Category Archives: Twenty-one Days of Bradley Cooper

how do you like your blueeyed boy Mister Weinstein

As we close out 21 Days of Bradley Cooper, I am so happy that Silver Linings Playbook won SOMETHING last night at the Oscars, and I’m pretty crazy about Jennifer Lawrence, even without watching these videos, in which she gushes over and then is kind of annoyed by Jack Nicholson “Is he back? I need a rear view mirror.”  And also expresses actual authentic reactions to media-ishy questions, post-Win.

I loved Winter’s Bone, too. And in Silver Linings Playbook, her character Tiffany had my favorite line from the movie:

“I was a slut. There will always be a part of me that is dirty and sloppy, but I like that, just like all the other parts of myself. I can forgive. Can you say the same for yourself, fucker? Can you forgive? Are you capable of that?”

To me this is one of the signature lines of the movie, not just because of the brashness and crassness, but because it’s about integration, moving beyond shame, and redeeming your own self, from the inside out.  Jennifer Lawrence’s Tiffany teaches Bradley Cooper’s Pat how to do that.

Which reminds me, this was never 21 Days of Jennifer Lawrence (maybe that’s next! probably not).  It was 21 Days of Bradley Cooper.

He didn’t win. It is entirely possible that only his mother thought he really had a chance to. As much as I’ve enjoyed my little foray into Bradley Cooperstown, I have to admit that I agree with the “brutally honest director” who did a think-aloud of his Oscar ballot, who said, “For Bradley Cooper, the nomination is his award.”

One wonders about direction after the Oscars–I think if Mr. Cooper had won, people would have remembered him as the guy who stole it from Abe Lincoln, not as the guy who took huge strides in the role of Pat Solitano.

I was hopeful Silver Linings Playbook would win more, though–the movie hit me at just the right time, and I really, really wanted the Academy to give more love to a smart comedy with a happy ending.

(I’m sure I should want to see Amour. I do not want to.)

The “brutally honest director” said this about David O. Russell’s chances for Best Director, that  “it took David O. Russell to figure out that Bradley Cooper is a great actor,” and Nate Silver had the movie trending a little for Best Picture, so I was hopeful.

Nonetheless, the Oscars are over, and I find that I still have not answered my friend Jen’s question, “So there is a movie in which Bradley Cooper’s character is not a psychopath?”

His character, Pat, in Silver Linings Playbook, begins the movie figuring out how to manage his bipolar disorder. So, not a psychopath. Previously delusional and violent, but no, not a psychopath. And in the movie, appealingly upbeat, hopeful, earnest, vulnerable, and relentless.

There is corroboration for the psychopath idea, though, here: “The Creepiness of Bradley Cooper,” in which the author says she sees “something of the psychopath about him,” but is ultimately not troubled by it: “Dark times call for dark celebrities, and these times are dark.”


That article featured his turn in Limitless, which I see as essentially an ambivalent fable about Adderall.

All my Google searches and alerts had not turned up that article, though–it was referenced in this one in the New Republic Article, “Bradley Cooper: Beefcake Thespian How the “Silver Linings Playbook” star became a serious actor.”

This article is pretty heavy on the snark, emphasizing Mr. Cooper’s tendency to play characters you wouldn’t necessarily trust. Or like.

And it seems to have multiple axes it wants to grind. Curious.

My favorite Bradley Cooper article is this one from Esquire, “Dinner with Bradley,” post-Limitless, pre-Silver Linings Playbook, which likens him to a young Senatorial Jack Kennedy. It’s smart writing, and seems to give Mr. Cooper credit for some of the same things the New Republic article criticizes him for (pushing himself to be serious, being ambitious). It does this thing where I wondered if the author was trying to imply SOMETHING HAPPENED, (“Eleven o’clock on a Saturday morning and Bradley Cooper is sleeping. Russell Crowe is Robin Hood on the television and there has been another day of Limitless publicity in between and Cooper is tired. Five days earlier, Entertainment Weekly declared that ‘A Serious Movie Star Is Born.’ He is on his side and unshaven and not snoring and smiling.”) but is otherwise pretty interesting.

I’m sort of exhibit A of how nominations can bolster a movie–it definitely caught my attention because of the Oscar talk, and I’m pretty sure that’s why it showed at Sundance (and when I go see a movie, I typically would HOPE it would be showing at Sundance).

It’s been a fun ride for me. But Bradley Cooper had WAY more fun as evidenced in this Happy Hugger slideshow.

Full disclosure: in regards to my plan three weeks ago in which I imagined myself posting something about Bradley Cooper every day until the Oscars. That didn’t happen because
1. I got bored.
2. I got busy.
3. My calculated and cynical attempt to bolster blog traffic by blogging about a hot commodity was not successful. I think I’m still getting all those David Bowie hits because there weren’t that many people blogging about his new single. Whereas there are approximately (number approaching infinity) people blogging about Bradley Cooper.

One of my blogs, though, wondered about all Harvey Weinstein’s machinations on behalf of Silver Linings Playbook, thus the title.

"Stop looking at me, Bradley Cooper."

“Stop looking at me, Bradley Cooper.”

(photo by wrestlingentropy on flickr, Creative Commons)

The Bloggess and Bradley Cooper

That’s actually all I wanted to say.

The Bloggess and Bradley Cooper.

It’s fun to say.  Say it with me (lingering on the “s” and then popping on the “p”)

The Blogesssssssss and Bradley CooPer.

Good combo. It’s like ketchup finally, finally met mustard.


“I see it . . . I see you”

In the yinny-yangy world of work, my last post, “Welcome to UW-Bitchland,” was a protest against a criticism I responded badly to–someone suggested that full-time faculty should be on campus five days a week. Since I’m not, I took it personally. I absolutely don’t agree. I’m VERY available to students in person when I’m on campus (four days a week), and on email when I’m not (I check email six days a week). Also this: “Relax! You’ll Be More Productive!” (I took their energy audit and I am officially only 20% energized. Sheesh. More on that another time.)

But today, I’m really, truly feeling the love. A colleague who’s probably 15 years younger than me checked in through email–someone had criticized me in a way she thought was simply not true, and she just wanted to check in.

Driving to work I was thinking how lucky I am to have worked in a place with people ahead of me and behind me (chronologically) who supported me.

It’s more than support. I truly feel that I have a solid cohort of folks who see me, who get me, who appreciate me.

So of course, I was reminded of Bradley Cooper.

In multiple interviews, he relates this story, how he had “taped an audition scene with his mother, hoping to land a role as De Niro’s son in 2009’s ‘Everybody’s Fine.’ A hotel meeting ensued, Cooper remembers, that was typically short and pointed.’He looked at me,’ Cooper says, ‘and he said, “Yeah, you’re not gonna get it [Sam Rockwell did], but I see it . . . I see you . . . I see you . . . oh, uh, who was reading the other role, your mother? Yeah, I thought that.'”

What you see when you watch a lot of Bradley Cooper interviews is how over-the-moon he has been and still is about Robert DeNiro. It’s unabashed. And apparently, it’s mutual–Mr. DeNiro also gushed on Katie Couric’s show.

So here’s me gushing: I’m celebrating love of colleagues this Valentine’s Day. I’m not saying I love every single one of my colleagues (what are the odds of that even being possible?), but I am saying thank-you to people who have said to me in so many ways over the years, “I see it…I see you.”

I want to try harder than ever to say it back, to seek out those people and those moments and say it loud and proud: “I see it…I see you.” I love you.


Valentines in the window of the British Heart Foundation Charity Shop - Uxbridge

Valentines in the window of the British Heart Foundation Charity Shop – Uxbridge

(photo from flickr creative commons by Spixey)

Hollywood Juggernaut Fatigue–and yet….

One week into 21 Days of Bradley Cooper and I might be done.

Not done with loving Silver Linings Playbook. I went to see the movie a second time today (how long has it been since I went to see a movie twice IN THE MOVIE THEATER?) and loved it again.

Here’s why:
+Amazing performances across the board.
+The movie has such a strong visual sense of itself. Every scene’s evocative.
+Wild & weird mashup of genres: it’s a family drama, and a personal-redemption-journey, and a romantic comedy, and a come-from-behind sports drama.
+It nails themes I truly believe in: redemption is possible, being authentic is messy but worth it, you should stand by the people you love, normal is boring.
+Bradley Cooper himself, of course. I was so startled at his performance. Who WAS that guy, I left the theater wondering. I knew he’d been “Sexiest Man Alive,” but barely–when he got that sobriquet, I had no idea who he was. After Silver Linings Playbook, I started getting some of his older movies from the library. Here’s how little I knew–I kept waiting for the time-traveling hot tub as I watched Hangover.

In his Oscar-nominated performance, he shows a range I haven’t seen yet in any of his other movies. There are hints of it in a lot of his movies, so if I’d been a fan before, I wouldn’t have been quite so surprised, but nothing with this much anger, affection, vulnerability, humor, bravado, coolness, sexiness, fear, courage…. What a part! And he nailed it.

But wow–one caption for this photo of Mr. Weinstein & Mr. Cooper after the Golden Globes said something like “What is Harvey telling Bradley he has to do?” I’ll tell you what he’s telling him. “Go on every, single talk show available between now and when people have to turn in their Oscar ballots.”

And spend some time on public service type appearances, because the movie genuinely does humanize mental illness, and genuinely does honor the supreme effort individuals and families have to make just to have a chance at doing regular stuff.

The cynic in me wonders just what this writer wondered about the meeting between Mr. Cooper, David O. Russell, and Vice President Joe Biden:

“In addition to shining a light on mental illness, Russell and Cooper — both Oscar nominees — could help the standing of ‘Silver Linings Playbook’ within the Academy as well. As’s Pete Hammond noted, the Best Picture nominee is often light-hearted, and shifting the conversation to its more serious aspects could help ‘Silver Linings Playbook’ gain traction within an awards body that doesn’t often reward romantic comedies.”

I suppose it’s possible that they’re all calculating and cynical out there in Hollywoodland.

I suppose it’s also possible that Mr. De Niro was acting when he cried on Katie Couric’s couch.

Could also be possible that Mr. Cooper was acting when he was overcome by emotion repeatedly on his own appearance on “Inside the Actor’s Studio.”

But you know what? I’m not that cynical. If the University of Montana (where I got my MFA) had cause to ask me to appear in front of a crowd, and my friends from grad school showed up, and my parents were there (and one parent were seriously ill), I think I’d be pretty gosh-darned verklempt myself.

As for the Hollywood Juggernaut of Promote-Promote-Promote, I think they’re all being good employees and promoting the movie like crazy. They do know where their paychecks come from, after all.

But I believe the movie meant something to them at every stage and still does and they’re just riding the wave of publicity for all its worth. I believe these folks when they say the movie was personal, and I believe them when they say they love it if the movie helps de-stigmatize mental illness.

But until Tuesday, February 19, when Oscar voters have to return their ballots to Price Waterhouse, I think my Bradley Cooper Google alert will be full to overflowing.

Mr. Cooper and Mr. Russell at the Mill Valley Film Festival last fall.

Mr. Cooper and Mr. Russell at the Mill Valley Film Festival last fall.

They looked tired, even then. Or maybe I’m projecting. I’m tired. And I’m not even promoting a movie.

However tired they might or might not be, there are only 10 days left before the voting is done. Only two weeks before the Oscar ceremony.

And then forever to keep talking about the best movie I’ve seen in a long, long time.

(picture from Flickr Creative commons, attributed to diginmag)

“I am not the Sexiest Man Alive! I am an actor! I am the Elephant Man!”

Bradley Cooper isn’t old enough, or hasn’t aged enough, to have the sort of moment Jude Law is apparently having, where he can talk about being less pretty so he can be taken more seriously. The original Jude Law article has some terrific pictures, and yes, the man has aged in some interesting ways.  But Gawker has a snarky-fun take on it, saying that Law, in that article, has participated in “the ancient ritual of the Aging Male Beauty interview, declaring his utter relief to have finally slid into human levels of attractiveness….The Aging Male Beauty interview is a beloved rite of passage, typically performed in the colder Oscar months….” The only reason I don’t mind the snark much in this case is that, really, Jude Law is still a fine looking man.

But even with the scars on his face, Mr. Cooper is still awfully pretty. What to do, what to do.

Well, what he did a long time ago was fall in love with David Lynch’s Elephant Man. [He wasn’t quite as young as my friends Beckie and Roy’s son Wickham, who went as the Elephant Man for Halloween when he was 4, and instead of saying “Trick-or-treat” said, “I am not an animal.”]

What Mr. Cooper did when he was in the MFA program at the Actor’s Studio was convince people his thesis should be him in the lead of Bernard Pomerance’s Elephant Man.  On Fresh Air yesterday, he told Terry Gross that several people at the school tried to talk him out of it.

What he’s done recently is perform it in Massachusetts, to good local reviews (they allowed only local media). Here’s an article with pictures.

And what he’ll be doing soon is bringing it to Broadway.

How strikingly different that is from the way most of us navigate the world of inner beauty/outer beauty. How strange to be so beautiful and be so attracted to a play about a man whose inner beauty was masked by outer deformity.

And really, what a nice counterpoint to being People‘s Sexiest Man Alive, even more effective than what Mr. Cooper has done in more than one interview, which is to point out that when he was selected as the Sexiest Man Alive, the choice was actually protested.

Having your selection as the Sexiest Man Alive protested is funny, and probably humbling (though really, that’s kind of humble-bragging, isn’t it?).

But being the sort of actor who has a long relationship with a movie and a play about Joseph Merrick–that takes the 2D People cover and gives it real depth and texture.

Impersonating Someone Impersonating Someone

There are actors who transform into roles and are essentially unrecognizable from role to role–Daniel Day Lewis comes to mind.

Then there are actors who are ALWAYS themselves, no matter what–Jimmy Stewart was always Jimmy Stewart.

It seems to me Bradley Cooper is somewhere in between there, but closer to the disappearing kind, and part of the reason I think that comes from watching different movies–Sack Lodge from Wedding Crashers doesn’t even really look that much like Pat Solitano from Silver Linings Playbook.

And then there’s the matter of impersonations. Mr. Cooper’s good at them, and it’s interesting to me to watch him do them. There’s a facility for mimicry, obviously, both in voice and mannerism. But it’s also a talent for storytelling, for finding the right line to quote. I think it’s a reflection of intelligence and also a very actorly amibtion and habit–he’s clearly someone who spends A LOT of time watching and listening other people.

It’s just plain funny to hear Owen Wilson’s voice coming out of Bradley Cooper’s pretty face. But it’s good comedic instinct on the impersonator’s part to understand that the surprise of the voice will be even funnier if the diction also dips down from James Lipton’s comment, “Christopher Walken and Owen Wilson both have very distinctive sounds”  to Cooper shifting into an Owen Wilson posture to say, “Claire’s mom made me feel her hooters.”

Bradley Cooper Pie (chart)

What I find interesting about Bradley Cooper

What I find interesting about Bradley Cooper