Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Fall Blahs

Whenever I do my annual Diva Cup Awards and start figuring out my Top 10 list, I always tend to throw in one or two crowd-pleasing comedies along with the usual list of hot Oscar films or great ones that should have been nominated. In 2002, I included My Big Fat Greek Wedding; In 2003, it was Bad Santa and The School of Rock; 2004 saw Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story make my list; 2005 is perhaps my most infamous because I placed the J. Lo-Jane Fonda comedy Monster in Law at #2 over The Constant Gardener, Mysterious Skin and Grizzly Man; 2006 has been the only year where my silliest choice, Borat, was also picked by many other critics.

2007, on the other hand, has me kind of worried, because a lot of my Top 10, so far, is mostly filled with the crowd-pleasers, while the serious Oscar fare is falling behind. If I had to pick a Top 10 right now, here's what it would look like:

1. Hairspray
Hot Fuzz
3. The Bourne Ultimatum
4. Paprika
5. Zodiac
6. Knocked Up
7. Gone Baby Gone
9. Talk to Me
10. Michael Clayton

See what I mean? And it's not like I haven't seen any of the "good" films yet this year. In fact, it's quite the opposite: I've seen more films from this year at this point than in any other year. It's just that what I've seen hasn't excited me in the ways my Top 10 has. American Gangster was a good film, but nothing we haven't seen before (my rant here); I generally liked Into the Wild, and the ending was fabulous, but I couldn't get over the fact what a whiny, spoiled brat the main character was and how much more interesting it would have been if, in my opinion, we followed it from the perspective of his parents; Once had decent enough music, but it was a flimsy film at best with no structure, nothing interesting to say and a sadistic pleasure in killing any chances of dramatic tension (my rant on Once here); Both Rendition and Across the Universe were painful to sit through (my rants here); Even films I genuinely liked, such as Gone Baby Gone, Michael Clayton and Eastern Promises were missing a little something that prevented them from being rated higher.

So what am I hoping for? A good, solid drama that will knock the socks off me and make me believe in the Oscar season again. Hopefully, with
No Country For Old Men and Atonement coming out soon, one of them will be that film.


Rural Juror said...

I wouldn't call Monster-in-Law a crowd pleaser


James Henry said...

It may not have been a critical success, but I wouldn't exactly call it a failure though, either. It made nearly $83 million at the box office from a budget of $43 million. People obviously went to it.

Rural Juror said...

But did anyone LIKE it?

James Henry said...

I don't know about everyone else, but in my corner of the world, I saw it in theaters twice with three of my friends and they all loved it. I showed it to a couple other good friends when it came out on DVD and they liked it. My mother and I watched it and she enjoyed it (mostly because it reminded her of her mother in law). And even when I showed it to some college friends last year they were laughing just as hard as I was.

It may not have been a "crowd-pleaser" per se on par with POTC and Spider-man, but it was a silly comedy with, admittedly, no real "cinematic" value. Its sort of the same feeling one gets with watching "Mommie Dearest": you know it's a horrible movie but you can't help yourself from laughing your ass off whenever you see it.