Oscar Season Challenge – Carol (2015)

Rob and I have decided to make a twist on the challenge where we will be looking at Oscar related films first before moving into going back to look at different Oscar winners from the past.

carolDirector: Todd Haynes

Writer: Phyllis Nagy (Screenplay) Patricia Highsmith (Novel)

Starring: Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara, Kyle Chandler, Jake Lucy, Sarah Paulson, John Magaro, Cory Michal Smith


Plot: Set in 1950s New York, a department-store clerk who dreams of a better life falls for an older, married woman.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Wonderful Romantic Story


Story: Carol starts as we fellow department shop clerk Therese (Mara) getting ready for the Christmas rush in the toy department, she has herself a boyfriend Richard (Lacy) who wants her to marry him but she just isn’t ready yet. Her life gets turned upside down when she meets the older woman Carol (Blanchett) who is also going through her own problems with her husband Harge (Chandler) trying to take her children away because of her lesbian liaisons.

With both their partners putting pressure on them the two go away together for Christmas as they have to keep their relationship hidden from the world who would frown on it in 1950’s America.

Carol shows the difficulty in any potential relationship between the same sex during the 1950s, it also tackles the ideas of different ages between any relationship too. We get to see how without technology people would different ways to expose affairs. While this really is just a love story and a good one at that it is it will show how different times were for something that wouldn’t even get looked at twice now a day.


Actor Review


Cate Blanchett: Carol is the married woman who has had a family but isn’t interested in the attention of men even though her lesbian tendencies are frowned upon by in the 1950s. she is going through messy divorce which leaves her in a position of losing her children, but Therese gives her a chance to be happy while all these things are going on. Cate gives us yet another brilliant performance proving she always gives the best performance year on year.carl character

Rooney Mara: Therese is the young department shop clerk who isn’t sure where her life will go next, she has a boyfriend who wants to marry her but when she meets Carol she automatically gets the desire to be with her. She ends up having a Christmas holiday learning something new about herself and life along the way. Rooney continues to show her talent in this role where she shines next to one of the best in the business.therese

Kyle Chandler: Harge is the husband of Carol who is tired of all her affairs but wants to keep the children in the right set of mind being raised correctly, that is until he reaches his final straw and wants to take away her children. Kyle gives us a good supporting role even if we would have liked to see slightly more in the character.

Sarah Paulson: Abby is a former lover of Carol’s who’s almost become part of the family, she questions the desire behind the desire to Therese but remains loyal to Carol for all the personal issues going on. Sarah is good in this role giving a good supporting role.

Support Cast: Carol has a good supporting cast that all do their jobs well through the film.

Director Review: Todd HaynesTodd gives us a very good romantic story from start to finish.


Drama: Carol shows the difficultly of being involved in this type of relationship during the 1950s.

Romance: Carol has a beautiful romantic story that goes through all the problems that could be around during the time period.

Chemistry: Carol shows great chemistry between Cate and Rooney.

Music: Carol uses the music very well through the whole film.

Settings: Carol creates the settings that make you feel like in the 1950s from start to finish.

Suggestion: Carol is one to watch but I do understand that some people will find this not their cup of tea. (Watch)


Best Part: Cate and Rooney’s performances.

Worst Part: Subject isn’t for everyone.


Believability: While the story is fictional the difficulties would have be true.

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No


Awards: Nominated for 5 Golden Globes including Best Picture Two Best Actress and Best Director.

Oscar Chances: Could easily get nomination and wins when it comes to Oscars.

Runtime: 1 Hour 58 Minutes

Tagline: Some people change your life forever


Overall: Wonderful Love story against all the odds


Eight Crazy Nights (2002)

crazyDirector: Seth Kearsley

Writer: Brooks Arthur, Allen Covert, Brad Isaacs, Adam Sandler (Screenplay)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Adam Sandler, Jackie Sandler, Austin Stout, Kevin Nealon, Rob Schneider, Norm Crosby, Jon Lovitz, Tyra Banks


Plot: Davey Stone, an alcoholic with a criminal record, is sentenced to community service under the supervision of an elderly referee. Davey is then faced with trying to reform and abandon his bad habits.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Underrated Comedy


Story: Eight Crazy Nights starts as we watch town troublemaker Davey Stone who hates the holiday time and always causing troubles. When the judge gives Davey his final warning before local gym ref Whitey steps up to finally fix Davey ad make him the replacement. Whitey’s overly friendly nature clashes with Davey’s constant bad attitude but as time together on a mutual love of basketball shows Davey starts showing a nicer side with local kid Benjamin.

Davey does have a reason to hate the holidays and that is the loss of his parents when he was kid over Christmas which shut him off emotionally. We watch how Davey has to finally face the reality of his mistakes and see how patient the rest of the town has been with him after knowing how difficult his life became.

Eight Crazy Nights is a touching Christmas story once you do see past the awkward Adan Sandler jokes. It does show how people can be effected by certain things in life that will change them forever, it also tackles the idea of treating people equally regardless of how look. Of course we do have to deal with all the painful Adam Sandler humour throughout but once you see through it you can see the heart in the story.


Character Review


Davey: Davey is the town drunk always causing trouble usually around the holidays, the town is tired of him and he gets one last warning or it is jail for him. Davey does have a good reason for being angry at the world after losing his parents on Christmas. Davey is a good Scourge like character that works with both Christmas and Hanukkah.dave

Whitey: Whitey is the odd looking elderly member of the community, everyone uses him to do odd jobs and he is always happy to help. He decides to try and train Davey into replacing him so he can retire. He has a twin sister that is equally as odd as himself. Whitey is a good character to have in the film showing how good hearted people can get taken advantage of.whitey

Eleanore: Eleanore is the twin sister of Whitey who is equally as strange as he is, she is very set in her way but always supported her brother through all the situations he finds himself. Eleanore is a good supporting character that does get an extra laugh here and there.

Jennifer: Jennifer is the old romantic flame of Davey’s who was there when his heart was really broken, she moved on with her life but now finds herself as a single mother with her child being one of the few people Davey shows good signs towards. Jennifer is an important character because she is one of the few people that knew how good Davey could be.


Support Character: Eight Crazy Nights is filled with comical supporting characters that really play into the comedy Sandler enjoys giving us.

Director Review: Seth KearsleySeth gives us a basic animated comedy that does have a touching story.


Animation: Eight Crazy Nights has solid animation throughout but isn’t the same level as other films coming out at the same time.

Comedy: Eight Crazy Nights isn’t as funny as it thinks it is due to the Adam Sandler level throughout.

Musical: Eight Crazy Nights has a couple of enjoyable music numbers throughout.

Settings: Eight Crazy Nights keeps the whole film in a small town that is great for the film to use throughout.
: Eight Crazy Nights is one to try if you don’t like Adam Sandler you will find this difficult to watch (Try It)


Best Part: Opening the letter.

Worst Part: Sandler humour.


Believability: Parts could be real.

Chances of Tears: Maybe

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No


Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $23 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 16 Minutes

Tagline: The Ultimate Battle Between Naughty And Nice.


Overall: A solid Christmas film that can be enjoyed once you get past Sandler humour.