Tuesday, June 28, 2011

"The Oscar Goes to...." and "Gimmie my money back!"

We're halfway through the year in movies, so let's do a little experiment.

Oscar voters are often accused of having short memories, as, let's face it, it's a lot harder to remember back 12 months than it is six months. True, many studios play to this by putting their mostly likely contenders at the end of the year. Still, there are always a few worthy contenders that somehow sneak in among the blockbusters, rom-coms and Kevin James movies destined for a long run on your local Southwest Airlines jets.

So what films from the first six months of 2011 deserve not to be forgotten when Harvey Weinstein starts purchasing Oscar buzz as if it were frozen orange futures in Trading Places?

Related to that... let's be honest, there's a lot of crap that gets shoveled into the local multiplexes in the first half of the year. I've heard there are some stars who have refunded money to disgruntled viewers. George Clooney has supposed given several fans their money back for Batman & Robin. George, I'll let you be on that one. Batman & Robin was a gift from the comedy gods. But you're not off the hook for Ocean's Twelve.

So what 2011 movie do you want your money back for, and what star do you fantasize about accosting on the street or in a restaurant in order to get back your $12?


  1. Err, you mean 2011, right? *Thinks*
    I'm not sure I've seen anything so bad in the first six months of this year that I'd want my money back. NOTHING to rival Due Date or The Other Guys from last year.
    I've said it before, but Source Code left me feeling like a kid again when I came out. To get swept up in a story is such a rare thing that I treasured it. It'd never get near an Oscar (apart from maybe the technicals), but I loved it.

  2. Sucker Punch. In fact, I want to scrub out my brain of those two hours and pretend I never had to sit through that nasty, exploititative, miserable and downright misogynistic piece of trash. Easily one of the most unpleasant cinematic experiences I've ever had - not just a bad movie that made me grumpy like, say, The Matrix Revolutions, but a bad movie that actually made me angry. That takes some doing.

  3. Like radiant said, I don't recall watching anything I'd want my money back. I've gotten to the point where I can avoid films I won't enjoy.

    A few films I hope are not forgotten come Oscar time:
    Win Win
    Source Code
    Midnight in Paris

    However, I don't see any of those but maybe Win Win and Midnight in Paris having a chance at getting a Best Picture Nomination (meaning no chance).

    Hanna will go forgotten completely.

    Bridesmaids will likely get a Comedy/Musical Nom from the Golden Globes (who cares, right?).

    And Source Code will be left fighting for Sound Mixing and Visual Effects (yay).

    It's still much too early to find Best Picture types this year. Of the 2010 nominated films released by June/July (Winter's Bone, Toy Story 3, Inception, The Kid's Are All Right) none had a real chance at winning the statue.

  4. I want my money back for Cars 2. The political storyline of gas vs ethanol in a kid's movie. Bastards.

  5. No Strings Attached was awful. Like, God awful.

    On the bright side, Source Code and Bridesmaids were money.

  6. Far as I'm concerned Clooney has to apologize for ever becoming an actor at all. Let alone thinking he could possibly make a better Ocean's then the far superior original one with the Rat Pack. Sammy Davis Jr makes everything a million times better. Take any really bad movie, transport Sammy from back in time to make it, plop him in it, and you have a masterpiece.

    Last movie I saw in the theatre was Despicable Me. There hasn't been a single preview of anything since that has made me want to waste time and money there. I haven't sat down to watch my DVD of Harry Potter 6 yet so I don't want to see 7. And I signed up for NetFlix so I can see movies that are more my type. I saw this AWESOME one with Marilyn Monroe called Don't Bother To Knock. It follows one woman's decent into madness all over the course of a single evening. When she starts threatening the child she's babysitting it's incredibly creepy!

  7. The movie that pissed me off the most was "Limitless." Great concept. Just thought it was poorly executed. They would raise some intriguing plot points and then quickly dispense with them, so they could move onto the next point, which was disposed of just as quickly.

    It had the potential to be a great movie, but they didn't take the time to fully bake it.

  8. I don't think I've seen anything I hated in the theater. I agree with everybody on Source Code. It filled me with joy.

  9. Seconding the awfulness of SUCKER PUNCH. Absolutely loathsome, one of the worst films I've ever seen, and in spite of all the activity in it, spectacularly boring.

  10. "The Mechanic" came out in January right? I waited for video, but I think I deserve a refund of the full theater price. That was a serious piece of shit.

    I don tknow about you guys, but I like the scripts for Limitless and Source Code so much I refused to see them on the big screen. I cannot justify the cost versus potential ruinage ratio.

  11. The best thing about Sucker Punch was the very young looking couple in front of me, who look like they had just finished a Hello Kitty commercial, loving it so much they could of exploded.
    At least I knew then that it had a target audience.

  12. Sucker Punch was the only movie that has ever made me walk out. And that was only after about 30 minutes.

    Pure garbage.

  13. When I wrote up this entry last night, I struggled to think of a movie that made me want my money back. I'd been choosier about what I paid to see in the theatre, so I almost congratulated myself on having such sharp taste.

    I had completely forgotten about Sucker Punch until it was mentioned here - this despite writing not one, not two, but THREE posts about it!

    I've got nothing against Zack Snyder. He seems like a cool guy with genuine enthusiasm for his work, and he's pretty damn talented to boot... but I'm afraid that Sucker Punch was just a total misfire. I almost wish Snyder was more of an asshole because then I could feel better about beating up on this film.

    I'd love to have a candid talk with Snyder and find out if he feels like he could have made it better or if this really was the film he set out to make. And if so, what was he trying to achieve with this?

    I don't know if it'd be fair to demand my $12 back considering it supplied me with so much fodder and I'd nearly forgotten it... but I don't blame anyone who wanted a refund on this.

  14. Just watched Tree of Life yesterday. With the exception of every scene covering the 1950s family, the movie did not match its RT score.

    Brad Pitt was great in it. The central story was engaging. The beginning and end were pure crap for a movie experience. I get it in an artsy type way, but for a movie-going experience? I'm not sure how it got pushed through by the studio.

    I saw several people walk out before the real story took place. I've read that some theaters have even put up signs refusing to give people money back for the film. Just a real miss on this. Way too long and way too much content when it already had a beautiful story that should have stood on its own merits without the extra experimental fluff.

  15. Not to sound overly confrontational, but why is experimental stuff automatically "fluff"? Why does "artsy" automatically equal a bad movie experience? Is there no value in experimental/abstract/avant garde art? Is storytelling the only use for the medium of film?

    As to how that stuff got pushed through -- easy. It's a Terrence Malick film, and he's one of our most legendary living directors (it probably helped that it wasn't made within the studio system, and that he got two huge stars to be in it).

    I put zero stock in walkouts and refund requests -- any challenging film has these. Doesn't make them bad, just as it doesn't make them good. To me, walkouts are simply an indicator that a film wasn't made for a broad, four quadrant, mainstream audience (either that, or its Transformers 2).

    Malick's other films were much the same way. There were plenty of walkouts when I saw Thin Red Line in 98 -- didn't make it a bad movie (point of fact, it's a great one).

  16. I'm gonna agree with Hanna, because I LOVED the soundtrack. I'm pretty sure it had plenty of empty theaters around me though, probably more of the same everywhere else.

    I've been alright with the films to far this year. The ones I really hated to go see were Unknown (close up on the briefcase in the first five minutes, GEE I WONDER WHAT THE PLOT DEVICE IS?!) and Kill The Irishman, but nothing I wanted to get a refund for. Maybe I'm not as critical as I should be.

  17. Carlos - I have to disagree with you about The Tree Of Life. It's a masterpiece in my opinion. Every single shot served a purpose to tell the story. There was no fluff at all. It might seem like a bunch of random scenes thrown together but they are all there for a reason. Here is a filmmaker who has absolute mastery over every aspect of the film.

    I understand that this movie is not for everyone, it's definitely a film you have to engage yourself in more than the usual Hollywood movie, but for anyone who is interested in storytelling (and I know you are Carlos) I urge them to give this film a chance, or a second chance.

    I wish I could better express the reason I liked it so much. Even if I could, it wouldn't top this magnificent analysis by Niles Schwartz:


  18. There are a lot of over-edited, loud action movies where the critics are always recommending the audience to enjoy them while "checking the brains at the door." I actually thought dumb movies required much more brain power to enjoy because one's brain had to be in overdrive to accept the ridiculousness and to keep the story coherent and to piece together the action sequence based on flash cuts and loud bangs.

    tree of life on the other hand, is an actual film that one can absorb and get lost in. the characters do go through profound transformation but not melodramatically. it's "drama" the way Mr. Rogers spoke of "drama" in his testimony before the Congress. So in that way Tree of Life is a great story, just a great story that would make those of us who are still conditioned by Blake Snyder mad.

    I actually felt cheated by Hanna. For a film that promises to be a great coming-of-age thriller that is sensitive and sensational, it fails in both genres. The coming-of-age stuff is very obvious and the thriller stuff is pretty lukewarm. Joe Wright seems to think that he's doing the genre a favor without too much actual insight. I think as obnoxious as Tarantino is, nobody is giving him enough credit for taking his stories seriously (well, the WRONG crowd is). Movies like Sucker Punch and Hanna both feature middle-aged dudes who think they can create excitement via loud music and slick camerawork (which is always the failed cliche in action films) and they also think they can "update" the respective genres simply by remixing it with very obvious tricks.

    It's like that awful album of Nina Simone when people thought they were updating Sinnerman by adding a techno beat below it.

    I love movie premises about superspies and special forces, but aside from the third Bourne movie, they all have fallen short, ending up either not intelligent enough (e.g. Taken) or not exciting enough or both. I assume we have an onslaught of movies about special forces coming out, overtaking the superhero genre (you can already kinda tell with the popularity of those video games, tv shows, and our worship of the SEAL guys who shot Bin Laden), I hope another one delivers soon. Hanna was a sore disappointment, and I should've known by its use of fade outs IN action scenes. Which happened way too many times.