05 March 2010

Best of the Year, Best of the Decade list (plus more)

I'm late on this, I know, but it took me awhile to see all the stuff I wanted to see (and there's, of course, more I'm missing).

Top 10 movies of 2009:

500 Days of Summer
The Fantastic Mr. Fox
The Hurt Locker
Inglourious Basterds
Sita Sings the Blues
Trust Us, This Is All Made Up
Up In the Air

Top 10 Performances of 2009:

Colin Firth in "A Single Man"
Jim Broadbent in "The Young Victoria"
Emily Blunt in "The Young Victoria"
Nicolas Cage in "The Bad Lt."
Matt Damon in "The Informant!"
Jeremy Renner in "The Hurt Locker"
Christoph Waltz in "Inglourious Basterds"
Patton Oswalt in "Big Fan"
TJ Jagadowski in "Trust Us, This Is All Made Up"
Dave Pasquasi in "Trust Us, This Is All Made Up"

Top 15 Movies of the 2000s:

1. The New World
All the Real Girls
Brokeback Mountain
Children of Men
The Dark Knight
Marie Antoinette
The Royal Tenenbaums
There Will Be Blood
Y Tu Mama Tambien

EDIT: Whoops! I forgot "In Bruges" -- I guess it's Top 16 now...

Top 15 Movies of the 1990s:

1. Goodfellas
American Pimp
Boogie Nights
Breaking the Waves
Children of Heaven
Dazed and Confused
Fight Club
Pulp Fiction
Out of Sight
Schindler's List
Silence of the Lambs
Sling Blade
The Straight Story


The Oscars are this weekend. Here's my will win/should win:

Best Motion Picture of the Year:
"The Blind Side"
"District 9"
"An Education"
"The Hurt Locker"
"Inglourious Basterds"
"Precious: Based on the Novel PUSH by Sapphire"
"A Serious Man"
"Up in the Air"

Will win: Avatar
Should win: The Hurt Locker

Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role:
Morgan Freeman - "Invictus"
Jeff Bridges - "Crazy Heart"
George Clooney - "Up in the Air"
Colin Firth - "A Single Man"
Jeremy Renner - "The Hurt Locker"

Will win: Jeff Bridges
Should win: Colin Firth

Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role:
Meryl Streep - "Julie & Julia"
Sandra Bullock - "The Blind Side"
Helen Mirren - "The Last Station"
Gabourey Sidibe - "Precious: Based on the Novel PUSH by Sapphire"
Carey Mulligan - "An Education"

Will win: Carey Mulligan (this is my big upset pick)
Should win: Gabby Sidibe (the acting was the only good thing about PRECIOUS)

Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role:
Christoph Waltz - "Inglourious Basterds"
Christopher Plummer - "The Last Station"
Matt Damon - "Invictus"
Stanley Tucci - "The Lovely Bones"
Woody Harrelson - "The Messengers"

Will win: Christoph Waltz
Should win: Christoph Waltz

Performance by Actress in a Supporting Role:
Penelope Cruz - "Nine"
Vera Farmiga - "Up in the Air"
Maggie Gyllenhaal - "Crazy Heart"
Anna Kendrick - "Up in the Air"
Mo'Nique - "Precious: Based on the Novel PUSH by Sapphire"

Will win: Mo'Nique
Should win: none of these.
PS: This category is a complete fuck-up. They chose wrong and wronger on these nominees.

Achievement in Directing:
James Cameron - "Avatar"
(Kathryn Bigelow - "The Hurt Locker"
Quentin Tarantino - "Inglourious Basterds"
Jason Reitman - "Up in the Air"
Lee Daniels - "Precious: Based on the Novel PUSH by Sapphire"

Will win: Katheryn Bigelow
Should win: Katheryn Bigelow

Adapted Screenplay:
"District 9" by Neill Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell
"An Education" by Nick Hornby
"Precious: Based on the Novel PUSH by Sapphire" by Geoffrey Fletcher
"Up in the Air" by Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner
"In the Loop" by Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci, Ian Martin and Tony Roche

Will win: Up in the Air
Should win: Up in the Air

Original Screenplay:
"The Hurt Locker" by Mark Boal
"Inglourious Basterds" by Quentin Tarantino
"A Serious Man" by Joel and Ethan Coen
"Up" by Pete Docter and Bob Petersen
"The Messenger" by Alessandro Camon and Oren Moverman

Will win: Inglourious Basterds
Should win: Inglourious Basterds

Best Animated Feature Film of the Year:
"Up" - Pete Docter and Bob Peterson
"The Princess and the Frog" - Ron Clements and John Musker
"Coraline" - Henry Selick
"The Fantastic Mr Fox" - Wes Anderson
"The Secret of Kells" - Tomm Moore

Will win: Up
Should win: Up or Fantastic Mr. Fox

Best Documentary Feature:
"Burma VJ" - Anders Ostergaard and Lise Lense-Moller
"The Cove" - Nominees to be determined
"Food, Inc." - Robert Kenner and Elise Pearlstein
"The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers" - Judith Ehrlich and Rick Goldsmith
"Which Way Home" - Rebecca Cammisa

Will win: The Cove
Should win: Not Food, Inc.

Best Foreign Language Film of the Year:
"Ajami" - Scandar Copti and Yaron Shani, Israel
"A Prophet" - Jacques Audiard, France
"The Secret of Her Eyes" - Juan Jose Campanella, Argentina
"The White Ribbon" - Michael Haneke, Germany
"The Milk of Sorrow" - Claudia Llosa, Peru

Will win: The White Ribbon
Should win: A Prophet

Achievement in Art Direction:
"Avatar" - Art Direction: Rick Carter and Robert Stromberg; Set Decoration: Kim Sinclair
"The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus" - Art Direction: Dave Warren and Anastasia Masaro; Set Decoration: Caroline Smith
"Nine" - Art Direction: John Myhre; Set Decoration: Gordon Sim
"Sherlock Holmes" - Art Direction: Sarah Greenwood; Set Decoration: Katie Spencer
"The Young Victoria" - Art Direction: Patrice Vermette; Set Decoration: Maggie Gray

Will win: Avatar
Should win: A Single Man

Achievement in Cinematography:
"Avatar" - Mauro Fiore
"Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" - Bruno Delbonnel
"The Hurt Locker" - Barry Ackroyd
"Inglourious Basterds" - Robert Richardson
"The White Ribbon" - Christian Berger

Will win: Avatar/Fiore
Should win: The White Ribbon/Berger

Achievement in Costume Design:
"Bright Star" - Janet Patterson
"Coco Before Chanel" - Catherine Leterrier
"The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus" - Monique Prudhomme
"Nine" - Colleen Atwood
"The Young Victoria" - Sandy Powell

Will win: Coco
Should win: A Single Man

Achievement in Film Editing:
"Avatar" - Stephen Rivkin, John Refoua and James Cameron
"District 9" - Julian Clarke
"The Hurt Locker" - Bob Murawski and Chris Innis
"Inglourious Basterds" - Sally Menke
"Precious: Based on the Novel PUSH by Sapphire" - Joe Klotz

Will win: Hurt Locker
Should win: Hurt Locker

Achievement in Makeup:
"Il Divo" - Aldo Signoretti and Vittorio Sodano
"Star Trek" - Barney Burman, Mindy Hall and Joel Harlow
"The Young Victoria" - Jon Henry Gordon and Jenny Shircore

Will win: Young Vic
Should win: Young Vic

Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original Score):
"Avatar" - James Horner
"Fantastic Mr. Fox" - Alexandre Desplat
"The Hurt Locker" - Marco Beltrami and Buck Sanders
"Sherlock Holmes" - Hans Zimmer
"Up" - Michael Giacchino

Will win: Avatar
Should win: Fan Fox

Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original Song):
"Almost There" from "The Princess and the Frog" - Music and Lyric by Randy Newman
"Down in New Orleans" from "The Princess and the Frog" - Music and Lyric by Randy Newman
"Loin de Paname" from "Paris 36" - Music by Reinhardt Wagner Lyric by Frank Thomas
"Take It All" from "Nine" - Music and Lyric by Maury Yeston
"The Weary Kind (Theme from Crazy Heart)" from "Crazy Heart" - Music and Lyric by Ryan Bingham and T-Bone Burnett

Will win: Crazy Heart
Should win: Crazy Heart

Achievement in Sound Editing:
"Avatar" - Christopher Boyes and Gwendolyn Yates Whittle
"The Hurt Locker" - Paul N.J. Ottosson
"Inglourious Basterds" - Wylie Stateman
"Star Trek" - Mark Stoeckinger and Alan Rankin
"Up" - Michael Silvers and Tom Myers

Will win: Avatar
Should win: Star Trek

Achievement in Sound Mixing:
"Avatar" - Christopher Boyes, Gary Summers, Andy Nelson and Tony Johnson
"The Hurt Locker" - Paul N.J. Ottosson and Ray Beckett
"Inglourious Basterds" - Michael Minkler, Tony Lamberti and Mark Ulano
"Star Trek" - Anna Behlmer, Andy Nelson and Peter J. Devlin
"Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" - Greg P. Russell, Gary Summers and Geoffrey Patterson

Will win: Avatar
Should win: Star Trek

Achievement in Visual Effects:
"Avatar" - Joe Letteri, Stephen Rosenbaum, Richard Baneham and Andrew R. Jones
"District 9" - Dan Kaufman, Peter Muyzers, Robert Habros and Matt Aitken
"Star Trek" - Roger Guyett, Russell Earl, Paul Kavanagh and Burt Dalton

Will win: Avatar
Should win: Avatar

Best Documentary Short Subject:
"China's Unnatural Disaster: The Tears of Sichuan Province" - Jon Alpert and Matthew O'Neill
"The Last Campaign of Governor Booth Gardner" - Daniel Junge and Henry Ansbacher
"The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant" - Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert
"Music by Prudence" - Roger Ross Williams and Elinor Burkett
"Rabbit a la Berlin" - Bartek Konopka and Anna Wydra

Best Animated Short Film:
"French Roast" - Fabrice O. Joubert
"Granny O'Grimm's Sleeping Beauty" - Nicky Phelan and Darragh O'Connell
"The Lady and the Reaper (La Dama y la Muerte)" - Javier Recio Gracia
"Logorama" - Nicolas Schmerkin
"A Matter of Loaf and Death" - Nick Park

Best Live Action Short Film:
"The Door" - Juanita Wilson and James Flynn
"Instead of Abracadabra" - Patrik Eklund and Mathias Fjellstrom
"Kavi" - Gregg Helvey
"Miracle Fish" - Luke Doolan and Drew Bailey
"The New Tenants" - Joachim Back and Tivi Magnusson

Don't know any of these. Don't care.

01 March 2010

45. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

It's about what we think being an American is about: being a free spirit, a rugged individual, against a system bent on conforming you. The filmmakers tip their hand near the beginning, in the first group therapy scene, where everyone else is wearing white and McMurphy is wearing jeans.

Our villain -- first scene -- Ms. Ratched. Our hero -- 5 mins, right after the setting is established. We don't know who he is -- is he crazy too?

We meet the Chief -- can't talk -- this is a set-up for a later payoff. Then we meet the others -- Billy, the rest playing cards, a motif.

Exposition in dialogue by Spivey -- it works because it's exposition rooted in the reality of the scene. "I fight and fuck too much." -- He's a classic anti-hero, a rebel

The set-up -- is he crazy or is he not?

30 mins -- votes to change a rule to do something American -- watch baseball. This is voted down.

"Lunatic" -- an inmate says that to McMurphy
-- He bets everyone he can lift the sink and throw it out the window to get free -- shades of "I can eat 50 eggs."
"I tried, didn't I? At least I did that."
This is a set-up that's paid off in the last scene.

Subplot -- Billy and his control under Ms. Ratched. This is an interesting subplot because it's a microcosm of the rest of the movie -- the control she shows here is a smaller example of the larger control, so the subplot here is an deepening of the theme, instead of another take on it or a release from it.

Besides being entertaining, McMurphy's baseball narration shows that if we have our rights taken away, we can't help but go crazy.

He escapes -- instead of leaving for good, he takes the men on a tour around town and a fishing trip
-- this is the midpoint -- they catch a fish, billy fancies a girl, a taste of freedom.

Back to the question -- is he dangerous or crazy? What do you want to do with him? -- "I want to send him back to the work farm." Ratched says no. She wants to finish what she's started, which is in her very nature.

68 mins -- a twist -- he's committed and can't get out -- when we see him next, he's not wearing jeans anymore, he's wearing the proper uniform.
-- he's one of the few committed -- the rest are voluntary

The inversion of the 2nd act -- now he wants to behave because it suits him, but he's now opened up a can of worms that can't be contained -- hence the fight and Cheswick's cigarette rant

80 -- another twist -- Chief talks!

McMurphy comes back -- acts like he's a vegetable -- set-up

89 -- "I gotta get out of here", "I can't take it anymore" -- fuel for the beginning of act 3, momentum

90 -- the girls come -- 3rd act
-- a call back -- they set up the medicine from before and pay it off with booze now
-- they have a party

100 -- he goes to leave, but does a good deed for Billy instead -- this is why we like McMurphy -- he's not interested only in himself, he wants to set free the rest of the men, show them how to live.

110 -- Billy stutters no more, until she guilt-trips him, references his mother -- another microcosm of the theme of people being free until authority smashes them.

115 -- McMurphy goes to get away, is interrupted by his concern for Billy again. He goes to kill Ratched and is subsequently lobotomized.

120 -- McMurphy comes back, he really is a vegetable this time. A once free spirit is no more, so the Chief kills him and does what he couldn't -- uses the sink to smash the window and become free -- McMurphy sacrificed himself for the good of the whole, something we think of as a very American ideal.