The Things You Find On Netflix: The Last Thing He Wanted (dir by Dee Rees)


As I watched The Last Thing He Wanted on Netflix, it occurred to me that smoking cigarettes and slamming down phones is no substitute for a personality.

The Last Thing He Wanted stars Anne Hathaway as Elena McMahon and, over the course of the movie, she smokes a lot of cigarettes and slams down a lot of phones.  That’s because Elena is supposed to be a veteran D.C. journalist.  She works for The Atlantic Post, which is an awkward name for a newspaper.  (In the novel on which this film was based, Elena worked for The Washington Post but I assume that plot point was changed to avoid upsetting Jeff Bezos.  That’s the sort of thing that gets this film off to a bad start.)  Hathaway is never exactly believable as a hard-boiled journalist who is known for uncovering government scandals and reporting from war zones.  She is, however, believable as a talented but miscast actress who watched a lot of old journalism movies before showing up on the set of The Last Thing He Wanted.  The end result is a performance that feels like cosplay.

Anyway, the film itself is a mess.  It takes place in 1984 and starts out with Elena getting yanked off of her usual Central America beat and assigned to instead cover the presidential campaign.  This leads to a lot of scenes of Elena lighting cigarettes and slamming down phones while talking about how difficult it is to be a journalist when you’re working for a spineless organization like the Atlantic Post.

Elena is estranged from her father, a dissolute drunk named Dick.  Dick is played by Willem DaFoe, who deals with the fact that he really doesn’t have much of a character to play by chewing up every piece of scenery that he can get his hands on.  (At times, it seems like Willem DaFoe has been replaced by someone doing a poorly conceived Willem DaFoe impersonation.)  Dick is suffering from dementia and he keeps forgetting that his wife is dead.  Dick needs Elena to do something for him.  It turns out that Dick has set up a “huge deal.”  Elena assumes that it must be a drug deal but it turns out that Dick is actually a small-time arms dealer.  So now, Elena is transporting weaponry through Central America and — surprise! — it all links back to the very story that her editors at the Atlantic Post didn’t want her to cover in the first place.

Soon, Elena is flying all over the place and meeting a rogue’s gallery of anti-communist rebels and arms dealers.  In a different film, they would all be fascinating characters but, in this one, it just comes across as being more cosplay.  Ben Affleck shows up a few times, playing some sort of Washington D.C. fixer and he’s absolutely the worst actor to cast in a film like this because the film’s vaguely-defined liberalism brings out his worst instincts as a performer.  The character’s written to be an enigmatic rogue but Affleck appears to be incapable of playing him as being anything other than just a one-note Republican.  (Whenever Affleck is cast in a role like this, you can see him thinking, “How would Matt Damon play this scene?”)  Toby Jones also makes an appearance and you’re excited to see him until you realize that he’s just going to be recycling his Truman Capote imitation from Infamous to no great effect.  There’s a lot of good performers in The Last Thing He Wanted but they’re left stranded by a script that doesn’t seem to know why any of them are there.  It all leads to an absolutely terrible ending, one that proves that combining voice over narration with slow motion is not always the brilliant narrative technique that some directors believe it to be.

The Last Thing He Wanted was directed and co-written by Dee Rees and it has all of the flaws but none of the strengths of Rees’s previous Netflix film, MudboundMudbound was frequently ponderous and predictable but it was redeemed by some beautiful images and some unexpectedly nuanced performances.  The Last Thing He Wanted is ponderous without being much else.

Here Are The 2017 Nominations From The Chicago Independent Film Critics!


The Chicago Independent Film Critics Circle should not be mistaken for the Chicago Film Critics Association.  However, since they’re both in Chicago, that does give me an excuse to once again use this picture of Al Capone.

Here are the nominees!

THE 10 BEST INDEPENDENT FILMS (in alphabetical order):

The Big Sick, Call Me By Your Name, The Florida Project, Get Out, A Ghost Story, Lady Bird, Lucky, Mudbound, The Shape of Water, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

THE 10 BEST STUDIO FILMS (in alphabetical order):

Baby Driver, Blade Runner 2049, Dunkirk, Logan, The Lost City of Z, mother!, Phantom Thread, The Post, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Wonder Woman


The complete list of nominees for the 2017 CIFCC Awards:

BEST INDEPENDENT FILM

BEST STUDIO FILM

BEST FOREIGN FILM

  • Raw
  • The Square
  • Thelma

BEST DOCUMENTARY

  • Faces Places
  • Jane
  • Whose Streets?

BEST ANIMATED FILM

BEST DIRECTOR

  • Greta Gerwig, Lady Bird
  • Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk
  • Jordan Peele, Get Out

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

  • The Big Sick– Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani
  • Get Out- Jordan Peele
  • Lady Bird- Greta Gerwig

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

  • Call Me By Your Name- James Ivory
  • The Disaster Artist- Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber
  • Mudbound– Dee Rees and Virgil Williams

BEST ACTOR

  • Timothée Chalamet, Call Me By Your Name
  • Daniel Kaluuya, Get Out
  • Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour

BEST ACTRESS

  • Sally Hawkins, The Shape of Water
  • Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
  • Saoirse Ronan, Lady Bird

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

  • Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project
  • Richard Jenkins, The Shape of Water
  • Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri
  • Michael Stuhlbarg, Call Me By Your Name

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

  • Tiffany Haddish, Girls Trip
  • Allison Janney, I, Tonya
  • Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird

BEST ENSEMBLE CAST

  • Get Out
  • Mudbound
  • The Post
  • The Shape of Water
  • Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

  • Blade Runner 2049– Roger Deakins
  • Dunkirk- Hoyte van Hoytema
  • The Shape of Water– Dan Laustsen

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN

  • Blade Runner 2049– Dennis Gassner
  • mother!- Philip Messina
  • The Shape of Water- Paul D. Austerberry

BEST EDITING

BEST COSTUME DESIGN AND MAKEUP

  • Darkest Hour– Jacqueline Durran (costumes), Kazuhiro Tsuji, Lucy Sibbick and David Malinowski (makeup)
  • Phantom Thread– Mark Bridges (costumes), Paul Engelen (makeup)
  • The Shape of Water– Luis Sequeria (costumes), Jordan Samuel and Paula Fleet (makeup)

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS


TRAILBLAZER AWARD

  • Sean Baker, The Florida Project
  • Jordan Peele, Get Out
  • Dee Rees, Mudbound

IMPACT AWARD

  • Greta Gerwig, Lady Bird
  • Patty Jenkins, Wonder Woman
  • Jordan Peele, Get Out

Here’s What The Southeast Film Critics Association Picked As the Best of 2017!


Best Film: “Get Out”
Runner-up: “The Shape Of Water”

Best actor: Gary Oldman, “Darkest Hour”
Runner-up: James Franco, “The Disaster Artist”

Best actress: Sally Hawkins, “The Shape of Water”
Runner-up: Frances McDormand, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

Best supporting actor: Sam Rockwell, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Runner-up: Willem Dafoe, “The Florida Project”

Best supporting actress: Laurie Metcalf, “Lady Bird”
Runner-up: Allison Janney, “I, Tonya”

Best ensemble: “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Runner-up: “The Post”

Best director: Guillermo Del Toro, “The Shape of Water”
Runner-up: Christopher Nolan, “Dunkirk”

Best original screenplay: Jordan Peele, for “Get Out”
Runner-up: Greta Gerwig, for “Lady Bird”

Best adapted screenplay: James Ivory, for “Call Me By My Name”
Runner-up: Dee Rees and Virgil Williams, for “Mudbound”

Best documentary: “Jane”
Runner-up: “Faces Places”

Best foreign-language film: “First They Killed My Father”
Runner-up: “The Square”

Best animated film: “Coco”
Runner-up: “Loving Vincent”

Best cinematography: Hoyte Van Hoytema, for “Dunkirk”
Runner-Up: Roger Deakins, for “Blade Runner 2049”

The Gene Wyatt Award: “Mudbound
Runner-Up: “The Florida Project”

SEFCA Top 10 of 2017
1. “Get Out”
2. “The Shape Of Water”
3. “Dunkirk”
4. “Lady Bird”
5. “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
6. “The Post”
7. “The Florida Project”
8. “Call Me By Your Name”
9. “Darkest Hour”
10. “The Disaster Artist”

Here Are The Nominees From The Women Film Critics Circle!


The Women Film Critics Circle has announced their nominations for the best of 2017!  The winners will be named next week!

BEST MOVIE ABOUT WOMEN

BEST MOVIE BY A WOMAN

  • “Detroit”
  • “First They Killed My Father”
  • “Lady Bird”
  • “Mudbound”

BEST WOMAN STORYTELLER [Screenwriting Award]

  • Greta Gerwig, “Lady Bird”
  • Maggie Greenwald, “Sophie And The Rising Sun”
  • Dee Rees, “Mudbound”
  • Angela Workman, “The Zookeeper’s Wife”

BEST ACTRESS

  • Sally Hawkins, “Maudie”
  • Sally Hawkins, “The Shape Of Water”
  • Frances McDormand, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
  • Cynthia Nixon, “A Quiet Passion”

BEST ACTOR

  • Timothée Chalamet, “Call Me By Your Name”
  • Daniel Kaluuya, “Get Out”
  • Gary Oldman, “Darkest Hour”
  • Denzel Washington, “Roman J. Israel, Esq.”

BEST YOUNG ACTRESS (Under 21)

  • Seo-Hyun Ahn, “Okja”
  • Mckenna Grace, “Gifted”
  • Brooklynn Prince, “The Florida Project”
  • Millicent Simmonds, “Wonderstruck”

BEST COMEDIC ACTRESS

  • Tiffany Haddish, “Girls Trip”
  • Allison Janney, “I, Tonya”
  • Margo Robbie, “I, Tonya”
  • Saoirse Ronan, “Lady Bird”

BEST FOREIGN FILM BY OR ABOUT WOMEN

  • “A Fantastic Woman”
  • “First They Killed My Father”
  • “In The Fade”
  • “Thelma”

*ADRIENNE SHELLY AWARD: For a film that most passionately opposes violence against women:

  • “Maudie”
  • “The Light Of The Moon”
  • “The Rape Of Recy Taylor”
  • “Wind River”

*JOSEPHINE BAKER AWARD: For best expressing the woman of color experience in America

  • “Girls Trip”
  • “Mudbound”
  • “Step”
  • “The Rape Of Recy Taylor”

*KAREN MORLEY AWARD: For best exemplifying a woman’s place in history or society, and a courageous search for identity

  • “Battle Of The Sexes”
  • “Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story”
  • Mudbound
  • “The Post”

COURAGE IN ACTING [Taking on unconventional roles that radically redefine the images of women on screen]

  • Sally Hawkins, “Maudie”
  • Frances McDormand, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
  • Michelle Rodriguez, “The Assignment”
  • Charlize Theron, “Atomic Blonde”

COURAGE IN FILMMAKING

  • Amma Asante, “A United Kingdom”
  • Kathryn Bigelow, “Detroit”
  • Angelina Jolie, “First The Killed My Father”
  • Dee Rees, “Mudbound

THE INVISIBLE WOMAN AWARD [Supporting performance by a woman whose exceptional impact on the film dramatically, socially or historically, has been ignored]

BEST DOCUMENTARY BY OR ABOUT WOMEN

  • “Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story”
  • “Faces Places”
  • “Jane”
  • “Step”

WOMEN’S WORK: BEST ENSEMBLE

BEST FEMALE ACTION HERO

  • “Atomic Blonde”
  • “In The Fade”
  • “The Shape of Water”
  • Wonder Woman

BEST EQUALITY OF THE SEXES

  • “Atomic Blonde”
  • “Battle Of The Sexes”
  • “Professor Marston And The Wonder Women”
  • Wonder Woman

BEST SCREEN COUPLE

BEST ANIMATED FEMALE(S)

  • “Coco”
  • “Loving Vincent”
  • “The Breadwinner”
  • “Window Horses: The Poetic Persian Epiphany of Rosie Ming”

BEST FAMILY FILM

The New York Film Critics Online Embrace Mudbound and the Florida Project!


Mudbound

On December 10th, the New York Film Critics Online and made their picks for the best films of 2017.  They also gave Mudbound its first prize for Best Picture, even if it did have to share it with The Florida Project.

PICTURE
The Florida Project (A24) (tie)
Mudbound (Netflix) (tie)

DIRECTOR
Dee Rees for Mudbound (Netflix)

ACTOR
Gary Oldman for Darkest Hour (Focus)

ACTRESS
Margot Robbie for I, Tonya (Neon)

SUPPORTING ACTOR
Willem Dafoe for The Florida Project (A24)

SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Allison Janney for I, Tonya (Neon)

SCREENPLAY
Jordan Peele for Get Out (Universal)

BREAKTHROUGH PERFORMER
Timothée Chalamet for Call Me By Your Name (Sony Pictures Classics)

DEBUT DIRECTOR
Jordan Peele for Get Out (Universal)

ENSEMBLE CAST
Mudbound (Netflix)

DOCUMENTARY
Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story (Zeitgeist)

FOREIGN LANGUAGE
In the Fade (Magnolia)

ANIMATED
Coco (Disney/Pixar)

CINEMATOGRAPHY
Dan Laustsen for The Shape of Water (Focus)

USE OF MUSIC
Steven Price (music by) and Kristen Lane (music supervisor) for Baby Driver (TriStar)

TOP TEN FILMS (Alphabetical)

  • “Call Me by Your Name” (Sony Pictures Classics)
  • “Dunkirk” (Warner Bros.)
  • “The Florida Project” (A24)
  • “Get Out” (Universal Pictures)
  • “I, Tonya” (NEON)
  • “Lady Bird” (A24)
  • “Mudbound” (Netflix)
  • “Phantom Thread” (Focus Features)
  • “The Post” (20th Century Fox)
  • “The Shape of Water” (Fox Searchlight Pictures)

Here Are The 2017 Nominations of the San Francisco Film Critics Circle!


Yesterday, the San Francisco Film Critics Circle announced their nominees for the best of 2017!  The winner will be announces tomorrow!

Like almost all of the precursors so far, San Francisco seems to really like The Shape of Water.

Best Picture
CALL ME BY YOUR NAME
THE FLORIDA PROJECT
GET OUT
THE SHAPE OF WATER
THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI

Best Director
Sean Baker  – THE FLORIDA PROJECT
Guillermo del Toro  – THE SHAPE OF WATER
Greta Gerwig  – LADY BIRD
Christopher Nolan  – DUNKIRK
Jordan Peele – GET OUT

Best Actor
Timothee Chalamet – CALL ME BY YOUR NAME
James Franco  – THE DISASTER ARTIST
Daniel Kaluuya  – GET OUT
Gary Oldman – DARKEST HOUR
Andy Serkis  – WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES

Best Actress
Annette Bening – FILM STARS DON’T DIE IN LIVERPOOL
Sally Hawkins – THE SHAPE OF WATER
Frances McDormand  – THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI
Margot Robbie – I, TONYA
Saoirse Ronan – LADY BIRD

Best Supporting Actor 
Willem Dafoe  – THE FLORIDA PROJECT
Armie Hammer – CALL ME BY YOUR NAME
Richard Jenkins – THE SHAPE OF WATER
Sam Rockwell  – THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI
Michael Stuhlbarg  – CALL ME BY YOUR NAME

Best Supporting Actress
Holly Hunter – THE BIG SICK
Allison Janney – I, TONYA
Melissa Leo – NOVITIATE
Lesley Manville – PHANTOM THREAD
Laurie Metcalf – LADY BIRD

Best Foreign Language Film
BPM
A FANTASTIC WOMAN
FRANTZ
IN THE FADE
THE SQUARE

Best Animated Feature
THE BREADWINNER
COCO
THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE
LOVING VINCENT
YOUR NAME

Best Documentary
BRIMSTONE & GLORY
CITY OF GHOSTS
DAWSON CITY: FROZEN TIME
FACES PLACES
JANE

Best Cinematography
BLADE RUNNER 2049 – Roger Deakins
DUNKIRK – Hoyte van Hoytema
THE FLORIDA PROJECT – Alexis Zabe
THE SHAPE OF WATER – Dan Laustsen
WONDER WHEEL – Vittorio Storaro

Best Production Design
BLADE RUNNER 2049  – Dennis Gassner
DUNKIRK  – Nathan Crowley
PHANTOM THREAD  – Mark Tildesley
THE SHAPE OF WATER  – Paul D. Austerberry
WONDERSTRUCK – Mark Friedberg

Best Editing
BABY DRIVER – Paul Machliss and Jonathan Amos
BLADE RUNNER 2049 – Joe Walker
DUNKIRK – Lee Smith
THE POST – Michael Kahn
THE SHAPE OF WATER – Sidney Wolinsky

Best Screenplay (original)
THE BIG SICK – Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon
GET OUT – Jordan Peele
LADY BIRD  – Greta Gerwig
THE SHAPE OF WATER  – Guillermo Del Toro and Vanessa Taylor
THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI  – Martin McDonagh

Best Screenplay (adapted)
THE DISASTER ARTIST  – Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber
CALL ME BY YOUR NAME  – James Ivory
MOLLY’S GAME – Aaron Sorkin
MUDBOUND  – Dee Rees and Virgil Williams
WONDERSTRUCK  – Brian Selznick

Best Original Score
BLADE RUNNER 2049  – Hans Zimmer and Benjamin Wallfisch
DUNKIRK  – Hans Zimmer
PHANTOM THREAD  – Jonny Greenwood
THE SHAPE OF WATER  – Alexandre Desplat
WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES – Michael Giacchino

Special Citation (for that underappreciated indie gem)
BRIMSTONE & GLORY
COLUMBUS
THE OTHER KIDS

Here Are The Nominations From The San Diego Film Critics Society!


The San Diego Film Critics Society announced their nominations for the best of 2017 earlier today!  The actual winners will be announce on December 11th.

Check them out below!

(I know this might seem a little dry to some people but I love lists.)

(By the way, in case you’re wondering which sites I usually put the most trust in when it comes to Oscar coverage, here they are: AwardsWatch and AwardsCircuit.  Two of my favorite sites ever, right there.)

Best Picture
CALL ME BY YOUR NAME
DUNKIRK
GET OUT
LADY BIRD
THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE OF EBBING, MISSOURI

Best Director
Christopher Nolan, DUNKIRK
Greta Gerwig, LADY BIRD
Guillermo del Toro, THE SHAPE OF WATER
Jordan Peele, GET OUT
Martin McDonagh, THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE OF EBBING, MISSOURI

Best Actor
Gary Oldman, DARKEST HOUR
James Franco, THE DISASTER ARTIST
James McAvoy, SPLIT
Robert Pattinson, GOOD TIME
Timothée Chalamet, CALL ME BY YOUR NAME

Best Actress
Frances McDormand, THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE OF EBBING, MISSOURI
Margot Robbie, I, TONYA
Sally Hawkins, MAUDIE
Sally Hawkins, THE SHAPE OF WATER
Saoirse Ronan, LADY BIRD

Best Supporting Actor
Ethan Hawke, MAUDIE
Oscar Isaac, SUBURBICON
Sam Rockwell, THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE OF EBBING, MISSOURI
Willem Dafoe, THE FLORIDA PROJECT
Woody Harrelson, THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI

Best Supporting Actress
Allison Janney I, TONYA
Bria Vinaite, THE FLORIDA PROJECT
Catherine Keener, GET OUT
Holly Hunter, THE BIG SICK
Laurie Metcalf, LADY BIRD

Best Comedic Performance
Daniel Craig, LOGAN LUCKY
Ezra Miller, JUSTICE LEAGUE
James Franco, THE DISASTER ARTIST
Lil Rel Howery, GET OUT
Ray Romano, THE BIG SICK

Best Original Screenplay
Christopher Nolan, DUNKIRK
Greta Gerwig, LADY BIRD
Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani, THE BIG SICK
Jordan Peele, GET OUT
Martin McDonagh, THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE OF EBBING, MISSOURI

Best Adapted Screenplay
James Gray, THE LOST CITY OF Z
James Ivory, CALL ME BY YOUR NAME
Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber, THE DISASTER ARTIST
Sofia Coppola, THE BEGUILED
Virgil Williams & Dee Rees, MUDBOUND

Best Documentary
EX LIBRIS: THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY
FACES PLACES
JANE
LAST MEN IN ALEPPO
THE WORK

Best Animated Film
COCO
LOVING VINCENT
MY ENTIRE HIGH SCHOOL SINKING INTO THE SEA
MY LIFE AS A ZUCCHINI
THE BOSS BABY

Best Foreign Language Film
BPM (BEATS PER MINUTE)
FACES PLACES
THE OTHER SIDE OF HOPE
THE SQUARE
THELMA

Best Editing
Jonathan Amos & Paul Machliss, BABY DRIVER
Jon Gregory, THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI
Lee Smith, DUNKIRK
Sarah Broshar, Michael Kahn, THE POST
Sidney Wolinsky, THE SHAPE OF WATER

Best Cinematography
Ben Richardson, WIND RIVER
Dan Laustsen, THE SHAPE OF WATER
Darius Khondji, THE LOST CITY OF Z
Hoyte Van Hoytema, DUNKIRK
Roger Deakins, BLADE RUNNER 2049

Best Production Design
Anne Ross, THE BEGUILED
Alessandora Querzola and Dennis Gassner, BLADE RUNNER 2049
Nathan Crowley, DUNKIRK
Paul D. Austerberry, THE SHAPE OF WATER
Sarah Greenwood, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST

Best Visual Effects
BEAUTY AND THE BEAST
BLADE RUNNER 2049
DUNKIRK
THE SHAPE OF WATER
WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES

Best Costume Design
Jacqueline Durran, BEAUTY and the BEAST
Jenny Eagan, HOSTILES
Luis Sesqueria, THE SHAPE OF WATER
Mark Bridges, PHANTOM THREAD
Sonia Grande, THE LOST CITY OF Z
Stacey Battat, THE BEGUILED

Best Use of Music
BABY DRIVER
BEAUTY AND THE BEAST
CALL ME BY YOUR NAME
DUNKIRK
THE SHAPE OF WATER

Breakthrough Artist
Barry Keoghan
Brooklyn Prince
Greta Gerwig
Jordan Peele
Sophia Lillis
Timothée Chalamet

Best Ensemble
GET OUT
LADY BIRD
MUDBOUND
THE POST
THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE OF EBBING, MISSOURI