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2004 Roundup
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2006 Bellview Awards, Part II

1/2/07

Folks--

Let’s keep ridin’ it! 


Biggest Fucking Piece of Shit--"Underworld: Evolution"

There were many underperformers this year, but the first Hard Vice film I saw this year ended up being the worst--the sequel to the mildly-awful "Underworld" featured some of the worst action sequences ever, a sex scene so bad I KNOW that cast and crew members laughed about that scene over beers at craft services the next morning, and an ending that led to multiple uses of the f-bomb after I left the theater.  "Underworld: Evolution" also lends more credence to the fact that you should never go see movies where a husband (Len Wiseman) is directing his wife (Kate Beckinsale).  Further, you should NEVER advertise a new film (like the new one coming soon, "Blood and Chocolate") by saying "from the makers of 'Underworld.'"

 

Most Overrated Flick--"Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby"

Don't get me wrong--I did laugh, often, during "Talladega Nights."  And, as my friend Katey Dietz pointed out, for many of the bits, you have to be a NASCAR fan to get some of the humor being poked at NASCAR fan circuits.  But, I know from reading reviews and talking to people that a lot of folks thought this shit was a wet pile of gold, and that's where I take issue.  I watched this again on my trip to Africa and I must say--much like I thought when I first saw the film--that it doesn't hold as well as Will Ferrell's other big comedy hits because it's just funny, not exactly running hilarity.  And, the other big thing--"Talladega Nights" really doesn't have a home run ball, an electrifying balls-out sequence that everyone thinks is the funniest thing ever.  Certainly nothing like the jazz flute scene from "Anchorman", still one of the funniest ten scenes of this decade.  Close second here is "V for Vendetta", but I could imagine this one getting better as it ages, which I can't say for "Talladega Nights."

 

Most Disappointing Flick (tie)--"Idlewild" and "A Scanner Darkly"

If you told me that OutKast was going to make a blowout Prohibition-era musical with every famous black person available and set it to an original soundtrack, I would respond that there's no way that it would suck...but, "Idlewild" severely underachieved, especially given the creativity and depth of the hip-hop/R&B duo's albums.  And, it wasn't even like they tried to make a domestic comedy or a sci-fi action epic...it was musicians making a musical!!  In the case of "A Scanner Darkly", I thought after seeing the trailer and the pedigree there was simply no way it wouldn't rule...and, then, it didn't.  The star actors read their lines quite well, but the film's subject becomes a very un-sci-fi look at life in the near future, and save for the film's only great idea, the "scramble suit", "A Scanner Darkly" is surprisingly ordinary.  In the cases of both films, I blame myself for building them up, but still, very disappointing.

 

Biggest Surprise Flick--"Brick"

There were other movies I considered here; "The Departed" was great but after seeing the original script taken from "Infernal Affairs", I was doubly impressed that Scorsese pulled it all off...also, even with the acting pedigree from "The Lost City", Andy Garcia hit a home run with his Cuban indie flick thanks to an all-around stellar film experience.  But, "Brick"--a murder mystery set in high school with a script that was pulled right out of a pulpy 1940s-style noir--just left me stunned, because from the jump you just can't figure out what would make anyone think this would work...and then, it does!  "Brick" is one of those rare films that everyone who's seen it talks about but the masses never get (think "Memento"); if you ever add it to your Netflix queue, you'll be glad you did.

 

The 20 Best Movie Moments of the Year:

A “movie moment” is essentially when you have a scene where everyone in the audience seems to have the same reaction—maybe it’s a big laugh, or an awe-inspiring stunt, or a moment where everyone in the audience, even “that guy that never cries”, cries.  Two recent examples:  maybe the most famous line about wine in the history of the movies from "Sideways" ("I'm not drinking any fucking merlot!"), or the best moment from 2004, the bag of weed dream sequence from "Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle."  And now, this year's list...

20--"The Science of Sleep":  When Stephane and Stephanie get chased down by the cops in the dream sequence, ending with Stephane driving his cardboard car into a wall.  Until the last five minutes of this movie, nearly everything about it is great

19--"Silent Hill":  When Anna (Tanya Allen) gets her skin ripped off by Pyramid Head.  Whoa!

18--"The Pink Panther":  Clouseau's English lessons, where he attempts to pronounce the word "hamburger".  Shitastic movie made slightly palatable by Steve Martin at his best.

17--"The Protector":  The end fight scene/limb-breaking sequence.  Tony Jaa is a nasty-looking muthafucka, but he sure can perform a fight scene.

16--"Rocky Balboa":  The training sequence.  As bad as it is for sixty minutes, the second "Rocky Balboa" gets to what we all came out for in the first place, the skin has a genuine tingle to it

15--"American Dreamz":  "IT'S JUST A BASS LINE!!!"  Watching Iqbal (Tony Yalda), Omer's vamping dance choreographer, try to teach Omer how to shake it is some great comedy...

14--"Miami Vice":  The Crockett-takes-the-broad-to-Havana-by-Go-Fast-Boat number.  Many other men mentioned this scene to me, too...just the idea of having a boat and a sat phone turns me on now

13--"Date Movie":  When the black stuntman takes over for Julia (Alyson Hannigan, who is a white woman) during a staged shot near the end of the film.  Still don't know if this gag was intentional or not, but it IS hilarious...too bad the majority of the movie was not

12--"Lonesome Jim"--Evil: "How's that weed?"  Jim: "Strong, man!"  Evil: "Yeah...I put some crack in it!"  This movie had some good laughs in it, but since I'm the only guy that saw it, maybe more folks will add this one to the queue

11--"Scary Movie 4":  CatBoy's dialogue with Cindy (Anna Faris) using only Japanese companies.  Again, really shitty movie, but this one scene is worth seeing again

10--"Crank":  The sex scene.  Just trust me on this, great stuff!

9--"Babel":  When Cheiko (Rinko Kikuchi) goes to the nightclub, and "September" is playing, and she finds disappointment with a potential boyfriend she has just met.  It all hits you like a brick what it must be like to go dancing when you are deaf.

8--"Nacho Libre":  When Nacho sings the song, "Encarnacion", before his final wrestling match.  In an already-funny film, the lyrics of this number literally brought the house down in my audience

7--"Casino Royale": The "free-running" action sequence where Bond (Daniel Craig) goes after a bad guy by chasing him all over creation.  These kinds of action sequences are popping up more and more in films, but this one is top-notch

6--"Little Miss Sunshine":  There were many to choose from, but from a dialogue perspective, it's tough to beat the following exchange near the end:  "Where's your grandpa?"..."In the trunk of our car!"

5--"Snakes on a Plane": "I am sick of these MUTHAFUCKIN' snakes on this MUTHAFUCKIN' plane!!!"

4--"Caché":  The suicide scene.  Man, there were a lot of bloody shockers this year!

3--"Borat":  The nude wrestling sequence.  Probably the best laugh of the year...all two minutes of it.

2--"The Departed": That wham-bang ending.  Absolutely awesome.

1--"Hard Candy":  You know what!  Trust me, if you're a guy and you've seen both this and "The Departed", this one gets the slight edge!!

 

Best DVD Rental of the Year--TV Series:  "The Shield", Season 4

The choices here were pretty simple, since I somehow only watched two TV show seasons this year--the fourth season of "The Shield" or the first season of "Battlestar Galactica"?  For me, this was fairly easy--"The Shield" has been consistently great every season it's been on television, and in the fourth year, they added Glenn Close of all people to add some acting chops to the cast.  This mostly works well; no TV show does "root for the bad guy" like "The Shield", and this 13-episode run was almost as good as the first two seasons.

 

Best DVD Rental of the Year--Movies:  "12 Angry Men"

Sidney Lumet is a flat-out genius, and to make any film feel layered and full of drama is tough but to do it by just having everything take place in one room has got to be a challenge...and, Lumet pulls it off brilliantly.  Too bad it took me so many years to see it!

 

Ahh, just one more leg to go!  Part III

 

Comments?  Drop me a line at justin@bellviewmovies.com.


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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/bellviewmovies.com except where noted
© 1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09