“I hate the wickedness in America…and all the sin worshipers who populate it. Rampant Fornication…Adultery…Abortion, flagrant sexuality in every corner of the media, movies, TV etc. Schools, Malls, Books, Toys, Music…everywhere…eeevvverrrryyywhhhherrreeee…”
I know what people are going to say…Toddske is just a fanboy that wants to see a movie from his favourite director win an Academy Award. Well quite frankly, they’re right…sort of! Tito and I already posted a pretty positive review of Red State, an unlikely Thriller from known-comedic director Kevin Smith (check it out here YMMPodcast Red State Review); so I won’t go into the entire film itself. What I do want to do is narrow down the specifics of why I think this film deserves some Academy attention. As I said before, Kevin Smith is far from my favourite director (being more of a fan of his Podcasts rather then his flicks) but he has often shown some very bright spots in his typically humerus scripts…..then came Red State!
What makes this film stand-out is the performance of one Michael Parks.
Parks masterfully plays Abin Cooper, the leader of the extremist Five-Points Trinity Church. This performance by Parks can only be summed up with one word, HAUNTING! The first time we’re introduced to Abin in the film is during his sermon; a 10 minute (plus) monologue that may come-off as long winded at first but the more times you watch it and focus on what he is saying, the more creepy Parks gets.
“…the moral spine of this country has been weakened by permissive attitudes and an unabashed tolerance for Homosexuals….Godlessness…”
Parks deserves a nomination for Best Actor in a Leading Role for the simple fact that he makes you cringe with his hate-speak. When you watch Red State you can feel his control over the Five-Points Trinity Church. This is what I imagine Nazi Germany was like in the 1930s when Hitler was convincing his followers to kill the Jews. The hair on the back of my neck stands-ups as Abin spews out scripture and moral justification time and time again in order to comfort as they perform some of the most indecent acts ever committed; killing a person for simply being Gay. And it’s not just the sermon scene that captures your attention. Parks continues to horrify audiences right through to the credits as he leads the “Five Pointers” through their stand-off with “the man”…all while preaching he is simply doing “God’s Will”. While I do not consider Red State to be a horror movie, Parks’ Abin Cooper is one aspect of this film that can be considered truly scary! The way he performs make you believe that there are Pastor’s in this world that will kill for an arbitrary reason, all in the name of the Lord. He truly delivers an outstanding performance in this film which makes him deserve a nomination for Best Actor.
As with any good antagonist, you will have a just as good of a protagonist. Queue John Goodman as Agent Joesph Keenan!
I’ve seen Red State numerous times and every time we’re introduced to Agent Keenan, in his bedroom no less, I hear the words “I thought he was dead!” John Goodman is truly alive my friends and he delivers one his best performance since Dan Conner in Rosanne. Goodman compliments Parks’ performance as we are given witness to another side in the Cooper’s Dell struggle. While Smith doesn’t go in-depth into the life and times of the ATF Agent, we are shown what it’s like to work in the Government in this day and age. Whether it’s talking to your boss via cell phone in the middle of a shoot-out and asking for an e-mail/text of the orders in order to cover his ass or trying to explain his actions of saving lives to a two-person inquiry, Goodman delivers an epic performance of honesty and integrity. Throughout the entire incident at Cooper’s Church, Goodman shows that Keenan has a big heart and shrives to do the right thing. During the final scenes of the film, we are witness to the true motives of Agent Keenan and Goodman delivers an amazing explanation of just why he did what he had to do in order to save some of the worse people in the world. As I said before, Goodman compliments Parks’ performance which is why I believe Goodman deserves the nod for Best Actor in a Supporting Role.
You can’t credit two amazing performances from actors without giving a nod to the man that put it all together.
When you say Kevin Smith, most people will probably think of weed, rubber poop monsters, Jay and Silent Bob, and hell maybe Ben Affleck in an angel costume. Very rarely do people think Kevin Smith and Academy Award in the same sentence. This is one of the factors that made me love this film…considering the source! To go from the laughable, no-thought comedies of Zack & Miri Make a Porno and Clerks to the thrilling, gun-fighting massacre of Red State is a straight-up two-face of movie magic. During a recent episode of Hollywood Babble-On (Episode #50 from the Kevin Smith SModcast Podcast Network), you will hear co-host Ralph Garman read an e-mail from me announcing my Facebook Campaign “Red State for Oscar”. In it, I explain who deserves a Academy Award nomination from the film and when I say Kevin Smith for Best Original Screenplay, you will hear Kevin say that he doesn’t want to be nominated as he feels it’s the actors performance that make this movie. While he does have a point, Kevin deserves a nod for putting this entire project together. Michael Parks or John Goodman could not have memorized the audience without the script or the direction given by him. He created the world they thrived in! Since we live in a world of re-makes, sequels and prequels, it is refreshing to have an original tale shown on the big screen. There are similar movies to Red State out there, but none as quite refreshing with the amazing talent put forth by the man who brought us the “stink-palm”. Kevin Smith truly deserves a nomination for Best Original Screenplay since he gave us something fresh and new in a world that we don’t see very often any more….an original movie!
With all this said, Michael Parks and John Goodman are only two members of an extremely talented cast.Kerry Bishe, Melissa Leo, Ralph Garman, Stephen Root, Kyle Gallner, Nicholas Braun and many many more truly make Red State for what it is. The entire cast transforms this film from a great script to an amazing story being told on the big screen. The more I watch Red State the more I fall in love with it. I encourage everyone to watch this film at least twice…the first time to get a feel for Cooper’s Dell and the second to actually see how evil this family is. I hope to see the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences give this film a nod for how amazing it is, but in order to get their attention I encourage everyone to join the campaign on Facebook and Twitter. If Social Media can get an 80 year-old to host Saturday Night Live then it should work for this!
To sum it all up, here’s what I believe Red State has a chance at winning when it comes to the Academy Awards:
Best Actor in a Leading Role – Michael Parks
Best Actor in a Supporting Role – John Goodman
Best Original Screenplay – Kevin Smith
Join the FaceBook Campaign at www.facebook.com/RedStateOscar
Join the Twitter Campaign with the hashtag #RedStateOscar
RED STATE is available everywhere on DVD/Blu-Ray/Video-on-Demand, see it today or order at CoopersDell.com. Follow the Red State of the Union Podcasts to get further inside the making of this epic film!