There Will Be Judd
Let Paul Thomas Anderson and Daniel Day-Lewis Have The Oscars--One Writer/Director/Producer/Smirker Will Settle For Everything Else
Fact: 2007 was a great year for movies. It was such a good year, even the Oscars couldn't mess it up that bad with its nominees. Yes, as with every year there's ample room for armchair head-scratching-- nothing for Frank Langella's performance in Starting Out in the Evening? Both Rescue Dawn and Zodiac completely shut out?--but for the most part this Sunday night's Oscar telecast (welcome back, WGA writers) showcases some of the best performers, filmmakers, and filmmaking professionals that cranked out the big-screen entertainment last year.
But only one thing really made 2007 a great year for movies--and that's Seth Rogen's bottom. You know you're living during a great time for movies when a 25-year-old Canadian Jew can become a summer comedy leading man, a role typically reserved for an inevitably shirtless Matthew McConaughey. And while Rogen's slacker-to-kinda/sorta-adult transformation in Knocked Up didn't really sell the idea that Katherine Heigl would agree to both bear his child and raise it with him, it's a testament to the sort of comedy magic that writer/director/producer Judd Apatow stirs up that you didn't think about it too much until the credits rolled.
Apatow just had that kind of year. From getting the New York Times Sunday magazine cover-story treatment to winning healthy box-office for Knocked Up and shepherding the smaller comedies Superbad and Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, Apatow has emerged a bankable Hollywood player. No idea if these modest achievements are going to land him a place in any Hollywood power lists, but we're certainly looking forward to his next projects You Don't Mess With Zohan and Pineapple Express.
Of course, these movies are obviously catering to the schlubby guy demographic, and the movies were as myopically male and passively misogynistic as schlubby guys tend to be. We're hoping that eventually we'll get to see the movie that lets America Ferrera end up with cute, All-American boy--who has to jump through maturity's hoops to earn her respect and love--sometime in the near future. In the meantime, this year's Alties were determined by ballots from Lee Gardner, Violet Glaze, Bret McCabe, and Wendy Ward.
Best Sci-Fi/Horror/Fantasy Film: The Host.
Best Comedy: Superbad. Gardner: "I actually didn't laugh that much at most of it, but the drawing dicks thing more than made up."
Best Western: 3:10 to Yuma. Ward: "Made me cry, and I don't like Westerns."
Best Picture That Made No Sense But Was Good Anyway: I'm Not There.
Best Guilty Pleasure: The Kingdom. "Gardner: From Great White Hype on, Peter Berg's involvement is becoming a hallmark of movies you're gonna be embarrassed to thoroughly enjoy."
Best Kids Movie: Ratatouille.
Best Documentary: Zoo.
Best Documentary That People Actually Saw: Sicko.
Best Documentary About Something You Knew Nothing About: Deep Water.
Best Fashion Shoot: Angel-A.
Man, That Was Ugly: Love in the Time of Cholera.
Best Moll and Chain: Black Snake Moan.
Just Grow Up Already: Wes Anderson, The Darjeeling Limited.
Best West Wing episode: Charlie Wilson's War.
Best Trailer: Machete.
Best Phallic Metaphor: Shooter.
Best Reason Not to Breed: Joshua.
Best Ensemble: Jake Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo, Anthony Edwards, Robert Downey Jr., Brian Cox, Chloë Sevigny, Elias Koteas, Dermot Mulroney, Donal Logue, Philip Baker Hall, Adam Goldberg, James LeGros, et al., Zodiac.
Best Ensemble Desserts: Waitress.
Best What-He-Always-Does: Robert Downey Jr. as an iconoclastic, talented, and self-destructive druggie, Zodiac.
Best What-He-Never-Does: Robert DeNiro as a mincing drag aficionado, Stardust.
Best On-Screen Freakiness: Christian Bale skinning a live snake with his teeth and biting into the still-wriggling flesh, Rescue Dawn.
Best Graceful Aging On-Screen: 49-year-old Viggo Mortenson, without an ounce of jiggly geriatric flesh on his rawhide-tight frame, taking down all comers in the Turkish bath, Eastern Promises.
Best Ungraceful Aging On-Screen: A frighteningly craggy Rowan Atkinson (and all his old man nose hairs) in close-up after close-up, Mr. Bean's Holiday.
Best Performance by an Artificial Life Form Urinating On a Human Being: Transformers.
Best Unnecessarily Annoying Voice: Dustin Hoffman, Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium. Ward: "He sounds like a special needs DJ with marbles in his mouth and an autistic vocabulary."
Best Shitheel: South Floridian Nick Cave-lookalike/will-to-power video-game dude Billy Mitchell, The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters.
Best Moustache: Titus Welliver, Gone Baby Gone. McCabe: "It looked liked somebody glued a stuffed animal to his face."
Best Knife Moves: Jennifer Garner getting stabby on a Saudi hulk who keeps trying to jam her through various walls, The Kingdom.
Best Car Chase: Robert Duvall takes a slug to the neck while driving through a visibility impairing rainstorm, We Own the Night.
Best Green Silk Dress: The lovely backless number only Keira Knightly with her breast buds and diamond cuffs could pull off, Atonement.
Best Overblown Erotic Hype: Lust, Caution.
Best Gratuitous Nudity: Ashley Judd, Bug.
Best Gratuitous Gratuitousness: A nude Heather Matarazzo hoisted upside down, gagged, and scythed so that a nude woman can wallow in her falling blood, Hostel: Part II.
Best Reason to Join a Gym: 300.
Best Dad and Stepmom, Ever: J.K Simmons and Allison Janney, Juno. Ward: "Oz guy gets soft and Janney brings the tough loyalty and leave-you-alone indifference of the perfect stepmom to a teenage girl, knocked-up or not. Together they make solid, funny, and forgivably imperfect parental units for a girl beyond her years yet still without hips."
Best Teenage Moment That Got It Wrong: Juno's maternity clothing conundrum solved by adding just a little elastic to the waistband of her wetsuit-tight hipster jeans.
The Monica Potter/Julia Roberts and Skeet Ulrich/Johnny Depp award for letting a slight resemblance to a better performer do all the work: Ellen Page, who rode Linda Cardellini's sparkplug moxie and inescapable cuteness to a Best Actress nomination, Juno.
Best Pre-party Prep: The opening scene of Broken English, when Parker Posey gets herself pretty and drinks a lot of wine before leaving her apartment for a married friend's party. Ward: "So tragically realistic it gives you red wine tongue."
Best Complete Waste of Talent: Clive Owen, Paul Giamatti, and Monica Bellucci, Shoot 'Em Up.
Best Complete Waste of Time: Hairspray.
The Philip Johnson Memorial Award for Cinema That Makes You Want to Have a Big Yard Sale and Get Rid of All Your Ugly Crap: Helvetica.
Best Madonna: The voice of Princess Selenia, Arthur and the Invisibles. Ward: "The Princess Selenia is Invisible royalty and Madge is, well, queen of the dance floor, so we're sensing a little method acting here."
Best Heinous Topicality: The superfecta of ass that was Hollywood confronting Iraq with Rendition, Lions for Lambs, Redacted, and the absolutely insulting In the Valley of Elah.
Emerging Narradores (10/8/2008)
Filmmakers Turn Lens On Baltimore's Growing Latino Population
The Whole World Is Watching (6/18/2008)
...But What Are They Seeing Now That Digital Video Has Become as Unreliable a Narrator as Celluloid
Men At Work (5/28/2008)
African-American Male Exotic Dancers Protect Their Rights in Don't Hate: Strippers Fight The Government
812 Park Ave.
Baltimore, MD 21201