HFPA comedy/musical nominees

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s decision to put Charlie Wilson’s War, The Savages, Margot at the Wedding, Juno, The Darjeeling Limited, Waitress and Lars and the Real Girl into the comedy/musical category for the Golden Globes Awards is, of course, a bizarre call. Because the HFPA is committed to filling an annual slot of comedy/musical contenders, they seize upon any dramedy they can find and call it a comedy.

The general definition of a dramedy is a drama leavened with humor that is either (a) dry, (b) cryptic, (c) deadpan or (d) acid but almost never out-and-out “funny.” Juno is probably the most hah-hah-ish, although it’s very much a mainstream dramedy. Charlie Wilson’s War is a dramedy with some genuine laughs courtesy of Philip Seymour Hoffman‘s performance. The Savages isn’t even a dramedy — it’s a fairly morose drama about a dying dad and his two semi-miserable middle- aged children embroidered with, okay, some darkly witty dialogue. Lars and the Real Girl is about an absurd situation, but is not a dramedy by any standard I’m aware of. The humor in The Darjeeling Limited is so dry and deadpan it barely qualifies — I enjoyed the tone but I didn’t even chortle. Waitress, I suppose, can be called a kind of dramedy.

47 thoughts on “HFPA comedy/musical nominees

  1. actionman on said:

    I really enjoyed Waitress. It’s not a masterwork or anything like that but it’s freaking perfect for what it is. Keri Russell is so damn cute in it, and Nathan Fillion is terrfic. Love the banter between the two of them. Saw it in the theater with my girlfriend and she just flipped for it so I got her the dvd this past Tuesday and we’ve been watching it the last few nights. It’s a truly fun and enjoyable little movie. And yes, I’d call it a dramedy.

  2. I liked but didn’t love Darjeeling, until someone who read my review at my blog sent me a magnificent response…I urge anyone who saw Darjeeling to check this out, whether you liked/loved/hated the film (Wells, check it out, I think you’ll find it pretty great). Now, I’m a bigger fan of the film than when I walked out of the Arclight and I can’t wait to check it out again.

    http://actionman-nickspix.blogspot.com/2007/11/reader-chimes-in.html

  3. I’m surprised they didn’t give anything to Knocked Up.

    I don’t blame anyone for liking it, but I thought Waitress was a really shoddy piece of work.

  4. One of the things I love so much about New York is that while I was there I saw DARJEELING with an audience who found it riotous. They were laughing along with it as much as if it were an Apatow comedy. “Look at these assholes” is the best delivered comic line in a movie this year.

  5. a-man, can you please paraphrase it. Nothing like a non-pro pointing to a non-pro. I thought the movie was about universal McMysticalism.

  6. as a member of one of those nyc darjeeling audiences, i laughed more at breaking the waves and the virgin spring combined than I did during that screening. ditto the audience i was with… and i dont think my killjoy spirit was THAT contagious.

  7. Good point, Burma. That is an indisputably hilarious line and it manages to actually have sensitive resonance, given the events that follow. The movie really is a study in contrasts — young vs. old, American vs. Indian, spiritual vs. mundane, depressed vs. enlightened — and all of these contrasts are used to generate subtle, insightful comic hilarity.

  8. There was so much riotous laughter at No Country, lines were getting stepped on.

    Most importantly, how did Wells get this list; does he have an open vein being fed?

  9. JD… your most recent comment was very interesting and might lead me to giving the flick a second look, particularly as anderson’s films usually benefit from repeated viewings, but i can’t imagine that i’ll change my mind regarding how insufferably tired the “offbeat” brothers and their family dynamic was, or (more importantly) how seldom those 91 minutes managed to hold my attention. saw juno this morning, on the other hand, and while its apples and oranges, almost felt as if it entirely negated some of anderson’s oeuvre, particularly as far as the young v. old contrast you mentioned is concerned. more entertaining AND more broadly insightful

  10. Funny thing about that “assholes” line is that it was in the original script, but Wilson balked, so it was taken out. On the day of shooting, he decided to use it anyway.

  11. a1…genius.

    Knocked Up is probably one of the films up for consideration for Best Comedy/Musical but I don’t think Jeff is posting all of them, just some of the films that don’t quite fit in there.

    Of all of them, I think only Waitress and Juno fit. I think the Golden Globes do this on purpose. For example, they need to find a way to get Tom Hanks a nomination and he has no chance in the Best Actor, Drama category. It’s the same situation as when Jack Nicholson won the Best Actor, Drama for “About Schmidt”. It can go either way and the Globes try and get everyone involved.

  12. Coupled with Chevalier, Darjeeling represents Anderson’s strongest, most personal work since Rushmore. It’ll age quite nicely.

  13. a1, your comment was DEFINITELY funnier than anything in darjeeling. and true, too. i didnt think that with one project baumbach could squander all of the goodwill squid and the whale afforded him, but he pulled it off! and he was absurdly condescending in the q+a that followed the film, to boot…

  14. juno was the better movie! sorry… if i weren’t at work i promise i’d provide a more cogent argument, even if it were an ultimately unconvincing one. i’m excited for anderson to wander out of his comfort zone… but juno was funnier, more enjoyable, and most importantly far wiser regarding the transition from / amorphous two-way street between adolescence to adulthood. and, unlike the darjeeling trio, the eponymous juno’s eccentricity doesn’t play like a writer’s crutch.

  15. I admit, I didn’t see the whole ‘Darjeeling’, and I don’t intend to judge the whole thing until I do see it… but I had fifteen minutes before ‘Jesse James’, and it coincided with the opening 15 of that movie [unfortunately, not the short, since then, at least, I would've seen Portman naked], and it was not funny at all. I was shocked. Even the laminated line which sounded funny in reviews was dead. The whole crowd was silent the whole time. I do tend to assume the movie has less exposition after that, since it was ten minutes of pure undiluted expositon coupled with badly edited Kinks songs, but still…

    Seems like Wes Anderson’s hole just got deeper and narrower. That’s what it looked like from the trailer, and the 15 minutes I saw seem to have confirmed it. But I’ll watch the whole thing on cable at some point. Even after everything I’ve said, it seemed better than ‘Life Aquatic’.

  16. It’s ok Aguirre. We’re on opposite sides of the fence on this one and I doubt we’d ever convince the other they’re wrong. Different people find funny in different places.

    I have to admit the audience I was with loved the hell out of Juno. I smiled a lot but genuinely laughed maybe two times.

  17. Whaddya mean “go back?” We’ve been dry, cryptic, deadpan and acid. Why don’t they have a best drajedy category, and put The Savages, Margot at the Wedding, Lars and the Real Girl, Lust Caution, Into The Wild, Away From Her, In The Valley of Elah, There Will Be Blood. I think I going to hate Tony Leung, just hope I get there on time, the screening in Hollywood closed inside of 24 hours.

  18. Those were blessed days indeed before the word “dramedy”. I think we can blame for the word (along with so many of the evils of our society) can be squarely placed on television. Back in 1987 with the debuts of “The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd” with Bair Brown and “Hopperman” with John Ritter is when I remember the word first springing forth.

  19. No surprises here. The HFPA thought The Squid and the Whale was a comedy, too. By their standards (or at least past practice), Control belongs in this category, too, even though it is neither a comedy nor a musical. Question not the wisdom of the Golden Globes.

  20. More, more.
    comedy-ironic/sardonic
    comedy-gut busting
    musical-song and dance
    musical-music as story
    animated-adult
    animated-kid
    drama-period
    drama-present

  21. OT: The Wall Street Journal raves, raves about The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. Given the eternal appeal of the handicapped genre to Hollywood (Million Dollar Baby, My Left Foot, Before Night Falls, etc.), I think that could be a real best picture contender (even if Jeff found it impressive but hard to take).

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