I was so BORED, DISAPPOINTED & ANGRY at “Lincoln” that I was literally spitting nickels. Or in this case, pennies. Which he’s on. “Lincoln” is everywhere these days. Opening one day after the election, it kinda sorta got included in mucho campaign overspill. Thank god Obama won, is all I can say. For many reasons. Because otherwise the Steven Spielberg self-proclaimed “masterpiece” would be DOA. Or it’s Oscar campaign would.
I’m totally down with the politics that are advocated in this movie, obviously. But to turn the Emancipation Proclamation and the 13th amendment (and no, they are NOT the same thing, as this dull, dull,dull history lesson endlessly repeats ) into a, well, …a very dull history movie, it’s just inexcusable coming from a big studio who should know better like Disney. They spent milllions on this historic creation that that did better in their Lincoln exhibit with robots in Disneyland.
And no, I do not think “Lincoln” is a slam dunk for Best Picture. A nomination, probably, but then the Academy routinely nominated both the inferior “Munich,” and also last year the schmaltzy “War Horse” but neither won anything and “Lincoln” may come up empty-handed like Spielberg’s “The Color Purple” did years ago.
Audiences are going to be very, very VERY bored with the ENDLESS talk, talk, talkiness of the over-written, under-dramatized script by Tony Kusher. Hell, the actors could barely get their lines out the language was so abstruse. And it contains a cast of 1000s. Or hundreds So many characters, each with a line or two you can barely keep them straight. Spielberg throws THE ENTIRE House of Representatives at us one bore at a time, and while that may be historically accurate…it makes for a damed boring sit.
Believe it or not, Sally Field (of all people) saves “Lincoln” from being a total disaster. As the borderline crazy Mary Todd Lincoln, his hysterical wife, Field amazingly humanizes her complexity, and makes Daniel Day-Lewis’s cigar store, animatronic,Disneyland Lincoln come alive for the few scenes she has with him.
Ditto Tom Lee Jones as Thaddeus Stephens a fiery, radical Abolitionist. Jones is just magnificent and funny and in a bad wig (that I actually LIKED on him)is just grand. He steals the picture and is able to say these complex words and phrases of Kusher’s (and some that Stephens evidently actually said himself) and makes them compelling and yes, even funny.
But Day-Lewis is more like DEAD Lewis here. It’s such a strained and restrained introverted interior performance that the camera can barely catch a glimmer in his dark,depthless eyes.
Walking and acting and sounding for all the world like WALTER BRENNAN(!?!?!) he just kills the movie with this monotonal performance. He LOOKS like Lincoln, granted, but Lincoln MUST have had a great charisma and warmth that is certainly not on display here.
And with two Oscars for Best Actor already in his pocket Day-Lewis will probably get another nomination because of his startling resemblance to the head on the penny in your pocket, but a win? It’s NOT a slam dunk.
Nobody’s seen “Les Miz” yet, but I think the field is wide open for somebody whose performance burns up the screen, like, we hope, Hugh Jackman does in “Les Miz” as Jean Valjean. Sir Anthony Hopkins as Sir Alfred Hitchcock electrified the layers of latex he had to act through in “Hitchcock.” He could win.
I’m FINALLY seeing “Silver Linings Playbook” tomorrow, so I will see if hunk Bradley Cooper has the goods to go for the gold, but in a crowded best actor field like this, even someone as supposedly secure as Joaquim(‘The Oscars are utter bullshit”) Phoenix may not even get in. Denzel Washington is getting huzzahs for “Flight” which I also haven’t seen yet. And Jon Hawkes in an iron lung in “The Sessions”, you just CAN’T leave him out.
And with two Oscars already, and another dead Spielberg horse that he’s whipping, albeit listlessly, Day-Lewis just may not be the Academy’s cup of tea if this film tanks with audiences. The critics seem to be more partial to this History Channel really, really good episode that somehow got turned into a movie, but if it flops at the box-office…And the same goes for Sally Field. She’s got two Oscars already. And so a nomination, but not a win, and Tommy Lee Jones has one, too.
Of all of the above Jones stands the best chance, but just a few minutes ago Harvey Weinstein has announced they are running Christophe Waltz for lead in the yes, also still unseen til Christmas “Django Unchained” And THAT move is so that Best Supporting Actor is open in that movie for Leonardo DiCaprio to perhaps finally score his yet un-won Oscar as an evil Southern Plantation owner in Quentin Tarantino’s newest revenge drama.This one also set during the Civil War, and I’m sure we’ll actually SEE some African-Americans in “Django”. I counted THREE with speaking lines in “Lincoln” That’s just simply disgraceful. And Mary Todd Lincoln’s “maid” or “servant” looks like a model for Vogue. Terrible and terribly insulting to African-American woman, since she’s the only female member of that race that we see. God! This movie insulted just about EVERYbody’s intelligence!
When I finally see these remaining movies all will be revealed! Tomorrow,hopefully, has a Silver Lining with “Silver Linings Playbook.”