Cold Mountain

By Mark Ramsey | 2004/01/04

Come and listen to a story about a gal named Nic

A faux mountaineer, haute living like a hick,

Then one day she was shootin’ at some food,

And up through the ground came a bubblin’ Belgian Endive and Radicchio Salad with Asiago Cheese and Balsamic-Dijon Vinaigrette

Vinegar and oil that is, black gold, Brentwood tea.

Well the first thing you know ol’ Nic’s a millionaire

Kinfolk said Nic move away from there

Bumping Lenny Kravitz is the place you ought to be

So they loaded up the Hummer and moved to Beverly.

Hills, that is.

Seaweed wraps, movie stars.

Cold Mountain is set in 19th century frontier America, but it’s written, directed, and acted mostly by non-Americans and staged in the wilderness of Romania! I knew something was wrong when the Confederacy declared war against Vlad the Impaler.

It’s the Civil War: North fights South, Blue fights Gray, and Nicole Kidman fights a Southern accent slipperier than a June Bug in Ryan Seacrest’s hair gel.

It’s not “farming,” it’s “fahming,” and Nicole, the new face of Chanel No. 5 and winner of a 2003 Fashion Icon Award, is the obvious choice for a frontier frau – if by “obvious” you mean mind-numbing in its unlikelihood.

coldmountain_brasts.jpgI know, Nicole is supposed to be something of a pioneer princess, but she’s wearing enough makeup to mud-bathe every blue-ribbon swine in the county. Her complexion is expunged of the slightest pore debris, her lips are slathered with color, while eye puffiness, dark circles, and fine lines are banished to lesser woodland creatures whose stylists don’t see snow unless it’s from a fireplace bar at the lodge in Park City.

Watch Nicole bake! Watch her dig! “This dirt is remarkably similar in coloring to my Shiseido lip tint,” said Nicole, “but with none of the rejuvenating emollients and luxurious shimmer.”

Nicole’s dad is Donald Sutherland, a distinguished Southern Gentleman whose face is so completely surrounded by hair, his nose should raise a white flag and surrender. Your face is too long for all that hair, Donald, you look like a nutcracker doing the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies.

Much more authentic is the wonderful Kathy Baker, here almost unrecognizably frumpy, and last but not least the spunky actor’s tour-de-force that is Oscar shoo-in Renée Zellweger.

Alright, Renée! Not since Reba McEntire has a fierce mountain twang been so fully realized. There must be moonshine in Renée’s genes – with her innate ability to reel off even the most arcane NASCAR trivia, Renée is a backwoods delight. If there is a God and if he plays banjo, there’s a place at his side for Renée Zellweger. Forget your gun, Annie get your Academy Award.

coldmountain_army.jpgIf you have a warm spot in your heart for fiddling, this is the movie for you. Usually, hearing this much requires a membership to Public Radio and a restraining strap between your finger and the button. Add in some square-dancing and watch the under-25 crowd skipping to my loo for the exits.

Jude Law is Nicole’s love interest, and that guy has nine lives. He’s a soldier of the Confederacy who deserts so he can locate John C. Reilly who is in every Miramax year-end Oscar contender and thus must be in this movie somewhere, right?

Instead, Jude encounters Philip Seymour Hoffman. Is Phil Swiss? Because when he says “I could set my watch by my bowls,” he’s referencing a whole different kind of Swiss movement. What is “bowel time,” anyway? When the big hand is on the Number 2?

Cold Mountain is a good movie, sure. One of the year’s best, sure. But it’ll be a Cold Mountain day in Hell when it steals the Oscar crown from Lord of the Rings.

Well now its time to say good-bye

to Nic and all her kin.

Miramax would like to thank you folks

fer kindly droppin in.

The Weinstein boys will twist your arm

until the facts you’ll see

“When Oscar votes are cast, they’ll say,

remember, vote for me!”


Y’all come back now, y’hear?

Photos Copyright ©2004 Miramax Film Corporation


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