By Alan Scherstuhl
By Amy Nicholson
By Charles Taylor
By Stephanie Zacharek
By Brian Feinzimer
By CAROLINA DEL BUSTO
By AMY NICHOLSON
By Amy Nicholson
Un Plan Parfait (Fly Me to the Moon), a romantic comedy that was the 2013 Newport Beach Film Festival's (NBFF) French Spotlight picture, was the big winner of jury awards dished out by Orange County's pre-eminent cinextravaganza, taking Best Picture, Actress, Director and Screenplay.
Thirty-five of the more than 350 films screened at NBFF 2013 received awards this year. There are so many awards for films these days. All the hip kids are doing it. I want to give out awards, damn it. So last year on the Weekly's Navel Gazing blog, I did, although I couldn't decide whether to call them the Matties, Shmatties or Cokscars.
Whatever you call 'em—a cab, perhaps?—here they are:
MOST F'D-UP PREDICAMENT
Mads Mikkelsen is brilliant as a put-upon kindergarten teacher falsely accused of molesting children in Thomas Vinterberg's heartbreaking drama out of Denmark. Hollywood would wrap this up in a nice bow, and you assume Vinterberg will, too. Then . . .
BEST BROTHER ACT
Julián and Joaquín Azulay, Gauchos del mar—Surfeando el pacifico americano
It's unfair enough these chiseled, tow-headed brothers resemble rock stars. But we get to watch them living the life, surfing the Pacific side of the North, Central and South American coasts from Malibu down, around and up to their native Buenos Aires. They wrote, directed and shot the movie themselves and, get this, couldn't come to Newport because they were off on a long hiking adventure. God, how I hate them!
BEST PERFORMANCE BY A BOWLING ALLEY
Fountain Bowl, We've Got Balls
The first and last voice you hear in Cherie Kerr's screwball comedy is that of the Fountain Valley bowling alley, which performs under its given name but has the acting range to make audiences believe it's in a fictional town called Fountain Springs (population 52). Local bowlers will recognize the lanes, the bar's karaoke area and bowling legend Barry Asher's Champions pro shop.
BEST MISS YVONNE MOMENT
Lynne Marie Stewart, We've Got Balls
Kerr, the Orange County Crazies improv-troupe founder who has a theater and business in Santa Ana, was an early member of the legendary Los Angeles improv troupe the Groundlings. So was Lynne Marie Stewart, who later joined another Groundling, Paul Reubens, in stage, television and film productions centering on his most famous character, Pee-wee Herman. Stewart played Miss Yvonne, "The Most Beautiful Woman in Puppet Land," and her Grandma Jean character in We've Got Balls saves the day.
Joshua Davis, The Art of Beer
The onscreen host of Oscar Ussern's The Art of Beer manages to defeat John Wayne of The Searchers for having the hip-swingingest gait of all NBFF 2013 film stars. Part of the "OCC Shorts" program of films from the Orange Coast College Film/Video Department in Costa Mesa, Davis' guided tour of Southern California brew pubs, beer stores and garages also takes honors for leaving me parched.
BEST FILM PROMOTER
Kevan Peterson's adorable little boy, Wiener Dog Nationals
I didn't catch his name, but the director's little boy handed me a flier to the screening of this family film about a brood adopting a speedy dachshund runt who leads them all the way to the championship races in Los Alamitos. Who could resist such an invitation?
BEST CHARACTER NAME
Sikorski, I Declare War
Jason Lapeyre and Robert Wilson's not-for-kids movie about kids playing a militaristic game of capture the flag includes F-bombs, torture and a sad-sack soldier named Sikorski (Dyson Fyke)—because every war movie has a Sikorski.
SCARIEST SCARY MOVIE
Terms and Conditions May Apply
Wait, you mean Google monitors the sites I frequent? . . . Oh, shit.
SADDEST SAD MOVIE
Before seeing Gabriela Peñuñuri's "OCC Shorts" documentary, I did not know the U.S.-Mexico border's Friendship Park existed, let alone that Pat Nixon opened it as a place where family members on both sides of the border could bond. So how could I know that post-9/11, it's a demilitarized zone with a tall mesh wall that barely allows these same families to touch one another? Thanks, Osama!
Woody Allen, Paris Manhattan
You hope in the beginning the Woodman turns up at some point, and just when Sophie Lellouche's French rom-com has thoroughly washed over you and you no longer care, guess who pops up?
BEST LAWMAN PLAYED BY A BRIDGES
Beau Bridges, Rushlights
Giving the best performance by a Bridges as a lawman since Jeff in True Grit, brother Beau deserves better than Antoni Stutz's increasingly ridiculous tale about a couple that tries to fraudulently obtain a dead woman's inheritance in a dusty Texas town.
BEST INSPIRATION FOR A MUSIC CHANNEL
NBFF Music Video Program
The fest and the Orange County Music Awards combined forces to present cinematic music videos that were so effective someone should invent a cable-television network that does nothing but play them. You kids get right on that while I catch up on 16 and Pregnant.
MOST TORTURED ACTING
D.B. Sweeney is fine as the coach leading an underachieving high-school football team in rural Ohio against its cross-town rival powerhouse. But veteran actors William Mapother and Melora Walters and the young actors playing high schoolers make Doug Dearth's film as hard to watch as that hit on Theismann.
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