Pass the popcorn, please

As Oscar co-host Steve Martin says to the great Kevin Kline in Lawrence Kasdan’s underrated flick Grand Canyon: “That’s part of your problem: you haven’t seen enough movies.  All of life’s riddles are answered in the movies.”  So, here it is:  The long awaited “year end” movie wrap-up!  Feel free to vehemently disagree in the comments section.  (Oscar  thoughts coming tomorrow.)

Best (and, yes, favorites) of the year:  The Hurt Locker Absurdly entertaining and incredibly intense.  Netflix it ASAP, please. Up In The Air In any other year, this would be the picture.  Great typing, very Wilderesque. The Hangover Out Apatowing-Apatow.  I found it hilarious. Invinctus A beautiful, difficult flick rendered captivating.  Clint keeps getting better and better and better. (500) Days of Summer Here you go, enough said. Star Trek Incredibly risky to reboot a kitschy franchise, and it’s  this year’s Dark Knight.  It’s why most people go to the movies, and what Hollywood doesn’t do as often as it should:  Smart blockbusters.  Sugar One of the true best films of the year, and completely ignored.  A near-flawless picture. Where the Wild Things Are Some folks hated it, but to me it equaled the source material, and created a believable, new world with a story attached.

Runners-Up:  A Serious Man Not great, but damn good.  The Coen Brothers are always worth the price of admission.  Funny People The year’s best failure, at about an hour too long.  Apatow should be recognized for exploring James L. Brooks territory.  An Education A lovely little pitch-perfect flick.  A Best Picture nominee?  I don’t know. The Informant! Surprisingly funny, great performance by Damon. Away We Go Another terrific little flick, and way better than that other Sam Mendes two-hander. State of Play Not a great movie by any stretch of the imagine, but a damn fun flick, and they ain’t gonna make many more of these. Broken Embraces The best Almodovar?  No.  But Almodovar is always good.  Crazy Heart Amazing music and a brilliant performance make-up for a few storytelling hiccups.  It’s Complicated It’s genuinely laugh-out-loud funny, features top-notch performances, and I don’t care what you say. I Love You, Man In a word, funny. Adventureland Has nobody seen Greg Motola’s terrifically scripted little indie?

Film I’m not sure how to feel about:  Avatar It’s the 9/11 of movies.  Go with me here:  Everything will be different after it, and nothing will be different.  It’s, yes, the most beautiful flick to look at (ever!  Burn your prints of The Red Shoes or Gone With the Wind!) and it deserves every possible technical award they can give it, plus a few they can make up.  But here’s the rub:  It’s not a good movie.  It’s a great experience, a terrific video game, but not a good movie.  But what do I know?  It’s now grossed more than the GDP of Germany.

Could make my list, when I catch ’em:  A Prophet, Up, District 9, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Coraline, The Messenger, Inglorious Basterds, The Last Station

Refuse to see:  Precious I should, I should, I know, but it looks so fucking…  brutal. Michael Jackson’s This Is It God let’s hope so.

Most overrated:  The Blind Side I know I’ll get letters, but:  It’s an okay flick, well acted with a sweet story, but it’s not a Best Picture nominee; it’s a movie-of-the-week.  But again, what do I know?  It’s now grossed more than the GDP of France. A Single Man It’s like watching that Elisabeth Kubler-Ross book shot really well.

Most disappointing:  In the Loop As the great Anthony Lane wrote, “By the time it was over I just wanted to get away from these characters.”  Shorts You try to take your niece to a nice children’s movie on a rainy summer afternoon on the Island, you wind up at a Robert Rodriguez-directed pile of steaming dog shit.  At least the theatre serves a good bloody mary.  Brief Interviews with Hideous Men Jon Krasinski, you’re so terrific on The Office; what is this misogynistic thing?

Ah, movies!  It’s a magical feeling, isn’t it, as you sit in the theater, waiting for the film to unspool, the shadows dancing through the air above you to transport you somewhere else, wondering what you’ll get.  “All of life’s riddles are answered in the movies.”

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2 Responses to “Pass the popcorn, please”

  1. patricia harrington schreiber Says:

    Wally,
    a few quibbles but one MAJOR disagreement! I was forced to see “I Love You Man” because I am way too polite and deferred to the wishes of a friend. Time to change THAT friend! This could not have been more stupid.God, this couldn’t be worse. How can you even mention it in your list?? Enough said!!!!
    Inglorious Basterds was horrendous and Brad Pitt was even more rediculous. I hated it. “The Last Station had some interesting moments, historical mostly, and Helen Mirren did a lot of over the top acting but mostly wait for the DVD. But for once, and this will really surprise you, I agree with you about an Apatow movie, I really liked “the hangover”.

    I am predicting Sandra Bullock for best actress and would love to see Morgan Freeman get Best Actor but am sure the academy feels they owe one to Jeff Bridges. Best film is hard one to predict but I am going to guess “The Hurt Locker” I think Cameron will get director because of all the money Avatar is making and jobs it is providing.
    What are your picks??

  2. mike hampton Says:

    RE: In the Loop…Don’t think it’s fair to label a movie a ‘disappointment’ when you slept through the whole thing, snored through it actually. Hahahaha…

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