Sunday, August 25, 2013
Even for a 21 year old, I was super late to jump on the Woody Allen train, and, honestly, I have not seen enough of his work to be considered any sort of "Woody Allen expert." Regardless, I will say that I have never seen anything of Allen's that I did not care for, and Midnight in Paris is one of my favorite films of the last few years. So, after hearing how great Cate Blanchett's performance was in Blue Jasmine, I couldn't help but march over to the theater and watch the next bubbly production to merit critical acclaim for the great Woody Allen. Even with my desire to see the film and my love for Woody Allen, I must admit that I am not prone to enjoy films with female leads. Am I sexist?... Maybe a little. But, I like my movies just like I like my music--manly and unique...
With the critical acclaim that Blue Jasmine has received, I expected the film to feature a fantastic storyline, especially considering that the critics tore apart last year's To Rome with Love, which I thought had a pretty neat storyline. Unfortunately, Blue Jasmine's plot was pretty boring and felt sort of like driving from state line to state line through the state of Texas... Sure, you'll see some cacti and nice subdivisions, but you'll never be entertained without a car full of friends, a DVD player, or a father who says, "If everything's bigger in Texas, we need to find a Hooters." Yeah... My father said that... and yeah... we were entertained! The film, which focused on Cate Blanchett's Jasmine, never really took off, dramatically speaking. Sure, her life was very interesting, but it was only interesting because she made it so. The events of her life were very simple and boring. We've all heard the cheating husband, annoying sister story before... right? That's pretty much all you get, topped off with a great performance by Blanchett.
Lucky for us, as we continue our drive through Texas, we come upon the wandering Cate Blanchett, who got sick of Peter Jackson and needs a ride. Tell your friends to be quiet, throw your DVD player out the window, and order Hooters to-go, because Cate Blanchett is about to give you all the entertainment that you will ever need! Really, I was SO SO SO impressed with her performance as leading-lady, Jasmine, and I didn't want the film to end, because it was really fun to watch her struggle.
Alec Baldwin is usually a very entertaining actor to watch on screen, even though he kind of gets on my nerves. However, as Jasmine's husband, Hal, Baldwin wasn't very impressive. I think his talent was wasted on a role that could have been filled by pretty much anyone. Another actor that was extremely underutilized was Louis C. K. There is no doubt that Louie is hilarious, but he wasn't given very much screen time, which was quite disappointing.
Let me say one more time... Cate Blanchett was great! As for the rest of the cast, it was actually pretty great as well. Specifically, Bobby Cannavales's Chili was such a great character, and Cannavale's performance was equally as great. After being nominated for two Emmys and giving this fantastic performance, I really think Cannavale should be considered for an Oscar. He is quickly becoming a great, well-respected actor.
Throughout the year, I keep a list of my favorite performances in every film I watch, in order to avoid missing anyone when I compile my Above Average Awards. Before watching Blue Jasmine, my list lacked a single dramatic actress, but, now, Cate Blanchett is the easy favorite to top that list for 2013. There's no doubt that her performance carried this film and caused the critics to go easy on Woody Allen's dull script. She single-handedly saved Blue Jasmine from the same fate as that of To Rome with Love. As Allen nears 80 years old, I hope that he continues to create these wonderful films. Whether he does so with great acting or great writing, I could care less. I know I was a bit harsh on the plot, but I promise that the film was quite entertaining. He always entertains me, and that is all that matters. I give Blue Jasmine 3.15 out of 5 stars.