Welcome to the second part of The Truffles – the HeyUGuys Movie Awards in which our team dole out an alternative set of awards to the great and good of this year’s cascade of movies.
You can read Part 1 by clicking here and read on to see which cinematic heroes are hoisted high above the crowd and which are dragged into a nearby corner and pummelled.
Here are more unique awards as we take on the year that was…
The Charles Manson Sing-a-long Award – John Hawkes in Martha Marcy May Marlene
A show stopping moment from one of my highlights of the cinematic year. Elizabeth Olsen was rightly lauded for her magnetic central performance in Sean Durkin’s film, but it was Sarah Paulson and John Hawkes who stood out for me. What stuck with me most was the moment when Hawkes’ latent anger is given an outlet in a song he sings to the group he leads. Out of context it’s a soulful song, however whe placed in the film’s arena of gentle intimidation, mindless peer pressure and sudden violence it is terrifying and the fear grows with each line.
Here’s the song, but the film needs to be seen to appreciate its power.
Punch in the Face Surprise of the Year – James Gunn’s Super
Not my favourite film of the year by any stretch and the misguided marketing played this one up as a cheap knock-off of Kick-Ass but it turned out to be something else entirely. Something strange, and grimly unforgettable. Rainn Wilson and Ellen Page made for the oddest of odd couples and their fight against crime veered from the hilariously sublime to the violently ridiculous like a drunken dog on a skateboard. The visitation from God scene is a favourite and there’s a shocking shot towards the end that I needed to see like a hole in the head.
The ‘Can’t Every Film be Made by Terry Gilliam’ award – The Wholly Family
In his collaboration with Garofalo pasta Terry Gilliam wove more magic on-screen in twenty wonderful minutes than almost everyone else could manage in their two or so hours. A perfectly told fairy tale with a dark streak as black as night and with a deliciously cruel wit. It has images that stay with you and brings on a smile that is hard to shake.
More than The Artist and Hugo this is the film which reminded me why I love film.
The Hello Sir! award for best debut – Joe Cornish (Attack the Block) and Richard Ayoade (Submarine)
2011 saw many new voices come to the fore but none were as fun (Attack the Block) or as charming (Submarine). These are tales of young people coming to terms with aliens and alienation there is in both a vibrancy and originality which made a huge impression. Great films both, even better will be what comes next.
Kermitment to Advertising Excellence – The Muppet’s Marketing
They ran the risk of over saturation but my God did The Muppets continue to raise a smile with every new parody trailer and poster. Particularly fine were the Twilight posters and the Dragon Tattoo trailer. It makes the interminable wait for the UK release of the film all the more irritating but this is The Muppets, back on the big screen, and early word is that they’ve got it right. More please.
The Night to Remember Award – Shame
Two moments in Steve McQueen’s Shame emblazoned themselves onto my mind, two scenes which bookend a night in the film. Beginning in a bar we have Carey Mulligan’s heartbreaking rendition of New York, New York which has a black hole of sadness and seems to stop time. Then, as Mulligan and James Badge Dale return to the apartment and get it on, Michael Fassbender goes for a run to take his mind off of the thought of someone having sex in his apartment which isn’t him and McQueen takes us on a journey with a five minute unbroken tracking shot through the streets of New York. Logistical nightmare? Absolutely. But it is one of the many moments in the film which floored me.
SURPRISINGLY GREAT MOVIE – X-MEN FIRST CLASS
After the X-Men: The Last Stand and X-Men Origins: Wolverine, I can’t imagine anyone had particularly high hopes for X-Men: First Class. I certainly didn’t, particularly with a shooting schedule that left the production team less than a year to make the film.
I love being wrong.
It’s not a perfect movie by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s a fantastically enjoyable one. It also features the best Bond audition since Daniel Craig in Layer Cake.
BEST BRIT-FLICK – IRONCLAD
There’s a lot wrong with Ironclad, but it’s so much fun it doesn’t matter. James Purefoy, Jason Flemmyng, The Blonde-Haired Chap From The 13th Warrior and Brian Cox being fired from a catapult. Tinker Tailor be damned, THIS is the best British film of the year. How many others had a man being beaten with his own severed arm?
If you have seen Drive, you’ll know exactly what I mean. If you haven’t, why on earth are you reading this post and not hunting out a cinema that’s still showing it. Definitely the best film of the year, probably the best film of the last decade, and maybe my favourite film of all time.
THE SHE WAS ROBBED AWARD – HAILEE STEINFELD –TRUE GRIT
At the start of the year, the Cohen brothers’ remake of True Grit proved that a rehash of an old movie can still be utterly spectacular. Not only was the film stunning, but everyone in it was on the top of their game – so the fact that Hailee Steinfeld not only held her own, but actually outshone both of her co-stars was truly astonishing. It’s a bit of a shame the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences didn’t agree. Bad form academy.
To anyone who owns it, sorry.
It’s still better than In Our Name though.
HOTTEST WOMAN IN THE WORLD – WINONA RYDER
This year I interviewed Winona Ryder. I’ve been in love with her since I was 8, so was quite excited by the prospect. When I walked in to the interview room, she was dressed in school girl-chic and was chatting with the camera crew about obsolete tape formats. It was literally a fantasy come true (even down to the tech-geekery). I had to sit on my hands so I didn’t succumb to the temptation to stroke her. She had to sit on her hands so she didn’t succumb to the temptation to nick my wallet.
I also interviewed Emily Browning this year. She’s absolutely lovely, but in contrast to my experience with Miss Ryder, she certainly isn’t the object of sexual desire the Warner Brothers’ Publicity Department makes her out to be. In fact, in person she looks terrifyingly young. Anyone who’s been perving over Sucker Punch should be ashamed of themselves. And probably on some sort of list.
NEVER WANT TO SEE IT AGAIN – WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN
We Need to Talk About Kevin was an astonishingly well made film. It was even quite humorous in parts. Unfortunately, it was also an absolute ordeal, and I left the cinema shell shocked. Everyone should watch this film, and it deserves all the accolades it will no doubt receive, but if I ever see it again it will be too soon.
To make matters worse, I managed to watch this and Human Centipede 2: Full Sequence within hours of each other. Not a double bill for the feint hearted. Or anyone for that matter.
PLEASE RELEASE ME AWARD (AKA THE ENGLEBERT) – MAINS EN L’AIR (HANDS UP)
Over twelve months since it screened at last year’s London Film Festival, the wonderful Mains en L’Air (known in English as Hands Up) is still without a UK distributor. It’s a wonderful movie, and one that more people should see. More to the point, I want to watch it again, so if you happen to run a UK-based distribution business, buy the rights and put it out. Please.
The ‘Don’t Watch It With Your Mother’ Award: BLACK SWAN.
If the idea of a mentally challenged ballerina doesn’t already make the thought of watching this Oscar winning film with family difficult to bear, certain other events that happen throughout make it a big ‘no no’ in terms of maternal viewing.
With wrists bent back, hands shut in doors and full on mother daughter rage, Black Swan was never going to be an easy watch for the female species. And although awkwardly comical, it’s the moments of pure ecstasy Portman’s coming of age Nina experiences at her own hand that is every girl’s (and boy’s) worst nightmare. And I haven’t even started on making your mother sit through THAT scene with Portman and Kunis…
The ‘Bill Murray’ Best Cameo Award: X-MEN: FIRST CLASS.
Although I was a little underwhelmed by Matthew Vaughn’s finished product after insane claims of it being ‘the best comic book movie since The Dark Knight’, there is no doubt it got the X-Men back on track, mainly due to the rather inspired pairing of James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender. But then came the moment where Charles and Erik were getting a band of mutants together and went into a bar, only to run into Hugh Jackman’s Logan who, rather unpolitely, told them to get lost. I had no idea this was going to happen and it made the film that little bit more special to fans of the series (ahem, first two), undoubtedly giving us the best – and probably shortest – cameo of 2011.
Award For Best Throwback/Sequel/Remake - Super 8/Scream 4/Footloose.
Three birds, one Unlimited Card.
The “I’m Just Glad It’s Not Another Sodding Penguin” Award – Dolphin Tale
Do you remember that bit in How To Train Your Dragon in which an adolescent loner sporting daddy issues rescued a cordial carnivore suffering from tail issues, and together they formed a symbiotic relationship that inevitably impacted both of their lives in totally unexpected but ultimately meaningful ways? You know, the plot? Well this is that, but underwater.
Despite proving a pale – if incidental – imitation of my favourite film of last year, I was so relieved to be watching a movie about animals that weren’t penguins (dancing or singing or idolising Jim Carrey) that I was more than willing to overlook the fact that Dolphin Tale bared a striking resemblance to just about every other children’s movie from 1996, as well as DreamWorks’ finest.
The “Were You Not Even Listening?” Award – Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
Where do you suppose the the writers of the Pirates franchise’s live? Davey Jones’ locker? That mysterious, voodoo attracting sandy beach? Or the whole way up Jerry Bruckheimer’s production orifice? Wherever it is, it is clearly out of earshot of EVERY SINGLE PERSON who paid whole pounds to watch Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End.
On Stranger Tides ignored precisely all of the criticism levelled at its zombifying third instalment, choosing instead to take itself more seriously, trade its existing cast for an even less likeable ensemble and side-lining Johnny Depp’s silver lining in a beard Captain Jack Sparrow in favour of a plot that – even by the franchise’s famously low standards – doesn’t make any sense.
The “Why Isn’t Tommy Lee Jones In All Of The Movies” Award – Captain America: The First Avenger
While Thor was undoubtedly my favourite superhero movie of 2011 – X-Men: First Class wasn’t as good as it should have been, The Green Hornet had Seth Rogen in it and Green Lantern was…I don’t even want to talk about it – Captain America: The First Avenger was a very close second.
This was largely due to one man, and one man alone. Perfectly placed in a starring vehicle for a superhero infamous for his lack of personality, Tommy Lee Jones stole every scene he appeared in, providing much needed comic relief and, in the process, blessing the final act with the movie’s finest line of dialogue: “Well I’m not gonna kiss you”.
The “Motion Picture Event Of A Generation” Award – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II
It’s not every day that a film’s marketing department does a better job of reviewing their film than all of the critics combined, but the last instalment in the Harry Potter phenomenon managed just that. More than that, by dubbing their product as The Motion Picture Of A Generation, they even came alarmingly close to selling it short.
Spanning ten years, eight movies, four directors and a worldwide box-office gross of over six billion dollars, J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter franchise came to a triumphant close with one of the finest finales in cinema history. And to think, most series’ can’t even produce a decent third instalment.
The “What’s With The Hummingbird? No Really” Award – Cowboys and Aliens
Quickly renamed after “Cowboys and Aliens and More Aliens and Convenient Phoenix Metaphors and Indians and Sam Rockwell and God and a Hummingbird” performed poorly with test audiences, Cowboys and Aliens was one of the most obnoxious, humourlous and darn right ridiculous movies released his summer.
Side-lining Harrison Ford (why? WHY?) in favour of Old Expressionless and Plot Point #4 (dutifully reprising her role from last year’s Tron: Legacy), John Favreau effectively made the anti-Iron Man: a comic book adaptation that took itself far too seriously. Ford is the best thing in Cowboys and Aliens by a good Kessel Run – and that’s coming from someone who really likes hummingbirds.
That’s it for The Truffles this year – let me take this opportunity to wish you all a very Merry Whateveryouarecelebrating and we’ll see you next year.