- My Rating: 80%
I have to start with this… I hate talkers in the theater. Hate is a word I don’t use lightly. The theater I saw this movie in, and the light, largely grey haired audience who attended it surprised me. Neither by location, nor by cultural age group, have I seen (or heard) it before. So perhaps that’s why i am about to be harsher on this movie than it deserves. Let’s start with our three individual acting nominees. I can’t say that I’ve seen a plethora of Frances Mcdormand’s work, but I can say she’s been great in everything I have seen. When she is on screen, she IS the character she portrays. There was never a doubt or a hiccup or an inconsistency. Best Actress? Without having (yet) seen the other films for others are nominated, I say absolutely. I haven’t seen a lot of Sam Rockwell’s work either. Moon comes immediately to mind (pretty much a one-man show there). His character in 3 billboards stands out like a single storm cloud in a azure sky. In a rudderless film, his character experiences the greatest change. All of it is tempered and consistent and the limitations of the man he portrays remain even through the events that trigger a determined metamorphosis are dead-on fantastic. He also gets the early nod for his nomination. Woody Harrelson. Man, I love this guy, and his presence in a film will never prevent me from seeing it, but he’ll never be anything other than Woody Boyd from Cheers to me. I don’t think he has the range to escape it. I liked his character, and there’s nothing wrong with how he played it. Maybe that’s not fair, but there’s just no way I’d give him an Oscar nomination, let alone the statue. Woody is Woody is Woody. With all this accolade for the acting in the film, why such a low rating for a best picture nominee? I was entertained. I laughed at the jokes. I admired the characters and how they were played. It is because I walked out of the theater with three things really bothering me. The orange juice scene was completely unbelievable, threw me off the rails, and ultimately left me seeing it as a really poor vehicle to display the advancement of Sam Rockwell’s character. No fault of the actors in the scene. Just bad writing. The scene in the gift shop was tense and frightening and Frances showed more of her range in it. But as you realize later that it was a red herring, I can not help but look back with contempt for the writers. It was a heavy handed misdirection that didn’t belong in the film. Lastly, the end. It was a soft, barely audible fart that smelled like cabbage eaten a week ago. I had an image of the writer(s) / director toasting each other on how brilliant they think they are for leaving us there, when in fact, I’d like to throw them out a window for wasting my time. Very mixed feeling on this movie. There’s no way in hell I’d vote it best picture.