What Will Be This Year’s Failed Oscarbait? (for Alternate Ending)

welcome_to_marwenI’m very happy to continue my stint as collaborator over at Alternate Ending, a very fine website with great film reviews and a delightful podcast. This time, I look at the upcoming awards season. Not to predict who will win the Oscar, but to predict which movies will end up as the big disappointments of the year. Below is an excerpt, with a link to the full article.

“Fall is the best season for movies” is a common notion informed by the belief that movie studios are saving their best movies for what we have come to know as “awards season.” Having a movie out in the weeks leading up to the Oscar nominations can help boost box office; with the condition, of course, that the movie in question gets nominated in the first place. We all know the truth about the Fall. Some of the best movies get released in the last few months of the year, but not every movie that gets released during these months is good. For every cinematic masterpiece, there is a bland piece of middle-brow entertainment that was created with the intention of winning some Oscars, but will most likely be forgotten before the season is over.

The fact that this kind of movie so nakedly search for validation in the form of awards makes the inevitable outcome all the more appealing. Movies that were once considered sure things but fail to get any nomination (like those classics Reservation RoadJ. Edgar, and Charlie Wilson’s War) feed the schadenfreude bug like no other kind of cinematic failure. That is why I’ve always found reading the tea leaves for what will fail to be as entertaining as predicting what will succeed. With all this in mind, I have some predictions for the movies that are most likely to end up the big failures of this upcoming awards season.


How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Keanu (for Alternate Ending)

keanu reeves

I’m very happy to continue my stint as collaborator over at Alternate Ending, a very fine website with great film reviews and a delightful podcast. This month, I tackle one of the great questions of our time: how did Keanu Reeves go from being considered a bad actor, to one of our most beloved movie stars? Below is an excerpt, and a link to the full article.

Point Break Live, the successful stage parody of Kathryn Bigelow’s 1991 action classic Point Break, starts out with the audience deciding who will play the main character (undercover agent Johnny Utah, a role originated by Keanu Reeves). Audience members volunteer to play the role, while the other patrons clap for who they like best. The conceit of having an “average joe” play Utah is both fun and cruel. The implication here is that Keanu Reeves’s performance is so stiff and awkward that it would be best replicated by a non-professional pulled from the audience. Point Break Live opened in 2003, around the time I first learned who Keanu Reeves was, and when the popular opinion was that he was a bad actor.

That’s not the popular opinion any longer. My sense is that we are living in extremely pro-Keanu times. My Twitter feed loves Keanu: I see him in pictures, memes, and GIFs almost every day. Now, we all know Film Twitter is rarely representative of the world at large, but people have been shelling out good money to see Keanu Reeves lately, especially in the John Wick movies. The enthusiasm is there. So much so that the release of John Wick: Chapter 2 came with articles such as “Keanu Reeves is a perfect
action star” (from Vox) and “Why Keanu Reeves is Low-Key the Coolest Actor in Hollywood.” (from GQ) I think it’s safe to say the tide has turned in Keanu’s favor, but how did it happen?