BOP 25 of the Holiday: Selections 25-21
The holidays are approaching, and along with them comes that time of year when we get an outstanding assortment of family films that have staying power throughout the season and awards contenders that have staying power, well, for eternity, in some cases. It's an exciting time of year to be a movie fan, as the selection of films being offered in November and December is so good that it was hard for us to make a list of just 25.
A large part of the appeal of Overnight admittedly belongs to the perhaps not-too-honorable desire to stare at a car wreck. The documentary tale on how not to make it in Hollywood details the rise and fall of Troy Duffy, writer/director of Boondock Saints. In 1997 Harvey Weinstein, perhaps sensing a second coming of Quentin Tarantino, not only bought Duffy's script, but signed Duffy to direct it, signed Duffy's band to do the music, and bought Duffy the bar where he bartended. Duffy's friends, Mark Smith and Tony Montana, were on hand to document their buddy's newfound fame and good fortune. What happened instead was that Duffy's inflated ego apparently turned off many. Miramax dumped the project (which was eventually made and released direct-to-video), the band released an album to disastrous results, and Duffy found himself essentially blacklisted in Hollywood. While the absolute objectivity of the filmmakers is in question - they are apparently now very EX friends of Duffy's - by this account, at least, it couldn't have happened to a nicer guy.
24. Seed of Chucky
As every horror fan knows, you just can't keep a good monster down. No matter how many times you kill Dracula, he comes back. No matter how many times Frankenstein's monster looks like toast, somehow he avoids complete destruction. Michael Myers has more lives than a cat. Freddy Krueger always manages to return and haunt more dreams. And Jason just becomes someone new.
And so it is with Chucky. The doll possessed by the spirit of serial killer Ray, seemingly destroyed in the first Child's Play movie, is returning for the fourth sequel. After the third movie, the filmmakers wisely changed focus from playmate Andy and centered on the real star of the films, the evil little Chucky. Last time out, Ray's girlfriend, Tiffany, revived Chucky/Ray, and he returned the favor by killing her and making her a doll as well. After a cross-country killing spree, the two dolls did what comes naturally for...things in love and consummated their toy relationship. And as also often happens, our two murderous dolls have been visited by the stork in the interim, so now baby has made three.
Seed of Chucky follows our mutant doll family through the trials and tribulations of parenthood and growing up not knowing whether you're a boy or a girl. Because Chucky and Tiffany's baby, Glen, didn't come into this world anatomically correct, and naturally, this causes him to have some issues. So naturally, Mommy and Daddy try to make him feel better by teaching him the family business, namely killing everyone in sight.
Seed of Chucky may not be an Oscar contender, but it's guaranteed to be a lot of fun, with plenty of gore and quips, and possibly even some warm family moments. OK, so probably not, unless you're the Manson family, but it's still going to be a hoot-and-a-half.
Oliver Stone must enjoy being called insane. Every time he seems to be in danger of stepping outside the lines of demarcation for the lunatic fringe, he grows agitated. This forces him to do something outrageous and in 2004, his bold endeavor is Alexander. Stone has decided that the what the movie-going public needs now more than ever is a history lesson about a world leader thousands of years ago.
As if that is not enough to get tongues wagging, he has forced the film's star, Colin Farrell, to get a hairdo that even members of Whitesnake think is ridiculous. Seriously, is he acting in a movie or getting ready to go onstage and sing Talk Dirty to Me? But wait, that's not all. Correctly anticipating the late 2004 political tide of tolerance for one and all independent of sexual preference, he has made his heroic male lead gayer than the Lady Chablis.
Oliver Stone is going down in a blaze of glory, and BOP will be first in line to watch it.
22. Beyond the Sea
This long-awaited Bobby Darin biopic looks to be one of the factors in the awards season for 2004. Kevin Spacey both directs the film and stars as the iconic singer who suffered from health conditions that cut his life short at the age of 37. In that time, he became an incredibly popular music artist in addition to finding his way to a decent movie career, even garnering an Academy Award nomination at one point. The movie's focal point, though, is the star's relationship with his young bride, Sandra Dee. Their seemingly picture-perfect marriage went much deeper than surface appearances, and the film should provide an honest look at the real-life events as they unfolded. Spacey has been rather famous for his "impersonation" of the singer for some time, so even though he's old for the role, it's hard to imagine someone better suited for it.
21. Bad Education
The last time Pedro Almodovar did a film, he won an unexpected Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. Talk to Her, though not a film for everyone, was a breakout film for the writer/director and gave him a greater standing even in the indie community. His follow-up, Bad Education, has already been receiving a significant degree of attention. It was nominated for a couple of audience awards at the European Film Awards, and marks Gael Garcia Bernal's second notable performance of the year (the first being The Motorcycle Diaries). Thanks to Almodovar and other directors such as Alejandro Amenabar, Spanish film has been gaining both in popularity and recognition amongst North American audience. The early buzz on Bad Education indicates it might even jump up a few more notches.
Read selections 25-21
Read selections 20-16
Read selections 15-11
Read selections 10-6
Read selections 5-1