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Tag: melissa mccarthy

The Best Supporting Film Performances of 2011

Female

Honorable mentions:

Marion Cotillard (Midnight in Paris), Trine Dyrholm (In a Better World), Melissa Leo (Red State), Michelle Monaghan (Source Code), Chloë Grace Moretz (Hugo)

5. Charlotte Gainsbourg (Melancholia)

Gainsbourg as Claire in Melancholia

The urgency of Gainsbourg’s performance as a desperate mother in Melancholia is unparalleled. She is the perfect foil to Kirsten Dunst’s character, who seems apathetic about the impending end of the world. Dunst, by the way, is an actress you’ll be hearing more about next week, when I do the best leading performances of the year.

4. Emily Blunt (The Adjustment Bureau)

The stars of The Adjustment Bureau: Damon (left), the fedora (on top of Damon), and Blunt (right)

The chemistry between Blunt and co-star Matt Damon was one of the few redeeming factors of The Adjustment Bureau, and boy, did it redeem. Blunt not only sold me on this bad girl dancer character of hers, but she also sold Damon’s David Norris on her as well. It was key that this film find a strong actress to play Elise, as she is what propels the entire movie.

3. Jodie Whittaker (Attack the Block)

John Boyega as Moses (left), Jodie Whittaker as Sam (center), and Luke Treadaway as Brewis (right)

Whittaker gives her character depth. At the start of Attack the Block, she is mugged by a group of boys. Later, she must mend these boys, as well as aid them in their fight against killer monsters.

2. Jessica Chastain (The Tree of Life)

Chastain as Mrs. O'Brien in The Tree of Life

I’m interested in what the filming of The Tree of Life looked like. Chastain’s scenes are far different from any of the scenes Brad Pitt (see below) is in, as they’re more poetic and graceful. Chastain glowed in The Tree of Life, and that alone is good enough for the runner-up position.

1. Melissa McCarthy (Bridesmaids)

McCarthy as Megan in Bridesmaids

I made up my mind about this just a few minutes before posting. It was Chastain’s aura versus McCarthy’s hilarity. Chastain won… easily. But then I went back and read my review of Bridesmaids, and noticed that I spoke about McCarthy being the heart of this movie, and I remembered that she was my favorite part of that film, and that was the reason why. McCarthy was excellent, and she deserves to be nominated for an Oscar.

Male

Honorable mentions:

Creed Bratton (Terri), Chris Henry Coffey (Trust), Gérard Depardieu (Potiche), Alex Esmail (Attack the Block), Ben Kingsley (Hugo), Christopher Plummer (Beginners)

5. Isiah Whitlock, Jr. (Cedar Rapids)

The cast of Cedar Rapids: Reilly (left), Helms (center), Whitlock (right), Heche (across the screen)

The one scene that convinced me I should pick Whitlock was the “teet” scene, in which Whitlock’s character walks in on a mostly nude John C. Reilly sort-of feeding his breast to a mostly nude Ed Helms. In a lesser film with lesser actors, Whitlock’s character would have freaked out, and that wouldn’t have been very funny. In Cedar Rapids, though, Whitlock just rolls his eyes, sighs, and goes on about with his business. It was hilarious.

4. Ryan Phillippe (The Lincoln Lawyer)

Phillippe as Louis Roulet in The Lincoln Lawyer

The role of this playboy heir accused of murder did not ask for much, but Phillippe gave it his all. I personally both despised and was intimidated by the character. The Lincoln Lawyer was a very good and very fun film, but one that missed my top 10.

3. Jonah Hill (Moneyball)

Hill as Peter Brand in Moneyball

Christy Lemire puts it best in her review: “Hill ultimately finds the quiet confidence in this character [Assistant GM Peter Brand], and he and Pitt bounce off each other beautifully.” Note: congrats to him on the drastic weight loss.

1 (tied). Brad Pitt (The Tree of Life)

Pitt as Mr. O'Brien in The Tree of Life

Brad Pitt probably won’t get an Oscar nod for his performance in The Tree of Life (instead for Moneyball) and that’s too bad. He gives a powerful performance as a Texan father who reminded me of my own father… if he were 10 times more powerful with a single glance. Pitt completely controlled me from within the movie (!). I felt like I was his bitch. If he gets lucky and snags two Oscar acting nominations this month, he might actually win them both.

1 (tied). John C. Reilly (Terri)

The stars of Terri: Wysocki (left) and Reilly (right)

If Pitt’s Mr. O’Brien is the father that could make me say “sir” at him, then John C. Reilly’s Mr. Fitzgerald is the principal that could earn me calling him “sir,” then chastise me for calling him “sir.” I contend that John C. Reilly and Brad Pitt are our two best actors going (Fassbender is overrated), and I really enjoyed all of their performances in 2011. But, somehow, they were at their best this year when playing second fiddle (Pitt to the camera; Reilly, in screen time, but not quality, to Wysocki).

Bridesmaids (2011)

***

Melissa McCarthy was amazing. That’s one thing I came away from this movie thinking. She had both heart and humor, a hard combination to pull off now-a-days.

I was under the impression (from the trailer that heavily featured the airplane scene) that this would be a wild-weekend movie, in the vein of The Hangover, a movie I quite enjoyed. I don’t know if it would be better if it were, but I’m sure it would be a whole lot more connected. As it is, Bridesmaids feels a little like an episode of Mr. Bean; in the first half, he might be packing his suitcase, and in the second half on a plane, but the comedy in those scenes are about the jokes involving the scenes themselves. The movie had the tendency to get very involved in a line of moments meant to be funny within a scene, instead of focusing on characters.

McCarthy plays a supporting character here: Megan. She’s one dirty girl (you may or may not want to stay tuned after the film ends). Megan is Doug’s (actor irrelevant) sister. Doug is going to marry Lillian (Maya Rudolph), who has two people vying for her best-friendship: the struggling Annie (a wonderful turn by Kristen Wiig), the main character of Bridesmaids, and the spoiled Helen (the part performed tastefully by Rose Byrne). This competition reminded my of the second half of Season 4 of 30 Rock, in which Jack must choose between Nancy and Avery. Nancy connects him to his childhood and his hometown, while Avery is the business-savvy woman he would be if he were a woman and had her/his own show on one of the NBC cable channels. Lillian never makes the choice herself because the right answer is neatly presented to her by something called a heart.

But most of the characters were thoughtful enough. Annie was fully believable (thanks mostly to Wiig), but the movie didn’t rely only on her for the touching moments. (Despite an early scene, pictured below, Lillian really isn’t painted as someone who would mock the actions of the snobbish. That was sort of a problem for me.) We don’t really get to know any male characters other than Rhodes (Chris O’Dowd). There isn’t any explanation for where Annie’s father is. That was a nice touch. It sends the message that women don’t need men in their lives to “form them.”

This is a women’s movie. Don’t get that term confused with “chick-flick,” though. It’s made by women, with almost exclusively female characters, but can be enjoyed by all the different sexes. Going back to The Hangover, both of these movies are about the same thing: friendship. I recommend both.

Notes:

  • I even enjoyed the musical thing at the end, but only because of Wiig and Rudolph’s hilarious best friend moment
  • Wendi McLendon-Covey and Ellie Kemper played interesting characters, although their involvement wasn’t really necessary
  • Bridesmaids is available now on iTunes
  • If you see and enjoy Bridesmaids, you might also enjoy Cedar Rapids and The Kids Are All Right
  • Next time: my review of Citizen Kane
  • Oh, also… I was right.