If you read the (few) reviews out there on Director Ridley Scott’s and screenwriter Cormac McCarthy’s The Counselor, or if you looked at its relatively low star-count (2-4 out of 10) on IMBD and Rotten Tomatoes, you might pass on this movie. That would be a mistake. This is an example of what lengths Hollywood will go to in order to win awards it doesn’t even know exist yet. The Counselor gets them all. And then some.
Biggest Waste of Big-Name Talent
You have to throw a lot of money around — or drugs, I don’t know — or blackmail the actors themselves to get the kind of talent that appears in this film. Yet here they are. All in one film. Wowza! What film lover or critic could ask for better talent than director Ridley Scott (Gladiator), author and first-time screen-writer Cormac McCarthy (No Country for Old Men), actors Michael Fassbender, Penélope Cruz, Brad Pitt, Javier Bardem, Cameron Diaz — with special guest appearances by Natalie Dormer, Rosie Perez, and Rubén Blades.
The gorgeous Michael Fassbender and the lovely Penélope Cruz have to work really hard to spoil the opening erotic scene of the movie. They manage to make adult coo-ing and bill-ing sound like pre-tween virgins trying to do phone-sex. But their faces look good under the sheet doing it, and they certainly deserve credit for saying those sophmoric lines without ever once showing a bit of skin in this erotic scene.
You see, you need incredibly big talent to mess up an erotic scene in Hollywood.
The Counselor not only has all that big talent, it wastes it all in the most supremely large-scale fashion. Grand Prize in this Category.
Most Non-Sequitur Dialogue
First of all, its screenplay was written by Cormac McCarthy, ferchrisssakes, and who knows how to muddle up dialogue better than Cormac? I mean, the guy’s won awards and stuff for writing things down that make no sense whatsoever. So it shouldn’t have come as a surprise that if he were given his first crack at a screenplay, as 20th Century Fox did with The Counselor, the competition wouldn’t stand a chance, as the If You’re Not In, You Need to Tell Me scene adequately proves.
If you’re not scratching your head and going, “Huh?” by the end of that scene, then just watch another one: Truth has No Temperature.
Who’s the winner now? Yeah.
Best Bad-Christopher-Walken Imitation
Those of you familiar with Walken and his stellar career probably already know that he likes to make little jokes in his films, to entertain himself, to keep from getting bored — who knows? who cares? The man’s a genius and can do whatever he likes. Thus, the wild hair in Sleepy Hollow, the super-big retro glasses in Scotland PA and the opening sequences of The King of New York, among others. And whenever Walken guest-hosts on Saturday Night Live, he loves the wild and crazy outfits.
Now, take Javier Bardem, who can barely seem to speak English in The Counselor, and insist that he do his best Walken imitation — including his unique speech patterns and facial expressions — and you got yourself an award all sewn up, as they say.
I don’t know how Javier managed to pull off the I Don’t Know scene, but I say give The Big Bad Javier the big bad prize.
And for his facial expressions and body language in the scene where Cameron Diaz’s character is “f***ing” his car, he deserves an additional award and a pay bonus.
(Note to the reviewers who commented on Cameron Diaz’s “unbelievable” contortions in this scene — and those contortions were quite extraordinary, to say the least: if you don’t see the face and the body of the big name star at the same time in the scene, then it’s a body-double.)
While we’re on Cameron, let’s proceed to the next award, which she deserves in addition to the one she shares with all the other actors for Non-Sequitur Dialogue. She already won the Alliance of Female Film Journalists’ Award for Actress Most in Need of a New Agent, for The Counselor, and, technically, this award should probably go to the make-up people, but I have a feeling Cameron may have added to their work herself — what with her dead-pan facial expression throughout — and I don’t want her to feel ignored.
Best No-Prosthetics Ugly
Actually, you can see the amazing work that the makeup artists and Cameron did to deserve this award for The Counselor better in a clip from the film than in a still, so I’ll give you a two-fer: Javier and Cameron, the Best Worst-Walken Award winner and the Best No-Prostethics-Ugly Award winnerdoing a supremely fine example combining the Non-Sequitur Dialogue Award as well as the Hit the Viewer in the Face with a Sledgehammer As Symbolism Award (detailed below)in the Does She Like to be Stroked? scene.
There are so many amazing awards this film deserves, I can’t even name them all.
• The Most Egregious Use of Obscenity Award, for using the word “Counselor” 2,584,653,094,921 times (give or take a few, I might have lost track).
• The Darkest Movie with No Redeeming Moral Value Award, which goes jointly to director Ridley Scott and screenwriter Cormac McCarthy, who, in the trailers, are mighty proud of telling everyone just how darkly dark this darkest of the dark-side movies is. In case you didn’t get it from the subject matter — an amateur dealing with drug cartels.
• The Silliest Premise Award, wherein Unnamed Counselor, for some never explained reason, wants to do a big drug deal with the Mexican Cartel, just once. Why, you might ask yourself, what could possibly go wrong with that plan?
• The Hit Viewers in the Face with a Sledgehammer disguised as Over-the-Top Symbolism Award. If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, check out Cameron Diaz’s “tattoo” in the sexy scene with Penélope, Cameron’s dress in the scene when she “does” the Ferrari, and her two pet Cheetahs. Man, I know I would have missed all that if I hadn’t been slammed with it by the screenwriter and director. Nice work, guys. Appreciate that.
• The Sexiest Teaser That Goes Nowhere and Is Completely Unrelated To the Rest of the Film Award, with barely clad Cameron and Penélope discussing sex.
Oh, all right, I guess you deserve to see just how award-worthy the Rattling Your Cage scene is.
And now, Ladies and Gentlemen, the moment you’ve all been waiting for, the most incredible award of all for The Counselor.
ReDefining the MPAA Rating System
Yes, you thought you knew what it meant when the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) gave a movie an R rating. Adult language, adult subject matter, violence, some sexual scenes. But The Counselor managed to add something new to the list of “reasons” the film earned the R rating (which you can see at the end of the Official Trailer, below):
Strong Sexual Content
and (drum roll, please)
Some Grisly Images
Some Grisly Images?
Unfortunately, I can’t show you the scene itself, because it would be a dreadful Spoiler, and I wouldn’t do that to this award-winning film. But I can tell you that it happens, in all its gory glory, to Brad Pitt’s Westray, and it’s explained in detail to the Counselor himself earlier in the film in the Bolito scene. You know, just in case you miss The Big Gruesome Grisly when it actually happens to Brad’s character Westray.
This scene also won the film its The Explaining What a Rifle Is and How It Works Before Using It Award, in case I forgot to mention that one.
I just can’t say enough about this wonderful film, and I don’t understand why it gets such low ratings, why it gave me nightmares (hint: snuff film & what happens to Penélope Cruz’s character), and why Hollywood never mentions the other Awards it Won.
In any event, Brad’s Westray does get to say some of the best lines in the movie when he’s “counseling” the Counselor after his ostensibly first-and-only-what-could-possibly-go-wrong-summer-adventure with a Mexican drug cartel goes seriously and metaphorically south. Their business partners, says Brad’s Westray, suspect that the counselor is involved in the missing shipment because “They don’t believe in coincidences. They’ve heard of them. They’ve just never seen them.”
Lucky for us, we get to see Brad deliver those fine lines in the Official Trailer to The Counselor.
I watched this movie twice, albeit not in a row, but on subsequent nights, since I’d missed the first half-hour and thus the Counselor’s motivation for doing a drug deal with the Mexican Cartel in the first place. It would seem that he did have a motive, especially when the trailer clearly indicates that the Counselor has sufficient motivation for this risky, life-threatening endeavour.
“What if you have it all, but want more?”
Hmm… Must be more of that non-sequitur stuff, indicating that all these Awards are hereby richly deserved .
See, if you’ve already got it all, Counselor, you can’t get any more.
Worst movie ever made?
Not with all these Awards.