Posts Tagged ‘hugh jackman’

Prisoners (2013) – Denis Villineuve (Dir.), Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Viola Davis, Maria Bello, Terrence Howard, Paul Dano, Melissa Leo

Two Men. One Cup. OF DOOM.

Two Men. One Cup. OF DOOM.

THE BASICS: I’m pretty sure this movie was created in a sterile, European laboratory purely to give my mother nightmares. One time, while my sister and I were home alone all day, my mom called us from the office to tell us to be careful: she had seen a guy walking down our street and looking at houses in a manner that my mom had deemed “suspicious.” (spoiler alert: nothing happened). Another time, we were visiting the area in Philly where my mom grew up with her and a friend of hers (we drove around in a minivan gawking out the windows in a neighborhood that is now predominantly black, it was problematic) and every single memory they had of the place involved someone dying, or being abducted, or being raped. This in the place where she spent her childhood. My mom always imagines that the worst possible outcome has and/or will occur: a trait that she has passed down to me. Any time a friend of mine is five minutes late meeting me, I start at the assumption that they’ve been abducted, quartered and left in someone’s basement.

“Prisoners” follows a pair of families in suburban Pennsylvania: one white, one black, and both solidly middle class. On what is sure to go down as the worst Thanksgiving in family history, the young daughters of both families mysteriously vanish. The paterfamilias of the white family, Wolverine (okay, okay, Hugh Jackman), decides very quickly that the sketchy-looking RV that their daughters were playing on earlier that day is the key to their disappearance. The other paterfamilias, played by Iron Man’s Original Black Friend (okay, okay, Terence Howard) goes along with it, because his character is very thinly conceived. An APB is put out, which is how we meet Detective…um…The-Joker’s-Gay-Cowboy-Lover-And/Or-Batman’s-Girlfriend’s-Brother (Jake Gyllenhal). He’s a loner, he has tattoos and he’s super intense. DCI Donnie Darko soon finds the RV and, more importantly, its driver, Paul Dano. At first everyone is like “Woohoo” because Dano  looks and acts like he just received his Doctorate in Advanced Pedophilia and Child Murder. Unfortunately, there is a surprising lack of the little thing called “evidence” and so the police let him go, because apparently this town is run by DAMNED DIRTY HIPPIES. Wolverine is not pleased by this. So he does what any self-respecting Walking Talking Embodiment of The Bush Torture Memos American would do: He abducts Paul Dano, takes him to an abandoned apartment building and tortures the shit out of him, bringing along his black friend (and, to be fair, fellow concerned parent) for help/moral support/humorous cultural misunderstandings. Meanwhile, Detective Guy-Who-Was-Once-Considered-as-a-Replacement-for-Tobey-Maguire-in-Spiderman-2 sets about actually, y’know, “solving the case” with “detective work.” Seriously, what a bunch of hippies.

By the way, everything I just described is maybe the first 45 minutes of the movie. The running time is 2 and half hours. I’m gonna go ahead and say this helps its Oscar chances, because long movies seem more important than short ones. Same goes for books, which is why Infinite Jest is THE MOST IMPORTANT BOOK EVER WRITTEN.

Snikt!

Snikt!

Best Actor: Hugh Jackman/Jake Gyllenhaal.

Putting both actors in this category is kind of a cheat for me. I don’t think that, come Oscar time, they are both going to be entered in the lead actor category. Hugh Jackman will be entered for the lead and Gyllenhaal will be entered for supporting. I’m mostly putting them into the same category so as to contrast their performances, and there’s nothing you can do about it. (BTW, for the one of you who reads these kinds of reviews but doesn’t already know this, The Wrinkled Fuckers can vote for an actor/actress in either best lead or best supporting. If the role is one where it’s unclear as to which category it fits into, then this could possibly lead to vote splitting and the actor/actress could not get nominated at all. This is why studios will decide to mount a specific campaign for an actor to be nominated in either lead or supporting to guide The Wrinkled Fuckers in their nominating process. Fun Fact: in 1944, the actor Barry Fitzgerald got nominated in both lead and supporting for his role in the film Going My Way. I’m sure it would have been a big to-do if America wasn’t busy fighting a war with Hitler.)

Now, I haven’t taken a stopwatch to their screen times (because I am not chronically depressed) but I’d bet dollars to cronuts that Jake Gylenhaal has more screen time than ol’ Hugh. Nonetheless, I think that Jackman is going to get campaigned for in the lead category because his performance is the one with ALL THE EMOTIONS.

“Hugh Jackman” is actually Australian for “A Whale’s Vagina.”

“Hugh Jackman” is actually Australian for “A Whale’s Vagina.”

For realsies, I think that this performance was sold to Hugh Jackman solely on the basis of: You’ll get nominated for an Oscar. They reminded him of how, back in 2003, every freaking awards show clip from Mystic River for eventual winner Sean Penn was just him screaming “IS THAT MY DAUGHTER IN THERE?!!! IIIIIIIIS THAAAAAAAAAT MY DAUGHTER IN THEEEEEEEERRRRRRREEEE?!!!!!!!!!!” Jackman is in full, “I’m wearing a beard and so I’m super serious right now” mode and he plays the role’s all-consuming rage to the hilt. It is not a subtle performance, but it’s not necessarily a bad one either. I’m sure if I was in that position (daughter abducted, obvious perpetrator set free) I wouldn’t be Mr. Subtlety either. Plus Jackman even gets to go down the fun “relapsing alcoholic spiral” trail as well. (Although, and I know this isn’t his fault, but the movie has him literally swigging from a bottle of whiskey, which isn’t something people really do outside of frat parties and comes off as annoying Hollywood shorthand.) But what it ultimately comes down to is this: Prisoners is actually two films. (I’ll get to this more when I talk about the script.) One of those films is an indictment of the American notion of justice and the means to which we’ll go to get it. The other film is a really fun serial killer noir flick. Jackman is the star of the “blah blah blah indictment” one, and that’s the movie that would get nominated for an Oscar.

They found a book report on "The Grapes of Wrath" in her room. Her analysis was facile. FACILE!!!

They found a book report on “The Grapes of Wrath” in her room. Her analysis was facile. FACILE!!!

Funny thing is though: Gyllenhaal gives the better performance. His character is a career detective working for some reason in the middle of suburbia instead of, oh I don’t know, in the mean streets of Philly which, as my earlier anecdote about my mother clearly outlined, is a dank pit of mayhem and despair. This guy is quiet, contained and methodical, but is just as driven as Jackman’s freaked out father is. When he asks his boss for permission to keep Paul Dano in hold-up one more night, out of fear/respect for Jackman’s wishes only to have Dano go free and then get assaulted by Jackman in the parking lot, his next scene where he rips said boss for going against him is a tiny peek into the whirring centrifuge that keeps him on the case. Gylenhaal’s scenes with Jackman too are like a game of acting Ju Jitsu on Gylenhaal’s part. Jackman comes in all fire and whiskey, only for Gylenhaal to quietly turn that bluster against him and come out on top. He’s a better, subtler actor stuck holding up the half of the movie that involves discovering dead bodies in a priest’s basement and boxes filled with snakes and bloody children’s clothes. Really, the only mark against him is his blinking. He’s given Detective Loki this nervous blink that, once you notice it, all you can think is “if this was a drinking game I’d be wasted by now.”

Best Original Screenplay: Aaron Guzikowski

Now when you read that last sentence, I bet you thought “Detective Loki? What kind of joke on one of Gyllenhaal’s past roles was he making this time? I don’t remember him being in Thor, and I’m sure he wasn’t the guy who played Loki. Wait, did they change actors between Thor and The Avengers? Did Jake Gylenhaal play Loki in The Avengers and I just didn’t notice? What the fuck is going on?!!!” Nope. That is actually the character’s name, swear to God. Here:

Gyllenhaal

Yup. At first I thought it was maybe meant to be ironic, as Gylenhaal’s detective represents the forces of law and order methodically working to keep anarchy at bay, whereas Jackman’s character is the embodiment of raging, chaotic id taking the law into its own hands. Then I laughed and thought “No, they’re just idiots.” I really have nothing more to say on this particular subject. I just couldn’t hear anybody say “Detective Loki” without giggling and waiting for Gyllenhaal to call someone a “mewling quim.”

As I mentioned previously, Prisoners really does feel like two movies: one a serious melodrama that examines torture through the lens of American notions of masculinity and self-reliance, and the other a grand guignol serial killer thriller where people scrawl mazes on the walls and, once again, there are boxes full of snakes. (Fuck snakes BTW. Just fuck ‘em.) It’s not a problem that this movie tries to incorporate all these elements. It’s a problem that you feel the shift every time it switches. The two halves never cohere into a whole.

Father: What are you kids watching? Son: X-Men Origins" Wolverine. Father: Oh. So. What do you think? Son: Man, Will.I.Am can NOT ACT.

Father: What are you kids watching?
Son: X-Men Origins” Wolverine.
Father: Oh. So. What do you think?
Son: Man, Will.I.Am can NOT ACT.

This is because the movie starts in a very grounded realistic setting, and then tries to slowly reveal the crazy underneath. This is the wrong order to do things in, like that person from OKCupid who waits until the twelfth date to tell you about their elaborate foot fetish. If you knew about the foot fetish going into date number one, then you know exactly what you’re getting into and then, when the person also turns out to have written their dissertation on “Ulysses”, you can be pleasantly surprised by their depth and erudition. Take for instance, the movie that that Prisoner’s Oscar hopes clearly have in mind: The Silence of the Lambs. If this movie had an OKCupid account, its profile pic would be of a goddamn foot. Within five minutes of the movie starting, Clarice is sitting across from Hannibal Lecter, and systems are go.  It doesn’t take the time to let its audience go “Hey, Wait, This isn’t Reality.” It just kicks you into a pit, lowers down a basket of lotion and says “It is NOW, Bitch!”

Ahem. So yeah, I don’t see this movie scoring any nominations for writing.

Best Director: Denis Villeneuve

You know what? For all this movie’s faults, I think Villeneuve did a pretty good job here. If he was a French director, I would say he might stand an outside chance.

But he’s not French. He’s French Canadian.

He doesn’t have a chance in hell.

Cinematography: Roger Deakins

Lemme ask, does that name sound familiar to you? Because it should. Let’s read off his resume, shall we? Better yet, let’s just read off his previous Oscar nominations.

  • Skyfall
  • True Grit
  • The Reader
  • The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
  • No Country For Old Men
  • The Man Who Wasn’t There
  • O Brother Where Art Thou
  • Kundun
  • Fargo
  • The Shawshank Redemption

Two things. First, this guy is the cinematographer for the Coen Brothers. So he must be a Prince-Making-Charlie-Murphy-Pancakes-level baller. Second, all of these movies were fucking gorgeous. And Prisoners is no exception. Deakins takes the color gray and turns it into a rainbow. He uses shadows not like he adopted them, but like he was born in them.

Cinematographer Roger Deakins

Cinematographer Roger Deakins

And during a climactic drive through the pounding snow, he cooks up a blurred vision effect that takes your standard “faster, faster, must go faster” moment into a nerve-splintering hell ride.

I don’t honestly think anyone else from this movie will get nominated. But Deakins? I think this will be lucky number eleven.

Best Picture: Prisoners

This category got a lot more ridiculous when they changed it to ten nominees, and then less ridiculous but still very interesting when they changed it to up to ten. Forcing ten nominees really felt like giving trophies to everyone on the team. It was mostly seen as a reaction to The Dark Knight not getting nominated the year before which led everyone to be like, “Do wanna hear how I got these scars, Oscar voters?” Now of course the actual solution to that problem, that the current make-up of the Wrinkled Fuckers (mostly the fact that they are overly wrinkled and a majority of them are fuckers)  precludes such genre fare from being considered is not one that is easily remedied, short of handing out Oscar voter cards at Comic Con and then watching in horror as Jonah Hex walks away with the field. (Jay Kay, nerds. We know you hated that movie too.) So the Wrinkled Fuckers decided to do the next best thing, which was include enough spots that films like The Dark Knight or District 9 or Machete Kills could get nominated but not win because one is about a man who dresses up in rubber suit and fights an evil clown, one of them is about space bugs but really it’s about racism but really it’s about super cool guns and one of them is—actually, scratch that—Machete Kills is gonna win the whole damn thing.

What was I talking about? Where was this going? Oh yeah. Even with an expanded field of up to ten nominees, which would seem to favor genre fare like Prisoners getting a nomination, I still don’t think it’s gonna happen. Prisoners is your classic “The whole is less than the sum of its parts.” It’s an okay torture melodrama (like Zero Dark Thirty’s dumb hick cousin) and it’s a fun little serial killer film and it ’s got some good performances and it’s got gorgeous cinematography but none of it really adds up to a great movie. It has all the right parts to assemble to the Princess Play Castle that is an Oscar-Nominee for best picture but it doesn’t know how to put them altogether, probably because some of the parts aren’t even from a Princess Play Castle. They’re from an erector set, or Lego Death Star, or a meth lab. And while you might end up making some kinda alright meth in your Princess Play Castle Slash Meth Lab…is this really the kind of meth you’re gonna smoke and think, “This meth deserves an Oscar?”

I don’t fucking think so.

Fin!

Wait! Un-Fin!

Best Supporting Actress: Melissa Leo

I forgot to mention that Melissa Leo is in this movie. She plays Paul Dano’s creepy aunt.

Let’s be clear here: Melissa Leo is not getting nominated for an Oscar. I just brought her up so I could show you these:

LeoThose are photos from Leo’s self-financed Oscar campaign for her performance in The Fighter. Which she won.

Mr Gylenhaal, the ball is in your court. Your blindingly white, marble-columned, icy blue swimming pool containing court. Godspeed. And maybe take this floor length white fur robe for luck.

Les Miserables (2012) – Tom Hooper (Dir.), Hugh Jackman, Russel Crowe, Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfried, Eddie Redmayne, Sasha Baron Cohen, Helena Bonham Carter, Samantha Barks

This poster brought to you by the monosyllabic factories of Stuttgart, our motto: "GOOD"

This poster brought to you by the monosyllabic factories of Stuttgart, our motto: “GOOD”

Alright, let’s get this out of the way. Deep breath…

OMGLESMISERABLESYOUGUYS!!!! SQUUUUUUEEEEEE. OMG JEANVALJEANVSJAVERT FANTINEDREAMEDADREAMALLOVERMYFACE

SUCKITSUSANBOYLEYOURFIFTEENMINUTESAREUP

BECAUSEANNEHATHAWAYISTHINNERTHANYOU

*pant, pant*

HOLY SHIT THE BARRICADE IS UP ANDGAVROSHISGOINGTOGETSHOTAND

EPONINELOVESHIMSOMUCHBUTHEJUSTDOESN’TSEE

ANDI’MTOTALLYTEAMEPONINENOT

TEAMCOSETTEBECAUSESHE’SBEENWITHHIMTHROUGHTHICKANDTHIN

*pant, pant*

AND…

*SLAP*

Hugh Jackman as Daniel Day Lewis as Hugh Jackman as Orson Wells as Valjean

Hugh Jackman as Daniel Day Lewis as Hugh Jackman as Orson Wells as Valjean

Holy fuck. Thank you, disembodied internet-hand. I needed that. Yes, it is true, I’m almost not ashamed to admit, that I am a Les Miserables fan-girl. From the moment the score swelled and the chain-gang took to their turntable on a lonely stage in New Haven, CT, like a fish too stupid to tell the difference between a worm and a piece of sparkly plastic on a string, I was hooked. My little highschool self became drunk on Thenardier’s bombast, Valjean’s strength, Javert’s straight-laced don’t-fuck-with-me-fuckery. The next year, we performed the show, fresh off of the touring stage. Our budget was nothing! Our talent was limited! Our cast was mainly boys who were too afraid to play sports and girls who were trying to sleep with all the hot gays! But what we lacked in pretty much every department required to put on one of the most over the top productions since Andrew Lloyd Weber’s Michael Bay’s Transformers! The Musical, we made up for in heart. And, you know what, we kicked ass. At least, that’s what my mother said. (But she’s british so it was more, ‘It was the dog’s bollocks!’)

So, now, years later, I am confronted once more with my deepest of demons, my darkest of secrets, my squealiest, most infuriating, most utterly weepy self: Les Mis Mooney. *Facepalm* Try as I did to stave it off, every fucking time that fucking trailer with Anne fucking Hathaway came on the fucking screen and sang I Dreamed a Fucking Dream I’d become a weeping sack of musical theater nerd mush. I was excited for this film. So excited that I did battle with my mother for a solid month before finally convincing her to make this our ‘Boxing Day Movie’ (Mooney Family Tradition, we don’t fuck around). So, the question is, did Tom Hooper pull it off? Did I spend 3 hours squirming with sappy glee in my theater seat? Was I launched back into post revolutionary France to stand atop the barricade and fight with all my might against the coming horde of the Parisian military?

Um…no.

Was the movie terrible? No. Was it good? No. Did I cry? Kinda. Was Russell Crowe a rotting sack of shit that rained over everyone’s parade and completely ruined every modicum of film that he marred? Abso-fruitly. But I’ll get to that.

"Come, my darling, let me eat your soul."

“Come, my darling, let me eat your soul.”

First, let me say, that when attempting to corral the Mooney clan towards a movie theater, grandmother in tow, on the day after a massive film release in the middle of Connecticut, buying tickets early isn’t enough to guarantee seats. When we arrived five minutes before show time, the entire place was literally bursting at the seams with autumnal-yeared bourgeoisie. My lady friend and I were relegated to the only seat in the house with ‘restricted view’ and the inability to hear any dialogue seeing as this craphouse hadn’t figure out how Dolby works. Finally, we conceded, after I decided to sit on the floor to get a semi-decent view, to sit in the second row aaaaaaall the way to the left. We were probably 10 feet from the screen so every frame, every second was a wash of dour color and beads of digitalized sweat. Bear that in mind; I’ll come back to it.

So, who has the brass balls, the iron-clad testicles, the Steely Dans, if you will, to take on the task of adapting this emotionally-rich and utterly over-the-top display of operatic theater-nerd crazy from the West End and adapt it for the silver screen? Enter Mr. Tom “Fish-Eye Lens” Hooper. You might remember him from the 2010 Oscar-Grabby Old-Man-Acty-Acty Royalty Porn that was The King’s Speech. Now, for months I staved off the horde from forcing me to sit down and indulge in all two hours of Mr. Darcy being taught by Bellatrix and Captain Barbossa to speak right. But, in the end, I broke down and scoffed on the mass of royal toe-sucking that makes up the highest grossing revenues of all British exports. And it was good. Like really, fucking good. Suddenly, all preconceived notions of its shrewd award begging evaporated and I was offered a heart-warming tale of small victories and family issues. Now, let’s transport that grimy and realistic view of Blitzed London to post revolutionary France. Mr. Hooper, during that import, seems to have loaded up on the HD close-up cameras, Steady-Cams and fish-eye lenses (OH THE FISH-EYES!). Because, honestly, how does one transmogrify a play that, beside the fact that everyone’s singing, attempts with its very core to convince you that it is anything other than a play, into something that is a movie that doesn’t want to be a movie but wants to be a movie? Apparently, the answer is close-ups. SO MANY CLOSE-UPS. Seriously, if I had a migraine for every close-up that happened…oh wait, I fucking did. It got to the point, only ten feet from the screen, that I almost attempted playing a game of ring toss with the fake wrinkles around Wolverine’s eyes. Yes, Hooper does an excellent job of fucking up peoples’ teeth, spreading the grease through their hair like they just returned from a New Orleans deep-fry off, and covering the extras in so many topical diseases you’d think they were all going to a Keith Richards costume party. In retrospect, that was my favorite aspect of the movie. Out of all the Les Mis adaptations, including the hilariously truncated but eminently watchable Liam Neeson/Geoffrey Rush Fugitive remake in the mid-Naughties, this is the only one that actually has shit in the Parisian sewer. It was gross. It was vile. And it was a delightful touch.

"COME, I WISH TO VIOLATE YOUR NOSTRILS WITH MY APERTURE," Tom Hooper, an actor's director.

“COME, I WISH TO VIOLATE YOUR NOSTRILS WITH MY APERTURE,” Tom Hooper, an actor’s director.

Here is the biggest issue. Film is a medium that avoids Suspension of Disbelief like the plague. It offers levels of realism unparalleled by any other form of artistic expression. And so, when you have this sprawling epic in vibrato forced into ultra-realistic cinematography, peppered with spoken lines to help fill in the blanks that the stage play just doesn’t give a fuck about, you have to ask yourself…why are you singing when you can talk? Surely that’s an easier form of communication? Thus, we have the patented Square-Peg Conundrum. Les Miserables is a wonderfully square peg, beautifully constructed and soaking in the loins of teenage fans in heat, but Mr. Hooper is attempting to force it into the round hole of cinema. No matter how hard you lean on it, it ain’t gonna fit, buddy. What you get is a higgedly-piggedly mish-mash of actors not knowing what movie they are in (is it an understated comedy? A romance movie? A jailbreak? A concert film where all you do is stand still and sing because you are contractually obligated to at least show up? (Fuck you, Russell Crowe)). Honestly, there are only three stage musicals that have been adapted into film that I think work. First, West Side Story because one, duh, it’s Sondheim and Bernstein and two, it knows it’s a play. It has the sets, it has the dancing, it has the everything. It defines its rules and it sticks to ’em. Second, is Reefer Madness because, well, it’s fucking ridiculous and I love it and never-say-anything-bad-about-it-ever-or-I-will-come-to-your-house-in-the-night-and-let-a-bear-loose-in-your-bedroom. Lastly, and probably leastly, Chicago. It’s not my favorite musical nor is it my favorite movie. BUT. It understands why the play is a musical and why it loves the format in which it was crafted. It’s about over-the-top sizzle, sazzle, jazz, pizzazz and other misuses of the letter z. When people sing, they are teleported to a disembodied stage in the middle of MUSICAL-TOPIA and it becomes clear that these songs are more inner-monologues, thus weaving it together in a sensical package. Sometimes it really works in Les Mis. Pretty much everything at the barricade and involving the lovers makes sense and is fucking great. Sometimes it really, really, really, really doesn’t (I’m looking at you everything-Hugh-Jackman-does). So…speaking of Wolverine…

Oh the cast. There is a wonderful paradox when it comes to casting a movie musical. Anyone who doesn’t really give a shit is waiting to see what Hollywood starlets believe they can belt and so they charge forth to witness either their edification onto the fast-track to Oscardom (Renee Zellweger has an Oscar Nomination. I ask you, is there no other greater affront to humanity than that?) or the complete and utter dismemberment by way of unrelenting ridicule. Those who do give a shit demand Broadway stars who only the most nerdy of the nerds might recognize. It’s naive and incorrect to think there is anyway a no name will be installed into the lead role of any massive budget shit show like this, so the argument never, ever holds water, disregarding talent altogether. So, here we have Catwoman, the enervating and delightful Anne Hathaway, with a widescreen camera almost lodged in her vocal cords, plugging away and sealing up an Oscar faster than Meryl Streep can say, “I think I’ll make another movie”. She hits her notes, she cries her tears, she dreams a dream of days gone by. Good job. Then we have the chilluns and the clowns. Amanda “Light of God Encapsulated in Human Form” Seyfried plays Cosette, the role she was literally concocted in a lab to play, and kills it. We even having the surprisingly buxom Samantha Barks trouncing those solos as Eponine because, well, she’s famous for singing things well. Next, Borat and Ms. Lovett create a love story that makes you question French dentistry with completely unexpectedly underplayed performances. Seriously, I played Thenardier in high school with a gusto that would have made Roger Ebert cry blood, but this is so absolutely opposite and hilarious that it provides something that you wouldn’t expect…a reason for this movie to exist. Bonham Carter and Baron Cohen, these dually-surnamed beasts of comedic timing, create characters you wouldn’t see on stage. Thank the Jesus. Finally, on the ‘good’ side of things, we have the otherwise blissfully unknown powerhouse that is Eddie Redmayne playing Marius. Where the fuck did he come from? Did he crawl out of some kind of secret lab where the Brits are trying to construct the perfect man but accidentally hit the ‘freckle-icious’ button? I have always hated Marius, the wimpy, whiny little sod. This is the first fucking time ever that he comes off as a warrior, believably smitten, and a PTSD survivor. Holy shit. When he sings ‘Empty Chairs at Empty Tables’, redundancy of the title aside, he delivers a solo that would make Orpheus rethink

The Thenardiers, shockingly good hosts, if you don't mind Syphilis.

The Thenardiers, shockingly good hosts, if you don’t mind Syphilis.

his profession…and that’s even with a fucking steady cam assaulting his esophagus.

But then, oh man, then there’s the other half of the cast. Mr. Jackman, Wolverine, bubby, I love you. You’re the sweetest little stardust of a human being to ever flit its way out of Aussie-land. You’re a great singer, a charismatic actor, an uncompromising delight. Jean Valjean, you are not. You try, you try so hard…but there’s only so much a make-up artist can do to make you age from 30-something to 60-something with High Definition Dolby Digital Chromatic-Asshattery sucking on your flaring nostrils. You don’t have the voice, the presence, the age or the latter-day Orson Wells look to play this role. But it isn’t your fault…you’re just miscast. I feel like I should send you a card and beg you to continue what you’re doing. Be Wolverine. Be likable. Be the most charming host the Academy Awards has pulled out of its ass since Johnny Carson died and everyone got sick of Billy Crystal.

There is another card I wish to send. Well, it’s more of a package. It has no writing. Just poop. Stinky, stale, maggot-ridden, I-might-have-had-curry-last-night feces. And it will be addressed to Mr. Russell “Cell Phone in the Face” Crowe (yeah, no one has forgotten that one, bucko). Now, I’m fully aware that if I ever met Mr. Crowe, this next paragraph will earn me a punch in the face because, you know, he does that. I don’t give a fuck. So, here goes:

FUCK YOU

Good paragraph. But seriously, when I auditioned for this show, when I fell in love with it, when I sang it all alone in my room and my parents quietly questioned my sexuality, I wanted to play Javert. I don’t know what it is about his character, but he spoke to me. He’s a man who lives by a code, much like Batman. He fights bad guys, like Batman. Sometimes he talks about stars and jumps off of high things, like…Batman? His quest to destroy the virtuous Valjean is the emotional through-line that weaves this thousand-fucking-million page novel into something edible for the illiterate public. He is so stalwart in his view that bad is bad and will always be bad, while Valjean entirely undoes his basic understanding of existence. The only option? SPOILERS. Suicide. You know what I just described? A character arc. A tale of emotional growth and destruction that makes sense. Have you seen movies recently? You’ll be so lucky you get anything so worthy. Mr. Crowe, you stumble into this film a blank piece of wood. You sang badly. You look as though this was court-ordered community service. What the fuck? Do you not know what a musical is? What about singing? What about acting? I know you got your Oscar early so the rest of your career is just coasting on fumes, but come the fuck on. Don’t just piss on my favorite character! You are the worst. Just the worst. You know what? Hitler did a lot of bad things (Holocaust, World War II, painting, vegetarianism), you know what he didn’t do? RUIN LES MISERABLES. That’s right, in this specific case, you are WORSE THAN HITLER. You know what? From now on, everything will be judged on a Russell Crowe scale of terrible. Level 1 is Gladiator, where, yes you kill people good and make some speeches, but every scene of you talking to another human being is about as interesting as me scratching my balls for two days straight. Level 5 is Robin Hood. I went through the entire movie thinking you were Little John because, goddammit, lose some weight! Level 10 is going to be the probably terrible Superman remake because, let’s be real, it’s directed by Zack “DERR-I-LIEK-BOOBS” Snyder. Level fucking 50 is Les Mis.

And the award for best Keanu Reeves impersonation goes to..."GO FUCK YOURSELF."

And the award for best Keanu Reeves impersonation goes to…”GO FUCK YOURSELF.”

So, in conclusion, did I enjoy Les Mis? Yes and no. Was it agonizing to sit there for 3 hours? Yes. Will I buy it on DVD? Absolutely. Will it be in Blu-Ray so I can literally count every single pore on Hugh Jackman’s face? You fucking know it. The second it comes out I’m going to have a Whiskey and Swearing at Russell Crowe Party. You’re all invited.