Spring Report Card
I think it’s safe to say that the movie year can be split into three very distinct seasons. They are as follows:
- Spring (January – April). I like to call this “dumping season” because we get a lot of B-type releases and typical genre pictures. These movies generally aren’t strong enough to warrant awards promotion and don’t have the perceived drawing power to receive a summer blockbuster placement. Once in a while, a movie will unexpectedly catch on with audiences and make all sorts of money (like last year’s Taken). Otherwise, a major spring release like Alice in Wonderland or How to Train Your Dragon can dominate the market for months on end due to the lack of strong competitors.
- Summer (May – August). Summer blockbuster season. This is when we see a lot of movies that are heavy on special effects but light on brains. Turnover rate is high and today’s box-office champion will soon become next week’s old news once the next effects-driven sequel is released.
- Fall (September – December). This is where the adults get their fix of serious dramas and Oscar contenders. You can pretty much depend on movies from Clint Eastwood, Ron Howard and the like. The one exception in this season is Christmas break, where we get a mini-blockbuster run of movies like Sherlock Holmes and I Am Legend.
This year, the summer movie season officially began when people started lining up for midnight showings of Iron Man 2. I’m here to discuss the spring season that just ended.
My initial thoughts on the season is that there were a lot of solid genre films, and I guess that’s about all you can ask out of the spring months. We saw vampires (Daybreakers), zombies (The Crazies), werewolves, (The Wolfman) the apocalypse (The Book of Eli), cops (Brooklyn’s Finest), superheroes (Kick-Ass) and about a dozen
romantic comedies. This spring seemed to have much more to offer than in recent years, even if no one was showing up to see a lot of these movies. Here are my awards for the first third of the year.
Top Five Films:
Best Male Lead: Ethan Hawke in Brooklyn’s Finest.
I’ve always thought Hawke was an extremely underrated and versatile performer. I was beginning to worry that we were nearing the end of his run as a viable leading man but he has had arguably the best spring in the biz, turning in two rock-solid performances in movies that didn’t receive the audience they deserved. He was awesome in Daybreakers, but his performance in Brooklyn’s Finest was my favorite performance of the entire season.
Best Female Lead: Greta Gerwig in Greenberg.
You may not recognize her, but you soon will. Greta Gerwig is destined for stardom after pulling this supposed Ben Stiller showcase right out from under him. This performance just feels so genuine and heartfelt, as she succeeds in playing her mess of a character with hilarity and an undeniable sex appeal.
Best Supporting Male: Rhys Ifans in Greenberg.
These last two selections probably make you think I hated Ben Stiller in Greenberg. I didn’t. I just thought he was overshadowed by two better performances from lesser known actors. Ifans has a scene at the end of this movie where he finally calls out Greenberg on all of his shit, and he absolutely lights the screen on fire. He’s so good that I’m making a point to stop calling him “the wiry kicker from The Replacements.”
Best Supporting Female: Olivia Williams in The Ghost Writer.
Worst Movie of the Spring: The Bounty Hunter.
Granted, I haven’t seen half of the abysmal-looking romantic comedies released this year, but this Aniston cleavage shot is about as good as it gets in The Bounty Hunter. Remember when “exes at odds” used to be a winning formula? Classics like The Awful Truth and His Girl Friday come to mind. Hell, even Sweet Home Alabama was pretty damned charming. Hey, Gerard Butler, you suck. Please stop acting… at least until you can learn an American accent.