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.