I am a person who grew used to failure. I will leave that there but with this I mean that my awards show didn’t go as well as planned, and maybe it had to do with the nominees I picked, but it also had to do with the audience I aimed it to. Instead of going to individuals who I knew could be objective and fair I threw the ballot right into the hands of fanboys. I don’t mean fanboys are wrong for liking what they like but they certainly are not the people you go to when you want an objective opinion. That’s why I decided to counter my Lion Awards with this article where I talk about the Best Five and Worst Five movies of the past year. I know it’s too late but you should know there’s never late when we speak about the internet.
The way I organized this list is rather simple: I say the Top Number and then the Bottom Number, so we reach the end of each list at the same time. If you get lost there’s also a coloring book we will sold separately for those who can’t read more than two words together.
· 5th BEST - How to Train your Dragon.
It’s odd for me to start a list with an animated movie coming from one of the most soulless movie production companies in the world (at least in origin) but it seems like Dreamworks is leaving behind that marketability and they are focusing on doing original pictures and developing an actual personality rather than copying Pixar. “How to train your Dragon”, based on the book by the same title, is a take on a story about prejudice and fighting for what is right that tears down the clichés of the genre and gives us probably some of the best creature design we’ve seen this side of monster movies. It takes a lot of heart to bring the story of a boy and his dragon so well to the screen with a 3D that really works and doesn’t give headaches and a surprising dark twist that you may never see again in movies. It’s the kind of film any movie aficionado dreams about when he wants good entertainment mixed with toned down morals and a very well told story.
· 5th WORST - Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time.
Appropriately one of the worst movies of the year had to have everything in its hands to be potentially awesome and then threw it all away so it could fence with the cool and snarky majority of Hollywood movies. Prince of Persia is one of the absolute best videogame properties out there and when I saw the previews to this movie I was actually thinking positively. Jake Gyllenhall looked like the Prince, Ben Kingsley sure could be a lot of fun, and the aesthetic looked nice. Then it turned out that Gyllenhall was severely toned down on the action sequences, Ben Kingsley didn’t even lick the scenery in terms of hammy acting and the aesthetic served to nothing in a story more filled with plot holes than a fucking button factory. I could go into discussing how nothing feels like the videogame, but I could simply say that I should have used the money of the movie ticket to rent the newest Prince of Persia game, and I am sure I wouldn’t be happy either.
· 4th BEST- Black Swan.
Back into good, fantastic and wonderful movie-ville my 4th favorite movie of the year is one of the most fucked up movies I’ve seen in my life. The many interpretations this movie has can fill an entire blog page by itself, but it surely never feels clogged of cluttered, creating an oppressive atmosphere of insecurity that you are never left out of, not even when the movie “ends”. With an acting ensemble that should get praise beyond the portent of Portman, the story of a girl that gets the big part in “The Swan Lake” ballet to much of her mom’s pride is filled with lesbianism, adultery, amputation, body horror, nightmares turning into reality, transformation, dimorphism, child abuse and insecurity (lots of it). If you watched it alone in an empty theatre you will realize that this movie is about dancing as much as Silence of the Lambs is about farming, using the subject as a background curtain to showcase how innocence is destroyed by the rise of adulthood…or maybe is about the destruction of the artistic mind through frustration…or maybe it was all a dream…or maybe it’s about how growing up makes us more insecure than when we were kids. As I said, too many interpretations.
4th WORST - Twilight: Eclipse.
On the other side, dealing with transformation, rape, and all sorts of fucked up stuff we have the Twilight Saga. Speaking shit about this series is already getting old and dusty and I can feel my own words turning into fossils before my very eyes. But really, when you have such an awesome concept as a love story growing between two armies, one of werewolfs and one of vampires, you really have to fuck up the writing process to come up with just shit. People baffled me when they say how the first Twilight movies were hilarious. I never found them that funny, but it wasn’t until this one that I realized what they were talking about. Twilight is an unintentionally funny series and this works for Eclipse, at least for the first 15 minutes. The rest of the film is as boring as watching a debate at 5 am in the morning but without the possibility of falling sleep (in my case because my sister was poking at my arm all the time). But what really brings down this movie is how forced everything is, from the action to the love to the romance and back to the paranormal element. There’s nothing worth saving from this film as it basically is an extension of Mrs. Meyer success on raping and desecrating the vampire novel genre.
For those of you who thought I was getting artsy with Black Swan here I throw you one hell of a curve ball, a movie nobody seem to put on their Top Movies of the years for fear it will make their lists explode. The Expendables is a love letter to the 80’s action movies in the shape of a 100 minute action extravaganza where the characters are the story and the story is just a blanket somebody forgot to remove from the background. I could even excuse seeing Arnie and Bruce Willis just as talking cameos in a conversation scene, because for every dialogue (very well written I must say) we have a scene of Jason Statham and Jet Li smashing a guy’s head through his neck, Randy Couture beating the hell out of “Stone Cold” Steven Austin, or Terry Crews blasting enemies to shreds with his shotgun. People complained about the CGI blood and the shaky cam, and for those who said so I will invalidate their arguments: CGI blood was used to a worse degree in Watchmen, and The Jason Bourne movies will give you three hundred migraines and the puking just for the shaky cam alone. Stop. Being. So. Snobbish. And grow the fuck up, for God’s sake, you guys look like kids in the school playground.
· 3rd WORST - The A Team.
Speaking of movies about a team of men going on a mission to defeat a bad guy, this movie fits in every single square on how not to do things. Making a reboot of a TV Show everybody knew and loved wasn’t the best idea when you have no clue on how to satisfy your fan base or even your average movie consumer. The movie started so well, and it had so much potential with Liam Neeson as badass Hannibal Smith, but then it all peters out and just focuses on Faceman played by the fucking annoyingly annoying asshole of Bradley Cooper. The villains are beyond cartoony and dehumanized, the way they die is nothing but a massive wet finger in the ear, and nothing gets resolved or concluded thanks to a cliffhanger ending that should bite these people in the ass as soon as the movie begins losing money. I have no idea how much this movie costed or how much this movie made, but I raged about it enough and it doesn’t deserve more of my time. Fuck this movie, fuck these filmmaker, and fuck the entire idea of rebooting an old TV Show. Do something fucking original!
· 2nd BEST - Inception.
Speaking of original, here we go with “Inception”. Such concept and such story sure deserve a ten year production just on writing the screenplay. Christopher Nolan might be one of the few directors out there nowadays who knows what he’s doing when he gets behind the typing machine and on the director’s seat. He manages to keep things tight and contained and pulls the viewer in worlds and places only he could have imagined. This movie is one of the most visually stimulating and narrative-wise interesting films I’ve seen in my life, and this comes from somebody who has watched a lot of movies during his lifetime. This movie is the example that powers the force of context, but even within context the most striking scenes in the movie still look awe worthy and shocking; whether we learn how to bend a city block over our heads, fight in a spinning corridor, run through limbo or just experience multiple free-falls through layers of dreams, this movie is an absolute rollercoaster both narrative and visually. Now, it’s not without its flaws, but even those never broke the deal for me. Soft character development? I don’t think so; I think the characters are defined enough and good enough so you can keep track of who is who. Two confusing in its editing? Nope, I didn’t get lost once. The ending is too cryptic and explains nothing? I think that’s the actual point, the ending HAS to be ambiguous (I admit, I love these endings, so…). But it won’t matter because if you ever find one flaw in this movie be sure you will find one thousand good things about it that compensate for it.
· 2nd WORST - The Hurt Locker.
I am tired. I am so, so tired. You know the drill, but let me explain first that this film was released in 2010 in my country and I hated this one a lot more than I hated “Monsters” (another piece of shit of pretentious cinema). When you make a war movie that is slightly above average and every critic jumps into it saying it’s masturbating worthy you know you have problems, even if you are in the pretentious crowd. A movie insultingly long that tells nothing new and that brings nothing new to the table of war movies. A film that feels like a girl arriving at the prom night when the dance is over and yet every boy out there goes crazy for her. Kathryn Bigelow deserved better for her first Oscar, and we deserved better…no, fuck that, I deserved better for all the hype I put myself through. You have to think how bad your movie is when the most interesting thing I could think of through out the entire run of the film was how wrong they got the fact that “Gears of War” didn’t exist on the year the movie takes place in.
·1st BEST - Toy Story 3.
This one and its counter-part will come as no surprise to nobody, but I just can’t help it. Pixar are not only the best movie making house in the world, but they are also the 100% true and authentic movie making company in the world. Toy Story 3 is a movie like those that we used to watch when we were kids, when there was neither fear nor concession on traumatizing little children. While this movie does go there it also traumatizes adults in levels that a child will never understand until he or she becomes an adult. Having an animated movie telling you to your face that you will never be a kid again hurts and feels great at the same time like getting a slap in the face and then some ice-cream. Fantastic character development, creative and inventive visuals, a tight sense of rhythm, and that double final climax with the incinerator and then with Andy saying goodbye to all his toys one by one. Everything good about this movie has been said, recorded, analyzed and conserved, but giving my little grain of sand to the mount is obligatory and necessary (for me at least). I watched Toy Story 3, I cried like a baby, and I am okay with it.
· 1st WORST - The Last Airbender.
I had to end this list with the most depressingly bad kind of bad, terribly bad movie. You know how sometimes people say to you: “You must watch this movie, it’s so bad it’s great!” It happens with Uwe Boll movies. It happens with Batman Forever. It happens with Battlefield: Earth. It even has been happening with M. Night Shyamalan movies since The Village. But The Last Airbender is the first of a very short, very sad list of movies that is so bad it’s bad, and boring, and loathable, and despising, and painful. It’s a movie that killed my interest to watch the cartoon it’s based on, it murdered any possibilities for the franchise to continue, and (thankfully) it murdered the future and the career of M Night Shyamalan, the stereotypical bad director who cares for nothing but himself and his own interests. His take on this movie is filled with relish, hate, contempt and despise towards the fanbase of “Avatar: The Legend of Aang” from minute one. From the terribly executed intro sequence to the constant mispronunciations of character names, to the absolute rape the entire narrative experiences. There’s absolutely nothing good or unintentionally funny about this film. The previous four movies I mentioned on the bad side still have some potential for riffability. This holds none of that, this is a black hole of funniness. This movie is the quantum singularity example of an absolute eye and ear rape of pure badness and blandness. This movie makes dunking into a pile of shit a better idea than watching it. It physically hurt me, and I wish I could present charges for this. Shyamalan should be killed the same way his career did. He should be gutted, dissolved, butchered, buried, burned alive, trapped under water, drowned, sliced to tiny smithereens, being fed to a pack of wolves (while still alive), crapped out, then burned again and then piss on his ashes. Or maybe we should just force him to watch his movie in an endless cycle until the only thing he can say is “Oong” over and over again. May he get all this and more, because five Razzies are not enough in my book. Not even close.