Monday Morning Critic – 12.20.2010 – Brett Favre, Melville and the Golden Globes

Every Monday morning, InsidePulse Movies Czar Scott “Kubryk” Sawitz brings an irreverent and oftentimes hilarious look at pop culture, politics, sports and whatever else comes to mind. And sometimes he writes about movies.

You know, if you’re a fan of the Green Bay Packers this year I think you really don’t need a Christmas present. Why? Because we’ve seen Brett Favre be exposed both professionally and personally as his career flames out spectacularly, leaving the stench of his 300 attempts at retiring behind as his stature of the NFL’s icon goes away like slap bracelets.

Think about it for a moment. Like Eleven months ago or so Favre was a loving father and husband, the NFL’s ironman and coming off a NFC Championship game loss. Now? His attempts at seducing women who weren’t his wife were painful to see, as was his crotch nub. The Vikings went from Super Bowl favorite to mediocre at best in one of the year’s more painful collapses. And, in the worst indignity, Favre’s consecutive games starting streak ended at 297 games and finished up with a crass attempt at commercializing it all.

Me, I’m disappointed he’s sitting out Monday night against the Bears. I was hoping that the final indignity, of him being carted off after the Bears knocked him out of the game, would give Packer fans the perfect Christmas.

Random Thoughts of the Week

With the year winding down, the amount of interesting stories is going down with it. You know it’s boring when bribery of the Golden Globes isn’t even that big a deal anymore. But it’s not perhaps a reflection of the news cycle as opposed to the one main fact: the lack of relevance of the Golden Globes in comparison to every other awards show is fait accompli.

As much as the Golden Globes are news, they’re more about being an annual television show with popular actors and the few that can still be considered movie stars. And so we shouldn’t be shocked that bribery and notions of boosting ratings went into picking nominees this year; in fact it ought to be the case for the Globes, which is now just a vehicle to boost the coffers of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.

Listen to me now and believe me later.

As much as we want to talk about how much a Golden Globe means, it really doesn’t mean much in the scope of things. Getting a Screen Actors Guild award, an Emmy, a Tony, a Guild association award or an Oscar are really the standard by which we need to measure credibility bona fides. Those are industry awards and an award from a peer group is worthier of boast than a Golden Globe. The Globes have never meant more than being something that’s a nice warm up for the big shows over the years and one only has to look at their broadcast to figure out why.

Everyone’s relaxed and drinking, with pranks and shenanigans occasionally coming out, as opposed to the stodgy seriousness of everything else. It is meant more as fun, cramming as many names into one ballroom so that viewers at home will tune in, and no one really is super excited to win one. Except for Jamie Foxx, of course, who won for Best Actor in Ray. He’s the only winner of a major award I remember really being excited, but he was that way for every other award he won that year too. I think it was more along the lines of “I’m finally too good to star in a Tyler Perry film” kind of excitement, actually, but the Golden Globe didn’t give him that much more than he had going in. Why?

Well, it’s because the Golden Globe is nothing more than a higher priced People’s Choice or MTV Movie award. It’s a higher priced call girl in the whoredom that are awards shows not affiliated with a particular industry association. MTV at least has a sense of humor about its movie awards, mainly because it knows that the people “voting” voted Napoleon Dynamite as best film of the year the same year Foxx won an Oscar, but their show exists for ratings. It’s a nice diversion for them from not playing music videos, or discussing music in any meaningful regard, but it’s not to be taken seriously.

The Golden Globes is the same thing but people still want to think they mean something. The only difference between a Golden Globe and a Nickelodeon Teen Choice award is that at least Nickelodeon is upfront about their awards being kind of a joke.

A Movie A Week – The Challenge

This Week’s DVD – Le deuxième souffle

Also known as Second Wind or Second Breath, Le deuxième soufflé is a rare crime film from Jean-Pierre Melville that does not feature Alain Delon in any capacity. But it is perhaps his most epic undertaking in the genre, comparable to Mann’s HEAT or Scorsese’s The Departed in both length and depth with one of the great on-screen heists in cinema history.

Gu (Lino Ventura) is a recent prison escapee who discovers his fiancée Manouche (Christine Fabrega) is being blackmailed by a bunch of criminals in his absence. So he does what any reasonable criminal on the run from the police for escaping prison would do: join a crew to heist some stuff. Joining Paul (Raymond Pellegrin) and his crew for a lifetime altering of score of $1 billion francs, Gu is doing the typical criminal cliché of “one last job” and then a retirement in Italy under an assumed name. On his trail is Commissaire Blot (Paul Meurisse), who is willing to bend the law as he sees fit to try and bring him to justice.

Nobody gets out in the exact way they think they will.

At two and a half hours, this is one of the more lengthy films Melville did as usually he kept it under two hours or so of film time. HEAT is a good comparison as this is a fairly similar film, albeit focusing more on the criminal than on the dichotomy of cop & crook, as this was the film that preceded Melville’s final hot streak of Le Cercle Rouge, Army of Shadows, Le Samourai and Un Flic. It’s kind of a shame he died because his final work was showing signs that he was evolving beyond the French New Wave and incorporating other cinematic styles into his work.

Strong recommendation.

What Looks Good This Weekend, and I Don’t Mean the $2 Pints of Bass Ale and community college co-eds with low standards at the Alumni Club

Gulliver’s Travels – A re-imagining of the classic tale with Jack Black as Gulliver.

Skip It – If Yogi Bear was shameless drivel designed to exploit on people’s goodwill towards a cartoon character long since relevant, then whomever thinks Jack Black is funny deserves to be shot.

Little Fockers – Ben Stiller is now a father of twins. Time for Robert De Niro to come in and get into some crazy shenanigans.

See It – The Meet the Parents trilogy comes full circle and while it’s never been brilliant comedy, it’s always been perfectly acceptable entertainment.

True Grit – The Coens tackle the John Wayne classic.

See It – I’m curious to see what Joel and Ethan will do with the genre.

Country Strong – Gwyneth Paltrow is a country singer with a drinking problem. In limited release.

Skip It – Sound familiar? That was Crazy Heart a year ago. That film wasn’t that good and this won’t be as good.

Somewhere – Stephen Dorff is a massive movie star stuck with his daughter (one of the Fannings) for a stretch. Cue father-daughter bonding.

See It – This is a big stretch for Stephen Dorff, as he has to actually play a movie star. It is by Sofia Coppola and she’s got a knack for interesting cinema. Empire Magazine called it Entourage if spun by Fellini and that’s enough for me.

Do you have questions about movies, life, love, or Branigan’s Law? Shoot me an e-mail at and you could be featured in the next “Monday Morning Critic.” Include your name and hometown to improve your odds.

Scott “Kubryk” Sawitz brings his trademarked irreverence and offensive hilarity to Twitter in 140 characters or less. Follow him @MMCritic_Kubryk.

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