Sunday, February 1, 2009

Secret Diary '08: Confessions Part VII

Whoops, I've let the Super Bowl distract me. Just kidding. Time to dispense with the jokes and make with the venti-sized Finale.

Award #11: 2008 Dirty Undies Award

Those who frequent the Reel Whore know that I enjoy any film that gives me something dirty to talk about. I try to acknowledge any appreciable measure of violence, gore, sex, nudity and general foulness in a film, though it's getting harder and harder in this kid-friendly, PG-13, over-the-pants-hand-job most films aspire to nowadays. Still, there are a good number of films that give up the goods. This award commends those films steeped in Dirty Undies.

The Sloppy Seconds:

sex drive zack_and_miri mmtrain
rambo-poster ruins-poster-girl inbruges_poster

Sex Drive; Zack and Miri Make a Porno; Midnight Meat Train; Rambo; The Ruins; In Bruges

And the winner of the 2008 Dirtiest Undies Award is:

Doomsday

doomsday_movie

Unlike 2007, this year's decision was very difficult. Each film managed to solidly claim one or two of the Dirty Undies elements but none quite mastered all the major excesses. In the end, Doomsday was such insanely depraved fun that it edged out the competition. It also helped Rhona Mitra command much respect for being a hottie and a badass.

Every year, I like to point out the movies that I feel were misjudged. A handful of films seem to never leave the theater, making beaucoup dollars despite being mediocre. Conversely, there are far more deserving films that get their screens limited and advertising cut in order to make room for more conventional fare. Here's my tip of the hat to those Severely Underrated and a wag of my finger at the Most Overrated films of 2008.

hamlet2 hellboy2poster midnight-meat-postsm

Severely Underrated

Most Overrated

Hamlet 2

WALL-E

Hellboy II: The Golden Army

Twilight

Midnight Meat Train

Hancock

WALLE_teaser_poster twilightposter hancock-poster

Drumroll please!

It's taken seven days but I now present to you...


Award #12: 2008's Best and Worst By Genre:

Back on Day 1, I listed all the movies in contention for each genre. The time has come to announce the best film of the year, the two also-rans, and finally, the single worst film that robbed minutes away from my life.

ACTION
doomsday Best: Doomsday

Sloppy Seconds: Quantum of Solace
Sloppy Thirds: Transporter 3

Worst Attempt: The Forbidden Kingdom

Quantum had little chance of topping the perfection established in Casino Royale, and I say this as a huge Bond fan. Though decent, it couldn't hold a candle to the action-packed mayhem and hysteria of Doomsday.

For the second year in a row, a Jackie Chan film scrapes the bottom of the action barrel. I need to pop in Legend of the Drunken Master to remind myself of the good times.

COMEDY
hamlet2 Best: Hamlet 2

Sloppy Seconds: Kung Fu Panda
Sloppy Thirds:
The House Bunny

Worst Attempt: Strange Wilderness

That's right. There is no ultimate love for Tropic Thunder, Step Brothers or Pineapple Express by the Reel Whore. Those three had hilarious moments with a lot of middling, overcompensating gags. With Hamlet 2, Kung Fu Panda and The House Bunny, I laughed harder and more consistently from beginning to end. Why waste time on uneven comedy?

As I look back on 2008, I am surprised to find that no other comedy sunk lower than Strange Wilderness. I really wanted to like this Steve Zhan flick, but the few scattered jokes really didn't improve with age.

DRAMA
slumdog Best: Slumdog Millionaire

Sloppy Seconds: Doubt
Sloppy Thirds:
The Curious Case
of Benjamin Button

Worst Attempt: Meet the Browns

Drama is always the most difficult category for me to judge. I must have been raised on too many Sly Stallone and Bill Murray flicks. But I know a winner when I see it, and Slumdog still sparkles in my mind with superb storytelling. Doubt narrowly fell to second though its performances were unmatched. Benjamin Button, despite its three hour runtime, is such a charismatic tale that you can't hate it.

I will give Tyler Perry credit for making some enjoyable films during his recent fame. However, Meet the Browns ain't one of them. Melodrama aside, severe miscasting and poor, poor technical execution will make your head hurt for days.

HORROR
quarantine Best: Quarantine

Sloppy Seconds: Cloverfield
Sloppy Thirds: Midnight Meat Train

Worst Attempt: The Happening

All three of these films will have you on the edge of your seats, but Quarantine's heart-pounding mystery and graphic images rise to the top.

Last year, the worst horror film was Captivity, which I unaffectionately referred to as "CRAPTIVITY." It is fitting that this year's film has also received a re-dubbing, "The CRAPPENING." M. Night Shyamalan's latest disappointment earned its title for every moment it stole from me.

ROMANCE
forgetting_sarah_marshall_movie_poster Best: Forgetting Sarah Marshall

Sloppy Seconds:
Elegy
Sloppy Thirds: Vicky Cristina
Barcelona


Worst Attempt: Over Her Dead Body

2008 was really a great year for romance films, but none had as much emotional depth, believability or Jason-Segel ball sack as Forgetting Sarah Marshall.

Honestly, I don't even want to think about the suckfest that was Over Her Dead Body. Paul Rudd is dreamy but not even he could float this sinking turd.

SCI-FI/FANTASY
dark-knight-poster Best: The Dark Knight

Sloppy Seconds: Hellboy II:
The Golden Army

Sloppy Thirds: Iron Man

Worst Attempt: Max Payne

I don't think I need to explain my choices here.

I think I whipped this dead horse plenty just last week. I'll just say again, any film that wastes Mila Kunis and Olga Kurylenko deserves no love.

THRILLER
burn-after-reading-poster Best: Burn After Reading

Sloppy Seconds: In Bruges
Sloppy Thirds: The Bank Job

Worst Attempt: Untraceable

It was a true photo finish between Burn After Reading and In Bruges. On the one hand, Bruges had the bottle scene and the shortarse. But Burn had the power of the Coens, the inanity of Brad Pitt and Sledgehammer. What more could you ask for?

Oh Untraceable, how do I loathe thee? Let me count the ways. Actually, let's skip all that and just hope that all my readers out there were lucky enough to dodge this bullet.

As with every year, I always find that a few films don't fit into my set genres. This year, five films were excluded from my established genre count. These films were: I.O.U.S.A.; Man on Wire; Religulous; Shine A Light; and Young@Heart. My personal favorite was Young@Heart though Man on Wire is a spectacular story. Of the five, I.O.U.S.A. comes off a bit dry but is so factually disturbing, especially given our current economic situation. I feel comfortable urging you to rent all of these great flicks.

***

That's all I wrote, folks. Agree? Disagree? Indifferent to it all? I'd love to hear what you have to say. In honor of my Top 7 of 2008, I have set up a poll on the right. Take a minute to vote on which of these seven films was the best. I'll be returning to my regular format tomorrow.

Thank you all for continuing to stop in and enjoy my site. Also, many thanks to those who have helped the site grow in 2008. I am looking forward to watching many, many 2009 films and cranking out some spanky reviews.

Large Association of Movie Blogs

4 comments:

  1. You wound me, fb! Doomsday was such a reckless excess of action and blood. It was ridiculous from minute one but I just rolled with it. I couldn't help but enjoy the insanity of it all.

    If Wanted hadn't been based on a comic it would have beat Doomsday, hands down for best action. Would that have been a n improvement?

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  2. Wall*E overrated? Not possible.

    FSM a romance? No way - that's a comedy.

    Burn After Reading is, too.

    But I'm nitpicking. Excellent round-up all around, Wayne - not just today, but the whole shebang. You leave no stone unturned. Apparently, I need to catch Doomsday when it hits cable. Sounds like a hot mess...

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  3. Both FSM and BAR were fence walkers, a rom-com and a crime-com. I focused my thriller category on crime-oriented films to help me sort them out. That's how BAR fell out of the com category.

    I'll be seeing WALL-E since my wife refused to go back in summer. Since I work in an Env field, I think I'm just sick of the eco-themed films. She'll probably set me straight on my middling opinion of WALL-E.

    If you like road warriors, cannibals, medieval castles, gladiator battles and kick-ass car chases then don't miss Doomsday. It's a hot mess like no other.

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