Well folks, it’s Oscar season! And if you’re like me, (meaning you lead an aimless and hollow life, and use the cheap thrills movies provide as a source of synthetic fulfillment) you’ve already got your picks lined up. But if you do have a life and are just culturally deprived, have no fear! Below I’ve provided some expert reviews of the top films of 2009. Now you’ll be able to talk about them with your friends as if you’ve seen them without resorting to ‘well I’ve only seen parts of it’.
As much as critics hoped this movie would bomb so they could play on the phrase ‘it sunk like the Titanic’ (Cameron’s other blockbuster), Avatar has become the highest grossing film of all time. The film stars Sam Worthington as Jake Sully, a former jarhead whose name leaves nothing to the imagination regarding how much he will squint and speak in a soft but impassioned tone. It also features Sigourney Weaver in her bitchiest role since the Warden in Holes as scientist/environmentalist Grace somebody.
A stellar cast, no doubt. But is it a good movie? If you define a good movie as something pleasing to look at, then yes. Or no. Yes because it was visually stunning, no because the imagery induced more vomit than the scripts of Gigli and
Daddy Day Camp combined.
I had a few issues with Avatar. First of all, there were not nearly enough cut scenes of the evil army guy drinking coffee. If Cameron really wanted to drive the point that he likes coffee home, he would need to commit to much more than 8 shots of him smugly sipping that delicious morning cup of Folgers.
Secondly, I don’t know why the 3D was such a big deal. If I wanted to see something in 3D, I would just open my eyes and look at anything. There’s a reason why Paper Mario was so good: people like 2 dimensions. When I’m watching a movie, I don’t want to have to think about which dimension everything is in. Two is more than enough, Mr. Cameron.
A few years ago, it was rumored that a man who was so frustrated with the Trix Rabbit’s inability to get the cereal actually paid General Mills to make a commercial in which the rabbit was successful. My guess is that this same man watched the movie Valkyrie and hired Quentin Tarantino to fix it.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m all for distorting historical fact. I’d sit down any day and watch the Americans win the Vietnam War, and I loved Heath Ledger’s depiction of Gary Busey in The Dark Knight (as if Busey is that coherent), but this movie poses some particular moral dilemmas.
One such issue is this: If an Iranian filmmaker made a WWII movie in which the Holocaust never happened, would the world not be infuriated?
And more importantly, is it ethical for us to laud Tarantino for his brilliant movies? Doing so only hurts the hosts of late night shows who will have to suffer through another awkward and creepy interview with him.
Despite my ethical grievances with the movie, my Bubbe enjoyed this film far too much for me to grade it harshly. So I’ll be generous in my ranking.
Up in the Air
George Clooney was up in the air. Then he came down. At this point I zoned out for a bit, and then he went back up.
The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus
Heath Ledger is quickly turning into the Tupac of the film industry, with his second posthumously released film coming out this year. Actually, Ledger died during the making of this film, so the producers decided to share his part between three other very capable actors: Johnny Depp, Jude Law, and….wait….is that Colin Farrell? Ah never mind.
For Consideration: Jennifer’s Body (***Caution: Spoiler Alerts — as if you’re actually going to watch it)
Although Jennifer’s Body was quickly derailed as one of the worst movies of the year, I propose we take a second look. The film stars Megan Fox as a cheerleader, who after denying that she is a virgin is cursed with the necessity to feed off human flesh. The film is filled with many twists and turns, like the fact that she can give the curse to others by scratching them, and the shocking revelation that breaking Jennifer’s BFF necklace will break the curse.
A terrific story, no doubt. But why should this film receive Oscar consideration? The reason is because it is real. As Americans, we can’t relate to war or saving the environment, but we can assuredly associate with BFF necklaces and cannibalistic cheerleaders. This film is down to earth, and it tells a truly great American story. And that’s something that no other film this year has done. Except the Blind Side. But the threatening letters from Penn Computing have prevented me from torrenting that.