Most Annoying Performance
KEIRA KNIGHTLEY – Pride and Prejudice
Best Comedy Team
Wedding Crashers – Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson
Best Ensemble Cast
The Great Raid – Benjamin Bratt, James Franco, Joseph Fiennes,
Robert Mammone, Connie Nielson, and Natalie Mendoza.
WTF did I just see?
Most overrated movie
Best juvenile performance
Daniel Radcliffe – Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Notes from awards committee:
In one of the most notorious blunders of the 2000s decade, the Academy awarded Best Picture to the appropriately named wreck of movie, Crash. HouseClark is proud to correct that mistake and award the Best Picture Simpson to The Great Raid, an outstanding WW2 drama set in the Pacific and based on true events about an American Ranger Battalion on a secret rescue mission to free American POW’s at the notorious Cabanatuan Camp in the Philippines. It is a shame the film was panned by critics as “Propaganda” and “anti-oriental” when the reality of the Japanese brutality was much worse than depicted in the movie. A shocking 40% of American POWs died in Japanese captivity, as compared to 1% of American POWs who died in German prison camps.
In a year of several great male performances, Joachim Phoenix is awarded the Best Actor Simpson for his lead role in Walk the Line. His uncanny resemblance to Mr. Cash was remarkably well done. Best Actress Simpson Award goes to Reese Witherspoon for her performance as June Carter Cash, Johnny Cash’s musical partner and muse and love of his life. Their dazzling chemistry is what really propels the movie.
Fun Surprises -
Walk the Line – After a clunky, slow start, the movie takes off when Johnny Cash cuts his first recording with Sun Records and it becomes a hit. The two leads, Phoenix and Witherspoon, are the best screen couple of the year, and maybe the decade. They have style and talent to burn.
Lord of War – Nicholas Cage is at his finest as he plays Yuri Orlov, a shady international gun runner who has “done business with every army except the Salvation Army”. Yuri is the classic anti-hero: sometimes humorous, always greedy, often jaded and has the best contacts and network in the military weapons business. This is not a typical Hollywood movie; it has plenty of truth but is not a stupid message movie.
Serenity – is the movie sequel to the much-beloved, short-lived science-fiction series Firefly, with all the show's central characters and the original creator/writer/director returning for the movie. This minor miracle is the reason that the movie perfectly captures the flavor, style, humor and excitement of the original TV series. The movie is good as a standalone, but many Sci-fi fans soon buy the Firefly DVD after seeing this movie.
Wedding Crashers – This men-behaving-bad flick starring Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn was the surprise hit of the year at the box office – banking over $200 million. With so many romantic- comedies failing to deliver on the comedy, Wedding Crashers delivers comedy in spades.
War of the Worlds – Steven Spielberg’s film adaptation of the famous 1898 HG Wells book about an alien invasion is a masterful chronicle of panic and confusion. Tom Cruise delivers one of his best performances as a desperate father facing constant danger.
The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio - re-creation of the late fifties and early sixties is realistic, vivid and affectionate. I should know; I remember it well. Julianne Moore’s superb performance of a resourceful, patient and smart mother was snubbed by the Academy.
The New World – Set in 1607 America in (what will later be called) Virginia the English settlers establish a crude settlement at Jamestown, and soon meet the native inhabitants. An uneasy relationship develops, not without a few flash points that have the potential to wipe out the outmanned English settlers.
Crash – preaches a sermon on the racial divide in America with racism the theme in each of the many episodes. This is a race-hustling spinach movie – good for you (maybe), but not very appetizing. In fact I saw so much bickering and angry people in multicultured LA, I went away thinking that the move was in favor of bringing back segregation to achieve lasting peace and calm.
Pride and Prejudice - Its fatal flaw is Keira Knightley in the role of Elizabeth Bennet whose too modern, silly coquettish demeanor would have no chance to attract an intelligent man, much less an alpha male like Mr. Darcy. For superior films more in tune with Jane Austen’s book, watch the 1980 BBC version with Elizabeth Garvie and David Rintoul, or the 1995 A&E version with Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle.
Capote – We did not share nor comprehend Capote’s dark fascination with two brutal killers. Creepy.
Good Night and Good Luck – A watchable movie about the Commie purges during early Cold War American. The film has a too worshipful view of newsman Edward Murrow, and glosses over the successful Soviet spy penetration to the very heart of the American atomic program. The Soviet threat was not imagined; it was very real.