music friday: fillmore west, may 15, 1969
irma vep (olivier assayas, 1996)

foxcatcher (bennett miller, 2014)

Trivia question: What was the movie where a nose was nominated for two Oscars? That's right, it was Foxcatcher. Steve Carell got a Best Actor nomination for wearing the nose, and Bill Corso and Dennis Liddiard got a Best Makeup nomination. (Neither won.)

Carell's fake nose was the kind you often see in movies where an actor is made to resemble the real-life person they are playing. In this case, Carell was playing John du Pont. Carell is terrible, but I can't blame him ... it looks like he was just giving director Bennett Miller what he wanted. I liked Miller's Capote (with a great performance from Philip Seymour Hoffman) and his Moneyball was a crowd-pleaser. But I didn't connect with Foxcatcher, and I can't help thinking that I wasn't supposed to.

It's the true-life story of three men, a rich guy (du Pont) and two Olympic-gold-winning wrestlers who are also brothers. One of the brothers, Dave (Mark Ruffalo), is presented as the sane one, and Ruffalo actually deserved his Oscar nod. The other brother, Mark (Channing Tatum), is the disturbed one ... he has problems deep in his soul, and du Pont knows how to play him. His story in the movie is tragic, and Tatum does his best, but his torments are mostly interior, which means we get a lot of scenes of Tatum trying to show us Mark is hurting. The film's concept of John du Pont is the real problem here, though. It may be true to life ... I have no idea. But Carell (directed by Miller) spends most of the movie staring down his big fake honker, acting odd without ever giving any insight into what bothers him beyond he doesn't get along with his mother. When he loses it at the end, you can believe he'd gotten that low, but it still comes as a surprise (if you don't know the real story) because du Pont is such a cipher. It's too big a hole for the film to survive. I ended up feeling like I'd just wasted 134 minutes.

Still, it did get five Oscar noms, it's #541 on the They Shoot Pictures, Don't They list of the top 1000 films of the 21st century, and some people think highly of it. Put it in the Your Mileage May Vary category, but I didn't like it.

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