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2007 Bellview Awards, Part II



Letís keep ridiní it!

Biggest Fucking Piece of Shit--"Southland Tales"

It would be hard to imagine a film directed by the guy that did "Donnie Darko" being this much worse than that film; also, a film featuring a cast that includes The Rock, Justin Timberlake, Seann William Scott, Miranda Richardson, Janeane Garofalo, Sarah Michelle Gellar, and many others; and, a tale of the apocalypse with an action/comedy/sci-fi hybrid slant.  But, "Southland Tales" has all of that and not only was it awful, it was almost 150 minutes long.  (Apparently, the version that was shown at Cannes was ten minutes longer...I can't imagine what was left on the cutting room floor!)  For the few people that saw this movie--it grossed less than $1 million in its four-week theatrical run, shockingly low--they know what I know: this is maybe the most disappointing film of the year.


Most Overrated Flick (tie)--"The Lookout" and "Atonement"

"Zodiac" was also a contender here (as evidenced by the shocking number of critics who named it to their respective top ten lists of 2007), but it made almost no money, so it's hard to really call this overrated in that respect.  However, two other films really fit the bill for me in this category.  First, "The Lookout" was really getting solid pub from folks prior to its release, and after watching it, I couldn't help but be surprised by the number of critics who cited the film's gritty script and edgy performances...SO not the case.  In fact, if you are thinking about going to see this one, just go rent "Brick" instead; it also stars Joseph Gordon-Hewitt and the script is incredibly strong and "edgy."  "Atonement" fits into that tough spot for me that many book-to-film conversions fit into: I shoulda read the book instead, because the second half of "Atonement" is exactly what killed "Cold Mountain", over an hour of nothing-goin'-on.  And, its ending is really weak.


Most Disappointing Flick--"Evening"

Here's how disappointing "Evening" was: it was a chick flick that actually made me say "I could see that", it had a great trailer, it had a great cast (Meryl Streep, Toni Collette, Vanessa Redgrave, Patrick Wilson, Natasha Richardson, Claire Danes AND Glenn Close), it had great writers (one of whom co-wrote "The Hours")...and, it was only so-so.  In fact, you have probably noticed that NO ONE is talking about it as a film that has any chance of winning any Oscars.  That's because the cast has almost no on-screen chemistry and because the story of "Evening" is just not very well told.  Films that have great female-lead roles just aren't there right now, and in the case of this film, it only piles more evidence onto the Hollywood pile-on that is shutting women out of well-written creative roles in major films.


Biggest Surprise Flick--"Live Free or Die Hard"

Action films generally did not do well this year; some made money, but critically, most of them did not do well at all.  And, while "Transformers" surprised me because of how faithful Michael Bay was to both the toy line and his own blow-up-the-whole-screen experience, it was a new theatrical experience...and, John McClane isn't.  The guy who directed the shitty "Underworld" films, Len Wiseman, and the ridiculously-unfazed performance by Bruce Willis made this summer's fourth "Die Hard" film surprisingly good, mainly because it went back to the premise of the first film: give us an incredibly-preposterous idea (hacker shuts down Washington, DC and must face an off-duty, 50-year-old cop working with only another hacker as a partner) and take a fantasy approach to an action film.  A lot of people told me after watching this summer's "Die Hard" that it was just a great time at the movies, and despite its PG-13 rating, it was still adult, violent, and accessible...a big surprise despite my low expectations.


Ahh, just one more leg to go!  Part III


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All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
© 1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09