Sunday, December 26, 2010

Happy Birthday Sissy Spacek

We can blame the sheer volume of bio-pic Oscar bait on the amazing work Robert DeNiro and Sissy Spacek did in 1980; Raging Bull was quite a bit more demanding of DeNiro, but Spacek stepped up to do all her own singing in A Coal Miner's Daughter, and I dare you to find me someone who's seen the movie who doesn't think it's great. I didn't see Raging Bull until like 1991 or 92, and it suffered from impossibly high expectations (Roger Ebert considers it the best of the 80s, and among the best ever), but A Coal Miner's Daughter I saw at the Lilburn theater for $1 (it was a discount theater back then, this is not one of those "in my day movies cost a nickel" stories; we weren't wearing onions on our belts, as it was no longer the style at the time), and considered it rock solid then, and rock solid still.

I think it was Janeane Garofalo (or possibly my sister Jackie, or was it Becky? Sonya?) who brought helped me appreciate how good Tommy Lee Jones is in the movie too. And Beverly DeAngelo steals her scenes as Patsy Cline. If you haven't seen it, it's an easy one to recommend.


I haven't seen her breakthrough role in Carrie (by the way, since some of you don't follow musical theater, there's a musical of Carrie, which I haven't seen either). Nor have I seen Raggedy Man, which Danny Peary proclaims should have earned her a Best Actress Oscar in his Alternative Oscars (here), although he thought she didn't deserve a win for A Coal's Miner's Daughter (preferring Ellen Burstyn in Resurrection). Its reviewed are mixed, specifically each review raves about the first 2/3 and is dismissive of the somewhat gruesome nature of its conclusion (oh, um, spoiler alert).

She is fantastic with Jack Lemmon in the 1982 movie Missing. I can't imagine any scenario in which Missing is a great movie to watch when you're ________ (on a car trip with kids; catching up on laundry; hanging out with college friends; need a really good cry; intend to polish silverware... okay maybe that one) but it really is a well crafted movie.

The film adaptation of Beth Henley's Crimes of the Heart is a mess. I blame Diane Keaton. Some people, like Diane Keaton, shouldn't try accents. Or at least southern accents. At least not on film, where others might hear them. But Spacek and Lange are both fantastic.



Now, if you just watched that, do you remember anything but Diane Keaton's accent? I rest my case. [Disclaimer: love Diane Keaton, but only when used appropriately.]

She made this sweet little romantic comedy that ended up on HBO, Hard Promises, a movie I gotta say I totally love. The movie stars Spacek, a younger and sexier William Petersen (I believe this was after Petersen sued the producers of To Live and Die in L.A. to de-gay some of the scenes, which may explain why this didn't get a theatrical release), Mare Winningham (I believe I've made my adoration clear), Peter MacNicol, Brian Kerwin (hey, is he on a cop or lawyer show yet? [no, One Life to Live]), some dude named Jeff Perry (he was on Grey's Anatomy, but I don't watch), and Ann Wedgeworth. THE Ann Wedgeworth (click here to watch here win her Tony award)!!!


I leave you with a favorite from 2004, A Home at the End of the World. I still don't get how Colin Farrell didn't pick up an Oscar nomination for this* (it also deserved, minimally, a nomination for Adapted Screenplay). Spacek is great, and makes an unlikely relationship work (4 of the 5 Supporting Actress nominations were solid and deserving, so I won't say Spacek was robbed).


With Oscar buzz for Robert Duvall in Get Low, she might benefit with a Supporting Actress nomination this year, but considering all the accolades The Social Network is garnering, leaving me scratching my head, I won't actually suggest that I can predict this year at all. If it happens, you heard it hear first, if not, blame Facebook.

Oh, 1 Oscar (5 additional nominations), 3 Emmy nominations, no Tonys, no Grammys.

Happy birthday dude! Rock on!


* Oh, I totally know why Colin Farrell was snubbed. He was going to show his penis is a much-hyped nude scene, and then, boom, no penis. "Too distracting," they said. "Tease," I say. Let this serve as a lesson to other actors: show your penis. Show it early, show it often. You know who did get nominated that year? Jude Law. You know who showed his penis? Jude Law. (Yes, it's true that the other 4 actors may not have, but put that on your blog.)

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