We’ve given out the formal awards, now it’s time to get random. Sometimes movies are weird or flawed in ways that don’t fit well into a traditional awards setting, but they can also have excellent bits nonetheless. The point of the Arbitrary Awards is to recognize this oddities. A few of these have become an annual tradition, but most are just, well, arbitrary. Let’s do it:
- The “You know what happens when a toad gets struck by lightning? The same thing that happens to everything else” Award for Worst Dialogue: Divergent. Unless this was actually supposed to be a comedy, this one takes the cake for consistently awful dialogue. I pretty much laughed my way through the movie, so it at least has that “So bad it’s good” thing going for it (indeed, the earnest way in which the lines are delivered is what makes it work – if it was supposed to be a comedy, it almost certainly wouldn’t work). Another front-runner for this award was Interstellar for it’s “Love is the one thing that we’re capable of perceiving that transcends dimensions of time and space.” speech.
- The Proximity to Jason Vorhees Award for Heroic Stupidity: Blood Glacier. This is the worst movie of the year, by far. Everything about it is stupid (also a front runner for the worst dialogue award).
- The Park Chan-Wook Award for Most Elaborate Vengeance Scheme: Gone Girl. Lots of elaborate plans going on in this one, one of my favorite movies of the year. While we’re talking about vengeance, also a shout out to Blue Ruin, which is very good, but part of its point is that the vengeance isn’t at all elaborate.
- Best Hero/Badass (Non-Human Edition): The Nephilim, from Noah. This is a weird, adventurous take on the Noah story, as evidenced by the Nephilim, basically giant rock monsters that are supposed to be fallen angels or something like that. Whatever, they’re giant rock creatures, and they fight for God! Also note that Godzilla actually met my criteria for the singular award (and was nominated there), because he’s an individual, not really a class of creature. And he was the best part of his movie, so there is that.
- Best Villain/Badass (Non-Human Edition): The mirror from Oculus. The movie has its flaws, but the notion of the villain being a mirror that plays with perceptions is brilliant and plays out really well in the movie.
- Best Long Take/Tracking Shot: Birdman. Duh. I mean, I have my issues with the movie, but the whole film basically appears to be one continuous shot, how can it not win this award?
- Best End Credits Sequence: 22 Jump Street. I won’t ruin the sequence for you; suffice to say it is absolutely brilliant. Honorable mention to Guardians of the Galaxy for the Groot/Drax sequence in the credits.
- Achievement in the Field of Batshit Insanity: Moebius. I don’t… I can’t… um, what the fuck? This is surprisingly compelling (it has no dialogue, but manages to visually tell a story much better than a lot of films, even if there are some reallly incongruous events) for how batshit insane it is, but I just, um, shit. Words fail me. Don’t watch this movie. I know this will make some people want to watch it more, and to be sure, those folks might still survive, but I can’t in good conscience recommend this movie.
- Coolest Fictional Hotel of the Year: The Continental, from John Wick. You might be tempted to put The Grand Budapest Hotel here, but in reality, The Continental is just way cooler. I mean, it’s a hotel that caters exclusively to assassins. Cooler than liquid nitrogen.
- The Rod Serling Memorial Award: The One I Love. A very Twilight Zone-like movie that will surely get more love in my top 10.
And that just about covers it. We’re coming down the homestretch, just the top 10 and Oscar commentary remains. The top 10 will come next week or the week after, depending on if I feel like I can see a few of the movies that I’m missing at this point…