We announced the official 2016 Kaedrin Movie Award winners last week, but while a purpose of those awards is to throw a spotlight on movies that aren’t traditionally recognized by awards or top 10 lists, the categories don’t always perfectly capture everything they should. Sometimes movies are weird or flawed in ways that don’t fit quite right, but they still deserve acknowledgement. The point of the Arbitrary Awards is to highlight these oddities. A few of these “awards” have become an annual tradition, but most are just, well, arbitrary. Let’s get to 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: Suicide Squad. Pretty much anything Rick Flagg says in the movie qualifies, but the real howler is his introduction of Katana: “This is Katana. She’s got my back. She can cut all of you in half with one sword stroke, just like mowing the lawn. I would advise not getting killed by her. Her sword traps the souls of its victims.” Perfectly delivered, cringe-inducing exposition there… As runner up, there are a couple of candidates. Ghostbusters has a “That’s gonna leave a mark” joke, which was tired and hackey, like, 30 years ago (and don’t get me started on “You just got Holtzmanned baby!”). Blair Witch has some of the least deft exposition of the year as well.
- The Proximity to Jason Vorhees Award for Heroic Stupidity: Blair Witch. Some really dumb stuff here, like taking off shoes to cross a river, or to climb up to the top of the tree to retrieve a broken drone that you know wouldn’t help, or figuring out that facing the corner prevents the Blair Witch from attacking… then turning around to face the Blair Witch for no reason. Sheesh.
- Best Hero/Badass (Non-Human Edition):The Cloak of Levitation from Doctor Strange. In a year of lackluster heroics, this cape really stepped up. In fact, I’m more excited about this “character” than the one who won the human-centered award. I suppose I could have relaxed the rules and whatnot, but I’ll settle for the Arbitrary Award.
- Best Long Take/Tracking Shot: La La Land, particularly the opening sequence, which might be one of those things that is a compilation of several long takes assembled in a way to appear like one really big long take, but who cares, it’s delightful.
- Most Action Packed Long Take: London Has Fallen. Say what you will about this movie’s reactionary sentiments, it still has one of the most thrilling action sequences of the year, as Gerard Butler makes his way towards an enemy stronghold in a single take. Lots of moving parts, a bravura sequence worthy of recognition.
- Best Historical Reenactment: Sully. The rest of the movie is somewhat tame, exaggerated yet paint-by-numbers drama, but the reenactment of the airplane crash at the heart of the film (seen multiple times, from multiple perspectives) is exceedingly well done and worth the price of admission alone.
- Biggest Balls Award: Phantasm: Ravager. Ba dum tsss!
- Best Waitress of the Year: Margaret Bowman as T-Bone Waitress in Hell or High Water. Total scene stealer, one of the best scenes of the year. “Ain’t nobody ever ordered nothing but a T-Bone steak and baked potato. Except one time, this asshole from New York ordered a trout, back in 1987. We ain’t got no goddamned trout.”
- Best Soundtrack: Sing Street. If you’re into 80s music, at least. I didn’t exactly do a thorough accounting of the year’s soundtracks, but I knew I wanted to recognize this movie somehow and this seemed like the best way to do it. If you haven’t seen it and enjoy 80s music, get thee to Netflix, post haste.
- Best Alcohol Reference: Sour Grapes. Fascinating documentary about rare wine fraud that is well worth your time, even if you’re not a booze hound.
Let’s give our winners a round of applause. Stay tuned for the top 10 of 2016, coming next week! After that, we’ll wrap of 2016 movie season with some Oscar commentary and whatnot…