Welcome to the Fourth Annual Watched In Theater (W.I.T.) Awards!
The 2016 Oscars are being deliberated, honoring movies that push boundaries, wrench at your heart, and make the audience question their entire existence. While these may be great films, I have not seen most of them. Instead, I present the WIT awards, honoring the movies I have actually seen in the theater. You are welcome to share your own personal WIT awards in the comments below.
The Judging Criteria:
- I have actually seen the film in a movie theater
Following the theory of a good friend of mine, “Would I buy it for my home collection?” To add to this, would I buy it, and then watch it enough times to memorize most of the film, or rewind to watch a certain scene over, and over again?
Round 1: The Movies I’ve Seen In Theater In 2015
Cinderella is a sweet, light film. This is the sort of film all who’ve ever dreamed of being a magical princess should watch. It’s a frothy ride, with a thin thread of a plot, and just enough action to carry things along. The best part of the movie is Cate Blanchett and her costumes. The costumes are great overall, but her mere presence steals much of the films. Though, these might also be my favorite portrayal of the step-sisters ever.
Avengers: Age of Ultron
Things explode! There’s an angry robot James Spader! There are lots of super heroes! There are brief breathing periods which develop a previously unmentioned or un-hinted-at romance between the Hulk and Black Widow! There’s a super-robot-super-hero! One guy dies!
Overall, this is a pretty good action/super hero film, and in the top half of Marvel films. It’s got just enough substance, and clips along well. However, I prefer the first film. Maybe I’m spoiled because I just watched the first half of this season of Agents of Shield, and that show has grown into an awesome weekly adventure. However, with television, there’s more breathing room for characters to grow.
To be fair, this was one of my favorite movie-going experiences. I watched the film between my 14-year-old sister and another teenage girl I didn’t know. Both spent most of the film gasping and going, “Woah!” So, I think the film did it’s job.
This is a good Pixar film. First, it explores a hidden world, and does an excellent job of world building. Second, it gets you to quickly care about the characters. Third, it makes you cry (SPOILER: No! Not Bing Bong!). Fourth, it’s just a well-crafted, colorful film which uses the medium of animation well. Definitely one of the highlights in the Pixar canon.
To paraphrase King Arthur from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, ’tis a silly movie. While it succeeds in delivering tons of dinosaur and dinosaur-fighting-dinosaur action, the humans might be more interesting as just cardboard cut-outs. At least Chris Pratt gets to ride a motorcycle through the jungle with his raptor gang.
However, this was my favorite movie-going experience this year, but probably because I was at a drive-in double feature, and this movie didn’t start till 12:30 AM, and I was extremely giggly.
There was one great scene in this James Bond film, and it was over within the first ten minutes.
Spectre isn’t a terrible addition to the James Bond franchise, but it is particularly bland and weak. Skyfall was interesting, fun, and a good ride. Spectre seems like it’s trying to ride on all the coolness of Skyfall, and then tossing a villain at us without showing us why this man is so terrifying or crazy. It’s a waste of a lot of potential for great.
The Good Dinosaur
Speaking of wasting a lot of potential for great, unlike Inside Out, this is not a great Pixar film. Though, this is my third-favorite movie-going experience – I saw this at a theater in Santa Monica with my older sister in these comfy chairs which lay back like a lounge chair. Not a great film, but still worth the price for the comfy chair.
My biggest complaint about The Good Dinosaur is that even though the title is singular, doesn’t mean the movie should have basically one dinosaur. Where Jurassic World delivered on its promise of DINOSAURS!!!!!!! (though scary), The Good Dinosaur delivers only a group of farming brontosauruses who grow corn (no dinosaur that size could live off just corn) for the first third of the film. Then, it’s just our main character – who isn’t a very interesting dinosaur – and then a handful of generically odd and ill-fitting dinosaurs, followed by some awesome wranglin’ t-rexes, finished up by coming back to the not-very-interesting main brontosauruses.
This is a dinosaur movie. Where are the dinosaurs?
Spot, the kid, is all right. And, I do have to give Pixar credit – I did get a little teary-eyed at a moment toward the end. However, I think this film is deep at the lower-end of quality for Pixar – hovering near Cars 2. It might be higher than Cars 2 because it was clear the filmmaker cared about more than commercialism. However, I wish the movie had good characters.
Actually, after watching the section with the t-rexes, and realizing they were setting dinosaurs in a version of the American West, I realized this was a squandered opportunity for Pixar to make a Western with Dinosaurs! You know you would want to see that film.
Star Wars: Episode VII: The Force Awakens
Spaceships. Lightsabers. The Millennium Falcon. Adventure. The Force. SPAAAAAAACE!
This movie is everything a Star Wars movie should be. I’m not going to spend much more on this because we all know what’s coming.
And The Winner Is…
Star Wars: Episode VII: The Force Awakens
Well, that was predictable.
Perhaps, in 2017, there will be some suspense, and some movie will blow Episode VIII out of the water. I’ve been waiting for Episode VII pretty much ever since I watched Return of the Jedi as a kid (and understood the movie. The first few times I watched it, I didn’t get it). There are other good movies on the list, but what can I say? I love the Star Wars universe, and this film lives up to the fun and adventure of the Original Trilogy. None of the other movies really stood a chance.*
I should add, similar to the Second Annual W.I.T. Awards winner, Star Trek: Into Darkness, this film wins because it has the best use of spaceships.
I’d say more, but I wrote this 3,000 word review a couple weeks ago.
*To be fair, if Episode VII had (1) not come out this year, or, (2) not been good, either Inside Out or Cinderella would have won, with a light lean in Inside Out’s favor.
I’m excited to see what will win next year. Will Captain America: Civil War Part ! be as good as Winter Soldier? Will another film come in and swoop the crown? Will I have enough time to go see movies because I’ll graduate this April?
Tune in next year to find out.