So I was about to watch the Academy Awards the other week, when I suddenly remembered that I didn't give a shit about them. They used to be good, sure, but once a) Nicholas Cage and b) Helen Hunt have won Oscars, you don't have to be Sherlock Holmes to deduct something has gone bass-ackwards in Tinseltown.
And so, despite the fact that I enjoyed adorable, sexy (and almost certainly gay) co-host James Franco being more visibly stoned during the ceremony than Alex Boonstra at any given moment, I went ahead and held my own Awards Show for the best films of 2010.
The whole thing was kind of last minute and I didn't have time to have any golden statues made up, so I just spray painted the winners with that Oompah-Loompah tanning shit the Jersey Shore gang use.
Hugh Jackman refused to turn up to my house for hosting duty, even after I told him I'd filled in the dry well and sold my moth collection (bloody cease and desist Orders); but I did manage to get Jennifer Aniston to host instead (turns out she'll sign up for anything, so long as she gets to bitch about Angelina Jolie for an hour first). I also managed to get hold of Omar Sharif Jr., the hot guy who was acting as Kirk Douglas' living crutch on Oscar night. I don't mean he's involved in my awards event in any capacity, I just… got hold of him.
May I have the envelope please?!
The Not-Scars: My 10 Best Films of 2010
1. Nightmare on Elm Street (Remake)
Unjustly maligned remake of the classic 1984 original that manages to hold up well in its own right, and has much cuter actors (sorry, Johnny Depp fans). Jackie Earl Haley (WATCHMEN) had some big, burned shoes to fill as Freddy Krueger, the razor-fingered, undead boogeyman that attacks kids in their dreams (think of him as Fred Phelps with a Nyquil prescription) The wise decision was made to let Haley do his own thing with the character, rather than just have him ape Robert Englund's career-defining performance. As well as altering the burn makeup (more realistically smooth and melted—an omelette rather than a pizza, if you will) JEH left behind Englund's increasingly jokey, campy persona and brought equal amounts of rage and sleaze to the part, concentrating on Freddy as a child molester instead of a child killer (the sequence where Freddy licks now-adult Nancy's face and then exclaims, "Hmm… you smell different" is almost as gross as any film in which Jack Black continuously takes his shirt off (i.e. all of them). People who hate the TWILIGHT series will love the pre-credits scene in which Kellan Lutz (Emmett Cullen) learns the hard way that on Elm Street, if you snooze, you lose.
OSCAR FOR: "Creepiest Game of Hide-and-Go-Seek Outside Those Played at Neverland Ranch"
"Jackie Earl Haley joins Ron Perlman and Benicio Del Toro in the ‘Guys who Actually Look Better Under Heavy Prosthetics' Club."
2. Piranha (remake)
Brilliant remake of the Seventies film that starts with a hilarious nod to JAWS( Richard Dreyfuss singing "Show Me the Way to Go Home" and being messily devoured by the titular killer fish) and just keeps getting better and more outrageous with every scene. The 3D is terrific, the cast is uniformly excellent (especially Jerry O'Connell as a sleazy Girls Gone Wild producer and Christopher Lloyd as a (surprise!) mad scientist) and the gore is campy and over the top at the same time (witness HOSTEL director Eli Roth getting his head crushed between two yachts). The title really should have been BOOBS, though, because for every shot of a ravenous mutant fish, there's like ten shots of a naked woman's silicon funbags. The upcoming sequel is titled PIRANHA 3 DOUBLE-D, which tells you everything you need to know.
OSCAR FOR: "Best 3D Sequence of a Mutant Amazonian Fish Spitting Out Jerry O'Connell's Severed Penis into the Lap of the Audience"
"Dictionary definition of an ‘Oh, shit' moment."
3. Easy A
Very funny little movie in which a largely ignored high-school girl goes from nobody to nefarious after lying about a sexual experience, only to find that a reputation as being a complete slut isn't all rainbows and kittens and hand-jobs behind the art building. Plus any film in which the antagonists are a bunch of holier-than-thou Christian students has its heart in the right place. Emma Stone is phenomenal as the slut-in-theory. She's hilariously funny and looks scarily like Lindsay Lohan, pre-Sheening (Sheening = humongous and public career-destroying meltdown of Godzilla-esque proportions). Wait, we've never seen Lohan's "identical twin" from THE PARENT TRAP again? Clearly Lohan was the evil one all along!
OSCAR FOR: "Best Movie Line of the Year " ("Why are gay guys so afraid of vaginas, anyway? What do you think I have down there, a gnome?!")
"She gets an A in Theoretical Skankdom."
Chris Nolan's masterpiece about dreams and their manipulation at the hands of a group of "Dream Extractors" had a bit of everything- cunning script, twisty plot- at one point, we're four dreams deep, when a character is dreaming that they're dreaming that they're dreaming in a dream (try saying that five times fast through a mouthful of Thomas Hardy) brilliant visual FX, jaw-dropping stunt set-pieces (Joseph Gordon-Levitt's Zero Gravity battle with dream-thugs in a hotel hallway made me a] gobsmacked at the visuals and b] want to fuck the living daylights out of Joseph Gordon-Levitt), actual character development and Leonardo DiCaprio squinting like a dazzled owl every time he has to deliver exposition. Actor Dileep Rao (the dream chemist, Yusef) clearly has the world's Best Agent- he went straight from Sam Raimi's DRAG ME TO HELL to James Cameron's AVATAR and then INCEPTION. Every film he does becomes a smash hit; he's like the anti-matter universe opposite of Martin Lawrence.
OSCAR FOR: Every scene in which Joseph Gordon Levitt (Arthur) and Thom Hardy (Eames) eye-fuck each other.
"Impressive tool, Mr. Eames."
5. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
Despite the fact that this film does actually star the cunningly built android Michael Cera (it may look human, but you only need to watch a few of its films to realize it gives exactly the same personality-bypass performance in every role), SCOTT PILGRIM manages to be both genuinely hilarious and terrifically clever. The whole film, in which the titular character must battle the 7 evil exes of his current girlfriend, plays (literally) like an enormous video game, complete with on-screen score, deliberately dodgy "graphics" and reward coins released from defeated enemies. The Cera-Bot's Scott Pilgrim and Mary-Elisabeth Winstead's Ramona Flowers (the evil-ex-having girlfriend in question) are actually the least interesting parts of the film. Aside from the awesome cinematography and witty script, the film's major drawcard is a selection of hilarious, scene-stealing cameos, including Chris Evans (and his real life movie stand-ins) as Evil Ex #2, Brandon Routh as Evil Ex #4, Thomas Jane and Clifton Collins Jr as "The Vegan Police", and the moving stealing duo of Ellen Wong (as Knives Chau, Pilgrim's dumped High-School age girlfriend) and Kieran Culkin as Pilgrim's Gay roommate, Wallace Wells. Just when I thought that Owen Wilson rom-coms had killed clever and witty dialogue stone dead, this film comes along and gives me hope for snarky banter!
OSCAR FOR: "Best Visual FX Used to Make Michael Cera Seem a Realistically Viable Alternative to Chris Evans"
"No, the guy in the middle is NOT Justin Bieber."
6. The Disappearance of Alice Creed
Extremely clever kidnapping/hostage drama from the UK that stars only three people (Gemma Arterton, Martin Compston, Eddie Marsan) and is set almost entirely in a single room, which would have been a record if Ryan Reynolds and his BURIED coffin hadn't come along (not that I can stay mad at Ryan—not whilst he's shirtless anyhoo). The chilling opening sequence in which Compston and Marsan buy hardware supplies and proceed to outfit a room to be completely anonymous, soundproof and escape proof is totally without dialogue for ten minutes (prompting several people at the screening I attended to complain to management that the audio wasn't working!) After the two men kidnap socialite Arterton, we get ninety minutes of tense, pared down suspense as the three cast members engage in enough twists and multiple double and triple crosses to keep Quentin Tarantino masturbating for a solid month (there's not much bloodshed though, so he'd probably fail to climax).
OSCAR FOR: "Best Sequence in Which Little Scottish Hunk Compston is Totally Naked for Around Twelve Minutes of Screentime in a Completely Plausible and Plot-Relevant Manner"
"Okay, it's a gratuitous weiner shot; But it's a contextual gratuitous weiner shot!"
Before he was co-hosting Academy Awards Ceremonies whilst being whacked out of his pretty gourd, James Franco essayed the part of gay 50's beat poet Alan Ginsberg in this brilliant biopic/courtroom drama. The film shows various scenes from Ginsberg's life: his love affair with a young, straight college room-mate, his trips (in more than one sense of the word) around the USA, his celebrated beat poetry readings at bars in New York, and the 1957 Obscenity Trial in Ginsberg's publisher was faced with a prison term for publishing Ginsberg's seminal (ALSO in more than one sense of the word) work, HOWL, arguably the quintessential "Beat Poem" (if you are unfamiliar with the term, ask your nearest hipster). The trial sequence is also a cue for the film-makers to shoe-horn in as many character-actor celebrity cameos as they can: John Hamm, Marcia-Gay Harden, David Strathairn, Jeff Daniels and Treat Williams all pop up as various English teachers, literary critics and lawyers, either for HOWL's censorship or agin' it.
OSCAR FOR: "Best Sequence in Which James Franco Goes Down on Another Guy Since The Last Time He Did It in MILK, GENERAL HOSPITAL and that Deleted Scene from PINEAPPLE EXPRESS"
"This still isn't as Homoerotic as PINEAPPLE EXPRESS!"
8. The Collector
Brilliantly twisted little masterwork that gets my vote for the Best Film of the Year—only when you go to take the Oscar, both you and Billy Crystal are flung by concealed wires into a pit of Debbie Allen dancers wearing razor-lined shoes. Josh Stewart plays Arkin, a cat-burglar who breaks into a billion dollar mansion at exactly the same time as the titular maniac, a serial killer who thinks he's a Black Widow Spider(!) and who "weaves" razor-wire lines about random household objects. Touching the rigged appliances hurls the touchee into a lethal death-trap comprised of pretty much an entire cutlery warehouse. Arkin finds himself fighting to save both his own life and the lives of the mansion's owners (lest he be blamed for their deaths) whilst the Collector is determined to go Home Improvement on their arses (not in the Tim Allen SANTA CLAUSE sense—even deranged maniacs aren't that sadistic). The traps that the spider-obsessed maniac constructs are clever, twisted and sick; something you'd expect from Hannibal Lecter if he'd flunked out of Psychiatrist School and gone into his dad's carpentry business.
Great film with a terrific central character, whom we never fully see (The Collector never takes his mask off); never understand (his spider obsession SEEMS to come from his day job as an exterminator, but why he thinks he's a Black Widow is unexplained) and acts like some kind of evil Macaulay Culkin from HOME ALONE, if he'd grown up to be the killer from the SAW movies (instead of just growing up to resemble that freaky doll on the tricycle).
OSCAR FOR: "Grossest Death Sequence Involving a Character Falling onto a Floor Covered in Bear-Traps that Would Give Wyle. E.Coyote Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder"
"Of all the mansions jerry-rigged with lethal death-traps attached to random household objects in all the world, he had to walk into mine"
9. The Loved Ones
Fucked up little Aussie horror film that plays like a sick family reunion of SAW, TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, THE PEOPLE UNDER THE STAIRS and… PRETTY IN PINK?! Lead hunk Xavier Samuel (who based on his performance in this was snapped up for the part of Riley in TWILIGHT: ECLIPSE) plays Brent, a popular high school jock who turns down school weirdo Lola (a movie-stealing Robin McLeavy)'s invitation to the Prom. Lola doesn't take no for an answer, or rather takes "No" to mean "Kidnap your date and hold your own psychotic prom night at your house with help from your equally deranged father and have a dream date with him under constant threat of emasculation via claw hammer and a home lobotomy with power tools". Brent undergoes the date from hell at the hands of Lola and her loopy dad (John Brumpton)— Lola force-feeds Brent some literal spiked punch (broken glass and lemonade), injects him with drain-cleaner in his vocal chords when he refuses to sing "Am I Not Pretty Enough" with her and if he fails to please her, he'll join her previous crushes- now lobotomized and cannibalistic—in the basement. Nowhere near as grim as it sounds, this is tongue-ripped-out-of-cheek fun, and the bloodiest prom night since that Sissy Spacek film (COAL-MINER'S DAUGHTER I think.)
OSCAR FOR: "Best Choreographed Dance Sequence Where Male Dancer is Unwilling and Has to Be Nailed to the Floor to Prevent Escape"
"Now it's time for me to pin on your corsage."
10. 100 Mornings
Irish take on the end of the world, kind of like THE ROAD with less cannibalism and more Guinness. Four friends- two men and two women- are co-habiting in a small rural Irish cottage near a mostly-abandoned village after some unexplained event has wiped out most of human civilization. It's a daily struggle for the four people to scrounge up enough to eat and the occasional soda-can full of gas to get their vehicles moving. Things become grimmer when the tiny crop they've been harvesting is destroyed, the fuel truck coming to help the settlement is hijacked and the drivers eaten (I said LESS cannibalism, not a total lack of it!) and the remaining villagers nearby become a bit too fond of the two women. The situation becomes even worse when one of their neighbours finds a working gun and decides it's a pirates life for him, only not the fun kind of pirate like Johnny Depp in PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN- more like the gloomy, desperate and depressing kind of pirate…like Johnny Depp in the third PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN . Excellent film, though much like the road, not one to watch if you're in a bit of a funk, as it makes HELLRAISER look like a laugh riot.
OSCAR FOR: Best Set-Dressing to Make the Countryside look Dead and Post-Apocalyptic without BP Being Involved.
"What do you mean we're not filming the feel-good musical number anymore?!"