2004 CB Awards
Gearing up for Oscar Chat 4, Rafe and I sat down at the Olive Garden to start talking about the giving of awards. Of course he showed up still wearing his Mickey Mouse ears. I asked him to take them off, but all hope of that ended when the waitress told him they were cute. Resigning myself to sitting across the table from a man-size corporate mouse, we got down to business. What we realized is that, of course, we know better than everyone else. Well, I know better than everyone else, Rafe just seems to think he does.
With that in mind, we present what will no doubt become an annual CB fixture. Our alternative to the Oscars, the CB awarding of the things that really matter. Or rather, we would give out some CB Awards if we could ever agree on anything. This also marks the return of The Flaming Hobbit, after an extended hiatus. Stick with us, and youíll get to some good bits involving the burning of Halflings and how they relate to awarding bad but fun movies.
RAFE: Proving that Iím not at the erudite level of movie critics just yet, my favorite film of 2004 was Spider-Man 2. Superior to the first film in just about every way (and that was no easy task), this sequel managed to combine great special effects along with solid characters and a fantastic storyline that was well written, well acted, and perfectly put together. Sam Raimi seems to understand that the strength of this comic book character doesnít come in awesome special effects (which you canít see in comic books anyway), but rather from strength in character. Tobey Maguire brings an honesty and vulnerability to Peter Parker and Spider-Man thatís only rivaled by Alfred Molinaís Dr. Otto Octavious. Just an excellent film any way you look at it.
JOSH: Iím so far below the erudite level of most movie critics, I donít even know what that means. Maybe thatís why I donít get the obsession with other favorites like Sideways or Ray. Spider-Man 2 is a solid choice (it was number two on my yearís top ten), but Iím going with what is rapidly becoming my favorite Scorsese film, The Aviator. Itís a biopic, which for me is usually one strike against it. But Scorsese lifts it way beyond the sometimes stifling constraints of that genre (in a way that Ray fails to manage) to create an amazing epic success of emotion and spectacle. Howard Hughes slow slip into madness is absolutely gripping and DiCaprioís performance easily the best of his career. Gangs of New York is forgiven. This is the way of the futureÖ the way of the future.
JOSH: This is a tough choice. David Carradine really grabbed me in Kill Bill Vol. 2 with comparatively little screen time. Brad Pitt was physically impressive in Troy, and Iím not just talking about his sexy thighs. The way he moved, the mannerisms he took on to capture AchillesÖ impressive. Kevin Bacon creeped me the heck out in The Woodsman, but itís hard to congratulate a guy for successfully hitting on 11 year old girls. So, instead of trumpeting Leoís fantastic ability to talk to himself and pee in milk bottles, Iím going to take the easy way out and say Liam Neesonís performance in Kinsey was the best male bit of acting Iíve seen this year. Thereís this little scene towards the end in the bathroom, where heís really lost his mind, fallen from the powerful, driven figure his is through most of the film. Heís sitting on the edge of the tub in a bathrobe. Qui Gon has never looked older, more breakable than he is does sitting there, quietly going nuts as he cuts himself just to see what it feels like. Every time I see him, Iím a bigger fan of Liam Neeson.
RAFE: I agree, very tough category to pick out a winner, and I have to admit Iím a little surprised you didnít mention Jamie Foxx in either Ray or Collateral. He seems to be the criticís pick to mention this year. For me, Iím giving Spider-Man 2 the Best Actor credit. Both leading males in the film are spectacular. Tobey Maguire continues to bring a real depth and personal touch to Peter Parker, making him the character I fell in love with from the comic books. Heís certainly easy to relate to for someone like me. But the real acting credit goes to Alfred Molina, who turns the monster of Doctor Octopus into a real being. Although Molina canít be credited with the filmís sympathetic take on Doc Ock, he does get the credit for breathing life into a character who starts out a big arrogant, and gets possessed by his own drive and the science he created. Itís a spectacular character and one of the reasons Spider-Man 2 spun webs around the first one.
RAFE:: Hands down this goes to Natalie Portman in Garden State. As we both know, actresses lasting power tends to be short lived, and even though Portman nabbed the geek role of the decade with Star Wars she hasnít really shown much outside of Lucasís galaxy far, far away that shows she deserves a career. All of that changes with Garden State. With the character of Sam, Portman proves she has real talent as she breathes life into the flawed pathological liar. She giggles, cries, and breaks your heart with a character as real as anyone you might meet on the street.
JOSH: Iíll give Natalie some credit, she took a really annoying character and made her lovable. In anyone elseís hands it would have been easy to be nauseated by her extreme precociousness. But keeping me from hating her irritating character isnít enough to get her listed as the best female performance of the year. Iím still blown away by Blanchard Ryan bobbing around in the water for Open Water. Itís easy to dismiss those characters as horrible yuppiesÖ but only if youíre some damn, bitter hippy who thinks married people with jobs and laptop computers are horrible yuppies. Ryanís character feels so AUTHENTIC and REAL. I just canít get over it. The way she morphs throughout the film from frantic wife to protector really shocked me, as did the characterís final choice. Ryan makes her seem like such a normal person, so real and stripped down, itís impossible not to identify with her struggle.
JOSH: Last year this category would have been so easy. Just pick any scene from Return of the King. Picking a particular effect from 2004 though is a little tougher. Spider-Man 2 certainly had some real ďwowĒ moments, and they deserve some credit for how much better the visual effects were this time around. That sequence on the train is just fantastic. I love that Doc Ockís arms are a mix of CGI and puppetry, it gives them a weird sense of personality. But Iím not going with that. Instead Iím going to go with the other great superhero movie of the year and pick The IncrediblesÖ the whole thing. As a CGI movie, The Incredibles is basically just a big visual effect blown up into an entire film. Itís one hell of a spectacle. Story telling and character elements aside, The Incredibles is flat out beautiful. The jungle sequences on the island are lush and visceral. The film does things with superhero powers that NO movie will ever be able to do in live action. Itís an amazing achievement in visual effects, Pixarís best so far. Thatís saying quite a lot when you consider theyíre the people who came up with Sullyís hypnotic fur.
RT: Wow... thatís the cop out of all cop outs. We come up with this great category to pay tribute to the single most awesome visual effect through the year, and you give it to a bleediní cartoon??? (Actually Iím jealous I didnít think of it, but itís still a cop out). Iíll stick to the actual intent of this category and give it to a film that specifically seemed to go out of its way to forego acting and plot just for visual effects: The Day After Tomorrow. CGI-Wolves aside, you have to admit the visuals for Roland Emmerichís latest attack on New York were pretty impressive, especially the twisters in L.A. and the massive tidal wave chasing Donnie Darko... er, Jake Gyllenhall. For the specific ďSpectacular Visual EffectĒ, Iím going to choose the ariel shot of the frozen New York City. Using icons we know (like Lady Liberty) the shot gives a real scale to the stormís damage, and the scope of whatís happened. It also sets up the filmís biggest weakness - there may not be any way to fix the damage from this storm - but thatís a separate issue. The effect is impressive, regardless of the story.
RAFE: Itís amazing to have come up with this category, and then have nothing significant to put in it. Thereís no Wilson beach ball co-starring in a movie this year or Taco Bell winning the food wars. So with that said, my choice for Best Product Placement goes to US Robot and Mechanical Men Inc and the Lanning Institute for the NS-5 (I, Robot). Whatís that you say - Itís not real? Well tell that to the folks at 20th Century Fox who sent me a sales brochure for the NS-5 complete with options for different colors of skin, musculature attributes, cladding attributes, and optics.
JOSH: Well youíve made a huge mistake Rafe. Iím going for Manchurian Global in The Manchurian CandidateÖ because theyíre making me. Not that they really exist or anything (wink wink) but if they do Iím certainly not going to risk pissing them off by not picking them. They should have been your pick. Donít blame me if you wake up in the morning as a mindless automaton in the service of a massive corporate conglomerate. Just leave me out of it. Manchurian Global, who of course doesnít exist (wink wink) is the greatest company in the world and everyone knows it. Whenever you have a choice (and letís be honest, you donít), make your purchases with Manchurian GlobalÖ or else.
JOSH: This one is easy. Itís The Village. Before I saw it, M. Night was one of my favorite directors. Now heís just that Indian guy who I hope gets it together and starts making good movies again. What a colossal miscalculation. What an abortion. His movies are always divisive; they split audiences down the middle. Well this time the split is skewed a lot more strongly to the negative, and for the first time ever Iíve found myself on the hating side of the audience. The thing that really sticks in my craw is that I KNOW M. Night is so much better than this. Heís capable of so much more. But the movie just doesnít make sense, and even if it did whatís there hangs limp and flails about uselessly.
RAFE: I got to revisit The Village on DVD recently and I agree with you one-hundred percent. Shyamalan really blew it on this one. After his first three films I think he may just have bought into his own hype too much, or thought that audiences really would buy this convoluted mess. The problem is the ďtwistĒ is so predictable that you canít help but see it coming, and once you start thinking about the film everything about the story stops making sense. Itís almost as if he had a good idea, but felt he had to put a Shyamalan-patented twist into the film because people expect it. Instead he ruined what could have been a good concept. Now every big director has a bomb somewhere in their careers. Letís just hope this was his bomb and he doesnít put anything worse out somewhere down the line.
RAFE: Well, if itís a hairball it must be Garfield. Even though the film has been released both to theaters and DVD by now, I still have trouble reconciling that they made the darn thing. I could understand converting the three/four panel cartoon strip to a half hour cartoon, but even that was a stretch. Changing it to a full length movie should have stretched Garfield himself thin. Although Bill Murray, Breckin Myer and Jennifer Love Hewitt were inspired casting for their respective characters, all three should be a bit embarrassed by the film. I mean, come on Bill - youíre Oscar-worthy now! The biggest hairball of the film is the CGI-Garfield, but live action everything else, a problem I donít think Iíll ever be able to overlook. Garfield is an icon, so keeping his image as we expect it to be is a good thing, but frankly so is Odie! So is Nermal! Why did they have to be played by live animals? Garfield is this yearís hairball, and itís a big, gooey, slimey one.
JOSH: I vomited after I saw Catwoman, so maybe it was a hairball. What does this category mean again? Cat themed movies I hate? Yeah, Catwoman, since that proposed Mutual of Omahaís Wild Kingdom: The Movie never went through. Catwoman is so crappy, it even makes Michelle Pfeiffer look bad retroactively. Whose category idea was this anyway?
The Flaming Hobbit is presented each year or so (unreliability is the sheer essence of the FH) to the best bad movie of the year. You know... the one you're afraid to admit you own when talking to your friends. The movie you keep hidden WAY at the back of your DVD collection. Be afraid no longer! We aren't. Flaming Hobbit's are admittedly horrible or flawed films, that for some reason still have something to offer. Trust me it is simpler than it sounds. Just remember that this is NOT an award for the WORST MOVIE OF THE YEAR!!!
Team America: World Police
RAFE: I canít believe Iím nominating this for anything, but if the puppet movie from Trey Parker and Matt Stone deserve any nominations, the Flaming Hobbit is the one. As I left the theater after seeing this movie, my only thought was ďWell, there was a lot of money spentĒ, however Iíve found myself quoting memorable lines with friends, and have almost purchased the soundtrack that mocks movie soundtracks several times. America - F*** Yeah!
JOSH: Well, this may reveal me to our female readers as an insensitive pig, but Iím nominating Taking Lives because Angelina Jolie is really good at having sex. Sheís also good at looking like she wants to have sex, and hanging around after she has sex. Taking Lives contains all three of those elements, plus as a bonus has her lying sexily in a freshly unearthed grave. As a thriller, itís a bit of a splat, but as an excuse to get Angelina Jolie to have on-screen sex again, Taking Lives is a hit.
RAFE: Yes itís campy, and the story stops making sense at one point, but Van Helsing is just fun. Itís the type of movie that takes all the classic Universal Monsters and says ďWhat if...?Ē. Personally, I loved Sommers work with both Mummy movies and the fun and camp he brought to those movies is channeled here as well. Plus, itís got David Wenham showing heís more than the pretty face of Faramir as a monk... well, actually a friar, who plays the perfect comic relief to Hugh Jackmanís title character.
Alien vs. Predator
JOSH: Everyone hates it, it has Paul W.S. Anderson stink on it, so why the heck am I nominating it? Hello! Pay attention. This is first, an award for really bad movies and second, an award for movies that are guiltily fun viewing. AvP fills both those criteria admirably. Yes, the script is shit, but the effects are slick and thereís an Alien and a Predator on the screenÖ sometimes even at the same time. I donít care how badly the movieís big closing scene rips off Jurassic Park, Aliens fighting Predators gives me the tingles. AvP is shoddy, and lame, but youíll have a blast watching the action bits. Later, youíll rip it to shreds with your friend, but admit itÖ you liked it.
Pizza: The Movie - FLAMING HOBBIT WINNER
Directed/Written by: Donald Gregory
Starring: Craig Wisniewski, Jason Muzie, Daniela Mangialardo, Alex Adzioski
Distributed by: Pink Cat Productions
CinemaBlend.com Pull Quote: "Barry may be one of the most annoying characters in the history of film. Half Pauly Shore, half much maligned Star Wars kid, heís aiming for quirky and eccentric but achieves something more akin to uber-geek serial killer."
JOSH: Well, having this come out as the winner wouldnít have been a first choice for meÖ simply because I didnít find as much enjoyment in it as my other nominations. Maybe thatís because my press copy didnít include their much vaunted deleted scenes, but whatever the case for me, Pizza: The Movie wasnít quite as much a Flaming Hobbit as say, Alien vs. Predator. What does qualify it as a Flaming Hobbit are the great delivery sequences, which though not plentiful enough, do prove pretty damn funny for an ex-road waiter like myself. If only Daniela had taken off that hat! But Iím a slave to the righteous Flaming Hobbit voting process. The Flaming Hobbits have spoken, and though this might not have been my first choice, the cast and crew of Pizza the Movie make simultaneously great and terrible winners. Thatís what this award is all aboutÖ utter confusion. Also, much like a Ninja Turtle, the judges are easily swayed by pizza.
RAFE: Okay, so maybe this is a bit of a cheat, after all, Pizza didnít see wide release, and has become sort of the pet movie for Cinema Blend, but it really is a fun bit of a movie. Sure itís got some production value issues, but the script is pretty solid, and I donít know how many wide releases I complain about not being able to pull that off. Itís obvious the guys behind this had fun making it, and that fun appears on screen. I definitely would introduce this movie to my friends after a couple of drinks. I just have one plea for next time: try and keep Muzieís shirt on!!!
Each year The Flaming Hobbit Spirit Award is presented to the actor or actress whose body of work is most consistently in keeping with the ideals and principles of The Flaming Hobbit.
JOSH: Heís a bad singer, a mediocre swimmer, and much like Pizza the Movieís Jason Muzie, he looks good in a Nick Fury eye patch. Iím still not sure how the guy ever convinced people he was a hunk (he really could stand to do some sit-ups), but David Hasselhoff has become an enduring pop-culture icon and this yearís Flaming Hobbit Spirit Award winner.
Not bad for a guy who started out on a TV show talking to a car. Lucky for him, the car talked back and made the show a huge hit. I even had the lunchbox. Heck, I wish I still had it. He followed that up by surrounding himself with hot, scantily clad women in ďBaywatchĒ, and thus built a successful career by surrounding himself with people more interesting than him. In ďKnight RiderĒ it was the witty car that kept us coming back, and in ďBaywatchĒ, be honest, we were there for the boobies.
Some might say David Hasselhoff has simply managed to be there in the right place at the right timeÖ Iíd say youíre right. The secret to his success (besides a well groomed perm) has been luck, and the bad musical tastes of Europeans (especially you Germans). He proved that again last summer by delivering 2004ís flat out funniest, most inspired cameo opposite the much more intriguing stoner culture figure, SpongeBob Squarepants.
To date, Hasselhoff remains the only man ever to be out-acted by a Trans-Am, Pam Anderson, and a sponge in a single career. We love him for it. Itís not just the Germans who love David Hasselhoff, Cinema Blend loves David Hasselhoff. Any man who has ever talked to a car and received an answer without question embodies the spirit of The Flaming Hobbit.
RAFE: As much as I wanted to see this go to William Shatner again (new TV show, new album, same old Shatner) I am glad to see David Hasselhoff claim this esteemed award. His body of work in the past certainly supports it, with cult favorites ďKnight RiderĒ and ďBaywatchĒ under his belt, a musical career spanning radio and theater, and half of Germany at his disposal (remember, he was responsible for the fall of the Berlin wall), Hasselhoff is a force to be reckoned with. You really canít beat his cameo appearances in the last year alone either, as himself in both SpongeBob Squarepants: The Movie and a double appearance in Dodgeball (first in a photograph as the German teamís idol, and then later as their coach). Hasselhoff has grown to the point where heís able to make fun of himself and his career, and that automatically makes him worthy of following in Shatnerís footsteps. David Hasselhoff is the spirit of the Flaming Hobbit award.
David Hasselhoff. Flaming Hobbit.
Previous Flaming Hobbit Winners
William Shatner Wins the Flaming Hobbit Spirit Award
1st Flaming Hobbit
2nd Flaming Hobbit
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