Every Wednesday, the Movie Forum convenes to discuss the latest news from the film world and answer questions submitted by you, the reader.
This week, movie reporter Brian Truitt and online producer John Elliot discussed the Golden Globe awards, the Oscar field,post-Globes, and in honor of Gangster Squad, what happens when good casts happen to bad movies. As always we finished with a round of readers' questions.
Enjoy the chat and submit your questions for next week below.
John Elliot: Welcome to the USA TODAY Movie Forum!
Where we're basking in the golden glow of the Golden Globes!
I'm John Elliot, online producer for USA TODAY Movies and I will serve as your moderator. Joining me today is USA TODAY movie reporter Brian Truitt.
And we had originally planned for movie reporter Scott Bowles to join us but he, unexpectedly (is there any other way?) and unfortunately, under the weather…
This flu is really getting around!
THUS, I will be your moderator AND second.
How this works - Each week we solicit questions, online, from our readers on certain movie topics.
This week…We're talking Golden Globes, Oscars and when good casts happen to bad movies.
Let's get started!
So, Brian, what are your thoughts on the Golden Globes' winners? Any surprises?
Brian Truitt: Hey John, nice to be chattin' with ya! What's up, peeps! So, I was a little surprised at some of the winners of the Globes. A lot of people were expecting Lincoln to clean house and thus make the Oscar race super-boring with more than a month to go. But I think Christoph Waltz taking supporting actor over Tommy Lee Jones and Argo winning best drama makes things a smidgeon more interesting.
I think Anne Hathaway cemented a possible lock on the supporting actress race, as did Daniel Day-Lewis in best actor. But I think best actress looks reeeeeeeeally interesting with Jennifer Lawrence and Jessica Chastain both winning in comedy and drama respectively.
John Elliot: Yeah, I was live tweeting the affair over at @USATODAYLife, so if you want to see my thoughts in real time (or real past time?) please head that way. But I will say that while Waltz was surprising, not much else rattled me.
Brian Truitt: I have a feeling Lawrence is just gonna surge as we get closer to Feb. 24.
John Elliot: The night for me was defined by the comedy duos of Fey/Pohler, Wiig/Ferrell
and the comedy of Foster
Brian Truitt: I was not shocked with Hugh Jackman winning in the best actor, comedy/musical category, but thought Bradley Cooper might take it.
The show itself? Freaking great.
John Elliot: There were a fair share of touching speeches that night too
Yeah, thank heavens for award ceremonies with open bars, I guess
Brian Truitt: Loved Fey and Poehler calling out Anne Hathaway and James Franco faceplant of Oscar hosting.
Indeed, booze makes everything better.
John Elliot: Post-Globes, how does the Oscar field look?
Brian Truitt: For best pic, Lincoln I think is still a favorite although not a lock. My money is still on Les Mis, but Argo could benefit from the Globe love.
Day-Lewis and Hathaway still look like the heavyweights in their categories. But best actress and supporting actor are a little more wide open than we previously thought.
I think Brave winning for animated feature was interesting for the Globes, since it' a Pixar movie that didn't seem to be an Oscar certainty. And it's hard to say where the best director race is at right now since the Globe winner (and one-time Daredevil) Ben Affleck isn't up for an Oscar. (Oops.)
What do you think, John?
John Elliot: Check this out. I'm going to call the Oscar winners for the major categories right now. You see, Brian, I am not restricted by the burdens of a regular byline (mwahhahahaha!). Here are your winners:
Best Picture: Argo
Best Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis
Best Actress: Jessica Chastain
Best Supporting Actor: Tommy Lee Jones
Best Supporting Actress: Anne Hathaway
Boom. Mark the date and time. There are your winners. You're welcome, award show gamblers.
Brian Truitt: We gotta have some bookies following this, right?
John Elliot: I'm PRETTY sure that the Movie Forum is required reading for all bookies
Brian Truitt: I believe you are all correct except for pic (Les Mis all the way) and actress. If Jennifer Lawrence kills on SNL this weekend, could it be game over?
John Elliot: Yeah, Actress is the one I'm a little shaky about...Oh, and Director? Spielberg has got it wrapped up
Still I think Chastain will take it
Lawrence is young.
I imagine the Academy will think she'll have more opportunities in the future
Brian Truitt: Here's me falling off a limb: I think Spielberg has a better chance of winning director than Lincoln winning best pic.
This is on the screen at the MGM Grand right? What's up, Vegas!
John Elliot: And, finally, in honor of the release of Gangster Squad, let's talk about when good casts happen to bad movies. What happened there? And how does that happen?
Brian Truitt: That was kind of a shocker to me. I understand why they moved it from September - because they needed to tweak a scene after the Aurora shootings - but going from an Oscar contender to being dropped in the dregs of January, with that kind of talent involved? Someone knew that the movie was iffy, methinks.
John Elliot: I imagine what happens is that you're agent comes to you and says "We've got a role for you and Sean Penn, Ryan Gosling and Josh Brolin are already attached. Yes?" and no one reads a script and a year later…Gangster Squad!
The thing is the Squad may not even be the worst movie with an incredible cast this month!
Movie 43 is on the horizon!
Brian Truitt: Most likely. I mean, Gosling doesn't make that many bad movies. And Sean Penn kinda speaks for himself, although I hear a lot of people saying his Mickey Cohen might as well have been in Dick Tracy.
Yeah, that Movie 43 thing... not sure what to think there.
And this week, Broken City opens Friday with Russell Crowe, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Mark Wahlberg. Haven't seen it, but damn that is a lineup. But in January?
John Elliot: Looks like New Year's Eve meets Kentucky Fried Movie
Movie 43 I mean
Brian Truitt: I'm offended you even mentioned Kentucky Fried Movie in the same sentence as that dreck. FOR SHAME!
John Elliot: I was saying what it was attempting to achieve! I have no doubt it will fall QUITE short
Comment From Pete Simpson
Good cast bad movie- wasn't that the whole premise of Mars Attacks, which made it awesome? The self-awareness is apparently not there in Gangster Squad
Brian Truitt: A little, yeah. Tim Burton was trying to reach the camp of something like Plan 9 from Outer Space with that. There is a fine line, though, and that movie just went completely off the rails. Much like I think somebody thought it'd be awesome if they put George Clooney, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Uma Thurman in a Batman flick. But we all know how that turned out.
John Elliot: Good point, Pete. And I guess we should delineate between enjoyable bad movies with great casts like Mars Attacks (and SOME would argue Love, Actually) and the bad, one-time potential Oscar bait films like Squad
Brian Truitt: Who says Love Actually is bad? Just because I read comic books doesn't mean I won't start a ruckus.
John Elliot: Me. I say that. Enjoyable bad.
Brian Truitt: I do think that sometimes bad movies mean well. Like Gigli. But sometimes extenuating circumstances doom it in people's eyes.
John Elliot: Alright. Let's take some questions from our lovely readers!
Skip from Lake Tapps, WA asks:
Why is it that very good films have such horrible sound...you can't understand the dialog?
Brian Truitt: It probably depends on the circumstances, Skip. If it's from a theater, depending on how the people who run it, they might have on off center speaker. (I've seen that many times.) On TV, networks and cable channels screw things like that up all the time. But sometimes it is the movie itself. That's why sound editors and mixers are essential in perfecting a movie.
John Elliot: I think it's context maybe Skip. Have you tried a few theaters in your area? I saw Argo at one of the significantly smaller theaters here in NYC, and yes, the dialogue was VERY difficult to hear. Muffled throughout most of the film. However, Skyfall came in crystal clear at the larger multiplex
So...support large corporations?
I think it comes down to the care the theater puts into their system. So try a few out
Brian Truitt: YES! That is what we wanted from this chat. Viva la AMC! But seriously, that is all too true. Sometimes the bigger movie palaces are built for the best sound possible.
John Elliot: Also, if anyone from Netflix Streaming is reading this: PLEASE do something about the volume for computer streaming. Audio is way too low without headphones or speakers. Regardless of browser, etc.
So...don't support large corporations?
Brian Truitt: You make a good point. I stream Netflix through a Blu-ray and the sound is aces. But browsers aren't as good for sure. So... support large corporations with awesome Blu-ray players.
John Elliot: Settled!
Sylian from Europe asks:
Might DreamWorks films have been left out (Animation category) because they are lacking (in depth, drama, story..) perhaps? DreamWorks appears to be going down, every passing year.
Brian Truitt: Thanks for the Q, Sylian. Actually I don't think it's DreamWorks as much as it is everyone else around them stepping up. You gotta think most every Pixar movie is going to be at least good - and more often than not they're fabulous. LAIKA did ParaNorman as well as Coraline, and their movies are phenomenal. Plus, Disney's back in the game, too. Wreck-It Ralph was huge for them in every way and shows that the Mouse is more than just Pixar.
But don't sleep on DreamWorks stuff. How to Train Your Dragon and Megamind were excellent movies. I'm not a fan of the Madagascar films if we're being honest, but Rise of the Guardians was a great holiday film with one of the best concepts I've seen in a while. DreamWorks also has The Croods coming up in March, and trust me, you'll want to see that one.
Plus their slate coming up is pretty impressive, with How to Train Your Dragon 2, Mr. Peabody and Sherman (based on the old Rocky and Bullwinkle characters) and Turbo, about a snail who dreams of being a racer. How can you not be a little "Awwww" with that?
Luke D. from Houston asks:
Even though I'm about to criticize a specific film's lack of Oscar nominations, I'm pretty sure everyone else agrees with me. The Dark Knight Rises deserves an Oscar nomination. I would have given it nominations for Best Picture, Best Suppoting Actress (Anne Hathaway), Best Visual Effects, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, Best Cinematography, and Best Original Score. Just because of the Aurora shooting doesn't mean that the film should be discarded. It wasn't the film's fault. So what's your opinion?
John Elliot: Hey Luke. I think you'll find that Brian and I are on your team here. And DKR certainly could have taken that final Best Picture slot as a tribute to Nolan and the incredible trilogy he crafted (similar to the Best Pic nom & win the final LOTR film received). And I don't think it is due to that horrific shooting, which as you say is not the film 's fault. I think that if you look at the history of the Oscars, they just pass over more action-oriented films, just as they pass over comedies, time and again.
Not that that is right or a good reason. But it's their Academy I suppose.
And Hathaway may have been the best part of DKR, but there was no way she wasn't going to get the nomination for Les Mis
Brian Truitt: Actually, this is where I do a pro-wrestling heel turn and hit you in the back of the head with a folding chair.
John Elliot: oh grand
Brian Truitt: I was fine with it not getting any nominations because it just wasn't that great, especially compared to The Dark Knight. There were other movies that had better effects such as The Avengers and Prometheus, and when compared to Les Mis, Hathaway's Catwoman wasn't THAT impressive. (Still better than Halle Berry but no Julie Newmar.)
Still, I thought it had a good shot at a best pic nod because of the trilogy and the Dark Knight snub. But alas, the Oscars again have no love for the fanboys.
John Elliot: Fair enough, but then I would also argue that Return of the King was the weakest of the LOTR triology
Brian Truitt: TOTALLY disagree.
John Elliot: I think we both would have been happier with more nominations for Looper, The Avengers, Prometheus...anything from the genre the Academy usually snubs
Brian Truitt:Fellowship and Two Towers were OK to middling, but I connected with Return of the King a lot more. (Maybe it's my Sean Aston man-crush.) There was the last hour or so where it ended about 10 times, but all in all it had me enraptured - even more amazing because I remember watching a press screening of that movie going on 24 hours of no sleep.
John Elliot: We're just not going to see eye to eye on Hobbits and Dwarves I think. But, they aren't exactly eye level either.
Brian Truitt:Looper would have been my nerd pick for best pic. I thought the Avengers too might squeak because of how damn much money that made.
Squeak in of course
John Elliot: And Titanic 3D?!? Total snub!
Lindsay from Des Moines asks:
Why did the Academy overlook Ben Affleck when his name is the main one thrown around for the last several weeks as the one to beat for best director?
Brian Truitt: Lindsay, you, me and every Oscar pundit in the world is thinking the same thing. Especially after him winning the Globe for best director Sunday.
And Critics Choice too, although who listens to critics. (We love you, Claudia!)
In theory I liked that Benh Zeitlin and Michael Haneke were upset picks in that field, but still Affleck should have been in there. If I was conspiracy theorist, I'd say that the Academy wasn't quite ready to deem him ready after only his third film - or maybe they remembered both Gigli AND Daredevil (which I actually do like) - but that argument falls apart since Zeitlin had never even MADE a feature film before Beasts of the Southern Wild.
John Elliot: Yeah, that certainly is the surprise of the season. I mean, GIgli wasn't THAT bad, right? Did it warrant a nomination ban? It's perplexing. And unfortunate because he certainly deserves to be in the director mix.
He seems to be taking it all with a good sense of humor, which is all you can do really.
And it probably doesn't hurt that he already has an Oscar
Brian Truitt: True. Plus, I think he's always just been an affable guy. He knows Argo was a great film and that might be enough for him. I think it was on Leno that he said how he didn't have to worry about the category during the Oscars and could just sit back and relax. There is probably something to that.
John Elliot: Good attitude. Is there an award for that?
It's time for us to go....
Thank you Brian! And a VERY big thank you to all our readers who participated and submitted questions.
Brian Truitt: Thanks for being the chocolate to my peanut butter today, John. And thanks for all the great questions, peeps! I'll type at ya again soon.
John Elliot: Remember: you can submit your burning movie questions all week long, right here.
Thank you all for joining us for the USA TODAY Movie Forum! Please join us again next Wednesday at 3 PM EST/12 PM PST for another edition of Movie Forum.