- Avatar <-- racist, imperialist white liberal guilt fantasy (everyone, native peoples, mountains, animals, trees and tree-nerve-endings, get exploited by white people, awesome!!)
- The Blind Side <-- i haven't seen this, but true story notwithstanding the trailer just me cringe. It really, really seemed like a smug white liberal guilt fantasy to me. Would those who have seen it agree, or no? eta: really interesting thread about the complications of the blind side v/s the original book.
- District 9 <-- I LOATHE THIS MOVIE. I saw it, opening night, in a theatre literally surrounded by 20-something fanboys creaming themselves in glee, while I cringed, winced, gritted my teeth in rage at the, raise your hand if you saw this coming, white liberal guilt fantasy at work disguised as yet another racist smug pretentious violent white-guy "the enemy is us" "oh no, war is bad! violence is bad! let's impress this somber point upon you with lots of cool explosions and flying body parts!" piece of CRAP war movie you've seen 80000 times before. Or, as my friend's friend said, "People keep making District 9 out to be about apartheid and it's totally not. It's just a fucking cool sci-fi movie. Shit blows up, it's awesome." MY RAGE. eta: salient arguments about what this movie did/did not do successfully being raised in comments. eta: omg yeats made an awesome defense/critique of D9 and there are great points both for/against this movie both in post and comments! \o/
- An Education <-- ok i know nothing about this one.
- The Hurt Locker <-- or this one, although from everything i've heard, it seems like a smug pretentious violent white-guy "the enemy is us" war movie you've seen 80000 times before. (eta: Hurt Locker has a female director; in my (woefully uninformed) opinion, having a female director doesn't mean that it's not implicitly a male narrative.)
- Inglourious Basterds <-- thank goodness this film is.... another smug pretentious violent white-guy "the enemy is us" "oh no, war is bad! violence is bad! let's impress this somber point upon you with lots of cool explosions and flying body parts!" war movie you've seen 80000 times before. eta: some great defenses of this film (esp. its female protag) in comments, and discussion of it as Jewish revenge fantasy.
- Precious <-- ...wow. how did a film this gutsy and honest wind up in this trashcan full of garbage? (eta: a number of people have said they are wary of placing this film in the "totally non-problematic" arena and I am as well; however I still think this film's voice was one of the more important ones we heard this year.) (son of eta: article summing up Ishmael Reed's take on why Precious' portrayal of black men and whites is problematic.)
- A Serious Man <-- ok i know nothing about this one. (eta: and i *love* the Coens but... they pretty much stick to boy stories. Which is not a problem 100% of the time! but, again, this list is full of boy stories.)
- Up <-- ...i love this film. i love so, so much about it and saw it repeatedly in theatres. but it is completely, start to finish, a 100%
- Up in the Air <-- i started to see this film tonight. half an hour in, the main character had insulted and smugly corrected a spunky young female corporate n00b, because we all know we love watching spunky girls get told. He also advises her to "stereotype, it saves time." And then just when I thought it might actually pass the Bechdel test, we not only had 2 girls talking about men, but the line, "I don't want to be anti-feminist, I mean, I appreciate what your generation did for us, but sometimes I wonder what's the point of it all if I don't have a man?" - at which point i walked out and just went to see sherlock holmes for the zillionth time again instead.* GOOD JOB, MALE SCREENWRITERS.
eta: re Up in the Air, It looks like I apparently really stopped watching too soon to characterize this film; I reserve the right to walk out of a theatre if a film twigs my three-strikes-and-you're-out gut feeling; but I may give this one another try, if only because Starla is using her "god you are so uncool" icons at me.
And this is the result of teaching film students to ignore the bechdel test. A star-studded lineup reitering the SAME FALSE HOLLOW FEEL-GOOD CRAP about violence, war, power dynamics, and WHITE GUYS. I just want something different. As I said to Eddy six months ago, I'm just so sick of seeing the same rehashed themes for white guys, over and over and over again in film. blaaaah I just want something totally brand new!!!! And I think it's probably obvious which outsider longshot I want to win the Oscars this year.
What about those films up there I haven't seen? Or even better yet, what about the ones I have? LET'S TALK. OR RANT PLAYFULLY. OR DEBATE. I'm probably overlooking good, important points in the films above, so please, if you love one of these films, feel free to say so. These things are complicated and that's why they're worth talking about. ;)
(but my replies may be a while, it's rly late here, bedtime!)
* also, for the record, for all i love and adore the new sherlock holmes, it bears repeating that it is yet another white guy film. it is racist (minorities are either bad guy thugs fighting holmes and getting bested by watson's bullets, or else non-existent), ableist (dwarf jokes? really?), misogynist (oh, irene), and homophobic. i love it for what it does right despite all these things, and for the fact that it's never made me wince or cringe in rage as often as most of the films on this list have in the last year.
tl;dr version of this post: NEEDS MOAR
(not that Whip It doesn't have its own share of problematic elements, but it does have girl power? meep?)