Eastwood Turns Antiwar, and Edelstein Sees a Seismic Shift

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Eastwood with his two Million Dollar Baby Oscars, 2005.
Photo: Getty Images


From: David Edelstein

Sent: Tuesday, January 23, 2007 2:11 PM

To: Lynda Obst

Subject: Deaf Jam

I wasn't surprised by the Letters From Iwo Jima nomination. The L.A. critics dug it. And with two major films this year, Eastwood had to be nominated for something. Odd that Flags of Our Fathers was such a nonstarter. In some ways, it's stronger than Iwo Jima, which suffers from a bland humanism that has little to do with the warrior codes (and collective insanity) of the Japanese military at the time. And yet its strongest scenes are wrenching — tragic with a touch of farce. When an old Republican like Clint Eastwood is bent on deconstructing the myths that drive nations to war, you know you're in for a seismic shift in the culture.

Little Miss Sunshine is a wonderful movie — and a wonderful sleight of hand. Think of it: an upbeat film in which everyone's dreams are cruelly dashed — in which everyone loses. How do they get away with it? When people fail in life, they tend to turn on their families first. But in LMS, there's joy, togetherness, collective defiance against a fraudulent world. A big lie — but an inspirational one.


I didn't expect Meryl would be such a strong Best Actress candidate for a very witty but very minimalist performance in a supporting role in a lame movie. (I know it's your genre, but …) As for Whitaker: You said the "range in his performance was operatic." Did you mean "the rage"? Because rage is the only thing that has been missing from his work. Now, it seems he can do anything. (Me, I'm a Ryan Gosling partisan. But that's an honor-to-be-nominated nomination, isn't it?)

Re: Babel. A timely movie, for sure: It captures Americans' sudden sense of vulnerability in a world they (okay, we) know precious little about. Arrogance and ignorance — a scary combination. Maybe the picture will pull out a win. But I still don't understand what, thematically speaking, the deaf Japanese girl's twat had to do with anything.

We haven't talked docs. Is Al Gore a lock in this election anyway? (I love all the films in this category.)

On to the important stuff: Will starlets dare to wear diamonds this year? If they do, will they nervously tell the audience that the gems are from certified conflict-free zones?

Do tell us about your phone calls when they come.

David

Earlier:
Oscar Snubs 'Dreamgirls,' Astonishes Edelstein
Waiting for Obst, Edelstein Disclaims and Explains
Obst Weighs In, Fond of 'Sunshine' and Pushing for 'Babel'