Last entry in the Thomas McCarthy Blogathon, his latest film Win-Win

We Talk About Movies

McCarthy’s films all beat with both a messiness and a purity in their big, open hearts. They feel less like perfectly buffed gems, but more like bedraggled stuffed toys, kinda shaggy, a little worn around the edges, and yet warm with the hugs of kind-hearted company. Win Win is a feel-good movie that doesn’t resort to cheap shots for its audience’s sympathy. It makes you feel more than just good, but really earns your affection. It’s like McCarthy went through the Pixar writing boot camp and came out with a better grasp of story balance, but left behind the more obvious of the Lasseter template’s emotional machinations. If, at certain beats, Station Agent strayed too whimsical, while The Visitor swung too melancholy, Win Win is “just right”, like a bowl of yummy, satisfying porridge.

A pretty nuanced filmmaker to start with, this film shows how McCarthy continues to expand his shades of…

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2nd entry in our Thomas McCarthy blogathon, the Oscar-nominated The Visitor

We Talk About Movies

Compared to The Station Agent, I felt no urge to re-watch McCarthy’s sophomore effort, The Visitor, not because it’s a bad film, but because… to put it bluntly… it’s quite a downer. Not that I believe that an artist should limit himself to life-affirming, mood-uplifting works. On the contrary. But looking through McCarthy’s oeuvre, he really does feel-good with a tinge of bittersweet SO well, it almost seems as if he just needed to do a truly sad film to get it out of his system. So “The Visitor”can be said to be a bit of a sophomore slump, not because of a decrease in quality, in fact McCarthy’s writing, technical, and directing skills were definitely further honed with this film, but because compared to the bright spots on his resume that are his other films, The Visitor is kind of like this gray, depressing blot that…

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My first entry in the Thomas McCarthy Blogathon, writing about “The Station Agent

We Talk About Movies

I first saw The Station Agent as soon as the first bootleg screener DVDs hit the media pirate stalls of Manila, back in those slowband days of 2003 when downloading a film could take the better part of a week. Aside from the novelty of being a well-received indie “art” film with a dwarf actor in the lead, the most the film seemed to have had going for it was riding the wave of Patricia Clarkson‘s burgeoning cred as a character actress to be reckoned with.

Looking back now, who would have predicted that Michelle Williams would eventually snap up a series of Oscar noms, while Peter Dinklage would fall into THE role he was meant to play in Game of Thrones‘ Tryion Lannister. Strange to remember a time when, by accidents of birth or early career choices, either had to strenuously prove themselves just to be taken…

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