Paramount Pictures via Everett Collection
Here's a feat: taking what is likely the oldest, most well-known story in the world, and making a retelling feel inventive. Over the course of its two-and-a-half-hour runtime, Darren Aronofsky's Noah takes many forms — Tolkien-esque fantasy, trippy psychological thriller, merciless dissection of the dark points of abject faith — never feeling too rigidly confined to the parameters of the familiar tale that we've all experienced in the form of bedtime stories, religious education lessons, and vegetable-laden cartoons. As many forms as the parable has taken over the past few thousand years, Aronofsky manages to find a few new takes.
The director's thumbprint is branded boldly on Russell Crowe's Noah, a man who begins his journey as a simple pawn of God and evolves into a dimensional human as tortured as Natalie Portman's ballerina or Jared Leto's smack head. Noah's obsession and crisis: his faith. The peak of the righteous descendant of Seth (that's Adam and Eve's third son — the one who didn't die or bash his brother's head in with a rock), Noah is determined to carry out the heavenly mission imparted upon him via ambiguous, psychedelic visions. God wants him to do something — spoilers: build an ark — and he will do it. No matter what.
No matter what it means to his family, to his lineage, to his fellow man, to the world. He's going to do it. No matter what. The depths to which Aronofsky explores this simple concept — the nature of unmitigated devotion — makes what we all knew as a simplistic A-to-B children's story so gripping. While the throughline is not a far cry from the themes explored in his previous works, the application of his Requiem for a Dream, The Wrestler, and Black Swan ideas in this movie does not feel like a rehashing. Experiencing such modern, humane ideas in biblical epic is, in fact, a thrill-ride.
Paramount Pictures via Everett Collection
Although Aronofsky accesses some highly guttural stuff inside of his title character, he lets whimsy and imagination take hold of the world outside of him. Jumping headfirst into the fantastical, the director lines his magical realm with rock monsters — "Watcher" angels encased in Earth-anchored prisons as punishment for their betrayal of God — and a variety of fauna that range in innovation from your traditional white dove to some kind of horned, scaled dog bastardization.
But the most winning elements of Noah, and easily the most surprising, come when Aronofsky goes cosmic. He jumps beyond the literal to send us coursing through eons to watch the creation of God's universe, matter exploding from oblivion, a line of creatures evolving (in earnest) into one another as the planet progresses to the point at which we meet our tortured seafarer. Aronofsky's imagination, his aptitude as a cinematic magician, peak (not just in terms of the film, but in terms of his career) in these scenes.
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With all this propped against the stark humanity of his story — not just in terms of Crowe's existential spiral, but in character beats like grandfather Methuselah's relationship with the youngsters, in little Ham's playful teasing of his new rock monster pet — Aronofsky manages something we never could have anticipated from Noah. It's scientific, cathartic, humane. Impressively, this age-old tale, here, is new. And beyond that feat, it's a pretty winning spin.
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There are three types of award show acceptance speeches: Ones that make you laugh, ones that make you cry, and ones that make you cringe and cover your eyes. The Oscars are a little heavier in the "cry" column, but the Golden Globes, everyone's favorite drunk uncle of award shows, typically has a nice mix of all three. True to form, the clips included in this list of the 10 best Golden Globes acceptance speeches will all make you feel something, whether happy, sad, or both.
When Sacha Baron Cohen accepted his 2007 award for Borat, did you expect anything less than an inappropriate, hilarious anecdote about his costar's testicles?
Bette Midler balked at telling the bawdy joke she'd planned when accepting her award for New Female Star, Motion Picture in 1980. "I have to be tasteful, they told me," she said before doing it anyway, complete with hand gesture: "I'll show you a pair of golden globes!"
Solving the age-old problem of acknowledging everyone who deserves to be recognized in a speech, Hugh Laurie wrote the names of all 172 people who deserved to be thanked for his 2006 House win on individual pieces of paper and pulled three at random from his pocket. Congratulations to his hair stylist, script supervisor, and agent!
Mary Louise Parker is a funny lady, as evidenced by her 2004 win for her role on Showtime's dark comedy Weeds. It's also evidenced in her acceptance speech, when she thanks her son for making her boobs look great in her dress. "Janel Maloney just told me she would pay me $1,000 if I thanked my newborn son for my boobs looking so good in this dress. So, get out your checkbook. William Atticus Parker, thank you so much from your mother," she joked.
If the sight of a gigantic, mustachioed man bawling doesn't make you cry immediately, you will when Ving Rhames calls up Jack Lemmon and dedicates his 1998 award to the acting great.
Perhaps it's the genuine shock on the actor's face, the true joy of his castmates and friends, or the emotional speech: Either way, Chris Colfer's 2011 win for his groundbreaking role on Glee will give you the chills every time you watch.
Although Mo'Nique is known for her comedy, winning for a movie as heavy and emotional as Precious meant a heavy and emotional acceptance speech in 2010. "I celebrate this award with all the Preciouses, with all the Marys. I celebrate this award with every person who's ever been touched. It's now time to tell. And it's okay," she said.
Jamie Foxx's speech after his 2005 win for Ray was more joyful than anything, but the tears began to flow when he thanked his grandmother. "I used to think it was corny when people would say that people were looking down on you. I didn't believe it. But I got a feeling.''
Perhaps the most famous Golden Globes gaffe of all: Minutes passed by after Christine Lahti was announced as the winner of the 1998 TV Drama Actress award. When she finally made it to the stage, she revealed that she was late because she was in the bathroom when her name was called.
National treasure Meryl Streep started off her 2012 acceptance for Iron Lady with a joke directed at controversial host Ricky Gervais before launching a scatterbrained hodge podge of thank yous that included an s-bomb along with a very sweet tribute to her fellow female nominees.
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[PHOTO CREDIT: Vince Bucci/Getty Images]
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