10 for ’10 – Most Forgettable

21 12 2010

It’s that time of the year when it’s time to put on the retrospective lens and look back on 2010 for what it was, the good and the bad, for better or for worse. To commemorate my first full calendar year of blogging, I decided to write a series I am calling “10 for ’10”, ten top 10 lists celebrating all things 2010. Half will be devoted to the movies, and half will be devoted to the blogging. Obviously, it will culminate on December 31 with my top 10 movies of the year.

To kick off, I’d like to feature a list that’s not your typical year-end top 10 list. Rather than celebrating the best or the worst, this list celebrates mediocrity. There were plenty of movies released this year that were just middling, not earth-shatteringly great yet not horrifically bad. These movies are often left to dry by the end of the year, but it’s time that they get their recognition.

So, without further ado, I present the most forgettable movies of 2010.

The American

Did anything even happen in this movie at all? Thanks to the RunPee app, I missed the big sex scene that was apparently so racy. As for any sort of plot, I’m pretty sure I had forgotten it before I left the theater.

The A-Team

Congratulations, you made a bunch of stuff blow up and freed yourselves from death and imprisonment multiple times.  Too bad you didn’t make this movie back in the ’80s, A-Team, because then it would have been exciting.  Now, it’s standard.  Next…

Conviction

Who knew that DNA evidence could clear someone wrongly convicted of murder? Try everyone who has looked at the front page of a newspaper in the past two decades. Like every single newspaper headline boasting the triumph of the truth, this movie heads for the back of my mind.

The Disappearance of Alice Creed

Not even the movie’s out of nowhere gay lovers twist could save this boring, minimalist kidnapping story from dissolving in my mind almost instantly.

Just Wright

Formulaic romantic comedy. Need I say more?

Leap Year

See above.

Morning Glory

I liked this movie a lot better when it was called “The Devil Wears Prada” and had Meryl Streep instead of crotchety old Harrison Ford.

The Other Guys

This Will Ferrell/Mark Wahlberg collaboration had nothing to make it stand out in either star’s catalog. Neither has a strong or memorable character spouting any quotable lines. Perhaps it’s best that we can forget this movie because I certainly know Farrell is hoping we forget the movies he made before this.  We’ve seen plenty of buddy cop movies done right, and there’s no reason to ever watch it done to mediocrity as it is here.

Secretariat

I have a well-documented distaste for inspirational sports dramas, mainly because they all come down to “this person shouldn’t have won but they worked hard and they were good people so they did win, and we should all learn a lesson.” This horse racing drama diverts a little bit, but it’s so packed with corny lines that I’ll forever group it with those that follow the template.

She’s Out of My League

“Knocked Up” dealt with everything this Jay Baruchel failed star-launching vehicle tried to tackle, only better and with much more humor. I’ll forever consider this a lame rip-off.

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REVIEW: The Other Guys

6 08 2010

Will Ferrell made a name for himself playing in the movie industry by playing some crazy larger-than-life characters, such as Buddy the Elf and Ron Burgundy. Recently, he has been tarnishing that name by playing Will Ferrell, or at least how we have come to perceive Will Ferrell: a lazy, pathetic, and fairly eccentric bum. After a series of unintentionally humorless flops, it’s hard to have confidence that “The Other Guys” could end the slump.

The movie isn’t great, certainly nowhere near the likes of “Elf” or “Anchorman,” but it’s a definite improvement from “Step Brothers” and “Land of the Lost.” The story and the characters still aren’t quite back in full force, yet there’s some comfort in seeing the return of a crucial ingredient – laughter.  Fairly often, a joke will fall flat or just not work quite right. But more often than not, they manage to work, and we laugh more than we wince.

This isn’t the movie to break Will Ferrell’s slump; however, it’s definitely a step in the right direction and hopefully the beginning of an upward trend. It definitely helps that he’s not playing some ridiculous moron but rather a regular Joe Schmoe moron, someone who might actually exist out there. While we’ve been there done that with Ferrell’s one-note comedy of bizarre characters, there’s something refreshing and, dare I say, exciting about watching him go off the beaten path for a while.

But there’s more to this movie than just reporting that Will Ferrell can be decent again. We can’t forget Mark Wahlberg, who plays a cop that is a complete polar opposite of his Staff Sgt. Dignam from “The Departed.”  While he got to play the ultimate hard Boston police officer in the 2006 Best Picture winner, he’s tackling a decidedly different role as Holtz, the paper-pushing officer stuck working with Ferrell’s pitiful Gamble.  Wahlberg has never been in a comedic movie before, yet it’s amazing how he blends right in as if we’ve been seeing him do these types of movies for years.  I won’t go as far as to call he and Farrell a new “odd couple” (a new favorite critical comparison), but they certainly do play off each other well throughout the movie.

It’s the two marquee names that carry the movie.  They don’t get any help from Eva Mendes, who plays Gamble’s smoking hot wife, or Steve Coogan, the Brit who plays the Wall Street scumbag who is meant to remind us of Bernie Madoff.  Samuel L. Jackson and Dwayne Johnson, the Dignams so to speak of the movie, aren’t in the movie long enough to produce many laughs, and the ones that they do were ruined in the trailer.  There are some nice running jokes with Michael Keaton, the police chief who moonlights at Bed Bath and Beyond, that wind up being funny after a few tries.  But have no doubt about it – this is Mark Wahlberg’s movie and it is Will Ferrell’s movie, for better or for worse.  B- /





Shameless Advertisement #16 – The Other Premiere

28 07 2010

Want to know a way to really make me happy on my “blogoversary?”  Go on Facebook and vote for my hometown, Houston, Texas, to get THE OTHER PREMIERE.

What exactly is THE OTHER PREMIERE?  And why is it important enough to get all caps?  Well, the movie “The Other Guys” is holding a second premiere on August 3.  That city is selected by a Facebook contest where the cities with the highest votes move on.  Houston has made it to the top 5 with Atlanta, Dallas, Philadelphia, and St. Louis!

And now it’s crunch time.  I would seriously love to have this great event in Houston, mainly because Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg will be in attendance.  So do me a favor, all Houstonians and fans of this blog – get on your Facebook account and vote for Houston!

So click on either the link in the picture, the links all over this post, or the link below, if you are the kind of person that likes to see the URL:

http://www.facebook.com/otherguysmovie

You can vote once per day, so remember to go back and vote!  Thanks for your time … and GO HOUSTON!





What To Look Forward To in … August 2010

7 07 2010

It’s the day after three days after (didn’t finish the post quite in time) July 4th, which means that summer is basically half-over. Everyone make a sad face.

It’s also July, which means it’s time for me to make my August preview post for some movies that few people want to see. Everyone make a sadder face.

But I think there is some potential for some hits in August, some fueled by estrogen and others by testosterone.

August 6

And the winner for the most unnecessary 3D treatment in the history of movies is “Step Up 3D!” Honestly, Hollywood, stop making the third installment of every series in 3D just because it sounds nice in the title. Who wants to see people breakdancing in 3D? I’m just waiting for the straw that will break the camel’s back on the technology … getting closer …

It’s make or break career-wise for Will Farrell with “The Other Guys.” After last summer’s “Land of the Lost” tanked hard, it’s up to this movie to help him save face in the industry. Thankfully, he has Mark Wahlberg, The Rock, and Samuel L. Jackson to help him. My bet is on the latter, though, to provide the most laughs.

The last two decades were not exactly good to Rob Reiner, so maybe “Flipped” can turn the tables in his favor again. This is the man that gave us “This is Spinal Tap,” “The Princess Bride,” and “When Harry Met Sally.”  It’s time for a return to form, and I think his adaptation of Wendelin Von Draanen’s book can do it for him.  I read the book as a kid, and it still to this day is one of my favorites.  I’ll forgive him for the slap in the face to my generation though – he moved its setting to the 1950s because it is more “innocent.”

On the indie side of things, the most interesting release looks to be “Middle Men,” which chronicles the birth of the Internet pornography industry. It’s a curious choice for Luke Wilson, former comedic star.

There’s also the quiet “Cairo Time” with Patricia Clarkson, the film festival hit “Lebanon” that provides hard-hitting war drama, and “The Oxford Murders” which seems to have little to offer aside from Elijah Wood.

August 13

“Eat Pray Love” is this year’s “Julie & Julia,” that is, a late summer movie aimed at the oft looked-over women. Particularly middle-aged and older women, AKA not the kind that lined up for “Twilight.” With Julia Roberts, a huge star who makes herself pretty scarce, and a literary phenomenon to its name, this could be poised to reap in some big money.

But all the guys seem to be hungering for “The Expendables,” Sylvester Stallone’s new movie that features just about every ’80s action star, be they fresh or washed up. All I can say is thank goodness it is rated R.

And then aiming somewhere in between is “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World,” a different kind of comic book movie. The usual hero is someone awesome; here, the hero is pathetic Michael Cera fending off seven evil ex-boyfriends of his new girlfriend. Anna Kendrick makes an appearance in the movie in some aspect, so that’s probably enough to get me to see it. Don’t be surprised if this is an out-of-nowhere smash hit. The style looks pretty irresistible.

These movies are probably not opening anywhere else other than New York or Los Angeles this day, but look for them in late August or September. Hopefully “Animal Kingdom,” a foreign crime drama released by Sony Pictures Classics, isn’t the new “Gommorah.” And then there’s “Tales from Earthsea,” the latest Japanese anime movie. One of these days I’ll get around to watching “Spirited Away”…

August 20

“Lottery Ticket” would fall in a pile with other urban movies I don’t pay much attention to if it weren’t for one tiny detail: Ice Cube is playing an old man. He was a hip father only five years ago … it’s a little soon for a grandpa role.

“The Switch” is in an interesting place. Jennifer Aniston was once a draw, but her rep has taken some hits after a series of movies that were not very well received. Jason Bateman is still a rising star, still looking for that movie to really put him on the A-list. Can they meet in the middle? A comedy with a serious concept could do it for them.

I don’t get excited for documentaries, but “The Tillman Story” looks great. A little un-American, sure. But it’s a movie about the truth, and that’s usually a good thing.

Maybe your local megaplex will keep “Toy Story 3” in its 3D theaters to save you from “Piranha 3D,” yet another unnecessary movie looking to profit off the premium ticket prices.  And “Nanny McPhee Returns” because apparently we didn’t get enough of her the first time.

I really hope that “happythankyoumoreplease” finds its way to Houston sometime. It’s directed by Josh Radnor of “How I Met Your Mother” fame and stars the gorgeous Malin Akerman. I love me some indie comedy, and the movie found some love at Sundance. But since no real trailer is out there and it’s being released by some distributor I’ve never heard of, I have my doubts.

August 27

And now we get to those crummy last official week of summer releases.  “Takers,” despite a fairly impressive cast, just looks dumb.  “The Last Exorcism” provides enough chills to tide that crowd over until Halloween.

Indeed, the only movie that looks redeemable this weekend is “Going the Distance,” the rom-com starring real life couple Drew Barrymore and Justin Long.  The movie explores a long-distance relationship, territory that has seldom been tread.  If the women have seen “Eat Pray Love” too many times, they could make this a hit.

So, whatcha wanna see in August?  Lemme know in the poll.