08 January 2008

List #5: The First Annual Fin de cinema Film Awards

So, the Golden Globes ceremony is canceled and someone's going to read the winners off... and I don't care. Instead, I've made a list of my own awards, which will hopefully be a bit more interesting than what you might have seen at the Globes and won't be giving any awards to Diablo Cody, except maybe an honorary award to her parents for giving their daughter the most unfortunate name in all of Hollywood. Alas, here they are (most of them sexual), Fin de cinema's Specialized Awards for the Best (and Worst) of 2007.

Best Fuck Scene: Kim Dickie and Tony Curran - Red Road

Let's start this baby off right! Not only was Dickie and Curran's graphic cunnilingus and fucking so perfectly intricate to the story and the emotions of the characters involved, but it was pretty sizzling otherwise. I guess a lot of the intensity came from not expecting its explicitness, especially after debuting at Cannes, where you can always expect to see a couple unsimulated blow jobs in competition (um, The Brown Bunny and Battle in Heaven are recent examples). But Red Road is not only from a woman's perspective but from a female director and should probably go down in history as the best oral-sex-on-a-woman scene in history.

Runners-Up: Tang Wei and Tony Leung - Lust, Caution [PS: do you think they really fucked? My friend Mike sure does.]; Philip Seymour Hoffman and Marisa Tomei - Before the Devil Knows You're Dead [what a way to open a film!]

Best Film to Invoke a Fear in Religion (tie): There Will Be Blood and The Mist

As many of you haven't seen There Will Be Blood, I won't go into much detail as its anti-religion content comes late into the film. In The Mist, there's a small debate going around as to determining its stance on religion, specifically fire-and-brimstone Christianity. On one hand, Marcia Gay Harden is absolutely terrifying as the ringleader and their savage sacrificing of the guy with creepy eyebrows, at the very least, depicts them as hypocritical, cruel and stupid. On the other hand, what if Harden's preaching breathes true in the end? Decide for yourself, but whether she's right or not, The Mist fears the fanatically- religiously-inclined than it does the reaper.

Best Musical Scene: "Falling Slowly" - Once

A friend of mine and I have concurred that listening to the soundtrack to Once isn't nearly as effective as watching the songs performed in the film. This is either due to the Hedwig and the Angry Inch syndrome (in which, perhaps, the music works better in the context of the musical than it does outside of it) or because most of Glen Hansard's music just works better when you see the intensity in his face. It's all about those eyes and those eyebrows, I'm telling you. The best moment of the scene in which Glen and Marketa Irglova sing "Falling Slowly" comes when the director cuts to the man who owns the music shop where they're singing. That moment wonderfully takes you outside, looking in, and reminds you of how intense and intimate singing together truly can be.

Runner-Up: The Corny Collins dance-off - Hairspray (as long as you close your eyes when John Travolta shows up)

The Vincent Gallo Award: Julie Delpy - writer, director, star, music supervisor, and editor for 2 Days in Paris

The Vincent Gallo Award goes to the person who displays the most overt self-congratulations and self-adoration in cinematic vanity. I'm pretty sure that if it were humanly possible, Ms. Delpy would have shot the film herself, except that would have taken away from her appearing onscreen, which is much more important of an ego booster when you think about it. However, the credentials alone didn't give Delpy this esteemed prize, but the fact that she depicted herself as, probably, the most desirable woman in all of Paris. Sweetheart, I think Ludivine Sagnier would have something to say about that.

Best Documentary: The Cats of Mirikitani - dir. Linda Hattendorf

The Cats of Mirikitani works so well because of its sheer curiosity. You don't have to know anything about the film outside of seeing it to understand why Hattendorf would have made this portrait of Jimmy Mirikitani, a street artist in New York City. She also doesn't adhere to any of the set rules of a documentary, taking her subject into her home, featuring herself in it (not in an act of vanity like the previous award). It's touching without losing an essential element of mystery.

Runner-Up: Sicko - dir. Michael Moore

Best Nude Scene: Viggo Mortensen - Eastern Promises

I don't care if you're gay or straight, man, woman, or child, there's no question in my mind that Viggo Mortensen's bathhouse fight scene is the best in film nudity this year. It's ballsy (no, no, no pun intended), exuberant and exciting. It's also probably the only nude scene in recent memory that's used to reflect a mood, instead of just titillation, and though I regret choosing a naked scene that's almost entirely non-sexual (except maybe for those who enjoy violence with their cock), I could choose no other.

Runners-Up: All the ladies in The Exterminating Angels; Marisa Tomei - Before the Devil Knows You're Dead; Carice von Houten - Black Book

Worst Use of Nudity (tie): Beowulf; I Know Who Killed Me; The Brave One

All three have been selected for different reasons, though most deserve to be mentioned for (in their own way) hiding the 'goods.' The naked fight scene between Beowulf and Grendel in Beowulf is exactly the opposite of Viggo Mortensen, which I described as more Austin Powers than it is Eastern Promises. Whether it was an MPAA issue or not, Beowulf jumping across banisters fighting the giant monster, all in the nude, was just laughable. And I'd rather not see a nude, animated Angelina Jolie again. In the case of I Know Who Killed Me, the question of believability soured it. Are we supposed to believe that the "gentlemen" attending the strip club would really line up to see Lindsay Lohan twirl around a pole when she doesn't even take off her damn top? All the rest of the sluts have theirs off, so why would they bother with Lindsay? I'd rather the director keep the pasties on the other girls because at least then we could imagine the club to not feature any nudity at all. Plus, who hasn't seen Lohan's nip-slips and beave-flashes all over the Internet already? With The Brave One, Neil Jordan tried to show us how intimate and loving a couple Jodie Foster and Naveen Andrews were (before he's killed, of course), giving us a forced sex scene where it appears Foster's body double is giving the audience some nipple action. Spare us; we know it isn't Jodie's tits on display, and if I really wanted to see a hot Jodie Foster sex scene, I could just rent The Accused.

Best Biopic: The Diving Bell and the Butterfly - dir. Julian Schnabel

If you know me well enough, you know how much I absolutely hate the cinematic biopic. This year proved that it isn't just Hollywood that does it wrong, but other countries too (that means you, La Vie en rose). Thankfully, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly rose above its trappings, creating something lurid, artful and dazzling. It still deals with the inspirational, but Julian Schnabel handles it well... better in fact than his previous Basquiat and Before Night Falls. It also has the benefit of not being about anyone American audiences would recognize.

Runner-Up: Control - dir. Anton Corbijn

Best Leftist Propaganda Posing as Film: Year of the Dog - dir. Mike White

The title of this award sounds condescending, but in fact, most films that fall under this category usually end up tickling my fancy. My favorite sub-genre of the leftist propaganda is the vegetarian wing (perhaps because I happen to be one). My friend Chris described Marina de Van's gory, masochistic In My Skin (Dans ma peau) as one of the most effective pushing of not eating meat he'd ever seen, and Year of the Dog gets my vote this year. Mike White balances Year of the Dog on a thin rail, where you're not always sure whether to empathize or laugh at the animal lover in Molly Shannon. By the end, you're pretty sure it's choice A as Shannon comes to fully understand her place in the world that refuses to understand her. Plus, she buys a copy of Babe for her young niece to scare her away from eating meat. When my brothers have kids, I'm going to do the exact same thing... kids are so easy to manipulate, especially when you can bait them with cuteness.

Best Cinematography: Agnès Godard - Golden Door [Nuovomundo]

Wow, if this wasn't the toughest category to narrow down... And I know my pick probably wasn't the most popular of choices, but, as this is the first annual Film Awards from Fin de cinema, I'm giving Ms. Godard the award for her cumulative work, kind of in the same way Judi Dench won her Oscar. Godard has shot a number of my favorite films, and not just my favorite films, but my favorite aesthetically-pleasing ones: Beau travail, Trouble Every Day and L'Intrus for Claire Denis, Wild Side for Sébastian Lifschitz, and The Dreamlife of Angels for Erick Zonca. She really accomplishes amazing work in Golden Door, in dealing with the surreal, the period detail, and lack of scenery change (just about the entire film takes place on a boat). I really could have given this to a number of other cinematographers, as 2007 was a year for jaw-dropping visuals (and I haven't even seen the new Wong Kar-wai film yet).

Runners-Up: Janusz Kaminski - The Diving Bell and the Butterfly; Roger Deakins - The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford and No Country for Old Men; Robert Elswit - There Will Be Blood; Oliver Wood - The Bourne Ultimatum; Karl Walter Lindenlaub - Black Book

Best 2006 Film I Didn't See Until 2007: Mutual Appreciation - dir. Andrew Bujalski

Oh, what beauty, what awkwardness, what purity. Mutual Appreciation is exquisite on every level and marks Andrew Bujalski as my favorite American filmmaker working under the radar.

Runners-Up: Old Joy - dir. Kelly Reichardt; Wild Tigers I Have Known - dir. Cam Archer

The Macy Gray Award: Sigourney Weaver - Snow Cake

The esteemed Macy Gray Award goes to a particularly performance that is embarrassingly miscalculated to the point that it achieves greatness in its awfulness. I could think of no better recipient this year than Sigourney Weaver in my favorite hate-love movie Snow Cake. She certainly has the Cuba Gooding Jr. advantage of playing a mentally handicapped individual (her character has autism), but Ms. Weaver takes her performance to soaring heights of absurdity in every scene she graces her presence with.

Runner-Up: John Travolta - Hairspray

Best Way to Kill Your Otherwise-Wonderful Film: Fay Grim

I hate Hal Hartley, and more than just hating him, I hate Henry Fool. Naturally, I had little desire to see a sequel to the overpraised, irritating Fool, but seeing as how Parker Posey was going to take the lead instead of Thomas Jay Ryan... and for about the first two-thirds of Fay Grim, Hartley's little experiment worked. Then, here comes Ryan reprising his role as Henry. And there goes the film's pulse.

Best Way to Revive Your Otherwise-Awful Film: The Bubble

Eytan Fox's The Bubble is quite a chore to behold. It's a comedy that lets you know early on its love for Sex & the City which is a killer in its own right. It's a melodrama that hopes you don't mind tossing out plausibility. And it's a fuckin' hippy parable of love conquering adversity. And it's fucking shit. However, in the film's final moments, Fox puts all of his stupid characters in their place and leaves his audience with a chilling, unexpected climax. The Bubble thus serves as a litmus test for a date. Most of the people who enjoyed the rest of the film hated the ending, and vice versa. Their reaction should tell you a lot.

Best Masturbation Scene: John Krasinski - Smiley Face

So, I didn't have a whole lot to choose from, and throwing the sexy awards to The Exterminating Angels is perhaps too obvious in circles of people who actually know what the film is. So, how about that scene in Smiley Face? It's not graphic, nor is it sexy, but it at least allows Gregg Araki to return to his Nowhere days properly by inserting an unnecessary shot of John Krasinski jerking off in the shower (sound familiar?) to Anna Farris. Plus, special kudos to the hairy chest and surprising us with how good The Office star looks without a shirt on. Who knew?

Runner-Up: Nicole Kidman - Margot at the Wedding

Worst First-Name of an Actor: Jessica - for Alba, Simpson, and Biel

Can you think of a worse trio of "actors" who share a first name? Probably, but I don't feel like racking my brain. And, whoever you come up with probably won't match the fucking shithole careers that the three Jessicas made for themselves this year. Alba gave us such abortions as Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer, Good Luck Chuck, The Ten and Awake (her other non-multiplex film, Bill, is reportedly dreadful too), all which exhibiting her desert-like void of charisma and charm. Ms. Biel wasn't nearly as busy in 2007, but she didn't fail in bringing her questionable stardom to two notable turds this year: I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry and Next. Fortunately, everyone who lives outside of Texas didn't have to make the decision to skip Jessica Simpson's Blonde Ambition, as it only played in a few select theatres in the talentless starlet's home state. You will have your opportunity to skip over renting it when it hits DVD shelves in a few weeks.

The Take Away My Oscar Right Now Award: Nicolas Cage - Ghost Rider and Next

Oh, Nicolas Cage. I don't think either of your performances this year were as bad as yours in The Wicker Man, but what a shitty year you've had! Okay, I'm sure a bunch of dorks really liked the sequel to National Treasure (it sure did make a lot of money), but that doesn't mean that your Oscar for Leaving Las Vegas shouldn't be revoked for the other duds you churned out this year. Even your enjoyably hammy cameo in Rob Zombie's She-Wolves of the SS trailer in Grindhouse couldn't put you a notch below Cuba Gooding Jr., who only has one lousy starring role this year.

Runner-Up: Cuba Gooding Jr. - Daddy Day Camp

Dreamboat of the Year: Javier Bardem

Spanish hunk Javier Bardem told the Coen brothers, when they suggested the moppy hairdo for his character in No Country for Old Men, that he should thank them for guaranteeing that he wouldn't get laid for a year afterwards. Au contraire, mi amigo, for No Country for Old Men (and the seven people who saw Love in the Time of Cholera) gave American audiences their first real exposure to the dreamboat of a man international film lovers have been pining over for years. The first thing my friend Jessie had to say about No Country for Old Men was how perverse she felt for finding Bardem so irresistibly sexy even while he was killing people. I responded, "I think we're getting into the root of your relationship problems, Jessie," but I was only pulling her chain. I know her sentiment was felt by many.

Runner-Up: Daniel Day-Lewis

Most Deliciously Pervy Scene in a Film: Joshua

There's a moment in Joshua that I will never forget. In it, little Joshua spooks his mother Vera Farmiga as she's getting a glass of water in the kitchen. He startles her, which causes a glass to break then manipulates her to walk into it. She sits on the ground as the blood consumes her foot and tells her son about a sexy pair of red boots she once owned, all while rubbing the blood from her foot up her leg. It's absolutely saucy.

Runner-Up: The threeway lesbo scene in The Exterminating Angels

Best Direct-to-DVD Release: Sombre - dir. Philippe Grandrieux

The direct-to-video market was once the dumping ground for cheap Jean-Claude Van Damme action films that no studio wished to embarrass themselves with giving a theatrical release. Though some studios are still throwing out bad DTV sequels to theatrical films like Boogeyman, The Dukes of Hazard, and Wild Things, some more respectable studios are releasing foreign gems that were never picked up by a distributor when they first hit theatres internationally. Sombre is a tense, agonizing film about a serial killer that will hopefully sit in your mind for days afterward. Sombre has been my film no one's seen to champion for 2007, so excuse me for taking another opportunity to do so.

And for the technical awards (or just the ones I don't feel like elaborating on):

Best Dressed: Parker Posey - Fay Grim
Worst Casting: Albert Finney - The Bourne Ultimatum [why cast someone who looks exactly like Brian Cox? Why not just bring Brian Cox back to life?]
Best Unofficial Remake: Zodiac - dir. David Fincher (All the President's Men)
Best Dialogue: Starting Out in the Evening - written by Fred Parnes, Andrew Wagner
Best Moment Featuring Sharon Stone: When Ms. Stone dons a fat suit and gives us the always reliable laugh-cry - Alpha Dog
The Return to Form Award: Rose McGowan - Grindhouse
Worst Second-Viewing of a Film I Liked the First Time: Hot Fuzz - dir. Edgar Wright

And finally, to end the awards (I might have continued on, but my computer is being rather uncooperative as of lately), I've listed the twenty best acting performances of 2007, not divided into gender or alloted screen time. They are in no particular order.

Ashley Judd - Bug [Ms. Judd is mentioned also for giving the single finest moment of acting in all of 2007, when she shouts the line, "I am the queen mother bug!" It's perfection.]
Parker Posey - Broken English and Fay Grim
Javier Bardem, Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin, Kelly Macdonald - No Country for Old Men
Daniel Day-Lewis - There Will Be Blood
Tilda Swinton - Michael Clayton and Stephanie Daley
Anna Farris - Smiley Face
Brittany Murphy - The Dead Girl
Carice von Houten - Black Book
Frank Langella - Starting Out in the Evening
Casey Affleck, Sam Rockwell, Paul Schneider, Jeremy Renner - The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
Kate Dickie - Red Road
Isabelle Huppert - Private Property and Comedy of Power
Pat Healy, Kene Holliday - Great World of Sound
Viggo Mortensen - Eastern Promises
Marion Cotillard - La vie en rose
Sam Rockwell, Vera Farmiga - Joshua
Ulrich Mühe - The Lives of Others
Gordon Pinsent - Away from Her
Leslie Mann - Knocked Up
Catherine Keener - Into the Wild


Ed Howard said...

Nice, and funny as usual. "I am the queen mother bug" is definitely line of the year, that really should've gotten it's own category. I can't remember another film I saw this year that so shocked me with the direction it wound up going -- the first time the room appears tin-foil-coated and glowing with eerie blue light, it's a real disorienting sensation.

Hetero-Erotica said...

UH, Nic Cage had THREE films this year, the third being completely non-offensive (Nat'l Tres), though I believe we could have revoked his Oscar at least once per year since he got it. I'd have to check on that.

Kudos to choosing Golden Door for cinematography. Whle maybe not the popular decision (I'd go Deakins cause I'm predictable)

As for your subtle "Once" slam (though it's not a slam), of COURSE musical music works better in a musical than it does on its own. Try listening to the soundtrack for Sweeney Todd, see what that does for you. Or Rent. Not Xanadu, though. The music has a different feel outside of the film, but his voice, his intensity, and their chemistry loses nothing between the film and their music. I can PICTURE him roaring every time I hear it. His work with The Frames is pretty awesome, too.

Anonymous said...

HA! i totally agree with hetero-erotica that xanadu music rules even outside the movie (oh wait, maybe i just put words in hetero-erotica's mouth...oh well).

nice list joe, i'm glad to hear someone say they were a little let down by hot fuzz. i would go so far as to say i didn't really care for it upon first viewing either


Joe said...

Well, Xanadu is the exception AND the rule to everything, my friend. And, really, the music does work outside of the movie, perhaps because some people (not I) might suggest that the music doesn't work IN the film. I'm listening to ONJ's duet with that dude, "Suddenly," right now in fact.

Yeah, David, I'm officially on the side of not liking Hot Fuzz. That side may not be very popular, but it's where I belong.

Joe said...

Oh, and David, I wouldn't worry about putting those words into hetero-erotica's mouth, cos if you did, they were words he'd be happy to have in there.

Hetero-Erotica said...

Those words were already in there. Tattooed, no less.