We were planning to do a “best of 2013” type blog post for the end of the year, but with a cinematic year about as inspiring as a pizza flavoured Cheesestring it would have been very short. Instead we’re handing out some of our own awards. Look closely, this could be an early indicator for the Oscars.
1. Most Disappointing Vehicle for an 80s Action Star
No, this isn’t a reference to Arnie’s electric hummer, or the disappointment Jean Claude Van Damme must have felt when he saw how he had to ride the trucks in that ad. It’s actually about lousy films with little more to them than their star.
As the Avengers do films by themselves between each ensemble movie, the cast of The Expendables have churned out solo efforts before part three hits our screens next year. As a result, this year has given us rich pickings for the winner of this Goblin, from the worst Die Hard film yet, to Sylvester Stallone’s Bullet to the Head which felt more like a bullet to the knee cap. But the Goblin for most disappointing vehicle for an 80s action star goes to Escape Plan.
With not one but two iconic screen badasses, this promised to be a thrilling throwback to its stars’ heyday. Instead it was, well, it wasn’t really anything. Surprisingly light on action with a confusing plot delivered through inaudible dialogue, it managed to achieve what shouldn’t be possible with for a film with these two in: it was boring and forgettable. AC
2. Worst Film Title
There are some pretty hot contenders for this Goblin, including Zero Dark Thirty, A Good Day to Die Hard, The Last Exorcism Part 2, Frances Ha and Welcome to the Punch. But the worst has to be Gravity.
A movie set in space, one thing Gravity explicitly doesn’t have in common with 99% of other movies is gravity. Why didn’t they call it Zero Gravity or Space or something? Almost every other film has more of a claim to be called Gravity than Gravity. Congratulations! You’ve just won a goblin-shaped statuette! AC
3. The Joel Schumacher Award for Biggest Superhero Let-down
This is a toss up between Man of Steel and Iron Man 3. Superhero films are increasingly struggling to match the weight of their own expectation and find new and original things to do with their characters, and nowhere was it more evident than in these two films.
Both were too serious in an attempt to add depth and angst to characters which don’t have any, and felt leaden in the process. More like Man of Lead and Lead Man 3. Where the two diverge is in their action scenes. Man of Steel abandons its careful character study in favour of non stop explosions, whereas Iron Man 3 abandons the Iron Man suit in favour of Tony Stark sitting in a garage. Both end up being boring.
The crown here goes to Man of Steel thanks to the long build-up, involvement of Christopher Nolan and the promise that they’d finally get Superman right. What resulted was a bit of a mess, and it proved that there really is no way to make the Superman costume look cool. AC
4. Most Shameless Corporate Plugging
Reportedly The Internship with Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson was pretty much one long advert for Google, but we didn’t see that because we have standards. Therefore the award for most shameless corporate plugging goes to revisionist Disney commercial Saving Mr Banks, which shows Mary Poppins author PL Travers, who hated the film adaptation of her book, weeping with joy at the film’s première. I suppose her hating it and never talking to Walt Disney again wouldn’t have been a very good ending. Well, not for a Disney film anyway. AC
5. Most Confusing Accent
It’s been a bad year for accents, with particularly baffling attempts from the likes of Jodie Foster’s transatlantic/European jumble in Elysium. But we love Jodie Foster so she doesn’t take away the Goblin. Unlike the Oscars, we’re honest about our glaring favouritism. It’s been a good year for Jason Statham, who had three movies out in 2013. But in the excellent Homefront he had an accent that seemed to travel further than Michael Palin.
The winner, though, is uncontested. Quentin Tarantino wins the Goblin for his attempt at Australian in Django Unchained. If you’re going to insist on putting yourself in your own movies, then please know your limitations. Which for Tarantino, are very limited indeed. DM
6. Worst Film We’ve Not seen
We’ve mentioned The Internship, but there’s a whole heap o’ crap we’ve successfully ignored this year. We dodged Movie 43, evaded 21 & Over, escaped The Hangover Part III, sidestepped Scary Movie 5 and actively hid from Pain & Gain. But there can only be one winner, and Diana walks away with the coveted Goblin. We saw the posters, read the reviews and avoided the film, because we may be dumb, but we’re not stupid. DM
7. Scariest Movie Hobby
Having sex with cars, from The Counselor! In an already notorious scene from Ridley Scott’s disappointing thriller, Cameron Diaz straddles the windscreen of a car and goes to town. Javier Bardem, who’s sitting in the car, compares the sight to those sucker fish you get on the glass in aquariums. It’s hilariously misjudged but weirdly the most sensical part of the film. We’ve just saved you from going to see this rubbish movie, because that’s the only good bit. You’re welcome. DM
8. Least Convincing “Rock Chick”
It’s a close call this year, with Julianne Moore in What Maisie Knew and Jessica Chastain in Mama battling it out for this most prestigious Goblin. In two good films, these two great actors have both failed to convince as rock musicians in 2013, no matter how much black eyeliner, big tattoos and leather jackets they’ve worn.
But the winner, by a heavily blackened eyelash, is Jessica Chastain in Mama. Julianne Moore fought hard by looking ridiculously uncomfortable with a guitar, but it’s the dialogue in Mama such as “I can’t be a mom, I’m in a band!” that make Jessica Chastain look like Avril Lavigne’s biggest fan. DM
9. The Ewan McGregor Award For Incompetence
This year’s annual Ewan McGregor award goes to none other than Mr. James Wan, for his committed destruction of the horror genre. 2013 saw him contribute two identical haunted house movies, The Conjuring and Insidious: Chapter 2. With this award we bid farewell to James Wan, as he’s promised to not make any more horror films, and for that we thank him from the bottom of our hearts. His name’s even quite similar to Obi Wan Kenobi, which means we don’t have to change the engraving on the Goblin. Cheers James, you just saved us a cool 76p. DM
10. The Importance of Seeing Hair-Net
Two films this year stood out for placing a strange level of significance on a character’s hair. The Fifth Estate saw Julian Assange’s grey hair frequently referenced in a “do you want to know how I got these scars?” style motif which was completely weird.
But the Goblin goes to Danny Boyle’s Trance, which saw a female hypnotist manipulate the men around her in the aftermath of a major art theft. But where most hypnotists use a watch to control people, she uses here vagina, which, in a truly bizarre piece of screen writing, she’s shaved (or waxed?) after secretly finding out James McAvoy’s character really likes that. It’s such an odd plot device it makes you do a double take, and it’s hard to escape the conclusion it was a bit of a maguffin to get a full frontal shot of Rosario Dawson’s naked body into the film. Or maybe they were going for this Goblin all along. AC