Max

maxposterIMDB

(Menno Meyjes, 2002)

With this entry, I’m proud to participate once again in the 9th Annual White Elephant Blogathon, hosted by Philip Tatler IV at Diary of a Country Pickpocket.

To paraphrase the Farrellys, there’s something about Hitler. For more than 75 years, he remains the undisputed heavyweight champion of evil incarnate. Makes you wonder if Vlad the Impaler was thoughtful enough to send a card for letting him off the historical hook.

Artists over time have long been fascinated with the man, or rather fascinated with his legacy. Approaching his character in fiction is tricky though. If filmmakers choose to employ his true nature, Hitler is often used as a minor supporting character, because there’s little nuance to his very public persona of Monster. Many find it easier to take liberties by aping the dictator’s anger or enormous ego, like Charlie Chaplin in The Great Dictator. Those few movies that attempt to humanize Hitler are always rather off-putting, since inhumanity is sort of his calling card. In The Producers, Mel Brooks acknowledged how the revolting notion of the Fuhrer finding love could turn “Springtime for Hitler” into a beacon of bad taste.

Mmaxbarracksax chooses the road less taken and examines the future Fuhrer, as portrayed by Australian actor Noah Taylor, the lovesick protagonist of The Year My Voice Broke and Flirting, as an insecure 3o-year-old veteran at a turning point in his life. He resides in Germany just after World War I, during the formation of the Weimar Republic, in which the country is trying to rebuild and reestablish itself, while trying to recover from the shock and scars of recent battle. With this film, writer-director Menno Meyjes concocts a hypothetical situation usually reserved for History Channel programming: Could the second World War and all its atrocities have been avoided? And the film’s conclusion? Yes, but only if Adolf was a better painter.

It’s one of the enormous leaps in logic that ultimately sink Max. There is some talent on display here, but the heavy-handed execution is indicative of a first-time director over his skis.

Hitler pursues a latent passion for fine art when, unable to find work or satisfaction among his social peers, he is drawn to a fictional modern art dealer named Max Rothman (John Cusack). Max is a fellow veteran of the German army, and it’s revealed that the two actually fought alongside each other in bloody battles at Ypres, though in different regiments. Max has had most of his right arm tragically amputated in battle, and subsequently, has lost his ability to paint, as if his entire life were a too-neat metaphor for unrealized potential…. or something.

maxspeech1The clanky character construction doesn’t end there. The two men attempt to nurture the natural bond among soldiers who’ve been “in the shit”, but it’s a tenuous bond, since they’re much different soldiers, and Hitler is, well, kind of a jerk. He’s straight-edge: smug about his vegetarianism, and full of disdain for those who drink or smoke, which Max does constantly. Disarmed, Rothman is left to awkwardly offer him a glass of lemonade instead.

To make matters even more uncomfortable, the fabricated Rothman comes from a wealthy family and Hitler is woefully poor. Max feels guilty about this disparity, and works hard to fuel young Adolf with compassion, and provide funding to work on his painting, in order to keep him from pursuing a budding interest in politics. You see, Hitler’s also receiving money from a growing National Socialist Workers Party for ranting slanted anti-Semitic dogma for dollars. Oh, you guys: Max is Jewish. Awkward!

Meyjes’ film proposes, that at least at this point, Hitler’s anti-Semitism isn’t fully-formed or perhaps even real, but is rooted in his own insecurities, borne out of an obsession with being a have-not. Which then evolved into an inflated perception of a Jewish class of wealth, intelligence, and influence. Which caused him to go on and on at length to neighbors and acquaintances, using incendiary hate speech to claim a certain cut of people were responsible for his country’s slow descent into hell in a handbasket, not unlike that one guy on Facebook you’ve long since unfriended.

maxgrinderThe film does go a long way towards explaining how Hitler’s passion could easily have been tweaked into expressive creation, rather than destruction. But the portrayal of the alternative art world is pretty sloppy. There’s a particularly awful sequence where Max attempts to expose the evils of political propaganda through performance art. His goal is to expose such propaganda for driving a naive populace into war by convincing them that any wartime deeds and sacrifices would be nobel ones. He finishes the performance this by re-blowing off his own arm (in this case, a detached mannequin arm, shown floating in mid-air, gripping a paintbrush near a sign indicating “What Might Have Been”) , just before he is fed into an oversized war-machine meat-grinder. Mm-mm, that modern art sure makes you think! Especially if your thoughts drift to how German sausage is actually made.

While he looks the part, Taylor is inconsistent in his portrayal of the pre-Fuhrer. He’s creepily convincing in quietly brooding moments, less so when he takes on the public-speaking persona. This is not entirely his fault, as it’s clear the actors were given specific instruction not to adopt a German dialect. So, Taylor occasionally slips into an Australian accent, and Cusack comes off as little more than the High Fidelity guy minus a limb.

maxheadofroom

Max isn’t terribly interested in factual history; it’s firmly planted in the world of What Might Have Been. The speculative plot reflects its own frivolousness as Max Rothman’s efforts ultimately fail to sway Hitler from his destiny. The soldier will become the dictator; atrocities will happen; and savage war will break out. At least until Brad Pitt and his Basterds can kick enough Nazi ass to put a more satisfying end to the whole thing.

The definition of “contrived”

The voice you hear on this video is White Sox play-by-play man “Hawk” Harrelson, owner of the clunkiest, most scripted phrases in the game, showing y’all how it’s done. Granted, this footage includes some great Sox moments, including a perfect game, but you’ll get the idea. Mercy!!1!111!1!

In contrast, the following is culled from an interview with Cubs broadcaster Len Kasper on the Ivy Envy podcast, February 2014 (condensing and emphasis are mine):

Yeah, I don’t really know if I have [a “signature” home run call]….. I’ve never really studied it, and really thought that hard about it, because I don’t want it to be contrived. There are a lot of great home run calls around baseball that have developed over 20, 25, 30 years. But there are some others I hear, where a home run doesn’t really fit the call, especially on television…. where people can see the trajectory of the ball….

“I really fight, as hard as I possibly can, the idea of being predictable. It’s a game of routine. We’re on every single day. There are certain things that Cub fans are used to hearing from us, but….. when I can kinda predict what the broadcaster’s gonna say next, I start to tune out a little bit. And I don’t ever want to be that guy who has the same call for every play….

The one thing about a home run call is…. you can always go to it, even in a big moment. Usually it never fails you in that regard. But…. I don’t want every game-winning home run to sound the same. I want it to sound unique to that moment, and I feel like I’m giving that particular play its proper due if I simply react to it as naturally as I possibly can…..”

And yet, here’s evidence of the home run call failing Hawk horribly. If I followed the Sox, I’d watch every game with the sound off. HE GONE.

Film Update

1. The Muriel Awards for films released in 2013 is going on as we speak, right around that other more-popular broadcast with the celebrities and fashions. I was honored to yet again participate with many much better film critics and enthusiasts in presenting virtual awards named after Paul Clark’s guinea pig. I was proud to present the Best Supporting Actor award for a great, whacked-out turn by one of today’s hardest-working actors.

2. I need to update the Top 1000 Films Project page, since an updated 2014 TSPDT list was published earlier this month. As of this posting, I’ve watched 443/1000 films from the February 2013 list. Hopefully, that doesn’t change too drastically with the release of the new list. Change on this list tends to happen slowly. The exception to this rule occurred last year when the latest Sight & Sound poll somewhat reshuffled the deck, bringing light to new/overlooked films, and dropping some long-time list residents that have suffered through lack of exposure or some other sea change. 

3. Older Movies that were new to me in 2013:

  • Atlantic City (Louis Malle, 1980)
  • Before Sunrise (Richard Linklater, 1995)
  • Before Sunset (Richard Linklater, 2004)
  • Black Narcissus (Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger, 1947)
  • Bride of Frankenstein (James Whale, 1935)
  • Bunny Lake Is Missing (Otto Preminger, 1965)
  • Crank: High Voltage (Mark Neveldine, Brian Taylor, 2009)
  • Eating Raoul (Paul Bartel, 1982)
  • High and Low (Akira Kurosawa, 1963)
  • La promesse (Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne, 1996)
  • Muriel (Alain Resnais, 1963)
  • My Neighbor Totoro (Hayao Miyazaki, 1988)
  • Orpheus (Jean Cocteau, 1950)
  • Pontypool (Bruce McDonald, 2008)
  • Tristana (Luis Buñuel, 1970)

Some of these may be considered MAJOR blind spots. For example, I needed some quick catch-up before seeing 2013’s great Before Midnight. Suddenly, enduring two Ethan Hawke movies became sort of a necessary evil. But missing Totoro and Bride of Frankenstein are pretty unacceptable.

The longer I live, I’ve started to think of cultural literacy as a lifelong endeavor, and much of our lives should consist of climbing toward a peak rather than standing atop it.
Another way to look at it is that I don’t currently have easy access to a time machine to fix my egregious errors. What’s up with that, science?

Amazing Passages in Kid-Lit

I wish I could kiss this absurdist yet purely logical aside, stumbled upon while reading to my 9-year-old son. It’s so tightly written, and reminiscent of Lewis Carroll:

“By the way,  I am not Elizabeth Van Vreemdeling,” I said. “My name is Audrey, and I come from another plane of existence.”

“How adorable. She doesn’t know who she is,” Uncle Bernard said.

“I certainly do know who I am,” I said. “And I never heard of Elizabeth Van Vreemdeling until the other day.”

“Then how do you account for the fact that you are she?” Uncle Bernard asked.

“I don’t know that I have to account for it,” I said. “First, I am not she, have no recollection of being her, never heard of her, and besides, she lived a long time ago.”

“So did we,” Uncle Bernard said. “And yet here we are, us.”

“But, I assume you have always been you,” I said.

“More or less,” Uncle Bernard said. “But then, all of us are any number of people as we go along, if you’d care to think about it. I mean, once you were a baby, quite different from the girl you are now, and later you will be an adult, also different. Can you remember being a little baby?”

“No.”

“But you do not deny you ever were such a thing as a baby, do you?”

“Well, no.”

“Why not, since you don’t have any recollection of being one?”

“Because everyone starts out as one.”

“And how do you know that is so?”

“How do I know everyone starts out as a baby?”

“Yes. What makes you think that is so?”

“Observation?”

“Oh, so you have observed every single person starting out as a little infant and growing up to be a child, an adolescent, and an adult?”

“No, not personally observed.”

“Then why do you think it is true?”

“Because everyone knows it.”

“So, you believe it because there is a consensus of opinion about it.”

“Yes.”

“Excellent,” Uncle Bernard said. “Everyone who believes Audrey here is Elizabeth Van Vreemdeling, raise your paw.”

All the trolls raised their hands, Helen called from the kitchen, “I believe it,” and I saw that Molly had raised her hand too.

“It seems we have a consensus of opinion,” Uncle Bernard said.

“That is not proof,” I said. “You could all be wrong. I might just look a lot like her.”

“You have a point,” Uncle Bernard said. “Nothing is ever definite, but you have to admit there is more of a possibility that you are Elizabeth than you previously thought.”

– Excerpt from  Adventures of a Cat-Whiskered Girl (2010) by Daniel Pinkwater.

My negotiation methods in one animated GIF

My negotiation methods in one animated GIF

I prefer to call it “passionate persuasion”.

Spymate

SpymateIMDB
(Robert Vince, 2006)

With this entry, I’m proud to participate again in the 7th Annual White Elephant Blogathon, hosted by Silly Hats Only, even though I’m now really late for its April Fool’s Day deadline.

Come on, of course I was excited to see this. It’s a monkey movie. Even if it was terrible, it was guaranteed to feature some outrageous behavior not natural to the primate world. If artists like Stanley Kubrick, Clint Eastwood, Tim Burton, and Ronald Reagan have fallen for the hairy charms of our nearest ancestors on film, who am I to argue?

Spymate is one in a series from director/producer Robert Vince, who is responsible not only for the somewhat-silly Air Bud series as well as its spawn, the Air Buddies series (awwwwww, puppies!). There are over a dozen films with an Air Bud connection–most straight to DVD–which may be beloved by children and perhaps those who adore cute doggies, but are tolerated/reviled by discerning parents who are forced to endure these cloying films time and again.

Spymate, however, features a burgeoning star of the monkey-movie-genre, a chimp named simply Louie. Like a young Bruce Willis, Louie quickly has become a multifaceted action hero, dazzling on the hockey rink in MVP: Most Valuable Primate (2000), and shredding skateboards in its sequel (in name only), MVP: Most Vertical Primate (2001). In this film, Louie plays an international superspy called Minky, who reenters the spy trade when his former human partner, Mike (Chris Potter), needs help rescuing his daughter (Emma Roberts), who has been kidnapped by an evil scientist (Richard Kind) in order to use her award-winning laser drill invention for fame and profit.

Truth be told, the plot is dumb as hell and barely matters.

Overall, one must realize this movie’s primary audience is children, and leaps in logic should be considered par for the course. Why, the leaps in logic are actually the best parts. The sheer amount of dizzying, disorienting cuts in the first 5 minute “rescue” sequence is staggering, likely because it’s the only way to showcase a chimp’s climbing, running and swashbuckling “expertise” as even remotely smooth or natural. Louie’s talents are best utilized in small, heavily edited action scenes, such as those where he performs karate against none other than Mr. Miyagi himself. It’s true – thanks to Robert Vince, Pat Morita has now suffered a worse career setback than the sequels in which he was paired with Ralph Macchio.

The weakest parts of this particular movie feature non-primate characters, some of whom might even be offensive to some viewers. For instance, there’s an over-the-top Arab threatening to blow up the President, and Asian taking photographs, as well as transpose spoken R’s with L’s. Minky’s circus colleagues who join in the rescue are neither funny nor interesting. And while preteen co-star Roberts has got acting in her blood (she’s daughter of Eric, and cousin of Julia), she has difficulty finding a foothold in this poorly constructed film, that requires its viewers to believe Roberts is among the greatest innovators in science.

Ultimately, it’s a disappointing film. I only wish Spymate stuck closer to my monkey-film fantasy, and provided even more sequences of monkey/D-list actor fist-bumps, and roundhouse kicks to human groins. Until that dream becomes a reality, there are moments in this flick that will continue to appease me momentarily. Here’s one:

2012 Skuriels Best Film of Ever Round-Up

ImageSure, that once-every-10-years Sight & Sound poll is pretty sweet, but the voters in the Skandies & Muriels online film awards (including some critics who also voted in the S&S poll) recently joined forces to reveal the REAL top films OF ALL TIME (time time time).

Because these all-time awards needed their own distinct name, branding experts were called upon, straws were drawn and blood was spilled before the two groups decided to chuck their fate into the Name-A-Nator 3000 and call these prestigious aluminum-plated statuettes….The Skuriels. Research dollars well spent.

Well, here are the 2012 results, revealed at the Skuriels blog, with the 2012 Sight & Sound result listed in brackets.

1. 2001: A Space Odyssey (Kubrick, 1968) – 35 votes [#6 in 2012 S&S poll]
2 (tie). Vertigo (Hitchcock, 1958) – 23 votes [#1]
2 (tie). Citizen Kane (Welles, 1941) – 23 votes [#2]
4. Play Time (Tati, 1967) – 23 votes [#43]
5 (tie). Singin’ in the Rain (Donen/Kelly, 1952) – 14 votes [#20]
5 (tie). Casablanca (Curtiz, 1942) – 14 votes [#84]
5 (tie). The Passion of Joan of Arc (Dreyer, 1928) – 14 votes [#9]
8. Rear Window (Hitchcock, 1954) – 13 votes [#53]
9 (tie). Mulholland Drive (Lynch, 2001) – 12 votes [#28]
9 (tie). The Rules of the Game (Renoir, 1958) – 12 votes [#4]
11 (tie). Apocalypse Now (Coppola, 1979) – 11 votes [#14]
11 (tie). Barry Lyndon (Kubrick, 1975) – 11 votes [#59]
11 (tie). The Godfather (Coppola, 1972) – 11 votes [#21]
11 (tie). His Girl Friday (Hawks, 1940) – 11 votes [#171]
15 (tie). Blue Velvet (Lynch, 1986) – 10 votes [#69]
15 (tie). Dr. Strangelove, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (Kubrick, 1964) – 10 votes [#117]
15 (tie). The Godfather, Part II (Coppola, 1974) – 10 votes [#31]
15 (tie). Pulp Fiction (Tarantino, 1994) – 10 votes [#127]
15 (tie). The Searchers (Ford, 1956) – 10 votes [#7]
15 (tie). The Seven Samurai (Kurosawa, 1954) – 11 votes [#17]

Overall, a list we can be proud of. Some observations:

  • Skuriels voters are a bunch of young whippersnappers. Or, at least, they recognized several newer films. The median year of release of a Top 20 winner was 1963, over 12 years younger than the median on the Top 20 S&S films.
  • Fanboys & Fangirls?  Directors with multiple films, including Coppola (3), Hitchcock (2), Kubrick (3) and Lynch (2). Consider that no director in the S&S Top 20 is represented twice. My non-expert view is that with 20 slots to fill (instead of the 10 that S&S voters get) allowed voters to include more diverse choices from a sole director, without deciding which one demanded inclusion.
  • Sample size matters. We 74 Skuriels voters are tiny in number when compared to Sight & Sound’s whopping 846, so each individual vote counts more. Six 15th place Skuriel winners received only 10 votes (13%), while SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN required 46 votes (5%) to claim 20th in the S&S poll.
  • PLAY TIME at #4. An offbeat comic observation on the rise of cities.
  • The Skuriels mascot should totally be an effed-up squirrel.

Poor Pretty Eddie

IMDB

(Richard Robinson, 1975)

2.0/5.0

With this entry, I’m proud to participate again in the 6th Annual White Elephant Blogathon, hosted by Silly Hats Only, in time for April Fool’s Day. Last year, I got to analyze another “forgotten gem” of the 1970s, featuring Joe Don mother-loving Baker. This year, it’s backwoods blaxploitation with Shelley Winters, Slim Pickens, Lurch from The Addams Family, and an Elvis Presley wannabe. Remind me, why do I do this to myself?

“I don’t care if she farts Shah-nel Number 5. Now I want her outta here, right now, understand?”

That’s a line from two-time Oscar winner Shelley Winters in this low-low-budget film of rape, revenge and sleaze. To say it’s not worthy of Winters’ pedigree to be uttering Chanel as “Shah-nel” is an understatement. But it’s also consistent with  the recurring quandary in which I viewed this film. On one hand, it’s forgettable trash. On the other hand, to borrow a phrase, there’s just something about Eddie. 

Winters portrays an ex-stripper who fears she’s losing her boyfriend, the titular Eddie (Michael Christian), to a young, beautiful singer (Leslie Uggams) who had the poor luck to (1) have her car break down in the middle of a straight-outta-Deliverance burg and (2) be African-American in same. Fact #2 plays an important part in this flick, as Uggams is certainly the smartest and classiest human depicted, but is treated the worst, and it all starts with poor, pretty Eddie.

You see, Winters’ boyfriend, the titular Eddie (Michael Christian), is also a bit of a crooner himself.

To say that he resembles Elvis is one thing, but this film makes no bones about the fact that Eddie is essentially aping Elvis (2 years before his death) and perhaps even going so far as to indicate that those that appreciate his style of music are rednecked and backward. At the time, the former King was slowly spiralling down into what may be called “full Vegas.” And yet, his origins lay in the small-town South, in towns not unlike the one in this film.

The fact that Eddie/Elvis then proceeds to take a shine to the lovely Liz (Uggams) and decides to show his appreciation by forcibly raping her speaks even louder volumes. Oh, we’re not talking graphic, I Spit on Your Grave-level rape, but consider if you will how the scene is presented for the audience – via slow-motion and regularly intercut with a pair of dogs doggy-styling to the amusement of a group of hicks.

What exactly am I watching here?

Is this a terribly racist and/or sexist depiction of non-consensual sex? Or is it filled with dark humor? Should I mention that the song playing over the scene has a repeated refrain of “You don’t have to say/You’ll love me in the morning”?

This is a twisted flick from the get-go, and I haven’t even mentioned Slim Pickens and Dub Taylor, who portray two corrupt officials of hillbilly truth and justice. Pickens, the local sheriff, doubts that Liz was even raped, but asks all sorts of lurid, leading questions such as “Would you like to suck on a tomato?” or more directly, “Did he bite you on the t*tties?”  Unswayed, Liz takes her case before Justice of the Peace Floyd (Taylor) in the only appropriate place – the local dance hall. Floyd demands that he see the presumed love bites on Liz’s naughty bits right then and there, as several local boobs and the house band leers on. When she refuses and smacks him across the face, the Justice of the Peace tears off her blouse completely, and compliments her on her impressive bits of evidence.

It’s disturbingly trashy, but also certainly has much to do with race, violence and power. Would I equate this flick’s impact with those of Shaft and Super Fly or the films of Pam Grier? Not on your life. But the message is there.

However Poor Pretty Eddie is intended, I can’t help but find it inflammatory and shocking for the sake of shock. It’s never truly a horror movie, nor is it satisfying as a rape revenge drama.

And yet…. this cast is so very talented. Winters has a heartbreaking scene in which she discusses why she needs Eddie, mostly because she’s past her prime and he’s so young and beautiful and actually cares for her. Pickens and Taylor are crudely funny and Uggams holds her own in a thankless role.

And yet…. director Richard Robinson took some grade-Z material and added a few shocks of his own, as well as some tricky camerawork pulled off with a paltry budget.

And yet…. Ted Cassidy (Lurch from TV’s The Addams Family) is quietly affecting as a local who bucks the local authority in a effort to do right but unfortunately ends up getting shot, but not before Eddie feeds him his own free-loving dog:

Again, I would never say Poor Pretty Eddie is worth your time, and certainly not your money, but after viewing it a second time, I’m still conflicted, and not ready to dismiss it either. There’s just enough going for Eddie to make a viewer think twice. What I guess I’m saying is that your mileage may vary, but it left its hooks in me, and that can’t be all bad.

It doesn’t make me feel any better to say that I rewatched a film prominently featuring dog-on-dog love, but I’m trying to keep an open mind. I hate you, White Elephant, for the things you make me admit publicly.

David Lynch Put His Disease in Me or: Muriel Awards, Best Feature Film 1986

Nevermind the Oscars. The Muriel Awards are currently being unveiled daily until March 4.

The 25th Anniversary Muriel Award for Best Feature Film of 1986 goes to:

  1. Blue Velvet [243 points, 33 votes]
  2. The Fly [121 points, 20 votes]
  3. Hannah and Her Sisters [112/18]

Full results of voting here.

With such an overwhelming mandate, they could’ve probably asked any halfwit to write up a post about the winner. So, that’s what they did. Among my ramblings, you’ll notice the only detail I left out was what shoes I was wearing as I wrote it. (Trick question: I was barefoot, and I have a pegleg.)

My ballot:

1. Blue Velvet
2. Down by Law
3. Something Wild
4. Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer
5. The Fly

Underrated:

Big Trouble in Little China, Caravaggio, The Decline of the American Empire, Matador, Mona Lisa, She’s Gotta Have It, True Stories

Defending my Muriel Ballot, Supporting Actor

I’m proud to again participate in voting for The Muriel Awards, celebrating the best in film for 2011. While it sounds darned lofty, the virtual ceremony has been about an impassioned community of movie dorks appreciating the overlooked and showcasing sometimes obscure films, performances and technical mastery. It’s also kinda fun to watch the surprises without being asked who you’re wearing on a red carpet.

Awards are currently being unveiled daily until March 4.

First, a tip of the hat to the winner of the Muriel for Best Supporting Actor:

  1. Albert Brooks, Drive. [Award capsule by James Frazier]
  2. Christopher Plummer, Beginners.
  3. Brad Pitt, The Tree of Life.

Full results of voting here.

We’re off to a rousing start. Not sure about 7 votes for Viggo Mortensen in A Dangerous Method, but I’ll admit that he has a nice beard in the film.

My ballot:

1. John C. Reilly, Terri
Not to tip my hand on future awards [read: totally doing just that], 2011 was the year I became convinced that John C. Reilly could walk on water. Oh I know he can’t, but he could make you believe that he could. Or maybe, just maybe, he really can. Daily. Twice on Sundays.

In Terri, Reilly portrays Mr. Fitzgerald, a high school vice principal hellbent on intervening on misfit or miscreant students like the title character, who struggles with his appearance and his home life. In the school hallways, Fitzgerald’s a watchdog disciplinarian, but behind his office door with Terri, he exudes compassion mixed with outright juvenile dorkiness. He discovers Terri to be mature beyond his years, and subsequently, begins to  treat Terri as an equal, a friend, even a guide. Because essentially, Fitzgerald is just as flawed, an adult among children, despised and alienated by them. Reilly naturally personifies director/writer Azazel Jacobs’ central theme about realizing your nature, and embracing it for life.

The rest of my ballot:

2. Albert Brooks, Drive
3. Andy Serkis, Rise of the Planet of the Apes
4. Christopher Plummer, Beginners
5. Denden, Cold Fish

Underrated:

Goat, La quattro volte; Matthew Lillard, The Descendants; Simon Pegg, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol; Mark Strong, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy; Stanley Tucci, Captain America: The First Avenger

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