discuss the plot, the effects, continuity problems, etc… Conversation ranges from silly to downright serious and philosophical. (Our discussion of the depiction of the loss of youth throughout the Harry Potter films and the parallels between the propaganda/politics of the Ministry of Magic and the Third Reich was really quite poignant.)

It’s nice watching these already familiar movies with my brother because it’s more about spending time together when we’re not actually together. We got really close after our older sister went away to college and we’ve tried to keep that up over the past decade or so. It’s not that we didn’t get along when we were younger; it’s just that since there was three of us, one person got picked on – and that person was usually me.

Keeping a solid relationship with my siblings now that we live far apart is tricky, especially because both of my siblings are married. My sister and I definitely don’t talk as much anymore (we went from living together as adults for four years to maybe talking a few times a month on the phone). I put part of the blame on myself, as I don’t like to call as often because I assume that I’m interrupting or that she’s busy with work or at home. My brother and I hardly talked on the phone anyway, but we’ll talk a couple times a month when he’s walking back to his car after class or just to catch up if it’s been awhile. This is why I really like our movie nights – it gives us a chance to hang out for a couple hours and crack jokes/talk, even if we aren’t in the same room or actually talking. 

I don’t know when our next one will be (for all I know, we could be having one tonight…), but I know it’ll be a good time because I’ll be with family… even if I won’t really “be” with family.

 

 

On Tuesday night, I had a chance to see an advanced screening of Stand Up Guys.

Though it was riddled with cliches and some cheese-ball dialogue, this film was still watchable because of its cast. Pacino might not have the same sex appeal as he did when he was younger, but you’re still drawn to him because he’s Pacino. While I probably could have done without the chunk of film that dealt with him taking “boner pills” and having an erection that was going to last waaaaaay more than four hours, I still admired Pacino’s character because he knew he was living on borrowed time.

Freed from prison after serving a 28 year sentence, Pacino’s character meets back up with his old friend/partner in crime… Christopher Walken. Walken’s character is given the task of killing Pacino’s character by 10:00am the following day. This film chronicles their time together from Pacino’s release through the 10:00am deadline. During this time, the men meet back up with another friend (Alan Arkin… how I love him so), help a beaten woman take revenge on her attackers, and deal with Walken’s character’s family issues.

Christopher Walken continues to be a delight to watch. He has this completely unique ability to deliver the simplest of lines in the most ridiculous and amazing ways. I laughed audibly multiple times listening to Walken’s reaction or observation dialogue.

While there were definitely moments I found funny or amusing, I spent a bulk of the film wishing I could read what was going on in Walken and Pacino’s minds. They have expressive eyes and it was somewhat heartbreaking to watch them playing these characters. These Stand Up Guys were once the young It guys of the film industry. Their acting talents were admired and celebrated… they were gorgeous (especially young Pacino… damn), they could act, and they headlined films. That’s not to say that Pacino and Walken are nobodies these days… but now they’re stuck playing the old guys who spend their time looking back on the past instead of living in the moment or looking toward the future.

This is a film I would have liked to watch with my (late) grandfather. I can just picture him telling me stories about films from earlier in the actors’ careers. He would recommend that I watch The Deer Hunter and I would promise him that I would get on that as soon as I could.

I’m a woman in my late-20s. The movie industry did not make this movie for me or my demographic… and yet I still enjoyed it. It kinda makes you think though… if they tried to make this film with women of that age, it would have been turned into a comedy in the same vain as Calendar Girls (am I right?).

This is a few days late, but I went to an advanced screening of Warm Bodies and I’m totally giving it a huge stamp of approval.

I saw the trailer a couple times and was eager to see the film because it stars Nicholas Hoult (that dorky kid from About a Boy who should get a gold medal for beyond successfully making it through puberty… see A Single Man and X-Men: First Class) and is about zombies.

Though I was unaware this film is based off of a YA Novel (“Warm Bodies” by Isaac Marion), it’s got YA written all over it… and I was okay with it with the exception of a 5 minute scene about ¾ of the way through the movie that completely mimics a famous scene from Romeo and Juliet. (Looking at the novel’s Wikipedia page, it says that the book makes allusions to Romeo and Juliet… well, the film definitely one-ups allusions and goes straight for “HEY LOOK – WE’RE DOING ROMEO AND JULIET NOW, OKAY?! COOL!” Plus… the characters names are R and Julie… and R’s bff’s name starts with an M. So…)

However, I thought this film was highly entertaining. It was funny (there were several laugh out loud moments – mostly care of Rob Corddry who play’s Hoult’s bff), charming (seriously, Nicholas Hoult made the most adorable and endearing zombie ever), and there was some decent action.

Without ruining the plot for you, there was an apocalypse and now are 3 sects of people (or former people)… there are people, zombies, and Bonies. Both zombies and Bonies are undead and must feed off of living people to survive, but Bonies are worse because they are too far gone to revert back to any sort of life-like being. People hunt and kill zombies and Bonies, but zombies stay away from Bonies if they can help it (as they are gross/scary and also feed off the same food source – i.e. competition).

Warm Bodies, like most (YA) movies, is a love story. So, when zombie R locks eyes on human Julie during a mini raid, you wonder to yourself how that’s going to work out. And you know what… it’s an engaging story that manages to keep your attention even though it’s completely chaste and somewhat cheesy. The plot really pushes how it’s the little things (meaningful glances, the feeling of someone’s hand sliding into your own, sharing stories and other personal aspects of your life with another person, etc…) that make separate people from Bonies. This film is about change and not counting others out because society said so.

Personally, I found this film more entertaining than Les Mis (yeah, I said it). Though it dragged in a couple spots, on a whole I was engaged the whole time and genuinely concerned with how R and Julie were going to make it out of their conundrum. I could overlook the pockets of silly plot and the epically cheesy Romeo and Juliet scene and appreciate the movie on a whole. It helped that I’m a huge fan of Hoult and that even though the lead actress (Teresa Palmer) looks like Kristen Stewart, she has a much wider range of facial expressions and emotions. Rob Corddry pretty much stole the movie, though, and John Malkovich was a welcome sight as Julie’s taskmaster of a father who was dead-set (no pun intended) on destroying the zombies – including Julie’s new friend R.

If you’re looking for a chuckle with your zombie flick, I highly recommend Warm Bodies. It’s definitely not Shaun of the Dead, but it’s a much cuter YA rom-com than something like… oh, I don’t know, those stupid Twilight movies*.

Warm Bodies. It’s a good Valentine’s Day movie… for reals.

*(I’ve seen 3 out of 5 Twilight movies, so I have earned the right to call them stupid since I sat through over half of them.)

(Also posted on my Tumblr…)

Even though I am a musical theater-addicted person, I had never seen a musical version of Les Miserables before today. I saw the 1998 movie (non-musical movie) with Liam Neeson, but I never saw this show on stage or on DVD or anything.

That being said, when I snuggled down in my movie theater seat today, I didn’t have any expectations – which was for the best, I think. I’m a huge fan of the director (Tom Hooper), but I either loved or hated what he did with the staging and shooting of the songs. A lot of the solos were just close ups of faces, and that didn’t work when it was Crowe singing.

On paper, Crowe was the perfect choice for Javert (Gladiator/Bud White vs Wolverine), but that did not translate well to the screen. At all. The Confrontation was the only time I felt Crowe was in it for real and was believable as that character. He looked fairly uncomfortable while in the scenes where he was singing by himself. And, although this probably seems rude, I laughed out loud at his jump scene (and was not the only one to do so). It was awkward to watch, and the subsequent splat sound that played upon his collision with the fountain thing below was just awful. I burst into a fit of giggles (it’s my coping mechanism when I’m feeling secondhand embarrassed while watching movies or plays), and had to smother the sounds that were threatening to escape my mouth.

I thought Jackman and Hathaway were the strongest performers in the cast. I am familiar with both of them, musically, before this movie and felt that out of all of the leading dramatic characters, they had the best grasp on how to sing their dialogue and songs in a way that would transfer to screen. That being said, they were framed awkwardly during some of their songs. Props to Anne Hathaway for singing “I Dreamed a Dream” in what seemed like a one-shot. There didn’t appear to be any edits and she literally just sat in one spot and emoted. Even though I belt this song like it’s my job when I’m listening to it, her restrained performance was powerful and grounded in reality. A dying woman would not belt; she would cry and whisper and go through a gamut of emotions… which Hathaway did very well. She and Jackman will both get nominated for Academy Awards. Hathaway has a very good chance at walking away with the Best Supporting Actress statue. And you know what? I would be perfectly content with that.

The plot is my biggest problem – Valjean stole bread, went to jail for a long time, and then had a life-long rivalry w/Javert? Surely there were more important things for those men to focus on over the years (*cough* revolution). And then the whole Cosette-Marius-Eponine triangle? He only just saw Cosette that day before the big fight and fell in love? Come on.

Also – I really wanted to know more about Marius and Enjolras. What was their backstory? I mean, they were obviously friends and comrades, but I wanted to know more. I wanted to care about them and their relationship. I wanted to know why they were fighting and what they were fighting for. I wanted to care if they lived or died. Marius was going into battle well before Cosette ever came into his life… so why did one minute with her seemingly change his entire purpose for fighting? Why was Enjolras the leader of the revolutionaries? (Or at least of the young men who were fighting at the barricades?) (I think I just wanted to know more about Enjolras in general because Aaron Tveit is a magnetic performer and I just wanted to see him onscreen as much as humanly possible.)

Side note – I LOVED that little kid who played Gavroche. Even though you didn’t really know who he was or what his deal was, but you totally cared about him. And when he started collecting supplies, you just knew what was going to happen. I’m glad they left his eyes open the whole time; for he was one of the only characters who really saw everything and everyone for what and who they were.

Was anyone else as annoyed with the Thenardiers as I was? I get that you need to have some sort of comedy in a drama (you can’t depress the audience the whole time…), but I can only handle so much schtick before I want to gouge my eyes out. That being said, Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter were well cast as the Thenardiers… I just could have done with a bit less of them.

Even though I didnt like a lot of the framing choices made and was disappointed by the ridiculousness and sometimes lack of plot, the movie looked gorgeous. The costumes, sets and cinematography were great. I also really liked that they recorded the singing live; it gave the performances an intimate and immediate feeling. Though, that also added extra awkwardness whenever Crowe was on screen. At some points, I had to look away because I was uncomfortable watching him. That made me sad because I normally really love Russell Crowe. I think he is a brilliant actor and is often a strong presence on screen. This film just did not do his talent much justice.

I was familiar with some of the music before I saw the movie. I thought Hathaway’s “I Dreamed a Dream” was understated and, as a result, powerful. I’ve read complaints about Amanda Seyfried, but I thought her voice complemented those she sang with.

I loved, loved, loved the Finale, especially the very end of it. I do enjoy a good reprise, and I was not disappointed with the repeated use of “Do You Hear the People Sing?” with the whole cast (well, those who didn’t make it…) and all the flags. That was a very powerful visual and was the epitome of what I thought the film was trying to accomplish. These were the characters who were fighting a losing battle the whole film – Les Miserables, if you will. These were the characters who represented good and evil. And though they were mostly good, that wasn’t enough to keep them safe. Someone had to pay.

(Even though this film is set in France, it was disturbingly patriotic and totally applicable to the USA’s middle and lower classes. Right?)

On a whole I was impressed they made the movie how they made it, but I didn’t think it was the bees knees. The weird shot and editing choices, Crowe’s awkward performance, and the overall ridiculousness of the plot/lack of exposition marred what could have been something amazing.

I liked it, but I didn’t love it.

… and David O. Russell did Bradley Cooper a huge disservice.

(*Note* This is also posted on my Tumblr page – Watch With Kate)

David O. Russell is one of my favorite directors of all time. I don’t think the world of him as a person, but I usually admire his directing skills.

That being said, I think he missed the mark with Silver Linings Playbook.

On a whole, I liked this movie. I think it was really original when compared to other movies that are out right now. The characters were flawed in ways that interested me (for example, Copper’s character was an un-diagnosed bipolar person who just got out of a mental institution… he was there because he had nearly beaten another man to death. That other man was sleeping with Cooper’s character’s wife, but still… you don’t beat people within an inch of their life.) and there was a ridiculously adorable and awkward ballroom dance competition/sequence that had me laughing and cringing with secondhand embarrassment.

So, why do I think David O. Russell did Bradley Cooper a huge disservice when Cooper is likely going to get nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor?

Because that wasn’t Cooper up on screen.

Like, it was physically him, but he seemed to be channeling frequent David O. Russell movie star, Mark Wahlberg. From the body language, to the delivery of lines, the part of Pat had Wahlberg written all over it. I couldn’t shake this fact as I sat through the movie. And then, I come home and do a quick google search and found that Wahlberg was in talks for the movie at one point. And then it all made sense… Russell probably directed Cooper in the EXACT same way he would have done for Wahlberg. (Russell and Wahlberg worked on Three Kings, I ❤ Huckabees and The Fighter together.)

But, Bradley Cooper and Mark Wahlberg are two completely different actors and likely need to be directed in two completely different ways.

I’m not going to saw Bradley Cooper was “brave” for taking on this movie (I HATE when people say actors are “brave” for taking on a role… hate it), but it took balls to do what he did on screen and I admire the complete lack of vanity he had in the process.

What I mean is, you could tell they didn’t really bother hiding his facial scars. (I still remember reading in one of those People’s Sexiest Man Alive issues from awhile ago that Bradley Cooper had a lamp fall off the wall and onto his face when he was younger.) The wardrobe people also didn’t dress him in colors that would make his blue eyes pop. Usually actors with blue eyes are dressed in equally flattering shades of blue so their eyes sparkle and are extra swoony (see Paul Newman and Robert Redford in The Sting, or Daniel Craig in Skyfall). But in this film, Cooper’s eyes look gray and blah most of the film… which I was grateful for. This wasn’t a role where the audience is supposed to oogle Cooper’s good looks. It’s a film where you’re supposed to admire his talent. And Cooper proved that he was amazingly adept at channeling Mark Wahlberg.

It’s unfortunate. This was a good movie with good performances from the actors, but it could have been great. Cooper is a PHENOMENAL actor in comedy and drama (I had the pleasure of seeing him onstage in Three Days of Rain several years ago right after the popularity of Wedding Crashers. The man can act his face off in a drama. I’m glad he’s gotten to do more of them recently.). This film just did not use his skills in the way they could have been highlighted.

So, my hat is off to you, Bradley Cooper. I hope you get that Academy Award nomination. You’ll be up against Daniel Day-Lewis, so you probably won’t win, but it’ll be an honor to get nominated, and hopefully will be the first of several nominations that will head your way over the duration of your (hopefully epically long) career.