Jack Goes Confidential: George Clooney Shines In ‘DESCENDANTS’ – K.C. Engagements Expand

It’s been seven years since Omaha filmmeister Alexander Payne brought us his wine country mini-classic SIDEWAYS with Paul Giamatti

Prior to that he made a director’s name for himself with 1999’s ELECTION starring Reese Witherspoon, followed by Jack Nicholson in ABOUT SCHMIDT.

Now Payne delivers what could well become his finest creation yet. One which is poised to pick up multiple Oscar nominations, not only in the catagories of Best Actor, Best Director and Best Screenplay, but Best Picture as well!

The film is THE DESCENDANTS which opened in Kansas City last weekend as a four theater ‘limited engagement.’ Local boxoffice performance of the movie certainly exceeded expectations and the good news is that its distributor Fox Searchlight Pictures is adding an additional three area theaters to the run this weekend.

How does one properly do justice to THE DESCENDANTS?

That’s not an easy task given that the story and portrayal by its actors ranks way above its rather blah-sounding synopsis.

George Clooney stars as high-end but aimless Honolulu attorney Matt King with two daughters whose wife is suddenly left in a comatose, vegetetative state following a boating accident. One of the girls has been sent away to a private school. She’s played by Shailene Woodley as Alexandria, the nearly estranged daughter, who has a troubled past with her mother and now reluctantly explains to Clooney the cause for her separation from mom.

Seems mother had been cheating on dad prior to the accident and she’d caught her in the act.

Clooney meanwhile vows to track down the other man and…….

I can’t give away much more as the spoilers would ruin it for you. Suffice it to say that the grief, fury and interplay here is the kind of stuff Oscars are made of.

It’s also fair to say that George Clooney continues to evolve into one of America’s finest actors—getting better with every picture he associates himself with. His performance in this dysfunctional family drama as a troubled man at the crossroads, and trying to get beyond that, elevates Mr. Clooney to the next level of screen stardom.

I’m raising 4 out of 5 fingers for THE DESCENDANTS and suggest you bring Kleenex.


JACK GOES TO THE MOVIES Friday’s at 6:40 a.m. on NewsRadio KMBZ Am & Fm and at 8:20 a.m. on 1660 RADIO BACH. Also anytime on Time-Warner Cable’s K.C. ON DEMAND, Channel 411.

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10 Responses to Jack Goes Confidential: George Clooney Shines In ‘DESCENDANTS’ – K.C. Engagements Expand

  1. Cliffy says:

    Comatose and no meat in her diet? 🙂

  2. smartman says:

    Jack! WTF? Try Vegetative. Oh, and your George Clooney mancrush is showing.

    Saw it last week. Best Screenplay, maybe, best anything else, NO WAY! I’ll give it a solid 3.32757 out of 5. If you’ve never been to Hawaii the movie is all the reason you need to get your King Kamayahmayah on.

    Now if your buddy Robert, (Edward Cullen), Pattinson could have dropped in and turned the comatose wife into a vampire, that would have been sweet and made the movie Oscar Mayer worthy.

  3. chuck says:

    I’m not goin to Idaho to see a movie about Vegans.
    GEORGE CLOONEY: “Ok Alex, lets hear it, whats this flick all about?”

    ALEXANDER PAYNE: “This is a movie that will let you flex your muscles as an artist. A timeless love story for the common man and his family, it is Oscar worthy and will elevate you to the next level in your profession. George, this movie will define you as the greatest actor in Hollywood history.”

    GEORGE CLOONEY: “Wow! Who is my co star!”

    ALEXANDER PAYNE: “Mrs. Potato Head.”

    GEORGE CLOONEY: “I’m in.”

  4. PB says:

    Haven’t Seen This One Yet
    But probably will as I like Jack have a man-crush on Clooney. Having said that, Payne’s movies up until this point just haven’t done much for me. While he seems to be a critical darling because maybe he just sums up their moribund, middle-aged personas so well, his films have all just been very bland to me and filled with unlikeable sorts that are hard to give a shit about. Certainly not bad films, but not near as great the media gushers make them out to be.

  5. Cliffy says:

    Interesting, PB. I like Payne’s movies a lot probably for the same reason you dislike them (moribund, middle-aged personas … well said). Dermot Mulroney has had a forgettable career but I though his character in About Schmidt was flat out hilarious. Same for Thomas Haden Church in Sideways. To each his own, I guess.

  6. PB says:

    Yeah, Cliffy
    Since that’s what he’s aiming for, I’ll admit, he does a great job of capturing of those types of characters. And he probably deserves some credit for giving a voice to characters that don’t normally exist in Hollywood’s youth-obsessed world, but as a tired, old fart myself, maybe there’s a reason for that, I don’t want to see somebody that resembles myself on the big screen when I can just look in the mirror. Perhaps in this particular case, is even Payne “going Hollywood” with the casting of Clooney, despite graying temples, not exactly Mr.Schlub here. While Payne’s movies are very well done (writing, acting, etc.), for some reason they just don’t really connect (or maybe too much?) with me. Probably enjoyed Election the most of the bunch as it was more straight comedy albeit of the very dark variety. Heck, despite my tepid reaction to his films, one could see an awful lot worse at the theatre, I’ve seen all the pervious films so will probably catch this one as well. On the plus side, from a strictly aesthetic POV, the young daughter (she’s over 18 dammit!) and that blondie are a huge improvement over Kathy fucking Bates so there’s that..

  7. jkeil says:

    there goes my beer budget
    I wasn’t going to spend the 10 bucks to see this flick but you’ve made it sound worth it. It better be since I’m going to blow my beer budget on it.

  8. randyraley says:

    Clooney is everyman. He’s the Jimmy Stewart of this generation. According to just about everyone who dealt with him here when he filmed “Up in the Air”, he was a true gentleman.
    Jack’s usually right about this stuff.

  9. Balbonis Moleskine says:

    The Lars Von Trier for upper middle class striver Boomers
    First, did anyone under 50 find Sideways or About Schmidt funny or touching? LOL it is so funnah because he wont drink merlot! And the guy his daughter is marrying has a mullet! hur hur.

    These movies do serve a purpose. They make baby boomers feel much better about themselves and their shitty life decisions after watching these movies.

    It is like watching a well executed romantic comedy. I can imagine the overworked financial sales rep with tears of sadness streaming down his face, I can appreciate the writing but I am not similarly moved.

    Wake me when the new Bumfights comes out

  10. gerry says:

    Clooney v s. Pitt
    Who’s the better of the two? Clooney in “Ides of March” and “Decendants” or Brad Pitt in “Tree of Life”? I say toss up.

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