Do you hear that sound, like ice cracking in Antarctica? That’s the impact of Oscar hopes — for Warner Brothers, for Clint Eastwood, for Leonardo DiCaprio — being dashed on the shore of reality. Oscar insiders across the country have returned to their abacuses to rejigger the odds in the top five, as J. Edgar fails, albeit nobly, on the big screen at 137 minutes of wrong-choices and self-aggrandizement.
The opening scene, with Leo as ancient FBI honcho J. Edgar Hoover (1895 – 1972) inspires snickers. I apologize to the man in the screening room who shushed me; I couldn’t help myself. The make-up is just that bad. Here’s a part that Jack Nicholson could play — or Eddie Murphy in the latex to transform him into an old white man from Coming to America. If that had been the movie’s only problem — is there a Razzie for worst make-up? — then the snickers in the theater would have quieted, and the snores that soon erupted from my neighbor’s gaping mouth would never have occurred.
The central flaw to this big budget “behind the music” style biopic is Milk Oscar-winner Dustin Lance Black’s script. It tells every thing and nothing about the man. With an abundance of voiceover, it narrates the story, shows the story, explains the story as if it were a Weekly Reader expose.
Yes, it addresses Hoover’s homosexual tendencies, his rumored cross-dressing, but those scenes arrive late and are few and far between, and overwrought. Let the guy have a kiss, an urge, a spot of warmth — but, no, [Read more…]