Friday, February 25, 2011

The 2010 Freddiez

Due to the fact that the Oscars are this Sunday, and due to my disgust at the 3rd rate celebrity circus known as the “Golden Globes,” who have decided to conduct themselves with the same integrity and artistic insight as a middle school talent show, I have determined that it is necessary for me to offer my own series of awards. This will both educate the masses on the films of 2010 worth buying, renting, or burning, and will offer recognition for the merits of actors and filmmakers who have been overlooked.

The awards are called “The Freddiez,” named for one of cinema’s most celebrated thespians. Throughout his career, he has been captivating audiences with characters crafted from the depths of his own internal vision. Never afraid to burst through the boundaries of cinema, he has simultaneously wrought forth a new age of motion picture, illuminated an acting world that had long since been darkened, and offered a voice to a generation. The man of whom I speak is, of course, Freddie Prinze Jr.

Each award will have a list of nominees, followed by the winner, followed by a brief and/or extremely verbose explanation of the choices. A lack of corporate endorsements has put the budget at $2.75, which was spent on a Hurricane 40, so the ceremony unfortunately will not be televised, or held. However, that doesn’t make The Freddiez any less legitimate. As the late Barney the Dinosaur once said in his magnum opus Barney and the Queen of Make Believe, “It’s always fun when you pretend.” So without further ado, let us proceed to the first category!

For achievement in beating a dead horse

Toy Story 3
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
The A-Team
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse

AND THE FREDDIE GOES TO… Harry Potter 7! Although Toy Story 3 was a better movie, I feel that Harry Potter 7 more fit the category of “best sequel,” due to the extreme improvement upon the previous Harry Potter installation, which was laughably bad. While Harry Potter 6 was immature, inane, and often ridiculous, Harry Potter 7 was a thoughtful and serious portrayal of three teenagers who must abandon their school and homes to engage in the war against evil.

For achievement in girly stuff

Easy A
Morning Glory
Dear John

AND THE FREDDIE GOES TO… Easy A! A high school comedy with a female protagonist that isn’t about going for the quarterback and realizing that the quirky best friend has been the right man all along? That alone is enough to make Easy A the winner, and the fact that Emma Stone is one of the best comedic actresses of today doesn’t hurt. Fun fact: I was the main character for Halloween this year.

For achievement in making romance seem fun/comedic

Going the Distance

AND THE FREDDIE GOES TO… Going the Distance! That’s right, there was only one good romantic comedy this entire year. In my opinion it’s the only good romantic comedy ever. For one thing, it’s actually comedic, and for another thing, it’s about an actual romance. Most romantic comedies feature a lead character and a “love interest,” but this one has two lead characters, each with their own plot line, development, and series of jokes. It’s original and believable, and Drew Barrymore and Justin Long have awesome chemistry. I bought this movie and encourage everyone else to buy it, too, because we need more movies like this.

For achievement in negating strides in feminism

She’s Out of My League
Leap Year
No Strings Attached
How Do You Know

AND THE FREDDIE GOES TO… Leap Year! While you may have read my review of No Strings Attached and assumed that it was the most anti-feminist movie of the year, you will be dazzled and amazed by the lack of progressive thought that occurs in the film Leap Year. This movie is about a woman who flies to Ireland so that she can propose to her boyfriend on February 29th, because traditionally women can only propose during Leap Year, and only on Leap Day. She meets a local Irish hottie along the way, and after a series of “hilarious” pratfalls, falls madly in love with him. As her journey finally comes to a close, she dumps her long time boyfriend over a miscommunication and immediately scampers off with her new man. The End!

For achievement in the warm and/or fuzzy arts

Morning Glory
Ramona and Beezus
How to Train Your Dragon

AND THE FREDDIE GOES TO… How to Train Your Dragon! This is a really good “coming of age/boy and his dog” movie, except the dog is a dragon. The boy is funny and likable, the dragon is adorable, and the classic “don’t judge a book by its cover” message never feels forced or preachy. Watching it is the equivalent of eating an ice cream sundae on the porch on a warm night. You can’t leave this movie in a bad mood, it’s downright heartwarming. (Spoiler Alert: Don’t worry, Nicki, the dragon doesn’t die in the end.)

For achievement in embarrassing public crying

For Colored Girls
8: The Mormon Proposition
Waiting for Superman
Remember Me

AND THE FREDDIE GOES TO… Waiting for Superman! This is a documentary about the poor quality of education in America, and the hardships facing impoverished youth. If the last category was like eating an ice cream sundae on a warm night, then this category is like seeing someone else drop an ice cream sundae on the sidewalk, and then end up in prison because they don’t know how to read. They offer a lot of shocking interviews and statistics, like that only 12% of kids in Washington DC are proficient in reading. It’s pretty informative, and I think I learned a lot about the education system – but prepare yourself, because the ending is rough. In fact it might even be good to watch How to Train Your Dragon after this to recover. However, I still recommend it, especially for people who like documentaries, or are interested in education.

For achievement in lolz

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
The Other Guys
Get Him to the Greek

AND THE FREDDIE GOES TO… Scott Pilgrim vs. the World! This is just straight up an awesome movie. It stars some of my favorite people, such as Michael Cera (Superbad/Arrested Development), Anna Kendrick (Twilight/Up in the Air), and even everyone’s favorite hottie Kieran Culkin! I went into it fearful it would be another misfire by Michael Cera, (Year One?) and ended up buying the collector’s edition blu-ray at full price. I watch it all the time, and it just gets funnier with each viewing. The premise is that Michael Cera has met the girl of his dreams, but can’t date her until he’s defeated all of her seven “evil exes.” He heroically embarks on an adventure to win her love, all the while dodging such roadblocks as his own celebrity ex-girlfriend, his band’s budding career, and a teenage stalker. It’s amazing, and absolutely everyone should see it.


So, I decided that instead of just deeming one movie “Best Picture,” the Freddiez would take the Olypmics and/or Science Fair approach, and award a bronze, silver, and gold to the three best movies of the year. We will also tack on an Honorable Mention for good measure.


And the Freddie goes to… Blue Valentine! Another movie about a marriage gone wrong. The themes in this movie are really similar to those present in an actual Oscar nominated film The Kids Are All Right, (both center around an ambitious and industrious doctor who is married to a more sensitive free spirit) but personally I thought Blue Valentine was a better portrayal, mostly due to the leads Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling. The only qualm I had was the fuzzy sense of time (it takes place in the year 2000, but I spent the first half thinking it was the 1970s.)


And the Freddie goes to… Inception! Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tom Hardy, Ellen Page, and Christopher Nolan? How could this movie be bad? (It can’t. And it wasn’t.) You should see it just to join in on the arguments about what the ending means. PS I saw this with my dad and his opinion was "I don't even know what the heck it's about."


And the Freddie goes to… Black Swan! Don’t let people tell you this is a movie about a psycho lesbian. Yeah, it has a lesbian scene, but it’s not the focus of the movie and if you actually watch it you’ll see why they included it. This is a movie about expectations, and what happened to one girl when she couldn’t meet them. Natalie Portman is actually amazing, you will never believe you're looking at the same actress who fritters around the screen making lame menstruation jokes in No Strings Attached.


And the Freddie goes to… The Social Network! This is easily the best movie of the year. I've seen it three times, and every time I get something different out of it. It's not just about Facebook, it's about success, fitting in, living in our times, what it means to be happy, etc etc. I read a review that said it's The Graduate of the new millennium and I totally agree. Andrew Garfield is AMAZING as Mark Zuckerberg's best friend Eduardo, and it's complete bullshit he didn't get nominated for Best Supporting Actor. Justin Timberlake is also amazing in his role as the founder of Napster. Just go buy it. Don't Netflix it, three days is too long to wait.

Well, that wraps up this year's Freddiez. I've already got my Oscars drinking game planned out, so be on the lookout for an extremely joyous and/or enraged post this Sunday on the results!

Thursday, February 3, 2011


This is a movie about the poem “Howl” by Allen Ginsberg. It’s pretty much a rundown of Allen Ginsberg’s life, (he’s played by the sexy James Franco) with some animated sequences depicting passages from “Howl.” It also has a plotline about an obscenity trial against the poem’s publisher.

The best scenes in the movie are definitely the ones depicting Allen Ginsberg’s life. James Franco totally nails it, of course, and looks pretty good with a beard and hipster glasses. Speaking of hipsters, until I saw this, I didn’t realize hipsters existed in the fifties. I definitely thought this was their first time around. Anyway, I actually didn’t like Allen Ginsberg prior to seeing this film. He seemed pretentious, self-righteous, and a tad judgmental, and I always had a creeping suspicion that he was a douche. However, after learning more about his life, (like that whole ‘mother was killed in a mental asylum’ thing), I have a greater fondness for him. I didn’t even know that he was homosexual, but that’s probably due to a lack of attentiveness during 11th grade English.

On the other hand, the animated parts are not good at all. It’s a lot of stilted, dated looking computer animation, and it’s really distracting. It’s unfortunate that they chose to focus on naked human figures, because they end up looking weird and unrealistic. The first time they came on screen, I was hoping it was a one time experiment by the art department, but it persists for the entire movie. The upside is that these segments provide an ideal opportunity to run to the bathroom.

The final aspect of the movie is the obscenity trial, and while it remains pretty bland, it does point out some interesting questions about literary merit. A key problem with the trial is that it doesn’t maintain any tension – the audience already knows that “Howl” goes on to critical praise. And while you can make the argument that the audience will always know the ending with a historical story, I would like to mention that everyone knows what happened to the Titanic and everyone knows what happened to Facebook, and both inspired excellent movies. The issue never seems compelling – the judge is on Ginsberg’s side from the start, and the opposing lawyer is an absolute idiot. I was never really clear on what the consequences of losing the trial would be. I assumed that the poem would be removed from circulation, but it had already been released prior to the trial, and its not like the police were going to take battering rams to all the San Francisco studio apartments and search for it, so the whole thing seemed kind of moot.

All in all, this is your average good movie. It’s probably worth seeing if you’re an Allen Ginsberg and/or James Franco fan, but if you have no interest in either, then you’re better off with something else.

Hottiez 4/5 Did you see the part where it stars James Franco?
Ability to make me hate Allen Ginsberg less 5/5 I don't hate him at all anymore!
Animation 0/5 I think they were on the same peyote Ginsberg took when they decided to use computer animated corpse monsters to re-enact the poem