Thursday, February 16, 2012

My Ballot for Oscar 2012

It's that glorious time of the year. The Super Bowl of Movies. We celebrate the year that was, a remarkable time we all had at the movies in 2011.

I have no stake in the Oscars. I don't get upset when people lose or are snubbed. I don't rally around the block screaming, "HE WON!"

Because, really, none of this stuff matters. It doesn't matter who wins, who loses, what she's wearing or who he's with. All of this will be forgotten a few weeks from now. I can't tell you how many times I have to stop and wonder, "Hey, who won Best Actor last year?" What matters is that good movies are celebrated and appreciated. It's not easy making a movie that entertains the hell out of people. So when it happens, a party is in order.

It's all in good fun.

Now, if anyone has money riding on this year's Oscars, I've got a sure thing for you. BET AGAINST ME! I'm notoriously sucky at correctly picking the Oscar winners. So, do what you will with that.

Best Picture
The Artist
The Descendants
The Help
Midnight In Paris
The Tree Of Life
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
War Horse

SHOULD WIN: Of all of these films listed, my favorite of the bunch is Moneyball. But is it worthy of Best Picture? I love it, but not quite that much. In varying degrees, The Help, Midnight in Paris, The Tree of Life and The Artist are all rather enjoyable motion pictures. The rest are currently unseen by me. My heart simply does not belong to any one of these this year.
WILL WIN: The Artist is the frontrunner. Can't really argue with that.

Best Director 
Martin Scorsese - Hugo
Terrence Malick - Tree Of Life
Woody Allen - Midnight In Paris
Alexander Payne - The Descendants
Michel Hazanavicius - The Artist

SHOULD WIN: I think this one should go to Malick, because his Tree of Life, while a confounding, perplexing picture, is one of stunning ambition. He had the balls to make a movie like that and have it turn out to be as good as it is. Although, having not seen The Descendants and Hugo, and being big admirers of both directors, I hate saying they don't deserve to win.
WILL WIN: Hazanavicius will win this one. No one has made a hit silent film since the 1920's.

Best Actor
George Clooney - The Descendants
Gary Oldman - Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Brad Pitt - Moneyball
Jean Dujardin - The Artist
Demián Bichir - A Better Life

SHOULD WIN: This is a tough one. Really good actors and performances in this category. I'm thrilled for Oldman, but this isn't his movie or year. It's Pitt's best work in a long, long time. Dujardin is a pleasant surprise. Bichir is soulful and exquisite. I'm a big, big fan of Clooney's, and will watch him in anything. Though I can't judge this performance specifically, I am kind of hoping he wins.
WILL WIN: It's a toss up between Clooney and Dujardin, and I think Dujardin will be the surprise winner.

Best Actress 
Glenn Close - Albert Nobbs
Meryl Streep - The Iron Lady
Viola Davis - The Help
Rooney Mara - The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
Michelle Williams - My Week With Marilyn

SHOULD WIN: I haven't seen Dragon Tattoo or Rooney Mara in anything, except for that brief role in The Social Network. I don't think she has a chance here. But I absolutely adore each of the other actresses on this ballot, even if I've only seen The Help. I'll be pleasantly happy with either of them.
WILL WIN: For a while, Viola Davis was a front runner. But I'm feeling buzzy about an upset for Meryl Streep in what will be her first win in 29 years. It's time to give her another one!

Best Supporting Actor 
Kenneth Branagh - My Week With Marilyn
Jonah Hill - Moneyball
Nick Nolte - Warrior
Max Von Sydow - Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
Christopher Plummer - Beginners

SHOULD WIN: I really liked Hill in Moneyball, but I didn't think he was worthy of a nomination. Love Branagh, Nolte and Sydow, but didn't see their work here yet. Beginners was one of my favorite films of 2011, and Plummer was nothing short of extraordinary.
WILL WIN: Plummer will get what he deserves: a career-capping Oscar statuette.

Best Supporting Actress 
Jessica Chastain - The Help
Octavia Spencer - The Help
Janet McTeer - Albert Nobbs
Melissa McCarthy - Bridesmaids
Berenice Bejo - The Artist

SHOULD WIN: McTeer is the odd one of the bunch. Loved her in Tumbleweeds 10 years ago, haven't heard from her since! And I haven't seen Albert Nobbs yet. But I have seen and enjoyed The Help, Bridesmaids and The Artist, and these women are remarkable here. I have a deeper connection with McCarthy because I've seen her on Gilmore Girls for six seasons and absolutely adore her. But I think the nomination is the prize for her. Chastain had an amazing year, but The Help was not her best role. Spencer is a favorite here and deservedly so, but personally speaking, I thought the best thing about The Artist was Bejo. Her face is striking and gorgeous, and she played the ingenue part so very well. I think she deserves the win here.
WILL WIN: Octavia Spencer may very well be the sole winner for The Help on Oscar night...

Best Original Screenplay
The Artist
Margin Call
Midnight In Paris
A Separation
SHOULD WIN: I'm thrilled for the nomination for Margin Call. It's one of my favorite films of the year and one of the biggest surprises of this year's Oscar nominees. I'm also happy to see Bridesmaids nominated. It's not the funniest film of the year (that honor goes to The Trip) but it's nice to see a hard-R comedy get some love.
WILL WIN: Woody Allen's charming, well-received Midnight in Paris will get its sole win here.

Best Adapted Screenplay
The Descendants
Ides Of March
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
SHOULD WIN: I love Alexander Payne, and he is very well-respected in the industry. But The Descendants seems to be losing traction with audiences. And the scripts for Hugo, Ides of March and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy are not exactly what's making them so well-recieved.
WILL WIN: Moneyball is popping out here, and will get its sole win of the night. Sorkin's streak is currently unstoppable.

Best Animated Feature Film
A Cat In Paris
Chico & Rita
Kung Fu Panda 2
Puss In Boots
SHOULD WIN: I've only seen Rango, and liked it quite a bit. It's a fresh, funny and spirited comedy. I have no opinion on the others.
WILL WIN: Rango appears to be the front-runner

Best Foreign Film
Monsieur Lahzar
A Separation
In Darkness
SHOULD WIN: No opinion, haven't seen any of these.
WILL WIN: A Separation is well-loved worldwide. It's a clear cut winner.

Best Cinematography
The Artist
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
Tree Of Life
War Horse
SHOULD WIN: The best looking movie of the year is The Tree of Life. There is no competition.
WILL WIN: The Tree of Life

Best Art Direction 
The Artist
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2
War Horse
SHOULD WIN: The Academy usually rewards extravagance here, and while I haven't seen Hugo, that one looks like a clincher for this award. That being said, I always thought all of the Harry Potter movies were designed beautifully and the finale was no exception. I'm rooting for Potter.
WILL WIN: Most likely, Hugo

Best Costume Design
Jane Eyre
The Artist
SHOULD WIN: I'm not going to pretend I know anything about costumes. 
WILL WIN: I'm going to take a stab and guess that Hugo will walk away with this one

Best Editing
The Artist
The Descendants
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
SHOULD WIN: For a movie about statistics and baseball, Moneyball moved at a furious pace and didn't seem to waste a shot.  
WILL WIN: Usually the Best Picture winner walks away with the editing award. So, I'm picking The Artist.

Best Makeup
Albert Nobbs
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2
The Iron Lady
SHOULD WIN: Our favorite muggles looked pretty convincing as 30-something-year-old parents, didn't they? I thought so. 
WILL WIN: Meryl Streep will win an Oscar for playing Margaret Thatcher and so will her makeup artist for making Streep look just like her.

Best Original Score
The Adventures Of Tintin
The Artist
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
War Horse
SHOULD WIN: The only sound we hear in The Artist is the score. That's a huge undertaking and a big part of what makes the film so #winning.
WILL WIN: The Artist

Best Original Song
Man Or Muppet (The Muppets)
Real In Rio (Rio)
SHOULD WIN: No opinion here.
WILL WIN: Due to popularity, I'm going with the Muppets.

Best Sound Editing
Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
Transformers 3
War Horse
SHOULD WIN: Like much of America, I'm not well-versed in the area of sound editing and mixing. So, I really have no opinion.
WILL WIN: Let's give it to Hugo.

Best Sound Mixing
Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
Transformers 3
War Horse
SHOULD WIN: See above.
WILL WIN: Hugo again.

Best Visual Effects
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2
Real Steel
Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes
Transformers 3
SHOULD WIN: I would love to see Rise of the Planet of the Apes take the trophy here for its amazing use of motion capture. But I'm not sure if it's "big" enough for the Academy.
WILL WIN: I think Hugo will continue its sweep of technical awards here. The 3D supposedly is pretty amazing.

Best Documentary (Feature)
Hell And Back Again
If A Tree Falls
Paradise Lost 3
SHOULD WIN: No opinion, haven't seen any of these yet.
WILL WIN: Despite positive rumblings about Hell and Back Again, I have heard even more amazing things about Pina, so that's the winner. Plus, it's from Wim Wenders!

Best Documentary (Short)
The Barber of Birmingham
God Is the Bigger Elvis
Incident in New Baghdad
Saving Face
The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom
SHOULD WIN: No opinion
WILL WIN: God is the Bigger Elvis, based on the title alone. Yes, that's grounds for winning.

Best Short Film (Animated)
The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore
La Luna
A Morning Stroll
Wild Life
SHOULD WIN: No opinion
WILL WIN: Hands down, without a doubt, it's clearly A Morning Stroll. Have you ever seen anything so pleasant? (That's my bullshit meter going in overdrive, by the way).

Best Short Film (Live Action)
The Shore
Time Freak
Tuba Atlantic
SHOULD WIN: No opinion
WILL WIN: Time Freak. But only because it describes me very, very well. Well, the freak part, anyway.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Best of the Year: 2000

My Picks of the Year
(in alphabetical order)
Almost Famous
Almost Famous is a nostalgic road journey that hits all of the right notes. Patrick Fugit plays William Miller, a young lover of music who immerses himself in the industry of indulgence and free-spiritedness. Fugit generates a genuine sweetness and blends in nicely with the rest of the strong, prolific cast that includes Philip Seymour Hoffman, Kate Hudson, Billy Crudup and Jason Lee. Frances McDormand is the best supporting actress of this year (combined with her other great role in Wonder Boys); never have I seen an actress so flawlessly capture a mother's tough love.

Cast Away
Tom Hanks and Robert Zemeckis’ second collaborative effort is a graceful, thoughtful film, a meditative, psychological journey into the mind of a man who is stripped of everything he ever owned. Broken down into three consistently amazing sequences, this film excels in the finale, where Hanks appears at the crossroads of life, a place where the future remains uncertain. Loaded with beautiful imagery, extraordinary acting (is there anyone alive better than Hanks?), and understated dialogue, Cast Away is one of Zemeckis’ best films.

Chuck & Buck
What starts out as a creepy, spider-tingling obsession flick turns into something of a revelation: a sweet, thoroughly moving drama about a man and his dark shadow. It was a stroke of genius to cast lesser-known actors (Lupe Ontiveros, Mike White and the Weitz brothers are natural born actors; the screen loves them). Chuck & Buck is a very daring film that so easily could have been appalling and dangerous. But it fell into the right hands and it’s a film that can be universally embraced.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
Greatness usually comes in quiet and surprising ways for me, but this one is an exception. Ang Lee’s masterpiece comes forward in a fabulously extravagant way, stridently and assuredly entertaining the viewer with the best of tongue-in-cheek humor, exquisite romance, and mind-blowing action sequences. What makes this one, without a doubt, the most graceful action film I have ever seen, is the emotional resonance that vibrates throughout its entire backbone. This film cares about its characters as well as its audience, and that’s the balancing act found impossible by today’s standards in Hollywood. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon so gallantly recycles the best of movie-making and makes it fresh.

Final Destination
A genuinely clever and way-above-par teenage horror flick, one without a man with a left hook, razor-sharp fingers, or a Munch mask. Fate truly is the nastiest villain of them all. It doesn't get scarier than facing an unknown, unstoppable life force. Final Destination left me laughing and cringing all at once, and that last shot had me gleefully walking out of the theater.

This is a corny, melodramatic time-travel thriller about a son in the present day who communicates with his father... in 1969. And yet, I loved it anyway. This great story, terrifically involving and twisty, is filmed with stylish camera work and undeniable charm by its two leads, the inimitable Dennis Quaid (looking good as always) and the fine Jim Caviezel. Frequency stuck with me for awhile, not only because of its nifty premise, but also of its sheer sweet ol’American spirit.

The Legend of Drunken Master
Without a doubt, this is Jackie Chan’s best picture, one of the most fun, daring, thrilling action pictures I have ever seen. Chan’s facial expressions and comedic delivery have seriously never been better, and do I have to mention his stunt work? Usually, for this kind of picture, the plot is contrived and mechanical, and the characters are one-note and difficult to tell apart. What makes The Legend of Drunken Master really work is the clarity of the characters and story; from the get-go, we understand who’s who and what’s going on. The supporting cast is brilliantly refined and comedically gifted. This is a masterpiece of its genre.

Love & Basketball
Put together a love story in a sports setting, a predominantly African-American cast, and no big game in the finale -- what do you get? Love & Basketball, a truly tender, fresh, emotional tale that treats all characters (and the audience) with respect and dignity. Omar Epps and Sanaa Lathan (a star in the making) are exquisite as childhood friends-turned-lovers, with Alfre Woodard and Debbi Morgan standing out in a great, accomplished cast. Chalk this one up as a sleeper hit.

Nurse Betty
What a surprising little comedy! At every turn, with every twist, Neil LaBute manages to stray from the conventional and aim for something new. Renee Zellweger, justly earning the Golden Globe for her role as Betty Sizemore, is a breath of fresh air as an innocent, naive housewife who goes a little too far in her obsession for a soap opera character (played with finesse by Greg Kinnear). The terrific Allison Janney, Chris Rock, acerbic as ever, the never tiresome Pruitt Taylor Vince, the always wacky Crispin Glover, and the forever brilliant Morgan Freeman all play characters who, in one way or another, are after Betty. And of course, it is Betty who is after our hearts.

Requiem for a Dream
It doesn't happen often. I'll sit through a film in a movie theater that will make me forget about everything going on in my life. Not once will I check my watch or be distracted by audience members or take a bathroom trip. Requiem for a Dream took me in for 100 minutes, deep into its psyche, and spitted me out very shaken and very disturbed. It’s a harrowing experience, an absorbing trip into four minds spiralling out of control. Ellen Burstyn truly gets into her character, and creates a realistic, sympathetic addict. It’s an amazing performance. The rest of the cast more than hold their own in lesser developed stories, but combined, as a whole, this group of lost souls captures the true essence of helplessness. A masterpiece in sound, cinematography and editing.

Spring Forward
A very interesting experiment. In just seven scenes, for 100 minutes, we watch Ned Beatty and Liev Schrieber build a friendship in the span of one year. This conversational piece is a beautiful exercise in acting, and both stars embody these characters quite realistically. A very quiet film, like watching nature bloom and seasons change (hence the title), Spring Forward has surprising resonance.

Two Family House
There is so little that is wrong with this film. It’s nearly perfect. The biggest heart of any movie I’ve seen in years, Two Family House is the story of an Italian-American working class husband, circa 1958, whose dreams have been put down by his old-fashioned but well-meaning wife. When he meets a lonely pregnant woman, the man begins to see that his dreams can still be attainable without losing his dignity. Michael Rispoli delivers a career performance as Buddy Visaro, a singer extraordinaire and future bar owner. It’s a rich, beautiful portrait, one that will be impossible to forget. This kind of picture is precisely the reason I went to school to study movies.

A perfectly moody comic book adventure that contains elements of serious drama and flights of fantasy. Bruce Willis adds more class to his resume as David Dunn, a seriously disturbed husband and father. The pacing is just right, and the absorbing story unfolds beautifully. I thought the final twist played out too jarringly, but the idea of it resonates strongly and makes Unbreakable as solid and wondrous as they come.

Wonder Boys
Quite possibly my favorite film of the year. Steve Kloves’s script deserves all kudos for his creation of refreshing dialogue, memorable characters, and a terrifically rambling story of an aging professor who finds himself at a crossroads in life. As he makes his life-altering decisions on one fateful weekend, all sorts of colorful, yet realistic, individuals attribute to his journey, including his daffy book editor (Robert Downey, Jr), his depressed but brilliant student (Tobey Maguire), his intelligent live-in admirer (Katie Holmes), and his married, yet loyal, girlfriend (Frances McDormand). Every actor who embodies these characters each deserve rich acclaim, and Michael Douglas, as our irascible, lovable hero, takes the top prize.

You Can Count on Me
This is a quiet, truly sincere drama about domestic strife in a small town in upstate New York. Laura Linney deserves Oscar notice as a single mother who tries to juggle an outcast brother (a wonderful find in Mark Ruffalo), a precocious son (another Culkin, no less), and a prickly boss (a smartly cast Matthew Broderick). Nicely paced, sharply written, and beautifully acted, this one makes you appreciate the important people in your life.

Honorable Mention
The Beach; Bring it On; The Cell; Charlie’s Angels; Cheaters; Erin Brockovich; Men of Honor; O Brother, Where Art Thou?; The Patriot; Reindeer Games; Space Cowboys; Tigerland; Time Code; Together; U-571; The Yards

Friday, February 3, 2012

Quick Takes: January Highlights

Another fantastic month in entertainment. I've seen far less movies than what I'm used to, but I'll take quality over quantity anytime. One of the reasons I'm not seeing so many films lately is because watching a TV series from scratch can be very time consuming. Last month, I watched the first two seasons of Damages, this month it's Parks and Recreation. I plan to devote some of February catching up to Mad Men. I've always been an advocate for good television. Some TV shows are just far more emotionally rewarding than most films I see all year.

To that end, here's the best of what January had to offer for me, arranged in order of viewing.

Dir. J.C. Chandor
In the best film I've ever seen about Wall Street, writer/director J.C. Chandor exudes confidence and remarkable restraint with his debut passion project, Margin Call. There isn't a single false note in this film, which takes place over a tumultuous 24-hour period in which a "big bank" agonizes over a crucial decision on the eve of the biggest financial crisis of our generation. Everyone at the corporation is affected, from the rookie risk assessment analyst who uncovers the error that would cost innocent people millions of dollars, to the middle managers who assesses every move as a power play, and to the cocksure CEO who weighs the balance of his company's fortune with the experience and skill of a fighter pilot. Wall Street and finances and balance sheets have never been this suspenseful. And what a cast! Kevin Spacey is the best I've seen him in years, while Paul Bettany, Demi Moore, Simon Baker and Zachary Quinto deliver performances they ought to be proud of. It's Glengarry Glen Ross with hedge funds and portfolios. A high compliment if there ever was one.

Dir. Azazel Jacobs
Azazel Jacobs directed this sensitive drama about a lonely teen (Jacob Wysocki, an assured debut) who suddenly finds himself in the company of three very different people. The first is his school principal, played with such low-key brilliance by John C. Reilly. Sometimes I feel like Reilly phones it in during crappy movies, but when he has strong material to work with, the guy can hit it out of the park. Reilly sees Terri as a good-hearted kid who could use some guidance. At the same time, Terri befriends a fellow outcast named Chad and forges a connection with the pretty Heather Miles. Terri is a sweet film. Worth seeing not for its somewhat predictable story, but the performances by the two leads.

Seasons 1-4
Created by Greg Daniels and Michael Schur
Parks and Recreation is an utter surprise and delight. When I started the first season last month, I was underwhelmed. The cast wasn't jelling. Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) was a loopy ditz who was too cartoonish to be realistic. The writers seemed to be trying too hard to be "quirky." Then something amazing happened. In season two, the agenda of the writers became clearer. They made Leslie smarter. The cast had better things to do with each other. Parks and Recreation became a show about the characters and their inherent goodness. This is the least cynical comedy I have seen in a long, long time. Behind all of that sarcasm is a deeply connected group of people who clearly adore one another. There is so much heart in this show and watching Leslie and the cast evolve season after season gave me immense pleasure.

I love the additions of Adam Scott (Ben) and Rob Lowe (Chris) -- they add so much delirium and obsessive-compulsive humor to the show. I love how Jerry Gergich gets so much abuse. I love the pairing of Andy Dwyer and April Ludgate, he with the abundance of optimism and she of the deadpan sarcasm. I love that Tom Haverford dreams big. I love that Ron Fucking Swanson is terrified of his ex-wives but takes no bullshit from anyone else. And most especially, I love Leslie Knope and her incredible passion for what she does. She doesn't do anything halfheartedly. Modern Family may have more laughs per minute, but Parks and Recreation has depth and soul. It's a strong character-driven sitcom and that is as rare and special as a tiny horse named Lil' Sebastian.

Dir. Will Gluck
Will Gluck, talented director of Easy A, scores again with another comedy that succeeds because of its likable cast, sharp script and fast-paced direction. Friends with Benefits is a very funny and raunchy rom-com that may be predictable (I don't need to outline the plot, do I?) and has its fair share of cliches, but Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis are so well-matched and charming that they made this film so easy to swallow. I'm as weary of romantic comedies with generic titles as much as the next guy, but I was pleasantly surprised by this one. It clicked for me.

Dir. George Clooney
Anything George Clooney is involved with always gets my attention. I greatly respect him as an actor, a director and all around celebrity. The Ides of March is a terrific directorial effort. It's a taut, layered thriller about a shady presidential candidate (Clooney) whose dark secret affects the lives of those on his campaign, including Ryan Gosling and Philip Seymour Hoffman as his top aides, and Evan Rachel Wood as an assistant who gets too involved. I really wish Clooney chose to dig deeper here; the film only scratches the surface of the big fallout. I wanted Clooney to get nastier. I wanted more melodrama after the credits rolled. Subsequently, the film focused only on the inner turmoil of Gosling's character and, frankly, that's just enough to make The Ides of March an absorbing film, well worth a look. It just could have been so much more.

Dir. John Madden
It took me a long time to get into this one. The first hour only periodically grabbed my interest as the film kept weaving its fractured narrative back and forth in time. The characters began to take shape during some pivotal capture sequences halfway into the film. That's when The Debt became an interesting drama about guilt, secrets and forbidden love. The cast is aces all around but the standout is the luminous Jessica Chastain as the younger Rachel Singer (later played Helen Mirren). Chastain's rising star has been the subject of many discussions this year, but despite her very good work in The Tree of Life and The Help, it's her performance in this film that really struck a nerve for me.

Dir. Bennett Miller
Aaron Sorkin is pretty amazing. He takes topics that I don't always find particularly exciting and not only makes them interesting but also romanticizes them to a certain extent. He took us inside sports broadcasting (Sports Night), politics (American President, West Wing), Facebook (The Social Network) and now the messy, unpredictable nature of baseball. Moneyball, as written by Sorkin and expert screenwriter Steven Zaillian, is a thrilling account of a persistent general manager (Brad Pitt, deserving his Oscar nod) who works with a statistical geek (Jonah Hill, nicely underplayed) and attempts to think outside the box when managing his raggedy team. I particularly enjoyed Philip Seymour Hoffman as disgruntled, frustrated Coach Art Howe. I'm not a baseball fan by any means, but Moneyball entertained the hell out of me.

Dir. Shawn Levy
Well, damn if I ended up with a little lump in my throat. Who knew I'd fall for a movie that is manipulative, cliched and hobbled together from 80's classics? There are many groan-inducing moments in Real Steel, but when it's put together by an appealing cast that includes Hugh Jackman, Evangeline Lilly ("Freckles!"), and impressive newcomer Dakota Goyo, I could not resist its charms. Equal parts Rocky, Over the Top, and Short Circuit (!), Real Steel is hardly original. But it's a helluva lot more entertaining than it ought to be. I don't know how Shawn Levy did it. He took a bad movie and made it more than watchable. In fact, he made it (almost) great.

Dir. Deborah Chow
I miss Zach Braff. I wish he would do more films, or even head back to TV. He was always a pleasure to watch on Scrubs, and I'm a big fan of his work in Garden State and The Last Kiss. His sense of humor is relatable and always present, even when he's working with heavy material. The High Cost of Living is his darkest film yet, and Braff completely pulls off his role as a drug runner who makes the life-altering mistake of hitting a pregnant woman (Isabelle Blais, remarkable) while driving under the influence. The film is a low-budget Canadian import and will barely make a blip in Braff's career. It's not without its flaws and is a bit slow-going, but if you're a fan of Braff's and wish the dude would work more, this is worth a look.


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