Thursday, January 8, 2009

The 2008 Random Awards: Movies

While trying to ponder whether the funniest thing I saw on TV tonight was Joy attempting to pleasure a turtle or the fact that Mr. Turtle is Jewish and his first name is Sydney and also loving the Ben Folds music on Grey's, I bring you day two. With the caveat that, of course, these reflect only what I saw (and I haven't seen any of the end-of-year Oscar movies), here we go:

  • Surprise of the Year:
    • Runners-Up:
      • Cloverfield -- The previews looked cool because of the first-person filming style, but this neo-horror movie was legitmately chilling and actually pretty good.
      • Wanted -- This one didn't look so cool. It seemed like it would be too Matrix-y and it's hard to watch an Angelina Jolie movie without her overshadowing the whole thing. What you got was the likable James McAvoy in a slick action movie that has the feel of a Besson-Jet Li film, but with better acting and better special effects.
      • Tom Cruise in Tropic Thunder -- They didn't hype that he was even in the movie. It's hard to believe he would play a role like that. There's even a little Oscar buzz now.
    • Winner:
      • Wall-E -- Get ready to see this one referenced a lot. I mean, it was just a Pixar movie with what looked to be a very annoying main character. Instead we got... Well, I'll go more into it later.
  • Scene of the Year:
    • Runners-Up:
      • The L.A.I.R.E. Battle Royale (Role Models) -- I don't think anything I can say could actually do this justice. I laughed so hard I had trouble breathing. Of course, that happened a lot in this movie.
      • Joker Crashes The Meeting (The Dark Knight) -- We got our first long look at Heath Ledger's much hyped performance when the Joker walked into a meeting of gangsters and freaked us all out.
    • Winner:
      • The Establishing Scene (Wall-E) -- A better non-talking intro than last year's There Will Be Blood. This was art, the moment when animation transcended its medium.
  • Acting Performance of the Year:
    • Runners-Up:
      • Colin Farrell (In Bruges) -- This was the most underrated movie of the year, by far. Co-stars Brendan Gleeson and Ralph Fiennes are also wonderful, but it's Farrell's haunted, naive killer that steals the show.
      • Frances McDormand (Burn After Reading) -- She's always great, so this is no shock. The Coen brothers had a fine follow-up to last year's magnum opus and McDormand stands out from a great, great cast.
    • Winner:
      • Heath Ledger (The Dark Knight) -- Yes, it was much-hyped and mostly because of the unfortunate circumstances, but the hype was well-deserved. Dude was creepy.
  • Action/Adventure Movie of the Year:
    • Runners-Up:
      • The Dark Knight -- It's surely the best Batman movie ever made and Ledger was brilliant. I don't think it's as mind-blowing as others did, but it's yet another very strong effort from Christopher Nolan.
      • The Bank Job -- True stories can be just as compelling as made-up ones. Even though it wasn't made by Guy Ritchie, it definitely stars Jason Statham at his Guy Ritchie-est best.
      • Wanted -- Stylish, exciting, and, more than anything else, fun.
    • Winner:
      • Iron Man-- I prefer it as the best comic book movie of the year, because it's funnier than the Dark Knight and it doesn't drag at all.
  • Comedy/Musical of the Year:
    • Runners-Up:
      • Burn After Reading -- A comedy in the classic Coen brothers style. Clooney, Pitt, Malkovich, McDormand, and what turns out to be one of the most inane plot twists ever. It's basically a movie version of Seinfeld.
      • Step Brothers -- What a year for comedy! This one was nothing more than just Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly doing what they do best.
      • Pineapple Express -- I'm not entirely sure why James Franco is getting so many acting accolades for this, but it's very funny. It, along with the next movie, really blurred the lines between comedy and action film.
      • Tropic Thunder -- I ended up deciding -- this is the second-funniest movie of the year. It's really, really funny with great performances and no qualms in pushing the envelope. It also helps that Platoon is probably my favorite movie ever.
      • Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay -- In what was one of the most political years of my life, this movie did a great job of going hard after the Bush administration and the PATRIOT act. Some of the best satire can be hidden in some of the wackiest settings.
    • Winner:
      • Role Models -- Yep, this was the funniest movie of the year. Everyone talks about Bobb'e J. Thompson stealing the show, but I'm putting this all on Paul Rudd. He's a lock for comedy gold in whatever setting he appears.
  • Drama Movie of the Year:
    • Runners-Up:
      • In Bruges -- If you haven't seen this yet, grab it from Netflix. It's artistic, funny, touching, and very well-acted. A beautiful and stirring film
      • Movies I Didn't See -- I could come up with something here, but really... I should have watched Vicky Cristina Barcelona on the plane, but I also haven't seen Milk or Benjamin Buttons or Doubt or Frost/Nixon or Slumdog Millionaire or Rachel Getting Married. So, I'll have a lot of catching up to do.
    • Winner:
      • Wall-E -- I can't say anything better than what the reviewer in Entertainment Weekly said. To paraphrase, this is the movie that we'll look back on in a few decades and remember when animation went from being for kids to being a legitimate medium for art. Here is the review I wrote after seeing it.


Steve said...

A few disagreements:
1) Tropic Thunder is totally overrated. While there were times that made me laugh out loud, most of the movie was kinda dumb (which is a big statement coming from me). I didn't think Tom Cruise was anything special. In fact, when the nominations came out, I actually forgot he was in the movie.

2) In Bruges is actually a comedy, not a drama. It was nominated for a Golden Globe in the comedy category. I haven't seen it yet so I can't go any further.

3) If you haven't seen Forgetting Sarah Marshall, check it out. It's pretty light and amusing.

4) I just didn't get Burn After Reading. Brad Pitt was GREAT but the rest of the cast was just ok. Other than Brad Pitt's involvement in the movie, it wasn't much of a comedy at all. As far as a list of Coen brothers movie goes, this one is pretty far down the list.

5) Frost/Nixon and Slumdog Millionaire are both solid movies. The rest of the Best Picture candidates will be seen over the next five weeks.

Josh said...

I didn't see that In Bruges was in as a comedy. It has funny parts, but I would think it would be too dark and artsy to not be a drama.

Josh said...

Oh, and I did see Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Just didn't think it was anything special.