Tuesday, January 26, 2010

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...at the movies

2009 has come and gone--and 2010 has already thrown some terrible, terrible movies at us (The Book of Eli, I'm looking at you!). Will it shape up at the cineplex, or are we doomed? Last year's offerings were a mixed bag--let's reach into that bag and see what we pull out, shall we?

Best Popcorn Movie
District 9
Neil Blomkamp's dizzying sci-fi shoot-em-up was one of the most kick-ass, original films in years. The pseudo-doc style matched with first-person shooter action, believable acting and some of the best use of CGI ever made this one a hypnotic bloody masterpiece.

Worst Popcorn Movie
Transformers 2
Where does one start? Robots with balls. A joisey 'bot that humps Megan Fox's leg. Megan Fox. Shia LeBeouf, er Labouf, er the kid from Holes pointing and going "no no no no no no no no!" a lot. Jive talking robots with gold teeth that "aren't much for reading?" Really, Michael Bay? That kind of racist--excuse me, Baycist--film making is just awful. One wishes his funding would be cut as quickly as his shots are.

Best Popcorn
The stuff I make at home in an air popper--a little butter, salt and some rosemary. Seriously, it's awesome.

Best 10 minutes of any movie this year, period
The romantic montage at the beginning of Pixar's Up. If you don't shed a tear at this, you aren't human. You're most likely a balled, jive-talking robot that humps Megan Fox's appendages.

Worst 10 minutes of any movie this year, period
Feel free to pick any ten minute segment from He's Just Not That Into You. I would be more into stabbing myself in the face than watching that again.

Best franchise reboot
Star Trek
Despite the sheer number of irritating lens flares, J.J. Abrams seriously nailed it. I'm a bit of a Trekkie (yes...Trekkie. I'm not a snobby "Trekker"), and I enjoyed the hell out of this thing. The alternate time line was a thing of genius. I only wish Eric Bana's villain had been a bit more interesting...

Worst franchise, to boot
Twilight: New Moon
No, I didn't see it. The sheer fact that it exists is about as upsetting as jive-talking robots who--well, you get the point. I despised the first film (vampires who sparkle and play thunder baseball!), and now they've added werewolves that can transform in a second! None of that pesky "Lock me up! Lock me up! Don't let me out, whatever you do!" stuff of standard wolfman fare. Nope, just a little "jump in the air, come down as a wolf, then transform back into a shirtless teen who can wield a bo-staff impressively on talk shows" instead.

Best Art House Movie
The Hurt Locker
Kathryn Bigelow should win the Oscar for Best Director for this tense, harrowing depiction of a bomb squad unit and the adrenalin high that comes from diffusing live explosives. Jeremy Renner and Anthony Mackie are outstanding. Big celebs show up to get blown up or shot. And Evangeline Lilly shows up and does nothing!

Worst Art House Movie
Anything with period costumes in it and a run time over 2 hours. (I just can't do it, people. I'm sorry!)

Art House Movie I really, really, really wanted to see but haven't yet, but damnit, I promise I will as soon as I get back to Los Angeles in February after my festival ends

Worst line in a movie preview
"You're changing that boy's life."
"No...he's changing mine."

Worst movie preview
Leap Year
Pay 10 bucks to come see if she jilts her old lover at the airport in favor of her new lover, since that's pretty much ALL we didn't show you in the preview!

Scratch that--WORST movie preview
The Ugly Truth
Katherine Heigl *shiver*

Best whimsical performance by an ensemble of stop-motion animated woodland creatures to the backdrop of 60's Brit rock
The Fantastic Mr. Fox
This is probably my favorite Wes Anderson movie--his tone and aesthetic was the perfect match for Roald Dahl's story. If there's any justice, it'll become a family classic.

Best use of music that isn't actually appropriate for the time period it is used in
Pirate Radio
The majority of the hits used in Richard Curtis' ensemble comedy came out well after the events it's portraying...but they still sound great!

Worst movie to watch on an airplane other than Transformers 2
Imagine That
Thanks SO much, United, for giving us no other film options. I was really, really in the mood for one of those movies about a magical blanket with a direct line to princesses who give stock tips.

Best Documentary
Anvil: The Story of Anvil
Inspiring and sad at the same time, this doc follows Canadian metal band Anvil and their fall from pseudo fame to catering and back up to pseudo fame again. Netflix it. Trust me.

Cutest little romantic movie that's almost too precious for it's own good
(500) Days of Summer
It's so twee it makes Stuart Murdoch look like Jason Statham.

Best AND Worst movie title, all in one
Donkey Punch

Best animated film that adults will think is too scary for kids, but that kids will be unfazed by and love
Henry Selick is a master animator, and Neil Gaiman is a master storyteller. You do the math.

Best movie where giant blue creatures can use their hair usb adapters to plug into horses and trees
TIE: Avatar and Paul Blart: Mall Cop

Worst Paul Reiser imitation
Giovanni Ribisi in Avatar

Weirdest movie to come out at Thanksgiving
Ninja Assassin
The billboard read "Ninja Assassin Thanksgiving." Would you pass the gravy boat, white shadow?

Weirdest use of eye makeup in a movie preview
Seth Green in Old Dogs

Movie that couldn't possibly be as good as the preview, and wasn't
Where The Wild Things Are

Best Cameo in a Movie
You-know-who in Zombieland

Movie that's release date got pushed back so many times that I've seen the trailer so frequently that I personally want want to torch every reel of it
Shutter Island

Film most in need of "Tyler Perry's" in front of the title
Tyler Perry's Taking Woodstock
Tyler Perry's Inglorious Basterds

Best Genre Exercise
A Perfect Getaway
David Twohy's meta thriller is good fun--it toys with conventions so much it's a delight to follow, and Timothy Olyphant is better than he's ever been.

Most disappointing comedy
I had such high expectations of Mike Judge's latest film that I was sad that I hardly cracked a smile during it's run time. Maybe it will come alive on a second viewing...

Most surprisingly enjoyable romcom
The Proposal
Who knew that Ryan Reynolds and Sandra Bullock would have such good chemistry, and that Oscar Nunez would steal every scene he was in?

Best trend
High quality animated features. With Up, Coraline and Fantastic Mr. Fox all excelling in the genre, and Princess and the Frog ushering in the return of lush hand-drawn animation, it was a killer year for toons.

Worst trend
Overpriced 3D and fake IMAX screens. It's a serious bummer to pay $15+ to see crap like Monsters Vs. Aliens on a supposed "IMAX" screen that's only a tiny bit bigger than the rest of the auditoriums.

Movie with the most jaw-dropping "SERIOUSLY?" moments
Transformers 2
I mean, one of the robots HAS A GOLD TOOTH. 'Cuz autobots need teeth. It's worst than nipples on the batsuit, people.

It's late, and I can't rally against Transformers 2 any longer. I mean, I can, but...well, hope you enjoyed this. Feel free to leave some comments about your favorite and most hated films of the year!


  1. I saw Moon over the weekend, and loved it. Although the premise is simple and straight-forward, I was unexpectedly affected by it and have thought about it for days afterwards.

  2. Since I have a young'un, I'm with ya on the "best trend" being quality animated films. Hell, even if I DIDN'T have the young'un I'd be with ya on that. It's just kind of a bonus, since that's mostly what we see.

    I also was delighted with Star Trek... and not just cuz my workplace (CSUN's Oviatt Library) is featured prominently. It was a remarkably good reboot. No easy feat, that!

  3. I actually own an Anvil cassette somewhere. It's called Backwaxed and I bought in like 1988. I'm gonna see if I can find it.

  4. "And Evangeline Lilly shows up and does nothing!"

    So, er, par for the course?

    Thank you for several good reminders. Off to rearrange the Netflix queue!