Friday, December 30, 2011

2011 Movies - the bottom 10

It's time to start writing about the 2011 movies. So first, for those of you new to this, here are the rules (and those of you not new, skip to the next paragraph). I see a lot of movies in the theaters. While I have my Netflix and big ass TV, it still doesn't compare to the theater experience. In 2010, I saw 58. As of this writing, I've seen 55, though I have one day left of 2011. Beginning on January 1 and continuing for 10 days (sequential days not guaranteed), I will countdown my 10 favorites. Before that, I want to briefly write about the rest of the movies I have seen.

Please feel free to disagree and tell me I'm wrong. If you liked a movie I hated, let me know. If you hated a movie I liked, tell me why. One request - please comment publicly instead of emailing me. Even if you are anonymous, that's cool.

Today I'm going to write about the bottom of my list. These are the movies that I didn't care for. It's in the order that I saw them, with the exception of the worst which I saved for the end.

Another Year was an Oscar contender for Best Original Screenplay. The screenplay put me to sleep. Literally. I fell asleep at points in the theater. And for those who know me, sleeping isn't easy. I suppose I should buy this movie to cure my insomnia.

Biutiful was an Oscar contender for Best Foreign Film and Best Actor for Javier Bardem. He was very good, but the movie was just too long at 148 minutes. Cut out at least half an hour and I might have better things to say.

Here's what The Hangover Part II felt like. As a teacher, I occasionally assign projects. The idea is that the crappy kids will do some of the reading and learn some stuff, then apply it to the poster/brochure/whatever. And a few of the kids actually do the work beforehand. But most of them don't. They just goof off until the last minute then throw together some kind of crappy art type thing that is maybe related to the topic. Their focus was on the art, and it shows little to know new knowledge gained. And this is why I rarely give these projects. But I still do, and that's why I have a pile of half-assed (though I doubt it's even that much) Lewis and Clark posters in my classroom. I'll get nothing new from looking at most of them, and the kids learned nothing new from making them. And when I actually grade them next week, it will be a lot like watching The Hangover Part II.

The Green Lantern was just a disappointment all around. Here's a character whose powers have been begging for a big budget release ever since CGI became legit. And what did we get instead? Ryan Reynolds doing a bad impersonation of The Greatest American Hero while learning to fly and a villain that actually looks worse than Spawn's Malebolgia. The best thing I can say about it is that it set up a pretty good idea for a sequel, but only if it's make by completely different people.

I liked a lot of Crazy, Stupid, Love. But a few things really rubbed me the wrong way. From a movie point of view, it lacks focus. It's trying to do too many things, both in plot and in tone. From a real point of view, I don't like the way it approaches some of the relationships that cross inappropriate age differences. There are ways that can be handled, and I thought they hit them in the wrong tone.

Our Idiot Brother has a simple sin. The main character, the title character, isn't too interesting, and therefore the things that happen to him aren't too interesting. I forgot too much of this too quickly.

Like Crazy is the second movie with "crazy" in the title, and I didn't care for either. Someone does something stupid - the character needs to return to England before her visa expires, and simply decides to ignore it - and then is shocked! to learn that her action has consequences. Duh. And then, it becomes obvious that this isn't a very good couple and they shouldn't be trying to get together anyway. And finally, I don't like Anton Yelchin. I don't think he's particularly talented, and I'm disappointed that he will be playing Odd Thomas.

Shame is an NC-17 movie about a sex addict. And it's rather dull.  Who would have thought? Not only that, but it's a movie devoid of any happiness, brightness, or optimism of any kind. Throughout, I couldn't help but think of American Psycho, as it felt like that movie without the killing. Michael Fassbender even looks like Christian Bale in scenes.

I liked the first Sherlock Holmes, but the sequel, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, hit all the wrong notes. Just because the movie has the word shadows in the title doesn't mean that it needed to be filmed in them. It was a very dark movie - not the tone, but the lighting sucked. Here's a great opportunity to comment about the craptacular shaky cam once again. As soon as the movie shifts to a fight scene, in comes the shaky cam and the hyper editing. Has anyone ever been to a movie and walked out wishing that it had more shaky cam? No. Never.

I saved the worst for last, and it's one I'm seeing on a lot of top 10 lists. I'm telling you that the emperor has no clothes. The Tree of Life is stinky shit with a piece of corn sticking out of it. Yes, it looks pretty. But that's about it. It's one of those movies that has no real point or message so that "the viewer can decide for themselves." No. It means nothing. Sean Penn basically says the same thing. The actual story, involving Brad Pitt as an angry dad in the 50s wasn't interesting or new. While I like Brad Pitt in some movies, he has actually been in three of my least favorite movies of the past few years with this one, Babel, and The Crappy Crap of Benjamin Buttons.

So that's my bottom 10 for the year. The only one I would consider rethinking is Crazy, Stupid, Love. But I would love to discuss/argue Tree of Life with someone who liked it.

Tomorrow, I'll list the movies that didn't make the top or the bottom of the list and briefly discuss some.

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