As of three nights ago, we’ve finally made it through all ten of last year’s Best Picture nominees, thanks to True Grit finally coming out on DVD. I will now rank them in order, with ratings and a small NIBLET of opinion about each of them.
Rankings are on the famous Pinback 0-5 Star scale, where the fifth star is reserved for extremely special films, not just great ones.
#1. The Social Network (****1/2): A masterwork. Two hours of people talking about websites, and the most riveting movie I’ve seen in years. It’s Fincher’s third best movie, which means that Fincher might be the best director on the planet. Far outclasses anything else in this list, and the fact that it didn’t win is still a monstrous injustice.
#2. 127 Hours (****): Another movie about something you wouldn’t think would be interesting (a guy stuck on a rock), and it’s fascinating, terrifying, funny, and at one particular point which you can guess, awfully difficult to watch. Another Danny Boyle winner.
#3. True Grit (***1/2): A solid Coen Bros. effort, but one which you feel like they could have done in their sleep. A raucous, hilarious first half gives way to more traditional narrative by the end, but it’s a joy throughout, and Jeff Bridges once again knocks it out of the house, even though I’m not sure I understood 1/4 of what he said.
#4. The King’s Speech (***1/2): I wanted to hate this for beating Social Network, but it’s hard to hate. A well done telling of a "made-for-the-Academy" storyline. Colin what’shisname won all the acting awards, but Geoffrey Rush steals the show.
#5. Black Swan (***1/2): A bit of a return to form for Aronofsky, this mindfuck turns ballet into a literal horrorshow, and also features Natalie Portman masturbating vigorously. So, there ya go.
#6. Toy Story 3 (***1/2): I saw the original Toy Story about five hundred times, but only saw the second one about a week before this came out on DVD. This is much better than the second one. My only complaint was, Christ, there’s just SO MUCH going on in it, it’s actually quite exhausting. But for a movie like this, too much is better than not enough.
#7. Winter’s Bone (***): A Heart-of-Darkness-like trek through the Ozark Mountains, done up to look just as dangerous and foreboding as the Congo river, the land through which Jennifer Lawrence must navigate is the most impressive character in the film. Also holy crap is she gorgeous. Oh my god.
#8. The Kids Are Alright (**1/2): A difficult movie to like, because everyone in it is a horrible person. One character is presented to be perhaps not a horrible person, but by the end, everyone is horrible. However, good performances and at least a slightly interesting narrative make this reasonably watchable. Once, anyway.
#9. Inception (**1/2): It’s inexcusable that this is thought of so highly. It’s a reasonably well-executed caper movie, with one reasonably interesting idea, and a few reasonably entertaining special effects. Two and a half stars is a reasonably accurate rating.
#10. The Fighter (**): What the hell is this? This is a movie? Christian Bale’s performance aside, I cannot think of a blander story to put to film. Not to spoil it for anyone, but as far as I can tell, the story is: "Pretty talented boxer practices a lot and then wins a bunch of fights." Yeah, that’s… that’s great. Couldn’t you have just told me about it and saved me the two hours? David O. Russell was a better storyteller when he was punching his stars and calling Lily Tomlin a cunt.
This concludes this list which is now over.