All right, folks! The moment you’ve been waiting for! Explosions! Gunfire! Karate! Nunchucks! Robots! Pirates! Ninjas! Vikings! Tubas! It’s the Smashie Awards 2010!!!!!
10. Crank 2: High Voltage
You know what? Forget it. A-Team? Expendables? Tron? Kick-Ass? Anybody good with those? Yeah? Me too. Good. Moving on.
In all honesty, it’s been a pain picking out ten this year for two reasons. 1) Because I didn’t attempt to watch all the major action movies this year, and 2) because most action movies are swapping out action sequences for… more character development. Like how “Iron Man 2” was hyped to be the year’s biggest action movie, and most of it was just Tony partying and making jokes about strawberries and radiation poisoning. The pacing is off all over the place lately. Even “The Expendables” spent an unnecessary amount of time on the story when there should have been more punching of explosions.
Anyway, until times change back, I’ll just put the Smashies on the back-burner and do what every other blogger does:
Talk about my favorite movies.
My Five Favorite Movies of 2010
I can’t believe it took “Predator 2,” “Alien vs. Predator,” and “Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem” before we finally got a movie that was worth calling a sequel. And as blasphemous as it sounds, I liked it a lot better than the first movie. But that’s the way it should go. Much like “Aliens” and “Terminator 2” before it, I think “Predators” is one of those rare sequels which is better than the original (sorry, Arnie.)
I also think this is the movie “The Expendables” should have been, where they literally drop all the action stars into a situation that requires them to fight for 90 minutes. In “Predators,” a group of trained killers, mercenaries, and convicts are thrown into an alien game preserve where they have to outsmart several Predators and their twisted hunting methods. The movie doesn’t waste any time throwing us into the action, and once the movie gets deeper in, we start to find out that each person is here for a reason. It’s like the movie “Cube,” but with less math and more fire. Adrien Brody’s great as the new Schwarzenegger, Laurence Fishburne’s all kind of crazy awesome, and there’s even an old-fashioned samurai sword fight. Followed by more fire. Why shouldn’t I love this movie?
4. Alice in Wonderland
I really enjoyed this movie when it first came out (and I really don’t think there’s a better-looking film this year) but all the little things kept nagging at me. When did Wonderland turn into “Lord of the Rings?” Why doesn’t Alice just eat a mushroom and stomp on the Jabberwocky? Why can’t the Cheshire Cat just vaporize the Queen? Why is there even a plot?
After a few viewings, however, I had to remind myself that Wonderland is a place that only exists in Alice’s mind, and that as she grows older, Wonderland becomes this meta-physical world Alice uses to fight her own personal battles. After realizing that, the movie became a lot cooler, and I understood that the film wasn’t supposed to be any more logical than Alice herself. It’s a really fun movie to psycho-analyze. And if psycho-analysis isn’t your thing, at least there’s always Helena Bonham Carter and her gigantic head screaming for a warm pig belly while monkeys hold up her furniture.
3. How To Train Your Dragon
So how did this get here instead of “Toy Story 3?” Don’t get me wrong – I love both movies. But while TS3 is a great way to end a franchise, I thought I’d give this spot to “Dragon” just because it’s a great beginning to a new franchise.
What absorbs me into this movie is how they explore the whole viking vs. dragon lifestyle. It’s like “Pokemon,” where every dragon is different with special abilities, only unlike Pokemon, it doesn’t make me want to go brain-dead. I want to see these dragons in action, and I want to see what the characters do about them. And it also helps that with Chris Sanders as director, all the animation is a treat to look at, so both visually and story-wise, nothing in the film loses my attention.
I can see this movie spawning a few sequels, but unlike Shrek, I can’t see those sequels wearing out their welcome as quickly since there’s a lot left to work with. Out of all the Dreamworks Animation films, this one has the most heart.
What’s to say about Inception at this point that hasn’t already been said? Here’s a movie where they put a twist right at the beginning of the movie, and then twist the twist a couple times at the end. Of course, it’s so complicated that if you miss one minute of the movie, you’ll be lost for the rest of it. Still, it’s the originality and the pace of it all that works. I like Leonardo DiCaprio and Ellen Page, I like the special effects and action sequences, and I like the overall story.
I also like how this is one of the few movies that really lived up to the hype for me. I’ll admit “The Dark Knight” isn’t in my top five Batman movies, so when I when I heard the praise for “Inception,” I figured that was the Nolan fans over-hyping everything. But nope – I walked out and had to agree: this was a pretty sweet movie.
1. Scott Pilgrim vs The World
No surprise here, as I mentioned before that this is one of my new favorite movies. The plot moves quickly, the dialogue is memorable, the characters are hilarious, the soundtrack is fantastic, and it’s one of the few action movies where the battles really do get better and better.
But much like Alice or Inception, it’s another movie I can appreciate on a meta-physical level. As the director stated, “Scott Pilgrim is like a musical, only instead of breaking out into song, everyone breaks out into fights.” So it’s a really clever way of taking a story about dealing with complicated relationships and turning it into “Kung Fu Hustle.” Or rather, I like to think of it as a spoof on romantic-comedies done in the style of a video game. There’s plenty of ways to look at the movie and enjoy it on different levels. In any case, it’s an experience.
I also think this movie is the best thing to happen to absurdist comedy since “Airplane” or “The Naked Gun.” Every time I watch it, I see something new in the background (like Young Neil eating money off the ground, or a stove that comes with a laugh-track.) And the best parts never seem to run dry. I can watch the Vegan Police high-five over and over again and it never stops being funny (I think their enthusiasm is contagious.)
Anyway, I think in the end, the story’s all wrapped up very nicely – and in a very different (but just as creative) way as it was in the book. It’s a feel-good film that gets me pumped every time, and after my umpteenth viewing of it, I’m still laughing.
January 28 2011 10:19 pm | Movies