August: Osage County (2013) Film Review


Beveley Weston (Sam Shepard) an alcoholic academic goes missing, and the three daughters he had with pill-popping wife Violet (Meryl Streep) return to support her. But each have their secrets and problems leading to a massively volatile time.

I saw this as a play by MTC a few years ago and loved it. I especially loved the set, but seemed to recall that the script was very impressive. Hence, I was concerned about watching the film; would it hold up? Would it be overwhelmed by the big names in the cast? (Meryl Streep, Sam Shepard, Julia Roberts, Chris Cooper, Ewan McGregor, Dermot Mulroney, Juliette Lewis, Abigail Breslin and Benedict Cumberbatch as the main names)

I think it held up extremely well. It’s certainly not a happy film; if you are ever feeling that you are taking your family for granted, watch this. You will love them so much more. So many horrible people in one place.

It is surprising that the film has only been nominated for awards for acting in the Oscars and Golden Globes. With such a strong story and excellent performances, I would have expected it would at least be nominated for Best Film. It’s a far better film that The Wolf of Wall Street. But then, it wasn’t directed by Martin Scorsese, and the main performances are by women. It seems to be a bit of a pattern for the awards I’ve noticed; the films that have been nominated for best performances by actresses are less likely to appear in the best film category than the films nominated for best performance by actor. Sexist? Or are women just not getting leads in good films? Are male stories better? Am I making a mountain out of a molehill?

Interestingly, just after I wrote this, I was sent a link to an article about sexism in the film industry featuring Olivia Wilde. Here it is. She took part in an experiment with some male actors reading aloud from the script of American Pie, only swapping male and female parts. The ladies got the laughs, the guys got bored. Interesting. (I should note that I don’t know anything about PolicyMic. It’s just the link I read. Lazy journalism? I’m not a journalist. FYI)

August: Osage County was nominated for Oscars for Best Actress in a Leading Role (Meryl Streep), Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Julia Roberts), for Golden Globes for Best Actress in A Motion Picture,  Musical or Comedy (Meryl Streep), Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture (Julia Roberts) and for a BAFTA Supporting Actress (Julia Roberts).

Young Guns (1988) Film Review


John Tunstall, (Terence Stamp) takes in young men who are at risk of running astray and becoming trouble makers, and gives them a sense of self-worth. He teaches them to read and do good work, and instills in them a sense of right and wrong. It’s the Wild West, so morals are, at the best of times, dubious. Tunstall gets killed by the evil Lawrence G. Murphy (Jack Palance. Believe it, or not), and his young men go out avenge his death. They’ve been deputized, but this does not mean they can do anything. Amongst their number is Billy the Kid (Emilio Estevez) who is a loose cannon.

This was one of my favourite films as a teenager. Several of my friends and I must have watched this a hundred times. We knew all the lines, knew everything about the film. Then, a few years ago, a friend and I re-watched it, and I hated it so much. It was totally and utterly awful. I felt that my memory had let me down, and I felt sad. Then this same friend stumbled across it on television, watched it and all the old love was back. I gave it another go, and it was wonderful. I have no idea why we hated it for that brief moment.

I should be clear – I don’t think it is a great film. But for me, it was a film for that time of my life. I was a teenager and the film was full of handsome young men (Emilio Estevez, Kiefer Sutherland, Lou Diamond Phillips, Charlie Sheen). There was a bit of humour and a lot of action, both of which I still love in a film. I think had I been an adult watching it then, I’d have hated it; or perhaps I wouldn’t have been that harsh on it, but I wouldn’t have had the reckless love for it that only a teenage girl can have.