Hi, Annual Blog Visitors!
I don’t know how many movies I saw this year, but it was way too many. If a baseball player hit a homer for every movie I saw, I'm guessing he’d now be suspended for steroids and his down-there parts would resemble two blueberries.
I’m very proud of myself.
Now that I've wasted all those hours of my youth, it’s time to write the only blog post I write every year, in which I hand out arbitrary awards to random films and repeatedly attempt to work through my irrational obsession with John Travolta’s perfectly smooth face. Let's go!
The Planet of the Apes Award for Best Movie that uses Animals as an Extended Metaphor for Racism:
TIE: Zootopia and The Jungle Book. Really hot year for animals as an extended metaphor for racism. And speaking of really hot, both films made me feel suspiciously attracted to tigers. Yiff.
The Tom Cruise in The Firm Award for Most Unexpected Handspring
WINNER: The Priest in Sing Street. Damn, that was one unexpected handspring!
The Amistad Award for Best Movie For AP US History Teachers to Show In Class When It's May and They Need to Kill Some Time:
2nd Place: TIE - Loving and Hidden Figures. Two very moving films. Not since Selena have I been so misty-eyed with five minutes to go in third period.
1st Place: Snowden. We've all had that endearingly wacky substitute teacher who won't stop talking about voting machines, and chemtrails, and why jet fuel can't melt steel beams. Oliver Stone? Love you bro, but you're America's substitute teacher.
The Legends of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole Award for Worst Title:
3rd Place: Hidden Figures
I get how difficult it is to make a pun that combines the Civil Rights Movement and math into one catchy phrase... so why even bother?!? What were the alternate options here? Imaginary Numbers? Linear Inequalities? Nonzero Integers?
2nd Place: Maggie's Plan. I enjoyed this movie about a woman who steal's a lady's husband and then tries to give him back, but the title implies literally none of that. Maggie's Plan sounds like it's about a golden retriever who goes outside, takes a dump, and then gets a tummy rub because she's a good, good girl.
1st Place: The Founder
Better titles for this movie: The Hamburglar. Mayor McCheese. Grimace.
The Rat Race Award for Most Star-Studded Cast:
WINNER: xXx: The Return of Xander Cage
What an incredible lineup. It's like the 2012 Lakers if everything didn't go stupidly wrong. You've got Vin Diesel in his comfort zone as a badass spy/condescending-dad-type figure. There's Brazilian futbol superstar Neymar, who definitely can't speak English and arguably can't speak Portugese either. Don't forget Samuel L. Jackson, Ice Cube, the guy who played The Hound, one of Degrassi's many single moms, and fourteen-time Pro Bowl tight end Tony Gonzalez. And rounding out the dream team -- yup -- it's Toni MOTHEREFFIN' Collette, in full-on "these Muriel's Wedding residuals are running dry, I need some cash quick, no I won't do any real acting, I won't even move my mouth goddammit!" mode. So good.
The Rat Race Award for Worst Cast:
WINNER: The Ghostbusters remake.
jk jk lol
The Force Majeure Award for Worst Movie Dad:
2nd Place: Viggo Mortensen in Captain Fantastic
"Live in the woods! Steal food! No Christmas for you, we're doing Noam Chomsky Day instead! No, you can't go to your mom's funeral! No, you don't get to chill with your cool rich grandpa! Oh... shit. You fell off the roof and almost died? Fine. Fine. You can eat a gummy snack. I'm sorry."
1st Place: Toni Erdmann in Toni Erdmann.
Okay, imagine me in forty years. Pretend I have a daughter who's a successful businesswoman. Picture me following her around Romania for three hours, wearing fake teeth and a giant furry phallus costume. Congrats! You've now seen Toni Erdmann.
The Phoebe Cates Pool Scene Award for Most Awkwardly Arousing Movie Moment
3rd Place: The beach scene, Moonlight. (Uh... guys? Could everyone please leave me alone for a few minutes?)
2nd Place: That one scene from The Handmaiden, the one in which the two women combine their anatomies to perform the basic function of a certain office supply, you know what I'm talking about. (Okay, just give me thirty seconds. Wait, wait. Make that fifteen seconds.)
1st Place: The backup tiger dancers from Zootopia. (djdskjdfhkjhkjhskjfghksjaskjfhj)
The Misery Award for Most Accurate Portrayal of the Creative Process:
WINNER: Paterson. I liked this movie. He tries to do poems and his girlfriend's like, let me look at these poems and he's like no baby, my life is boring, you should probably focus on your cupcake career. This all felt pretty much like a writer's life to me.
The Showgirls Award for Least Accurate Portrayal of the Creative Process:
WINNER: La La Land.
"I'm gonna be a famous actress!"
"I'm gonna be a JAZZ GUY."
"I'm gonna stage a one-woman show that's just me complaining about my career."
"I'm gonna work with JAZZ GUYS. Oh, but not that JAZZ GUY. He's not a real JAZZ GUY like me. He likes new stuff. I like old stuff!!"
"Yippee! I'm famous! Wait no, now we have to break up :("
"That's okay, baby. You know who else went through heartbreak? Miles. Satchmo. Bird. Now I got the bluuues! Jazzy jazzy woo woo waaaaa... JAZZ GUY!"
The Jennifer Lopez and Matthew McConaughey Award for Best Onscreen Couple
3rd Place: The flirty witch and the chubby baker, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. They don't seem like they would be in love, but they are in love. That's love for ya! Ah, love.
2nd Place: Casey Affleck and Michelle Williams, Manchester by the Sea. I thought they were adorable in those little flashbacks throughout the first forty-five minutes of the movie. And... I don't really remember what happens to them after that. No spoilers, guys :).
1st Place: Anthony Weiner and Huma, Weiner. Easily the on-screen romance of the year. The way Huma glowers at Anthony while he monologues about his sexting addiction for the cameras, or the way she stares vacantly off into space whenever he invokes their son for political gain... those crazy kids! They're gonna make it after all.
The Onscreen Couple that Most Made Me Go, "Huh, They Kinda Remind Me of Me and Courtney"
WINNER: Anthony Weiner and Huma, Weiner.
*bursts into tears*
The "Hold Up, How did Andy Rettach the Rita Hayworth Poster from his Prison Escape Tunnel?!?" Award for Most Obnoxious Plot Hole:
3rd Place: Why did all the Avengers hate each other for no reason? - The Avengers: Civil War
Actual plot recap, copy-pasted from Wikipedia:
"Unwilling to wait for authorization to apprehend Zemo, Rogers and Wilson go rogue, and recruit Maximoff, Clint Barton, and Scott Lang to their cause. With Ross's permission, Stark assembles a team composed of Romanoff, T'Challa, James Rhodes, Vision, and Peter Parker to capture the renegades. Stark's team intercepts Rogers' group at Leipzig/Halle Airport, where they fight until Romanoff allows Rogers and Barnes to escape."
Remember Obama's death panels? I could really go for one of those right about now.
2nd Place: Why did Dory always have a safe thing of water to jump into? -Finding Dory
Nothing in life makes me as irrationally angry as the fact that the Pixar screenwriters got to write the stage direction, "Just before she gets captured, Dory miraculously jumps from one bucket of water into another, weirdly well-placed bucket of water" about 32574653276 different times.
1st Place: How come none of the Japanese Catholic guys ever just lightly tapped their foot on the plastic Virgin Mary? -Silence
Come on, guys. Just one little tap-tap. It'll make the feudal warlords so happy. They won't castrate you this way, or bury you alive or anything. Just put one tiny toe on the Mary and you'll save us all from having to watch this three-hour movie. For the love of Japanese Sun Jesus, please!
The Guilt Trip Award for Movie That Most Felt Like it was Stealing the Plot from my Life:
3rd Place: Don't Think Twice. Improv people have a bunch of improv drama that feels super-important to them, but doesn't actually matter to anyone else -- just like my life!
2nd Place: Nerve. An innocent girl and a cool guy compete in a series of death-defying social media challenges, culminating in a thrilling blind motorcycle race through Times Square -- just like my life!
1st Place: Kedi. A bunch of stray cats run around town, stealing food and shit -- JUST. LIKE. MY. LIIIIIIIIIIIIIFE.
The First Annual Teddy Lifetime Achievement Award for Outstanding Teddiness in the Field of Teddy:
Nominees: Tom Hanks' "Are you kidding me?" face, Tom Cruise's "I drink the blood of fifty tweens annually in order to maintain this beautiful, beautiful" body, Adam Driver's "I strikingly resemble this one really ugly cat" face, and of course, Hector Elizondo.
And the Teddy goes to... John Travolta's perfectly smooth face!
I know he hasn't been in a movie in like, eight years, and frankly I don't care. John Travolta has maintained the same eerily smooth, frighteningly symmetrical, delighted-yet-vacant expression for decades (or at least since he last switched faces with Nicolas Cage), and for that he deserves this prestigious and humbling honor.
Okay, those were the tiny baby awards. Let's ditch our Pampers for some pull-ups. THESE ARE THE BIG BOY AWARDS.
WINNER: "The Riddle of the Model" - Sing Street
La La Land is annoyingly going to win this Oscar, even though no one will be able to remember any of those songs within two weeks -- go ahead, I dare ya. I bet all you can muster is "City of staaaars," and "Traffic is so fun! Traffic really rocks! Doin' the 405 boogie!"
Sing Street was the best. It was so sweet and sad and it had like ten great Duran Duran/Hall and Oates rip-offs. I actually think I invented this movie in my wildest fantasies, in between my erotic dreams about a barrel-chested animated tiger with John Travolta's round, haunting face.
Best Documentary - Weiner
I loved OJ: Made in America as much as anyone, but it's like eight hours long. How is that a movie? If you can comfortably pee on both ends of a thing without having to pee in the middle, then it's officially a movie. OJ doesn't pass the pee pee test, unless he's up to some weird stuff in prison that I don't know about.
Weiner is my best doc of the year, although it's probably only the second-saddest movie of the year starring Huma, number one of course being Hillary's election-morning Mannequin Challenge video, also starring Bon Jovi.
(Way too soon, right? Way too soon? I'm sorry. I hope it's funny in a few years, when our democracy is in ruins and we're all slaves to President Kang.)
Best Supporting Actor - Mahershala Ali, Moonlight
A conventional choice, I know, but I really liked Mahershala's acting gimmick of licking his lips every two seconds in order to seem pensive. Easily the best "lick-lipping in order to seem pensive" performance since the heyday of LL Cool J.
Best Supporting Actress - Ryan Gosling's teenage daughter from The Nice Guys whose name I'm too lazy to look up
I have no idea who she is, I'm pretty sure she's Australian, but I think her performance has been vastly overlooked, and I know she's going to be a huge star. This award also goes to Susan Boyle for her role as Susan Boyle in Zoolander 2.
Best Actress - Isabelle Huppert, Elle
Huppert's acting in this movie is some unholy mix of Angela from The Office, Meryl Streep in Devil Wears Prada, and my cat Channing when you give her slightly fewer kibbles than usual. J'adore.
Best Actor - Ben Affleck, The Accountant
I'm sorry, I know I just said Mahershala's lick-lipping was the best acting gimmick of 2016. I'm afraid I was horribly mistaken. Because Ben Affleck has now given the world... AUTISTIC FINGER-BLOWING.
(In completely unrelated news, I saw this movie by myself on a Friday at noon at the crappiest theater in Burbank and I was literally the only human there.
Best Screenplay - Fifty Shades Darker
Easiest category by far. This movie has sex masks. It has nip clamps. It has characters named "Ana" and "Hannah," leading to such memorable exchanges as "Hi, Ana," "Hi, Hannah," and "Bye, Ana," "Bye, Hannah."
Best of all, the writers solved their biggest problem from the first movie -- how do we justify Anastasia Steele loving Christian Grey when clearly he is trying to murder her and make her into a skin suit? -- by adding in some other random dude, who wants to make Ana into a skin suit even more badly, making Christian look like an adorable feminist in the process. Writing!
Best Director - Barry Jenkins, Moonlight
With apologies to La La Land, a.k.a. the greatest Gap commercial of all time.
Nominees: Zootopia, Sing Street, Hunt for the Wilderpeople, The Embrace of the Serpent, The Lobster, Captain Fantastic, The Jungle Book, Weiner, Moonlight, Arrival, The Handmaiden, Manchester by the Sea, Edge of Seventeen, Elle, Paterson, OJ: Made in America, At the End of the Tunnel, Toni Erdmann, Kedi, I Am Not Your Negro, xXx: The Return of Xander Cage, Zoolander 2
And the Teddy goes to...
Shit. This is hard. Most years I just have a Fast & Furious I can give my award to, but I kind of loved lots of movies this year, and not necessarily one the most. So I guess I'll do the most irritating, least creative thing possible and say that the year's best movie was:
Anthropomorphic Animals in Business Suits Growing Up in Racially-Divided Miami, Raised by a Crack-Addicted Mom and a Crazy German Guy With False Teeth, and Everyone Starts an 80s Pop Band, But Then Someone Texts a Dick Pic and Gets in Huge Trouble, and also Casey Affleck Incinerates His Children by Mistake, and also Christopher Walken is a Ten-Thousand Pound Orangutan, and also a Bunch of Feral Cats Run Around Modern Istanbul, and also Susan Boyle Plays Herself.
I like movies. I'm a good boy.