The Hollywood Foreign Press and I agree that it doesn't make sense to compare heavy dramas to silly comedies, so I've divided my usual review of the year in film into two parts. Today I'll discuss the 2010 "prestige" films I've seen, from best to worst:
After the event, it's easy to poke holes in the plot and joke about the dialogue. And sure, hearing your coworkers discuss the ambiguous ending with misguided conviction subtracted from its impact. But when the van was slowly falling backwards toward the river, my attention was undivided and my mouth was agape.
Exit Through The Gift Shop
The coolest documentary ever? Far more mind-boggling than "Inception".
Perfectly cast, acted, and directed. Yet somehow #3 on this list.
The Social Network*
Before "Fargo" begins, a note pops up that reads "This is a true story". It's not. The Coen brothers felt that adding that note would make the plot more believable for viewers - everyone could suspend their disbelief and marvel at how the story unfolded. "The Social Network" is a good movie, but it's fiction, and my appreciation of it waned as I learned more about its inaccuracies. Great use of The Beatles in the final scene, though.
I am probably overrating this, but it was original and should be rewarded accordingly in my prestigious rankings.
I spent the first twenty minutes thinking about how gross ballet can be. The tops of your toes are not meant for that, girls! Yuck. Anyway, this was okay. A bit heavy on the horror side for my liking. When that ballet director made a toast "To Beauty!" I chortled, and resolved to make all my future toasts that pretentious.
The King's Speech*
Good, but good in the same respect that last week's PBS special on Ulysses S. Grant was good. After this weekend's pre-Oscar awards, it seems Colin Firth is bound to win Best Actor, which renews the need for separate acting awards - those impersonating real people (especially mentally handicapped people) should compete amongst each other, and those playing fictional characters should be grouped together.
God, this movie is so old. Who cares? If you care, read the two sentences I wrote about it in October.
The Kids Are All Right*
I've previously mentioned how much I hate this movie.
Put it this way. In "The King's Speech", there isn't a lot of dramatic tension because we know everything will end up fine for the king. But pretending the film could fall into an alternate plane of history, what would be at stake? "Oh no! I hope that Duke of the royal family will manage to get by in life with his speech impediment! Hopefully he'll manage to keep his kids fed and his horses fed and his castle estate well-kept!"
"The Kids Are All Right" has an equal amount of dramatic tension as this skewed version of "The King's Speech". Strip away the "unique" plot aspects - a sperm donor, a lesbian partnership - and what you have is an unlikeable rich white couple with near-adult children who might get divorced. The horror! Stay together, split up - who gives a fuck?
*Denotes theater viewing. Expectations that come with a full-price, pound-me-in-the-ass ticket prices almost certainly influence the rankings assigned.