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.
Last weekend I was searching for a movie to go see in theatres. I had seen The Princess and the Frog on Friday, and wanted to check out a matinee on Sunday. I couldn’t justify spending money to see Sherlock Holmes. I just can’t find any interest there. Why is Sherlock Holmes a borderline superhero engaging in bare-fist fighting? I just don’t get it. It has Netflix Watch Instantly written all over it.
The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus? Ehhh…honestly, I think the trailer is cool as hell, but Terry Gilliam is too weird, and I’ve disliked too many of his films to believe that this will be any different. My main motivation is really just to see Heath Ledger’s final performance. I still want to see it, but I think I’ll wait for Netflix.
Anyway, here’s what I have seen the past two weeks, whether in theatres or at home, but still 2009 releases…
Here’s the final 73 that round out my top 100 of the decade. In compiling the overall list I went through the weekly release schedule for every year since 2000 and picked out the best. Then, from the best of each year, I picked out the cream of the crop and went from there. It’s hard to imagine if I really missed anything, and if I did, it’s likely the case that I haven’t seen it. Either way, if you feel I’ve neglected anything, let me know in the comments section and voice your own opinion for why you feel a certain film has been ignored.
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.
James Cameron has done what I thought to be unachievable. Never did I think it was possible, nor had I even entertained the thought of it happening. But he’s done it. James Cameron has created a likable Michelle Rodriguez character. Bravo, Mr. Cameron. BRAVO.
Ok, seriously. (Although I was being serious about Michelle Rodriguez. I have never liked her before in anything she’s been in, she was capable of borderline ruining a film for me.) I was lucky enough to snag tickets to a 3D IMAX preview of Avatar on “Avatar Day” (August 21st). I was extremely pumped as anyone else would be who has been following the progress of the movie for quite some time and hearing the rumors of the technology and 3D immersion. It was just under 20 minutes long, and it was a few different sequences cut together, completely out of context. I had not watched the released trailer yet, because I felt it would spoil the IMAX experience. I was also seeing District 9 right afterwards and was able to go from seeing the IMAX 3D preview of the Avatar trailer to the regular 2D trailer running prior to District 9. I knew right away that anyone comparing the two, or knocking the 2D trailer for it’s realism or “wow” factor were vastly uninformed. There’s no comparison to seeing it in 3D. This is not opinion, it’s fact.
I came into LOST a little late near the beginning of Season 2. I was in college and my parents called me insisting that I watch the Pilot. They had bought it off iTunes, watched it on a plane, and immediately raved about it. I had a vague familiarity with LOST; people were stranded on an island from a plane crash, there may or may not be dinosaurs involved, etc. But I had no idea what I was about to get myself into.
I blasted through the Season 1 and was immediately caught up to the live airing episodes of Season 2. During Season 2, I had downloaded a Dashboard widget which counted down 108 minutes, and would beep during the final 4, during which you had to input the numbers to reset it, just as they do on the show. Forgetting I had the widget, my roommate and I were watching an episode one night when we heard the familiar alarm. But it wasn’t coming from the TV and we were both sitting there wondering what was going on. Yep, it was my computer. Good times.