Thursday, August 4, 2011

2010 Awards

2010 was a year that reminded us the sequel to Wall Street sucked because the first one wasn’t all that good to begin with, the words “Facebook,” “Justin Timberlake,” and “Overwhelming Academy Award Favorite” now are seamlessly linked together, and It was also the last year we can say with complete confidence and gratitude that there hasn’t been a movie biopic of Justin Bieber ever made. Yet. 2011 is set for the release of Justin Bieber’s big-screen debut and the NFL lockout. And they said the apocalypse would happen in 2012 . . .

Here are the movie awards for 2010:

Queen Latifah in Stranger Than Fiction Award for “Most Completely Unnecessary Character in a Movie”

Michael Cera’s other half, Youth in Revolt (no one wants to see him smoking a cigar in a beret; the French already have it bad enough)
Yaya DaCosta, The Kids are All Right (Mark Ruffalo’s afro-spotting girlfriend; pretty much only there for her nude scene)
Catherine Keener, Cyrus (no one cares about John C. Reiley’s ex-wife)
Anna Kendrick, Twilight: Eclipse (the high school chick whose contract stipulates she needs five minutes of extra screen time after her Oscar-nominated performance in Up in the Air)

The Winner:
Every character not played by Annette Bening or Naomi Watts in Mother and Child. This includes Good Man, Jesus Freak Daughter, Sympathetic Nun, Sharp-Tonged Blind Girl, Mexican Maid, and Sassy Black Momma.

John Goodman in The Big Lebowski Award for “Character who’s so annoying it pretty much ruined the entire rest of the movie”

Joan Rivers, Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work (for the amount of money I spent on that movie ticket, I could have purchased dozens of pieces of her high-end TV jewelry)
The kid who plays Rowley in Diary of a Wimpy Kid (annoying, but only after everyone at school started liking him more than Greg)
Nate Torrance, She’s Out of My League (unfunny wannabe Apatow supporting player who shaves Jay Baruchel’s balls and watches Disney movies)
The entire cast of Twilight: Eclipse and anyone who actually saw it.

The Winner:
Ben Stiller as the title character in Greenberg. The entire movie is like sitting on a delayed flight to Rochester next to Larry David. Watching this character be annoying and a complete dickwad to the people around him makes oral surgery seem like a day at Wally World. Greenberg is appallingly egotistical, and I wish he had been shipped off to Australia with those other stupid chicks at the end of the film.

Tiger Woods in The Girlfriend Experience Award for “Most Eerily Appropriate Title of a 2010 Film for a 2010 Celebrity.”

Tom Brady: Furry Vengeance
The European Union: Get Him to the Greek
Brett Favre and Greg Oden: How to Train Your Dragon
The girls from Sex and the City 2: Predators
Randy Moss, Dinner for Schmucks

The Winner:
LeBron James, who had at least five movies come out that were about him: Devil, My Soul to Take, Jackass 3-D, The King’s Speech, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and Cop Out. But at least all of those are better than the title for LeBron’s mom and Delonte West: Date Night.

The Steve Martin as Dr. Michael Hfuhruhurr in The Man With Two Brains Award for “Best Movie Character Name in a 2010 Film.”

Cliff Curtis as Fire Lord Ozai, The Last Airbender
Derek Jacobi as Cosmo Gordon Lang, Archbishop of Canterbury, The King’s Speech
Donal Logue as Tink Weatherbee, Charlie St. Cloud
Kirsten Wiig as Vicki St. Elmo, MacGruber

The Winner: Craig Ferguson as Gobber the Belch in How to Train Your Dragon. Lots of good names to choose from in this film (including Stoick the Vast and Snotlout Jorgenson), but how could you possibly pass up on this gem? He also appears to be the best-looking Viking to sport a moustache since Brad Childress. On a related note, special recognition goes to Tink Weatherbee, which is now officially my gay porn star name.

The Tony Siragusa in 25th Hour Award for “Random athlete, rapper, or reality TV star in a 2010 film role.”

Quinton “Rampage” Jackson as Bosco Albert “B.A.” (Bad Attitude) Baracus, The A-Team
Warren Sapp as Wendell Boyd, Our Family Wedding
Slaine as Albert “Gloansy” Magloan, The Town
T.I. as the Ghost of Delonte Rivers, Takers

The Winner:
Lester “Rasta” Speight as Baphomet in Faster. This is the guy who played Terry Tate, Office Linebacker in the Reebock commercials from about seven years ago. Maybe this choice for the award is a little tainted since, according to his Wikipedia page, he has also had roles in Norbit, Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay (playing “a character who is interrogated using racist methods), and Bachelor Party Vegas (playing “a prison rapist.”) But he makes up for it by being, simultaneously, kind of a reality TV star and kind of an athlete.

The Kathleen Turner in Marley and Me Award for “Random Appearance in a Film by an Actor Who Was Popular 10-50 Years Ago and Most People Probably Thought Was Dead.”

Ernest Borgnine as Henry, the Records Keeper, Red
Timothy Dalton as Mr. Pricklepants in Toy Story 3, and as Chief Inspector Jones in The Tourist
Patrick Duffy as Ritchie Phillips, You Again
Penelope Ann Miller as Mrs. Baker, Flipped

The Winner:
Paul Reubens as Andy in Life During Wartime. Actually, Reubens should probably get this award every time he makes a new movie. But this also represents a massive failure to capitalize on the seemingly obvious: This is Todd Solondz’s sequel to Happiness, profiling all the same characters roughly ten years after the first film took place, but played by different actors. So, it would be natural to assume that Pee-Wee plays the pedophile dad, right? Would that make a perfect kind of cosmic sense? I mean, I’d shell out money to see that! But, um, no. He plays Jon Lovitz’s character (the guy who breaks up with the youngest sister at the beginning of the
first film). Come on, doesn’t Solondz have a sense of humor? So much potential. Wasted.

The Eugene Levy and Queen Latifah in Bringing Down the House Award for “Most Awkward Leading Romantic Couple.”

Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor, I Love You Phillip Morris
Common and Queen Latifah, Just Wright
Rob Schneider and Joyce Van Patten, Grown Ups
Nev Schulman and Angela Pierce, Catfish

The Winner:
Joe Pesci and Helen Mirren as Charlie and Grace Bontempo in Love Ranch. They play the real-life married couple who opened the first legal brothel in Nevada. This was a film that was directed by Taylor Hackford (the director of An Officer and a Gentleman and Ray), and co-starred Gina Gershon, Bryan Cranston, and Bai Ling. There’s a reason you never heard of it.

Side Note: Helen Mirren deserves some sort of award for her 2010 film resume. Besides this film, she played a female version of Prospero in The Tempest, an aging assassin in Red, the voice of Nyra the Barn Owl in Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole, and her upcoming role is a Mossad secret agent on a secret mission to kill a notorious Nazi war criminal. And she’s like 85 and still hot.

The “In the Land of Women and There Will Be Blood Award for “Film Titles That When Put Together Sound Funny and Immature.”

My Soul To Take
and Babies.
Please Give and Love and Other Drugs.
Vampires Suck and Little Fockers.
What If...
and I Spit on Your Grave.

The Winner:
Let Me In and The Other Guys. Couldn’t resist.

The Human Stain Award for “Film Titles That Should Be About Zombies But Aren’t For Some Reason.”

Eat Pray Love
It’s a Wonderful Afterlife
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Undead
Soul Kitchen

The Winner:
The Kids Are All Right. Adults taste better.

The Jude Law in 2004 Award for “We’re Tired of Seeing This Already.”

Films about Jack Abramoff named Casino Jack
Naked scenes of Anne Hathaway in Love and Other Drugs
godawful calls by NFL referee Gene Steratore (a proud Pittsburgh resident and obvious Steeler fan)
Movies where Leonardo DiCaprio is living in a mind-bending false reality

The Winner:
All feature films with M. Night Shyamalon’s creative influence. The Last Airbender and Devil were nails in the coffin. Oh wait, he’s actually been dead this entire time! (Token unfunny joke for this article. I’m allowed one.)

The “Sean Penn Defending Jude Law at the 2004 Oscars” Award for “Let’s Actually Be Serious For A Second and Name the Actual Best Performance in a 2010 film.”
George Clooney, The American
Andy Garcia, City Island
Natalie Portman, Black Swan
Hailee Steinfeld, True Grit

The Winner:
Chloe Grace Moretz, Let Me In. It was a great year for child performances (and a breakout year for the real-life Hit-Girl), but this one stood out. Moretz is absolutely spellbinding as the blood-sucking young vampire Abby, creating a complex, painfully real character, which could have been lampooned and turned into a
Colt Ford music video. A truly great performance in one of 2010’s few truly great motion pictures.

Without further ado, here are my top ten films for 2010. There were other films that came out, but they generally sucked, especially if they involved vampires or 3-D.

10. True Grit (Joel and Ethan Coen). Excellent classical western, lacking the moral ambiguity of recent revisionist westerns, but more accessible for audiences as a result. Ripe with typically quirky Coen characters and dialogue, with terrific cinematography by Roger Deakins. Bridges, Damon, and Brolin solid, but all outshined by outstanding newcomer Hailee Steinfeld.

9. Restrepo (Tim Hetherington and Sebastian Junger) In April 2011, Tim Hetherington was killed in Libya while on a filming assignment. A real shame, because one of Restrepo’s strengths is the fearless willingness of the filmmakers to completely absorb themselves in the horrific, unpredictable violence of the Korengal Valley, Afghanistan. Like The Hurt Locker, the movie illustrates that there is little time for long-winded, much-rehearsed political debates over military conflict in the heat of the battle. It ultimately comes down to camaraderie and the reliance of others for support – which, in the case of Restrepo, may actually be an impediment to keeping emotions off the battlefield. (Side note: Juan “Doc” Restrepo wins this year’s “Dick from High Fidelity” Award for Best Todd Look-alike.)

8. The American (Anton Corbijn). George Clooney has officially entered the realm of acceptable man-crushes as a badass assassin in this quiet, understated, but terrifically exciting thriller. BTW: Acceptable Man-Crushes include Bill Simmons, Tom Brady, Ed Norton, Clint Eastwood, the Dos Equis guy, Brian “The Beard” Wilson, Jack Bauer, Dr. McDreamy, Ed Harris at the History of Violence press junket, Peggy from the Discover Card commercials, Hilary Swank, the guy who invented the first down line in football, Bob Barker, ALF.

7. City Island (Raymond De Felitta). Easily the funniest movie of the year, even though the title sounds like a futuristic sci-fi thriller. Andy Garcia plays a corrections officer with a penchant for acting who keeps a secret from his family - while they keep secrets from him. Great Italian-American humor with some truly hilarious dinner scenes, and a final city block confrontation that brings down the house. Did anyone know Andy Garcia was this funny? Maybe not a truly great movie, but it’s hard making an intentionally funny movie nowadays. "OOHH!"

6. Blue Valentine (Derek Cianfrance). Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams play a married couple who are completely wrong for each other. It soon turns into Buddy Ryan and Kevin Gilbride and the ’93 Oilers coaching staff kind of situation, and remind happy couples seeing the movie everywhere that marriage is a bad idea. Already rough news in a year where boyfriends everywhere were dragged to the Twilight movie and Life as We Know It.

5. The Social Network (David Fincher). It’s the cultural zeitgeist of the 21st Century, a film illustrating Enough has already been written about the strengths of this once-laughable concept so here are my two flaws: The Zuckerberg character is a little inconsistent, and Sorkin's script examines the cultural ramifications of social networking rather superficially. But otherwise a terrifically engaging film, undoubtedly one of this generation's most definitive. You already know that.

4. The Tillman Story (Amir Bar-Lev). Eye-opening documentary that not only reveals the massive and appalling military cover-up of the football star-turned-military hero’s death, but also a doc that asks questions about what it means to truly sacrifice for one’s country and be patriotic. What emerges is that Pat Tillman was a hero not because he loved his country, but because even when he began to question the motives behind the war in Afghanistan, he continued his obligation to military service over a high-paying football career. He was a hero not because he made inspirational speeches, but because he was vulgar, crass, and didn’t take himself seriously. It will take decades to get over all the Effed-up BS pulled by the Bush administration (see below).

3. Inside Job (Charles Ferguson). This is one of the most engaging, unbiased, and informative documentaries ever made about the American financial system, and specifically the economic breakdown of 2008. At times harrowing, infuriating, and always riveting, the film argues the collapse wasn't a single event, but the product of larger negligance and corruption. Like Ferguson’s previous feature, No End in Sight, the doc very clearly and concisely puts together information and cogently makes arguments. And yes, it’s mostly Republicans’ fault, although Obama and others are not completely clear of fault. Every American under the age of 30 should see this movie.

2. Inception (Christopher Nolan). A rare big-budget action thriller with a brain. The plot isn't as confounding as everyone says, and the jargon is minimal. Superb and memorable visuals, most notably Paris folding up like a book, another steel-clan Han Zimmer score, and a great performance from Leo. After you see it for the first time, you can't wait to see it again. Although two questions remain: How come Cillian Murphy didn’t recognize Ken Wantanabe on the plane, and how come Leo couldn’t just move his kids to France?

1. Let Me In (Matt Reeves). Yes, it’s a movie about first love and vampires. Yes, it’s a remake of a supposedly more sophisticated European film. Get over it; it’s also unquestionably the best film of the year. For a film about a blood-thirsty vampire who appears in the form of a 12-year-old girl, the film is remarkably finely tuned to the realities of puberty and first love. It perfectly captures the fine balance of the awkwardness between boys and girls, and the moments of pure exhilaration and ecstasy. Visually, its wonderfully drab color scheme accentuates the trepidation and fear of the unknown, which is amusingly reiterated through the film’s use of Reagan-era political rhetoric. It also has the best musical score of any film released this year, and its two young leads, Kodi Smit-McPhee and Chloe Grace Moretz, are revelations. There is a scene that takes place in a moving vehicle that is beautifully Hitchcockian (you’ll know the one), and From start to finish, there is not a single wrong note, a dull moment, or Is it better than Let the Right One In? Is that question really relevant? When you instantly love a film the way this film snuck up on me, the heart does not lie.

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