Sunday, December 06, 2009

Trying to Find a "Best of" in a Crummy Year of Movie Releases

December is an uncommonly busy time of year for me. Like most people I fret over Christmas and try to get the perfect gifts for my kids while trying not to leave my December born son feeling as if he has been forgotten in the Christmas rush. Being a blogger who focuses primarily on topics related to entertainment I also run across lots of "best of" lists on my favorite blogs and realize that if I wanted to, I could come up with my own list if I could find the time. But this year time isn't the main the main problem. No. The conundrum is that in trying to compose a list of that includes movies, the pickings are very, very slim. I thought this year was going to be good. I had a new Terminator to look forward to-- starring Christian Bale no less. And my favorite hunk Hugh Jackman had his own vehicle featuring his signature character Wolverine. Oh happy days! There was a "Transformers" sequel sure to appeal to my Transformer-mad son and re-imaginings of "G.I. Joe" and "Star Trek." That's a lot of sci-fi happiness for a fan of the genre. What could go wrong? Oh yeah. Most of them sucked. I didn't have time to see everything that might have interested me this year. But at the same time, there were a few I had absolutely planned on seeing but skipped once they were generally panned. I don't like wasting money on a movie I know I'm not going to enjoy. The movie that stands out to me as the biggest disappointment, the one I was absolutely going to see, but didn't, was "Terminator Salvation." I had had some misgivings when it was announced that McG (what a ridiculous name) was going to be directing the movie. Anyone who passes such drek as "Charlie's Angels" off on an unsuspecting public deserves to be met with immediate suspicion. The movie starred Christian Bale, and tantrums notwithstanding, he's a good actor and I've really enjoyed him as Batman in Christopher Nolan's wonderful movies. But once the reviews hit, and sites like Rotten Tomatoes gave the movie a 32% positive rating, I knew that this was a movie that would be a rental viewing. At best. Cross this one off the "best of" list. Yet, there's always Wolverine, right? The earlier "X-Men" movies were pretty good. Well, if you ignore the third one. But still, this is Wolverine we're talking about so it's gotta be good... Well, not so much. The thing is, the movie didn't have to suck and it wasn't all horrible. Hugh Jackman was reliably hunky and Liev Schreiber was a menacingly good Sabretooth. But oh the CGI. How can a big budget film have such unconvincing CGI? It wasn't a matter of too much (though that is always an issue) as much as what it had was poorly done. Add to that a haphazard script and a rushed feeling to the production and you end up with a general feeling of disappointment. There goes another one off the list. Okay then. There's always the silly action of "Transformers." I can watch this one with my kids. It's good family fun! Oh.... hell. This one turned out to be a Michael Bay disaster of epic proportions. One of the dumbest scripts ever with content sure to tick off every parent who thought they were taking their kid to a harmless movie featuring their favorite toy. This movie was literally criminally bad. I thought it couldn't get any worse until... I tried to watch "G.I. Joe." I almost don't have the heart to talk about "G.I. Joe." Horrible. Bad acting, script... Do me a favor. Don't ever try to watch this movie. Not everything sucked this year, but it wasn't a year that broke any ground. I liked "Star Trek," better than some bloggers who have commented on the movie, but it sure as heck wasn't "The Dark Knight." Truth be told I think the best movie I've seen all year was "Up." I hear "Zombieland" and "District 9" were good-- though I don't know if they can make up for all the bad, bad acting I've sat through this year. Maybe 2009 can still redeem itself. "Sherlock Holmes" comes out Christmas day and while it may not be an entirely accurate version of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's classic, it looks like it has potential to be worth watching. On the other hand, "Avatar" may put the nail in the coffin of a seriously mediocre year in film. Maybe next year will be better, but this year, I'm not even trying to make a list.

6 comments:

Sci-Fi Gene said...

Zombieland and District 9 - and don't forget Moon - may well make up for all the pain you've forced yourself to endure this year. Me, I'll give Avatar and Sherlock Holmes a sporting chance - how bad can they be?

S.M.D. said...

The good news, though, is that at least SF is kicking ass in the box office while everyone else is claiming the genre is dying. All we need to do is turn high-selling craptacular films like Wolverine into wonderful exemplars of the genre!

Charles Gramlich said...

Yeah, come to think of it, I didn't seen anything this year that wowed me. hum, I still haven't seen terminator salvation.

SQT said...

Sci-Fi Gene-- I haven't even heard about "Moon." Is that primarily a UK release? I'll have to look into it.

Shaun-- the year of the "Dark Knight" and "Iron Man" was a real high point IMO. This next year has real potential with "Daybreakers" "Wolfman" and "Iron Man 2." There's probably other ones coming, but that's all I have off the top of my head.

Charles-- it didn't really hit me until I tried to think of something I'd put on a "best of" list and realized there wasn't really anything there.

Sci-Fi Gene said...

Moon directed by Duncan Jones, starring Sam Rockwell and Kevin Spacey. Apparently there was only a limited US release - your loss! but look on the bright side, at least you got Revenge Of The Fallen...

SQT said...

Sci-Fi Gene-- Now that's just cruel. ;)