A Whirling Dervish of Life-Shattering Requiem for a Dream Singing Fury
It's gonna be a pretty savage competition for this year's Oscars, and pretty much everyone is well deserving of a nomination, so why bother picking who deserves it by talent? Instead, as I love so much to do, I've decided to figure out who would win if the Oscars were based on gladiatorial combat. Because that's how most contests should be decided. By Spartacus levels of nudity and violence in monster truck arena presided over by wild-bearded Joaquin Phoenix.
Darren Aronofsky, Black Swan
Danny Boyle, 127 Hours
David Fincher, The Social Network
Tom Hooper, The King's Speech
Christopher Nolan, Inception
Derek Cianfrance, Blue Valentine
Debra Granik, Winter's Bone
The Coen Brothers, True Grit
Directors are usually the generals on the battlefield, and rarely do they actually get their own swords bloody. They're the kings on the chessboard, limited movement, usually staying out of the fray. Too bad these folks don't get that chance. Aronofsky is a prime example, a strategarian, an armchair mad scientist. But despite that severely twisted mind, he's like a pasty Luke Wilson, and there's a reason Luke Wilson doesn't do action movies. I see him getting his wings clipped fast. The Coens, despite the numerical advantage, also fall suit. Despite their long history of brutal killers and vengeful souls, these two fellas are borderline nebbish. The Jews are a proud strong people with a long history of combat strength and Krav Maga on their side. The Coens are not those Jews. They'll hold out against the slashing fierceness of the others for a while, probably back to back. But Ethan will fall, and Joel will be killed trying to help him. If it were done cinematically, it'd be all Snyder Slo-mo/Peter Jackson anguished roars. And the Coens would just resent the hell out of that.
Tom Hooper and Christopher Nolan both have that boarding school background. I see these two London lads forging an alliance. Nolan's got kind of a Jude Law look to him, while Hooper's unfortunately built like a pudgy James Cameron. I can see them standing firm and arming themselves with polearms to keep their foes at bay, and I don't mean Michael. Puns like that won't help them either, and neither will their wits or theatricality. Because the first man taking these two ponces down will be Danny fucking Boyle. I'm not even getting into the whole Celtic barroom mentality. He's not a Dropkicking Murphy, he's torn from the same sackcloth as Bob Hoskins. Boyle's not going for a weapon. Boyle's going to take drugs. Lots and lots of fucking drugs. And I don't mean the Trainspotting baby on the ceiling shitting the girlfriend's bed rave dancing drugs. He's taking those too. But Boyle going to amp himself up on anything he can find in a bottle and go Angst Lee Hulk on everything. His glasses will shatter, his body will double in size, and Boyle SMASH. He's going to be a whirling dervish of life-shattering Requiem for a Dream singing fury. He didn't remember he saw them in a video game, but he damn near invented the coked-up fast zombie. And that's what he'll be. I see him actually taking a pike in the shoulder, letting it go through and then walking down the weapon into Nolan and tearing open his brains like a nightmare within a dream within a daymare within a bad acid trip within a contrived fucking movie. Hooper will shit himself, and that scent will draw him to Boyle's attention. Boyle will then jump up and down on Hooper's chest until he's tap-dancing on the arena floor.
Fincher's a dark horse in this meet. He's the second elder statesman behind Boyle, but I don't think age is a factor here. He's athletic enough, kind of in a Sean Penn with two Steak Sandwiches frame. He's got the Industrial Light and Magic background, which trained him on pre-visualization. So Fincher will most likely have plotted out the entire battle in his mind from start to finish, weaving in through his opponent's innards and eyesockets before a single punch is thrown. Which is why he's going to know to go for Granik first. Debra Granik might look like an Equity Stage manager or a Pacific Northwest soccer mom, but she's only got bones on the mind. Wintery, down to them, she's gonna be thinking how to break them. I actually thought the two indie kids might team up against Fincher and the rest, but in indie filmmaking, it's you against the world -- like being in a writer's workshop with bitter failures who only attend to tear others down. Cianfrance closely resembles Gosling in Blue Valentine, that blue collar angry everyman. He looks like he's actually done a little manual labor in his time, and so I think while Danny Boyle is going insane on everyone, Cianfrance and Granik will be the showdown to watch.
Cianfrance won't shy from punching a woman, because he knows you gotta do what it takes to get ahead. But I think he's also going to suffer from residual guilt. Granik's been in plenty of fist fights. You can see it in her shark eyes. I think these two will be duking it out hard, scary like a trailer park domestic dispute where everything is quiet except for furious grunts and squeals and snaps and blood dripping. It's a shame these two are going hard at it, because either of them would be filming this battle gorgeously, if not bleakly with that blue-tinted lens. Fincher's gonna be circling, carrying a board with a rusty nail jutting from it, blasting the indie darlings in Jack's Kidneys and Lower Intestines. Fincher's like a mentalist, knowing exactly when and where to strike. It's like every punch is choreographed and he's weakening both his opponents. He saw every angle of this fight.
Except the part where Danny Boyle comes screeching through and shatters both his femurs.
Fincher thought this was all a game, and Boyle's playing for keeps. Boyle doesn't even kill Fincher. He goes after Cianfrance for no reason other than he happens to be the first shiny item to catch his eye. No, Debra Granik comes over to Fincher crawling and writhing on the ground and clobbers the back of his head with the rusty nailed board. She trounces on his head as she passes, circling for the battling Boyle and Cianfrance.
At this point, if Granik and Cianfrance could somehow contain and tag team Boyle, Granik could finish it off for the win. But Boyle's clearly tripping balls and fired up -- and even with litres of blood pouring from his denim-jacketed body, he's gonna keep smashing faces and rending asunder all who cross his path. The only way he would lose against the two indie darlings is from a seizure or heart attack. Still, no amount of independent spirit can drop a loaded Irishman. Boyle will take this.
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