Summer Movie Awards Part 2: Best Film, Worst Title & More
This movie made more than 20 percent of its gross in the first night. After that evening, the Twiterrati hit their little squawk box to spread the word that there was far too much spreading of limbs in this bit of borderline pornography. The result? A gross that wouldn't even buy Borat a new shack.
Winner: "District 9"
$30 million films from South Africa that use aliens to make a statement about Apartheid aren't really supposed to even come out in America. Now, a thousand positive Tweets later, this movie is $100 million deep in box office receipts and has everyone wondering when the studios are going to ruin the original with "District 10".
Winner: Jeremy Piven
In the month of August, poor Jeremy Piven was everywhere we turned our dials. Be it allegedly fighting backstage at "It's On with Alexa Chung" or actually fighting in front of a crowd on "WWE Monday Night Raw" you couldn't escape his newly full head of hair on your TV screen as Piven desperately tried to convince peopled to see "The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard". The fruits of his efforts? A little less than $14 million at the box office. At least he tried.
Winner: "500 Days of Summer"
It's got everything a hipster could want. Indie music, Indie cred, a girl that likes The Smiths and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Plus, none of the characters were hipsters. Because there's nothing a hipster hates more than another hipster.
Runner-Up: "Oh my God, it has that guy from 'The Office' (the one show I'm allowed to watch and still keep my hipster cred) with a beard! Plus it was written by the guy who wrote 'A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius' (that book I tell everyone I've read). I can't wait to pretend I went to see it!" For those not hip enough to know, the film is Away We Go.
Image © Fox Searchlight
Winner: "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen"
"Ugh, Michael Bay is just everything wrong with movies. So many explosions and no story. And that Megan Fox, she's just so fake. Who could want a woman like that? Plus I heard Shia LaBeouf has a crush on his mom," said the Hipster to people waiting for him to finish so they could speak.
Not a Winner: "Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian"
"I know I'm supposed to hate it because it has Ben Stiller, but the guys from 'Reno: 911' wrote it! Can't be that bad."
Winner: "All About Steve"
This actually happened. Somebody actually decided to take the name of the gay porn version of a Bette Davis classic and use it as the title for a romantic comedy, and nobody stopped them. This seems like the working title somebody put on the front page as a joke, and by the time anybody noticed the horrific pun, they'd already printed 10,000 posters and didn't want to waste the money to change it.
Runner-Up: "I Hate Valentine's Day"
Who came up with this title? Cathy Guisewite in 1982?
Winner: "Three Monkeys"
This may be a bit of a sad and depressing foreign film, but you wouldn't know it from that title. Not one, not two, but three monkeys! Oh, happy days.
Runner-Up: "I Sell the Dead"
Don't know what it's about, but that title is badass.
Winner: "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen"
Roger Ebert Said that if I wanted to see this latest noisy action-figure movie I should "go into the kitchen, cue up a male choir singing the music of hell, and get a kid to start banging pots and pans together. Then close your eyes and use your imagination.." I did, and am now $18.00 richer for it.
Runner-Up: "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince"
Winner: "Star Trek"
Wasn't it just kinda pretty good in retrospect? Not nearly the sci-fi revolution everyone made it out to be at its release? A completely serviceable action/adventure movie that we may remember as the runt of the reboot litter in a few years?
Runner-Up: "Angels and Demons"
Sure, it was better than "The Da Vinci Code", but that's like saying a baseball team is better than the Pirates.
And Now, The Real Awards. . .
Winner: "The Hangover"
How often did we have to hear people at work, in lines, at bars, online, and being interviewed on television call this the funniest movie they've ever seen? And how often did that make us wonder how many comedies these people had actually seen? The over/under on the number of comedies seen by somebody who actually thinks "The Hangover" is the funniest movie they've ever seen is one: "The Hangover".
Runner-Up: "The Hurt Locker"
A great movie, but a bit fragmented about two-thirds of the way through it and ultimately nothing more than a lighter version of "Generation Kill".
Image © Warner Bros.
Winner: "Away We Go"
Lost in the noise of the summer was a smart little comedy directed by an Oscar-winner and starring everybody who's ever had a show on NBC. It was heartfelt, well-acted and extremely funny. Y'know, kind of like a fall movie.
How exactly does David Lynch's daughter make a slickly cool crime thriller and absolutely nobody notices? That would be like David Lynch's daughter making a creepily voyeuristic movie about an obsessive surgeon and nobody remembering it years later. Oh. Wait.
Winner: "In the Loop"
Tiny movies from Britain don't normally do well in the summer, so the entirety of America can be forgiven for missing this wondrous political farce. They may not forgive themselves; however; as this film offered more jokes than a Zucker-Abrams-Zucker movie and more memorable characters than a walk down the Venice Beach Boardwalk.
Sure it may have been more offensive than an Andrew Dice Clay routine. But it was much funnier than an Andrew Dice Clay routine too.
Winner: "X-Men Origins: Wolverine"
This movie was so awful it had to make its way into the title of this category. It had no story, nothing memorable happened, and it simply paraded out a cast of mutants like the toy aisle at Wal-Mart because, really, the entire movie was just an advertisement for the toy aisle at Wal-Mart.
Runner-Up: "Terminator: Salvation"
By the end of this clunker, SkyNet could have won or lost and everyone would have been equally happy either way. Because the movie was finally over.
Image © Warner Bros.
Winner: Brad Pitt in "Inglourious Basterds"
Christoph Waltz gets all the buzz from this movie, but Pitt was slightly his superior with a role of such controlled brilliance you couldn't help but be stupefied at how the same actor sleepwalked through "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button". The performance was a comic gem as Pitt exuded the passion required to make such an outlandish character believable while never losing his grasp on the reality of the situation. A charming sociopath, like there could be any other kind.
Runner-Up: Christoph Waltz
Believe the hype.
Winner: Maya Rudolph in "Away We Go"
There are plenty of brilliant comics to come off the SNL stage, but very few of them are complete actors. It's Eddie Murphy and that's about it. This year, Rudolph proved she's every bit of a real actor, playing a subtly complicated role with such rich conviction that it made listlessness seem desirable.
Runner-Up: Melanie Laurent in "Inglorious Basterds"
The most quietly confident big Hollywood debut you'll ever see.
Winner: "Inglourious Basterds"
There was already an excellent column devoted to the brilliance of this film, but it deserves reiteration: "Inglorious Basterds" is the best movie of the summer. Go see it.
For the longest time it seemed this movie was invincibly certain to win this prize. Its sweetly compelling story about an old man and his balloon house made for Pixar's best film, and what is destined to be the second animated movie nominated for Oscar's top prize.
And with that, the real awards contenders can finally start to hit screens. Oh, Fall Movie Season, how do I love thee?
Story by Andrew Payne
Starpulse contributing writer
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