Anne Donahue’s great post in Hello Giggles (we are all a little Mavis, aren’t we?) about Young Adult inspired this new series: Smart Ladies Love Underrated Performances.
I hesitated to watch this movie as the reviews noted that it was an acquired taste and who didn’t get annoyed with Diablo Cody after watching Juno more than once–the cutesy language gets exhausting. But Young Adult is different. It tells the story of Mavis (Charlize Theron), a ghostwriter for a formerly-popular kid’s book series who comes back to her hometown to prove she is better than everyone else by winning back Buddy (Patrick Wilson), her high school sweetheart. She becomes close with Matt (Patton Oswalt), another high school classmate, who is now disabled after being beat up by a bunch of asshole jocks.
Patton Oswalt’s performance as Matt is sweet, subtle and very realistic. He’s kind of sad but also funny and passionate. He cares for Mavis deeply but he cuts through all her bullshit too. It takes a special kind of actor to be able to play all those sides of Matt.
Comedians who switch to drama are often overlooked by the people who give awards (see: Jack Black in Bernie, a performance that deserves one of these posts too). I think this is total crap. So many awards have gone to action stars (Denzel Washington) and rom-com staples (Julia Roberts, Sandra Bullock), that I think it’s time dark comedies and their stars get recognized.
I may be a little biased in my love of Patton Oswalt in this movie. I’ve listened to his comedy CD and watched his specials many, many times. He’s one of my favorite actors on Twitter (his Downton Abbey tweets are legendary) and when people talk about King of Queens I always step up and praise Patton’s under-the-radar performance as cousin Spence. [Also be sure to read his thoughts on the tragedy in Boston, they are lovely.]
Emmy voters, even though you don’t read my tiny little blog, I implore you: Patton is equally amazing on my favorite show, Justified. Patton plays Constable Bob as pathetic and proud and hilarious. RIGHT THIS OSCAR WRONG. Nominate Patton Oswalt for Best Guest Actor in a Drama. Jeremy Davies won for Justified last year so this is not without precedent.