Dec 23, 2009

The year in review: the spirit of adventure

Christmas is fast approaching, the spirit of forgiveness is loosing the cobwebs around my heart, and my thoughts turns to those I have unjustly maligned or judged too harshly over the course of the year. Was I really justified in saying A Serious Man was the Coen's most joyless movie? Was Up In the Air that much of a disappointment? Was the direction of Precious really that mediocre? Well, yes. I can only call it as I see it. I cannae lie to yae. But movies mean different things to people at different times in their life. This year I was in no mood to have my spirits lowered. I put an especially high premium on delight. I was not in the market for the fingering of wounds, the simmering of resentments, or the hyena-like cackle of the merely clever. That's why Bright Star meant so much to me, and An Education, and Avatar, and Up, all movies bouyed by adventurous spirits, or about adventurous spirits, and delivering the best kind of lift, the kind that once inspired Spielberg to shoot the back wheels of the boy's bikes in E.T. all landing within an inch of one another — one, two, three — or which prompted Bill Murray to light that cigarette after applying the Heimleich maneuvre in Groundhog Day. If I was going to take an unblinking look at the world's most trouble spots, I wanted it done by a movie as brisk and unlingering as the Hurt Locker. If I wanted a film about someone falling apart in solitude, I wanted it as beautiful and melancholy as Moon. If I had to be taken to the end of the world, I wanted to do so with a film as strong-hearted as The Road. Just as pure fantasy dissolves like candyfloss, so does the merely grim fail to satisfy (Precious was a mixture of just those two extremes, with nothing in between). It's a dichotomy that runs right through American movies, with blockbusters and indies, fantasists and realists, optimists and pessimists, lined up against one another, and never the twain shall meet. I liked the pictures where they met. Were I a member of the Academy my ballot would read as follows:
Best Picture: Avatar
Best Director: Kathryn Bigelow
Best Actor: Viggo Mortensen
Best Actress: Carey Mulligan
Best Supporting Actor: Stanley Tucci (J&J)
Best Supporting Actress: Vera Farmiga
Best Score: Michael Giacchino (Up)
Best Animated Film: Up
Best Documentary: Anvil! The Story of Anvil!
Best Adapted Screenplay: Nick Hornby
Best Original Screenplay: Mark Boal (HL)
Best Cinematography: Greig Fraser (BS)
Best Costumes: Janet Patterson (BS)
Best Editing: Bob Murawski (HL)
Original Song: Ryan Bingham & T Bone Burnett (CH)
Best Sound Editing: Alan Rankin (Star Trek)
Best Sound Effects: Ken Fischer (Avatar)


  1. I'm off for some family fun for a few days, and your reflective post seems a good opportunity to say thankyou for all the wonderful blogs, which have made me laugh, and think.
    I wish you and yours a very merry Christmas!!

  2. PS. There are some really weird comments on some of the posts, gobbledy gook, chinese characters etc - do you have a virus onsite?

  3. Thank you I hope you have a great holiday