Monday, March 28, 2011

Best Picture

Last night, I saw "The King's Speech", which was the 9th of this year's 10 Best Picture nominations at the Oscars.  Since I'm not going to see "127 Hours" because it has a subject matter that I would not enjoy, here is my top 9, since I know you've all been waiting with bated breath to see them.  Yeah, I know I'm a bit late to this party, but I got stuff to do, all right?

Now then (these are based on how much I liked 'em, not how "good" they were):
  1. The Fighter - Christian Bale can be really hit or miss, but he was dead on in this one, as were all the rest of the major cast members.  I love seeing Melissa Leo back too.  The happy ending fit, and not just because it was "based on a true story".  Add in a great soundtrack and pitch-perfect acting and this was my favorite of the year.
  2. The Social Network - Somebody said that if a movie hits all the marks that a Hollywood script is supposed to but you don't notice, then it's probably a pretty great script.  I've been an Aaron Sorkin fan for a long time, and I'm glad he got his Oscar here.  I probably would've voted for it for Best Picture.  The ending fit perfectly, and was quite memorable.
  3. Black Swan - I liked this so much more than I thought I would.  Ballet?  But of course it's not so much about that, excepting in that the life led by some ballerina companies - punishing, unforgiving and ultra-competitive - made for a good backdrop to generate tension for a psychological thriller.  The ending was one I'll remember for a long time.
  4. The King's Speech - The kind of film that often wins Best Picture: uplifting; written, directed and acted impeccably; and a period piece to boot.  Although I wouldn't have voted for it, I can't say it doesn't deserve it.  I was worried going in that they would way oversell the importance of the actual speech to add to the film's drama.  There was some of that, but I didn't think it was too bad.  Having watched many historical pictures disregard important facts for the sake of tension, I'll take it.
  5. True Grit - The Coens are my favorite filmmakers by a wide margin and, while this one is far from their best, it was still very good, their take on the Western.  Better than the original by a mile, especially Hailee Steinfeld, who was terribly impressive where Kim Darby in the 1969 version was mostly just annoying.  The primary emotional challenge was to make it believable that Jeff Bridges' and Matt Damon's characters would feel so strongly toward Steinfeld's at the end of the movie, despite her age and abrasive personality.  They succeeded for me.  The visuals and style were great as all Coen movies are, and I guess I would just say that it would be hard to make the story into a better movie.
  6. Inception - I give a lot of credit here for Christopher Nolan doing something so creative and interesting.  Maybe the plot worked, maybe it didn't, but even if it didn't, it was a full-on failure.  For my part, I enjoyed it immensely.
  7. Winter's Bone - A fascinating, and very dark, journey into rural honor culture, where people police themselves behind the scenes rather than waiting for the law or government to do it.  Sort of the Christian version of Sharia Law, really.  Jennifer Lawrence was excellent.
  8. The Kids Are All Right - Very enjoyable and well-acted by Juliette Lewis, Annette Bening and Mark Ruffalo.  I won't remember a lot of details of the story, but it was entertaining all around.
  9. Toy Story 3 - A worthy successor to the Toy Story franchise.  I liked the first two better, but that it was close is an accomplishment of sorts.
So yeah, they were all very good or better.  A few others I thought were excellent or otherwise worth mentioning:

  1. How to Train Your Dragon - Should've won Best Animated Feature
  2. The Ghost Writer - A great thriller from Roman Polanski with Ewan MacGregor, Pierce Brosnan and others.
  3. Scott Pilgrim Versus the World - Visually over-the-top, full of imagination, great energy...I enjoyed this more than most movies on this page.
  4. Easy A - What a nice little high school story - funny, poignant, and believable, considering the story.  There's a little bit of "Heathers" in there.
  5. Unstoppable - A good bit of fun, like a Jerry Bruckheimer movie should be, yet often isn't.
  6. Hot Tub Time Machine - The name alone deserves mention, and I thought it was very funny.
  7. The Other Guys - Also hilarious, most of the time, anyway.
  8. Marmaduke - Seriously, why did this get made?  And no, I didn't see it.
So that's it.  Would love to get some comments on this one, if you made it all the way through, that is.  What did you like?

No comments:

Post a Comment