Monday, February 10, 2014

August: Osage County (R/121 Minutes)

I realize that this has been out at the theaters for a while now but between illness and landing myself in the middle of a bar fight (literally…the fight happened around me), I haven’t been able to put in an appearance lately. Please please please let that change soon! The Oklahoma City Museum of Art is showing several of the Oscar-Nominated movies during the month of February. August: Osage County was one of them. Despite wanting to get back to my movie viewing, I was on the fence about this one. Did I want to go to yet another movie in which they play Oklahomans WAY over the top? Did I want to go to a movie about which I’d heard more than a few bad words were included? Was I really in the mood for a drama? I mean, more than the typical everyday drama I cause around me. Last week Spike said that he wanted to go see it and asked if I’d like to go with him. Oh fine.

Let me begin by saying that the accents were NOT over the top. That’s usually my biggest worry. I’m still not sure why people think we all talk like Reba. Don’t get me wrong. She’s one of my favorite entertainers on the planet but the woman has a twang! No doubt about it. I, however, do not. Unless I’m really sleepy or have imbibed a bit more than is probably proper. Not that I ever do the latter. But! Back to the film. August: Osage County is a film set in Osage County, OK…in August. I knew the title left you guessing so I wanted to make sure you knew. Okay, yes, it is about that but it’s also about a family coping with loss, illness, favoritism, pure meanness, REALLY close relationships and insanity. Sounds like a real upper, doesn’t it? While I think this film was very well-made and everyone in it deserves some kind of award or other, I was about ready to walk out half-way through. It was just so depressing! Please do NOT jump into my comment section and tell me I should have known since it is a Drama. I did know that but there was no letting up! It just got worse and worse. My life seemed all sunshine and lollipops by the time I walked out of the theater.

One thing I did find highly amusing was how many of my own family members were in this film. No, not literally, but whoever wrote this certainly knew about typical Oklahoma families. Please let me state that when I say my family was in this, I mean as far as basic character set-ups go. They would never have taken anything to the extremes this movie did. Spike was amused that when several character personalities were revealed I’d lean over and tell him who, in my family, that was. And the scene in which the entire family is making fun of/laughing at the granddaughter? Yup, we’ve had moments like that too. Then again, who hasn’t?

But, enough of all that. Let’s get on with the actors. The list is long but I’m not going to attack discuss everyone, so you can breathe a sigh of relief. Or just stop reading. Whatever floats your boat. Let’s begin with Meryl Streep. Holy cow that woman needed to be tackled! Oh wait. She was. Meryl was Violet Weston, matriarch of the family, wife to Beverly (yes, that’s a man) and made of pure meanness. She has an opinion on everything and makes it a point to know everyone’s business. And mentions that last fact several times. She blames her behavior on her less-than-happy upbringing. She’s suffering from Cancer of the mouth. The rest of her family is suffering from her diarrhea of the mouth. It is rare that a kind word slips past her lips. I have no desire to defend her but I do have to say that Violet is a tough old broad and she knew what it meant to stand by her man. Granted, her man may have wished she hadn’t.

Spike couldn’t decide if he liked Julia Roberts’ character or not. Boy, I did! Julia was Barbara Weston, daughter of Violet and Beverly. You could tell that she was a lot like her mom but she had some redeeming qualities too. She loved/tolerated her sisters as all good sisters should. She took a lot on her shoulders so others wouldn’t have to face the discomfort. She also comes from the school of “I-can-beat-the-stuffings-out-of-one-of-my-family-members-but-I’ll-be-darned-if-I’ll-let-you-hurt-them”. I went to that school. She tried so hard to protect her little sister when all the odds were against her. My heart hurt when Barbara ran after her sister as she drove away. Barbara was also willing to stand by her man but her man so did not deserve her.

Julianne Nicholson was Ivy Weston, sister mentioned above. She is soft-spoken but strong. She is loyal, almost to a fault but finally stands up for herself. She allows others to talk at her and around her when you wish she would tell them all to jump in a lake. She’s one of those people who, when she does speak, it means something. My heart hurt for Ivy too.

Despite the star-studded line-up in this film, my favorite character was Johnna, played by Misty Upham. She didn’t have much to say but when she did you’d better listen! You feel the need to come on to a 14-year-old girl? Go right ahead. See what Johnna has to say about it. I guarantee you won’t like it. I’m still amazed that Johnna didn’t cut and run when all the drama began. She walked in to a world of crazy that most people couldn’t possibly have been prepared for. I will say that she looked a bit worried at the end. What on earth kind of mess did they leave her to clean up?

Margo Martindale, Dermot Mulroney, Juliette Lewis, Abigail Breslin, and Ewan McGregor, I did not like any of you very much at all which means you probably did your job right. Chris Cooper and Benedict Cumberbatch, your characters were so underappreciated that you almost didn’t exist except when someone needed to be mean.

I’ll wrap it up with Sam Shepard who, ever so briefly, played the part of Beverly Weston. He was the perfect opposite of Violet. It’s the only way they could have stayed married for so long.

Now for the fun. I don’t believe children should see this movie. Period. Exclamation point. For one reason, it’s so depressing and no child needs to be put through that. For another, the cussing. Oh my stars the cussing! I’ll get in to that a little more below. Let’s break it down now.

Sex/Nudity – None

Drinking/Drugs/Smoking – Yes. Yes. YES! And then some. I did get the giggles when one of the characters brought a couple bottles of wine to dinner. Spike leaned over and whispered, “He didn’t bring enough.” Truer words were never spoken. During this movie. Moving on.

Cussing/Swearing – I didn’t even bother counting because I’d been warned ahead of time. They used them all. Someone even dropped the C-word which absolutely makes me cringe any time I hear it. Dear people outside of Oklahoma, this is not a stereotypical Oklahoma family when it comes to language. We don’t all swear like it’s going out of style. It just got old after awhile. Use your words, people!

Violence – Only if you count the scene in which Barbara tackles Violet. Oh! Barbara also slaps her daughter when said child mouths off to her dad. I’ll let you decide how you feel about that. I, personally, felt it was long overdue. My goodness! I keep remembering parts as I type. Another such scene involves Johnna and it is much deserved.

I do have a couple of complaints to make regarding the filming of August: Osage County. When did you all really come out to Oklahoma to film? Julia, I’m sorry but I don’t know of anyone who sleeps in an un-air-conditioned house in Oklahoma in August wearing a long-sleeved shirt and long pants and then, when they wake up in the morning, throws a light sweater over the mess. It just doesn’t happen. Also, where were the mosquitoes? There is no way on God’s green earth you’re going to sit outside on an Oklahoma summer evening and not get eaten alive. Who knows? Maybe your characters put on bug spray before you went out. Furthermore, I don’t care who you are, if I were a man you could absolutely NOT make me put on a dress jacket in the afore-mentioned un-air-conditioned house in the middle of the day while sitting down to eat. I don’t care how formal the occasion is. And, I’m curious. Was Dermot Mulroney’s character from Georgia or was he from Florida because his license plate didn’t agree with his state of residence.

I have no idea who I would recommend to go see this film. Again, it was very well-made and all the actors did great but I wouldn’t want to put anyone through that. I’m miffed that I put myself through it. If you can’t decide whether or not to go, ask someone you trust with movie selections what they thought. If it were up to me I’d recommend skipping it altogether.

1 comment:

Regina Jennings said...

Man, I had hoped it was going to be good, but I've read another review that confirmed what you said, too. Maybe they'll make a "May: Canadian County" movie and we can get a Twister-themed show again.