above: Sean Harris scaring the shit out of Paddy Considine in RED RIDING 1980
Some parting thoughts:
1. 2010 was the year of the Dude. After nearly forty years or so of being everyone's favorite underappreciated actor, Jeff Bridges had the biggest year of his career. He won Best Actor at the Oscars for CRAZY HEART, starred in TRON: LEGACY (a film I had no interest in seeing, but hey it hit number one at the box office so what do I know?) and he topped off the year with a critical and commercial hit with TRUE GRIT. On top of that, have you noticed that his cult status as "the Dude" has reached a the level where it's nearly always mentioned when people write about him? This would be a box for most actors--chaining them forever to that one role--but Bridges is so good it's simply a plus. Add Bad Blake and Rooster Cogburn to his roster of great roles. Not many actors go from star to superstar at 60, but then again some people age into their best selves. Bogart and Clooney, for example, were pretty much nonentities until they hit a certain age, and Meryl Streep has gone from critic's darling to box office power house in the last few years. Gotta love it when that happens.
2. I forgot to mention in the last post that one of the best experiences I had at the movies this year was spending at day at the E Street Cinema in Washington DC watching the RED RIDING Trilogy. Watching these black-as-midnight films back to back was exhausting (in retrospect, it was too much to absorb in one day), but the exhaustion was well-earned. The trilogy--a neo-noir epic set in England and centering around serial child killings and police corruption--is a deep dive into a very dark pool. The filmmaking (by writer Tony Grisoni and directors Julian Jarrold, James Marsh, Anand Tucker ) is superb from start to finish, but my favorite of the films was probably the second film RED RIDING: IN THE YEAR OF OUR LORD 1980 with its terrifying performance by Sean Harris as a dirty cop. See a trailer for the trilogy here.
3. Still haven't seen a movie in 3D. I suppose I should take the plunge so I can know what I'm talking about, but god I don't want to see a movie in 3D.
4. In the few days, I'm going to see THE KING'S SPEECH and I LOVE YOU PHILLIP MORRIS. Here's a list of what I missed at the movies this year and hope to catch on Netflix in the months to come:
SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD
THE SOCIAL NETWORK
LET ME IN
WELCOME TO THE RILEYS
Of the top thirty highest grossing films of the year, I saw two, INCEPTION and SHUTTER ISLAND. (I just realized this. Odd that they both star Leo.) INCEPTION was okay for an hour and then got boring. SHUTTER ISLAND was a potboiler mystery with a trick ending and a whole lot of dead children--which is to say it leave a cheap aftertaste. I did not have a desire to see any of the other twenty-eight movies on the list. My finger, as always, is not on the pulse of the American public.