Jan 14, 2010

Movies to inspire a movement

"Each year, the Festival awards $200,000 in cash prizes and presents its Crystal Heart Awards to the top-judged submissions. Heartland has awarded more than $2.2 million to support filmmakers during the last 18 years. The organization’s Truly Moving Picture Award was created to honor films released theatrically that align with Heartland’s mission. By bestowing a watermark to honored films, the award allows studios and distributors to inform audiences of a film’s uplifting message and appeal."
Heartland Truly Moving Pictures, a non-profit organization which "seeks to recognize and honor filmmakers whose work explores the human journey by expressing hope and emphasizing the best of the human spirit" has released it's top ten of the year. It's an instructive list, for two reasons: 1) this year I came closest to realising just how much I need moving pictures to actually move me. 2) I hated all but two of the films on their list. In fact, their praise for The Blind Side "showing what it means for a family to unite in order to help someone that is less fortunate than themselves" neatly reminded me of the thing I most disliked about the film: the absurd unity displayed by Bullock's family, even little bro and sis, both of whom accept the 200 lb black dude sitting at the breakfast table without protest or demur. Balls. Their number 2, Invictus, I get: as bad as the movie was it would have had to have been ten times worse to lose its impact. Mandela plus sports underdog movie: that's like an icecream sundae plus bacon bits. I regret to say that I haven't seen their number 3), something called The Horse Boy: "an intensely personal yet epic spiritual journey, [which] follows a couple and their autistic son through a courageous trek on horseback through outer Mongolia in a desperate attempt to treat his condition with shamanic healing." I am delighted, however, that someone has decided to make an expose of such odious charlatanism. 4) was Disney's Up. Fair enough. I choked up in the first ten minutes of that movie, although the description they provide of it here — "Up proves that even at age 78, there are lessons to be learned and shows viewers the true meaning of commitment" — proves that those good folks at Truly Moving Pictures turn out to have an special gift for making even good movies sound as appetising as 3-day old baboon vomit. Their number 5), for instance, was The Cove " a provocative mix of investigative journalism, eco-adventure and arresting imagery that adds up to an urgent plea for hope and a call for redemption and justice" a precis which makes me want to go out and order a tuna sandwich. A drum roll please for number 6) Herb & Dorothy, "a documentary of a couple’s commitment to and love for art that inspired them to build one of the most important, contemporary art collections in history with very modest means, only to then give it all away without taking a profit." That the filmmakers did nothing to halt this Alzheimer-induced idiocy raises interesting questions about the moral obligations of the documentary form. I cannot wait to see it. The number 7 slot went to last years bit of mental illness porn, The Soloist, the "incredible" true story of a disenchanted journalist’s "transformative odyssey" and "the redemptive power of music". (Why is everything a journey, or an odyssey, to these people? Don't people in their movies ever just hang out, watch TV or suck on a soda?). Number 8 was The Boys Are Back for evoking "the fragility and wonders of family life." Number 9 was My Sister's Keeper: healing, chemo, love, baldness, etc. Last but not least was Amreeka at number 0, another journey, "universal" this time, into the lives of a family of immigrants and first-generation teenagers "while they search for a place to call home." Big hairy balls.

1 comment:

  1. And just wait till you see Herb & Dorothy! There's an additional twist to their madness. I haven't seen many of these on the list, but H&D was totally moving...one of the better films of 09. I believe it was recently released on dvd. Go for it!