Sitting in the Dark With Strangers 2010: Part Two

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film / sitting in the dark with strangers

Here’s the next 10 movies I saw this year, in rising order of my enjoying them. The same rules apply as before, i.e. go look up the movie if you want to learn more about it, my rules are completely arbitrary, etc. Oh yeah, SPOILER WARNINGS too, you big babies.

Pirahna 3D poster

30. Piranha 3D (saw for free from work): My boss and I saw this movie after a free screening of the 3D Resident Evil movie went through. We were at the Scotiabank theatre in West Edmonton Mall, and apparently the staff there never received the digital “key” to unlock Milla Jovovich from her film canisters. We waited for about 30 minutes, then I decided “fuck it”, and took my 3D glasses to see a movie I was at least vaguely interested in. Piranha 3D features tits, ass and pirahnas eating both of the above. It was pretty funny (although my boss was not super impressed with the quality for whatever reason), and was one of the few movies I saw this year that used 3D well, to show boobs more effectively. I’m also pretty sure Gianna Michaels was in it as “topless parasailing woman who gets eaten by pirahna”, so that was pretty cool.

How to Train Your Dragon poster

29. How to Train Your Dragon (saw for free on the plane to Comic-Con): A lot of people seemed to like this movie. Maybe had I not watched it on a screen that was 6 inches long and 4 inches high I might have been able to fully appreciate its majesty. I suppose it was nice to hear Craig Ferguson in a movie.

The A-Team poster

28. The A-Team: Hey, this is the first movie on the list I actually had to pay to see! There was a refinement on the spy/thriller genre that was all over screens this year, I’ve termed it the “Douchebag Ex-CIA Mercenary Movie.” Other films in this genre included my number 36 movie (The Execrables) my number 32 (Red), and a couple more that are still higher up on the list. I guess you could stick MacGruber in this category too, if you don’t have it filed under “Useless Dogshit Garbage Movie.” Anyway, the A-Team was only alright to me, I think I’m about one generation behind Hollywood’s current nostalgia curve. I’d seen the A-Team a couple times, but was probably more knowledgeable about parodies and pastiches of the concept than the actual original work. The battle at the docks with all of the shipping crates was pretty cool though, as was flying a tank GTA 3-style by firing the gun. One question though, the asshole CIA handler played by Patrick Wilson gets replaced by Jon Hamm in an uncredited cameo. Isn’t he much more famous than Wilson by this point? Was he just hanging out on set that day or something? Also, Hollywood? Please put Jon Hamm in a live-action version of Darwyn Cooke’s New Frontier comics as King Faraday. (Although I should be saving these casting ideas for my new project, which is TBA…)

Repo Men poster

27. Repo Men (paid to see, by myself): I saw this movie purely on the recommendation of Moviebob’s review at The Escapist. And it wasn’t a bad little film. There were a few weird little continuity errors and some shitty acting, but all in all not a bad way to spend a Sunday afternoon. There was this asshole in the theatre crooning slowly to his girlfriend for the duration of the thing, but I didn’t really want to call him out on it, because there were like 5 of us in the room. There’s one scene in this movie where Jude Law and Alice Braga fuck, perform surgery on one another and hack into a computer database all at the same time. That’s something that’s probably never happened in a movie before, and it actually really reminded me of eXistenZ, which is always a good thing.

The Losers poster

26. The Losers (paid to see): This was pretty fun, and yet another of the DECMM genre that permeated the 2010 zeitgeist. I think I liked this one better than the others because it was based on such an awesome fucking comic book. Seriously, read that shit right away, it’s like the greatest episodes of Burn Notice and The A-Team (I guess… like I said I never really watched it) mixed with amazing action and gunfights and a concise history of American black ops in the 20th century. The movie was pretty fun as well, but switching Aisha’s origin from being a former child soldier in Afghanistan to being the daughter of a drug lord was kind of lame. Also I really hated Jason Patric’s “portrayal” of Max, the legendary spook. He was incredibly irritating, and actually ran completely counter to the way Max was portrayed in the comics for the most part, as a shadowy, legendarily bad man. The title bothered me too, you could have at least explained why they were called “the Losers”, even without going into the WWII unit of the same name.

Best Worst Movie poster

25. Best Worst Movie (saw at the Metro): My memories of this film are somewhat dulled due to the fact that I’d drank a mickey of peach schnapps during the first part of the double bill, Troll 2, the making and legacy of which this film explores. This was a fun documentary that I probably would have enjoyed more had I been introduced to the cult of Troll 2 beforehand. It’s always sort of nice, yet sort of terrifying, to see people enjoying trashy culture far more than society would have them do. The main guy, a dentist-turned one time actor was pretty easy to like, but I think by now I know far more about Troll 2 than I ever wanted to.

Tron Legacy poster

24. Tron Legacy (saw for free from work): I don’t really know what I was expecting from this movie. I’d never really liked the first Tron, yet I enjoyed seeing it while playing Kingdom Hearts 2 on the PS2, so I was somewhat conflicted on this. It shared the exact same structure as the original, which means it went okay (real world!)->cool (lightcycles!) ->okay (backstory! Jeff Bridges!) ->confusing (computer programs in bars! -> people eating in the computer world!) ->boring (exposition! nonsensical plan to attack the real world!) -> whatever (last minute betrayal! the real world again!). Like everyone else in the world, I’ll say the soundtrack was cool, and for the most part everything looked sweet other than CGI Jeff Bridges’ full on assault on the Uncanny Valley. I’ve been told I’m being a little harsh on this movie, but there were so many strange decisions made at all levels of the film that I can’t rank it higher than this. Above this point, the movies seem to know what they’re doing (unless they absolutely don’t give a FUCK whatsoever, like my 10 on this list).

The Town poster

23. The Town (paid to see, by myself): Hey it’s Jon Hamm again! This movie is fairly easy to recommend to people I think. If you like Good Will Hunting as well as Heat, this should be right up your alley. It’s not as good as either of those, nor is it as good as The Departed (the ne plus ultra of Boston crime cinema), but not really too bad. Also, it’s pretty funny, I remember Hamm’s FBI guy cracking some pretty good jokes.

The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest Poster

22. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest (saw for free from work): In my opinion, the Lisbeth Salander/Millennium movies go down quality wise as you go through the books. I barely even got through the first few chapters of the book before getting bored of it, so I was understandably concerned about the film. What you get, essentially, is the mopping up of the crazy action that took place over the course of the first two movies. Where Dragon Tattoo had a fucked up “Ellroy in Sweden with crazy religious stuff” going on, and Played with Fire‘s got the quintessentially Swedish “girl gets life ruined and sets out to murder those who fucked her over” archetype down (as best seen in Thriller: They Call Her One Eye, which has one of the best trailers of all time), all that’s left by the time Hornet’s Nest starts is the “All The President’s Men conspiracy thriller” thing. Which isn’t to say it’s bad or anything, it’s just that you can tell it’s the middle of a bigger story, on that sadly Larsson never got a chance to finish.

Predators Poster

21. Predators (paid to see):There’s not too much to say about this movie, I suppose it was my second favorite Danny Trejo film of the year. I liked how monumentally fucked the main characters were for the duration of this movie, and their quick realization of this fact rather than a drawn out conclusion. Still, as I’m going backwards through the list, I’m being continually struck by how badly The Disposables dropped the ball on being even a competent action feature in comparison to the rest of the year’s offerings. Also, at this screening, an old man sitting next to me kept talking to his wife. Fuck you, old man.

And that’s all for this section of my movie list, check back in a couple of days for the rest!

The Author

Matt Bowes is a self-proclaimed cultural commentator/arbiter of good taste from Edmonton, Alberta. He enjoys movies and books, and writes about them sometimes at

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