Top Pick: Juno
Some of the funniest and moving dialouge can be found in this movie. Ellen Page gives an incredibly authentic performance. I was that girl in high school. Except, I went to a Catholic all girl school and the notion of sex, and worse yet pregnancy, seemed completely horrifying. Actually, those concepts are still frigthening.
Best Documentary: Manda Bala
I saw this film at Sundance where it won the Documentary Grand Jury Prize. It’s been showing on select screens for the last year but you’re best bet to catch it would be on DVD. This documentary will blow you mind with it’s complex interweaving storylines of awesomeness. Manda Bala producers, you can feel free to use my quote in all promotional materials.
Best Comedy: Superbad
This movie is filled with moments that make me choke with laughter. One of the many highlights is the scene where Michael Cera covers “These Eyes” to an inadequately intimidating Martin Starr and David Krumholtz. Not only is “These Eyes” one of the best songs ever (yeah, I said it) but it’s the point where I finally accepted my love for Michael Cera.
Best Movie I Only Half Saw: No Country for Old Men
I went out to dinner with Rob and Matt Price. We ate at Breads of India in Berkeley so you know we ate good. Then we went to the 10:20 showing of No Country for Old Men. I felt so full, satisfied and comfortable in my plush theater seat that I started feeling my eyelids growing heavier and heavier. The movie was tense and starkly beautiful, just as I knew it would be. But I also knew that I was going to fall asleep during the movie and there was nothing I could do to stop it. The next hour and half, I was in agony. I drifted in and out of sleep for the rest of the movie. When the end credits rolled, I pretended that I had been awake the whole time and gave the movie a thumbs up. But, secretly, my shame at falling asleep was eating me up inside. I still haven’t seen the whole movie but I’m pretty sure it deserves to be on my list.
Most Underrated: Grindhouse
Why didn’t people go to see Grindhouse? It can’t be just because the movie was over three hours long. Titanic was over three hours long and it made a boatload of money (ugh, I’m disgusted with myself for resorting to that pun). I was there though, opening night at The Bridge Theater and it was packed with hardcore exploitaton fans.
Favorite New Discovery: Killer of Sheep
Charles Burnett is my new favorite filmmaker. I’m so happy that his work is finally being released on dvd. I look forward to discovering more gems like Killer of Sheep. Just like Fellini and De Sica, the director adapts a neorealist style to tell the story of a young black family struggling in Los Angeles.
Best Film That Could be a Mockumentary: King of Kong
While watching this movie, I was constantly had to remind myself that these were real people, not some kooky characters in a Christopher Guest film. However, Billy Mitchell, the reigning King of Kong, is the classic 80s villian archetype.
Best and Worst Argument for Exploring Nature: Into the Wild
I was sitting next to Caitlin at the Piedmont theater and I didn’t want her to know how much the movie was affecting me. But when Ron (Hal Holbrook) asks to adopt Chris, I completely lost it. And I don’t think I recovered until the movie ended. Damn, what a downer, eh? But know what isn’t a downer? The trailer to the new Speed Racer, which also stars Emile Hirsch. Boy, does it look like crap!
Best Genre Film: The Lookout</em
The Lookout is a solid neo-noir that stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt. With his roles in Brick and Mysterious Skin, he is quickly becoming one of my favorite actors.
Best Midnight Screening (tie): Mommie Dearest at Midnight Mass and Little Darlings at The Castro
Spending Saturday nights at The Bridge Theater is the highlight of my summer. Not only do I get to watch cult classics, but the pre-shows are usually even more entertaining than the main attraction. This year was the tenth anniversary of Midnight Mass. John Waters, Mink Stole, Tura Satana and Elvira all appeared at the Bridge. The highlight of the summer was watching Mommie Dearest. I had never seen the movie although I could quote half of it. I brought my friends Dan and Archie with me. There they were, two of the straightest let’s-go-fishing-and-kill-a-bear type of guys you could meet in a room full of raucous and raunchy gay men. But they fucking loved it, we all did. The pre-show, “Tranny Dearest,” had everyone doubling over with laughter. Here’s a clip of “Tranny Dearest” from the Peaches Christ show on HDNet:
If you haven’t yet, do you yourself a favor and start going to the Midnights for Maniacs triple features at the Castro. This summer I went to the Summer Camp-y night where they screened Little Darlings, Meatballs, and Revenge of the Cheerleaders. Little Darlings is definitely on my top ten list of all time favorite movies and I was ecstatic to see it on the big screen for the first time. The best part was when the host, Jesse Hawthorne came out and chastized people for not fully appreciating the movie, “Don’t think you’re cooler than Little Darlings.” God bless you Jesse Hawthorne.
By the way, some magnificent bastard posted the entire movie on youtube. Go relive your summer camp memories of ill-advised bets. Go now!
Honorable mentions: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix,Ratatouille, Knocked Up, Atonement, Hot Fuzz, The Lives of Others, Zodiac, The Ten, The Host, Beowolf in 3D, Sicko, The Simpsons Movie, and Lust, Caution.