Best Three – or four – of 2010

New Year’s Eve marks the end of another cinematic age. This year we saw the development of 3-D films, remarkable special effects, outstanding new actors, and more vampire on werewolf action.

I’d like to make my last post of 2010 about my three favorite films of the year. These films were outstanding and deserve recognition. Keep in mind I have not seen The King’s Speech, 127 Hours, Tangled, or The Town. Clearly I have a lot of work to do.

(Side note, I’ve just seen True Grit. I must say that it would make my list of favorites as well. Check out my review of it and definitely get out to see it. So good!)

Anyhow, here we go:

The Kids Are All Right

For those of you regarding The Kids Are All Right as one of the best movies of the year, I ask you one thing: why?

This movie had great potential to be very good, but the sexual content was just too much. We’ve got two mothers, Nic (Annette Bening) and Jules (Julianne Moore), who are raising two children. The wine guzzling Nic is rigid and appears angry much of the time. Jules is the exact opposite to an annoying degree. Jules has a bit of a hippie streak in her, man. While I usually find Julianne Moore to be quite charming, in this movie she was obnoxious.

Without any great successes, Jules decides to create a business. Nic is reluctantly supportive. The chemistry between the two is just not there in a believable way.

Their two children, Joni (Mia Wasikowska) and Laser (Josh Hutcherson), were achieved through artificial insemination. The two brooding teenagers decide that they need to find the sperm donor who created them, and do so. Donor Paul (Mark Ruffalo) comes into the picture. This quickly takes a disastrous turn.

As I said before, the idea of the movie is a good one. However, the blatant sexual display stomps out what could have been what director Lisa Cholodenko might have been going for. This movie borders on pornographic, people. There’s a way to work sex into a film that is tasteful, and this movie missed the mark on that. The difficulties of staying in love, having a successful marriage, and raising children are the message here, but appear to be muted by all of the s-e-x. I’m talking lots of sex here. While that might be motivation for some to see the film, for me it really put a damper on things.

The film tries to save itself at the end, but it just doesn’t get there. The Kids Are All Right might win a couple of awards because award show season takes all kinds. In the end, no performance was superb, the plot fell to the wayside, and it seemed disorganized. The kids are all wrong.

Did you know?

Two of the biggest movies of the year may have a common denominator. Black Swan star Natalie Portman was reportedly in contact with The Social Network screenwriter Aaron Sorkin about Harvard. Being one of the school’s most famous alums, Portman attended Harvard between 1999 and 2003. Though she says she did not know Zuckerberg, she does say that she dated a member of the Porcellian Club — one of the most prestigious final clubs around.

Rumor has it that Portman invited Sorkin over for dinner to let him in on the super exclusive and super secret final clubs and the general feel of Harvard life around the time Facebook was born. 

Portman also gets a tongue-in-cheek reference in The Social Network. One character says that Mark Zuckerberg became the hottest thing on a campus that included Nobel Laureates, Pulitzer Prize winners, future Olympians, and a movie star.

My Favorite Christmas Flicks

It’s Christmas Eve and this has always been a special day for me. My family meets every year on this date and we just enjoy being together. Good food, good family, good friends, and lots of love.

In honor of this special day, I wanted to post my favorite Christmas movies. Here are my top five. Click on each photo to see more and leave me a comment with your favorites! Merry Christmas! 

Most Menacing Meanies

Here are my five picks for most menacing movie villains. Please feel free to share your top five!

The role that earned Heath Ledger an Oscar was a most sinister portrayal of The Joker in The Dark Knight. Brilliant.

Leatherface wore three masks in the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre: the Killing mask, the Pretty Woman mask, and the Grandmother mask. Whatever mask he wore determined who he would be that day.

The Michael Myers mask was actually a William Shatner mask that was spray-painted white. Captain’s log… yikes!

It’s hard to imagine that the same little girl who voiced the adorable Lilo of Lilo & Stitch played Samara Morgan. Daveigh Chase was frightening as the girl who crawls out of the television and literally scares her victims to death.

Javier Bardem and his bowl cut brought psycho killer Anton Chigurh to life. He was ruthless and crazy to boot! Call it, friendo.


Listed below are my picks for most menacing monsters. Check ’em
and share yours! 

Forget hunk-a-licious Robert Pattinson, Max Schreck is the king of movie vampires. Nosferatu is an oldie but a goodie.

Fauno of Pan’s Labyrinth is the stuff that nightmares are made of. Don’t eat the grapes!

Jaws put fear into the hearts of swimmers everywhere after it hit theaters. To this day I still hear that theme in my head when I’m in the water. Dun-dun-dun-dun-dun-dun…

Born with a taste for man flesh, these guys are lean, mean, killing machines. Now, find the halflings!

I wouldn’t want to run into this guy in a dark alley. Just sayin’.

Did you know?

In Planes, Trains, and Automobiles – one of my favorite holiday films – the house that was used as Neal’s was actually located in Kenilworth. The house that was used in Home Alone is in Winnetka. They are very close to each other near the city of Chicago. Director John Hughes filmed in Chicago quite often. This became a bit of a Hughes trademark.

I love me some Chicago. Love John Hughes, too.

An Oscar prediction…

Best picture – I have a sneaking suspicion that Oscar nominees will include but will not be limited to:

Black Swan
The Social Network
The King’s Speech
True Grit
The Fighter
127 Hours (Still on the fence about this one. Have to see it)
Toy Story 3
The Kids Are All Right

I think that Black Swan will win it. I’ve reached this decision based on the fact that Black Swan has all the components of a best picture winner and then some. Aronofsky went out on a limb and created something truly unique and provocative.

While the other films will give it a run for its money, Black Swan will reign victorious.

Please feel free to share your own predictions for the Oscars here.