Monthly Archives: December 2008

It’s An Honor Just to be Nominated

Please forgive the extremely crude Photoshopping

Forget the Oscars. Who cares about the Golden Globes? For Hollywood’s elite, there’s only one true measure of greatness: Brian’s Crimson Ticket Stub of Prestige, also known to industry insiders as the Stubbie.

And the Stubbie Goes to…

Best Comedy
The nominees:

  • Juno
  • Forgetting Sarah Marshall
  • Tropic Thunder
  • Ghost Town
  • Role Models

And the Stubbie goes to… Juno. It was a very close race between Juno and Sarah Marshall, but Juno‘s pathos, wit and lack of Jonah Hill made it very appealing.

Best Action-Adventure
The nominees:

  • Indiana Jones IV
  • The Dark Knight
  • Iron Man
  • Eagle Eye
  • Wanted
  • Quantum of Solace.

And the Stubbie goes to… The Dark Knight. Honestly, there was no way I could not give the Stubbie to this masterpiece. Quantum of Solace and Wanted tie for runners up.

Best Drama
The nominees:

  • Smart People
  • Atonement
  • Fireproof
  • Australia

And the Stubbie goes to… Atonement! Even though the ending made me furious, I can’t deny this is a great movie.

Best Musical
The nominees:

  • Walk Hard
  • Mamma Mia
  • An American Carol

And the Stubbie goes to… bleh. They aren’t worthy. We here at the Stubbies have standards.

Best Sequel
The nominees:

  • Rambo
  • Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay
  • Indiana Jones IV
  • The Dark Knight
  • Madagascar 2
  • Quantum of Solace
  • RocknRolla

And the Stubbie goes to… Indiana Jones IV! I know, I know. How can I possibly rank Indy and the Incredible Flying Fridge over The Dark Knight? Sure, TDK was a much better movie (and didn’t have any prairie dogs) but Indy IV had a certain charm and despite popular opinion, I think it contiued the spirit of Dr. Jones as well as possibly could be expected.

Longest Movie
The nominees:

  • Australia
  • The Dark Knight
  • Appaloosa
  • Speed Racer

And the Stubbie goes to… Australia! It clocked in at a whopping 165 minutes.

Best Animated Feature
The nominees:

  • Bee Movie
  • Horton Hears a Who!
  • Kung Fu Panda
  • Bolt
  • Speed Racer
  • Madagascar 2

And the Stubbie goes to… Kung Fu Panda! Despite disliking it the first go ’round, its stock rose significantly when I was forced to see a second time in a group.

Best Movie That Is Pretty Good But I Don’t Need To See It Again
The nominees:

  • Australia
  • Attonement
  • Burn After Reading

And the Stubbie goes to… Australia! I’m sorry, Baz, but life is too short.

Best Movie that Should Have Sucked But Didn’t
The nominees:

  • Fireproof
  • Marley and Me
  • Get Smart
  • Ghost Town
  • Role Models

And the Stubbie goes to… Fireproof! Way to go, Kirk Cameron! It was a virtual dead heat for FP, Ghost Town and Role Models, but my expectations for FP were just so darn low, it’s hard not to declare it the winner.

Movie I Should Have Walked Out of But Didn’t
The nominees:

  • Bee Movie
  • Step Brothers
  • Speed Racer
  • Mamma Mia!
  • Max Payne

And the Stubbie goes to… Mamma Mia! My blood pressure is rising just thinking about it.

Best Movie That is Stupid But I Still Kinda Like It
The nominees:

  • Marley & Me
  • Eagle Eye
  • The House Bunny

And the Stubbie goes to… The House Bunny! There’s no denying that Anna Faris has talent.

Most Disappointing
The nominees:

  • Walk Hard
  • Speed Racer
  • Step Brothers

And the Stubbie goes to… Step Brothers! I was embarrassed to be seen in the theater.

Best Surprise Ending
The nominees:

  • Role Models
  • Atonement
  • Forgetting Sarah Marshall

And the Stubbie goes to… Role Models! Yeah, Sarah Marshall‘s puppet rock opera was all sorts of awesome, but the epic and surprisingly warm ending to Role Models gives it the advantage.

Worst Surprise Ending
The nominees:

  • Atonement
  • Role Models
  • Forgetting Sarah Marshall

And the Stubbie goes to… Atonement! I almost let an expletive slip when the big twist hit.

What Were They Thinking?
The nominees:

  • Hancock
  • Max Payne

And the Stubbie goes to… Max Payne! I like Mark Wahlberg, but I have limits. He crossed them.

Most Overrated
The nominees:

  • Atonement
  • Bee Movie
  • Walk Hard
  • Appaloosa

And the Stubbie goes to… Bee Movie! Why Jerry? Why? What did I ever do to you?

Best Special Effects
The nominees:

  • Speed Racer
  • Indy IV
  • Wanted
  • Dark Knight
  • The Day the Earth Stood Still

And the Stubbie goes to… Wanted! Me likey curvy bullets

Best Costume Design (suggested by Kelly)
The nominees:

  • Atonement
  • Semi-Pro
  • Australia
  • Appaloosa

And the Stubbie goes to… Semi-Pro! You gotta love Will Ferrell in those short shorts.

Most Misguided Will Ferrel Vehicle
The nominees:

  • Semi-Pro
  • Step Brothers

And the Stubbie goes to… Step Brothers! Will and John C. Reilly should both be ashamed.

Best Movie to Knit To (ie: you don’t have to pay that much attention to it) (suggested by Kelly)
The nominees are:

  • Horton Hears a Who!
  • Kung Fu Panda
  • Tropic Thunder
  • Madagascar 2

And the Stubbie goes to… Tropic Thunder! It’s a movie full of great one-liners. You can tune in and out at will and I promise you’ll land on a laugh.

Best Actor/Actress
The nominees are:

  • Ellen Page, Juno
  • Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight
  • Ed Harris, Appaloosa
  • Nicole Kidman, Australia

And the Stubbie goes to… the late Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight! Ms. Page did a phenomenal job as Juno, but Mr. Ledger too it to a whole ‘nother level.

Best Soundtrack
The nominees are:

  • Mamma Mia
  • Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist
  • How to Lose Friends and Alienate People

And the Stubbie goes to… How to Lose Friends! I know I’m supposed to pick Nick and Norah, but that’s just how I roll.

Best Remake
The nominees are:

  • The Day the Earth Stood Still
  • Journey to the Center of Earth

And the Stubbie goes to… Journey to the Center of the Earth. Say what you will, I like Brenden Frasier.

Outstanding Achievement in a Cameo Appearence
The nominees are:

  • Justin Long, Paul Rudd, Jack Black, Jason Schwartzman, Walk Hard
  • Tom Cruise, Tropic Thunder
  • Thandie Newton, How to Lose Friends and Alienate People
  • Neil Patrick Harris, Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay

And the Stubbie goes to…. Justin Long, Paul Rudd, Jack Black and Jason Schartzman! This was probaly the toughest decision yet, but their turn as the fab four was by far the best part of Walk Hard.

Best Use of Seth Rogan
The nominees are:

  • Pineapple Express
  • Kung Fu Panda
  • Horton Hears a Who!
  • Step Brothers

And the Stubbie goes to… Pineapple Express! I didn’t especially love the movie, but he was perfectly cast.

Worst Use of Seth Rogan
The nominees are:

  • Pineapple Express
  • Kung Fu Panda
  • Horton Hears a Who!
  • Step Brothers

And the Stubbie goes to… Horton Hears a Who! I don’t get it. Why.

Best Use of Jonah Hill
The nominees:

  • Walk Hard
  • Horton Hears a Who
  • Forgetting Sarah Marshall

And the Stubbie goes to… Forgetting Sarah Marshall! Who knew he could be funny?

Worst Use of Jonah Hill
The nominees:

  • Walk Hard
  • Horton Hears a Who
  • Forgetting Sarah Marshall

And the Stubbie goes to… Walk Hard! Ugh.

Outstanding Achievement in the Casting of Paul Rudd
The nominees:

  • Walk Hard
  • Forgetting Sarah Marshall
  • Role Models

And the Stubbie goes to… Role Models! Way to go, buddy!

Best Performance by a Rapper turned Actor
The nominees:

  • Ludacris, Max Payne
  • Ludacris, RocknRolla

And the Stubbie goes to… Ludacris, RocknRolla! Seriously, he’s a decent actor.

Best Movie Based on a Book
The nominees are:

  • Atonement
  • Marley & Me
  • Horton Hears a Who!
  • An American Carol
  • How to Lose Friends and Alienate People
  • Journey to the Center of the Earth

And the Stubbie goes to… Atonement! Even though it’s not my cup of tea, I must say it’s a great translation of a great book.

Best Movie Based on True Story
The nominees are:

  • The Express
  • Marley & Me
  • How to Lose Friends and Alienate People
  • Expelled

And the Stubbie goes to… Marley & Me. Yeah. That’s how much The Express annoyed me. I picked the dog movie.


2008 By the Numbers

Movies Seen: 53 (45 + 8 repeats)
Average Score: 3.2/5
Different Venues: Nine, spread over three states
Buckets of popcorn: Two (I just don’t buy popcorn at the movies)
Movies seen at the Drive-in: Two (Get Smart, Kung Fu Panda)
Money spent (approximate): $375
Time spent in theaters (not including trailers and credits): 95 hours and 11 minutes (or 49 minutes shy of four days, 1.1 percent of 2008).
Number of words used to review movies: 26,474
Celebrities met/interviewed/photographed: One (Ben Stein in Expelled)
Most movies seen in one day: Four (An American Carol, Momma Mia, Eagle Eye, How to Lose Friends and Alienate People)
12:01 a.m. premiers seen: Three (Iron Man, Indiana Jones IV, Quantum of Solace).

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I… I Don’t Even Know What to Say

Oh Yeah. I did it.


Some people actually trouble themselves to make real New Year’s Resolutions. Not me. There’s a lot in my life I could/should committ to change/improve. Despite my general disinterest in resolutions, this time last year I chose to make 2008 The Year of Film.

My goal was to see 52 movies in 52 weeks (all my reviews are available at A Rough Cut) and dag nabbit, I did it. Turns out I miscounted and actually saw 53. That’s good becuase that makes the monumental 52nd movie RocknRolla, which is way better for my street cred than Marley & Me. Some were stinkers and some were pleasant surprises, some I absolutely would have never seen if I hadn’t been on a mission from God. but overall it’s been a pretty good year. Some have said I cheated because I counted the ones I saw in theaters twice, but [sticks tongue out].

Here’s the list, starting in January (a * denotes a movie seen twice):

  1. National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets (3 out of 5 stars)
  2. Bee Movie (.5/5)
  3. * Juno (5/5)
  4. Walk Hard (2/5)
  5. Atonement (4/5)
  6. Rambo (2/5)
  7. Semi-Pro (2/5)
  8. Expelled: No Intelligence (3/5)
  9. Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who! (3/5)
  10. Smart People (3.5/5)
  11. Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay (2/5)
  12. Forgetting Sarah Marshall (5/5)
  13. * Iron Man (4.5/5)
  14. Speed Racer (1/5)
  15. * Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Cyrstal Skull (4/5)
  16. * Kung Fu Panda (3.5/5)
  17. * Get Smart (3.5/5)
  18. Wanted (3.5/5)
  19. * Wall-E (4.5/5)
  20. * The Dark Knight (5/5)
  21. Step Brothers (1/5)
  22. * Tropic Thunder (4/5)
  23. Pineapple Express (2/5)
  24. Ghost Town (4/5)
  25. Hancock (2/5)
  26. Burn After Reading (3.5/5)
  27. Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist (3.5/5)
  28. An American Carol (2/5)
  29. Mamma Mia (1/5)
  30. Eagle Eye (3.5/5)
  31. How to Lose Friends and Alienate People (2/5)
  32. Fireproof (4/5)
  33. The Express (3/5)
  34. Journey to the Center of the Earth (2.5/5)
  35. Madagascar 2: Escape 2 Africa (2.5/5)
  36. The House Bunny (3/5)
  37. Quantum of Solace (4/5)
  38. Appaloosa (2/5)
  39. Role Models (4/5)
  40. Bolt (4/5)
  41. Max Payne (1/5)
  42. Australia (4/5)
  43. The Day the Earth Stood Still (3.5/5)
  44. RocknRolla (3.5/5)
  45. Marley & Me (3/5)

For the full break down of the year that was and the awarding of the prestigious Stubbies, click on over to A Rough Cut.

Marley & Me, 3/5

Rated PG. Click here to view the trailer.

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD.

Over the long Christmas holiday, I stumbled across this ridiculously cute puppy. Besides reminding my family of me sitting in the pew on Sunday morning, it rekindled some small desire in my heart to to get a dog.

Marley pooped all over that desire. I am now terrified at the idea of owning a dog.

Marley – as I’m sure you’re aware – is the titular hound from the depths of hell in the latest man-and-his-dog movie, Marley & Me. Yeah, he’s cute, but only for about two minutes. Then he instantly becomes an inexplicably destructive whirling dervish of a dog that utterly obliterates anything and everything. His resume includes digesting answering machines, diapers linoleum flooring and drywall. He makes Beethoven look like the obedience school apple-polishing valedictorian. Seriously, Job has nothing on John and Jen Grogan. It’s not funny, it’s terrifying.

And there’s positively no reason for the Grogans (Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston) to love or even tolerate Marley’s behavior. If he had pulled a Lassie and pulled her out of a burning building or maybe brought Wilson’s character the morning paper even once, I could maybe see keeping him and putting up with his epic shenanigans, but Marley has absolutely zero redeeming qualities. He’s supposed to die fighting a cougar, not go quietly into that good night because of a twisted stomach. All I can say in his defense is that he does not eat the Grogan children (although he does knock them down).

Surprisingly, I can offer more in defense of the movie as a whole. It look to be a trite, subpar holiday pablum, but it’s a real movie, even if the the family’s love for the Attila the Dog is inexplicable. I can honestly say I didn’t hate it.

Owen Wilson wouldn’t be my pick for a lead in a family comedy, but he’s not horrible. However, he does have that stupid surfer haircut that doesn’t change even through he supposedly ages 20 years on screen. His nose is overwhelming when you have to sit on the second row. He and Aniston (who also doesn’t appear to age a day) are actually kinda funny as they try to navigate life, marriage and their careers as Miami journalists. Lucy Merriam, the actress who plays their four-year-old daughter is cute. She delivers an adorable eulogy.

Here’s the weird thing: It’s not really about the dog. It’s mostly about how Grogan can’t be satisfied with his amazingly high-paying job. He learns tolerance and life lessons (apparently) from Marley for the first two acts but the dog is missing from a large part of the final 40 minutes. I’m sure John Grogan is a nice guy, but I really don’t care to see a movie about him whine about a cushy, high paying job at the South Florida Sun-Sentinel and living in a nice home in Boca.

The movie is based on the best-selling non-fiction book of the same name, some of my gripes about the movie’s faults can be explained by falling back on the it’s-based-on-real-life defense. However, good books don’t always make good movies without changes and embellishments, sometimes large ones (case in point, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button). The story was too long, and Marley needs a hero moment. He had his chance when the Grogans‘ neighbor gets stabbed out of nowhere, but Marley just sits there chewing the curtains. The non-dog moments should have been tighter.

Still, the movie works because it’s not a zany, slap stick, Jim Carey-type of movie. Like any good dog, it is earnest and that earns you lots of capital in my book. Maybe that’s what the Grogans saw in Marley.

And that makes 200 (+1)

Playfully stolen from xkcd.com.

In what pundits world-wide are calling a “mild but still uninteresting coincidence,” my last post, “And That Makes 100,” marked my 200th entry here at the cavalcade of whimsy that is Well-done, Please. It’s taken me a while to get here (other bloggers have racked up more than 450 posts in a similar span), but what a wild and crazy journey it’s been.

Who could forget the tirades against “those darn kids,” the travelogues, the clips of eccentric people playing ukuleles, the rich, theological debates, the Hollywood eulogies, the memos to fast food employees, or the many, many typos? Sweet Memories [wipes a single tear]. Oh, I almost forgot the Platonic Dialogue.

And that makes 100

I did a Google Images search for “100” just to see what was out there and this little fella was at the top of the list.

I just received and posted my 100th postcard (that I’m keeping record of)! Many thanks to Noelle from Santiago, Chile for helping make this the oh so special day that it is. Forget Obama and the upcoming inauguration parties. This is where it’s at.

From Noelle – Santiago, Chile

Hi Brian. If your travels take you to Santiago, these are some of the sights you can see. I’m originally from the US, but Chile has been home for over 6 years now. Chau!

– Noelle