The Rankatron Ranks The Oscars

Bow ties make anything look better.


It’s officially here!

Oscars Eve!

Did I finish ALL of the 10 movies? Technically, yes. Is there an actual review for all of them? No. There’s one glaring exception: Inception.

Let’s be honest with Inception. This was the Matrix for a new generation. A movie that holds up better in theatres with massive screens the size of Jupiter’s Moon, Io, and digital sound systems that you make Stevie Wonder sit up and say “what was that?” than on the small screen. I still intend on doing a review of Inception but I’ve reserved the right to mull it over and watch it a second time. Hence the delay in the review. But I will give you the Inception review next week. It really doesn’t matter…it’s not going to win tomorrow night. Sorry DiCaprio.

So how does this work? Now that I’ve taken an equivalent of nearly 2 days of my life to watch these…excluding the time it took to write the review, find cool pics and vids, and draw some admittedly silly cartoons (to me)…I’m going to do something that the Oscars can’t do. Keep it short and to the point.

I will now rank the Ten movies in order of pure AWESOME-TUDE! These will not necessarily be what the Academy picks tomorrow night…but these will be in gauged based on the most entertainment value, story depth and universality of the subject (y’know…so everyone can watch).

Before I get right into it, let me just say that for the first time in YEARS, every single movie on this list is truth-to-power-above fun to watch…but in different and unique ways. I remember one glaring Best Picture movie years ago that was so boring to watch, I had to split it between three viewings to get through it. I won’t share with you the title just to protect the anonymity of those talented individual involved but I will say that it rhymes with “There Will Be Blood”.

The Rankatron Oscars List (2011 Edition): – And it’s in reverse, MOFOS!!!! Just to mess ya up!

(Clicky on the titles to read the original review.)

10.  127 Hours

9. Winter’s Bone

8. Inception

7. The Kids Are Alright

6. The Social Network

5. Black Swan

4. The Fighter

3. Toy Story 3

2. True Grit

And the number one movie this year….drumroll please!!!!…what? No? What are you talking about it’s a boring choice? But what if it’s right? No. It is right! Get the drumroll! No…you’re right. Check that.

Cue Oscar winner Jamie Foxx featuring living legend Justin Timberlake with “Winner”. (And sorry…there’s no official vid.)

The Winner is….

1. The King’s Speech

If you’ve never scene it thinking that it would be just another stuffy royalty movie like The Queen, put that back in your “Stereotype Stereo” and give it a try. This movie is smart, entertaining, funny in the most unexpected way, and littered with brilliant performances that should earn Colin Firth a Best Actor win.

So am I done for this year with the Oscars?

Is Bob Saget as squeaky clean as his Danny Tanner character?


Tomorrow, I’ll be embarking on the most ambitious sacrifice anyone can do for the Oscars: sit through an ENTIRE broadcast beginning to end.

I will be…for the first time ever…using The Rankatron Twitter feed.

Click here to join and follow.

It shall begin 9pm AST (8pm EST) Sunday February 27, 2011. Together we can count how many drug references and hand references James Franco makes…and how many times Anne Hathaway looks hot.

Or not.

After I’m done, I’ll post the entire transcript on this website for you to enjoy…kinda.

So for now, I bid you all adieu and goodnight.


Enter…the Oscars.

O.S.C.A.R. - Only Some Can Always Reap

It’s that time of year folks.

A time where celebrities who worked so hard during the year can get some critical gratification from their peers. Sometimes this translates as great viewing for the average viewer…sometimes not.

It’s the 2011 Oscar Nominations.

Now, I’m not going to go down category by category and explain WHY my opinion matters on this. Nuh-uh. If you want this, go check out a billion other websites. But I may release my Oscar pool at a later time for you to peruse without comment…or you can comment. This is a free Blogiverse.

I will focus on what I do best: movies.

Here’s how it works. In years past, I’ve waited for the Best Picture nominations to come out and then proceed to watch every single movie on that list before the Oscars broadcast to see how wrong the Academy has gotten it. That would give me about a month to watch. In the pre-2009 days, this would be only 5 movies. Completely doable. But since they introduced 10 in ’10, I had to do some pre-research (presearch?) to anticipate who should be on this list so I can knock some of them off before hand.

Thankfully, this year I’ve seen 6 of the 10 nominees. I will be releasing blogs on my usual days with my reviews (Wednesdays and Saturdays) until all 10 have been seen. Then…I’ll make my pick in a final blog the Saturday before the Oscars broadcast.

This entry will stay at the top of my Home Page until after the Oscars as a means to reference the reviews. To find the reviews, just click on the “REVIEW” link beside the movie name and the magic of the Rankatron will bring you right there. If there’s nothing there, you can click on the name to see the trailer.

Now that you know the rules of Dis Game, here’s the list of Nominees for the Oscars 2011 and my preliminary impressions:

So there you have it…oh there’s a hand in the back…what was that? Yes. I’ll still be doing newer reviews of things in between all of this. I realize not everyone loves the Oscars.

All other questions will need to be reserved until the end of the proceedings after the Oscars.



The Rankatron shows Oscar who's got really got the bigger "Awards".

OscaRank: Getting the Oscar takes “True Grit”

Cross-examining Lawyer: Mister Cogburn, in your four years as US Marshal, how many men have you shot?
Rooster Cogburn: Shot? Or killed?
Cross-examining Lawyer: Let us restrict it to killed so we may have a manageable figure!

True Grit gets under your fingernails as a hard-riding Western full of well-defined and colourful characters. Every person in this film seems to be a slightly over-the-top caricature of some personality you’d see in a border town in the Old West. The over-zealous lawyer. The shifty trader. The posse of bad guys (who really could’ve stepped out of Back to the Future Part 3). The uber-confident ranger. But the two most memorable are the over-the-hill gritty Marshall Rooster Cogburn and the electrifying teenage daughter bent on avenging her father’s death.

Let’s start with the former: Rooster Cogburn played superbly by Jeff Bridges who may possibly be one of the most underrated and under-utilized actors in Hollywood. His movies are either home runs (like the Big Lebowski, Crazy Heart, Seabiscuit), cult-like hits (TRON, Iron Man), or complete bombs (K-Pax). But one thing you can never take away from Bridges is that whatever character he’s given, he immerses himself fully so the only thing you recognize is that truly unique Bridge-esque rasp he’s perfected. Jeff Bridges pulls off a version of Rooster Cogburn that very well could be better than John Wayne’s version (and which won him the Oscar in 1969). I can’t 100% confirm this because I haven’t seen the original in ages and only barely recall it. Bridges probably won’t win the Oscar this year for Best Actor but it’s simply because of Colin Firth in the King’s Speech…but y’never can tell.

As good as Bridges was, the true star of True Grit is for 14-year old sensation (and unknown), Hailee Steinfeld, who plays the plucky Mattie Ross. She commands every scene she’s in…which is pretty much the whole movie. No actress I’ve seen this young has portrayed so much range since Ellen Page in Juno. It was a true crime that she didn’t get top billing in True Grit since she plays easily the second most important role besides Bridges. She falls behind Bridges, Matt Damon, and Josh Brolin. I know I have to think about this from the promoters POV where they have to decide before a movie releases if people will go see a Western starring Bridges and Steinfeld or a Western starring Bridges, Damon and Brolin. I give them that. What would be an even bigger crime would be if young Hailee didn’t get and Oscar nom AND the win for Best Actress.

I also realize I said the same thing after watching Juno while talking about Ellen Page.  Here’s that quote:

Ellen Page, for her range and her courage to take on such a role, deserves the Oscar. And even if the movie itself doesn’t win Best Picture this year, I will honour it by giving it my highest score ever, a perfect 10…take that Academy!!!

So I could be wrong. The Oscar eventually went to Marion Cotillard for her role in La Vie En Rose. In retrospect, Marion’s role was good but not great like Page’s. And Best Picture went to No Country For Old Men…it was warranted.

Back to True Grit.

Matt Damon as the Texas Ranger LaBoeuf provided a slightly dim-witted but good-hearted foil to Rooster and Mattie’s sharp insights.

Most of the humour of True Grit comes from the no-holds-barred racism in the movie. It reminds us just how absurdly racist views were back then and by simply keeping to the realism brought forward intentional “unintentional” humour. For example, (spoilery but not relevant to the plot in any way) near the beginning, there’s a hanging about to take place with three prisoners: two white, one Native. The two white prisoners were allowed their soliloquies of humility and regret which each stretched a couple minutes before the black hood was placed over their heads. When we got to the third prisoner (the Native), he thought he would be given the same opportunity and went into his speech but was cut off mid-way through the first sentence by a hood before all three where hung. The pure lack of respect made me feel uncomfortable but felt incredibly guilty how juvenile folks really were back then. OK…so that description doesn’t sound THAT funny. But I never said this was a comedy.

True Grit is a snapshot of reality in the 1800’s. I’m sure someone watching a movie about our time concerning gay rights in a few hundred years will react the exact same way.

As the race for the Best Picture Oscar is beginning to take form and we’re finally seeing the possible horses up for nomination, it is difficult to know who will win. I think it will come down to a matter of preference in style for the potential viewer. But with the Coen Brothers at the helm (who won Best Picture for the aformentioned No Country For Old Men, friendo) and Stephen Speilberg as Executive Producer, this one may just have the edge.

9.7 half bitten tongues out of 10

True Blood Grit