As you read my posts over time, those among you observant enough to care will take note that I am a practiced hypocrite. My values and standards, passions and grudges ebb and flow in response to what I think is cool or funny at any given moment - and I do this wantonly and unashamedly, knowing full well that since nothing I say stops global warming or cures cancer, it doesn't matter. Foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds. (Emerson said that, and he is far more clever than I. And since you are reading this when you could be doing literally anything else, we'll assume more clever than you as well.)
And so it goes with my opinion of the preening gaggle of self-congratulatory dilettantes at The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. I hate them until they do something I agree with. While I never remember actually thinking that the Academy ever had a particularly firm grasp of the nuances between, say, an ass and an elbow, I didn't start actively reviling them until 1994 when PULP FICTION lost Best Picture to the jogging retard movie, a travesty applauded by pabulum-minded greeting card peddlers and bunny snugglers the world over. Since then I have watched their monkeyshines with a popcorn tub full of hot buttery detachment and contempt.
The 2008 Oscar nominations were announced this morning and Ellen Page got a big gold star for her performance in JUNO. While I have an oversize tote full of rat’s asses to give for their other opinions, Page’s nomination not only seems reasonable to me but universally just.
I have not seen JUNO. (SWEENEY TODD first, then THE ORPHANAGE, then AVP-R it it's still in theaters and then JUNO.) But I do not need to see JUNO to know that Ellen Page, despite being just a wee behbeh, is one of the greatest actresses on screen today. Because I've seen HARD CANDY.
HARD CANDY (or as it was released in the United Kingdom, CRIKEY! MY BALLS!) is a 2005 indie torture-horror thriller that came out to significant praise and few screens. Page is brilliant. She's right up there with Anthony Hopkins in the Best Performance In a Horror Movie category. (Which is not a real category because there's only a nominee about once ever decade.) HARD CANDY is an unnerving game of cat and mouse between a sexual predator and his intended victim, but this particular cat and mouse turn out to be more like ITCHY & SCRATCHY and the cat ends up drugged and tied to a table with his nuts on ice.
Page’s performance is relentless. In a movie with a cast of about five, she owns the screen whenever she’s on it. I remember sitting in the theatre thinking that this girl was going to go on to screen greatness and voila – a mere two years later and she could be Best Actress. And if she isn’t this year, she will be. My gawd, she’s not even old enough to drink yet.
If you missed it, pop HARD CANDY into your Netflix queue. Unlike many of the movies that I will recommend as this blog develops, it’s legitimately good. Better yet, watch it after you get home from seeing JUNO. It would be like some sick Sweet Valley High version of Dr. Jeckyll & Mr. Hyde.