2011 Movies: I Criticize Because I Love, Plus I Love To Criticize
August 24, 2011
Oh movies… you are my best and most abusive friend.
I spend my days and my nights with you. We’ve shared the good times together – remember when I saw The Royal Tenenbaums 3 days in a row the weekend it came out - and you’ve stuck by me in the bad – remember when I paid to see Rob Schneider’s The Animal where his love interest was a chick who was on Survivor that everyone forgot about even existed in life ever – as well. You are my first, my last, my everything. I love you, movies.
But you’ve been more or less a great disappointment this year. A GREAT disappointment.
I’m not an apocalyptic thinker and I don’t think this is the end of good movies or anything, but 2011 has been a rough year. There are highs and lows to everything and so far we’ve been in a low. It’s either timing that all these shitty movies came out at the same time or maybe everyone just failed all at the same time. I don’t really know why, but there have been a lot of crappy movies this year. But there are always chances and speculations of great movies in the future. Like Hoover. I was watching The Social Network last night, which is a great great great movie and watching Armie Hammer made me think about one of his upcoming projects, which is the Clint Eastwood directed biopic on J. Edgar Hoover with Leonardo DiCaprio as Hoover and Hammer as his right hand and I think they kiss in the movie. Either way, that’s probably going to be a good movie. But I digress…
We’re getting awfully close to September and before I start previewing what movies will enter that intrepid second dump month – I’ve decided to really take a look at what was good in all the shit that came out this year. To do that, I first consulted… THE INTERNET!!!!
I found a Top 20, best of, et cetera list from Paste Magazine. Why them? It appeared on the first page of my Google search and so they win the day(!).
I’ve seen some and haven’t seen others and I think they’ve failed to mention so and blah blah blah. Either way, this is supposedly the “best” so far and it won’t raise any confidence level in that this year was any good. There are some good flicks in here, but for the most part – I’d suggest getting in touch with movies from past years you haven’t seen than looking at any 2011 release date movies from this year. Anyway let’s start the fucking show!
Midnight in Paris
Didn’t see it. I wanted to, but I didn’t. Pretty much everyone had this on their list of good movies from this year. But I’m still skeptical. People love Woody Allen or more or less love Woody Allen from the 70′s and still give him a thumbs up for things he’s done since just because of who he is. Personally, I didn’t think Match Point was anything special. Scarlett looked hot in it and John Rhys Meyers had even poutier and fuller lips than Scarlett in it, but the movie itself I thought was forgettable. I feel like that movie got such good reviews at the time because they were just fellating Woody because he tried something different – drama, thriller. Woody makes movies all the time and most are terrible. Anyway, this is all pessimism. One of my favorite Woody Allen movies is from the 90′s – Sweet and Lowdown – so he can still make some quality stuff every once and a while. The movie could be good. I’ve said this before, but it is clear that Owen Wilson is playing the Woody Allen character and I think he has that nervous squirrely-ness that Woody had that could make it work. I could see this being good and I could also see this as being just another one of his so-so comedies.
Suggestion: rent Sweet and Lowdown if you haven’t seen it. Sean Penn is incredible in the movie. Samantha Morton is incredible as well and she doesn’t talk in the movie at all, but was so good she received a best supporting actress Oscar nomination.
Unless you’re making it your goal to see every Michelle Williams movie or see every period piece featuring Paul Dano then this is a skippable movie. I love indie movies. I love slow indie movies. I love slow introspective indie movies. But that doesn’t mean I’m supposed to love ALL slow, introspective, indie movies. I really don’t think this movie is worth the time. It’s pretty looking at times and at times it seems like something might happen, but it doesn’t. The movie felt completely unfinished when the credits rolled. In the movie Adaptation, Nic Cage has a seen with Brian Cox and says how he wants to make a movie where nothing happens in it to make it more like real life and then Cox rambles off all the amazing things that happen in life and if you don’t put that in a movie then what the hell are you wasting my time for. Well, Meek’s Cutoff is that movie that Nic Cage is talking about.
Suggestion: If you want to see a Kelly Reichardt (the director) movie then see one of the other two: Wendy and Lucy or Old Joy. I haven’t seen Wendy and Lucy because it involves a dog and I’m not sure if something bad happens to that dog and I think something bad will happen to the dog, so I can’t watch it. Old Joy I liked, but I know it certainly isn’t for everybody and by everybody I mean like 90% of people. This movie has nothing to do with Meek’s Cutoff, but I’d suggest seeing The Proposition if you haven’t. It’s a billion x a billion times better. They couldn’t be anymore different, but that was the first movie that came to my mind. Or see Ravenous. Oh God I love that movie too.
No idea. It’s foreign. There are a few foreign films mentioned on this list, which I think really hints at what shit Hollywood has given us this year. It’s just a guess, but I doubt these lists are usually so heavily padded with foreign and indie flicks that no one saw.
Suggestion: See it? I don’t know. It sounds like it could be good. Maybe you should just watch Winter’s Bone like I am. I’m halfway through it and it’s good so far.
Ugh. I mean Super 8 was fine, but all it was was a ripoff of ET with the Cloverfield monster in its place and the director and producers and so forth have said as much too.
Suggestion: watch a movie that is nostalgic to you instead of this. I swear you’ll enjoy that much more. Who here can honestly say they don’t want to see Princess Bride for the 150th time?
More foreign stuff. Never heard of this movie either. I think it is about the Danish troops and the British troops in Afghanistan. It could be great. I don’t know. These reviews have gotten dramatically shorter.
Suggestion: See it? You could watch Restrepo, which was the USA/Afghan military documentary from last year. Or I guess you could watch The Hurt Locker if you haven’t seen it yet. Or you could watch Michael Caine from 1969 in Play Dirty which is about North Africa in World War II.
Uncle Boomee Who Can Recall His Past Lives
Seriously? Who the fuck has heard of any of these movies?
Suggestion: I think that movie is Japanese, but who cares. Get into South Korean films and watch The Host or anything from The Vengeance Trilogy. My favorite is Sympathy for Lady Vengeance, so watch that.
Saw it. It was great. You should see it.
What the fuck are you waiting for? It’s a bunch of chicks being funny. What the hell is wrong with you people? Especially you vagina havers. If you have a vagina and you haven’t seen Bridesmaids then you either hate laughing or you’re sexist… against your self. Yep, I said it. I don’t get it. This movie should have been HUGE. It did well, but chicks don’t support other chicks the way they claim. It’s the WNBA all over again. Anyway, see it you XX’s.
Of Gods and Men
OH MY GOD!!!! Enough with these foreigners. Seriously? Algeria? For Christ’s sake. Two old men in Algeria. It could be an excellent movie, but at this time last year we had Inception and now we have Algerians. Jeez…
Suggestion: See it? Rewatch Grumpy Old Men? I don’t even know anymore. This has nothing to do with this movie either, but watch Everything is Illuminated if you haven’t seen that.
Cave of Forgotten Dreams
It’s a documentary by Werner Herzog that’s about caves. It’s beautiful.
Suggestion: See it and watch Planet Earth. I don’t want to take anything away from Cave of Forgotten Dreams, but it’s not like this movie could be bad. It deserves a spot on the list, but really it is a glorified National Geographic episode, so I think that just shows how light this year is. Anyway, see it.
FOREIGNERS! Did they all get cameras for the first time this year? Every other movie is a foreign film. It’s about the Cold War and how 5 Russians’ lives have changed so much in 20 years. Yeah, that’s great. I’m sure it is interesting. But whose life hasn’t changed a lot in 20 years? 20 years ago I was in third grade I think. A lot’s happened. I mean I’ve had sex and I have a college degree and I’ve been to China and I can drive a car. Big stuff.
Suggestion: See it? It might be even more entertaining just to check out those Russian Youtube videos from yesterday’s comments section. RuTube.
Jeebus. I haven’t heard of this either. It’s a British film I think. It doesn’t sound particularly engaging although who knows. It’s from English director Mike Leigh who has made a litany of movies I’ve heard of, but never seen. Secrets & Lies, Topsy-Turvy, Happy-Go-Lucky, Vera Drake. I know the woman in Vera Drake got nominated for an Oscar, but didn’t see it.
Suggestion: See it? How bad could it be? I bet it’s better than Gosford Park probably because that movie sucks. It really doesn’t sound like my type of movie, I’ll be honest… and by that I mean it doesn’t sound like anything happens. If you want foreign and family interactions then try out The Celebration. It’s Danish and shit happens in it.
Finally! A movie I’ve seen! Oh my God! I saw this one! I REALLY DID! WITH MY EYES AND EVERYTHING!!!!!!
And, how disappointing is it to see it on this list? Very. This movie is all about the visuals. I don’t think Pixar has made a movie this good looking. It is really really really good looking. Oh man is it good looking. It’s like the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition of animated movies. It’s so good looking, but the movie itself is stupid. I’ve talked about Rango before, but this is a kid’s movie and because of that the storyline is for stupid kids. The adults can enjoy this movie too. Sure, there are some cute laughs and as mentioned it is so damn good looking, but the story is dumb. This is in Paste’s top 10 movies of the year and it is a kid’s movie that isn’t Up or Wall E or Pixar in general. This movie is no smarter than any Pirates of the Caribbean movie, which is actually who the movie is made by and starring, so that shouldn’t be a shock. It’s definitely one of the more “enjoyable” movies I’ve seen this year, but it is sad to see this in the top 10.
Suggestion: See it. I saw it. It’s good. At the same time, if we’re just looking for pure enjoyment then see Fast Five, Captain America and Sucker Punch. They’re crazy enjoyable movies. If you’re looking for a movie with “heart” like Pixar has then see one of those Pixar movies you haven’t seen that doesn’t have the word “cars” in the title.
It looks like a quirky Brit movie about a cynical rambunctious teen. Shrugs. The big selling point I keep seeing people say is that the guy from the Arctic Monkeys made the soundtrack. That’s great and all for people who like the Arctic Monkeys, but I’m not a card carrying member of that bunch. If the soundtrack doesn’t sound like the Arctic Monkeys then I guess I might like it. Either way, the movie shouldn’t been hinging on just a soundtrack. I don’t know anything else about this movie, but it could be good – who knows? Not me.
Suggestion: See it? I think there are a load of “coming of age” teen movies that you could see that are probably better than this movie, but I haven’t seen it so I shouldn’t judge yet. Nevertheless, I’d suggest seeing Thumbsucker. Great movie. It’s an indie film with some people you will recognize centered around a kid you won’t recognize. Good flick. And the soundtrack for that movie is excellent, so there you go. See it.
The Tree of Life
Didn’t see it. Want to see it. But I didn’t see it. I am ashamed of myself. The reviews were mixed on this movie, but that’s not really that surprising for any of Terrence Malick’s movies. The reviews were mixed on Thin Red Line and that’s one of the best movies ever ever, so what the hell do critics know – they gave Thor great reviews. Regardless, who knows? The movie could meh. I don’t know. I know Sean Penn is criticizing the movie now because he wasn’t in it as much as he wanted. Whatever. Sean Penn seems like a fucking idiot. He’s a great actor in some movies, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t also a fucking idiot. John Wilkes Booth was a great actor too… do you see what I did there? Also, the older I get the more it makes sense to me that an actor was the first person to assassinate a USA President. I really couldn’t think of a more appropriate person to have killed the President than a holier than thou, hyperbolic actor. Anyway…
Suggestion: See it? Or see one of Malick’s other movies. I love them all.
Suggestion: See it.
The Trip may be the best movie I’ve seen this year, which is sad. Not to take anything away from this movie, but it’s not really a “best movie of the year” type of movie. It’s funny, it’s small, it’s cute and all that, but even they would have to admit that it’s not a MOVIE in that grand scheme of things. It’s good because Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon are good together and we know that. Either way, I’m sounding too cynical about it, but I did really like this movie a truck ton. So see it. Also, see Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story and see 24 Hour Party People.
I just saw that this was on Netflix watch instantly. I really really liked this movie and I may have liked it more because I haven’t like a single movie this director has previously made. Takashi Miike comes from the “gore” genre and I hated Audition and Ichi the Killer. I hate all those movies. This movie is bloody, but it is certainly not “gore”. It is a samurai movie. But like many movies – including Audition – the movie is really just about the climax/ending. This movie is about 13 assassins (obviously) who have rallied together to kill this bad guy who is protected by 70 dudes, but then it turns out he is protected by really over 200. Either way, it sounds like I’m giving you “spoilers”, but it is really the only reason to see this movie is to see the 13 guys fight the 200 guys. That’s the movie. The first hour and a half is setting that up and then the last 36 minutes is all one glorious extended evolving action scene with the 13 fighting the 200.
Suggestion: If you want to see 13 samurais fight 200 samurais then see this movie. If you don’t then don’t. That’s about the long and short of it.
Haven’t seen it, but I want to. Abbas Kiarostami is an Iranian director who is wonderful. The movie itself sounds a little like those Ethan Hawke movies Before Sunrise and Before Sunset where a man and a woman spend a day together, but they go through an entire relationship in that day. I imagine Kiarostami’s version of that is more dramatic and more unsettlingly realistic. He makes beautiful films that feel real partly because some of them are in some way. I want to see it.
Suggestion: See it. It’s probably great. I would recommend seeing Taste of Cherry, which is my favorite movie of his. It’s about a man who wants to kill himself who is driving around trying to find someone who can help him out in this endeavor. It sounds morbid and it is, but there are some great thought provoking and touching conversations in the movie. Great movie.
General Orders No. 9
It’s a documentary… and that’s all I know. Paste mentions they love this movie and Man on Wire as their favorite docs from the past decade. I love Man on Wire, but that doesn’t help us with this movie. Then they go on and say the movie is indescribable. Great. So…. ???????????????????????????? The third best movie so far this year is indescribable. Great.
Suggestion: ??????????????????????? Go see Man on Wire. See that instead is what I’m thinking. I don’t know what the hell General Orders No. 9 is about. For some reason, I feel like telling you to see Lives of Others. That movie is incredible. So go see it.
I watched this movie last night and it’s good. Second best movie of the year so far? Well, it would have to be an awfully shitty year so far for that to happen. It’s got some good parts and overall it’s good, but to use the word “great” I think would be an overestimation. Natalie Portman is in the movie with a complete “who cares?” character. Nothing against her because as we all know I love her and I am prepared to raise her ballet teacher’s baby if needed, but her character is of no consequence in the movie. Some may try to argue that she does “something”, but that “something” could have easily come from “something” else. She kind of just fills up time that they needed a chick in the movie, so they threw her in there. Plus if I really wanted to get cynical, they kind of use Natalie’s character in a completely sexist way. It’s not like really sexist, but it’s just typical movie sexist where girls are used for one thing and that’s it. Anyway, the movie is good. I’ll give it that. But it’s not great.
Suggestion: See it. It is sadly one of the better movies that has come out this year. Instead though – I’d suggest seeing Junebug. In this paper thin year, Junebug would have been a 2 ton meteor that crushed all other movies. It’s a solid indie flick that is easily better than any movie I’ve seen this year.
The Ewan McGregor movie where he finds out his dad is gay after his mother died. The dad is played by Christopher Plummer and he’s wonderful. I haven’t seen this movie and I imagine it could be good. It sounds pretty good.
Suggestion: See it. I mean why not? It’s the best movie of the year so far according to Paste.
I’m trying to think of movies that I’ve seen this year that I would have put on this list and the first one that comes to mind is Source Code. I don’t even think that is a “great” movie, but a very good movie. But it was arguably the best Hollywood movie I’ve seen this year.
*shrugs* here’s looking to the second half… and hopefully to a better 2012.
I need a drink.