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The 4th Annual Doobie Awards; or 2011 in Review - Part 2

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2011 was not all wine and roses. In fact, I was pretty disappointed with a lot of the year's offerings. Come with me on a sad, sometimes maddening journey down (short-term) memory lane with the 4th Annual Doobie Awards (that is...2011's dubious honors).

Most Disappointing Film

This is usually a tough one to give because each year will naturally have quite a few films that have some promise but don't live up to it. Either they've been talked up by friends or the concept was brilliant and fizzled or it's an adaptation of a book or show that I love and it was butchered. Usually, it's a bit of a difficult choice. This year, I won't even hesitate to "award" it to the disastrous J. Edgar. Leonardo DiCaprio, Armie Hammer, Judi Dench in a Clint Eastwood biopic of one of America's most interesting figures - how could this go wrong? The answer: in every possible way. It was utterly unfocused, had a painfully clunky script, and had nothing interesting to say about the man or his life. It was a bit of a painful experience, really. I had visions of this film doing for Hoover what Frost/Nixon did for Richard Nixon - make him somewhat sympathetic, make him somewhat interesting, delve into his personal demons. Nothing. What a waste.

I was also let down by The Trip, The Conspirator, POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, Shame, Moneyball and Beats, Rhymes and Life: The Trials of A Tribe Called Quest

Most Surprisingly Good Film

This award goes to the film that by all means should be terrible and that I had absolutely no expectations for. Every year, a couple films leave me surprised and delighted. In many ways, these films are what sustain me as a film lover. There are fewer things as exhilirating for me than stumbling onto something that no one else seems to have celebrated. This year, it was Warrior. From the trailer, I knew I wouldn't like this. It looked like nothing more than Rocky with MMA instead of boxing. Lo and behold, the movie provides me with the strongest emotional reaction I had to any film of the year. It has a really astonishing emotional depth, with great performances, especially by a bedraggled-looking Nick Nolte. The cliches of the plot don't matter in the least, the film works as a beautiful family drama more than anything.

I was very, very happily surprised, as well, by Winnie the Pooh, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Everything Must Go (Will Ferrell is great in a dramatic role, surprisingly enough)

The Impossible Expectation Award for Most Overhyped Film

I get a lot of my film information by word-of-mouth and from the critics and when they are in agreement, I listen. Sometimes, the praise reaches a fever pitch that makes it simply impossible for me to enjoy the film as much as I've been led to believe I would. I think this is a first - the winner actually made my year-end top 15 list. It's a great film but not the masterpiece I had hoped for. That film is The Artist. There's just something very slight and insignificant about it. Like it's nothing more than a fun little exercise. And maybe that's the way it should be approached. But I'll hopefully approach it with a more open mind next time I see it.

Critics also ruined these fine films: Midnight in Paris, Martha Marcy May Marlene and Certified Copy

The Best Film Nobody Saw

I'm tempted to say The Tree of Life because everybody walked out on it. But that's a cheat. I like to use this award to advocate for something totally under the radar. And this year, there was a charming little independent film called Weekend. The dirty little secret about LGBT films: way too many of them kind of suck. It's usually a matter of amateur actors giving subpar performances. Weekend is a real breath of fresh air. It's buoyed by two very strong lead performances by Chris New and Tom Cullen. The film is a lot like Before Sunrise - very character-driven, very conversation-driven, two star-crossed lovers without a whole lot of time together, trying to figure out what their new relationship means. It's a beautiful and touching film. And one that's available on Netflix Instant...NOW. See it!

The Worst Film Everybody Saw (among the year's top 20 grossing films)

Wow, you know, normally I'd see a lot more of the blockbusters in a given year, but I missed a lot of 'em this year. I'm sure I would have despised The Smurfs and Pirates of the Carribean 4 but I couldn't bring myself to subject my poor self to them. I feel great shame to report that I didn't even make the time to see The Human Centipede 2: Full Sequence . But there's one atrocious franchise I always make time to catch up with and it's latest installment somehow took in 352 million dollars in this country. It's Michael Bay's latest assault on the public's senses and intelligence: Transformers: Dark of the Moon. I think both of the prequels won Doobies in the past and there's not much to add. I will add, however, that this is the least sucky of the trilogy. I almost cared what happened for a few minutes, so that's...something.

The Flat-Out Worst Film of 2011

Oh this was tough. This was really, really tough. I saw some really, really bad films this year. But two I didn't consider for this award because they were so entertainingly bad - so ineptly made and acted that they provided me great entertainment. Those were Atlas Shrugged: Part 1 and Season of the Witch, which were nothing less than laughable. No, this award was really to be decided between 2 films which provided absolutely no entertainment value. Two films that were pointless, aimless, humorless, and completely without merit. These were the two films I sincerely regret having seen. For most of the year, the inside track belonged to the atrocious Battle: Los Angeles, which features nothing more than people yelling orders at the top of their lungs. I've heard better dialogue in the Call of Duty games. But the real stinker of the year had to be The Green Hornet. What a disaster. What a nightmare. Directed by Michel Gondry, this thing had some potential. But every single person involved turned in a third-rate performance, the script was utterly nonsensical and numerous times in the film I found myself asking "why should I care about any of this?" It's a barren wasteland of a film.

Well that's a wrap. 2011 - not quite as awful as 2010, but still with its fair share of excrement. I have a good feeling about 2012, though. A real good feeling. Okay, no, not really. But as long as they don't ruin The Hunger Games, I'll be cool.

Did I forget something? Someone here must be able to report on Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked

Thanks, as always, for reading.

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Updated 01-25-2012 at 10:26 PM by munchin



  1. beaujarkko's Avatar
    I really really really didn't like Everything Must Go. Even with Rebecca Hall in it. I could barely get past the first ten minutes, where every possible "what more could go wrong??" addition to the script kept my eyes perpetually rolling in my head. Ferrell is mediocre, and though The Notorious B.I.G.'s son is easily the best thing about the film, his character is an anti-contrivance of the worst sort.

    But I totally agree with The Green Hornet although I was able to extract some humor out of it, at times, because I was watching it with my brothers, who hated it just as much as I, and they actually tend to enjoy superhero movies. But that being said, even though we mocked it, there were stretches of time that were, indeed, completely vacuous.
  2. Woody's Avatar
    Thanks Munchin, this adds a few things to my watch list. I'm not sure how people can see these, but if you get a chance I strongly recommend An Ordinary Family and Flowers of Evil (Fleurs du Mal). Both were festival films I saw in Calgary, hopefully getting distribution deals soon
  3. JTContinental's Avatar
    I agree with many of these...for Most Disappointing, I would toss The Debt into the ring.

    My worst film this year was Cowboys & Aliens, although admittedly, I didn't see The Green Hornet.
  4. mmmm8's Avatar
    The Guard was my favorite film of the year.. and no one in the US saw that, so I'd nominate it in that category
  5. munchin's Avatar
    Yeah, The Guard really came and went here. I saw it a few weeks ago and loved it. Brendan Gleeson can now advertise being a Munchie Award nominee.
  6. mmmm8's Avatar
    I'm sure he does! On the inside