When Did John Goodman Become Best Picture Material?

Look, I love John Goodman. We all love John Goodman. John Goodman is great! But all of a sudden he’s the biggest ticket to getting an Oscar for Best Picture. He was in three of the nominated films this year—Flight, ParaNorman, and Argo—and its the second year in a row that John Goodman has appeared in a Best Picture-winning film. Last year, of course, he had a small, silent role in The Artist. But don’t forget! He was also in Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, a movie so terrible that everyone was stunned to see it get a Best Picture nomination. The secret? John Goodman. I’m telling you, put John Goodman in your movie. You’re not going to regret it. 

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‘Monsters University’: Your Freshman Year, But With Hairier Dorm-Mates

Sequels are always a crap-shoot, and prequels even more so. But Monsters University, the upcoming origin story-spinning Pixar film starring the tall, blue and fuzzy and short and one-eyed heroes of the hit Monsters, Inc., actually looks like it’ll be a good time. There’s an element of the goofy, nostalgic college-movie spirit peppered throughout the promotion for the film, from the actual fake university website for MU that teased the film (complete with fake ".edu" address and all-star football quarterbacks with very quarterback-y names) to the new UK trailer released yesterday.

As it says on the tin, Monsters University details how Sully (John Goodman) and Mike Wazowski (Billy Crystal) met as Scaring majors (and roommates) their freshman (freshmonster?) year of college. Along the way, set to blaring trumpets and a popular Motley Crüe party anthem, they become rivals—Sully the cool, popular scaring expert; Mike the awkward, bookish retainer-wearing melvin—and try to out-scare each other, while encountering wild dorm parties, pranks, football games and frat monsters, all on a picturesque campus that may remind you of your wildest years. Don’t let the college nostalgia get to your head now. Watch.

Watch the First Trailer for Joel and Ethan Coen’s ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’

Whether you’re a fan of their movies or not, there’s no deny Joel and Ethan Coen have a unique style of filmmaking all their own . Like Tarantino, they draw on their vast wealth of influences to blend genres together and make films that are always fueled by eccentric, rich characters with a dry sense of humor and intelligence that’s often brutal but never emotionally vacant. Their films exist in a very specific world of their own making and with their latest effort, Inside the Mind of Llwelyn Davis, it appears people are already raving about the film, which looks to have a very similar aesthetic quality to Walter Salles’ recent On the Road.

Based on the memoir The Maymor of MacDougal Street by Dave Van Ronk, the film reunites Drive‘s Irene and Standard (Carey Mulligan and Oscar Isaac) as Llewyn and Jean to tell the story of the titular character, a song-songwriter making his way through the 1960s folk scene in New York City. Justin Timberlake, Adam Driver, John Goodman, and Garrett Hedlund join the cast in what seems to be a more intimate film for the brothers. Inside Llewyn Davis should see a preimere at Cannes this spring and will hopefully hit theaters sometime next year. And from this trailer, we’ll definitely be anticipating a speedy release date.

John Goodman On Being a Cinematic Loudmouth

For nine years, John Goodman appeared to millions of Americans as Dan Conner, Roseanne Barr’s beleaguered husband on the sitcom Roseanne. It is a testament to the breadth and believability of his post-Roseanne roles that nearly a decade of constant exposure hasn’t pinned the actor to that one character specimen. Goodman has brought his heft and range to iconic roles, such as the overbearing Walter Sobchak in The Big Lebowski, the Polyphemus stand-in “Big Dan” Teague in O Brother, Where Are Thou?, and the curmudgeonly studio head with a heart of fool’s gold in The Artist. In Robert Zemickis’ Flight, one of the three movies Goodman stars in this season, the actor plays Harling Mays, a man whose personality, like that of many of Goodman’s characters, is expansive to the point of offensive and, although perhaps not good, always loveable. We asked Mr. Goodman to describe the process of becoming Mr. Mays.

My character is an oaf. He has no sense of his surroundings. He’s pretty much wrapped up in his own head, so he just stumbles around. I picture him banging off the walls of the corridor wherever he is. He’s like a medicated bear on both stimulants and tranquilizers. In that shot you’ve got there, he’s listening to the Rolling Stones. “Sympathy for the Devil,” I think. He’s a contemporary guy really hung up on the early ’70s, still living in that era, like a character out of Key West who likes to fancy himself a good ol’ Southern boy. Maybe he read too much Hunter S. Thompson. Or maybe he listens to too much Jimmy Buffet. He’s just a Parrothead–type of guy. In fact, he’s a pretty bad guy. He thinks he’s helping but he’s not. He’s what they call an enabler. He provides Denzel’s character with drugs, and he’ll be your friend until the money runs out.

Whether he is likeable, I don’t care. That’s not up to me to judge. That’s up to the audience. I just try to do what’s on the page and flesh it out with some details. I’m not trying to be mysterious, I just don’t understand a lot of what I do. I do, however, think it is a mistake to say that I bring a lot of my own quirks to the character. The hair, the outfit, the mannerisms—most of it is in the script. I just take whatever details the script provides and then try to go about it with my own observations of why. It’s also a mistake to say that I’m drawn to these types of characters. It just depends on the script. Now, it’s true: I’ve been cast as this type of character often. I did some quiet stuff on Roseanne, but recently I guess I’m just a loudmouth all the time.

Oscar Buzz Watch: Ben Affleck Is Definitely Getting Oscar-Nominated

Ben Affleck is definitely getting Oscar-nominated for Argo. When it opens in theaters next weekend, and you make it your compromise movie because nobody can agree on Pitch Perfect or Seven Psychopaths (and no one wants to see Here Comes the Boom, come on), you should watch it with the full knowledge that Ben Affleck is a stone-cold certainty to be nominated come January, for either Best Actor or (more likely) Best Director. It’s just absolutely going to happen.

You can try to pretend it won’t happen—maybe you’d rather it wouldn’t? Maybe you’re still holding on to some of that Bennifer resentment. And who could blame you? He was actually kissing her butt in the "Jenny from the Block" video! That’s how much they thought the public wanted to see them! Or maybe yours is a more high-minded resistance. Maybe it was that five-year-or-so stretch in the 2000s where he made an unbroken string of terrible movies, roughly from Bounce in 2000 through Surviving Christmas in 2004 (we’re being kind and granting his Golden Globe-nominated role in Hollywoodland as a streak-breaker. You’re under no obligation to do so). For a long while, Ben Affleck was about as far from Oscar material as you could possibly be. But that is exactly why it’s even more certain that he’s DEFINITELY getting Oscar-nominated for Argo

If there’s anything Oscar loves more than an actor-turned-director—do I even have to mention the award-winning names? Robert Redford, Clint Eastwood, Kevin Costner (Kevin COSTNER!)—it’s a comeback story. Particularly a comeback story where the individual is "coming back" from trying to make studio heads and agents lots and lots of money with movies like Armageddon and Pearl Harbor and Daredevil. Oh no! How will these businessmen ever forgive him for pulling in $118 million domestic for The Sum of All Fears?? Of course, what he’s really coming back from is a reputation as a great Hollywood doof. Sure, he won an Oscar seemingly right out of the gate with Best Original Screenplay for Good Will Hunting, but having to stand on all those red carpets next to perfect little Hollywood-sized Matt Damon, Affleck couldn’t help but look like the big dumb galoot along for the ride. Then Damon proceeded to go on one of the more interesting career arcs in recent memory, careering from art house disaster (noooooo, All the Pretty Horses!) to Bourne billions, ultimately becoming one of the better-liked A-listers in Hollywood. All of which only made Affleck look even worse in comparison, when people even bothered to think about him at all. (Never mind that while Affleck was getting slammed for cashing a paycheck on a movie actually called Paycheck, Damon wasn’t exactly covering himself in glory as Greg Kinnear’s conjoined twin in Stuck on You. See? You’re starting to feel a swell of sympathy for Affleck even now, aren’t you?) Then, in 2007, Affleck made the dubious-seeming decision to step behind the camera, and the result was the quite good Gone Baby Gone. So good that it nabbed an Oscar nomination for Amy Ryan and at least made people stop chuckling when talk turned to "Ben Affleck: Director." Three years later, Affleck directed The Town which, this writer’s contrary opinion of it notwithstanding, was very well-received by critics and was generally considered to have missed the Best Picture top ten that year by a hair’s breadth.

And next weekend, Affleck will see his third directorial effort hit screens with Argo, the "based on recently de-classified documents" political thriller / Hollywood farce (like chocolate and peanut butter, those genres!) that sees Affleck co-starring with a serious ’70s beard as a CIA operative who gets the bright idea to impersonate a Canadian film crew in order to infiltrate Iran and rescue six Americans during the 1979 hostage crisis. By the way, if the logline doesn’t sell you, Argo might end up being worth the ticket price for the sheer volume of character actors alone: John Goodman, Alan Arkin, Chris Messina, Bryan Cranston, Kyle Chandler, Phillip Baker Hall; I could go on (Clea DuVall!) and on (Titus Welliver!). This is classic Hollywood mythmaking (Zeljko Ivanek! Sorry, last one), where the very idea of The Movies is the apparatus that will free six American heroes during one of the darkest times in American history. Who’s NOT nominating this thing?

"Sure, for Best Picture, maybe," you say. "There could be ten nominees. How can you be so sure Affleck will be one of five directors so honored?" To that I say: ARE YOU SERIOUSLY CRAZY? You’re seeing all the ingredients here, right? Actor-turned-director. A wet dream of a campaign narrative. The slight air of being "owed" for his previous movies coming so close. Oh, and also, everybody who saw Argo at the Telluride and Toronto film festivals freaked out and started screaming "OSCAR!!!!" out their hotel windows into the late-summer air. Not every movie currently sits atop the "Gurus o’ Gold" Oscar prediction charts, you know. Argo also sits comfortably in the Best Picture ranks on both Hitfix and Vulture, though Vulture is RIDICULOUSLY blind to his Best Director chances, which is just too preposterous to consider. This is HAPPENING! Accept it.

Argo opens in theaters on October 12th. Oscar nominees are announced on January 10th. Which leaves Ben Affleck almost exactly three months to figure out how to convince us that he didn’t even know he was nominated until his agent called.

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Colonel Sanders Wants You to Know That KFC Loves Gays

Fear not chicken lovers: the latest Funny or Die Chick-Fil-A parody sends a message of goodwill to cheap, unhealthy, fastfood-deprived gays, complete with a cheesy harmonica soundtrack and a chicken-slinging John Goodman. “It don’t take a boney-fide Einstein genius to know that I’m an oldy-fashioned sort. But when it comes to the subjuct-ification of marriage rights, I reckon I’m a bit more progressive than my pals down at Chick-Fil-A,” says Sanders.

“Yup, let it be known that Colonel Sanders LOVES the gays. Hell, I might even be gay!”

The Colonel goes on to effuse his undying love for his favorite Bette Midler album, Thighs and Whispers.

To really provide a convincing argument, he promises that he’s not just pandering to get more “gay business.” “Hell, I don’t actually give a shit. Gay or not, you’re all just a bunch of big ol’ money mouths walking around, talking and eating.”

Now that’s more like it: no more beating around the cockamamie bush! Best of all, they’re open on Sundays… and who can beat the portability of a handy, indestructible, grease-shielding bowl?

I’ll always choose you, KFC, for all my midnight hormone-laden chicken cravings from now on, promise.