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Entries in Beauty vs Beast (187)

Monday
Jan152018

Beauty vs Beast: To Catch a Hitch

Jason from MNPP here with this week's edition of "Beauty vs Beast" -- this Thursday will mark the birth of one of the greatest movie stars of all time, Mr. Cary Grant. His filmography of course reads like a dream with classics of all stripes under his belt, but it's his four collaborations with Alfred Hitchcock (Notorious, North By Northwest, Suspicion and To Catch a Thief) that I want to focus in on today because I want to force a question upon us, an unnecessary frivolous question that nevertheless nags at my frivolous brain - know who else starred in multiple masterpieces for Alfred Hitchcock? Jimmy Stewart, who made The Man Who Knew Too Much, Rear Window, Rope, and Vertigo. And I think you know where I am going with this now... Which is the better Hitchcock Star? Choose!

PREVIOUSLY As with all things Three Billboards related last week's poll devoted to its two shitty cops played by Woody Harrelson & Sam Rockwell brought out some strong opinions, but only in the comments - the contest itself was won handily by Woody, who took 3/4s of the vote. Said Michael R, summing up my own feelings about Three Billboards:

"Write in vote : Lucas Hedges for Lady Bird. I love that performance so much!"

Monday
Jan082018

Beauty vs Beast: Ebbing Through Awards Season

Jason from MNPP here with this week's post-Globes edition of "Beauty vs Beast." And let's just get this out of the way right up front: Frances McDormand is, in the wise parlance of Groundhog Day, if not The God, A God. Every second she's on screen at any awards show ever is a gift - for the lovers, the memers, and me. I'm one of the ones who kind of can't with Three Billboards (although I fall more in the middle than most) and I don't even think Franny's doing anything near her best work in it, but trot her out in a stately pilgrim sack and have her scowl at the camera-man and my heart sings. I'll just pretend they're still giving her awards for Olive Kitteredge (while pouring one out for Sally Hawkins).

All of that is to say that if we're going to do Three Billboards for this series we can't possibly use Fran's character of Mildred because any and every one is gum on that woman's shoe. But since the film took over the night let's tackle it anyway, and with a real good fight if you ask me - Woody Harrelson gives in my opinion the film's best performance as the cancer-stricken Chief Willoughby. Sam Rockwell meanwhile is steam-rolling the awards nominations as dancing racist Dixon, giving a performance I truly cannot stand. (Oh am I biased in my introduction here? Whoops.) As problematic as the writing of Dixon is I don't think Rockwell helps it at all, leaning into his worst hammy instincts. But perhaps that is just me! What about y'all?

PREVIOUSLY Our last contest was way back before the holiday break, where we asked you to choose between Bob Clark Holiday Classics, and the "Leg Lamp" of A Christmas Story kicked the "Crystal Unicorn" of Black Christmas' butt, but in the comments kermit_the_frog singled out the latter's owner for some much-deserved love:

"Brian De Palma's "Sisters" and "Black Christmas" in consecutive years cemented Margot Kidder's place in my heart. One of the most underrated actresses of the 70s."

Monday
Dec182017

Beauty vs Beast: A Black Christmas Story

Jason from MNPP here wishing you a Happy Season with this week's ho ho holiday edition of our "Beauty vs Beast" series. If you ask me there is but one undisputed Movie King of Christmas - no it's not Frank Capra with his wingless angels and suicide bridges, nor is it Tim Burton with his antihero cat-people and scissor-handed freaks. No the Lord of Cinematic Hollies Jollies is Mr. Bob Clark, who gave us the ever-festive duo of 1983's A Christmas Story in 1974's Black Christmas. Nostalgia & Homicide - spells Xmas to me.

So this week to celebrate we'll be facing down two representational totems, one from each film - from A Christmas Story we have the infamous Sexy Leg Lamp that Ralphie's Dad buys (and that Ralphie's Mom destroys). And from Black Christmas comes the Crystal Unicorn that is used to murder the film's greatest character, drunken and acid-tongued Barb (a never funnier Margot Kidder).

PREVIOUSLY One of 2017's greatest movies was last week's subject and it was  a blow-out for Get Out's leading man - Daniel Kaluuya took just under 3/4s of the vote. But Allison Williams shouldn't feel bad since she got some lovely notices in the comments... said IanO:

"I expected Team Chris to win so I threw my vote to Rose. Get Out is fantastic, am so happy it’s getting awards attention, but I think Williams is somewhat lost in the critical hosannas for the film. She has to walk a real tight rope and she does so with ease. A second viewing really drove home how nuanced the performance is - it’s why the key scene works so damn well."

Monday
Dec112017

Beauty vs Beast: Guess Who's Coming

Jason from MNPP here wishing everybody a Happy Golden Globe Nomination Day - I hope everybody's favorite thing got a nomination (and since everybody's favorite thing is clearly Helen Mirren I know it's true). We're taking our "Beauty vs Beast" series to a film that did well but maybe not as well as expected (no director, no screenplay) - Jordan Peele's masterful horror comedy Get Out, which we just happened to re-watch last night in an effort to reaquaint ourselves with a movie that was fading from memory.

And I'm glad I did because some of the issues I'd had the first time (I'd found its metaphor a little scattered) came more into focus, and I was reminded of its many strengths - Peele juggles all sorts of genre and tonal trickery with ease, and I love every single performance in the film (yes even whatever Caleb Landry Jones is doing). So much so that choosing the right opponent today for Daniel Kaluuya's justly nominated work in the lead gave me pause - arguments could be made to face him against Catherine Keener or Betty Gabriel here. But ultimately I laugh harder at Allison Williams eating Fruit Loops and listening to the Dirty Dancing soundtrack than I do at any other joke, and so...

Whose team are you on?
Chris
Rose
build quizzes

PREVIOUSLY Rooster done got himself trampled against Mattie in our True Grit poll last week - Hailee Steinfeld took over 3/4s of your vote. Said cal roth:

"Steinfeld is B R I L L I A N T in this. "The soul already fled the body" or something like that. She reminded me a young Jodie Foster in the way she is fierce above all things, without even realizing she isn't that strong. That category fraud still stings."

Monday
Dec042017

Beauty vs Beast: Grit's the Word

Jason from MNPP here wishing the actor Jeff Bridges a happy 68th birthday today with this week's "Beauty vs Beast" poll. What's your favorite performance from Bridges? Mine is far and away his performance in Peter Weir's wildly underrated 1993 plane-crash survivor drama Fearless, but that movie doesn't lend itself well to this series. So instead we'll go with something more recent, namely his turn as "Rooster Cogburn" in the Coens' 2010 update of True Grit. Don't you wish he'd won his Oscar for this rather than Crazy Heart? And we'll pit him against his fine co-star and co-nominee Hailee Steinfeld. Good luck with this one!

PREVIOUSLY Last week twas everybody's current favorite momma drama Lady Bird's turn in the hot seat, and daughter came out victorious - Saorsie Ronan went all Baller / Anarchist and took 55% of your vote. Said chasm301, giving me a good chuckle:

"Lady Bird is basically the most instantly iconic teen movie character since Cher in Clueless. (Ok maybe Regina George or Tracy Flick). She gave this victory to herself. It was given to her by her and me too."

Monday
Nov272017

Beauty vs Beast: Lady (Bird) You Are Doing Just Fine

Jason from MNPP here, fresh off of standing five feet away from Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach just hanging out at MoMA yesterday (Baumbach had actually just done a Q&A for The Meyerowitz Stories, so "hanging out" might be a stretch I suppose) to take us yonder Sacramento way. I think it's time for Lady Bird to get the "Beauty vs Beast" treatment, you guys.

The film has a perfect score at Rotten Tomatoes and it just crossed 10 million bucks at the box office, which is about what it cost to make. So it's all profit from here on out for Greta & Co, and all signs points towards plenty. It's in around 800 theaters and doing terrific - I can see it playing well all holiday-season. Hooray for good things doing good! Now let's pit the film's complicated mother/daughter core (and eventual Oscar nominees) against one another.

PREVIOUSLY You guys surprised me! When I wrote last week beside our Bigger Splash poll that I figured I knew who you'd vote for I really thought you'd go for Ralph Fiennes. I suppose in retrospect it was silly to underestimate the pull of Matthias Schoenaerts in very small shorts, which drew almost 70% of your vote. Explained Dancin' Dan:

"Yes, Harry is more fun and more interesting than Paul (and Fiennes gives by far the better performance), but he's also INFINITELY more exhausting. I don't think I could stand to be around him more than a few hours. So I'm gonna have to vote for Paul, and the less clothes he wears, the better."