Have you ever seen a film, disliked it for one reason or another, then saw it again sometime later and totally flipped your opinion? I know it’s happened to me on multiple occasions, which is why I’m always willing to see a film I disliked more than once. Two of the biggest examples of this for me were Memento & Blade Runner, and another I never saw coming.
Sometimes reasons for not liking a film are tangible; something was off with the story, the acting or direction and you can pinpoint right away what put you off. But occasionally the reasons are intangible and can result from subconscious feelings or moods that you may not be able to articulate for even yourself, let alone a friend you may have been with. It’s possible you walked into a theatre pissed off at the popcorn guy for skimping you on your butter or you got into a fight with a significant other. Maybe it took you a half hour to find a parking spot and angrily strolled into the theatre during the trailers and couldn’t find a good seat. Maybe you’re watching at home and you’ve got other distractions all around you pulling your focus away from the screen. There’s a million ways outside influences can spill over into an experience of seeing any film for the first time, and for this reason exactly, you should never be afraid to see anything twice.
I waited to write this column until I saw A Serious Man, the last of the bigger Oscar nominees I had yet to see. Ummm yeah…I shouldn’t have bothered. I haven’t included every category because I feel I couldn’t appropriately address everything, and while I love original scores, the music wasn’t fresh in my mind for a lot of films and as such felt I couldn’t give an informed opinion. However, I would like to note that Abel Korzeniowski & Shigeru Umebayashi’s score for A Single Man is beautiful and everyone should check it out if they enjoy that kind of thing.
Anyway, here’s my selections for nominations, and again, picks for what I would personally choose as my best of the year in bold. And this includes my Top 10 of 2009. Have I egregiously left anything out? Let me know and fire back in the comments below.
When I was a little kid I used to think about how it was physically possible for a film to be made. I thought maybe it was shot in real time and that everything on screen was occurring simultaneously and filmed in one swift motion to create the complete motion picture. Crazy, yes, but I was a kid, and what did I know?
With the shocking news of Sony Pictures’ decision to drop director Sam Raimi and star Tobey Maguire from the future of the Spider-Man franchise and re-visit Peter Parker’s high school beginnings, it’s hard for anything to come to mind other than, “Umm…what?”
Comic books and superheroes have long been an escape from reality for young and old alike. From 1978-2000, only two were relevant in Hollywood: Superman & Batman. Both had spawned franchises, both lasted four installments, both initially had two great films, and both, in the end, had two shitty films. In 2000, the next big comic book franchise arrived in X-Men, directed by Bryan Singer (whose previous film was the modern classic The Usual Suspects). X-Men may have been the experiment to see if audiences were interested in comic book adaptations. After grossing $157 million domestically, X-Men proved the public, movie-going draw of superheroes. You may call X-Men the birth of the comic-book-to-screen adaptation frenzy, but the real catalyst was the release of Spider-Man two years later.
I’ve been trying to narrow down a Top 100 of the decade and fairly easily managed to figure the top 27. However, as I tried to create some kind of order among the final 73 I realized how little meaning there would be. A top 27 says more and I can at least try to briefly explain the reasoning. These films clearly stand out to me and have remained memorable throughout the past 10 years. As I’ve said before, I clearly distinguish between which are the “best” and which are my “favorites.” It’s hard to separate them but I think this list best represents what I feel to be a blend of the two.
27. Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004) — Easily the most quotable movie of the decade. My face hurt from laughing so hard the first time I saw it in theatres. It’s this generations Caddyshack and only improves through repeated viewings. I hope they don’t follow through with the long rumored sequel, see Caddyshack 2 for supporting evidence. There’s no topping the original.
Okay, I know it’s been less than a week since I professed my undying love for giant blue aliens in the form of a college length essay, but I’ve got more to say. In my Avatar review I stated that it’s one of the most important films in the history of cinema. A statement like that needs to be explained.
I’m going to introduce a new concept here that will affect how I rate films. It’s called the “Walken.” Look at a Walken like an x-factor. I’ve aptly named it a Walken because often if you see a film and it has Christopher Walken in it, it’s immediately more interesting than one without. He just makes things better. Is True Romance at all memorable if Christopher Walken isn’t in it? No. Who is involved in arguably the funniest SNL skit of all time? You guessed it — Christopher Walken (and if you don’t know what skit I’m talking about, I reject you as a reader of this site.)