In the wake of a stressful few days, I looked to this week’s fortune cookie for some comfort. I was told this: “Don’t worry, half the people you know are below average.” While for some reason I did feel a little less worried after reading that, my cookie was a little less credible unwrapped so close to our Cornell campus. However, I am still happy to take my maybe sort-of compliment. My fortune, and thereby the universe, has declared that I’m better than at least half of you. Take that, world!
So, of course, now I have been considering who else is in this upper fortune cookie crust club. It’s also had me thinking about all of the movies and TV shows that I may, Ezra willing, have time to catch up on this weekend, but I think I’m always subconsciously thinking about that. Either way, the overlap led me to a group of the best and most current of our upper crusters in the field of writing and directing. I hope you have heard about many of them before, and if you haven’t get the jump, because this winter I suspect you’re going to hear their names a lot more.
Let’s start with Paul Thomas Anderson. Director of Magnolia, There Will Be Blood and, most recently, The Master, Anderson probably has an award shelf somewhere in his house because he has won too many to count. Most of his films have been nominated in multiple categories, and The Master has already won the Silver Lion in Venice. You’ll undoubtedly see The Master pop up on the Oscar list in a few of months, and if you’re itching to see a well-made movie, this film is for you. Joaquin Phoenix, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams, under Anderson’s direction … just go see it. Fun fact: In real life, Anderson is married to Maya Rudolph. I am taking this as proof that, besides being a respected director, he is most likely an all-around awesome person.
Speaking of awesome people, one of our hot names has got to be Lena Dunham. I’m not going to spend a lot of time here because I assume that most of you have heard of her before, likely in conjunction with her HBO show Girls, which has been receiving a bathtub full of attention this year. So here’s what you may not know: Dunham is a 26-year-old Oberlin grad who has already written, directed and produced two feature films of her own entitled Creative Non-Fiction and Tiny Furniture. She was nominated for four Emmys for her work on Girls and just received a $3.5 million publishing deal for a yet-to-be-written book of essays. She is set to appear in Judd Apatow’s This Is 40, which hits theaters this December and should ensure that she won’t be off our radar anytime soon. Thank God.
Another individual who won’t be off our radar for a very long time is Peter Jackson, who will be the director of all three parts of The Hobbit. The first of the three part installments will hit theaters this December, and, admit it, you’re excited. Jackson directed the first three Lord of The Rings films, and the final film, Return of the King, won Oscars for Best Picture, Director and Adapted Screenplay in 2004. Basically, we know The Hobbit is in good hands. Now, the only question is who to dress up as for the premiere.
On the topic of books becoming movies, we can’t forget the fabulous Baz Luhrmann, who somewhat recently completed the new version of The Great Gatsby. I was a little heartbroken when its Christmas release got pushed until spring, but I’m still way too excited about the movie to actually be angry about it. What you need to know about Baz Luhrmann is that he is really just Baz Luhrmann. His style is his and his alone. It is new, bright, colorful, different, a little wild and overall beautiful to look at. Quick Review: You have most likely seen Lurmann’s work in Moulin Rouge, Australia and Romeo + Juliet. If Romeo + Juliet is any indicator, this adaptation will be unlike any other Gatsby film so far.
If none of films I’ve mentioned so far swipe an Oscar nom for Best Picture, there is a good, very good chance that Silver Linings Playbook will. You may have heard of its director David O. Russell from films like Three Kings and The Fighter. Playbook comes out in November and is pretty much guaranteed an Oscar. The film already won a People’s Choice Award at TIFF and, as of now, has a 100 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Come on, Jennifer Lawrence. Bradley Cooper playing a serious role. And great reviews? Get excited. Russell has an untitled production set to come out in 2013 that is rumored to include Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Jeremy Renner and Amy Adams. I have a feeling he will keep popping up long after this year.
Directors don’t get half of the buzz that actors do, which is a shame, because, in a sense, they are the characters we love so much, much more than the actors. Half of the time, they are the writers of the words we so anxiously quote on our walls and attribute to Don Draper or Frodo.
In a magical world, where these people were “everyone I know,” I would consider myself lucky to be below average. Until then, my goal will be what the goal for all college undergraduates is: Just try to stay above the mean.