That Naked Gold Statue

27 01 2010

Oscar nominations come out on February 2, 2010.

As with every year, I subject myself to watching every movie nominated for Best Picture. This usually means a manageable five movies between the nomination date and when the show airs on March 7th. I rank these pictures in order of awesomeness and pure kick-ass-itude.

This year? They double my movie load to TEN!

But I LOVE the silver screen. So I will watch them. With luck I’ve knocked off a bunch of them already.

Here’s a shortlist of who I expect to show up when everything is announced next Tuesday:

  • Avatar – I think this may be TOO successful to win…if y’know what I mean.
  • Up – A crazy old guy in a house pulled by balloons=Pixar gold
  • Up in the Air – Haven’t caught it yet…but Clooney could conceivably act his way out of a paper bag.
  • Precious – Another one I haven’t seen…but the buzz will make me check it out.
  • The Hurt Locker – War…huh…what is it good for?…Absolutely movies! Say it again now! (Gut is leaning towards this to win but I’ll get back to you)
  • Inglorious Bastards – Tarantino does senseless violence like no other. And who really doesn’t like Nazis as villains?
  • The Hangover – Funniest movie in the past five years…maybe the decade.
  • District 9 – Surprisingly refreshing…like Mountain Dew except with more poverty.
  • Nine – that musical not the Tim Burton animation film “9”…what’s with all the nine’s last year?
  • An Education – I know literally zip about this movie. Chalk it up to poor education.
  • Crazy Heart – This year’s “The Wrestler” but instead of a broken down wrestler, it’s about a broken down country singer. People eat this up. I haven’t yet.
  • Star Trek – Yes…it’s THAT good.
Advertisements




Random Ranks for Jan 27, 2010

27 01 2010

Fisheries Minister gets PIED – 7 cans of whipped cream out of 10

First…take a look at this video…it’s alright…I’ll come back…

Alright, I’ve got a few observations about this video:

  • the PETA protester had been sitting in the front row at the beginning of the press conference. She would need to have this pie on her lap in plain view. Did not anyone find it strange that a “reporter” had a pie on her lap? Did they assume this was her lunch?
  • the container looks like a take-out food container of a certain chinese food place in Ontario. This doesn’t mean anything. Just noticed it. But it begs the question that if said protester frequents this chinese food restaurant and is against animal cruelty, wouldn’t she be sort of hypocritical to eat from a place that cooks animals and lathers them in yummy sauces?
  • this wasn’t the first “Pie-tack” in Canada. Former Prime Minister ate some pie from a protester back in 2000.

Now the reaction of Fisheries Minister, Gail Shea, just shrugs it off. Which is the right reaction. It’s a juvenile stunt that makes PETA look silly.

Here’s the complete OVER-reaction by a Liberal LP.

A terrorist attack? Really? Is someone getting pantsed a terror attack? Is a lugey or a wet willy a terror attack? Are millions of kids around the world be accused of terrorism because they delivered an atomic wedgie?

I get that PETA’s pissed about the seal hunt. And I agree with them partially that it’s cruel but I disagree that simply stopping the hunt is the way to go. I wont go into detail here because that’s a rant (Rank?) for another day.

So we have PETA celebrating their victory. The only true victory is getting in the news with a prank you see in at a staff party or charity event. But I seriously do applaud them for getting their message out again. In this day where things get buried in the news because of other stories, you need to do something out of the norm to get noticed.

But the real victors are these guys: The Pieminister…who are all laughing, laughing, laughing all the way to the bank.

…and us…because…really, it is mildly humourous to see someone get a pie in the face. Hence the ranking.

THE VICE GUIDE TO TRAVEL: LIBERIA ( 9 horrible rebellions out of 10)

A friend of mine introduced me to this documentary series posted to the tongue-in-cheek news site VBS.TV.

In the shadow of the disaster in Haiti and lost in the news of the war in the middle east is a tumultuous little country on the Atlantic Coast of Africa named Liberia.

Liberia, established by America in 1822 as a place for freed slaves to live and thrive, modelled their country after the U.S. Their capital city, Monroville, is named after then-US president James Monroe. Their flag is a copy of the US “Stars and Stripes” with the exception of one giant star replacing the US’s fifty. And American culture is apparent throughout. But that is where the similarities end.

In the past decade, Liberia has gone through rebellion after rebellion fostering an environment of cannabalism, drugs, disease, violence, and rape in front of a backdrop of a 1990’s US culture. The once beautiful country now house entire neighbourhoods living next to streets flooded with sewer water, beaches used as litterboxes, and kids used as sacraficial lambs.

This 8-part documentary series opens up this world and the residents who are trying against all odds to return their country back to it’s former glory. Check out this trailer and watch the series. There are things out there that you don’t know are happening and that the media never reports about.

This is one of them…

If that captured you, please check out the first three parts on the left column. The rest of this shocking series can be found at VBS.TV.





Conan The O’Brairian vs Jay Kong

20 01 2010

 

Who really is the bad guy here?

On one side, we have long-time night-time fixture, Jay Leno, who’s chin has hosted The Tonight Show and has kept it even-keel enough to hold on to those older viewers who enjoyed Johnny Carson for so many years. His implementation as host in ’92 was marred with controversy when he and David Letterman battled over who deserved it more. This tale is retold brilliantly in the movie The Night Shift.

On the other, we have Conan O’Brien’s red pompadour, a young (when compared to Leno) host who’s helmed Letterman’s old show (Late Night) since ’93 and took over the Tonight Show this past June. He’s developed a HUGE cult following (the way Letterman did), embraced the online generation, and is undoubtedly the future of late night TV. Plus anyone over 40 really doesn’t get him…which is sad.

In between these two: NBC…mucking up the Tonight Show for the Second Time!

For those lost on what I’m talking about and not followed the brou-ha-ha that’s made the Tonight Show good again over the past couple weeks, allow me to break down for you the events that culminated to the duel of Coco vs The Chin.

  • 1993: Conan O’Brien takes over Late Night from the departing David Letterman beating out NBC’s original top choice, Dana Carvey (true). Conan’s show starts slow but within a year, it’s chugging along and becomes one of the best things on late night TV with characters like Pimp-Bot, The Masturbating Bear, and Triumph the Insult Comic Dog.
  • 2004: Conan’s contract nears expiration with NBC. He decides to resign with NBC only IF they agree to a clause stating that Conan will take over as host to the Tonight Show within five years. NBC agrees…they don’t want to lost their prized late night prospect. And if he doesn’t, Conan lands a cool estimated $40-mil for them not living up to their half of the bargain. Leno has Conan as a guest to congratulate him.
  • 2008: Grumblings start to surface that Leno is upset with being “forced into retirement”. NBC appeases Leno by offering him a 10pm show five days a week right before the local nightly news. Leno’s chin is appeased.
  • May-June 2009: Leno makes his final Tonight Show appearance at the end of May to record ratings. Conan takes over at the beginning of June. Older people everywhere shrug and don’t care about what happens in the Year 3000 because they won’t be around. Ratings begin to plummet.
  • September 2009: The Jay Leno Show premieres to the glee of those fans who missed the old show. He pulls out his old bag of tricks (Jaywalking) and people eat it up (sprinkled with bran)…at first. But by the end of the year, the Jay Leno Show’s ratings have dropped significantly and NBC’s affiliates begin complaining that the show kinda sucks.
  • Jan 7, 2010: NBC announces that The Jay Leno Show will go on hiatus February 1st until after the Olympics then move his show to 11:30 bumping Conan’s Tonight Show back to Midnight due to poor ratings.
  • Jan 8, 2010: NBC gives an unconfirmed ultimatum to Coco: listen to Papa, or you’re on the street.
  • Jan 9 – Jan 12: Late night explodes with finger pointing and hilarious mud-flinging. Letterman provides helpful first-hand advice to Conan, Jimmy Kimmel does an entire show as “Jay ‘The Chin’ Leno” with Chevy Chase appearing as “Conan” (and even appears on Leno’s show calling him out).
  • Jan 12: Conan releases his “People of Earth” statement saying that he won’t budge his time slot. “The Tonight Show at 12:05 simply isn’t the Tonight Show.” And he doesn’t want it to be a part of it’s demise.
  • Jan Ongoing: Support for Conan is amazing with a movement called “I’m with Coco” spawned from the internet. Conan’s ratings on the Tonight Show have consistently increased.

That’s where we stand. At this point, the public prefers Conan but Leno is NBC’s Golden Boy. As of this moment, Conan is reportedly going to receive $40-mil for NBC’s breach of contract…but the actual details are yet to be determined.

Rumours abound that all of O’Brien’s characters including Pimpbot, The Masturbating Bear, and Horney Manatee will have to remain at NBC…mainly due to them signing a contract that they get to take over the Tonight Show if Conan and Jay don’t want it.

I suspect that by the end we’ll have Leno back on the Tonight Show. And Conan will show up again somewhere in the late night landscape.

So who is the bad guy in all of this?

It’s not Conan. He’s a victim if anything.

It’s not Jay. Though he’s a spin-master, he’s just become a scapegoat.

It’s not even NBC despite them bungling this up worse than the prosecuting team against OJ Simpson.

It’s the antiquated Neilsen Ratings system. They still rely on actual TV viewers and completely disregard that most people (especially the younger generations) prefer watching their favourite shows on their own time. Hence, the DVR, or Tivo, or online, or on their ipods during a long bus commute to work. And NBC believes in these ratings because their sponsors believe in these ratings.

One thing that this has shown is that Conan’s fan base is huge and rabid (the nice rabid). And no matter HOW this ends, Conan will end up with a show.

So, smarten up Neilsen! If you only rated the way people watch in the 21st Century instead of the mid-20th Century, this fiasco wouldn’t have occurred.

NBC would’ve seen that Coco has as large of a viewership as Leno (maybe bigger). The sponsors would’ve allowed Conan to go on. The affiliates would be happy with where Leno was and none of this would’ve occurred.

NBC would still have a happy Leno, happy Conan, happy affiliates, happy sponsors, and a happy Max Weinberg because he wouldn’t have to go home and tell his wife that the gravy train could be over.

UPDATE – Jan 21, 2010

Reuters is reporting that Conan and NBC have reached a deal to part ways:

NBC reaches deal to release Conan O’Brien – report

Thu Jan 21, 2010 8:27am EST

//

NEW YORK, Jan 21 (Reuters) – NBC has reached an agreement with Conan O’Brien for him to end his short term as host of the “Tonight Show” so that Jay Leno can return as the face of the late-night comedy show, U.S. media reported on Thursday.

The deal will pay O’Brien and his staff $45 million to leave the show, MSNBC said on its website.

The deal was expected to be formally announced later on Thursday. (Reporting by Daniel Trotta; Editing by Paul Simao)





Random Ranks For January 18, 2010

18 01 2010

THE DANA CARVEY SHOW (7.8 supple teats out of 10)

Eight shows ever made…only a total 7 aired. Sponsors got frightened off faster than W. on a straight answer.  Maybe because he was a little too risqué for his 9:30pm slot. Maybe because he threw out the f-bomb a few too many times for ABC Primetime. Maybe because his opening sketch involved the sitting President (Bill Clinton) suckling puppies, kitties, and babies upon his teats. But those of you who were lucky enough to notice this blip on the radar in the Spring of ’96 not only witnessed a  show that was the model of many cable sketch shows nowadays (The Human Giant, Hot Box), it was also the introduction to future household comedy names like Steve Carrell, Stephen Colbert, and Robert Smigel (who debuted the first episode of “The Ambiguously Gay Duo” that later found fame on SNL).

BRET FAVRE’S 2009 RESURGENCE (9 Old Man Powers out of 10)

Forty isn’t old…but it’s ancient in NFL terms…and dog years. To many, his wishy-washy ways have soiled his legacy. Retire. Not Retire. Retire. Not Retire. I think Favre has finally found a way to get out of legally binding contracts. Simply convince the world you’re going to retire…have “second thoughts” over the summer…and resign with a team with a chance to get another ring. Now, I would normally agree with all of those Favre-Naysayers who tout that he’s desecrating on his storied history by doing some late-career team jumping. But he’s playing his BEST football in his career this year. I didn’t like all of his flip-flopping but if the guy can still bring it, I’d be happy to watch one final Favre game. As of this writing, he’s got a 25% chance of winning the Superbowl. If he does, I suspect he’ll call it a career. If not, we’ll see him back in the Vikes uniform one last time. This isn’t “Jordan in a Wizards uniform” territory. This if Favre at his best. Enjoy it folks. Who can get mad at a guy who does this after a game?

…and speaking of Pants on the Ground…

“PANTS ON THE GROUND” GUY – (10 William Hung’s out of 10)

This is the best American Idol audition since William Hung did his version of Ricky Martin’s “She Bangs”. Ladies and gents, I present to you sixty-two year old General Larry Pratt…

EARTHQUAKES (0.1 Ground Rumblings out of 10)

Stop shaking up the Earth! It’s messing up our stuff!

Take a look at the earthquakes over 6.8 Magnitude that have hit over the past 6 months:

  1. January 12 – Haiti – 7.0 (followed by a 5.9 aftershock)
  2. January 5 – Solomon Islands – 6.8
  3. January 3 – Solomon Islands – 7.1 (preceded by a 6.8 an hour earlier)
  4. November 24 – Tonga – 6.8
  5. November 9 – Fiji – 7.3
  6. October 30 – Ryukyu Islands, Japan – 6.8
  7. October 24 – Banda Sea – 6.9
  8. October 8 – Vanatu – 6.8
  9. October 7 – Vanatu – 7.4
  10. October 7 – Santa Cruz Islands – 7.8
  11. October 7 – Vanatu – 7.7
  12. October 7 – Celebes Sea 6.8
  13. September 30 – Southern Sumatra, Indonesia – 7.5
  14. September 29 – Samoa Islands – 8.1
  15. September 2 – Java, Indonesia – 7.0
  16. August 28 – Banda Sea – 6.9
  17. August 10 – Andaman Islands, India – 7.5
  18. August 9 – South coast of Honshu, Japan – 7.1
  19. August 3 – Gulf of California – 6.9
  20. July 15 – West Coast of South Island, New Zealand – 7.8

In addition, there were hundreds of quakes that are over 5 Magnitude.

My point: We have to clean up the Earthquake’s messes. The Haitian Earthquake is only one of many serious ones to hit the past year (and every year). Some are more devastating than others. Go find your local Red Cross and help out.





Top Ten Songs of the Naughts

11 01 2010

10. Feel Good Inc. – Gorillaz (2005)

In a decade where CGI came into it’s own, it’s no surprise that one animated band would break the top 10. Gorillaz are the innovative brainchild of Blur’s Damon Albarn and co-creator of Tank Girl, Jamie Hewlitt. This catchy dance number was a follow up to it’s widely successful self-titled debut album which featured “Clint Eastwood.” Take a listen and enjoy this Grammy Awards mash-up with honourable mentioned “Hung Up” by Madonna.

9. Crazy – Gnarls Barkley (2006)

I remember, I remember, I remember when I first heard this song on the radio. Not only did I go crazy for this song but so did everyone else that summer. Also, I give props to anyone who can use inkblots as a viable concept to a video.

8. Hurt – Johnny Cash (2002)

One thing I can’t remember is when a cover of a song became more successful than the original. Johnny Cash’s haunting take on the Nine Inch Nails’s 1994 release was slower and oozed more pain and sadness than the original. And people dug it up. Perhaps because withered and wrinkled Johnny Cash sung it as if it was his own eulogy and a testament to a lifetime of pain. Regardless, he created a hit. Such a hit, even lead singer of NIN has been quoted saying “This song doesn’t belong to me anymore.” I still get goosebumps.

7. Seven Nation Army – The White Stripes (2003)

Two band members, two basic instruments, two colours reminiscent of candied mints, and a riff that wont leave your head once it catches you. The White Stripes have made a business of unrelenting punk/blues tunes set to a backdrop of Jack White’s wailing lyrics and Meg White’s addicting beats. Who would’ve thought hit music could be made so simply in an age of overcomplication?

6. Time to Pretend – MGMT (2008)

MGMT (short for “The Management”) has been making quite a bit of waves in the music scene as of late. No small feat for a group just arriving on the scene to crack the top 10 without any true established background. You may think you’ve never heard them before but from the opening synthesizer, you probably have…you just don’t know where. Also, MGMT is up for a 2010 Grammy for their new song “Kids”…Possibly a contender for the next decade? We’ll have to wait and see.

5. Boulevard of Broken Dreams – Green Day (2004)

In 2004, Green Day proved that they’re more than a left over ’90s band and moved themselves up the echelon of musical longevity. The song arose from their album titled “American Idiot” during the turning point in American views of their President. This somber melody really does show the dismay towards the establishment of it’s day. As time marches onward, “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” will no doubt prove to be their greatest song. So says I…

4. Single Ladies – Beyoncé (2009)

Never has a song the past decade empowered women so much to get up and dance, and never has a video spawned so many parodies. Check out this future classic SNL sketch starring Beyonce, Justin Timberlake, Andy Samberg, and Bobby Moynihan. The video alone would be tied for top spot for the Naughts (you’ll see the one that it’s topped with later on) but this is about the song. Powerful. Yes. Best. Not quite.

3. Jesus Walks – Kanye West (2004)

Before Kanye went all silly on the world and took on poor Taylor Swift or decided to make Mike Myers go all queasy in his boots, he actually put out a great selection of hip hop in the mid 00`s. From the acclaimed album “The College Dropout” which also produced the Ray Charles inspired GoldDigger, Jesus Walks proved that as long as you had a good beat and great rhyme, anything could catch on. This won for best Rap song in 2005 Grammy Awards.

2. Lose Yourself – Eminem (2002)

An Oscar and Grammy winning song, spent a record 12 weeks on the top of the charts in 2002, and over four times Platinum equals an obvious number 2 spot on this list. This inspirational tune solidified Eminem’s status as one of the greatest poets of his time. Pushing aside his juvenile vulgarities and party tracks, Marshall Mathers does produce songs which make you think that end up being ignored. Stan and Beautiful to name but two. From the opening piano, it’s difficult not to feel hopeful.

1. Hey Ya – Outkast (2003)

In 2003, the two members of Outkast (Andre 3000 and Big Boi) decided to change up what makes up a rap album. They produced a dual album entitled “Speakerboxx/The Love Below”. One half entirely of nardcore heavy hip-hop Big Boi tracks (Speakerboxx). The other a more ethereal loved based Andre 3000 spitting rhymes (The Love Below). The “Speakerboxx” half of this album would`ve been good enough for it to win Best Album of the Year with winning hits like “The Way You Move“. But it’s one single song on The Love Below side that propels this album to being one of the best albums of all time: Hey Ya!

A catchy chorus, upbeat rhythms, and one of the best videos of all time with Andre 3000 playing every role in the band. It would be difficult to pick any other song better than this one. Now go pump this track, get on the dance floor and shake it like a Polariod picture. Why? Because this is so cool, it’s ice cold!





A Little Diddy about Flight of the Conchords

7 01 2010

Somewhere between becoming a dad and today (a span of over 2 years), I’ve been in a haze. Hard to say what kind of haze but a haze similar to when you’d go out drinking long enough the night just becomes a blurr of snapshots…except with less sleep, and no benefit of a good buzz.

During this haze, something came on the scene that usually is on the forefront of my comedy radar (Comedar?) and I pick up right away. I’m talking about “The Flight of the Conchords”.

This parody folk band (self professed 4th Best in New Zealand) made up of two Kiwis has taken what Weird Al used to do and amped it up for the 21st Century.

Not to say that during this haze they didn’t make a blip on my radar…this was the first thing I saw of them…I don’t know when but sometime in the past couple years…

Now, that particular day I recalled that song…and this classic one:

Then…it disappeared into the baby haze until recently when (after so many friend-approved recommendations) people kept telling me “Yo Adam! Check dis Flizzle of the Cizzle!” I tell Snoop “Sorry, what?”. And he hands me a DVD and says “Drop it like it’s hot.” I assume the DVD player. So I did.

(Disclaimer: Snoop story possibly untrue. There is a slim chance I borrowed it from the library.)

It was Season 2 of their TV show…and I became instant fans from the 2nd episode and this AWESOME song:

Then this one:

And finally this epic one from Season 1:

With cameos from Art Garfunkle, John Turturro, Kristen Wiig, Will Forte, Aziz Ansari, Lucy Lawless, and John Hodgmen (the PC guy from the Mac Ads), they have developed quite a following.

Sadly, Bret and Jermaine of the Flight of the Conchords decided this past December to not continue the show and to focus on recording albums. So, like Seinfeld, this show ends at the top of it’s game and will most likely go down as one of the funniest comedies about the 4th greatest New Zealand parody folk duo of all time!





Top Ten Movies of the Naughts

2 01 2010

Selecting a Top 10 of anything is like choosing a favourite kid if you were the Duggars. They’re all special in their own way and any of them could be a part of this list.

With that in mind, there’s going to be some of the “children” that won’t be included but should be mentioned (To Judd Apatow fans…I’d like you to know that plenty of your movies were on the shortlist but just didn’t make it…though I love you just the same.)

So take this list for what you will and compare it to other lists across the board. No one list is 100% correct but if movies keep popping up on other lists…there’s probably a good chance they deserve there.

My main criteria were: -Memorability of characters, Timelessness of the story, and Re-watchability.

Also, I’ve linked the previews of these movies on the right to help you jog your memory.

Let the countdown begin…

…As always, all trays should remain in their upright position during takeoff and landings.

10. 8 MILE (2002) – Eminem, Brittany Murphy, Kim Basinger, Mekhi Phifer

One part allegory of the “Little Engine That Could” (yes, that’s also an allegory), one part grimy gangster flick, one part Rap Battle. This movie makes the list primarily on the skills Eminem brings to the table. He plays himself (cleverly named B. Rabbit) and retells his days before he broke it big. This movie is the 2000’s version of Rocky but with words instead of fists. And for those of you who doubt Eminem’s skills as a freestyle rapper and thinks it’s all hype…check out this

9. ANCHORMAN: THE LEGEND OF RON BURGUNDY (2004) – Will Farrell, Paul Rudd, Steve Carrell, Christina Applegate

I hated this movie when it first came out. I really really did. I made bile rise up in my throat and I thought the only palatable scenes involved Steve Carrell (“I Love Lamp.”) Now: This movie grows on you like a glass of scotchy, scotch, scotch, down to my belly. It’s infinitely quotable like Dumb and Dumber and Office Space in the 90’s. “The only way to bag a classy lady is to give her two tickets to the gun show (kisses biceps) and see if she likes the goods.” Stay classy, World!

8. ALMOST FAMOUS (2000) – Patrick Fugit, Kate Hudson

Ever wonder what it would be like to be a teenage journalist for Rolling Stone in the 70s while riding along with an up-and-coming band who think of themselves bigger than they are? This story is loosely based on writer Cameron Crowe’s own experiences as a fledgling journalist and carried the authenticity that you can’t help but appreciate. Filled with amazing performances from Kate Hudson (as Penny Lane) and Patrick Fugit (as teen journalist William Miller), and so many memorable scenes of life on the road, this comedy-drama as a bit of everything. Also, it was a snapshot of future stars of the 2000’s before they got big including Jason Lee (My Name Is Earl), Rainn Wilson (The Office), Anna Paquin (True Blood), Jimmy Fallon (SNL, and Late Night), and Zooey Deschanel (she’s everywhere now). You’ll want to relive the 70’s over and over again…in a good way.

7. NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN (2007) – Tommy Lee Jones, Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin

No other movie has spawned so much range of feelings as this movie has. I’ve heard people describe this Coen Brothers thriller as one of the best movies ever made…and others who think it was a waste of two plus hours of their lives. There has yet to be a person who rests in the middle ground. The polarization, I’ve learned, has come from the ending which takes more than one viewing to understand. The only concensus is the role of serial killer Anton Chighur (pronounced Sugar and played by Bardem) is one of the most terrifying villians in cinematic history. He’s ranked right up there with Hannibal Lecter in pure evil. I wouldn’t want to meet either in real life. And I could never look at a Captive Bolt Pistol without a shiver going down my spine…not that I’ve never seen one before this movie. If you want to be truly terrified, give this flick a try.

6. DONNIE DARKO (2001) – Jake Gyllenhaal, Drew Barrymore, Patrick Swayze

Time Travel. Alternate Realities. Mind-Altering scenes. Numbers. And a twisting thought that will keep you guessing until the very end. Yes, in 2001, a single movie had encompassed the entire plot of ABC’s “LOST” before JJ Abrams introduced us to that island in ’04. Add to that a giant demonic talking bunny and a depressed teenager trying to decipher it all (Gyllenhall), and you’ve got one of the best movies of the decade. You won’t see the ending coming…but you’ll understand it…mostly. And even on repeated viewings you’ll learn new things you missed before. The depth of this movie is unparalled by few others.

5. JUNO (2007) – Ellen Page, Michael Cera, Jennifer Garner, Jason Bateman

Halifax-born Ellen Page stars as the title character in one of the smartest teen comedy-drama…no strike that…one of the smartest comedy-drama’s period…of any genre. The wit and pace of this movie about teenage pregnancy is unlike anything else besides Warner Bros’s Gilmore Girls. Don’t expect the typical teenage girl lost and downtrodden when she learns she’s pregnant and underage. Juno is a girl that tackles her issues head on with poise and humour. This movie is not only thoughtful but funny (at times hilarious). Nominated for 3 Oscars (Best Picture, Best Actress for Page, and Best Original Screen Play) and won for Best Original Screen Play. I can never get tired of this movie.

4. WALL-E (2008) – Ben Burtt, Elissa Knight, Fred Willard

Animation has improved leaps and bounds in the past twenty years. And computer animation has always pushed the envellope in what we see on the screen. WALL-E became a perfect storm of brilliant computer animation, one of the most original scripts in history, and slapstick comedy. Not since Johnny-5 from the Short Circuit movies have I cared so much for a little robot. WALL-E often times was more human than the humans he was programmed to clean up after. A morality tale about how messed up our planet can become if we don’t fix things ourselves. There’s enough here for both children and adults alike. And when the first third of the movie has no dialogue to speak of…yet, still keep kids in their seats, you know you have something special. And when Disney creates this, it just ups it’s coolness.

3. AVATAR (2009) – Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver

Who would’ve thunk that James Cameron would’ve produced one of the greatest movies of the decade that is released a short two weeks before the end of it? There were so many red flags when the previews started coming out. The most expensive movie in history (Cameron claimed this title when he directed Titanic in ’97), he created special cameras from scratch just for the movie, the great majority was CGI coupled with live action. Usually when this much is spent on special effects, the story suffers (see 2012 released in 2009). Not so with Avatar. Not only is the story amazing (a fable of how everything on this strange distant planet is interconnected by spirit…or is this such a strange notion?), not only does it flip the script and make humanity the alien invaders, you walk out of this 3D experience as if you just watched something about 5-10 years ahead of it’s time. All movies will be filmed this way by 2020. Don’t worry if you don’t like sci-fi movies, don’t worry that there might be nothing for you…there will be…I promise.

2. LORD OF THE RINGS: THE RETURN OF THE KING (2003) – Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Viggo Mortensen

In more ways than one, this movie (and it’s 2 equally worthy prequels) paved the way for movies like Avatar to be created. I could’ve easily used up three spots of the top 10 for this trilogy but I opted to only have this one represented because it is the best of the bunch and it won Best Picture for that year. In the early ‘oos, this Trilogy was all that people could talk about and it has eclipsed the original Star Wars trilogy as the best of all-time (sorry hardcore Star Warriors). Breathtaking scenery, epic plotlines, and memorable characters. It is so easy to get lost in this series. For those Lord of the Ringers out there (I’m so bad with pet-names for groups), yes, Peter Jackson IS doing a live action movie to Tolkien’s “The Hobbit” (the prequel to the Lord of the Rings trilogy). And he’s split it into two parts to be released around Christmas 2011 and 2012. I’ll be in line.

1. THE DARK KNIGHT (2008) – Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Aaron Eckhart, Maggie Gyllenhaal

Another sequel? As your top 2 movies of the decade? Are you insane? Marginally…but if you look back, the Naughts could be remembered as the “Decade of the Sequels (and Remakes)”. No other decade has produced so many “easy money” scripts from sure thing commodities like video games (Doom), successful franchises (Shrek, Harry Potter, Saw), or tried and true  remakes (The Departed, I Am Legend, King Kong). It’s no surprise that one of them was bound to be the cream of the crop.

The Dark Knight is the highly overachieving sequel to the revamped darker and grittier Batman series which began with Batman Begins (2005). The first movie was an alright affair but nothing to write home about. But the second movie is all about Heath Ledger’s Joker. Rarely does a movie elevate to an upper echelon because of one supporting role. This is/was Ledger’s greatest role and every other Joker will be compared to his genius portrayal. He pulls you in with every scene until the point where you start to root for the villain over the hero. He makes the Joker sadistic, disturbed and fun. I couldn’t help but think about the famous A Clockwork Orange “Singing in the Rain” scene.

The greatest villain of all time? I think so. Sadly, we won’t see him again. RIP Heath Ledger.

Here take a look and see if you agree:

I’m sure most you will think I’ve made some glaring omissions but this is only my opinion. What’s yours?

Alright Judd Apatow fans…go at it!