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Critics Bulldoze The Snowman

How did a Michael Fassbender movie executive produced by Martin Scorsese go so wrong?
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Hello from Los Angeles, where we’re melting The Snowman, counting on Andrew Garfield to remind us that true love exists, and watching as Get Out gets into that awards-season swing.


Since the Harvey Weinstein scandal broke, these last two weeks in Hollywood have been wearying. So let’s do something that lifts the spirits around here: autopsy a movie. Critics have cast a chill on The Snowman, which once looked to be one of the year’s most promising thrillers. An adaptation of Norwegian writer Jo Nesbø’s best-selling crime novel, directed by Swedish Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy director Tomas Alfredson, executive produced by Martin Scorsese, and starring prestige movie regulars Michael Fassbender and Rebecca Ferguson, The Snowman certainly had a pedigree that warranted high hopes. But reviewers, including V.F.’s Richard Lawson, have arrived to dash them. “THE SNOWMAN is the new 1990s Joel Schumacher movie you never knew you wanted (you don't want it),” Lawson tweets. Meanwhile, The Hollywood Reporter’s Stephen Dalton takes apart the script, writing that “when the killer’s risible psychological motivation is finally revealed, it feels as if the screenwriters began reading Freud for Dummies.” And some suggested the movie may even veer into so-bad-it’s-good territory, with BuzzFeed’s Alison Willmore tweeting, “The Snowman makes so many baffling choices that it ends up feeling kind of avant-garde.”

So, how did a movie with so many smart people attached go so wrong? In a candid interview with the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation, parsed here by IndieWire’s Zack Sharf, Alfredson revealed that, due to a rushed production, 10 to 15 percent of the movie’s screenplay was never actually filmed—leaving key story gaps to be filled in the editing room. He also responded to some Norwegian nitpicks about location continuity. “It’s not a documentary about the geography of Norway; I wanted to make a fictive thriller,” Alfredson said. “So even if not everything is geographically correct, I don’t give a shit.” Fair enough, my friend. The Snowman opens in the U.S. on Friday.

By Jack English/Universal Studios.

V.F.’s Yohana Desta writes:

All across Hollywood, the allegations against Harvey Weinstein are causing a devastating, but vital ripple effect. Just one day after Roy Price left Amazon over disturbing accusations of sexual harassment—which broke in the wake of Weinstein-gate—Nickelodeon has decided to suspend The Loud House showrunner Chris Savino, according to The Hollywood Reporter. In a report first published by Cartoon Brew, Savino has been accused of sexual harassment by up to a dozen women, including BoJack Horseman director Anne Walker Farrell, who tweeted about an alleged incident of misconduct 15 years ago. Though Farrell did not explicitly name Savino, she did mention The Loud House, and tweeted at Nickelodeon that she’s “been waiting for this day for a long damn time.” Viacom hasn’t publicly confirmed the suspension, but gave T.H.R. the following statement: “Viacom is committed to the safety and well-being of our employees, and to fostering a workplace free from harassment. As a matter of policy, we do not comment on specific employee matters, but we take all allegations of this nature very seriously, investigate them thoroughly and take any necessary actions as a result.”


V.F.’s Hillary Busis writes:

“We are in a time where things seem dark and bleak, and they are in a lot of ways,” Andrew Garfield recently told V.F.’s Julie Miller on a dreary Beverly Hills day. (As dreary as days get in Beverly Hills, anyway.) “I’m finding it very easy to feel desperate, and feel sad, and feel a bit hopeless, and powerless.” Thank goodness, then, for Garfield’s latest film, Breathe—which tells the heartwarming and inspiring story of disabled activist Robin Cavendish, who spent the years after he was paralyzed by polio trying to make the world a better place. He found strength and support in his beloved wife Diana (played in the film by The Crown star Claire Foy), building a relationship that some cynical critics have found unrealistic: “I’ve read some people say, ‘Well, this didn’t really happen . . . It couldn’t have been this joyful; they couldn’t have created this much beauty or meaning or fun,’” marveled Garfield. “They don’t want to think that that kind of joy, adventure, connectivity, community, true love is possible.” Good thing he does.


V.F.’s Laura Bradley writes:

The late-night boom giveth, and the late-night boom taketh away. On Wednesday, Chelsea Handler announced that her Netflix talk show, Chelsea, will come to an end this year as she shifts her focus to civic engagement. Handler’s show has struggled to find an audience throughout its two-season run, but the way Handler tells it, she’s leaving of her own accord. Perhaps the most striking thing about Chelsea folding is its historical significance: it was the first talk show to live exclusively on a streaming platform. Others still remain—including Bill Nye’s own Netflix joint and Sarah Silverman’s newly launched Hulu series—but the show that pioneered this new frontier is officially no more.


V.F.’s Katey Rich writes:

Finally, a story about the independent film world that has nothing to do with Harvey Weinstein. The Gotham Independent Film Award nominations were announced today, the first out of the gate in the ever-crowded awards season, and likely the only ones to nominate Call Me by Your Name star Timothée Chalamet alongside The Florida Project’s 7-year-old standout Brooklynn Prince. (Both are included in the breakthrough actor category.) Though the Gothams historically make room for some of the smaller contenders of the year, there are plenty of awards-season heavy hitters included, such as Call Me by Your Name, The Florida Project, Get Out (which, yes, was distributed by a major studio, but qualifies due to its low budget), and Lady Bird. IndieWire has the full list of nominees.

That’s the news for this cloudy Thursday in L.A. What are you seeing out there? Send tips, comments, and candid Scandinavians to ‪‪Rebecca_Keegan@condenast.com‪. Follow me on Twitter @thatrebecca.