Quote of the Day — Ryan Gosling on Picking Up Women

“I don’t want to disappoint you, but it’s not really like the film. I just tried to follow all the rules that men’s magazines give you, like all the ways you’re supposed to dress, all the exercises you’re supposed to do, and all the things you’re supposed to say. Just follow the letter of the law. I read that book, The Game. I like to call it The Lame. Or that TV show, The Pick Up Artist. I watched that. I don’t know whether seduction can be taught or not. But these gentlemen seem to think that they have something to say, and they have devotees. What I like about the film is the philosophy. Even though Jacob’s essentially a knucklehead, at the heart of it, he’s saying: ‘Don’t use pick-up lines, don’t make lame bar banter. Just talk to them as you would talk to one of your friends. Just talk to them.’ So, I thought if there’s any wisdom in there, that probably sounds like good advice.” Ryan Gosling, on how he prepared for his ladies-man role for Crazy, Stupid Love, followed by an inappropriate dig at one of my favorite books in the history of literature — The Game.

Movie Review: ‘The Ides of March’

George Clooney is a good director. But he’s not great. The first two acts of ‘The Ides of March’ lacked the movie magic necessary to keep me entertained. Translation? — It was boring.

This is the third Clooney-directed film I’ve seen, and I’ve noticed it’s a common issue. Where’s Jack Nicholson screaming, “you can’t handle the truth!” Where’s the fist fight? Where’s the heavy-hitting music to create suspense? When actors turn to directing, they leave behind these essential elements in favor of an understated approach (remember Robert De Niro’s ‘The Good Shepherd,’ for example?). I think they feel above it. I think they resent having spent so much time executing cheesy dialogue while running from a burning vehicle that they feel they can accomplish the same task without it. But like it or not — those things are often necessary to make a movie enjoyable. Otherwise, it’s as if I’m watching a documentary.

The movie stars Ryan Gosling as Stephen Meyers, the Junior Campaign Manager for Mike Morris (George Clooney), the Pennsylvania Governor who is trying to win the Democratic Primary to later run for President. Philip Seymour Hoffman plays Paul Zara, his Senior Campaign Manager. The campaign can be cutthroat at times, and by the end of it, it really doesn’t matter what anyone’s political belief is as long as Morris wins. The plot is relatively expected, with the exception of an interesting twist in act three. Unfortunately, by the time act three hit I had already mentally checked out of the film.


Movie Review: Crazy, Stupid, Love

Love is crazy. And it’s also stupid. And only the acting prowess of Julianne Moore, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, and Emma Stone, could properly show why anyone in their right mind would engage in such an emotionally tumultuous activity. At the opening of this film, Cal (Steve Carell) gets dumped by his long-time wife, Emily (Julianne Moore), and in an effort to avoid her apologetic monologue, he literally jumps out of their moving car. She had an affair, and she leaves their marriage because it’s “broken.” Cal subsequently spends an inordinate amount of time lamenting to a bartender. It’s during these rants that Cal meets Jacob (Ryan Gosling), who can only be defined as a “pick-up artist.” Jacob takes an interest in Cal, and gives him a makeover to “get his manhood back.” The transformation becomes both external and internal, and the emotionally vapid Jacob unsuspectingly adopts some of Cal’s love-struck ideology in the process. There are some enjoyable sub-plots in this movie, which I won’t ruin, but let’s just say that Cal learns a thing or two about soul-mates from his un-jaded son. This movie proves that you don’t need a high-concept gimmick to keep a film afloat. When you have great actors who execute what is often thought of as ‘cheesy’ material, then you get an enjoyable movie that doesn’t feel like a chick-flick. My favorite line of this film came from Cal, who said, “I’ve loved her even when I hated her.” If you’ve ever been cursed and blessed with being in love — then I’m sure you can relate. OVERALL RATING: DISHTASTIC

Netflix Recommendation: Lars and the Real Girl

I’ll never understand why Ryan Gosling didn’t get an Oscar nomination for this film.  Despite getting some great movie roles, I still see Gosling as an extremely underrated actor.  I first noticed his talent when I saw The Notebook, and he confirmed his acting chops with Lars and the Real Girl.  The film is about a lonely guy from a small town who tells his family that he finally got a girlfriend.  His family is thrilled, and they invite them over for dinner to meet his girlfriend.  When Lars (Gosling) shows up with a doll and introduces her as his girlfriend, his family has no idea how to react.  They decide to treat the doll as if she’s a real person until they can figure out a solution.  The exploration of Lars’ mental health, coupled with the task of treating a doll as a real human being, makes this film one of the best I’ve seen.  Rent it.

Today’s Question: Will a Movie Ever Get a NC-17 Rating Because of Violence?

Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams’ new film, The Blue Valentine, was slapped with the much dreaded NC-17 rating by the MPAA, because of its graphic sex scenes.  If the movie manages to get an Oscar nomination (which is likely), it will be in the company of only two movies — Henry and June and Midnight CowboyMidnight Cowboy was actually rated X, which has now been turned into an NC-17 rating, because the porn industry has a stronghold on the letter “X.”  Here’s what I will never understand about this rating.  The puritanical folks over at the MPAA can give an NC-17 rating based on sex, but never on violence?  Remember Passion of the Christ?  Which movie do you guess is more disturbing for a young child — Passion of the Christ or Showgirls?  I’m guessing a young teen might loose sleep over Showgirls, but not for the same reasons that he might loose sleep after watching Jesus get tortured for hours on end.