Movie News

MiraJeff Considers FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION!

Published at: Nov. 20, 2006, 12:41 a.m. CST

Hey, everyone. ”Moriarty” here. I’m still irritated that I missed the screenings of this one because of the AFI Fest, but I guess that just means I’ve got something to catch up with over the holiday weekend.

Greetings AICN, MiraJeff here with a review of For Your Consideration for your consideration. For the record, I'm not the biggest Christopher Guest fan in the world. To tell you the truth, I just don't see what all the fuss is about. I have friends who swear by his films and others who refuse to go see them. I fall somewhere in the middle. My earliest Guest memory is of watching This Is Spinal Tap at summer camp when I was 15 years old. I don't know if I was too young or what, but I hated it and so did everybody else in my bunk, so we shut it off about halfway through. Sorry Meathead. I haven't seen The Big Picture although it seems like something I'd enjoy. I'm ashamed that I haven’t seen Waiting For Guffman, which I’ve heard is his finest hour. Almost Heroes almost made me throw up in my mouth. I thought Best in Show was pretty funny but A Mighty Wind just wasn’t for me. So ignorance aside, the guy was batting below .500 for me. That said, while I’m predisposed to getting a kick out of a Hollywood satire more than the world of competitive folk singing, I’m still a bit surprised at just how much I enjoyed Guest's latest picture, a sneering, often hilarious send-up of the film industry that finds Guest biting the hand that feeds him. For Your Consideration is an all-out attack on stupid studio executives, clueless Internet movie sites, selfish agents, egotistical actors and talking head Oscar pundits, all of whom live off the buzz the media conjure up. FYC follows Marilyn Hack, a past-her-prime actress who lets all the talk go to her head when her performance in the schmaltzy Jewish drama Home For Purim starts to generate Oscar buzz on an internet site not terribly dissimilar from the one you are reading now. Of course, we here at AICN aren't concerned with awards or accolades, and if there is any writer guilty of including predictions for Oscar noms in their reviews it's probably me, which may be why I laughed so hard at this movie. Back to the film, Marilyn's not the only thesp getting media attention, there's also a lot of heat for Victor Allan Miller (Harry Shearer) and Callie Webb (Parker Posey). Alas, Brian Chubb (Christopher Moynihan) receives no recognition and is relegated to hiding behind his co-stars' shadows. All four of the main performers give solid but unremarkable performances, but that doesn’t detract from the film’s impact, because that's where the supporting cast comes in, and let me tell you, it's a doozy. In particular, Fred Willard upstages everyone as Chuck Porter, a faux-hawk-wearing, earring-clad anchor on an Entertainment Tonight-style program which he co-hosts alongside Cindy Martin (the statuesque Jane Lynch, who so memorably stole scenes of her own in The 40 Year-Old Virgin). FYC’s next best performance belongs to Jennifer Coolidge as Whitney Taylor Brown, the platinum-blonde producer of Home For Purim, who suggests changing the title to Home For Easter and focusing on the bunny when studio interference dictates a title-change. (It’s eventually renamed Home For Thanksgiving.) Meanwhile, John Michael Higgins (Jennifer Aniston's gay brother in The Break-Up) is hilarious as socially awkward publicist and master of the non sequitur Corey Taft. Keep an eye on this guy, cuz he'll be lending yuks to Evan Almighty and Fred Claus in the near future. We're also treated to Ed Begley Jr. as a cheerful make-up artist, Eugene Levy (who also co-wrote) as Victor's greedy agent, Guest himself as eccentric, deli-loving Purim director Jay Berman, Michael McKean and Bob Balaban as the film's beleaguered screenwriters, Ricky Gervais as The Stereotypical Suit, Don Lake and Michael Hitchcock as a pair of Siskel & Ebert-type critics, plus Richard Kind, Sandra Oh, John Krasinski, Carrie Aizley, Mary McCormack, Larry Miller, Claire Forlani, Rick Gonzalez, Craig Bierko, Rachael Harris, Loudon Wainwright III, Skylar Stone and The Grove's Kevin Sussman in smaller roles. FYC is a light, often-hysterical romp, with a dizzying flurry of hilarious one-liners. The story doesn't add up to all that much (there's no real character arcs or lessons learned or plot for that matter) and it ends rather abruptly, but the brisk running time make it a visit to the multiplex worth considering. If there's one complaint, it's that Guest wastes too much time showcasing the melodrama that is Home For Purim, whose scenes are never really that funny. I understand it's supposed to be a bad film (that point is impossible to miss) but I felt like we’re shown too much of the movie, and yet not enough to really follow its cheesy lesbian-centric plot. If we had seen nothing from the film-within-the-film, I think it'd be a stronger piece that leaves you guessing about why it failed to capitalize on the Oscar buzz and just what was so good about it to generate awards talk in the first place. Levy also is a bit of a letdown, failing to get mileage out of a character that should've been comedic gold in his hands. But you gotta love how ready he always is to downplay his own failures and swoop in to take credit for Victor’s success. The ending is a tad lackluster, but really, those are the only problems and they’re minor, I swear. But I do understand how Quint might not have liked it, being a big fan of Guest’s coming in. Maybe I haven’t seen enough of his work to merit calling this his best film, but the least I can say is that it’s my favorite. And you gotta appreciate the lengths O’Hara will go to for the sake of her art. She’ll do anything for a laugh (Surviving Christmas anyone?) and the thing is, most of the time, she gets it. The decision to release this sly, subversive comedy in the midst of awards season is funny in itself, and it’s no coincidence how, as Corey Taft says, “All it takes is a little buzz, some fairy dust and they’re off to the races.” Because the most telling line in the film is about how the Oscars are the backbone of an industry known for not having a backbone. The question is, will the Academy take the bait and be able to laugh at itself and grant Guest and Levy an original screenplay nomination, or will the film simply go out with a few “For Your Consideration” ads in the trades? Only time will tell, but one thing is clear, if you’re in the mood to laugh and you’ve already seen Borat twice, you should definitely consider seeing For Your Consideration, and I’m not just blowing a mighty wind up your collective asses. That’ll do it for me, folks. As we wrap things up, there are some reviews I promised a few weeks back that I had to farm out to the Colorado Springs Independent to pay some bills, so if you’re interested in my thoughts on Catch A Fire and Shortbus head on over to www.csindy.com. You’ll be able to read my review of Bobby over there next week, but for those of you who can’t wait for my two cents, I’ll keep it short and sweet. I’m not sure if I’m in the minority or the majority here but I’ll side with Quint on this one. Right now, I’d put Bobby near the bottom of my incomplete Top Ten List. The entire ensemble is strong but I think Laurence Fishburne is the clear standout among the cast. The film isn’t a straight-up biopic, it’s about a diverse group of people because Bobby was a man of the people, and I was really impressed with how “Emilio!” conveyed Kennedy’s ideals through multiple two-person vignettes that eventually intertwine during Bobby’s fateful speech at the Ambassador Hotel on that tragic night in June 1968 when a country lost a leader and the world lost a great man. I’ll be checking out Home of the Brave and Notes on a Scandal this weekend and I also screened a pair of Oscar hopefuls this week, Dreamgirls and The Good German, and let’s just say one was better than the other and my lips are sealed. Keep your eyes glued to the site for a very special look at 300 and remember, your loving comments are always welcome at mirajeff@aintitcool.com. ‘Til next time, this is MiraJeff signing off…

Readers Talkback

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  • Nov. 20, 2006, 12:50 a.m. CST

    Is anyone ever funnier than Willard in a Guest flick?

    by The Wrong Guy

    With the possible exception of Guffman. But he shines in every single performance. His hilarious catchcry of "Wha' Happened?" in A Mighty Wind had me hurting from laughing too hard; and his commentator role in Best In Show was nothing short of inspired. I CANNOT wait to see what he does with the role of an Entertainment Tonight-style host. The man is brilliant. As is Guest. Too bad we Aussies don't get it until next year.

  • Nov. 20, 2006, 1:05 a.m. CST

    I dunno, I thought there was just something missing

    by mraig

    I saw it Friday night, and it was funny, I laughed at quite a bit of it, Willard stole every scene he was in, but it seemed like there was something keeping it from really working as a whole. I ended up coming out of it kind of disappointed. I've been trying to put my finger on it - maybe the problem is that this wasn't shot as a mockumentary. (Now I'm trying to remember for sure if the other ones were). It doesn't seem like that should make all that much of a difference, but maybe it does. Those 'talking heads' summing the situation up in their own words or adding a piece of personal information that doesn't fit into the dialogue of the narrative can be a really funny comedic device (case in point: the Office). There are lots of funny bits that work on their own but I didn't feel like I came out of a Great Christopher Guest movie like I did coming out of Best in Show or even A Mighty Wind (which I found good, but not on the same level as the others).

  • Nov. 20, 2006, 1:22 a.m. CST

    spinal tap is not funny

    by davidlyons

    and it's nice to finally hear somebody else say it. oh and bladerunners is an over rated peice of shite too! Fuck ridley scott!!! he'd lick jerry bruckheimers gooch for a directing gig, oh wait a minute - he has!

  • Nov. 20, 2006, 1:27 a.m. CST

    Favorite Christopher Guest scene:

    by DOGSOUP

    Parker Poser as Libby Mae Brown chain smoking while grilling one lonely chicken wing; "I'll always have a place at the Dairy Queen...*sigh*"

  • Nov. 20, 2006, 1:43 a.m. CST

    lol

    by BadMrWonka

    gotta love people trying to get attention by ripping movies they know the talkbackers will love...good choice following Spinal Tap with Blade Runner...flame on, bitch!

  • Nov. 20, 2006, 5:26 a.m. CST

    wha' happened?

    by theBigE

    That line kills me every time. Learned the hard way, however, don't use it while kidding around during foreplay with the wife. Killed the mood. I am such a loser and a nerd.

  • Nov. 20, 2006, 10:54 a.m. CST

    I'll see it

    by BigFo

    just to support Christopher Guest and what he does. Even if it isn't his best it will probably be funnier than 90% of the comidies this year with the exception of DejaVu.

  • Nov. 20, 2006, 1:58 p.m. CST

    Saw it Friday...

    by Jared

    Easily the worst of the Chris Guest films. some funny parts but overall just felt flat. 1. Spinal Tap 2. Best in Show 3. Guffman 4. Mighty Wind 5. Consideration

  • Nov. 20, 2006, 2:07 p.m. CST

    Critiquing Films by Directors Who Won't Fight You

    by tonagan

    That's what it's come to.

  • Nov. 20, 2006, 2:10 p.m. CST

    I don't think you should be able to write for AICN

    by Reynard Muldrake

    unless you've seen Waiting for Guffman. I'll wait for a review that cares one way or another.

  • Nov. 20, 2006, 2:48 p.m. CST

    Spinal Tap is fucking genius.

    by minderbinder

    But I think maybe you have to be a musician to get the humor. And even the songs and album covers are brilliant. The biggest problem with Mighty Wind is that they didn't give enough screen time to the music, which is by far the funniest part of the movie. Listening to the soundtrack is funnier than watching the film.

  • Nov. 20, 2006, 8:23 p.m. CST

    Hated Spinal Tap...?

    by Tommy the Cat

    What the hell is wrong with you?