Wednesday, October 13, 2010


“IT’S A FUNNY KIND OF STORY” (Keir Gilchrist, Zach Galifianakis & Emma Roberts)

Good title. It IS a funny kind of story. Funny on different levels though. It isn’t funny that the lead character, Craig (Keir Gilchrist) is a teenager who contemplates suicide on almost a daily basis so he checks himself into a mental ward instead of riding his bike to the bridge and jumping off like he planned that morning. But it IS funny when the first person he comes in contact with is a scruffy looking doctor whose questions become more odd as the ‘interview’ proceeds. When said ‘scruffy’ doctor turns out to be a patient named Bobby (Zach Galifianakis) you realize that you’re not going to be viewing your ‘normal’ teenager-with-an-I don’t-fit-in-complex tale.
Craig, put in with the ‘mentally disturbed’ adults because the teenage wing of the hospital is being renovated, quickly decides he made a poor choice & asks to leave. He is informed that once you check yourself in as a potential suicide victim, you’re locked in for five days. “But I have an important test at school tomorrow,” Craig whines. “Should have thought of that before deciding to end your life,” his ‘Doctor-while-committed replies.
Without going into detail, I can relate to this situation – not having suicidal tendencies, but being labeled ‘emotionally disturbed’ when I was 15 & being sent to a ‘home’ for such – So I enjoyed this film quite a lot, though I could easily see where ‘normal’ people may not be able to relate to it as well. So as I go singing the praises of everything about it, keep that in mind – I don’t want anyone telling me ‘you’re nuts for liking this movie so much!’ – I’m already aware of that fact, thank you.
Emma Roberts plays Noelle, another suicidal teen kept in the adult ward, who bonds with Craig after the boy makes a generous offer in an attempt to help Bobby. She mopes and does her best Kristen Stewart impersonation, but then she actually snaps out it and becomes sweet & likeable (Which is why they didn’t hired ‘one-note’ Stewart for the role)
Lauren Graham & Jim Gaffigan play Craig’s parents, who, if anything, are the complete opposite of the type of parents you would expect to raise a suicidal kid.
The only actor that didn’t impress me much was the Oscar nominated (for ‘Doubt’) Viola Davis. She plays Dr. Minerva, the in-house psychiatrist and I thought she misfired on practically every scene she was in. Inappropriate grins are what annoyed me the most. Okay, WE know ‘it’s a funny kind of story’, but as a shrink dealing with people that have suicidal tendencies, you shouldn’t be so amused by your clients when they’re spilling their guts out to you... Another of those little tidbits that bugged me.
I actually believe that Zach Galifianakis will receive an Oscar Nod for his performance here; not that he stood out all that much, but SOMEONE from this cast HAS to get a nomination & he was the best of an excellent bunch.
And Gilchrist will be interesting to watch – this is HIS movie and the kid held his own, though Craig doesn’t change all that much, it’s the people he comes in contact with that make him see his worth – for a young actor to carry a good film in virtually every scene is impressive.
To express the one thing that I felt the film lacked would be a complete spoiler, so it’s best that I leave that criticism out. Just remember, I liked this film a lot... but I was also once cuckoo for Coco Puffs...


Kurt said...

I respect your opinion but no way is Galifinakis getting an Oscar nomination for this. For what category are you thinking ? This is one of the more stacked years in both acting categories, plus even if you truly thinks he deserves it, it's just not happening.
I don't think his thespain skills are taken seriously yet. He needs more work and from what it looks like in the Due Date trailer, the chemistry isn't quite working betweeen he and Downey Jr. Some of it looked forced.

Terry R said...

Well, I didn't exactly give him a glowing endorsement (Someone from this cast should be nominated)
& Bobby is clearly a supporting role. Right now I have 7 possible nominees in that category with Pierce Brosnan & Bill Murray as the leading candidates, so why shouldn't Zack Galifianakis get a nod? It was undoubtedly his best acting to date (& 'Entertainment Weekly' had him as a possible candidate last year for 'The Hangover'!)
I don't see where this year, as with the previous two, is 'stacked' anywhere - Usually by now my Top 10 list is crammed with films I loved &, like '08 & '09, I'm still finding films that I just 'liked a lot' in my Top 10.
3D, sequels & re-hashes have taken over from 'originality' & junk like 'Inception' is being hailed as quality entertainment. The movie industry is cutting corners in this economy as well & what they are cutting are good stories so they can produce junk that sheep will flock to see...

dbm said...

Well in a year when you have performances by Geoffrey Rush ( The King's Speech ), Ed Harris ( The Way Back ), Sam Rockwell ( Conviction ), Mark Ruffalo ( TKAA ) Christian Bale ( The Fighter ), Aaron Eckhart ( Rabbit Hole ), Andrew Garfield ( The Social Network ), John Malkovich ( Secretariat ), Jim Broadbent ( Another Year ), Vincent Cassell ( Black Swan ) Matt Damon ( True Grit ) John Hawkes ( Winter's Bone ) and Ben Mendelsohn ( Animal Kingdom )

That's a loaded and competitive group Zack will be going against. I just don't see it. But there is always Terry Reid's Academy Awards.

Terry R said...

Of the 13 actors you've listed only 4 of those have come out - so how do you know these guys will give Oscar calibre performances - Because critics have TOLD you so?
Or because you believe the myth that the best movies & best performances come out late in the year? That's ridiculous.
& like Kurt, you're under the impression that I think Zack gave an Oscar calibre performance - I did not. I just stated that SOMEONE from this film SHOULD get an acting nomination & Galifianakis seemed the most likely candidate - He's a comedian that gave an impressive performance in a film that I could relate to on many different levels. Oscar sometimes throws bones to comedians that give decent serious performances, & they especially love films that take place in mental institutions. Of the films I've seen so far this year
(49 of them) Pierce Brosnan & Bill Murray are my leading candidates for Best Supporting Actor. I thought John Malkovich was good in Secretariat, but he's been better, whereas 'Funny Kind Of Story' is something of a breakthru for ZG.
& Mark Ruffalo, though very good in 'Kids' has been terrible in most of his previous roles.
You need to stop allowing critics to tell you ahead of time who is going to be good - we've said it to each other numerous times; "We'll have to wait & see for ourselves" but when you make a list of movies that have yet to be released & tell me they're better than anything that we've seen you're contradicting our credo!
If I had to choose today I'd give it to Pierce Brosnan for The Ghost Writer. Bill Murray (Get Low) is a close 2nd, with Ray Winstone 3rd for his under-rated performance in 'Edge Of Darkness'. Then Galifianakis & Malkovich round out the top 5. Mark Ruffalo doesn't get in because he has to give more than one good performance to make up for all the crappy ones. I loved Jackie Earle Haley in 'Shutter Island' but he only had the one scene / might say the same for Patricia Clarkson but Supporting Actress is always the weakest acting category so she might still make it. I liked Ben Kingsley in 'Shutter', but wouldn't call it an impressive performance & my only other consideration would be for the Minions in 'Despicable Me' - those little egg yolks cracked me up! (& wouldn't you love to see Oscar loosen its stuffy tie & nominate them just for the hell of it?)
But Zack G. getting a nomination COULD happen since Oscar HAS GIVEN
trophies to people who absolutely CANNOT act (What was the name of that talented actress who won for 'Chicago'? Jennifer something?) I believe that master thespian Queen Latifah was nominated that year as well.
Here's a list of actresses that received Best Supporting nominations - tell me which ones you would consider to be Oscar calibre; Kate Hudson, Gloria Stuart, Kim Basinger*, Rosie Perez, Whoopi Goldberg*, Amy Irving, Oprah Winfrey, Cher, Elizabeth McGovern, Quinn Cummings, Ronee Blakely, Linda Blair, Candy Clark & Sondra Locke
(* winners)
How about the guys?
Mark Wahlberg, Eddie Murphy, Jamie Foxx, Thomas Haden Church, Ethan Hawke, Joaquin Phoenix, Tom Cruise, Greg Kinnear, Cuba Gooding, Jr.(& he won!)
Jaye Davidson, Albert Brooks, Eric Roberts, James Coco, Judd Hirsch, Brad Dourif, George Burns, Fred Astaire, Randy Quaid & Joel Grey...
Galifianakis wouldn't be the first mediocre actor to get a nod, that's all I'm saying.
Of the actors dbm listed, there are some well-known names with good track records, but until I see the films they haven't shown me anything yet...

dbm said...

OK... time to set it straight. How long have you and I been corresponding about flicks ? About 4 years, since you were still doing reviews for about a year at KJR. You should know by now that I don't let critics influence the way I feel about a film or a performance, just from time to time we agree. A lot of times not.
But I have been making Oscar predictions since the early 90's. And unless you are plain blind or have been living in a closet, you can see a film or an actor/actress in said film and tell if the role is Oscar bait or not before seeing it. I can't name all the performances I have called a nomination months before I saw the movie. Because of the bait surrounding said performance or film. A few examples... DDL in Gangs Of NY, Adrien Brody in The Pianist, Sean Penn in Mystic River,
Charlize Theron in Monster, Jamie Foxx in Ray, Forrest Whitaker in The Last King Of Scotland to name just several. Why ? You can see those roles a mile away as award worthy because of the type of role they are. You are 75% there if the person the portrayal is of is a real person in history and that person was well known in pop culture. Either good or bad. Aileen Wuronous was a murderer, but I knew when they were making that film that was going to be award worthy. Plus when an actor goes method for a role and becomes the person ( DDL, Theron, Bale ) the bait gets tastier.
So I can look at the role that Christian Bale is playing as Dickie in The Fighter and say he's got a good chance because he's playing a baity type role. Also he's due. Never been nominated. This is an Oscar type role. Real life trainer to Mickey Ward who had a drug and alcohol problem, hence the dramatic weight loss for the role. Or say Geoffrey Rush as King George's speech therapist Lionel Louge. You do this enough years that some of these roles knock you over the head before you even see them. Ed Harris as one of the Gulag escapees in The Way Back. True story and harrowing story, heart strings will be tugged. Period piece. 1+1+1+ good chance for an Oscar nod.
When you make a list of over 100 movies coming out in the next year, you just naturally see what the premise is and who's starring in it, it's akin to like before the NFL season starts...there are prediction shows before the season. Before the first game is played people make their Super Bowl predictions. You can do the same thing with movies. So as of October 19, I will say confidantly that out of those how many names I mentioned, 5 of them WILL be nominated in a supporting role. Maybe Michael Douglas will squeeze in there for Wall Street 2 because the actor has said the Gekko role is supporting.