Saturday, June 16, 2012

(30) Stars of Summer - Day 16: Frances McDormand

Today's entry is so great that the fact she's married to Joel Coen isn't even the coolest thing about her.

Here are the rules. Check out this list of all the month's actors with links to what's available on Netflix Instant. If you're not a Netflix subscriber, maybe this will help.

Day 1: Jimmy Stewart
Day 2: Catherine Deneuve
Day 3: Christopher Lee
Day 4: Bette Davis
Day 5: Nicolas Cage
Day 6: Diane Keaton 
Day 7: Orson Welles 
Day 8: Catherine Keener 
Day 9: Kurt Russell
Day 10: Pam Grier
Day 11: Clint Eastwood
Day 12: Susan Sarandon 
Day 13: Cary Grant 
Day 14: Barbara Stanwyck 
Day 15: Keith David


  1. Aeon Flux (2005)

    Adaptation of the Peter Chung animated series has kind of a Logan's Run vibe, with one crucial difference - it's no fun at all. Everyone in this movie is stiff and unnatural, because they're not really people - they're just extensions of the production design. The film is mainly impressive for wasting the talents of 2 Oscar-winning actors (Theron and McDormand) as well as an Oscar-nominated actor (Pete Postlethwaite). McDormand's role could have been played by a disembodied voice, and based on her hairstyle in the movie probably should have been.

  2. DARKMAN (1990)

    Sam Raimi's warm-up run to his 2002 hit "Spider-Man" (saw them back-to-back in high-def this afternoon and you can clearly see an evolution in confidence and style from the older picture to the newer one) is, like his "Evil Dead 2" was to the horror genre, more approachable as a slapstick comedy that happens to have superhero elements mixed with heightened-for-melodrama moments than a straight-up horror and/or action flick. McDormand sleepwalks (which means even at half-speed she's still awesome) in the role of distraught girlfriend of Liam Neeson's more-loony-than-mad nerd scientist turned reluctant hero (who just happens to invent the McGuffin-like temporary skin he needs to set-up his tormentors for a fall and to deal with his own condition). An uneven comedic tone (like the worst James Cameron 'funny' moments, "Darkman" is not as cool and clever as Raimi seems to think it is) and hammy villains (henchman Dr. Giggles outshines his boss, Colin Friels, ten times over) clip its wings, but when the Raimi-isms are at their heightened best "Darkman" is an uneven but fun ride.

  3. Moonrise Kingdom (2012)

    Wes Anderson's most overt homage to Truffaut is his best movie in a long time -- it's funny and sad and beautiful and very, very charming. Frances McDormand doesn't have a ton to do -- she's just one of many adult actors who are on hand mostly because they're excellent -- but the movie really belongs to the kids anyway. Really good.

  4. Darkman

    I've got to disagree with Vargas here. I don't feel like McDormand is sleepwalking through it at all, and I also think the tone is absolutely consistent and the movie is exactly as cool & clever as Raimi thinks it is. It's a superhero movie for Monster Kids, and I love it for that. I don't know if J.B. is keeping up with the game, but I'd be very interested to hear his take on this one.

  5. Something's Got To Give (2002)

    Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton are a lot of fun in this romantic comedy, but the movie is hurt by an overlong third act and occasionally jumbled writing.

    Frances McDormand's character is a perfect example of that as her character completely disappears after the first act, and the role is a waste for the Oscar-winning actress.

    Sorry to post this late, my computer has been in the shop the last few days.

  6. I've fallen way behind on this. So hard to find the time. And last week I was really looking forward to SPACE COWBOYS for Clint, DOUBLE INDEMNITY for Stanwyck, ARSENIC AND OLD LACE for Grant, and, for Keith David, AGENT CODY BANKS (Hey, I've never seen it. For all I know, it could be genius).

    Anyway, AEON FLUX. It's the classic conundrum: If your movie is trying really, really hard to be edgy and extreme, then it won't be edgy and extreme. That's the case with this one. Watch the cartoon instead.

    1. That has to be the most accurate and concise explanation of what's wrong with Aeon Flux that I've read.

      Sorry you've fallen behind, but we all appreciate how much you've been playing along. And never lose faith, Mac -- you'll see Agent Cody Banks SOMEDAY.