This week on At the Movies, Lyons and Mankiewicz give their lists of the five best films of the year so far (plus the single worst film so far):
|1. Sin Nombre||1. Sin Nombre|
|2. Tyson||2. The Hurt Locker|
|3. Up||3. Every Little Step|
|4. (500) Days of Summer||4. Sugar|
|5. Star Trek||5. I Love You, Man|
Ben Lyons' view of a 40-year-oldOn Mank's number 5 pick, Lyons says "When comparing it to the The Hangover, both very funny, both incredibly well written, and also both starring older cast members. They don't play like frat-boy comedies."
Oh boy. "Older cast members?" Meaning in their 30s? Both are about guys who are about to get married--are they supposed to be just out of high school? Now, I'm not one to put Lyons down for his age, but this does not exactly help his credentials as a "mature" film critic. And by the way, The Hangover doesn't play like a frat-boy comedy? Not sure about that.
Lyons also mentions--twice--the "grace" in Star Trek. First saying that the two lead actors "take on iconic roles with an ease and a grace that will surely drive the franchise for years to come." Later, he adds that it is "really difficult to walk that line of the hard-core fans of the franchise and people who are not familiar with the franchise, but [director J. J. Abrams] did so gracefully." Of all the adjectives that I might use to describe the movie, that is probably one of the last.
Their "worst" movies were Bruno (Mank) and I Love You, Beth Cooper (Lyons). After listing these, and wrapping up the show, Lyons and Mank discuss the new rule for the Oscars which will result in ten (instead of five) nominations for Best Picture. Mank adds,
Mank: So I think a movie that just opened a few days ago, the sixth Harry Potter, Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince, it's dark, it's much more grown up, I think that's also a possibility for a nomination.
First off, Half-Blood Prince is doing crazy business, so it does stand a good chance for a nomination. But does it really deserve it? Everybody I know thinks that it is by far the most mediocre--and boring--in the Harry Potter series.
But they also provide no commentary about the economics behind the decision. Clearly, the Academy hopes that expanding the number of films that get a nomination will improve their success at the box office and improve DVD rentals. But how about improving the movies themselves? The big blockbusters this year have been retreads based on already established brands outside the movies and are sequels--Harry Potter and the Transformers.
How about some motivation for something unique and different? I would hope that expanding the number of nominations actually helps smaller films that have a more difficult time finding an audience--like The Girlfriend Experience, my pick for the best movie so far this year. If the new rule just benefits Harry Potter, it is hardly worth it.