February 10, 2008

Picking Through the NYT Mag's 2007 Breakthroughs

This week's New York Times Magazine features 15 actors who had "breakthrough" performances in 2007. It's a nice glossy yearbook even though some of the photos are too artistic for my taste. There are some online pieces that complement the magazine:

+ NYT Mag editor at large Lynn Hirschberg narrates an audio slideshow of the magazine photos while making some odd observations:
  • "The Assassination of Jesse James by the 'Outlaw' Robert Ford." Uh? Really small, but how do you make that mistake - by that I mean where does it even come from? Oh well, great to see Casey Affleck as first up here.
  • Jim Sturgess - I loved him in Across the Universe, but saying "he will have one of the biggest careers that anyone will ever witness" seems a little much at this point.
  • Edith Piaf, as played by Marion Cotillard, is "probably one of the most well-known singers of all time." If that were true, La Vie en Rose would have been a box-office smash.
  • Seth Rogen has created a character that will carry him "throughout the next 50 years of his career." Ay, I hope he finds more defining characters in that time.
  • Hal Holbrook - fine, great, I liked him, but WHERE is Emile Hirsch in this group?! This is an even more incredible snub than his lack of an Oscar nomination.
  • Ellen Page is "this year's special star." Fine - truth be told, Hirschberg's accompanying article is one of the more concisely convincing pieces I've yet read about Page's talent. Makes me feel like she succeeded despite Diablo Cody's writing of Juno MacGuff's character, not because of it.
  • Josh Brolin - No Country for Old Men is covered, but shouldn't there have also been mention of his 2007 work in American Gangster, In the Valley of Elah, and Grindhouse?
+ Ryan McGinley's music video, "Shooting Stars," offers a behind-the-scenes look at the photo shoot:
  • The comedy in this is presumably unintentional - but really, really great. Each of the actors is placed in what look to be extremely uncomfortable settings and positions (laying down on ice, standing in front of fireworks or a fire, sitting in the snowy woods or a smoky cave, wading in cold surf, Seth Rogen feeding geese in a park?) while wearing a "What am I doing here?" expression on their face (best exhibited by Sienna Miller, Michael Cera, Casey Affleck and Josh Brolin). The music works, though.
+ Jake Paltrow - Gwyneth's brother - directs the short film Breakthroughs, in which 8 of the 15 breakthrough actors discuss the actors that inspired them:
  • The beginning of this was really cool.
  • Casey Affleck is a lot cooler than Ben Affleck.
  • Ellen Page - "I loved Jurassic Park. I thought Laura Dern was super cool....and I just thought, how cool is this person?"
  • Jim Sturgess (on River Phoenix - "This guy is very cool") is going to be really cool in future roles.
  • James McAvoy's accent is pretty cool.
  • Amy Ryan is cooler than Helene McCready.
  • Paul Dano is cooler than I thought.
  • Marion Cotillard's piece would have been cooler had she been speaking French.
  • James Brolin has some cool insights, but he's not quite as cool as he thinks he is.
Neither am I.


  1. Just wanted to send you a link to a cool (apparently it's the word of the day) King of Kong interview in the Onion---http://www.avclub.com/content/feature/the_king_of_kong_continued

  2. http://www.avclub.com/content/

    That's better

  3. Wow, that's unbelievable. I didn't read the whole thing, partly because I didn't have 90 minutes, but mostly because I'm not quite ready to have my impression of Billy Mitchell changed. From skimming, I like when they break down the film like it's the Zapruder tape.

    Not quite there yet with the link, but I'm not sure how to fix it either. Embarrassing - what are we doing on here anyway?

    Just go to avclub.com and search.

    Great, now we're commenting off topic, by the way. I'll have to go back to the KofK review and include this. Didn't we know this was pure gold when we walked out of the theater?

  4. If that were true, La Vie en Rose would have been a box-office smash.

    How very capitalist of you. They said a lot of dumb things, but Piaf is pretty damn famous - just maybe not in America as much as elsewhere.

  5. Hehe, yeah I thought that would raise some eyebrows. She's definitely an icon, but considering the young movie-going audience and relative to a lot of the recent biopics on musicians, I would guess quite a few people had never heard of her before this. If only box-office trends (and Oscar winners) followed public interest, right?

  6. Yeah, and it's in French, to boot. Trivia: what's the highest-grossing French-language film for the US?

    I don't know off the top of my head, but I'd guess Amelie...

  7. Good question - isn't there a LAMB member who focuses on trivia? Amelie sounds most reasonable to me.

  8. The weird thing for me was the random quality of the Breakthroughs article and how much of it was about stars who weren't actually breaking through. Daniel Day-Lewis and Jack Nicholson? I'll give her the Julie Christie one for "re-breaking through", but I can only go so far...

  9. Great point about the article content. Reading through it you might not even realize she's talking about 2007, but I guess she could get away with it by saying she's just giving an overview of "the breakthrough performance."

  10. "French Film Sets U.S. Record
    23 January 2002 (StudioBriefing)
    Director Jean-Pierre Jeunet's Amélie has become the highest-grossing French-language film ever released in the U.S. The film has taken in $21,127,194 through Monday, breaking the previous record of $20.4 million garnered by the 1978 movie La Cage Aux Folles. Amélie, which stars Audrey Tautou in the title role, has now earned more than $100 million worldwide."

  11. That was easy. And wow, and it wasn't even close. A few of those dollars came from me - I think that might have been a 3-times-in-the-theater movie.

  12. I dig what you guys do here, but I have to respectfully disagree with one point: Josh Brolin may indeed be as cool as he thinks he is.

  13. But Chuck, the post reads as:

    "James Brolin has some cool insights, but he's not quite as cool as he thinks he is."

    Father, not son.

  14. Thanks for trying to save it, Fletch, but I am indeed an idiot. I definitely meant son Josh. You should be a copy editor, and I should be ridiculed. I can't even think of the last movie James Brolin was in.

  15. Makes me feel like she succeeded despite Diablo Cody's writing of Juno MacGuff's character, not because of it.

    Very true to anyone who has seen "Hard Candy". She looks like she's 12 and is ridiculously amazing. Most likely was ignored that year because of the movies content. (She methodically chops some guys balls off"

  16. In a stupid bit of trivia that is tied to two of your message boards, James Brolin was originally slated to appear in...Rambo.


Related Posts with Thumbnails