Two very different films released in October, Gone Girl and Nightcrawler, have a lot to say about American media culture and the way we consume events on television. David Fincher’s Gone Girl examines how stories become sensationalized by frenzied media and a salacious cultural appetite, while Tony Gilroy’s Nightcrawler explores the lengths some will go to to capture and create the sensation and stoke the fear of members of the public. Continue reading
5. Jennifer Lawrence: American Hustle
Lawrence manages to deliver a performance that’s equal parts hilarious, sexy, and maddeningly ridiculous. She’s even better here than she was in Silver Linings. The only thing funnier than “the microwave scene” in 2013 was the “quallude sequence” in The Wolf of Wall Street. “Don’t put metal in the science oven” is now my favorite David Russell line. This is one of those supporting performances that you want to be a bigger part, but its part of why she’s so compelling is that when she’s on screen she dominates and when she’s not you miss her presence. Her manner and her energy remind me a bit of Gena Rowlands, and I do not make that comparison lightly. She’s just a natural with a presence and maturity way beyond her years. When you watch her she comes across as a twenty-year veteran, not someone in their early twenties, and her trophies already accumulated are a testament to that. I would pay money to watch her fold laundry for two hours. She’d get an Oscar nomination for that too.
Surely we are in the midst of a Golden Age of the episodic crime drama. Between Sherlock, True Detective, Luther, Broadchurch, Breaking Bad, Dexter, Top of the Lake, and a plethora of enormously successful CBS procedurals that I admit I have never seen but people seem to enjoy (NCIS, Elementary, post-Petersen CSI). I have seen Criminal Minds several times (its a favorite of my parents) and have usually enjoyed it, but for a variety of reasons, traditional procedurals favored by the likes of CBS in particular and networks in general don’t really fit into my main argument, which I’ll present herein. Continue reading