• ONLY MOVIE I COULDN’T FINISH IT WAS SO BAD
This egregiously awful “romantic comedy” got an extremely limited release in 2010 before being dumped on DVD, and boy howdy is it a stinker. It’s Big Chill meets My Best Friend’s Wedding, all starring entitled rich 30-somethings. See, Katie Holmes used to date Josh Duhamel in college—he “inspired” her even!—but now he’s marrying her ex-best friend Anna Paquin. During the wedding weekend at the bride’s precious family estate in the Hamptons, she tries to break them up. When the most likable character is a registered sex offender (Elijah Wood), your movie has big problems. These problems were so bad, I gave up on it about 30 minutes in, the first time I’ve done that since Lars and the Real Girl.
• BEST CANINE PERFORMANCE
Uggie, The Artist
So I actually do like the Artist, though the deafening praise for this silent movie is over the top. Jean Dujardin and Berenice Bejo are on their way to Oscar nominations, but they both got upstaged by Uggie, an expressive Jack Russell terrier that saves Dujardin’s life in the film. No disrespect to the other fine actors on screen (including John Goodman and James Cromwell), but this pooch deserves the accolades more.
• BEST GUILTY PLEASURE
Drive Angry 3D
Much like last year’s Piranha, Drive Angry exploits the medium for full effect. Plus, this is more of the kind of fun-bad movie I want Nicolas Cage to take part in, instead of bad-bad trash like Season of the Witch. Here, he breaks out of Hell to save his infant granddaughter, with a hilarious William Fichtner hot on his trail. It’s sleazy, violent and hilarious.
• ONLY MOVIE I TURNED DOWN REVIEWING
The Human Centipede 2 (Full Sequence)
When you’re trying to make it as a critic, you try to take every opportunity to get your name out there possible. But you have to draw the line somewhere, and I couldn’t bring myself to have to sit through the vile sequel to last year’s Human Centipede. Judging by the critical consensus, it looks like I didn’t miss anything other than years of therapy.
• PRIME VINTAGE AWARD – IT WAS A VERY GOOD YEAR
Comic book movies
Aside from Green Lantern and Dylan Dog (which I never saw), it seems we had our best year ever for comic book movies, with good to great deliveries from Thor, X-Men: First Class and Captain America. Next year could be even better.
• MOST UNFAIRLY MALIGNED
30 Minutes or Less
I’ll never understand why the tide was so strong against Ruben Fleischer’s hilarious follow-up to Zombieland. Sure, it doesn’t have the heart and cleverness of that film, but 30 Minutes or Less makes up for it with chemistry between its two pairings, both frighteningly inept (Danny McBride and Nick Swardson) and slightly more capable (Jesse Eisenberg and Aziz Ansari), as well as inspired lunacy.
• BEST RAUNCH-FEST
No disrespect to Bridesmaids (though any time I read the word “depth” or “feminist” associated with its many year-end praises, I have to throw up my hands), but the year’s best R-rated comedy was one almost no one saw. A hit at Sundance, Cedar Rapids opened in limited release in February, but got almost zero buzz. That’s a shame, because you probably missed out on serious laughs and genuine sweetness. It’s now on video, so go out and find it. It’s “super awesome.”
• BEST BLURB, PRESENTED WITHOUT COMMENT
Roger Ebert, Monte Carlo – “This is the kind of movie that can briefly hold the attention of a cat.”
• BEST ROCK DOC (tie)
INNI / From the Sky Down
For engaging performances, it doesn’t get better than INNI, which overwhelms the viewer as Sigur Rós puts on an incredible show in stunning black and white. But if you want insight into a band’s creative process, you must check out U2’s From the Sky Down, which sees the band returning to Hansa studios for the first time since recording Achtung Baby (their best album, in my opinion) nearly two decades prior.
• BEST MOVIE SONG
“Life’s a Happy Song” from The Muppets
Properly condenses all the film’s exuberance into a few joyous minutes.