Saturday, January 13, 2007

Nick's Fave Films of '06: For Your Consideration

Directed by Christopher Guest,
Written by Christopher Guest, Eugene Levy

Chris Guest's "For Your Consideration" is a witheringly, unceasingly hilarious film, and criminally underrated even by the meager standards of film-critic consensus. FYC is a look at several participants in a pretentious, overacted, producer-meddling, oscarbait production and the perfectly self-contained ecosystem of Hollywood. From production, to marketing, to the hype, and even the awards themselves.

The film follows the reactions and interplay of several actors and production staff who find their film, 'Home for Purim' the subject of internet-based Oscar-buzz. Suddenly, relationships are tense. Cosmetic surgery is being ordered. Appearances are being made on preposterous entertainment shows by middle-aged actors trying desperately to play to an audience less than half their age. Suddenly, relationships, dignity, and common sense are tossed to the winds. All that matters, more than the statue itself, is playing the part, socially and professionally, of someone worthy of it.

Many have said this is Guest's most dour and least optimistic film and that's probably true. However, it could not have been different. FYC isn't about finding hope or glimmers of joy, since those aren't things that can be found in the universe these characters have decided to inhabit. Not that they merely inhabit it, but live and breathe it, live and die by it. It's a look at the personal effects of investing oneself in an insular world, severed from any reality where the values that give individuals meaning still exist. Depending on it for your emotional well-being, to dictate your relationships, to give you meaning. Both a critique of the creative world of Hollywood, and a look at the perfect havoc wreaked by the single-minded pursuit of displaced values. In the end, the characters have nothing because the world they have sought has nothing to give them. Incredibly funny, and quietly heartbreaking. I loved it.


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