Long before the Average Joel went global, I would occasionally write silly bits of bloated bloviations and post them to a familial site on the interwebs. In preparation for my prestigious 2008 Movie Awards (The Joelies) I have included here what I wrote about last years films. Please to be enjoying now.
The theme for this year's Oscars is "The One. The Only." Which of course begs the question, the one and only what? The one and only time of year that Hollywood gathers to celebrate mediocrity and pat its collective pretentious back? Nope, they have the Golden Globes for that too. The One and Only chance to watch ignorant millionaires fake expertise on complicated matters of foreign policy? Nope, we have the Democratic convention for that. How about the One and Only person who actually saw all of the movies that got nominated? Now that's more like it.
With each passing year Hollywood works harder and harder to distance itself from the people who actually pay for their meal ticket, or in Hollywood's case, their low-calorie, low sodium soy bi-product. The Oscars may be Hollywood's high-five to itself, but to rest of America, it is just another one-finger salute. Of the five movies picked for Best Picture, not a single one of them ranks within the top 50 in Box Office sales in 2007. Sure, most of the films were released late in the year, but that didn't stop movies like "I am Legend" and "National Treasure: Book of Secrets" from going on to collect more money than all the five best picture nominees combined. When your top grossing Best Picture nominee can't get more attention than Ice Cubes "Are we Done Yet" or the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, how can you really call it the Best Picture? If a tree falls in the forest and nobody hears it does it make sound? If a movie plays in a theatre and nobody sees it, does it really count?
Now admittedly, awarding the Best Picture based on how many people have seen it is hardly the best possible criteria for an award show. There are enough slack-jawed yockels in this world to make a film exclusively devoted to bowel movements a box office success (think anything with Adam Sandler). But isn't Hollywood shooting its own Gucci-clad foot by awarding shows with accolades that bomb in the box office? All they are doing is encouraging the George Clooney to make more "Michael Claytons" and less "Ocean's Elevens."
So who are this year's true winners and losers?
Best Actor: Matt Damon, The Bourne Ultimatum
Playing a lawyer with a pang of conscience like Michael Clayton is easy. Try playing a government trained assassin with acute amnesia. Now that takes talent.
Best Supporting Actor:Bumblebee, Transformers
This role is a real challenge for any actor, let alone a sentient robot from outer space: make an audience care about you without saying a word. If anything, Bumblebee's inability to speak was his greatest asset as the dialogue given to the other Transformers read like a one act play from a geek convention.
Best Actress: Amy Adams, Enchanted
Amy Adams was to this movie what Jack Black was to "School of Rock". She took a thin, smarmy, unbelievable premise and for the fleetingest of moments, made us believe it. She narrowly beat out the fat chick from Hairspray, only because I do not know her name and I am too lazy to look it up. Laziness is of course is the number one qualification for being an actual voter in the Academy Awards. Maybe I should submit my resume.
Best Supporting Actress: AnnaSophia Robb, Bridge to Terabithia
She really only won this award because, given the rate Hollywood is eating up young stars, it is the last time we can mention her name without also saying "is pregnant", or "was recently released from re-hab" or "lost custody of her children to a part-time wannabe rapper ."
Best Fight Scene: The Bourne Ultimatum
It is hard to pick one scene in particular. Just press play at any moment in the movie and you are sure to either see him fighting, or running. Kind of like a night on the town with Colin Farrell.
Best Car Chase: Transformers
There really wasn't much competition. When the cars themselves can go from weaving in and out of traffic to punching each other on the side of a skyscraper, well, you can't really be beat can you?
Best Animated Film: Meet the Robinsons
The conventional wisdom says Ratatouille and to be sure I did like that movie a lot. But Meet the Robinsons did what the French rat couldn't: entertain my kids for a solid hour and a half. Seeing it in Digital 3D helped its case a great deal as well.
Best Film I Did NOT See: The Simpsons Movie
This is really just a recognition of the past body of work put out by this crew. Kind of like giving Dan Marino an honorary Super bowl Ring.
Best Movie to Watch A Second Time: Spiderman 3
I liked the third installment of the Spidey franchise when I first saw it; however I did not love it. After seeing it a second time, I was able to appreciate it more and get more out of it. Maybe I was just able to ignore MJ's whining and the weird "dark" Peter Parker sequences a little better.
Best Use of a Fat Suit: John Travolta, Hairspray
I still don't know why they chose John Travolta dressed in drag and clad in a fat suit to play the mother in this movie. Are there suddenly no fat women in Hollywood? Did Kathy Bates not return your calls? Regardless of the reason, John Travolta did a heck of a job. He made his love duet with Christopher Walken only kind-of creepy instead of really creepy like every other scene with Christopher Walken in any other movie.
Best Use of a Car as a Projectile Weapon: Live Free or Die Hard
Jason Bourne gave this movie a tough run for the money, but ultimately, seeing Bruce Willis launch a car out of a tunnel and into a low flying helicopter made my inner 10-year old boy squeal with a little too much delight. My one fear is that the success of this movie will lead to another film titled "Live Freer or Die Harderer." A little piece of me dies inside just thinking about it. Writing the title took two years off my life.
Best Picture: Transformers
Yes, I know this clearly makes me a charter member of the League of Extra Ordinary Dorks, but I loved this movie. Shia Labeuoghff (spelling?) does a great job selling the premise (seriously, the show is based off of a kids toy how believable could it get) without making it somber or wearisome. The cars were awesome and the action scenes were some of the best I have seen since the Matrix Trilogy. Whenever I feel lonely or blue, I just let my mind take me to a place where fighting robots battle it our over a one foot cube and destroy half of L.A in the process. Ahhhhhhhhhh….now if I could only get them to shut up.