Author: Katrina Barnett
I have an MA in film crit and a BA in screenwriting. I currently reside in Texas after long stints in California and North Dakota. I was homeschooled from birth up to my high school graduation, but I’ve been told by several employers that I’m relatively well-adjusted. My two favorite movies, if you care to know, are The Apartment and The Royal Tenenbaums. Weird things always seem to happen to me. One Easter Sunday I saw a goat in the parking lot of Applebee’s. He looked like he was enjoying himself.
My Year With Gary
My quest: to watch all of the movies in which actor Gary Oldman has appeared and write about them. Every last one!
Gary Oldman is the best actor alive, full stop. But he’s also a fascinating subject. His career is packed with wildly different characters from remarkable, sometimes iconic films, but also… he’s made some incredibly bizarre choices. I don’t just mean stinker movies– though there’s a few those. I mean the man is unpredictable as a thespian, a movie star, and a businessman, and as a longtime fan I’ve spent an unhealthy amount of time and energy trying to figure out what makes him tick.
In 2016 I was feeling creatively frustrated and I needed something new to focus on, and thus My Year With Gary was born.
This is not a fanblog (not that there’s anything wrong with that), nor is it a collection of amateur film reviews, exactly. This blog is not intended to be a cache of Oldman info or critique, and while I plan to make my observations about the Gary movies and his performances in them, I’m more interested in exploring what is to be learned from the experience of engaging in film, and what good can come of stubborn obsessiveness, if any.
But there’s also this thing that I learned about in grad school called Star Studies, and I guess that’s what I do here sometimes (and might be the overall project, we’ll see). Here’s a tidy explanation of what that means, from Film Reference:
Although film stars are widely-known public figures, few people ever get to meet an actual star in person. Instead, it is through the combination of film performances, promotion, publicity, and criticism that film stars reach the broad moviegoing public. Consequently, films stars are mediated identities. Somewhere in the world there is the real Tom Hanks; however, the vast majority of the public will know only the mediated Tom Hanks. Films, promotion or publicity materials, and criticism are various forms of textual materials that mediate the identities of stars. As star texts cluster around a given name, they define the identities of individual stars, and as they accumulate over time, they also form a public sense of film stardom in general.
If you are looking for awesome Gary stuff, try curator/photographer Gisele Schmidt’s Instagram (Gary’s wife– it’s official as you can get, and also she’s delightful). Otherwise, there’s the consistently updated tumblr F Yeah Gary Oldman or the Gary Oldman Web Twitter page & Insta, all of which are great and have been raided by me in aid of this blog’s creation.
All images that appear on MYWG are probably not mine. No copyright infringement intended.
There WILL BE SPOILERS for almost all of the films I write about.
If you disagree with my assessment of a film, feel free to tell me so! I really like to talk movies. That’s pretty much the only topic I’m qualified to talk about, actually.
For the Record
I’m a fan but I swear I’m not a stalker. I did go through a really weird period in my life in which I became staggeringly obsessed with tracking down many of Oldman’s movies, ranking them, and haunting his IMDb as I tried to make sense of it all (honestly though, this isn’t unusual behavior for me– if I’m functioning, I’m probably fixated on something, obsessions have run the gamut from Judaism to Childish Gambino). Over this preoccupation period, I learned an exhaustive amount about the timeline of his life and work and how they intersect, which I believe can be helpful if you don’t let that knowledge overshadow the individual films (if indeed standalone films are your research/analysis priority). So it’s just fun to put that to work.
Also, I feel compelled to note here that while there is no denying that GO is FOXY AF as Sirius Black, I am not in love with Gary Oldman and I don’t have his home address or anything like that (I’m more of a Steve Carell/Jason Bateman kinda gal, but I don’t know where they live either. Do you?). Though the way he says “panda” is admittedly adorable, I have no plans of usurping his lady and forcing his children to refer to me as mum.
I do, however, plan to introduce him to the miniature crochet version of himself one day. I call him Tiny Gary, and he might be my most prized possession?