The Films of Alexander Payne - C/D

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Citizen Ruth, Election, About Schmidt...go.

NA (Nick A.), Thursday, 18 March 2004 14:23 (sixteen years ago) link

Election and Schmidt total classics. Why'd everybody get so het up about the ending of "Schmidt"? It's perfect.

m.e.a. (m.e.a.), Thursday, 18 March 2004 14:25 (sixteen years ago) link

Do you not like Citizen Ruth, or have you just not seen it?

NA (Nick A.), Thursday, 18 March 2004 14:27 (sixteen years ago) link

'Election' is a real classic, and now looks like the best US film of that mini golden age of 98-00 (Three Kings, Fight Club, Rushmore, etc). Haven't seen 'Ruth'; but 'About Schmidt' is underrated. Suffered because even if Jack Nicholson was fine in it, it's hard to watch his stuff without being conscious that it's JN -- doing his thing, or playing against it.

Strachey, Thursday, 18 March 2004 14:29 (sixteen years ago) link

Haven't seen Citizen Ruth. Liked Election. Hated About Schmidt.

jaymc (jaymc), Thursday, 18 March 2004 16:17 (sixteen years ago) link

Haven't seen Citizen Ruth, and it seems like it's been the most divisive one.

m.e.a. (m.e.a.), Thursday, 18 March 2004 16:26 (sixteen years ago) link

I didn't really like Citizen Ruth. Contrived and irritating. Has anyone read the script for Election? it's so well written and funny.

Antmusic78 (Antmusic78), Thursday, 18 March 2004 16:54 (sixteen years ago) link

I've not seen CR either (is it a new one or an old one?), but the other two are among my favourite films of recent years. A very major talent, I think.

Martin Skidmore (Martin Skidmore), Thursday, 18 March 2004 18:37 (sixteen years ago) link

Citizen Ruth is his first. Stars Laura Dern.

jaymc (jaymc), Thursday, 18 March 2004 18:41 (sixteen years ago) link

I loved Citizen Ruth. I love all of his movies actually.

latebloomer (latebloomer), Thursday, 18 March 2004 18:44 (sixteen years ago) link

It's weird that not that many of you have seen Citizen Ruth. I hadn't seen it until the other day. The comedy is much much darker than that in Election. I guess it's contrived, but so what? It's satire, it's supposed to be exagerrated.

NA (Nick A.), Thursday, 18 March 2004 18:47 (sixteen years ago) link

The part with the lesbian couple singing to the moon was great.

latebloomer (latebloomer), Thursday, 18 March 2004 18:51 (sixteen years ago) link

Citizen Ruth was bit ham-fisted, Tim Robbins-style, IMHO. Entertaining though, and more than made up for by AS and Election.

I think more and more that About Schmidt is one of the best Hollywood movies of the past decade or so.

Chuck Tatum (Chuck Tatum), Thursday, 18 March 2004 19:43 (sixteen years ago) link

Maybe, but Election is even better.

NA (Nick A.), Thursday, 18 March 2004 22:57 (sixteen years ago) link

Election is a great movie in every way possible, Citizen Ruth was funny. But I've boycotted About Schmidt because of Jack Nicholson's arched-fucking-eyebrows.

miloauckerman (miloauckerman), Thursday, 18 March 2004 23:17 (sixteen years ago) link

about schmidt was boring.

RJG (RJG), Thursday, 18 March 2004 23:18 (sixteen years ago) link

Jack does less of the arched eyebrow stuff than in any other film he has ever been in. I think AS is his best ever performance.

Martin Skidmore (Martin Skidmore), Thursday, 18 March 2004 23:20 (sixteen years ago) link

Election gets better everytime I see it.

Nick H (Nick H), Friday, 19 March 2004 00:47 (sixteen years ago) link

I mean, even Chris Klein is good in it!

Nick H (Nick H), Friday, 19 March 2004 00:48 (sixteen years ago) link

Indeed! His introduction (falling down a mountain while snowboarding, breaking his legs, then shouting 'WHYYYYYYY?!?!?!?!?!') is one of the best things ever.

ENRQ (Enrique), Friday, 19 March 2004 09:08 (sixteen years ago) link

One of the other best things ever is the Native American (I'm assuming) war chant music that plays whenever Tracy Flick gets mad.

NA (Nick A.), Friday, 19 March 2004 14:15 (sixteen years ago) link

seven years pass...

Purported original ending to Election (I can't watch this right now, but it appears to be closer to the novel's):

http://hollywood-elsewhere.com/2011/05/thats_an_apolog.php

resistance does not require a firearm (Dr Morbius), Monday, 16 May 2011 14:31 (nine years ago) link

That's pretty awful, though it does underscore Tracy's vulnerability a bit more. How does the book end?

Josh in Chicago, Monday, 16 May 2011 15:44 (nine years ago) link

wow way more feel-good-y. actual ending is definitely funnier, if harsher.

american thinker (Shakey Mo Collier), Monday, 16 May 2011 16:28 (nine years ago) link

see above, ie the novel's ending is at least superficially closer to this unused one

resistance does not require a firearm (Dr Morbius), Monday, 16 May 2011 16:39 (nine years ago) link

two months pass...

ive never been that big of a laura dern fan but damn does she own in citizen ruth -- "i slept in some dumpsters, maybe i slept on some babies"

johnny crunch, Sunday, 7 August 2011 17:35 (nine years ago) link

yeah that movie kills imo but i think this little yupster is p dope even 'sideways' isnt that bad honestly

Lamp, Sunday, 7 August 2011 17:42 (nine years ago) link

otm i like abt schmidt a lot more than most ppl do

johnny crunch, Sunday, 7 August 2011 17:46 (nine years ago) link

so yeah he has that new george clooney movie coming out later this year

by another name (amateurist), Sunday, 7 August 2011 17:56 (nine years ago) link

so yeah the trailer is like NPR Sense of Humor: The Movie

smells like PENGUINS (remy bean), Sunday, 7 August 2011 17:57 (nine years ago) link

i know! i hope it's good anyway.

by another name (amateurist), Sunday, 7 August 2011 18:03 (nine years ago) link

I saw that trailer the other day too and was disappointed to see Payne's name at the end. I like Election and Sideways a lot (About Schmidt, no).

clemenza, Sunday, 7 August 2011 18:06 (nine years ago) link

I'm holding out hope, but I think at some point he's gonna need to address the super-whiteness of his oeuvre. I mean, he's the honkiest guy this side of Tim Burton.

smells like PENGUINS (remy bean), Sunday, 7 August 2011 18:38 (nine years ago) link

what do you mean by "need to address the super-whiteness of his oeuvre"?

by another name (amateurist), Sunday, 7 August 2011 18:58 (nine years ago) link

Ingmar Bergman had that problem too.

clemenza, Sunday, 7 August 2011 18:59 (nine years ago) link

the pilot for Hung is kind of my 2nd favorite Payne flick after Election

Autism Alamac (some dude), Sunday, 7 August 2011 19:26 (nine years ago) link

what do you mean by "need to address the super-whiteness of his oeuvre"

just that his films are really, really white-bread. i mean i get that he is chronicling some caucasian midwestern-ish shit, but his only prominent characters of color (that I can remember) are (1) an exotic asian love interest (2 ) a starving african boy. i'm not calling him out for racist or anything, just noting that there are, like, certain... omissions... in his work. like i said, he's no tim burton, but as adds more films to his résumé with almost exclusively white casts...

smells like PENGUINS (remy bean), Sunday, 7 August 2011 19:52 (nine years ago) link

^^ but, most of his films are set in Omaha! Has diversity arrived there yet?

Mucho! Macho! Honcho!: Turn Off The Dark (C. Grisso/McCain), Sunday, 7 August 2011 19:57 (nine years ago) link

there is literally no way i can think of him addressing "the super-whiteness of his oeuvre" in a future film that would actually earn praise from remy so why bother

Autism Alamac (some dude), Sunday, 7 August 2011 20:02 (nine years ago) link

good one!

smells like PENGUINS (remy bean), Sunday, 7 August 2011 20:05 (nine years ago) link

eh "write what you know," etc. It's one thing for me to implore Woody Allen to hang out with different kind of friends; it's another to recommend he cast Martin Lawrence.

livin in my own private Biden hole (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Sunday, 7 August 2011 20:08 (nine years ago) link

ok fine I would recommend it

livin in my own private Biden hole (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Sunday, 7 August 2011 20:09 (nine years ago) link

i think its kinda unfair to write sandra oh off as "exotic love interest"? but i dont disagree that it might be nice to see some ppl of color in these movies. also its one thing to have a white-ppl-only movie set in the midwest but if this movie about hawaii is as white as the trailers make it seem that wd be...... weird

max, Sunday, 7 August 2011 20:10 (nine years ago) link

ugh fuck sideways. i really love election + citizen ruth is a crazy film. i always think of this dude in terms of a "what happened?" narrative. maybe i should see about schmidt.

horseshoe, Sunday, 7 August 2011 20:11 (nine years ago) link

sandra oh was not an "exotic" love interest -- she was just a good-time gal as they say.

by another name (amateurist), Sunday, 7 August 2011 20:14 (nine years ago) link

never watched the director's cut w/ "me love you long time" monologue eh

Autism Alamac (some dude), Sunday, 7 August 2011 20:16 (nine years ago) link

I guess my issue isn't with what he's doing/done in terms of career being abt. white people woes, it's that he's selected four books to adapt (Citizen Ruth is original, right?) and the six or seven lead parts in each of them – save his ex-wife's – are all pretty similar. Google tells me that Payne went to UCLA and lived in Spain, so I think it's a little disingenuous to claim he's just doing 'what he knows' b/c at some point in his European and Angeleno life he has to interact w/ a lot of different people.

smells like PENGUINS (remy bean), Sunday, 7 August 2011 20:19 (nine years ago) link

Also I've enjoyed all five(?) of his films, to varying degrees.

smells like PENGUINS (remy bean), Sunday, 7 August 2011 20:20 (nine years ago) link

Maybe his own knowledge of Spain is superficial...?

livin in my own private Biden hole (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Sunday, 7 August 2011 20:22 (nine years ago) link

i thought this worked, it's not great but i didnt get condescending @ all. payne is good at tone generally imo & framing p base truths w/o harping on them too strongly as to ruin them

johnny crunch, Friday, 6 December 2013 19:12 (seven years ago) link

boy this was crap.

the objections to Drake from non-REAL HIPHOP people (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Saturday, 14 December 2013 00:47 (seven years ago) link

this starts incredibly poorly; closely resembles 1990s 16mm student experimentation; is somehow mainly trained on the guy who presumably fills in paul rudd's like ice age 3 voicework while rudd is busy; & yeah is non-stop condescending to the very thing that seems to motivate payne to make films. but i think it overcomes a lot of this, & by the end is i guess fine, failing at what it maybe most aimed to be but succeeding as a kind of '90s Jarmuschian road trip flick. Dern's performance isn't tidy enough to comment about, but there are some very nuanced, kind of masterly moments, like his disengagement at the graveyard. others, like the restaurant applause, rub our face a lil too closely into what could've been affecting. it mystifies me how payne, now, can get so close to the raw material of a good film & fuck it up (the performances are mainly bad, including squibb for the first twenty minutes, & then intermittently good), & even only really tend to his muse in such a boring way - romantic, rolling landscape shots, a bank the only momentarily convincing punctum reminding us of contemporary life. but for the last half i wasn't concentrating on these things, & aesthetic objections shouldn't get too upfront, here, if the thing underneath was penetrating enough.

love mike love (ko komo) (schlump), Saturday, 14 December 2013 02:38 (seven years ago) link

I don't think I've ever used the cliche "Anybody can play this part." Well, here now I will. Stacy Keach could have played Woody Grant. Will Forte will play him in twenty years; maybe he'll get Oscar notice too.

the objections to Drake from non-REAL HIPHOP people (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Saturday, 14 December 2013 02:40 (seven years ago) link

and god it's so condescending to film A MOVIE ABOUT NEBRASKA in B&W.

the objections to Drake from non-REAL HIPHOP people (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Saturday, 14 December 2013 02:40 (seven years ago) link

otm. did you read the new yorker profile? iirc he splits his time between somewhere midwestern & maybe l.a., & i am struggling not to imagine him perched at some glossy sidewalk café in california writing broad-brush caricature porn about midwesterners & their dumb conversations. i ought to watch that sweet short he made again, to compare, but i feel like he's so excluded himself from the handful of directors, leigh, cassavetes, van sant, who can confer any humanity or complexity on their working-class subjects. a lot of the characters reminded me of the like "dumb kid" in the descendants - bad performances riding stereotypes with minimal evident purpose.

love mike love (ko komo) (schlump), Saturday, 14 December 2013 02:55 (seven years ago) link

i liked the gag where the camera pans a little to the right and stacey keach is singing "In The Ghetto"

Hungry4Ass, Saturday, 14 December 2013 02:56 (seven years ago) link

shittily-sung kareoke as the How Folks Spend Their Time scene felt like the the condescension ne plus ultra here

love mike love (ko komo) (schlump), Saturday, 14 December 2013 03:00 (seven years ago) link

discreet shot of Tricuits in aunt's kitchen is the ne plus buttra

the objections to Drake from non-REAL HIPHOP people (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Saturday, 14 December 2013 03:04 (seven years ago) link

oh it was cheap... but still funny. nice details in the set design too, like will forte's apartment's fridge having a jimmy john's - we deliver! magnet on it

Hungry4Ass, Saturday, 14 December 2013 03:07 (seven years ago) link

conspicuously large tombstone in graveyard had PAYNE on it. would like to know how much of himself + his family is in this

Hungry4Ass, Saturday, 14 December 2013 03:08 (seven years ago) link

no that's true & how they gave bruce dern a hat at the end that said CAPITALISM on it & the cartoonist from the onion comic strip popped up in the bottom right to wink

love mike love (ko komo) (schlump), Saturday, 14 December 2013 03:08 (seven years ago) link

nice.

Hungry4Ass, Saturday, 14 December 2013 03:10 (seven years ago) link

this wasnt as good as a kelly comic, i'll admit

Hungry4Ass, Saturday, 14 December 2013 03:10 (seven years ago) link

just read that cranston auditioned for forte's role and apparently "I don't think he's right for the part," Payne said, "but he's an astonishing actor, that guy." yeah ok homie

Hungry4Ass, Saturday, 14 December 2013 03:20 (seven years ago) link

thought odenkirk was v good

love mike love (ko komo) (schlump), Saturday, 14 December 2013 03:23 (seven years ago) link

he and Forte match up as bros, and Odenkirk's "Breaking Bad" mannerisms suit him here.

the objections to Drake from non-REAL HIPHOP people (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Saturday, 14 December 2013 12:48 (seven years ago) link

can we agree that woman who ran the newspaper was great?

eclectic husbandry (Dr Morbius), Saturday, 14 December 2013 13:00 (seven years ago) link

Yes -- best performance.

the objections to Drake from non-REAL HIPHOP people (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Saturday, 14 December 2013 13:09 (seven years ago) link

whoever does paynes casting should be lauded imo

johnny crunch, Saturday, 14 December 2013 16:00 (seven years ago) link

A review.

the objections to Drake from non-REAL HIPHOP people (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Saturday, 14 December 2013 21:41 (seven years ago) link

uh, Jon Voight is the paraplegic in Coming Home

Dern's signature '70s parts are Smile and Black Sunday imho.

eclectic husbandry (Dr Morbius), Sunday, 15 December 2013 05:12 (seven years ago) link

yeah corrected.

I haven't seen Smile in yeeeears and am not confident enough to about my judgment then.

the objections to Drake from non-REAL HIPHOP people (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Sunday, 15 December 2013 05:13 (seven years ago) link

Saw Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte just last week, which all centers around his early exit. He's been around a long time.

clemenza, Sunday, 15 December 2013 15:13 (seven years ago) link

he is killed in a flashback in Marnie

eclectic husbandry (Dr Morbius), Sunday, 15 December 2013 15:59 (seven years ago) link

two weeks pass...

Takes maybe half-an-hour to find its footing, but in the end I liked Nebraska fine. I think the obvious complaint against it would be that it was conceived before it was felt; Alexander Payne has seen The Straight Story and Paris, Texas and Harry and Tonto, and he wanted to make a film like that. (He tried once already, right? I forgot About Schmidt the minute it ended--this attempt's much better, I think.) That aside--and maybe the too-ordinary performance by Will Forte; funny people sometimes rein themselves in till there's nothing left--many moments I'll take away from this. High on the list: the last five minutes, the newspaper lady, Dern's wife giving the rest of the family what for. Liked the soundtrack a lot.

clemenza, Tuesday, 31 December 2013 02:23 (seven years ago) link

jeezus, the last 5 minutes is crazy obvious; it feels written by a test screening.

eclectic husbandry (Dr Morbius), Tuesday, 31 December 2013 05:25 (seven years ago) link

I'm not sure what kind of surprise ending you were looking for. It was no more or less obvious than the ending of The Straight Story. (The really obvious ending would have been--well, I won't say, but I'm sure you can fill in the blank there.)

clemenza, Tuesday, 31 December 2013 06:06 (seven years ago) link

Would've been OK if the endings for Nebraska and The Last Stand had been swapped.

Alfre, Lord Woodard (Eric H.), Tuesday, 31 December 2013 06:08 (seven years ago) link

I'd have settled for "I'm not buying you an air compressor, Dad, I don't have the money."

eclectic husbandry (Dr Morbius), Tuesday, 31 December 2013 06:13 (seven years ago) link

I saw it on Christmas Day with a young Chinese lady. We were trying to see Her, but it was sold out. Afterwards, she asked me, "What is a compressor?"

As a midwesterner with these folks as relatives, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

tbd (Eazy), Tuesday, 31 December 2013 06:16 (seven years ago) link

nine months pass...

Was surprised at how much I liked Will Forte in this, but I think this is Payne's worst by some distance. If it weren't for Kristen Scott-Thomas comparing her son's cocks in Only God Forgives, June Squibb flashing the grave of her ex would have been the most embarrassing scene of 2013.

MaudAddam (cryptosicko), Saturday, 25 October 2014 18:01 (six years ago) link

i think the descendants was worse, maybe. neither of them was particularly good or bad IMO. payne mostly inspires shrugs chez moi.

I dunno. (amateurist), Sunday, 26 October 2014 05:14 (six years ago) link

apparently payne had to work really hard to get bruce dern not to overact in every scene.

I dunno. (amateurist), Sunday, 26 October 2014 05:15 (six years ago) link

apparently sometimes he would actually film him in what were, ostensibly, moments in between takes just so he could get reaction shots of him where he wasn't doing business or mugging

I dunno. (amateurist), Sunday, 26 October 2014 05:15 (six years ago) link

<-- this from horse's mouth

I dunno. (amateurist), Sunday, 26 October 2014 05:16 (six years ago) link

i think they say something similar about kaurismaki, too, that he'll secretly shoot what are ostensibly dry runthroughs to get readings as affectless as possible

schlump, Sunday, 26 October 2014 05:46 (six years ago) link

jeez, i sound like the "apparently kid"

I dunno. (amateurist), Sunday, 26 October 2014 05:46 (six years ago) link

i think they say something similar about kaurismaki, too, that he'll secretly shoot what are ostensibly dry runthroughs to get readings as affectless as possible

― schlump, Sunday, October 26, 2014 12:46 AM (Yesterday) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

malick did this a lot on the new world, probably his more recent films as well. but in payne's case it's not a general strategy, just an attempt to get some reaction shots of dern where he wasn't mugging. i do like dern as an actor, but here he's playing a guy who's living mostly in his head, and you'd have to say that for that sort of role he's definitely being cast against type..

I dunno. (amateurist), Monday, 27 October 2014 17:39 (six years ago) link

one year passes...
five months pass...

Alexander Payne‘s long-in-the-works “Downsizing” has been handed a big holiday release date of December 22, 2017. The high concept movie stars Matt Damon, Kristen Wiig, Christoph Waltz, Alec Baldwin, Neil Patrick Harris, Jason Sudeikis, and Hong Chau and follows an Omaha man in the not-too-distant future where humans are now able to shrink themselves to 1/8 their size as a means to battle over-consumption and the rapid depletion of earth’s natural resources. He decides to undergo the process himself, and joins others who have done the same.

http://theplaylist.net/alexander-paynes-downsizing-coming-december-2017-mission-impossible-6-arrives-2018-20161109/

Supercreditor (Dr Morbius), Monday, 14 November 2016 16:10 (four years ago) link

nine months pass...

Sweet jesus, this sounds awful:

http://www.filmfreakcentral.net/ffc/2017/09/downsizing.html

the general theme of STUFF (cryptosicko), Monday, 4 September 2017 01:05 (three years ago) link

Classic for Nebraska, Citizen Ruth and Election. I could take or leave the rest

Week of Wonders (Ross), Monday, 4 September 2017 01:27 (three years ago) link

Nebraska was terrible. The other two are great ... his only great films.

Anne of the Thousand Gays (Eric H.), Monday, 4 September 2017 02:54 (three years ago) link

two years pass...

Was wondering what Payne was up to and it turns out he was right up to the point of shooting a road movie for Netflix based onMy Saga until Karl Ove Knausgard pulled the rights at the last minute.

... (Eazy), Monday, 17 February 2020 04:25 (ten months ago) link

five months pass...

Jesus, I just saw this. Terrible. The only instance of test audiences forcing the filmmakers to shoot a new, correct ending?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vhezOPupmj4

flappy bird, Monday, 27 July 2020 06:14 (five months ago) link

five months pass...

RIP Election's, Jessica Campbell (Tammy Metzler), 38

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/jessica-campbell-election-star-dies-at-38

stylish but illegal (Simon H.), Wednesday, 13 January 2021 21:31 (two days ago) link

Checking her imdb, two things astounded me: How few credits she had (six total: a tv movie when she was a kid, Election; two eps of Freaks...; The Safety of Objects; a short film; and what I assume was an unreleased feature called Junk from 2002), and that she was two days younger than me, which means she was 15 when filming Election, and 16 when she was Tuba Girl.

"what are you DOING to fleetwood mac??" (C. Grisso/McCain), Wednesday, 13 January 2021 21:52 (two days ago) link

that is weird.... only SIX?

flappy bird, Thursday, 14 January 2021 00:59 (yesterday) link


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