Friday, August 20, 2010

Happy Birthday Joan Allen

Always a bridesmaid... Allen has 3 Oscar nominations and 2 Emmy nominations among her list of achievements (and Golden Globe nominations, and Screen Actors Guild nominations, and Saturn Award nominations, and...) but she rarely gets a chance to accept anything. She did win a Tony in 1988, so it's not all doom and gloom, and nominees do get really awesome gift bags, so really, she's doing fine.

Today we celebrate Ang Lee's 1997 movie The Ice Storm. It's got Frodo, Spiderman, Wednesday Addams, and even Ripley in the cast. But Allen owns the movie for one memorable scene, where she's being hit on by her minister at a party, telling her that sometimes the shepherd needs the comfort of the flock. Her delivery of "I'm going to try hard not to understand the implications of that" (which I totally had to look up, although I remembered it pretty closely) is fantastic because it balances so many tones at once (pity, disgust, and frustration among them).

The movie received no Oscar nominations, despite a lot of buzz early on. It's understandable given that the movie's best quality is its subtlety, and given that it was the year of some really great movies (Titanic, Good Will Hunting, As Good As It Gets, L. A. Confidential, Boogie Nights, Wag the Dog, The Wings of the Dove, and the movie that I think stole its remote chances for nominations: Atom Egoyan's The Sweet Hereafter), it's easy to see it getting overlooked. Even now, with the hype subsided from many of these movies, you'd be hard pressed to eke a lot of nominations out for this movie.

But it's really good.

Although it's not a movie I've watched since that first time in the theater (I don't think). I'm sure eventually I'll run into it again, perhaps on TCM. It's just not a real "feel good" movie.  

The Sweet Hereafter, on the other hand, I will avoid in perpetuity; it's so perfectly composed that I can't bring myself to watch the bus spin across the ice again.

Here's the trailer:

And here are Siskel and Ebert enthusing over it:

Not as juicy as her work in Nixon or The Contender, but some really solid work from her.

Happy birthday dude! Rock on!

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