Friday, December 30, 2011

2011 Denny Awards ;-) - Part 1 - Best Films

Ok, this is a bit on the megalomaniacal side.  But having followed the movies for my first full year here and actually having a rather cool name for this ;-), I'm announcing my First Annual "Denny Awards" for Outstanding Achievement in Cinema ;-).

Part 1/3 of my Annual "Denny Awards" ;-)
(Other Years' Awards)

Part I - Best Films
Part II - Most Compelling Performances (Male)
Part III - Most Compelling Performances (Female)

 What do you think? ;-)

       Winner -
            Winnie the Pooh - in a year marked by surprisingly awful (and politicized) children’s films, thankfully there was Winnie the Pooh, whose only agenda was finding a pot of honey with his friends.
        Honorable Mentions -
             Kung Fu Panda 2 - gotta love Mr. Ping, Panda Po's adopted dad ;-)
             Rango - the Hollywood classic Chinatown set among gophers and lizards in a ghost town somewhere outside of Vegas ;-)
             Rio - as every lover of the song Free Bird would know, birds are meant to fly ... ;-)
             Dolphin Tale - who wouldn't love a movie about a bunch of kids who save a dolphin?

        Winner -
             We Bought a Farm - Yes losing a parent can be terrible, but if  you stick together, make new friends, and, yes, have a little faith you can make it
        Honorable Mentions -
             Soul Surfer - Everybody faces some adversity in life, but only we can give-up on our dreams.  Don't.
             Courageous - Yes, it's true that it shouldn't be good enough to be a "good enough" parent.

        Winner -
             Super 8 - “Yes, your parents were kids once too ;-)”
        Honorable Mentions -
             Real Steel - "What can make your dad so exasperating can also be what makes him fun.
             A Better Life - Honestly, look at what your parents have often sacrificed for you.
             Trust - A serious movie about teenage girl who meets a sexual predator online and her parents, especially her father, having to have to deal with this as well.

BEST INTERGENERATIONAL FILMS (for Older/Adult Children and their Parents) - 
         Winner -
             The Debt  – “Kids, things were a bit more complicated than what we once told you...”
         Honorable Mentions -
             Beginners – “Yes your parents can be more complex than you thought...”
             Madea’s Big Happy Family – “When your ma’ (or pa’) really wants to talk to you, put aside your anger/baggage, ‘cause it’s probably important ...”
             Warrior - "Yes, your life could have been very hard but can you still open yourself up to reconciliation...?"
             The Way – “Even after death, it's possible to make peace and reconcile ...”
             The Descendants – “Parents, if your teenager starts flipping out, there’s probably a reason... and you might not want to hear it”

         Winner - 
               Thor - “To have a friend like Thor ...”
         Honorable Mentions -
                X-men: First Class - "Okay, it wasn't exactly how it happened, but what a cool movie.  And how would you use your super powers if you had them?"
               Transformers 3 - Okay, it seems like stupid movie about a kind of toy.  But why does it work?

          Winner -
               Twilight, Breaking Dawn, Part I – Yes, I’m pandering somewhat, but I’ve been surprised by the Twilight series.  It's much better than I thought.
           Honorable Mentions -
               Monte Carlo – “Dare to Dream...”
               Snow Flower and the Secret Fan – truly “Best Friends Forever...”

         Winner - 
               Midnight in Paris – “Ah, to live in another time ...” ;-)
         Honorable Mentions -
               Jane Eyre - You can never go wrong in English Lit by doing a report on Jane Eyre.
               Three Musketeers – Cool new take on this classic adventure story.  But be careful here, there were no airships in the original... ;-)
               Detective Dee and the Phantom Flame - Great adventure story set during the Tang Dynasty in China.  Again, the fire beatles probably weren’t real ;-)

           Winner - 
                 Melancholia – “What if we’ll just (more or less randomly) die and no one will remember us?”
            Honorable Mentions - 
                  Tree of Life – God’s modern-day response to modern-day Job's asking “Where are you God?”
                  Another Earth – Very creative ultra-cutting-edge metaphysical response to the question "What if I could have another chance?" The response: "Maybe there's a whole other universe out there where you/'you' have one." ;-)

            Winner -
                  There be Dragons – “You thought you knew all that there was to know about a real-life Saint...”
            Honorable Mention -
                  Of Gods and Men – Actually a film from 2010 but one which only played widely in the United States after the New Year.  Possibly the single best film presentation ever made of the rhythms of daily life in a contemporary but also traditonalist Catholic religious community.

               Winner -  
                    Something Borrowed - For the really important things in life, you really do have to stand up and "Raise your Hand."
               Honorable Mentions -
                     The Future – “Yes, what you do does have consequences and what comes next can be scary ...”     
                     One Day – “Yes, what you do (and do not do) does have consequences ...”                    
                     Like Crazy – “In the age of the Internet what’s the deal with borders anyway?”
                     Crazy, Stupid, Love – Yup, people often do dumb things when they’re in love.
                     50/50 - Cancer sucks period, but boy does it suck when you’re 25.  Thought the film was a bit hard on the former girlfriend, however. 
                     Rid of Me - Yes, your former SO (or even spouse) can really mess you up.  But there is life after the break-up. 

              Winner - 
                   The Artist - hands down.  What a great tribute to the silent screen era!
              Honorable Mentions -
                    Melancholia – Yes, director Lars Von Trier called himself a Nazi and apparently had been blown-off by a Jewish girlfriend in his romantic past, but he still made one heck of a film!
                    Midnight in Paris – Yes, Woody Allen has had his own personal baggage, but boy can he still put together a story and then put it on film.
                   The Skin I Live In – Frankenstein lives, and who would have guessed ... in a castle outside of today's Toledo, Spain!
                   Rango - the Hollywood Classic Chinatown set among gophers and lizards in a ghost town somewhere outside of Vegas ;-)
                   Drive – Coolest genre film of the year, period.
                   Hugo – Martin Scorcese spends $170 million to prove that aside from a few cool novelty shots, there’s really no reason why 3D makes either artistic or economic sense.  But tell that to the TV makers who like Sony own entire Hollywood studios and are going to force us all to eventually buy 3D TVs.
                  The Cave of Forgotten Dreams – The only truly must-see 3D film ever made and then only 5 minutes of it.  Director Herzog is right.  We don’t even use our 3D seeing faculty unless we have to.  That’s why 3D films are so _tiring_ to watch.  But that apparently makes no difference to the world’s television makers.

              Winner -
                   Life in a Day - What a rich/wonderful world we live in today ...
              Honorable Mentions -
                   Page One - ... but the Internet will probably cull even the biggest/best newspapers in the business
                   One Lucky Elephant - How does one plan for a circus elephant's retirement and is it fair to the elephant?
                   Jesse / Shadows of the Lynching Tree - ... but can we finally care about all people too?
                   Cave of Forgotten Dreams - great documentary and possibly the best use of 3D ever to tell a story about a cave with 30,000+ year old prehistoric artwork that otherwise almost none of us would ever really see.

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