Saturday, February 26, 2011

The 2011 Lethargic Oscar Picks Extravaganza!!!!

In last year's Oscar blog I said the nominations were the worst in history.  This year's group is better, but not by much.  I truly hated  most of them last year while this year there are only a couple I didn't like.  The problem is that I didn't love any of them.  Everything is fairly average or good, but not great.  So this year's blog should be quite a bit shorter than previous years because, honestly, there's not a lot to say.  If you don't love something and you don't hate something it's hard to come up with something to say.  "Meh" is a hard emotion to convey.

And it sucks having to write all this negative stuff.  I'm a movie lover, I watch every movie with the hope that it will be awesome.  Even if it's something I didn't want to see but got roped into seeing it anyway I cross fingers for a pleasant surprise.  For years I have argued against people who claimed Hollywood does nothing but put out popcorn blockbuster crap.  I've always been of the mind that Hollywood puts out just as much greatness as it does garbage.  But these last two years have been rough and I'm finding it harder and harder to argue against the haters.  I look at what is coming in 2011 and all I see is a bunch of sequels to bad movies, a slew of inferior remakes of great movies, a buttload of movies with 3D in the title and a kajillion mediocre non-Pixar animated movies.  I'm having trouble finding hope that next year's Oscars will be an improvement.

Here, I'll go ahead and tell you the 10 nominees for best picture next year...

Piranha 3DD
A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas
Spy Kids 4
Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son
Mars Needs Moms!
Johnny English Reborn
Paranormal Activity 3
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn

I just made myself depressed.  Let's get this over with.  As always I rank every nominee from 5-1 with #1 being my pick.  I am also going to give my prediction as well as my personal picks.  With the categories nobody cares about I won’t talk about each nominee, but will in the important categories.  And I'm in a real rush trying to get this finished.  If you see any mistakes, just ignore them.


1 - Inception

5 (tie) - Salt  
5 (tie) - The Social Network  
5 (tie) - True Grit  
5 (tie) - The King's Speech

Come on.  Let's be serious here.  If Inception doesn't win every single technical awards then just stop having Oscars.  Best movie?  Probably not.  Most technically impressive?  23459023% yes!

Prediction:  Inception (or I riot)


1 - Inception
2 - Toy Story 3  
3 - TRON: Legacy
4 - True Grit  
5 - Unstoppable

How does Unstoppable get any nomination?  It is quite possibly the dumbest movie in history.  And I usually love everything Tony Scott does but, uggh.  I usually lean toward the animated films in this category but like I 
said before....INCEPTION!

Prediction:  Inception


1 - Inception

2 - Hereafter
3 - Alice in Wonderland
4 - Harry Potter
5 - Iron Man 2

How much do I hate Iron Man 2?  I put it below Harry Potter and I've never even seen a Harry Potter movie.  I wish Iron Man 2 was nominated more so I could bash it more.  One of the biggest duds in history. Alice in Wonderland just looks silly and stupid, Hereafter had some cool moments but Inception FOLDED A FRIGGIN CITY.

Prediction:  Inception


1 - Barney's Version    

2 - The Way Back  
3 - The Wolfman

I wasn't able to see either Barney or The Way Back.  I was able to see The Wolfman.  If we're talking Lon Chaney Wolfman I'd give it the award in a second.  If we're talking about that steaming pile of monkey crap they put out last year, well, go screw.  At least Barney's Version has good word of mouth.

Prediction:  The Wolfman  (Just to annoy me)

"Coming Home" - Country Strong  
"I See the Light" - Tangled  
"If I Rise" - 127 Hours
"We Belong Together" - Toy Story 3

Do I have to pick one of these?  I assumed I would pick Coming Home because I figured it'd be a standard country pop song but it's not.  It's terrible.  I See the Light is the exact same song that has been in every Disney movie in history.  If I Rise sounds like some awful noise you hear during a massage.  We Belong Together?  How many times is Randy Newman going to win an award for that one songs he knows?  Pathetic.  I'm flipping a coin.  Ok, I'm picking If I Rise!

Prediction:  Might as well stick with the coin… If I Rise

1 - Inception  
2 - The Social Network
3 - How to Train Your Dragon
4 - The King's Speech  
5 - 127 Hours  

The way I always decide who I pick for best score is by sitting here, staring at the screen and trying to remember the main theme from the movies.  A good score should stick in your head.  The only two that did that here is Inception and Social Network.  The difference is that the Inception score is actual music while The Social Network's score was nothing but a bunch of typical beep, bop, boop garbage that Trent Reznor always does.  Way to really branch out there Trent.  Boo.

Prediction:  I’m torn between King’s Speech and Social Network.  I think Speech will get it but Hollywood probably wants to make themselves feel “hip” by putting Trent Reznor on stage.  I guess I’ll stick with my gut and say King’s Speech.

1 - 127 Hours
2 - Black Swan  
3 - The Fighter  
4 - The King's Speech
5 - The Social Network  

Most of these didn't really stand out to me in either a bad or good way.  They were all pretty average and what you expect.  I give a bit of a nod to 127 Hours due to the fact that it's an entire movie about a guy stuck between a rock and a wall.  Nothing happens.  It took a lot of magic to keep this movie interesting and entertaining and a lot of that magic came from the editing. 

Prediction:  The Social Network

1 - The King's Speech  
2 - The Tempest  
3 - Alice in Wonderland  
4 - True Grit
5 - I Am Love  

I watched I Am Love after the nominations came out so I knew to pay attention to the costumes and I still can't come up with a single reason why this stupid foreign movie nobody has ever heard of is in this category.  It looks like just normal everyday clothes you see on the street for the most part.  Oh, look, it's a guy in pants and a shirt, that deserves an award.

True Grit looks like they did nothing but go to one of them places where you get your picture taken dressed up like a cowboy and raided their closet.  Alice in Wonderland?  Give me a break. The Tempest?  I have no idea what this movie even is but I'm sure it can't be any worse than the other three.  I give it to King's Speech by process of elimination.

Prediction:  The King’s Speech

1 - Inception  
2 - Black Swan  
3 - The King's Speech  
4 - The Social Network  
5 - True Grit

I wouldn't be sad to see either Inception or Black Swan win this and one of them should undoubtedly do so.  Aronofsky's movies are always shot beautifully but every frame of Inception not only looks good, but also important.  Wally Pfister is the best cinematographer in the world today.  He should win this every single time he's nominated.

Prediction:  True Grit (Roger Deakins has been nominated 9 times.  They probably give it to him on the 10th try.)

1 - Inception  
2 - The King's Speech
3 - Harry Potter
4 - Alice in Wonderland  
5 - True Grit

FOLDED A CITY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Prediction:  The King’s Speech.  Or maybe they go crazy and give it to Alice.

1 - Restrepo  
2 - Gasland  
3 - Inside Job  
4 - Waste Land
5 - Exit Through the Gift Shop

This category is the most puzzling for me.  Once again it's a bunch of movies that are OK, nothing great, nothing bad, just a bunch of movies that are there.  The puzzler is that I've gotten to the point where I watch documentaries way  more than I watch traditional movies and I saw a bunch of great documentaries in the past year.  I just don't understand how out of all the fantastic documentaries that came out that the Academy picked this five as the best.  It makes no sense.  Where is Waiting for Superman, The Tillman Story, Cropsey, Best Worst Movie, A Piece of Work, Scrappers, Collapse, Tabloid, Winebago Man, American, Who is Harry Nilsson, and on and on and on?

The biggest head scratcher for me is Exit Through the Gift Shop.  A very entertaining movie for the most part and a great documentary for an hour or so, but then it goes out of left field and turns into a big hoax.  I don't know how something this fake gets nominated for best documentary.  If this can get nominated then Blair Witch and Cloverfield should've been nominated here too.  And I was really enthralled with the first part of the movie, the actual documentary part, where we got to see all the street artists do their work.  That was interesting.  But the last act not only came off completely fake but also ruined the movie because it was just flat our boring.

I pick Restrepo for the win.  Not because I loved it, because I didn't, it was kind of boring.  But much like The Cove last year, this is a movie that people should just see to have their eyes opened.  It follows a group of soldiers in the most dangerous part of Afghanistan, it doesn't really tell a "story" but it just shows what hell we're allowing these people to be put through.  Anybody who still thinks this war is a good idea should watch this and see just what they're doing to our own people for no real reason.

Prediction:  Inside Job seems to be in the lead but I wouldn’t be shocked if they pick Gift Shop just to see what kind of wackiness Banksy tries to pull.

1 - Dogtooth
2 - Biutiful
3 - In a Better World  
4 - Incendies  
5 - Outside the Law

This won’t win, without a doubt, but I pick Dogtooth anyway and I would piss my pants if it actually won.  Dogtooth is, by far, the most insane movie ever nominated for an Oscar.  I cannot understand how it ended up here.  It is just non-stop crazy for 90 minutes.  It's not art, it's just crazy.  There is zero redeemable quality in this movie except that it will blow your mind at how over the top crazy it is.  If it wins, people will search it out and watch it (It's on Netflix Instant...WATCH IT!) and  I want to imagine what the reaction will be when all these people who have no clue about it say, oh, here's that movie that won the Oscar, let's watch it, honey!  People will lose their minds watching this. 

I'm trying really hard to not say too much about Dogtooth because I want people to watch it with their jaw on the floor the same way I did but the movie is about a man who keeps his near adult aged children locked away from the outside world for no apparent reason.  They have a wall around the house and the kids aren't allowed to go outside it because he convinces them that cats are out there and the cats will kill them.  To protect themselves from the cats he teaches them to get down on their hands and knees and bark like dogs.  He convinces them that they have a brother who lives on the other side of the wall and the kids spend a lot time trying to talk to this brother and throwing him food over the wall.  Until he gets "killed" by the cats. He tells the kids that nobody is allowed to visit the outside world until one of their canine teeth (Dogtooth) falls out.  The only outsider they ever get to see is this girl who he pays to come to the house and have sex with his son.  Until he ends up bashing her head in with a VCR, of course.

And this is the sanest part of the movie. You can sort of understand this part.  Ok, he wants his family locked away from the world so he makes up some crazy stories to convince them to stay, right?  But then he just does so much other stuff that shows what a sadistic maniac he is.  The children are taught the wrong meanings of words.  They have to listen to a tape recording everyday where the father gives them definitions of words but teaches them things like "sea" means a chair or "excursion" means flooring material.  This trick brings great hilarity when one of the girls asks somebody to lick her keyboard.  He also convinces the children that airplanes are nothing but toys.  So he throws little airplane toys in the yard and whenever the kids see a real one fly over he goes "I think that one fell in the garden!" and then all the kids run around the garden until they find the little airplane that fell out of the sky.

You think I've given a lot of spoilers here?  There's more.  So much more.  It's crazy.  And I have no idea what it is.  The trailer calls it a satire, but of what??  Is this a comedy?  A horror movie?  I don't know.  All I know is I watched all these Oscar movies and I would forget which movie I saw by the next day, I will never forget this one.

Watch the trailer here if you don't believe me:

Prediction:  Biutiful or In A Better World…eh, Biutiful (Boo)

1 - Toy Story 3

2 - The Illusionist  
3 - How to Train Your Dragon  

Is there any doubt?

Prediction:  Toy Story 3 (Is there any doubt?)

1 - 127 Hours  
2 - Toy Story 3  
3 - Winter's Bone
4 - The Social Network  
5 - True Grit  

I...I just...I just don't know.  Another category that is just....meh.  Outside of True Grit they were all decent, but none were great.  I enjoyed 127 Hours the most.  I guess.  Maybe?  I think.

Prediction:  The Social Network

1 - The King's Speech
2 - Inception  
3 - The Kids Are All Right
4 - Another Year  
5 - The Fighter  

Same thing.  All good.  None great.  I give it to King's Speech because there is no way that boring story should've become such an interesting and watchable movie.

Prediction:  The King's Speech


5 - Hailee Steinfeld - True Grit

People have been raving about this girl ever since True Grit came out.  Sorry, but I couldn't stand her.  I have nothing against the actress, but the role was 100% unbelievable and 100% unbearably annoying.  Is it fair to hold the role against the actress?  No.  But I don't care, these are my picks.  I hated the character and I hated the movie.  F True Grit.  F Hailee Steinfeld.  F The Coen Brothers.

4 - Jacki Weaver - Animal Kingdom

A true head scratcher.  Don't know what Animal Kingdom is?  Don't worry, you're not alone.  I'd imagine most people never heard of this until the nominations came out.  And after seeing it I really don't understand it.  She wasn't bad, she did just fine, I have no complaints about the performance.  I just don't see how it's possible that this is one of the five best performances of the last year.  I don't know why they sought out this tiny little movie from Australia to nominate this person nobody has ever heard of for playing a character that was pretty silly and nearly completely unimportant to the plot of the movie.  I just don't get it.  I liked the movie, but if I had watched it beforehand there would be no way I would’ve ever thought anything about it would deserve an Oscar and this woman in particular would've been last on the list.  I would trade this nomination for Mila Kunis in Black Swan in a second.

3 - Melissa Leo - The Fighter
2 - Amy Adams - The Fighter

I know I'm going to come off as a broken record but once again these two fall into the "good but not great" category.  I can't say anything bad about either one.  They're both great actresses but I don't think these roles are really all that Oscar worthy.  These seem more like nominations based on previous performances than on the one they're actually nominated for and they've both reached the point where almost anything  they do is considered award worthy automatically.  And I'm a fan of Amy Adams.  I'd love to say I want her to win and I wouldn't be mad if she did but I just can't say that.  And I only put her over Leo because she's the only actress on the list who I'd like to take out behind the middle school and get pregnant.

1 - Helena Bonham Carter - The King's Speech

There have been years where I would've put Carter last because there would be so many other great performances.  This year?  Not so much. But she did do a great job in the movie.  And you know how I know she did a great job?  Because I can't stand Helena Bonham Carter.  Usually when I see her name in a movie's cast it's like Dracula seeing a cross.  Yet she completely won me over in this movie and came off extremely likeable.  I don't know if that will ever happen again so she better take this award now.

Prediction: Melissa Leo


5 - Jeremy Renner - The Town

In last year's Oscar blog, when Renner was nominated for The Hurt Locker I said "every time I see this guy's face I want to punch him."  I still stand by that.  I wasn't as annoyed at him in this movie but yet he's still playing the cliché KRAZZZEEEEEEE!!!! guy that he played in that movie.  And as far as I can tell he's played that exact same character in every movie I've ever seen him in.  He's like some relic from the 1980s, yet not one of the good ones.  I  had enough with the KRAZZEEEEE!!!! guy who plays by his own rules in Cobra. 

4 - Geoffrey Rush - The King's Speech

On the other hand, I love Geoffrey Rush.  He's good in everything he's in.  I don't knock him getting this nomination but there's no way he deserves to actually win it.  He's a fantastic actor, but his role wasn't the role of the movie, know what I'm sayin'?

3 - John Hawkes - Winter's Bone  

Hawkes is a modern day JT Walsh.  He's the guy who has been in everything but nobody knows who the hell he is.  Lost, Deadwood, Eastbound and Down, 24, X-Files, The Perfect Storm, From Dusk till Dawn, The Crow, The Adventures of Brisco County Jr. and Night of the Scarecrow are just some of his 107 credits.  I'm pretty sure he's been in at least 32% of everything that has kicked ass in the past 20 years.  But, as I'll get to later, I found myself very underwhelmed by Winter's Bone.  There just wasn't enough for Hawkes to work with here outside of maybe 1 scene.  I wouldn't mind seeing him win, but I'm not sure it should be for this.

2 - Mark Ruffalo - The Kids Are All Right

Ruffalo is another of my favorite actors and in most years I would pick him for this hands down.  I thought he did terrific in this movie.  He was given an incredibly hard job.  He had to play a guy who did some pretty dumb things, yet remain completely likable to the viewer.  When you're a guy sleeping with somebody's wife and actively trying to break up a marriage, it's hard to be the sympathetic character, yet Ruffalo pulls it off here.  I was cheering more for his character to have a happy ending than I was for the couple.  I'd love to see him win but it's not going to happen because this is one of the few categories that is a 100% lock.

1 - Christian Bale - The Fighter

Christian Bale is the greatest actor working today and his performance in The Fighter is more proof of that.  Nobody out there becomes a character the way Bale does.  We've never seen Christian Bale on film.  While other actors continue making millions doing nothing but playing different versions of themselves, Bale is the one guy who always plays the character.  He transforms himself physically and mentally for every role.  Watching him for the last 10 years going from American Psycho to The Machinist to Batman to Harsh Times to The Fighter, with many more in-between, has been like watching DeNiro in the 70s and 80s going from Taxi Driver to The Deer Hunter to Raging Bull to The King of Comedy.  Like watching Pacino before he decided to just be the short guy yelling in every movie.  The fact that Bale has never won an Oscar is crazy.  The fact that he hasn't even been nominated before is embarrassing.

But I totally see why this is the movie that finally got the attention he longed deserved.  Once again he makes a complete physical and mental transformation to not play Dickie Eklund, but to become him.  When you see Dickie and you see Bale's performance there is zero difference.  He looks, talks and moves exactly like him.  Bale's energy is gone and Dickie's energy has replaced it.  It's one of his best performances ever yet it's more glaring in this movie because the "star" of the movie is Mark Wahlberg.  Wahlberg has had a good acting career.  A few great movies and a few clunkers.  He's had some Oscar level performances of his own, but for the most part he's fallen into the category I mentioned above, the actor who does nothing but play himself in every role.  Mark Wahlberg made no effort whatsoever to play Mickey Ward.  Zero.  It was simply Mark Wahlberg as a boxer.  It's funny because he's playing a boxer famous for his heart, but in playing the role Wahlberg showed no heart.  He just cashed a check.  No different than the Max Payne check.  He has the tools to be great, except for the drive, dedication and heart that Bale shows with every role.

Prediction: Christian Bale (duh)


5 - Annette Bening - The Kids Are All Right  

All I can think of when it comes to this nomination is....really?  Don't get it at all.  Annette Bening, best actress?  It really makes no sense.  She really wasn't even the lead in the movie.  Julianne Moore was in the movie way more and she was way more important to the movie than Bening was.  All Bening did was play a mad old lesbo.  She had no story, she had no real scenes of importance, she had no development.  Julianne Moore was the one who carried this movie.  Her character was the entire driving force behind the plot.  She's the only one that did anything.  Bening just stood around and complained. I would get this way more if it was supporting actress, but lead?  No way, no how.

4 - Jennifer Lawrence - Winter's Bone  

Really don't know what to say about this one.  Broken record again.  She was good...but Oscar worthy?  Nah.

3 - Natalie Portman - Black Swan

I don't get all the hoopla over this one either.  Was she good?  Yes.  Was it some amazing discovery or the best performance of her career?  No, not really.  She was just the same old reliable Natalie Portman she's always been since The Professional.  I'm not against her winning it, but it certainly wouldn't be my first choice.

2 - Nicole Kidman - Rabbit Hole  
1 - Michelle Williams - Blue Valentine

It used to be a rule that anytime you played a Nazi or a retard you'd get an Oscar.  Apparently we can now add unhappy housewife to that rule.  Both of these women played one this year so I grouped them together.  I also grouped them together because I've found it hard to choose between them.  They both did good work and both played the same type of character.  I was originally going to give it to Kidman on the basis that I went into the movie thinking there was no way I could spend 2 hours staring at her horribly plastic surgery disfigured face and actually buy her playing a "normal" housewife at this point.  Seriously, why did she do that to her face?  It's worse than Meg Ryan.  She's got to hold the record for quickest to go from hot to not. I did research.  In 2001 she was normal.  In 2002 she started looking weird.  In 2003 she looked like The Phantom of the Opera.  But, anyway, I thought there was no way this Botox monster would be believable but by the end of the movie I completely believed it.  She was great. And her face almost looked normal again.

But I find myself leaning toward Williams on the basis that she seemed to have way more to do with her role.  Kidman "simply" played the unhappy housewife.  Williams had to play both the young in love version of the character and the old unhappy housewife version.  I believe she showed just a tad bit more in this movie than Kidman did in hers.  And quite frankly I just like Williams and she's somebody who is very easy to cheer for.  She's been around for what feels like decades and ever since she got out of that Dawson's Creek crap she has put together a very interesting, and completely unheralded, body of work.  She could've done what all the other pretty young girls do and just go for the romcom ATM.  Instead of acting like all these young vapid idiots that infest Hollywood, she went off the beaten path.  She didn't go out looking paychecks, she went out looking for good and/or interesting roles.  It would be nice to finally see her get her due.

Prediction: Natalie Portman


5 - Jesse Eisenberg - The Social Network  

Another anti-Christian Bale performance.  Eisenberg makes no attempt at all to portray Mark Zuckerberg.  He just plays a more annoying and more angry version of Jesse Eisenberg.  And I didn't think Jesse Eisenberg could get any more annoying.  I admit that Eisenberg had a few good moments in this movie, but if you're playing a real person, make a little bit of effort.

4 - Jeff Bridges - True Grit

Jeff Bridges got his due last year.  He's not going to get another one for this movie where he did nothing but a bad imitation of Karl from Slingblade.

3 - Javier Bardem - Biutiful  

Hell if I know.  Seriously, how can you tell great acting when you the actor isn't speaking English?  He's probably really good but if I'm reading the movie his performance is kinda going to get obscured.

2 - Colin Firth - The King's Speech  

Firth did a good job but I can't help but feel it has been a tad over-rated.  Originally I was actually expecting to put him lower.  But then I listened to the real recordings of the actual King he's playing and he sounds exactly like the dude.  And as I let the movie sink in and digest over a few days, the more and more I liked both him and the movie.

1 - James Franco - 127 Hours

If the lead in this movie fails.  The movie fails.  The lead didn't fail.  The movie didn't fail.  None of these other movies relied on it's star more than this movie did.  This entire movie rested on James Franco's shoulders.  I went back and forth between Franco and Firth for days.  But I just feel that Franco was much more important to his movie's success than Firth was to his.  And I like Pineapple Express.  So there.

Prediction: Colin Firth


5 - Joel and Ethan Coen - True Grit

The only award these morons deserve is award for the brothers I'd most like see die  in a Chinese mine explosion. I am so sick of watching these two idiots get praised for one over-rated piece of crap letdown after another.  And the gall to try to pretend like they didn't know True Grit was already a movie?  To claim this isn't a remake?  Kiss my hairy ass.

4 - David Fincher - The Social Network  

David Fincher deserves an Oscar.  No question about it.  Much like Bale it is mind boggling that he doesn't have a room full of them.  Give it to him for Zodiac, for Fight Club, for Seven but for this??  Not winning for those but winning for this boring tripe would be a joke.

3 - David O. Russell - The Fighter

Eh.  I mean.  Uh.  Yeah.  Nothing bad to say but....meh.

2 - Tom Hooper - The King's Speech

He's probably going to win anyway so what does it matter if I don't pick him?

1 - Darren Aronofsky - Black Swan  

Nobody loves Aronofsky's work more than I do.  But I just can't bring myself to understand all the hoopla over this Black Swan movie.  Much like Fincher I'd find it hilarious, yet sad, that he'd win for this and not his other work.  But at the end of the day he's one of my favorite director's ever so I kinda have to be for him.  

It's just really, really sad that Christopher Nolan isn't in this category yet again.  He did the most incredible technically impressive directing job of the year by far and he worked on Inception for nearly 10 years.  Nobody put in the same amount of work that Nolan did.  Nobody.  To get passed over again while Russell and the Coens make it in makes me sick.

Prediction:  David Fincher


10 - True Grit

I don't know if you figured this out or not but I really hated True Grit.  The sad thing is there was no movie that came out this year that I wanted to like more.  I had very high hopes.  Watching the movie was like ok, ok, ummmm....something's bound to happen's kinda boring so far....but, I know it's gonna be good in the end.....pretty soon things are gonna pick up's over.  Even after watching I didn't know if I liked it or not but after a few days of thinking about it, I grew to despise it.

The movie had everything going for it, a great cast ,a great story, visuals were beautiful....but the pieces just never clicked together.  It's like they built the frame for a beautiful house but never put in the walls.  The characters were all nothing but empty shells filled with clichés.  Rooster Cogburn is supposed to be this charming rogue jackass who hates this little girl and is only helping her for the money.  He's supposed to slowly develop feelings for her through their ordeal and then in the end he turns out to have a heart of gold.  When he saves the girl's life at the end of the movie it should be a kick ass great cinematic moment.  Yet the Coens completely fumble this entire aspect of the movie.  They make the mistake of showing Rooster's heart of gold from the very start thus completely ruining the moment where he goes from charming rogue to life saving hero.  He obviously likes the girl from the very first time they meet, they even have him save her from a spanking early on.  They spend the whole movie acting like best friends up until the scene before the final act where they throw in this idiotic moment where he suddenly gets mad for no reason and tries to make her leave.  By that time, trying to put this wedge in-between the two characters is way too little, way too late and completely unbelievable.  No matter how many times I've seen Star Wars, when Han Solo shows up to help Luke blow up the Death Star it is always an exciting moment.  When this guy turns, it's like yeah, duh, so what?

The other problem with the movie is the complete and utter lack of a villain.  We spend most of the movie just watching people ride horses through the woods.  There’s no tension or sense of danger for these characters whatsoever.  The villains don't even show up until the last 10 minutes of the movie.  Then they have this huge cowboy shootout.  You got Rooster facing off against a whole posse of black hats all by himself with the music swelling to let you know that this is supposed to be important.  But it's not.  Why am I supposed to care about Rooster killing these guys when I haven't seen them do one bad deed?  The few minutes the main villain, Lucky Ned, is on screen he seems to be a pretty reasonable, nice fella.  He protects the girl and refuses to let the other members of his gang hurt her.  Why am I supposed to get behind the so called "hero" blatantly murdering these guys? We're never shown a single shred of proof that this guy has done anything all that wrong.  We're just told these are the bad guys so you shouldn’t like them.  At least in wrestling when somebody turns bad they hit somebody with a chair or something. 

9 - The Social Network

This movie grated on my nerves.  The story just isn't all that interesting.  Who gives a rat's ass about this?  A whole movie about some douchebags making a website?  This movie is nothing but rich white kids typing on keyboards, talking way too fast and arguing about money.  WHO CARES??

8 - Winter's Bone

Take almost everything I said about True Grit and apply it to Winter's Bone.  It's pretty much the exact same movie.  A young, tough talking, wise beyond her years teenage girl enlists the help of charming rogue jack ass Uncle to hunt down the murderer of her father.  It's the exact same plot.  The problem with Winter's Bone is that it never led anywhere.  At least True Grit had the big shoot out at the end that made no sense.  Winter's Bone kept building and building to what you just knew was going to be a crazy climax and then....oh, it's over. 

I did not hate this movie.  I truly didn't.  It's a better version of True Grit than True Grit is.  But it's underwhelming and I just wish something had happened.

7 - The Fighter

This movie is only worth seeing for Christian Bale.  Take him out and it's the exact same sports movie we've all seen a million times.  It's just another inferior Rocky.

6 - Black Swan

I like Black Swan.  I do.  I just don't understand why it's getting any of the praise it's getting.  All it is is a standard horror movie.  To be specific, it's a Japanese horror movie.  I've seen countless Japanese horror movies and that's exactly what I felt like I was watching here.  Even visually, it looked just like Japanese horror movies.  It has that same weird mind bending type plot of a Japanese horror movie.  Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis even look Japanese if you squint.  I'm watching it and I'm thinking, if this deserves an Oscar then so does Ju-On.  And the ending is so painfully obvious from about 10-15 minutes in that by time it happened I didn't care as I grew tired of waiting for the big “shocker” to be revealed.

5 - The Kids Are All Right

I enjoyed watching this one.  It was a fun little movie.  But I don't find it to be a good movie because the movie is good.  It's one of those movies that's kinda so-so but is made fun to watch because of the people in it.  Mark Ruffalo and Julianne Moore made the movie.  They were fun to watch.  They had good chemistry and made it enjoyable.  You take them out and my enjoyment goes with them.  The writing wasn't great, the directing wasn't great, the story wasn't great.  The two leads were and that’s all.

4 - 127 Hours

Ok, look.  It's 9:30 on Friday night and I'm still trying to get this done.  It's almost time for the friggin Oscars already and I still have to proofread so let's just make this quick.  I really liked this movie but I didn't love it.  I was actually close to picking it but at the end of the day it slipped for me.  If it won, it'd be a pleasant surprise and I wouldn't be mad, but I can't talk myself into picking it.

3 - Toy Story 3

Sometimes you just gotta go with what was the most fun thing to watch and Toy Story 3 was by far the most fun movie in this group.  It's funny and more action packed than even Inception was.  I honestly thought I was going to pick it but, much like 127 Hours, my thinking shifted and it slipped.

2 - Inception

Up until 5 minutes ago I had Inception as my top pick.  Is it the best movie?  Probably not.  But when the movies are as mediocre as this group mostly is, I generally tend to side on which movie was the most impressive.  Inception is that movie by far and it's the only movie on this list I will see more than once.  It is visually amazing, it's a big budget action flick that challenges its viewers mentally, it has a lot going for it.  What it lacks is a great story.  It has a great premise and amazing effects but at the end of the day it's just about some guys trying to steal something.  It didn't engage me.  I didn't really care about any of the characters in it, I didn't care if DiCaprio got to see his kids again, I didn't care that he lost his wife, I didn't care about any of it, I just wanted to see them fold a city.  I will still cheer for this movie and will still be amazed by some of the stuff they managed to do but it's not my pick.

1 - The King's Speech

This is a movie that is way, way, way, way better than it should be.  I didn't want to see it at all.  Who wants to watch a guy fight a stutter for 2 hours? But unlike True Grit, everything just clicked.  Everybody did their job, everything worked, all the pieces went together and somehow this boring story ended up engaging and even fun.  Every single character is likable on some level, even the jerks. And the dynamic lingering around in the background of this stuttering muttering prick having to somehow lead his country into war against Hitler, a guy who could give a speech like nobody's business, is something that really put the movie over the top for me.

And I just noticed something odd…. my reasons for picking this movie is almost exactly the same reasons why I picked An Eduction last year.  So in order to save time I'm just going to copy and paste my An Eduction review from last year and update it....

10 years from now I will look back at 2009 2010 and the only movie I'll still give a hoot about is Watchmen Kick Ass. I likely won't even remember watching An Education The King's Speech. But out of these 10 nominated movies it is by far the best of the bunch and I would say it's maybe the only one one of the few that would get an Oscar nomination in any other "good" year. It's not a great movie. It's not some great story that blows you away with its twists and turns. It's just a good, solid, well made movie with an extremely likable cast and that is the main thing that separates it from the other movies. It's likable. The characters and the actors who play them, every single one, are likable. The main characters, the supporting characters, the heroes, the villains, they all have some degree of likability to them. I enjoyed being with these people for a couple of hours. Unlike KRAZEEEEE!!!! guy the annoying little girl in True Grit or the rich white woman   characters rich white guys in The Social Network, I cared about these characters and what happened to them. Also unlike the other movies, I can't find a flaw to complain about or make fun of. The writing is fantastic, every single character is fully fleshed out and goes through their own big or small arcs. No character ends the movie the same person they were at the start. It’s not the big flashy spectacles some of these other movies are, it's just a good, solid, competent movie with a great cast and great writing. In other years that might not be enough to make it my favorite, but this year it is.

Prediction: The King’s Speech.

And with that I am done.  I wish I started this earlier so I wasn't so rushed.  Gottagokthxbye.


  1. I noticed you mentioned the name Eklund somewhere in all that. Lol.

  2. The King's Speech is the next movie I will see. Good work Jason.

  3. Nice - as expected.

    Tks for the warnings, especially True Grit and The Social Network.

    And tks for Dogtooth plug - you made it tantalizing. I pay zero attention to the Oz-Kars so I didn't even know of the film's existence. But I do now, and it is right down my alley.

  4. Way to go man. Helluva write up for a year of mostly mundane movies. I have to disagree with you on Black Swan though, I don't think you're giving it enough credit - and as an Aronofsky fan you know the mental aspect of it is right in line with Pi. But maybe that's why it's not the favorite.

    Again, great job.


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