Seeing as I am unabashed teen dramedy enthusiast, I just had to find a way to sneak these two, equally whip-smart secondary school selections on my list. And seeing as they both follow adolescent underdogs, who pretend to be someone they’re not (Easy A has Emma Stone lying about being the school slut, while The Trotsky has Jay Baruchel embodying the reincarnation – or so he says – of Russian revolutionary, Leon Trotsky) to get through the seemingly most indelible years of everyone’s life, it seemed more than fitting that they share a much-deserved spot. Although they’re clearly set in modern day California and Montreal, both films feel straight out of the golden era of teen movies: the 80s. And I don’t know about you, but in my heavily doodled books, that shoots them to the top of the class.
9. Piranha 3D
I know, I know. I’m not starting off this list on a very high-brow note. But I don’t care. I truly believe a great movie is defined by how it made you feel, sitting there in the dark with your best friend, big-ass bucket of ‘corn and jumbo-sized Diet Coke. And Piranha 3D totally hooked me – and my inner 13-year-old boy – in. Yes, it’s awful. But it knows it – and flaunts it like a beached bimbo at a wet t-shirt contest. The result is a delicious mash-up of mass underwater murder, soft-porn subplots, Elisabeth Shue and Christopher Lloyd monologues. In other, fanboyish words – best worst movie of the year!
8. The Fighter
There were more than a few prize-worthy dramas to choose from this year. But this one really stuck with me. Part of it had to do with the gritty, documentary-esque cinematography. A lot of it had to do with Christian Bale’s emotionally jarring jab of a performance, which I’m hoping will lead him to long-deserved Oscar glory. But the main reason I loved it was because it exceeded my expectations. Despite what the title and previous descriptions have suggested, this isn’t your typical boxing film. Sure, it’s based on the early career of Micky Ward, an aspiring prize fighter (Mark Wahlberg in the film) who wanted to follow in the footsteps of his once-famous, now-cracked out big brother, Dicky (Bale). However, we hardly see Mick in the ring. The main event takes place in the Ward household, where Micky, Dicky and their over-extended fam take turns beating each other down with words. Their verbal sparring and heated emotional battles will knock you out, especially when Bale and his screen mama, Melissa Leo, are front and centre.
7. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1
With this, the latest adaptation of J.K. Rowling’s stories about the boy wizard and his BFFs (and soon-to-be BF and GF), millions of Potterheads, including myself, were forced to face the beginning of the end of era. And boy was it magical. We laughed. We cried (multiple times!). We screamed. And most importantly, we totally loved. Because, unlike many of the other big-screen versions of the highly beloved books, this film rarely veered off-track. It gave us everything we were expecting (the forest-filled search for the remaining horcruxes, the still-fresh big death scenes) and much more (hello, Harry-Hermione interpretive dance party!). Let’s hope next year’s finale conjures up the same, effortlessly nostalgia-inducing feel.
6. Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work
Love or hate it’s subject, it’s hard not to fall for this hysterical (both in the knee-slapping and slide-me-some-Kleenex sense) documentary film. Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work follows the oft-parodied comedic “semi-legend” (her words, not mine!) as she navigates the slippery slope of her long-coming comeback, including appearances at no-name casinos and The Celebrity Apprentice. Rivers is a hoot throughout, throwing out completely un-PC assessments of everyone and everything, and pretending she doesn’t give a bit of a shit about the consequences – when she TOTALLY does. But what’s really fascinating about this real-life biopic, is that it treats her like the rest of the world refuses to, reminding us that behind all the make-up and plastic surgery lies a remarkably dedicated workaholic who simply lives to make our lives more laughable.
TO BE CONTINUED…
*All photos courtesy of allmoviephoto.com, except The Trotsky from tiff.net.