Yes, I realize it’s February 10th, and 2006 is already a distant memory to most, but if I don’t put this out, I will feel like a failure for the remainder of ought seven. I have no excuses. There’s been plenty of free time, and I finally watched all of the films on my list, like Pan’s Labyrinth and Little Miss Sunshine, which seems like a waste in retrospect, considering neither made the list. Labyrinth came close, coming in around number six, but I was extremely disappointed in Sunshine. I thought it was an amalgam of too many superior movies. Not much original there. But whatever, it’s finally done, and I’m happy with the list. As you can tell, I’m not as snobby as you would think. You won’t find things like The Queen on my list. I just like good movies; I don’t care the genre, or how silly it is. I enjoy what I enjoy, and I won’t apologize for it. YOU HEAR THAT, GRANDMA!! Stick that in your Notes on a Scandal pipe and smoke it. It’s not for glaucoma and you know it!
I would call this the guilty pleasure of the year, but it’s hard to be embarrassed to like it when it’s received so much acclaim. Seriously, Roger Ebert gave it one 10 lb. thumb up. It was on more top 10 lists than fare like Flags of our Fathers. A good movie is a good movie, even if it has dead animals hanging from a basement ceiling. I’ve been chastised for saying this before, but I think it rings true to say it’s similar to movies like Gremlins. Hysterically funny at parts, gross as all get up in others, and just fun to watch all the time. Plus, there’s a flash of nip from a hot chick. Can’t go wrong there. I’m also really starting to like Nathan Fillion. When he was Johnny on Two Guys and a Girl, he was just the guy that wasn’t Ryan Reynolds, but now he’s starting to show up Van Wilder a little bit. His movies are better, and he would never put it in Alanis Morrissette. I don’t want to speak for him, but I’ll just assume that’s true.
It should be noted that I have never seen a James Bond movie not starring Timothy Dalton or Pierce Brosnan. I know, I know. I have no right to talk film anymore, I understand. But just hear me out anyway. Now, while this shouldn’t seem like much, I still say Casino Royale is the best Bond movie I’ve ever seen. Take that for what it’s worth. I mean, Goldeneye was pretty stinking awesome, you have to admit that much, and this beats it out. Pretty handily, actually. I may have been a little biased, though. After seeing Layer Cake, I immediately thought, “This guy should be James Bond.” Who knew I was Nostra-effing-damus? I should work for Dreamworks, seriously. This film just worked, overall, from every angle. It had the ridiculous stunts that could never happen in real life; it had the cheesy romance with the ridiculous hot girl; and it had the ridiculous gadgets I wish I could buy at Brookstone. But here was the kicker, this new film had something past efforts completely ignored: actual emotion. This is where Daniel Craig came in, as a serious, honest to god, actor. No offense to Pierce Brosnan, because I’m sure he could have done something great if given the opportunity, but Craig took the role and gave it depth. He didn’t just kill “bad guys” and never give it a second thought. There were consequences; moments that made him question everything. I was never bored during this movie, not once, even when it ended three separate times, and then lingered around the 3-hour mark. It’s just quality filmmaking that has no business being a member of the James Bond series. And I apologize, Sean Connery, I will see your movies one of these decades. But to you, Roger Moore, I say go ahead and sit on it, because you may be waiting a while.
Tell me you don’t like the Rocky movies and I’ll tell you to go straight to hell. I feel like I shouldn’t even have to apologize for Rocky V, just because I would never apologize for my grandfather if he was farting in public, you know? I mean, he’s my grandfather, and he’s awesome, and awesome people are allowed to make mistakes. Sylvester Stallone was caught pooting around millions of people back in 1990, but his track record allows him some leeway. And it’s because of this leeway that we allowed him to make another movie, even with the risk of him dropping a full load in his pants for the world to see. Believe me, I had my reservations too, but I was going to be there opening week no matter what I heard before hand. And you know what? Gramps didn’t let me down. In fact, he regained complete control of his bowels and then gave me a hundred dollar bill for my birthday. I loved, loved, loved this movie. It was very understated, which was perfect. This film was about heart, about coming to grips with loss, not about a silly fight and machismo. I went to see it with my father and older brother, and we completely bonded over the experience. I would call this the best male bonding movie since Good Will Hunting. I nearly cried on three separate occasions. With the exception of a mildly goofy opening, I thought it was perfect. The movie could have ended with Rock walking to the ring and it would have been spot on. I’m not saying the fight was superfluous (in fact, it was wonderfully choreographed and felt more real than previous efforts), but it could have ended several different ways, that’s all. Some found it pretty dull, including other people in the theater who said, and I quote, “People don’t pay to think; they want to be entertained.” Are you effing kidding me? Did they see the first one? That was all dialogue and emotion. Stuff like that just drives me crazy.
What really do I need to say about this one that you haven’t heard ad nausem? You either loved it or hated it. I saw this film twice, and garnered two completely different reactions. The first time was in a preview audience, so you knew these people were already fans if they were going out of their way to see it early. Sufficed to say, they loved it. The laughter was so loud, you missed large chunks of dialogue in the process. The second go-around was a little different. It was suddenly a huge hit, and I would guess half the audience was just going because of word of mouth. I sat next to a middle-aged couple that didn’t crack a smile the entire time. I’m surprised they stayed till it was over. Some people aren’t cracked up to see something so disturbing and not want to throw up immediately. “I can’t laugh at that; it’s too awful.” You’re missing the whole point by taking the so-called high road here. We’re not laughing with those stupid bastards in the movie, we’re laughing at them, and then throwing metaphorical rocks at their groins. I completely understood what Sascha Baron Cohen was trying to accomplish, and I have an immense respect for him now. Plus, I hadn’t laughed that hard at a movie since South Park. There’s smart satire, and there’s effing hilarious. This movie was both.
My man crush on Clive Owen is reaching dangerously high levels these days. The man can do anything: he can play the suave, James Bond like character (Croupier); the no nonsense badass in red sneakers (Sin City); the sensitive guy (Closer); or the haggard, eff-the-world type (this film). And every go around, I’m completely immersed in what he’s doing. But truthfully, the main reason this film is number one is not because of Clive. In actuality, I was incredibly impressed with the filmmaking overall, like how the film looked; how the camera work was staged; and how particular scenes left you visibly shaken. Alfonso Cuaron’s steadi-cam work was sensational; you felt like you were there, seriously. I half expected to get blown to hell at any moment. I cannot wait to own this movie and then put it on repeat for a month. I get the feeling its effect will never change. I will always be on edge during the scene in the car, and I will always wipe away tears at the end when they come through the torn-up building. Please, see this movie, and tell me what you think. If you can legitimately tell me you weren’t left reeling, then I’ll check your pulse for you.