The Week That Was: Angry Driving, Oscar Fever and Headline Writing Nirvana

The Week That WasThis week our Saturday tradition known as The Week That Was takes on a new look. And as I’m sure you probably won’t notice (because I’m not entirely convinced that anyone reads this column), I will be the first to point out that the new format was at least in part inspired by a new feature I read over at Cinematical. And because sometimes the best ideas are stolen, I’m not sorry. I just can’t apologize for finding a better way to help you catch up on all of the excellent content you may have missed here on Film School Rejects. I won’t do it. Now lets forget all about this nonsense and focus on what matters: the best articles of the week, as brought to you by the lovely and talented FSR contributors.

The Reviews

Because if there’s anything we do well, it’s tell other people how they did it wrong…*

Drive Angry 3D: A Veritable Truckload of Entertainment
Brian Salisbury brings fire from the start as he loves up on the latest Nic Cage actioner: “Nicolas Cage is miffed; you might say perturbed. His daughter and her husband have been murdered and his infant granddaughter has been abducted. The perpetrator of these vile acts is the leader of a satanic cult of which his daughter was a former member. Cage proceeds to scorch the Earth between him and this madman in an effort to recover the only remaining connection he has to his beloved daughter.”

Hall Pass: Directed by The Farrelly Brothers, Or We’re Told
In his less than impressed review of the Owen Wilson-headlined affair, Benji Carver takes umbrage with the Farrelly formula, which is not exactly put to good use: “…we are treated to the typical platter of the Farrelly Brothers humor that ranges from the occasional drug joke, masturbation in public, a penis to the face, and the eventual scene of somebody taking a shit on the lawn. These jokes are what the Farrelly Brothers live and die by, but they also like to create characters that we identify with and like. This has been key for Ben Stiller and his balls in the zipper, Lloyd and Harry’s worm farm dream, and the ballad of Iowa state bowler Roy Munson.”

Vanishing on 7th Street: Drenched in Atmospheric Dread
Robert Levin reports back from Brad Anderson’s latest, which sounds like it’s all about atmosphere: “With his impressionistic visual style and distaste for viewer orientation, Anderson, who directed the comparably grim sci-fi drama The Machinist, generates ample tension. Detroit’s already morose, rundown cityscape takes on a surreal, haunting beauty when rendered in supernatural darkness, as if the much-maligned urban space could really be ground zero for the sudden end of the world.”

The Features

Some of the best original content you’ll find on the web, save for cute cat photos…

Oscar Week: Breaking Down Hollywood’s Big Contest
From Best Documentary Feature to Best Score, the categories of the Academy’s awards are numerous and can often pose a daunting task for the wayward viewer. There’s a reason why there’s a sub-genre of blogs dedicated primarily to covering Awards Season. To help you cut through all of the red carpet fuzz, we bring you Oscar Week, with detailed but easy to understand breakdowns of all the major categories. Need a line on who will win Best Adapted Screenplay? We’ve got you covered. Not even sure who is nominated for Best Picture? Yeah, we can help with that, too.

Reject Radio #79: Freedom of Speech
Only a week after his epic interview with Kevin Smith, Cole Abaius takes on another very sticky matter in this week’s show: the liberal bias in Hollywood. In a move that could have become either the greatest single act of political strategy in this site’s history or its single greatest disaster, he invited Big Hollywood’s John Noble and Screenrant’s Vic Holterman on to take the right, while he and Rob Hunter took the left. I’ll let you be the judge of how it all turned out.

Culture Warrior: Oscar Nominations and Authorship
Until this week, I didn’t even realize that Mike Leigh had been nominated for so many Oscars. I was also surprised to learn the following: “Another Oscar nomination for a highly celebrated filmmaker should be surprising to no one except, in this special case, for the fact that precisely zero of Leigh’s nominated films actually use screenplays.” You always learn something when that Landon Palmer guy hits the publish button.

8 Actors Even Nic Cage-ier Than Nic Cage
Matt Patches, master of the list, brings us his latest gem exorcising his right as a film blogger to say things at will about Nicolas Cage and his crazy career. His piece not only explores the fact that Nic Cage has crossed over from actor to Internet meme, it also serves as a reminder that there’s much more crazy out there in the world of cinema. Especially when you consider that Christopher Walken guy.

Print to Projector: 9 Chuck Palahniuk Books That Should Be Movies
This week marked the 49th year in the life of author Chuck Palahniuk, a favorite amongst the FSR staffers. In celebration of this literary deviant, Cole has put together a killer list of Palahniuk originals that would make excellent films. It’s basically an Adapting Palahniuk for Dummies book aimed at Hollywood. Hopefully someone with money in H’town reads it, because the result of these films would be, at the very least, a lot of very happy movie lovers.

Reel Sex: When Sex Met Crazy
You’ve got to appreciate the chutzpah of that Gwen Reyes. Only a few columns in and she’s already wrecking our collective world by bringing up some of the more insane sexual beings in cinematic history. Because it’s true — sex can make you crazy. The fact that this hits a little too close to home for some of us should probably be between us and our therapists. Seeing as I don’t have a therapist, I will just continue to read Reel Sex on a weekly basis.

Movies We Love: Throw Momma From the Train
“Similar to films like Adaptation and Stranger Than Fiction that would come long afterward, Throw Momma from the Train is a film for writers. I don’t mean to say that this film is anywhere near comparable to those films in prestige or skill, but all three of them share in the qualities of being films that revel in the neuroses of the unique characters who choose to be writers while also including touches of meta that bring upon varying levels of delightful self-awareness.” This explains a lot about our affection for it.

Your Alternate Box Office: Angry Hall Passes and Heartbeats in 3D
In what will undoubtedly become my favorite new column on the site, Cole takes a look at movies that you should either pair with or watch instead of the weekend’s releases. It’s the only place where you will be recommended the 1994 Josh Charles led comedy Threesome and 1971 muscle car classic Vanishing Point on the same page.

The Headlines

And now, the five most read news items of the week…

‘The Hangover Part II’ Teaser Makes Its Auspicious Debut
The Wolfpack is back. We’re not yet sure where they have gone, what they plan to do or whether or not they will do anything funny that doesn’t involve a monkey. But we do know that they’re back.

EW’s Xenophobic List of the ’25 Greatest Working Directors’ Misunderstands the Word ‘Greatest’
Rob Hunter goes on a hyperbolic assault of Entertainment Weekly’s list of the most popular white dudes who are alive and making movies. He wins title of the week.

The Academy Kind of Admits They Don’t Care if Banksy Wears a Mask to the Oscars
This seemed to be the story of the week, with the entire movie blogosphere abuzz about street artist and part-time filmmaker Banksy and his possible appearance at the Academy Awards. Everyone seems to be missing the point: he has to win the award before any of this matters.

‘Bad Teacher’ Red Band Trailer Wants to Sit on Your Face (And Make You Laugh)
Cameron Diaz talks dirty, Justin Timberlake acts nerdy, and Rob Hunter proves that it was one hell of a good week for writing movie news titles.

Bill Murray is Our Last Line of Defense Against Ashton Kutcher as a Ghostbuster
Again, my point about this being a good week for titles is proven. Nathan Adams may have gone for the gold star of sensationalism with this one, but in the end he earned it. Yes, Ashton Kutcher’s name has been mentioned within 30 feet of a Ghostbusters sequel. And yes, that’s as frightening to us as it is to you.

* In fairness, we’d much rather celebrate everything that other people do right in the creation of films. But sometimes a filmmaker just needs to be told. Are you listening, D.J. Caruso? We’re on to you!

Neil Miller is the Founder and Publisher of Film School Rejects. For almost a decade, he has been talking movies on television, the radio, and the Internet. As of yet, no one has stopped him.

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