Foxcatcher is not a Best Picture nominee, but it is a best actor, best supporting actor, and a best director nominee, so I figured I should give it a watch. Plus, I was intrigued. The real life story is super interesting, I love wrestling as you folks reading may well know, but I also loved amateur wrestling. I was in my high school wrestling team for ... a few months? I only quit because the coach at the time told me I had to pick, wrestling, or all the other extracurriculars I was doing. So I picked choir, theatre, academic bowl, and everything else. Anyway, let's talk about the movie.
I don't think it's very good. It is really slowly paced, the plot is kind of obtuse, and while all the acting and music and shots are good, some great in fact, the wrong stuff is being talked about. Let's talk about the plot. It is the story of the Schultz brothers and their dealings with John E. du Pont. There is a lot of information in the real world about it, but this is a fictionalized, condensed version of the whole encounter. I normally do not care for spoilers, but I can say that the movie deals with ... uh ... ok, so I can't say that.
That's one of the biggest problems with the movie. I did not think it did a good job of actually telling the story. We see some bits and pieces of things that happen, but none of what it means is conveyed in film. I suppose the film is kind of about ownership and being a prisoner and maybe some homosexual stuff and a little bit of betrayal, but not really, and ... ugh. The film has a good atmosphere that lasts way too long and ends up being a burden instead of a bonus. The film is so thick and so long and so "audience, figure this out all on your own" that it just becomes this big goopy thick mess of ... nothing. Oh, better metaphor, it is like oatmeal. Really thick, pasty oatmeal like my wife likes to eat it. There are bits of wonderful fruit in there, like the actors, or small scenes that are really emotional, but you have to eat heaping spoonfuls of grey, lifeless, flavorless gunk to get to those good tasting bits, which only make up probably a tenth of the film, if not less.
The Academy's reaction to stupid oatmeal movie.
This movie feels like it was a script written to be about DuPont. Then the real Mark Schultz got involved, as a producer and as a consultant, so some extra focus got put on the Mark Schultz character Channing Tatum played. Then they found they had a GREAT actor doing an INCREDIBLE job, so they edited more of him into the film. And they were right, the Schultz stuff was the great stuff in the movie. But the original script was about du Pont, so the film and the director forced it to stay on that path, even though that is a disservice to the fantastic acting of Channing Tatum.
Channing, if you for some reason are reading this, I think you were robbed. You did awesome. And you are becoming a favorite actor of mine. Keep making movies, even crappy ones, and keep working as hard as you seem to be. I'll keep buying tickets.
All of that said, this movie is still above average. It has a bunch of great components, it just focuses on the wrong bits and is a terrible slog to get through. It is on the low end of a B, but it is still a B.