Search This Blog

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Special Mother-in-Law Guest Blog: Ranking the 10

Since I've made it through all 10 movies, I thought I'd take the chance to imagine filling out my own preferential ballot. As an added bonus, I have a special guest who has also seen all 10 movies: Barb, my wonderful movie-loving mother-in-law. We actually first bonded over our shared dislike for Sandra Bullock, so this is an interesting year for us to take a look at the Oscars. Without further ado...

Barb's Picks:

1.) The Hurt Locker. Initially, I didn't even plan to see this movie (too depressing and too violent). That being said, it is my #1 pick. Jeremy Renner gave an amazing performance as Sgt. Will James. As we follow James and his comrads (great performances by Anthony Mackie and Brian Geraghty), we see the extent of James addiction to danger, and the subsequent adrenaline rush, truly defines who he is as a person. This is a man who will never be able to live in a world of grocery shopping at Target with his wife and son.

2.) Up in the Air. Outstanding cast with a stunning performance by George Clooney. You can feel the lonliness creep in as Ryan Bingham (Clooney) begins to question all that he has believed to be true about his life, life choices and values. An Oscar worthy performance.

3.) A Serious Man. Quintessential Coen Brothers. What's not to love? Wonderfully rich characters and a local touch. It doesn't get any better than this.

4.) Up Not at all what I expected, and by far the most pleasant surprise. I must admit to only seeing a couple of previous Pixar films. This was not just an exciting inter-generational adventure, but a poignant look at love, loss, friendship, hope and resiliency.

5.) Precious. Superbly acted and tough to watch. Oscar worthy performances by Mo'Nique and Gabourey Sidibe.

6.) Avatar. O.K., so the plot was weak. Not why I wanted to see it. I was absolutely blown away by the technology, non-stop action and the beauty of Pandora. The 3 D glasses also brought me back to my childhood.

7.) Inglorious Bastards. Very Quentin Tarantino. Over- the -top characters, over-the- story line and a lot of violence. Surprisingly, I had my eyes open for almost half of the movie. I did like it, though.

8.) An Education. Carey Mulligan plays a coming of age schoolgirl beautifully. Life is not always what it appears to be, but those are the valuable lessons we learn.

9.) District 9. This was an interesting and well-done film, and I understand the social statement it was making, but for whatever reason I was not as enthralled with it as everyone else seemed to be.

10.) The Blind Side. Even though this is my #10 pick, I actually liked the movie. I am, of course, a sucker for true inspirational sports stories (sorry Ben). Even Sandra Bullock surprised me ( I never thought I could recover from Hope Floats). That being said, I'm not so sure either she, or the movie, were Oscar worthy.

Ben's Picks:

1.) A Serious Man. I didn't have a more enjoyable time in the movie theater this year. Everything about this movie worked. The Coen Brothers were working at the top of their game, and the movie is absolutely hilarious.

2.) The Hurt Locker. I wish I could do a tie for number 1. I saw this movie a second time, and it was even better than the first time. A great suspense film, a great war film, and a great character study. I bow down to the genius of director Kathryn Bigelow and her team.

3.) Up in the Air. I loved this movie. It feels like the kind of movie that might have been made during the golden age of Hollywood, with real stars, real humor, and something to say about how we live.

4.) An Education. Carey Mulligan is a revelation, and the supporting cast is great. While perhaps not the most weighty in its themes, this is a well-crafted and well-written film where everything seems to come together beautifully.

5.) Precious. Fueled by great performances from Mo'Nique and Gabby Sidibe, this movie has really stuck with me. A really powerful depiction of degradation and personal redemption.

6.) District 9. I'm most amazed that the Academy chose to recognize this movie, something very far away from traditional Oscar fare. I found this movie original, exciting, thought-provoking, and surprisingly moving.

7.) Up. While I don't think this was quite as good as Wall-E or Ratatouille, Pixar triumphed again with this original and uplifting (no pun intended) film. I'll watch anything Pixar makes, ever.

8.) Inglorious Basterds. Many scenes in this movie are among the very best of the year, especially when Christoph Waltz or Melanie Laurent are on screen. Unfortunately, Tarantino threw a little too much into it and ultimately it is something of a mess. A fascinating and highly watchable mess, but I think it fell quite a bit short of a great film.

9.) Avatar. I was amazed by the visuals in Avatar, but the more I think back on it, the more annoyed I get at its cheesy story. I wish a better writer had been the first to use motion-capture technology.

10.) The Bind Side. Yes, Sandra Bullock is good in this film, and the film was watchable. But Best Picture nominee? Really? It felt more like a TV movie to me.

Summing Up

Barb and I shared pretty similar taste this year. The same top 3, although in a different order, and 4 of our top 5 were the same. In looking at my list, I noticed that the Top 5 moneymakers (Avatar, Up, The Blind Side, Inglorious Basterds, and District 9) are in the bottom half of my list, and 4 of them are in the bottom half of Barb's list. Are we hopelessly against the mainstream filmgoer? Anyone else seen all (or most) of the movies? What's your ranking?

No comments:

Post a Comment