Glimmer of Baldwin Thing

Somebody said something the other day about Alec Baldwin being exceptional in Nancy MeyersIt’s Complicated (Universal, 12.25). The vested parties are saying this, of course, with the post-marital comedy expected to start screening for critics sometime after Thanksgiving. A non-vested writer-director guy told me this afternoon that he can “absolutely confirm” that Baldwin is the shit in Meyers’ film and a prime candidate for Best Supporting Actor. A vested party who nonetheless tends to be blunt said Baldwin is “a lay-down hand for a nom, Jeff. And he could win. Total breakout performance. Bet on it.”

Whatever the truth, it hit me suddenly that it’s taken Baldwin 15 years to recover from the downish career dents he suffered in the ’90s — sacrificing a movie-star career and the Jack Ryan franchise for a chance to play Stanley Kowalski in a Broadway Streetcar, the messy divorce from Kim Basinger and the daughter tape, getting thicker and thicker, developing the angry guy rep, being called “the Bloviator” by the N.Y. Post, etc. — and to find his kwan and ease into a nice smooth groove over the last two or three years with 30 Rock and whatnot, and that some kind of favorable karma thing is kicking in now with his acting in It’s Complicated and co-hosting the Oscars with Steve Martin and so on. I’m just feeling a little vibe telling me it’s Baldwin’s time right now and that the winds are favoring.

The non-vested director-writer said that “besides Baldwin, It’s Complicated is also a very strong showing for Steve Martin. A nice rebound after the last Panther movie and something more in tune with his talents. Part of the fun of having Baldwin and Martin host the Oscars is the possibility of one or both of them being nominated. It’s a strong film and Universal will have a much-needed crowd pleaser. Meryl could be a lock as well for Best Actress, with the Julia Child performance being pushed for supporting.”

The only thing that gives me concern is my bedrock certainty that however satisfying and entertaining her films may be on a certain level, Nancy Meyers doesn’t want to be anything more than Nancy Meyers. She doesn’t seem to want to push herself up to the next level and be the James L. Brooks of the ’80s and early ’90s (i.e., before he lost it). I’ve said this before, but she can’t stop making movies about people with money who have shiny copper pots hanging in the kitchen.

  • George Prager

    Only by making films that are completely divorced from reality can she lay claim to being the next James L. Brooks.

  • George Prager

    I might have to actually go see this movie, copper pots and all.

  • dangovich

    I’ve said this before, but she can’t stop making movies about people with money who have shiny copper pots hanging in the kitchen..

    …And who bathe in claw foot tubs.

  • dangovich

    George, don’t go, you’ll only encourage her.

  • zyg

    imdb lists 84 acting credits for baldwin.

    glad to hear he’s finally gotten a ‘total breakout’ role. or, would it be more precise to say he’s finally delivered a ‘total breakout performance’?

    either way, i’m betting on it/him

  • BurmaShave

    I thought it was an only half-decent film that Maria Bello’s sexiness absolutely stole, but Baldwin did get an Oscar nod for THE COOLER only six years ago. Could we consider that to be the beginning of his kwan?

  • jesse

    I haven’t seen the movie, obviously, so maybe it’s worthy of Baldwin, Martin, and Streep, but think about the prospect of someone else writing and directing a movie with these stars and even this same premise, and how much better it would probably seem. It doesn’t even have to be a heavy-hitter; maybe the guy who did The Family Stone (what’s he up to now, anyway? That movie did pretty well, though I feel like I know a lot of people who strongly dislike it for some reason). Someone less smug and self-congratulatory and more capable of self-editing than Meyers.

    I want to think that anything with these three actors front and center — maybe even especially now that they’re all well into middle age — would be worth seeing. But then, I would’ve thought anything with Jude Law, Kate Winslet, Jack Black, and Cameron Diaz would’ve been worth seeing, too, and The Holiday is one of the worst movies I’ve seen in the past ten years. It didn’t even make that much money (about as much as Family Stone, with more star power), so I’m not sure why these talented people want to go work with Meyers, who has now written two movies in a row where characters in the movie essentially, in some form or another, tell each other that the movie itself is really well-written!

  • BurmaShave

    jesse, WHAT WOMEN WANT made about 180 million domestic, the biggest non directing hit of Gibson’s career. SOMETHING’S GOTTA GIVE made about 120 mil, and bagged Diane Keaton a comeback Oscar nod. That’s all just this decade. Nancy Meyers isn’t ever going to be in director jail, no matter how odious she may be at times.

  • jesse

    Well, I wasn’t asking why anyone was bankrolling her movies; rather, why anyone with a lot of talent would want to be IN them. But, yeah, I guess she’s made a bunch of hits, so point taken, actors like hits.

  • the400blows

    It seems to me Woody Allen has made a career of making films about rich people with shiny copper pots and pans. So if he can do it, why shouldn’t Myers?! I suppose it’s fitting that Diane Keaton has been in both an Allen and Myers film. I liked The Family Stone.

  • The Winchester

    It’s opening wide on Christmas, it’s competition is Sherlock Holmes, Alvin and the Chipmunks 2, and Avatar. This movie will make a mint.

    I second the motion of hoping it will be more akin to Something’s Gotta Give than The Holiday.

  • lawnorder

    THE COOLER is probably one of the most underrated films of the decade – and that was definitely the beginning of his “kwan” or return to form. And he should have won that year – he was far better than the overhyped Tim Robbins in MYSTIC RIVER. Remember, Baldwin had actually been reduced to doing HOLLYWOOD SQUARES before he came riding back on the heat of THE COOLER – and soon after that he, he was doing classy supporting turns in THE AVIATOR and THE DEPARTED, etc.

  • arturobandini2

    Don’t forget the nadir of Baldwin’s career dent — Dessarae Bradford’s I Fucked Alec Baldwin In His Ass (In A Hot, Sweaty, Nasty Sex Romp).” If only I’d ordered the bumper sticker:


    I read the script and thought it was hilarious. One of the best reads this year.

    The movie is more Something’s Gotta Give than the Holiday.

    I don’t know what happened with the Holiday. I couldn’t bare it. Five minutes into Diaz’s “performance” I almost walked out.

    I do love SGG though. Jack and Diane were excellent and I appreciate the house porn.

  • Phreaker

    Holiday was better than Something’s Gotta Give, way better. It was annoying in that same way all of her movies are annoying but at least it wasn’t about propping up an older woman’s ego by spending the whole movie proving why she’s so much better than everyone else. I’m hoping this movie ain’t that – maybe Meryl can save it and make it make sense the way she did with Devil Wears Prada.

  • Mike

    If Bridges and Baldwin each won the Oscars in their categories it would be the best show in a while!

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  • jannemarrie

    The worldview of this maliciously wicked film (which isn’t “no-laugh funny” as much as wicked-bitter-toxic funny, which I personally prize above all other kinds) is black as night, black as a damp and sealed-off cellar. Basement waterproofing cost