AARON BILGRAD MOVIE AWARDS 2010
BEST MOVIE OF THE DECADE
With a decade of films behind us, I’ve seen a lot of “Best of The Decade” lists recently. Most of them I dismissed as if they submitted an inaccurate scan-tron. Many tried to intentionally separate themselves from the masses “i.e. #1 Film: David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive”. But, fact is, big Blockbuster movies united the country during the in-your-face Bush years. Lord of The Rings, Pirates of the Caribbean, Spiderman, Transformers, et al ruled the box office, and we ultimately appointed the #1 spot to The Dark Knight — a movie which oddly seems to have taken on sacred status. If you express even the slightest shortcoming of The Dark Knight, or worse, opine that The Joker really isn’t that interesting of a character, most people will grit their teeth in a quiet rage. It’s fascinating that in a decade when the country was extremely divided (Bush/Gore, red state/blue state, Aiken/Studdard, stay in Iraq/leave Iraq, Palin/Obama) probably the only thing EVERYONE agreed upon was that Heath Ledger gave a good performance. The universal likability of Ledger’s Joker, if affixed to important matters, could have put everyone on the same page.
With the (absolute) truth of the above paragraph, let’s not even try and pick a different #1 of the decade. There is no room for dissidence on this. For the sake of possible domestic harmony, lets just say it was The Dark Knight and be done with it — regardless of how stupid it was.
Therefore, this year, instead of composing a Best of The Year list, which would have included The Girlfriend Experience, The Informant, The Hurt Locker, The White Ribbon, 500 Days of Summer, and Paranormal Activity (proudly starring BLANK PRESS alum Micah Sloat of “Science & Faith” which you should watch after reading this), I want to discuss something more interesting about the decade in film: The Worst Trends. Sure, we saw a surge in comic book/fan boy type movies, but those have been attacked ad nauseum. So here then are the (3) Worst Movie trends of the past ten years which need discussion:
WORST TREND #3: SOPHISTICATED ANIMATION
These aren’t bad movies per say; in fact some of them are great. But enough is enough. Over the past decade, much of the praise has been for the characters increasingly “lifelike” features, but where are we going with this? Isn’t the apex of this progress… an actor? Ultimately, this year you saw the culmination of the rising tide of incredible animation and CGI. James Cameron said he dreamt up his blue masterpiece 30 years ago, but the technology wasn’t possible yet to make it. I assume this graphic I’ve made is representative of the evolution he foresaw.
WORST TREND #2: AVERAGE GUY PROTAGONISTS
On the cinema landscape this decade, a word I’ve heard frequently is “escapist”. People tend to pardon the most disposable movies as escapism. The logic suggests that your life is an existential mess and spending time with Jay Baruchel for 106 minutes could possibly assuage these feelings. The irony is many of these average guy protagonist films (Knocked Up, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, She’s Out of My League, 40 Year-Old-Virgin) have an intentional main character starting point of “This could be YOU”. Furthermore, the protagonist’s friends in the film usually just hang out and have guy talk. That guy talk is supposed to mirror the theoretical conversations that YOU and YOUR friends probably have (and while smoking the same pot smoked by the reflection of yourself in the movie). And for girls, these are type of conversations they THINK average guys are having. So it’s a projected realism. Ultimately (and esoterically) you’re going to the theater with your friends to watch a movie about you and your friends. How is that escapist?
WORST TREND #1: EASY COMEDY
Think on it — if a movie makes you laugh a lot, is it therefore a good movie? Obviously that’s dictated by your sense of humor. But recently, we’ve seen a wave of comedies that have hit their market perfectly. This year The Hangover was a whopping success and was lauded as the funniest movie of the decade. In pop culture conversations, the only possible movie you could bring up for debate was Old School (by the same director). Other movies in this category — Superbad, Anchorman, Pineapple Express, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Wedding Crashers, Knocked Up, 40 Year Old Virgin — were beloved by America too, and expressing contention to their greatness will only make you feel extremely isolated. That’s why I’ve decided to join the club. I have since watched The Hangover 6 times, and with each viewing, I notice a funny part that slid past me before. Like last night I realized that Mike Tyson was singing a Phil Collins song. I don’t know why, but it doesn’t matter. I just saw an advanced screening (rough cut) of The Hangover 2. My friends and I LOVED it. It helped us escape. Here’s the just released trailer:
THE HANGOVER 2 – Trailer