Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Film Awards 2015, Part 1

Before I moved to Aberdeen I had it on good authority that there is nothing to do other than go to the cinema. Now that I've lived in Aberdeen for 3 months, I can tell you on good authority that there is nothing to do other than go to the cinema. A Cineworld Unlimited card is therefore not a luxury but a necessity. Without one you will die. Between now and this time next year I expect to have seen over four thousand movies. This blog post will therefore be a lot trickier in 2016. For now, however, I feel capable of presenting you with The Decy's - my awards for the films of 2015.
  • Funniest Film

Maybe it was the Venezuelan heat, maybe it was the fact that it wasn't Two and a Half Men (one of the shows shown in English on Venezuelan TV), maybe it's the fact that good comedy is hard to find these days, maybe, just maybe, it was actually a decent film. But whatever the reason, this award goes to Horrible Bosses 2. This is one of those rare sequels that actually outshines the original. If you like Charlie whats-his-face from It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia then you will probably like this movie. I like Charlie whats-his-face from It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

  • Best Western

This may have been the only western I saw in 2015, but that doesn't mean that The Salvation is here by default. Which it is. Nevertheless, this Mads Mikkelsen-led revenge piece is solid to a fault.  This really is Western-by-numbers, complete with evil-mustached-gunslinger-terrorising-small-town, and woman-in-need-of-help. Well beneath the surface there is some subversive political commentary, but for this most part this is a straight shootin' western of reasonable caliber.

  • Best Film Starring Landry from Friday Night Lights

Honourable mention to Black Mass, but the gong goes to Bridge of Spies. This was a surprisingly witty and wonderfully shot film. Clean, crisp, and without a wasted moment or word. It did leave me a bit cold, however. I never felt any sense of tension, even when we arrived at the titular bridge. The movie always had the feel of a story that would end well. But it's nice to see Landry doing well for himself, eh?

  • Best Actor

For his portrayal of a young Brian Wilson in Love & Mercy, I'm giving The Decy to Paul Dano. The highest compliment I can pay to Dano is to say that if the film had spent all its time with his Brian WIlson rather than cutting to the later Wilson played by John Cusack, Love & Mercy could have been film of the year. The scenes in the recording studio are engrossing, and there is a memorable moment when Dano's Wilson plays his new song "God Only Knows" on the piano for his angry and controlling father. Here we see the genius, the sadness, and the vulnerability all at work. And then X-Factor went and spoiled it all by doing something stupid like having someone butcher this Beach Boys classic Alexandra-Burke-Does-Hallelujah style. Is there nothing sacred?

  • Best Sequel Which Erases the Memory of Mission Impossible 4

This franchise is a case of odd numbers decent, even numbers crap. I have previously expressed by dislike for MI:4 (the one where Slavoj Zizek plays the bad guy). I'm pleased to report that Mission Impossible 5 is a vast improvement, i.e. it's watchable. The opening scene with the airplane is incredible, and there is a teriffically tense sequence at an opera. It all goes a bit flat after that, but this is still by far and away the best sequel to Mission Impossible 4 released this year. A worthy winner.

  • Best Film that's Better than All Previous Jurassic Park Sequels but Still Considerably Worse than the Original
If Landry from Friday Night Lights is the omnipresent supporting actor of our times, then Bright from Everwood is the omnipresent lead actor. I can live with that. Jurassic World has little of what made the original so memorable, but there is plenty to keep you entertained, and one genuinely laugh-out-loud moment featuring Nick from New Girl.

  • Best Film Which Has Paul Giamatti Play the Kind of Character Paul Giamatti Played 15 Years Ago

There can only be one winner here: San Andreas. While The Rock received all the acting plaudits for his nuanced portrayal of a macho rescue pilot, Paul Giamatti does what Paul Giamatti does best: he plays a geeky tech guy who shouts a lot. A true return to form for Giamatti, and one for the grand-kids' college fund.

  • Worst Casting Director

The Man From U.N.C.L.E.'s Reg Poerscout-Edgerton may just have out done the Mummy 3's Ronna Kress in managing to cast the most amount of actors who play major characters from other countries. We have an American playing a Russian, a Brit playing an American, a Swede playing a German, and an Australian playing an Italian. The accents are as ropey as the film in general. Were there no Russian actors to call upon for the role of Illya Kuryakin? I seem to recall a very talented Russian actor playing Harrison Ford's nemesis in Air Force One. Was he not available? As for the role of Napoleon Solo, the list of actors considered for the role reminds me of Manchester United's recent shopping list: all big names, but none of them remotely interested. Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ryan Gosling, Channing Tatum, Alexander SkarsgÄrd, Ewan McGregor, Robert Pattinson, Matt Damon, Christian Bale, Michael Fassbender, Bradley Cooper, Leonardo DiCaprio, Joel Kinnaman, Russell Crowe, Chris Pine, Ryan Reynolds, Jon Hamm, Tom Cruise. Yep, all of these actors were "considered" by Reg, but he decided that Marouane Fellaini Henry Cavill was the man for the job. Suuuuure, Reg. We believe you.

  • Best Film About a Terminally Ill Teenager that Leaves You Feeling Heartless for Hating It

Pace the Sundance Film Festival, I thought Me, Earl, and the Dying Girl was properly crap. Yet another film shamelessly sucking up to the film industry. Yet another film with CRAZY parents who make our own parents seem to boring. Wow, did his dad just say that!? Dad's don't say that kind of thing! That's crazy! I wish my dad was like that! I think Stanley Tucci is a repeat offender in this regard. Third strike and he's out. I'm serious, Stanley. Play a crazy parent again. I dare you. I double dare you motherf****r! In what could have been an interesting film about friendship with the dying, we are instead treated to "one young man's personal journey", with the central dilemma being: will he get into college? The film also lies to us. I mean flat out lies. If we can't trust the movie industry, who can we trust?

That's all for part one. Stay tuned for part 2 tomorrow, where I will be presenting eight more awards, including the prestigious Richard Dawkins Foundation for Science and Reason and Logic and Bigotry award for the film which contributes more to science than Richard Dawkins himself, as well as the award for film of the year.


  1. That Earl film really was crap. What did we forego in order to see it?

    Any chance of some TV awards? I suspect yer man Dano might win again if you caught War and Peace

  2. Straight Outta Compton was the victim. Still haven't seen it, but it's on my to watch list

    Probably haven't seen enough TV to dole out awards. I did catch War and Peace, which I liked very much. Also saw Narcos, which was very decent. Been working my way slowly through Mr Robot, but not sure I'll make it to the end. Also watched a couple of episodes of that Ron Perlman judge programme. The less said about that one the better.