So we’re finished with the formal awards, but there are always some other awards that don’t really require a lot of nominees… and there are some movies that have something so uncommon that it’s worth bringing up. Some of these awards have actually become a yearly thing, though most are still just random and, well, arbitrary. In any case, here they are:
- The “You know what happens when a toad gets struck by lightning? The same thing that happens to everything else” Award for Worst Dialogue: Battle Los Angeles. This one gets harder and harder to pick every year because who wants to go back and revisit horrible movies looking for bad dialogue? In this case, I just went from the memory of cringing at the dialogue when I saw the movie. “Maybe I can help. I’m a veterinarian.” How convenient. Cowboys & Aliens merits attention here as well.
- The Proximity to Jason Vorhees Award for Heroic Stupidity: Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark. So a little girl moves into a haunted house, and her father gets her the creepiest nightlight thing ever, then people start getting into not-so-mysterious accidents and blah blah blah, this film makes no fucking sense. Everyone in the film is a moron.
- Most Surprisingly Mediocre Movie of the Year: Limitless and The Lincoln Lawyer (tie). For some reason, I was expecting both of these to be nigh unwatchable, but they were both decent movies. Not fine cinema or anything, and probably won’t be making their way onto my top 10 or honorable mentions, but a good way to spend a couple hours.
- Best Long Take/Tracking Shot: Hanna. So Eric Bana gets off a train, and the camera follows him as he walks through the station. As he walks, you start to notice people following him; eventually he’s surrounded by enemies and has to fight them off, which he does. And this all happens in a single tracking shot. It’s a bit of a bombastic, showy sequence, but I loved it anyway.
- The Park Chan-Wook Award for Excessive Vengeance: I Saw the Devil. Those wacky Koreans really seem to enjoy their revenge movies.
- Best CGI Animal Not Named Caesar: Maurice the CGI orangutan from Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Maurice might be my favorite character in the movie, actually. Heck, he was smart before he took the drug – he was a circus orangutan and learned signing, and he’s somehow the voice of wisdom or something in the movie. He doesn’t get the emotional arc that Caesar does, but he’s still awesome.
- The About Face Award: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold. I have to admit, it took guts for a guy like Morgan Spurlock, who went out of his way to destroy a brand with an earlier movie (with arguably unfair tactics) to make this movie, a movie about product placement financed completely by its sponsors and product placement in the movie. It’s a clever idea and he did manage to pull it off despite his reputation.
- Best Old People Fight Sequence: The Debt. Haha. Old people fighting.
- Best Opening Sequence:: Drive. The opening chase sequence was fantastic, tense, and exciting stuff. It tells you everything you need to know about the driver, and it’s a chase that’s more about subterfuge and hiding than pyrotechnics and speed (i.e. it’s not a Fast and Furious movie…) Also worth calling out for opening sequences: Scream 4, a pitch perfect opening for the post-modern, self-referential nature of the series. Unfortunately, neither Drive nor Scream 4 quite lived up to the promise of their opening sequence, though I think Drive managed to pull off that switch (i.e. it wasn’t a great action movie with lots of chase scenes, but it was still a good movie).
- Best Closing Shot: Another Earth. The movie has its flaws and I really wasn’t with this movie until about the last half hour, when things started to turn around. And then there’s the last shot, which is just ambiguous and surprising enough to be satisfying without spelling anything out.
- The John Carpenter Memorial Award: Attack the Block. This is a nebulous concept, but this movie really does feel like the sort of thing a circa-1985 Carpenter would have made… and it’s a ton of fun too.
And that just about wraps up the awards for the year. Look for a top 10 list in a few weeks…