Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri Review

This was Published on December 29, 2017. Frances McDormand has quietly become one of the most reliable actresses working today. I would dare say her consistency is above even Meryl Streep. She doesn’t churn out movie after movie. She isn’t exactly a marquee draw, but every time she makes a movie she MAKES the film. She has four Oscar nominations to her name and one win for her brilliant turn in Fargo. She is on her way to her fifth nomination and very possibly her second win for her roll in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri. Despite being married to one of the brilliant Coen brothers and often being in their films, she has no reason to think that is the reason for the respect she receives.

McDormand’s latest film is no exception to her long list of exceptional performance. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is an emotional yet tender and look at personal tragedy and loss. McDormand plays Mildred Hayes, a mother who lost her daughter to rape and murder just seven months before the start of the film. Fed up with the lack of progress in her daughter’s case by the local police, she rents three billboards on the edge of town and leaves a message for everyone to read and especially Chief of police played by Woody Harrelson.

When the city is somewhat divided into her methods, she is unwavering in pushing things to the limit to get the results she needs for closure. Mildred is still dealing with an abusive ex-husband played by the highly underrated John Hawkes. With a hotheaded police officer played by the ALSO underrated Sam Rockwell, with a tarnished record harassing her at every turn she seems to be fighting everyone to get closure on the death of her daughter. Mildred goes through a series of events that increase the resistance she is facing even from her own son, only to find help from the least likely of people.

Despite its unconventional title, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri is a masterfully crafted story lead by its incredible cast and script. The pacing of the movie is only one of its many significant aspects. The humor that accompanies it is not out of place by any means and does not at all diminish the seriousness of the central theme of the story. Writer/Director Martin McDonagh has a history of mixing these qualities well with past films such as In Bruges and Seven Psychopaths ( also with the great Sam Rockwell).

One of the great things about Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri is seeing a director come into his own and get such top performances out of his cast. Highly overlooked in the cast is Game Of Thrones star Peter Dinklage’s performance. Although a relatively minor role he plays the part of a somewhat outcast just trying to fit in and express to Mildred that he has feelings for her and even understands her anger and bitterness at the world, something she never indeed recognizes in him.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri is a movie that demands more than one viewing, not because of missed details but because of the different emotions, one feels during viewing that it takes more than one watch to be able to ingest all of it. The films have already garnered six Golden Globe nominations and be prepared for it to grab just as many Academy Award nominations and don’t at all be surprised to see McDormand and Sam Rockwell accept gold that night.

McDormand will have serious competition from Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie but make no mistake she is as deserving as any one of them to take the prize. At this point the only competition Sam Rockwell faces, in my opinion, is Christopher Plummer for All The Money In The World and Plummer’s ability to pull off what he did in the amount of time that he did is what gives him the advantage. I would love to see Sam Rockwell win and I’d be very curious to see the reception he would get, being as liked and respected as he is. It would make for a beautiful moment for him.

Woody Harrelson Became The Biggest Star After Cheers Went Off The Air

Without question one of the most popular, if not the most popular sitcom of the 1980’s was Cheers. Making stars out of Ted Danson, Shelly Long, Kirstie Alley and of course Woody Harrelson. Cheers was wildly popular and consistently good despite significant cast member changes and additions. Cheers called final call in 1993 leaving the cast to make new paths for themselves and would let us see who would be remembered for their character and who would blaze a bold new trail. Woody Harrelson was in waiting amongst the cast of the popular sitcom. It was Woody Harrelson’s career after Cheers that is the biggest story.

Harrelson was a definite wild card when he was cast to replace the extremely popular Nicolas Colasanto who played the beloved “Coach” after he passed away. Woody was thrust into what could have been an impossible situation. Replaces loved man and character with an unknown actor whose new style had many similarities to Coach. Woody couldn’t have done any better! As the years went on, he fit right in with the cast of characters and proved to be the right choice. The unknown with Woody and his role when the show ended was, would he be typecast as the dimwitted Woody Boyd? Harrelson with a determination and series of acting choices, would not let that happen.

While taking roles towards the end of Cheers in movies like White Men Can’t Jump, and Indecent Proposal audiences were able to notice that, maybe there is more to Woody  Harrelson after Cheers, as an actor than previously thought. But still, audiences weren’t sold. Taking the role of Pepper Lewis in The Cowboy Way alongside Kiefer Sutherland seemed to be more what audiences expected. It would be two months later when Oliver Stone released his highly controversial Natural Born Killers that Woody would make people stand up and take notice. The sadistic character of Mickey Knox was the polar opposite of the innocent, mild-mannered Woody Boyd. With his shaved head and evil look, he was starting down a path that would leave Cheers far in the past.

Never abandoning his comedic roots with such films as Kingpin and Edtv and even the critically panned Play It To The Bone, it would be his dramatic work that would define his post Cheers career. He received an Academy Award nomination for his portrayal of the highly controversial public figure and often condemned pornographer, Larry Flynt in Milos Forman’s The People vs. Larry Flynt.

Woody has always made a concentrated effort to stay diverse and open when it comes to film choices and never abandon his comedy talents and roots. With roles in the hysterical Will Ferrell basketball spoof Semi-Pro to the next year being in the powerful post-Iraq war drama, The Messenger for which he again received an Oscar nomination and showed that his dramatic ability is on par with the best actors in Hollywood and his comedic talents are on the same level.

Woody’s latest few movies continue on the tremendous eclectic path he has carved for himself with the great, gutshot movie Rampart alongside the HBO political drama Game Change for which it would be no surprise if he were garnered with various nominations including the Golden Globe. He is most recently in the blockbuster movie The Hunger Games in which he initially seemed out of place but made the character his own to the point he became an excellent choice.

Since this article was written just over six years ago, Harrelson has since been nominated for another Academy Award for his role in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. He was also nominated for two Golden Globes in that time period adding to his many accolades.

Woody will continue to awe and entertain with laughter and tears. He has become a safe bet in Hollywood without being typecast like was initially feared. He without a doubt has emerged as the most talented actor and most successful of the Cheers alumni, with all due respect to Kelsey Grammar whose success as Frasier is quite impressive but doesn’t contain the range and ability that Woody has shown.