The 2018 Kaedrin Movie Award Winners were announced last week. The premise of those awards is to recognize aspects of films that aren’t reflected in more traditional awards or praise like a Top 10 list or whatever. However, any awards system will fail to capture all the nuances and complexity available, so we come to the Arbitrary Awards, an opportunity to commend movies that are weird or flawed in ways that don’t conform to normal standards. A few of these “awards” have become an annual tradition, but most are just, well, arbitrary. Previous Arbitrary Awards: [2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006]
- The “You know what happens when a toad gets struck by lightning? The same thing that happens to everything else” Award for Worst Dialogue: The Cloverfield Paradox and The Predator (tie). I like the concept of this award, but it’s not like I want to go rewatch these films that I did not enjoy very much to really wallow in the poor exposition (Cloverfield Paradox is filled with that sort of thing) or juvenile humor that just doesn’t land (I’m not above juvenile humor and Shane Black is usually pretty good at this sort of thing, but The Predator went for a few too many ass-burger and Tourettes jokes to really connect). I don’t know that any of these live up to the award’s referential namesake, but both of these movies had me rolling my eyes on frequent occasions.
- The Proximity to Jason Vorhees Award for Heroic Stupidity: The Cloverfield Paradox and The Predator (tie). Choosing a tie is a bit of a cheat, so if it makes you feel better, let’s just say that both of these movies have generally bad dialogue and characters that act stupid and you can just choose one for dialogue and the other will get the stupid character award. I don’t really feel like parsing this out, so I’m still going with the tie.
- Achievement in the Field of Gratuitous Violence: The Night Comes for Us. Two hours of action-packed, gruesome carnage.
- Best Hero/Badass (Non-Human Edition): Alpha, played by Chuck in Alpha. I just caught up with this movie and thought the wolf/dog at the center of the story was pretty great.
- Best Villain/Badass (Non-Human Edition): The CGI Bear from Annihilation. I have some issues with the movie, but that bear is quite unsettling.
- Best Hero/Disembodied Body Part: Mundy’s disembodied but somehow sentient arm from The Cloverfield Paradox. It’s a terrible movie, but it’s almost worth it for the scene where Mundy’s arm saves everyone. Kinda. Not really. Work with me here, I’m trying to salvage those two hours of my life. Still, the way Chris O’Dowd addresses his arm is great, as is the way he pronounces “Arm”; “Whadda ya talkin about arm!?”
- Best Hero/Advertising Mascot: Cheddar Goblin from Mandy. Cheddar Goblin should host the Oscars. After all, Cheddar Goblin has 60% more cheese than the next leading brand.
- Best Supporting Hero/Badass: Field Marshal Zhukov, played by Jason Isaacs in The Death of Stalin. He probably could have been nominated for the full award, but the part is rather small and he doesn’t even show up until about an hour into the movie (thus kicking that movie into an even higher gear). But then, Isaacs dominates the screen whenever he is there, stealing every scene he’s in. It’s a great performance, well worth recognition.
- Best Movie Featuring the Word “Solo” in the Title: Free Solo. Sorry Han Solo, but this movie about rock climbing without a rope was way better than the Star Wars Story.
- Coolest Fictional Hotel of the Year: Hotel Artemis. I mean, sure, it’s a ripoff of John Wick’s franchise of The Continental hotels (two time winners of Arbitrary Awards, and assuming another appearance in 2019, soon to be a three time winner), but if you’re going to rip something off, that’s a pretty good thing to rip off.
- Best Octopus Playing the Drums of the Year: The octopus who plays the drums in Aquaman. This isn’t a great movie, but on the other hand, it does have an octopus playing the drums, so what the hell else do you want? And frankly, there’s like, 10 other things this movie has that are just so totally bonkers that it makes the entire exercise worthwhile and entertaining. I mean, Willem Dafoe riding a Shark and Dolph Lundgren riding a giant Sea Horse? Amber Heard turns a bunch of wine into knives and hurls them at her opponents. Julie Andrews plays a giant, surly sea monster. What else do you want from this movie!?
- The “Weiner” Award for Unparalleled Access to Documentary Subjects: Minding the Gap. What might seem from the outside like a dumb skateboarding documentary turns out to display far more depth than that, in large part due to the huge amount of access that the subjects allowed the filmmaker (who, to be fare, was one of the subjects himself!) across literal decades of friendship.
- Best Action-Packed Long Take of the Year: The Halo Jump from Mission: Impossible – Fallout. It’s a very impressive shot and a good example of how this series keeps one-upping itself.
Stay tuned, only the Top 10 and Oscar commentary are remaining in our 2018 movie coverage!