Thursday, 18 February 2010
OMFA Awards: The Ten Best Movie Consolation Prizes In 2009
That picture really has nothing to do with anything here, but hey. When you're watching a bad movie, and as far as new releases go that seems to be about 60% of the time, you look for the little olive branches to justify what you know in your heart is two hours you're never getting back. The choicest of these critical apologetics seems to be the special effects were good, or the action scenes were good. For me this doesn't quite work. These days special effects are such a mainstay that I really don't care if they are good anymore. I just expect it. My attitude to action could be considered similar, or at least studio movie action, which is so stilted and lifeless.
So in bad movies I'm pretty much looking for actors, or the odd left field moment of actual talent, to save the day. Sometimes they don't, in which case fuck that shit. But sometimes they provide much needed rest bite from the disillusioning abyss of awfulness which certain movies can become. Here are the ten most prescient examples of it this year.
10) Deadpool: Before The zombie, X-Men Origins
This I think, was the kind of movie that allows the readers of the sight and sound to justify their elitist movie view. It was overblown, moronic, badly acted, bloated and every slight the devil can provide. Literally the only bearable thing in the film was Ryan Reynolds cameo as Deadpool. Sure it was basically just a badass version of the same smart-alec douche he always plays, but he wisecracked and kicked ass like a hero is supposed to and for those two minutes the movie was marginally enjoyable. Then he disappeared and came back as a wordless, ultimate warrior zombie. Fuck you David Benioff.
9) Buck, AKA Simon Pegg, Ice Age 3
The first half hour of Ice Age 3 felt tired, basically retreading old steps and journeys. The problem being that every returning character is a little less funny and a little less interesting. But then Buck turns up, and he is basically Jack Sparrow if you replace the Black Pearl with a giant dinosaur and Johnny Depp with Simon Pegg. Now Pegg's movie choices and performances have been less then stellar of late, but he nailed this one. He saved the movie from its overly sentimental self to a certain extent, inserting some much needed vitality and insanity.
8) Sammy Davis Jr, Gamer
Gamer was a a high-concept action movie that should have been much more interesting then it was. Which was bizarrely fucking boring. Michael C Hall was certainly the best thing about the movie, but the only moment of real creative flair, or at least awesome acknowledgment of the camp, was when Hall, accompanied by a few mind-controlled death-row inmates, Does a dance number to Sammy Davis Jr's ' I've Got You Under My Skin'. Its random and ridiculous, but somehow when it was over you find yourself upset that the whole movie couldn't be this way.
7) Pain, Twilight: New Moon
Make no mistake, no-one hates the worldwide succumbing to sickly irony in the adoration of this franchise more then me, and boy was New Moon shit. But as the only movie in history, in the past or future tense I'm sure, that gets stolen by Dakota Fanning, it's something of an artifact. Fanning, in her one and solitary scene, causes RPattz to fall to the ground in torturous pain by just uttering the word pain. Fanning's awesomely deadpan delivery is legendary and in a movie as otherwise as terrible as Twilight New Moon, it felt like Milton by comparison.
6) Scream Queen Actressing, Triangle
Triangle is one of those horror movies that hides under shallow layer of false complexity to compensate for how shit it is. And while the infinite loop doctrine of this movie has been handled better elsewhere, lead actress Melissa George managed to make it OK. Now I can't say I was a particularly huge George fan in advance of this movie, why would I be, but for my money she delivered a strong, considered performance in a ridiculous, overwrought movie. And that seems a lot harder then being good in a film that's already good don't it.
5) Olyphant And Zahn, A Perfect Getaway
Timothy Olyphant has never really made the successful transition from TV to Movies. He's got Deadwood credibility to last a lifetime, but his movie CV leaves a lot to be desired. Steve Zahn is a good actor who makes a lot of bad films, with a good performance every three years or so to keep you hopeful. A Perfect Getaway, which is exactly the kind of middle of the road movie that haunts both of their careers. But amidst terrible David Twohy dialogue and generally unimpressive goings on they manage to occasionally rise above the material, forming a rapport with each other that's fun to watch. And this tale of movie badness even has a happy ending. Olyphant now has his own FX show 'Justified', which looks fucking awesome by the way, and Zahn has booked the lead in 'Treme' the new' HBO show by The Wire creator David Simon. So there.
4) Talent Against Indie Cliche, Sunshine Cleaning
Now I'll admit I gave this movie a pass in my review, but I think I was having a bad hair/beard day or something because, like the similarly insipid Gigantic, Sunshine Cleaning was cliched, indie movie hell. Every beat feeling worn out long ago. Never the less, I think both Amy Adams and Emily Blunt, Blunt in particular I think managed to some good work in face of a movie that seemed to be put together by indie checklist.
3) Seth Cohen Will Kill Your Family, Jennifer's Body
I didn't hate Jennifer's Body quite as much as the rest of the world. There was a lot wrong with it, mostly in the Megan Fox area of the game, but there is one thing in the film that I found to be flat out awesome. And not even in the best of a bad bunch kind of way. Adam Brody's Nikolai Wolf essentially plays Brandon Flowers if he was a Psychopathic killer. Its due to Brody that the film's most hilarious scene features the brutal, uncompromising murder of the film's title character. This performance has me hoping Brody find some kind of career salvation and soon.
2) Dillahunt, Last House On The Left
Of all the horror remakes of recent years, I think Last House On The Left was my favorite. Its hardly a competitive category, granted. But thanks to some interesting casting and the movie sticking to its violent guns, I kind of liked it. Having said that, I am not delusional and recognize that something is rotten in Denver. But Garrett Dillahunt, the character actor who has popped up in small roles in No Country For Old Men, The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford (Breath) and The Road, takes full advantage of a rare leading role. Rather then going the full on wide eyed screaming killer, Dillahunt creates a character and makes his performance all the more frightening for it. This guy is well under-rated.
1) JGL, GI Joe: Rise Of The Cobra
Joseph Gordon Levitt, whose kind of had a breakout year in 2009, what with the huge success of 500 days of summer and Golden Globe nomination etc, was also quietly in one of the worst movies of the year. In a fairly prominent role. And it didn't hurt him one bit. Why? I'm gonna go for that with a voice Synthesizer and excessive make-up, no-one knew who the fuck he was. Or maybe Levitt retained his indie credibility because he approached the thing almost like a piece of performance art, to quote James Franco ( currently on the US soap General Hospital for the same reason) with several bizarre mannerisms and ticks, this truly weird performance eventually became something kind of awesome. So fair play JGL, enjoy being in Christopher Nolan's Inception.