Archive for the Oscars Category

The Movie Board: Worst movies of 2009

Posted in Academy Awards, movies, Oscars, reviews with tags , , , , , on January 13, 2010 by Paxton

Movie Board

Okay, on Tuesday, you saw my favorite movies of 2009. These were all the movies I really enjoyed and will probably watch multiple times. Now, it’s time to look at what I think were the worst movies of 2009.

What makes a bad movie for me, for the most part, is disappointment because of expectations. I expect to really enjoy the movie because of a funny trailer or an interesting story and the movie doesn’t live up to those expectations. Those are the movies that go on this list. There are movies like Crank or Fast & Furious that you would expect to be on here, but let’s be honest, those movies are supposed to be bad. They are awful for a reason. Plus they are fun-awful, not awful-awful.

Before we get started, take a look back at previous years’ lists with my worst movies of 2007 and my worst movies of 2008 articles.

So here are the movies I was most disappointed with this year. Honestly, I could only come up with four. I really had a hard time putting together this list. There were a lot of good movies this year.  Here are the movies I really didn’t like.

Men Who Stare At Goats
Men Who Stare At Goats – This was a very disappointing movie for me. The trailer was awesome, however they pretty much showed every single punchline for every single funny scene in the trailer. EVERY SINGLE ONE. The rest of the movie was an awkwardly quirky ride that was neither funny nor interesting.  So by the time I saw the movie, every funny event was spoiled and that made me not care about the rest of the movie.  So many good actors, so much wasted potential.  And, to whomever cut the trailer, thank you for ruining this movie for me, d-bag.

Gamer – This movie had so much promise.  Gerard Butler as a prisoner fighting in some type of corporate war games run by Michael C Hall? Oh, and Gerard Butler is being controlled remotely by a video game user played by the kid who’s going to be the lead in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians movie? Yes, please. However this movie BLEW. It was weird, there wasn’t enough action or humor and the mechanics of the video war games Gerard Butler’s character participates in came and went depending on what was needed in the story. Michael C Hall was good but his character was off the charts weird. This was just a bad movie based on a very solid premise.

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The Movie Board: My favorite movies of 2009

Posted in Academy Awards, movies, Oscars, reviews, sequels, Star Trek with tags , , , , , , on January 12, 2010 by Paxton

Movie Board

Okay, everyone. We are finally here. We are at the point where I glance up at my 2009 Movie Board and try to figure out what were my favorite movies of 2009. For those scoring at home, here’s the Movie Board for this year:

Movie Board 2009

As you can see, I saw 53 movies that were released in 2009 (and therefore are eligible for the Oscars).  Some of those movies were in the theater (the majority of them, actually) and some were at home on Blu-Ray.  That’s 4.42 movies per month. Up from last year. Also, I was able to top 50 movies for the first time since 2007. So, I’m excited about that.  Last year my total was 49, so I was a bit irked I didn’t make it.  This year, I’m back, baby!

For those just joining us this year, or for those that like reliving the past, check out my favorite movie picks in my Movie Board articles for 2007 and 2008.  I myself like to look back every year before I write this article, just to get in the movie pickin’ mood.

This was a really good year for movies. I saw a metric TON of good flicks in 2009.  I really had a hard time getting this list down to my favorite movies of the year.  As usual, I’m just picking my favorite five.  My own personal “best” list.  You may agree, you may disagree.  Regardless, I’m right, so pipe down and prepare to be told what 5 movies rocked my world this year.

Okay, 2009 movies, let’s do this.

Star Trek 2009
Star Trek – Blew my ass away. I’d take a picture of my ass to prove it to you, but you wouldn’t see anything but a blank space, because it was BLOWN AWAY.  I saw this movie twice in theaters because I had my ass kicked so incredibly hard the first time, I had to go back to be sure it wasn’t an illusion.  And it wasn’t.  I laughed and cried (yes, I f’n cried) at all the exact same spots on both viewings.  Then, my dad gave me the movie for Xmas and I watched it again on Blu-Ray and was reduced to a blubbering, laughing mess for a THIRD TIME.  THIS MOVIE IS FANTASTIC.  I can’t place this movie high enough on the list to get across how much I love this movie.  JJ Abrams gets it.  Orci and Kurtzman get it.  The actors get it.  This movie was Star Trek, warts and all.  I know some people were bitching about the plot holes and time travel, but I invite those haters to SHUT THEIR CHEETOS HOLES.  If you have watched any of the original series episodes from the ’60s (which I’ve been doing) then this movie fits right in.  I put this movie up there with Wrath of Khan and Undiscovered Country as my favorite Star Trek movie.  I balled when George Kirk died.  I laughed and pumped my fist when Kirk beats the Kobayashi-Maru.  I marveled at the final battle with Nero.  I couldn’t have asked for a better Star Trek movie.  PERIOD.  Best.  Movie.  This.  Year.  Take that to the bank, haters.

District 9
District 9 – I read a lot of the press for this movie before it opened.  A small sci-fi film from South Africa produced by Peter Jackson and written/directed by a little known but talented guy named Neill Blomkamp.  I knew most of the movie is done in a mock documentary style about aliens that have come to Earth.  That’s about all I knew, but it looked like a really clever idea and I was excited to see it.  I had no idea what I was in for.  Fantastic.  This movie blends CGI, practical effects and live action in an unbelievably seamless way.  The aliens are all CGI, but they are REAL.  This is no Jar Jar Binks, my friends.  Also, even though it’s only used for the first 2/3 of the movie, the mockumentary structure really works.  This is just a wonderful sci-fi movie.  Some of the movie review guys on the Internets that I respect even put this in their best of the year.  Devin over at CHUD put it #4 in his top 15 of the year and both Massawyrm and Harry Knowles over at Aint It Cool News put it #1 on their lists.  I absolutely agree.  This movie deserves to be seen.  It’s awesome.  I can’t recommend it enough.  Hopefully we’ll see a nomination for Special Effects as well as Best Screenplay (fingers crossed).

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2008 Oscar Nominations announced today + my reactions

Posted in Academy Awards, movies, Oscars, pop culture, reviews with tags , , , on January 22, 2009 by Paxton

Oscars Wild!

Well, the inauguration is over, people are coming down off of that historic event. Now it’s time to gear up for the Oscars (at least for me it is). The Academy (of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, that is) today announced the nominees for this year’s Oscars.  They also released the 80th anniversary Best Pictures poster.

If you click the poster you can go to the Oscar website to see all of the nominees for 2009.  It’s perfect timing that they announced the nominees today because I just told you guys what I think the best and worst movies of 2008 were.  You didn’t see that?  Shame on you.

Check out my favorite movies of 2008 here

Check out my worst movies of 2008 here

You can see where I discuss last year’s nominations here

For the last two years or so, when the Academy announces the nominees, I take a look at the biggest categories (you know, the ones we actually care about) and see how I think the academy did with its choices.  It’s only my opinion mind you, but I like to see how my own sensibilities compare to the Academy (FYI…we aren’t even close).  Each year when I look at the nominees, I notice that either I didn’t see enough movies (4+ a month isn’t enough?) or I just don’t like the same movies as the Academy because they pick things I’ve never seen a trailer or ad for.  I mean, a movie that opens in October for 2 weeks in 4 cities seems like an odd choice to go up for Best Picture of the Year because most of the nation will not see it.  It seems these movies are mostly seen by critics.  I guess that’s what the People’s Choice Awards are for, to give us a say.  But then, the People’s Choice Awards are looked at with the same respect as the Nickelodeon awards shows.  But, that’s neither here nor there.  It’s time to check out this year’s Oscar nominees.

So let’s start with

Leading Actor:
Richard Jenkins – The Visitor – Here we go. A movie I’ve never even heard of. Yahoo! Movies says it’s about 62 year old Walter Vale. He’s sleepwalking through life. Having lost his passion for teaching and writing, he fills the void by unsuccessfully trying to learn to play classical pian—zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
Frank Langella – Frost/Nixon – Ahhh, nice. This is a good choice. Langella was phenomenal in this.
Sean Penn – Milk – I know it’s the guy’s name, but Milk seems like such an odd name for the movie. Milk. M-m-m-m-i-i-i-l-l-k. See, weird. If you can’t tell, I haven’t seen it.
Brad Pitt – Curious Case of Benjamin Button – Looks weird. Heard it’s good from a few people, but I’m cautiously pessimistic about it.
Mickey Rourke – The Wrestler – I’m intrigued. It looks dirty, grungy and harsh. I’ll probably watch it at some point.

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The Movie Board: Worst movies of 2008

Posted in Academy Awards, Movie Board, movies, Oscars, reviews with tags , , on January 13, 2009 by Paxton

Movie Board

Okely, dokely.  Last week I gave you my 5 favorite movies of 2008.  Now it’s time to talk about the 5 worst movies I saw last year.  If you would like, you can take a look at my five worst movies from 2007 right here.

Looking over the list this year, I noticed that the worst movies, for me, tend to be ones I was super-psyched to go see, but they, for whatever reason, turn out to suck.  HARD.  Just being bad is one thing, but promising massive coolness and then dumping in my lap nothing but a steaming pile of monkey dung is a major faux pas.  I am still one of the few that really wants to see movies on the big screen.  Yes, the other people that go to movies are neanderthals.  They leave their candy and trash all around their seat because “they have people to pick that up” (how hard is it to carry your cup and popcorn bag to the f’n trash, you are going that way anyway).  They answer cell phones in the middle of the movie (Why pay 10 bucks to talk on your cell phone?!).  They talk to their friends during the movie, or make fun of the movie while it’s playing.  So yes, there are plenty of reasons to avoid the “unwashed masses” and watch all your movies at home.  I, however, enjoy the large screen and fantastic sound.  I want to see movies like Iron Man, Dark Knight, Hulk, Indiana Jones and others on the big screen.  That’s how it’s meant to be done.  Now, I’ll usually avoid the evening shows and Steph and I will hit the Saturday matinees where it’s cheaper and less crowded, but we are getting out there.  Seeing the movie in the theater.  So, naturally, after all this, if a movie is uninteresting or just bad, I’ll be pissed that I wasted my energy.

So, as a public service announcement, here are the five movies I believe to be the five worst movies I saw in 2008.  I recommend not watching any one of these stink bombs.

Here they are in no particular order:

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull– That’s right.  I’m saying it.  This was one of the worst movies of 2008.  More to the point, it was one of the most disappointing movies of 2008.  It was not remotely the same Indy we saw in The Last Crusade.  Despite everyone saying that Ford looked great, he looked older.  A lot older.  They could cast Indiana Jones in the next Mummy movie.  Also, Spielberg seemed to be on cruise control.  How flat and uninteresting did this movie look?  Too much CGI, not enough practical.  And the alien aspect was more X-Files and less Indy.  The whole thing felt odd when I saw it.  I wanted to watch it again in theaters to give it another chance but couldn’t bring myself to pay to watch it again.  Maybe I’ll rent the Blu-Ray and give it one more chance.  But I’m sure it won’t be good enough to move off this list.  If they make more of these, I’ll see them, but it will be in a robotic, soulless way, not with any enthusiasm or excitement (in much the same way they made this movie).

X-Files I Want to Believe
X-Files: I Want To Believe– This is right up there with Indiana Jones.  Actually, I found this more disappointing than Indiana Jones.  I wanted to believe (ha! pun) that this movie was gonna rock.  I was exactly who this movie was made for.  I watched X-Files.  I saw the last movie in the theater.  My wife and I watched the first season of X-Files on DVD a month or so before the movie came out.  I was so pumped.  Then, after seeing the movie, I came out of the theater feeling like this movie raped my wife and punched my mother in face.  WTF was that?!  The nostalgia of seeing Mulder and Scully on the big screen again almost brain washed me into thinking the movie was good.  ALMOST.  Alas, it was not good.  At all.  It was like a bad episode of CSI, much less a bad episode of X-Files.  WTF happened?  It’s like Chris Carter crapped in a bucket and that bucket wrote the script for this movie.  I want to cry thinking about it.  If you have fond memories of X-Files, do not see this movie.  EVER.

Disaster Movie
Disaster Movie– Why do they keep making these spoof movies?  Are they making money at this point?  What started out as a very clever idea with Not Another Teen Movie and Scary Movie has devolved into a carousel of comedy abortions.  I thought Epic Movie last year would have bottomed out the genre but this movie hits the bottom, gets out an industrial-sized drill, and starts digging.  It is AWFUL.  This might be the only movie on this list I didn’t have high hopes for and it STILL managed to come in under those expectations.  I was actually embarrassed for the actors in the movie.  There is a HORRIBLE send-up of a High School Musical song that literally had me cringing and looking for the door.  I can’t recommend watching this under any circumstances.  Seriously.  Even hammered with 12 of your best friends, the movie isn’t funny.  You’ve been warned.

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The Movie Board: My favorite movies of 2008

Posted in Academy Awards, Movie Board, movies, Oscars, reviews with tags , , on January 6, 2009 by Paxton

Movie Board

Well, 2008 is over and the 2009 movie season looms over us like a petulant child, demanding our attention and constantly wanting to be fed and changed. These new movie seasons sure are screaming, poop machines, aren’t they?

Anywho, the Academy is deciding on the 2008 Oscar nominees as we speak (this year’s Oscars are supposed to air on February 22). When the nominees are finally announced (Jan 22), I’ll be sure to let you know what movies made it and also give a little review of how I think the Oscar committee did like I did for last year’s Oscars nominations.

So, on to the movies I saw in 2008. The Movie Board, just to give a small history, was started by me in Dec 2006. I use it to keep track of all the movies I watched that were released on DVD or in theaters during the calendar year. This way I can easily look back at my list at the end of the year and see, at a glance, what my favorite movies were.  Here’s the list for 2007 to refresh your memory.

So, without further ado, here is my 2008 Movie Board with all the movies I saw this year (click the image for a bigger view).

2008 Movie Board

According to its all-knowing dry erase-ness, I saw 49 movies last year.    Just over 4 a month or about a movie a week.  Last year, I was up over 50 movies.  Of course, this doesn’t include older movies not released in 2008 that Steph and I watched from Blockbuster and/or Netflix.  Nor does it take into account multiple viewings because I saw Iron Man, Hulk, Hancock, Jumper, Tropic Thunder and several others at least twice last year (some in the theater and some on DVD).

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Second Guessing the Academy: Worst. Oscar Wins. Ever.

Posted in 80s, Academy Awards, movies, Oscars, pop culture with tags , , , , on February 20, 2008 by Paxton

Oscar 2007 posterOne of my friends, Kathy, a regular reader of this blog, emailed me and asked me to write about what I think the worst Oscar wins of all time were. I thought it was a very good subject for me to tackle and since the Oscars are telecast live this Sunday at 8pm EST, there’s no time like the present to call the Academy out on the carpet (the RED carpet…so to speak). So I sat down to do the research.

I was originally just going to start in the mid-’80s but started moving backwards to my birth year, 1974. Then I moved even further back to 1970. Obviously, I didn’t start seriously watching the Oscars until the mid-’80s but 1970 is about where I start to recognize movies and have opinions on what happened that year. If you want to check out year by year results of the Oscars head on over to to their Academy Awards Database. You can search by year, award or actor. It helped me a lot in piecing this whole article together.

I started by looking back at the nominations and winners for the 8 main award categories (Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Director, Picture, Adapted Screenplay and Original Screenplay). Like I said, I went back to the 1970 Awards and started my research there. I looked at the nominees and winners for the year and picked the times that I thought the Academy got it wrong. I tried to only pick out completely egregious errors. Ones that offended my delicate sensibilities. I mean, the oversight had to leap off the page at me screaming, “WTF WAS THE ACADEMY THINKING?!” If a movie I liked didn’t win, but I thought the movie that won was worthy, I didn’t bother mentioning it. Keep in mind, this is my own opinion, however right I am, it’s just an opinion.

Let’s begin.

1972 – This year, the Best Supporting Actor was filled with 3 actors from The Godfather; Al Pacino, James Caan and Robert Duvall. How do you choose? If you are the Academy, you pick Joel Grey for his work in Cabaret. Wait, wha-?! That’s right, neither Michael, Sonny nor Tom Hagen won an Oscar for their efforts. But looking back on it, we all can see Mr. Grey’s performance was one for the ages. To throw salt in the wound, Cabaret wins Best Director over Godfather. Tell me that is not a tragedy. At least Brando won Best Actor this year (but he refused the award because Indians were not being treated fairly or something. What a weirdo).

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Here come the Oscar Nominations for 2007

Posted in Academy Awards, humor, movies, Oscars, reviews with tags , , , on January 22, 2008 by Paxton

Oscars Wild!

Well, today the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences released the list of Academy Award Nominees for the 2007 movie season. Honestly, I’m a little appalled at how many of these movies I haven’t seen. The nominees for the “big 4” (actor, actress, director, movie) are a little “out of the box” for my tastes. I don’t know if this whole writer’s strike is having a strange effect on the whole of Hollywood or what, but these nominees are a little strange. As you recall from my favorites article a few weeks ago, I saw almost 5 movies a month this past year however I have not seen the majority of movies that were nominated. That’s how whacked out these nominees are.

Well, like I did last year, I thought I would take a look at a few of the Academy’s selections and maybe give a critique. I won’t go over all of the selections, just some of the more visible categories. You can click the image at the top of this article to go to the Oscar website to see a full listing of nominees. Let’s take a look at a few of the Academy’s decisions this year.

Best Leading Actor:
George Clooney – Michael Clayton – This is a good movie, however I don’t think I would watch it again. Great performances, but the movie dragged a little bit in the middle. This is a good choice however as Clooney was fascinating to watch.
Daniel Day-Lewis – There Will Be Blood – Daniel Day-Lewis is a phenomenal actor. That’s a given. I’m iffy on this movie, however. I don’t normally like the subtext laden movies that feature a metaphor of our own world so we can learn about the mistakes we are making. I don’t need a millionaire director to tell me that oil corporations are bad and the quest for money is evil. I get that. I will, however, probably see this movie on DVD just to see Daniel Day-Lewis’ portrayal of the main character.
Johnny Depp – Sweeney Todd – Haven’t seen this, but I really want to. Depp follows up his Oscar nominated character Jack Sparrow with another Oscar nominated character. My wife’s aunt and grandmother saw this movie recently and were less than impressed. However, I’m going to assume that they are not the target audience. I think it looks good, and Depp is probably his usual awesome self.
Tommy Lee Jones – In The Valley of Elah – Wha-huh?! I’ve never heard of this movie. A quick check of Yahoo! Movies tells me it was released last September and also stars Charlize Theron…really? Holy crap, where was I?
Viggo Mortensen – Eastern Promises – Saw this and didn’t really like it. Viggo is good, he is completely into his character and the twist at the end is shocking, but the movie is just too dark and somewhat hard to watch. Not one of my favorites, but Viggo, I think, deserves this nom.

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