Our theme for February is actually a challenge: write a piece without using first person pronouns (I, me, we, etc.)

February is upon us, which means it is awards season.  That means it is time for a look back at last year, make up some arbitrary categories, and hand out some meaningless awards based on personal preference.

Best Villain – Kilgrave, Jessica Jones

While the vast majority of Marvel movies are mediocre at best (Captain America: The Winter Soldier being the exception), they are knocking it out of the park when it comes to TV shows.  Last year’s Jessica Jones was thirteen episodes of perfection, thanks in large part to its villain, Kilgrave.  David Tennant is such a phenomenal actor; he adds so many layers to his performance, managing to make Kilgrave repulsive, alluring, sympathetic, and terrifying all at once.  Furthermore, his fashion is impeccable.

Best Career Reinvention – Oscar Isaac

What a year for Isaac.  Just a few years ago, he was starring in such films as Sucker Punch and Robin Hood, and he was NOT good.  Seriously, go watch his monologue from Sucker Punch where he talks about loyalty – it is painful how terrible and wooden of an actor he is.  Fast forward to now, and Isaac just oozes with charisma and charm.  For real, just watch this amazing scene from Ex Machina (the best film of 2015).

Most Disappointing – Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Quickly, try to name one good/memorable moment from the most recent Star Wars?  You can’t, can you?  That’s because it was nothing more than a bland/generic toy advertisement.  A stale retread of A New Hope, all I really remember about The Force Awakens is that they find the hero on NOT Tatooine, the NOT Rebels have to destroy the NOT Deathstar, which destroyed NOT Coruscant, NOT Darth Vader is super emo, NOT R2-D2 rolls around, and somehow Thanos snuck into the movie.  Also, it is disappointing that Poe Dameron was not the son of Wedge Antilles.  Also, there was that super stupid scene onboard Han’s freighter with the rival gangs and the escaped monsters (who also rolled around) which really felt out of place.  Like, jarringly out of place.  Like, who thought that scene was in anyway a good idea?

Most Insane Line Reading – Keanu Reeves, Knock Knock

Keanu Reeves is Hollywood’s unsung star.  He isn’t the greatest actor in the world, but he shows up, does the job, and generally makes decent movies.  While he is rightly lambasted for his wooden acting, sometimes he surprises you, as he did in the horror thriller Knock Knock.  His rant about free pizza is a genius, Oscar-worthy performance.

Most at Risk of Overexposure – Domhnall Gleeson

This was the year of Domhnall Gleeson.  From Star Wars to The Revenant to Ex Machina (again, last year’s best film), Gleeson seemed to be everywhere.  While he definitely has the range and talent to be in all those movies, he is beginning to tread dangerously close to James “I’ve Never Met a Script I Didn’t Like” Franco territory.  Scale it back, Gleeson.

Best Chase Scene – Mad Max: Fury Road

This movie is literally one long, nearly uninterrupted chase sequence.  And it is awesome.

Worst Movie – Jupiter Ascending

It is difficult to believe Jupiter Ascending came out just last year.  It is also difficult to believe that it came out at all.  The all-star cast was unable to save this dud of a film.  Interminably long, needlessly convoluted, and laughably implausible, the only reason to watch this turd of a film is to watch Oscar-winner Eddie Redmayne hoarsely whisper his lines.  He is simultaneously overacting and underacting; hopefully his performance is studied by film students/critics for years to come.

Most Saddening Death – Christopher Lee

Hollywood lost some great stars in 2015 – Wes Craven, Leonard Nimoy, Fred Dalton Thompson, to name just a few – but no loss was as great as that of Christopher Lee.  His career spanned nearly seventy years, but it was only in the last decade and a half that he broke into the mainstream with his roles in the Star Wars prequels and the Lord of the Rings trilogy.  No more will his voice add gravitas to a film, but weep not, dear reader, because his voice lives on in the four heavy metal albums he recorded.

Paul Menn

Paul (’10) lives in Grand Rapids with his wife, Emma (’10), and cat, HandsomeMarcoCat. He loves board games, Babylon 5, and honey-curry chicken. Everything else is negotiable.

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