In case you haven’t noticed or checked, we’re four-and-a-half months away from the end of the decade.
That means we’re about to be besieged with “best of the decade” talk, and it’s starting already.
Especially when it comes to the defining movie of the decade, which people already are crowning. It should be interesting keeping up with this process since other than Avatar, it doesn’t look like there’s anything on the horizon this year that would be considered a decade-defining movie. But that list automatically loses credibility when the guy says he’s never seen Almost Famous, which Bill Simmons already ranked as the defining movie of the decade. Almost Famous would be in my top 10, easy, but I’m not sure I want to make it the defining movie of the decade, allowing it to join such esteemed company as Pulp Fiction (the 90s), Breakfast Club (80s), Star Wars (70s) or The Graduate (60s).
And in case you’re wondering, there are no other acceptable answers to those movies.
So what is the defining movie of the 00s? Some completely necessary qualities: cultural influence, career-launching roles, rewatchability and general quality. Like Almost Famous, it’s probably something you’re not even thinking of. Like 40-Year-Old Virgin (launched an astonishing four careers). Or Napoleon Dynamite (the most rewatchable movie of the decade).
But as much as it pains me to say because I wasn’t the movie’s biggest fan, there is one movie that captured the spirit of the culture like no other and produced more jokes and parodies that anything else – Brokeback Mountain.
Consider all its credentials:
–It’s a good — if not wayyyyyyy overhyped and overrated — movie.
–It launched four careers (Heath Ledger, Jake Gyllenhaal, Anne Hathaway, Ang Lee) into the stratosphere.
–It snapped up the attention of the entire country despite being a small, independent movie, so much so that it was shortened to one word, and everyone still knew what you were talking about. That one word — Brokeback — became an adjective, as in, “Hey guy, don’t go all Brokeback on me!” if you were sitting a little too close at a baseball game or a verb if you’re busting on your friends who have been spending a little too much time together, “So, did you guys Brokeback it last night?” If it kept up, the gay community probably would have been more angry about the use of Brokeback than the F-word.
–Its omission as Best Picture in 2005 (lost to Crash) sparked a controversy over whether Hollywood just hates gays or not. Did anyone ever come up with an answer?
That answer could change tomorrow or next week or before I post this, because I’m not sold on it. Nothing I’ve written here are the Record has elicited such a tirade against me as when I made some Brokeback cracks in an Oscar prediction column in 2006, and I just don’t get it. It’s an OK movie, but it’s about a half-hour too long, it’s a Lifetime movie-of-the-week in disguise and once the shock wears off of Gyllenhaal licking his hand and Hathaway showing everyone what she’s packing, it’s extremely slow-moving and its only quotable line — “I wish I knew how to quit you” — isn’t very memorable and usually gets misquoted anyway.
Feel free to leave your own vote in the comments for the defining movie of the 00s. If we get some good nominees, maybe we’ll revisit this in a week or so and consider some others. Including the five 00 movies mentioned above — pay attention! — I’d definitely consider Juno, any of the Lord of the Rings, Little Miss Sunshine, Slumdog, Borat, Dark Knight and Spider-Man 2.
As long as we got Breakfast Club in there, I completely forgot to eulogize John Hughes yesterday. He got a bad rep for being the teeny-bopper, Brat-Pack-birthing scourge on the 80s. But until you take a good, long look at his filmography, you don’t even realize everything he had has hands in, and how just about everything he touched turned to gold. Not everything he did starred molly Ringwald, you know. Judd Apatow can only dream of having one-tenth the career John Hughes did. As family-friendly as a lot of his stuff was, there was Planes, Trains and Automobiles, the Vacations and completely underrated movies like Dutch, The Great Outdoors and Mr. Mom. The guy turned out to be a bit of a recluse, but if that’s what it took to define a generation of movies, so be it.
It’s a short list of TV shows that elicit actual giddiness for their return. Friday Night Lights is the biggest for me these days, although 24 is close and still feels like an “event” every year it comes back. It’s time to add another show — Mad Men. If I had the money, I’d buy one of those countdown clocks, hang it in my living room and count it down to 10 p.m. Sunday. Expect to see a lot of Mad Men talk this week ’round these parts.
Allow me to remind everyone Prediction #458 from the official PopRox List of Predictions: In five years, there will be a documentary chronicling the search for Michael Jackson’s grave. I’m guessing it will be by the same guy who made This Movie Has Not Been Rated. What’s more amazing is that they couldn’t find it in the first place. How many photographers and reporters were following this story, and they couldn’t keep an eye on the body? Wasn’t it at the funeral? They must have had about 100 different decoy hertz driving all over Los Angeles. But even if they did, you would think one of them would be able to keep up with the real one.
Isn’t this already old? And if it doesn’t happen til next month, doesn’t that make it even older? We all mourned Michael Jackson, and in the weirdest of ways, it somehow made the whole world forget what a freak he was for at least a week or so. But now that it’s a couple months later, we’re all coming down with a case of the remembers and are once again starting to distance ourselves from all things Jack-O. We’ll be better off for it in the end.
For all you fantasy footballers — avoid Larry Fitzgerald this year if you believe in the Madden Curse. Personally, I do under the old once is a fluke, twice is a coincidence, three times is a trend saying. Well, how about 20 times? Is that a trend?
The only thing this list tells me is that it would suck rocks to live in Singapore, Iceland or Ireland, where it seems like every movie gets banned. Do movies still get banned anymore, or are we over that? I think China still does. But I have a buddy who lives in Shanghai who says that every movie on earth is available pirated on the street a week after it comes out.
Sooner or later I’m just going to ban talking about Jon and Kate. But this is just too funny not to mention, Jon got upstaged by Kate and decided to cancel an E! interview. So instead, E! decided to make Jon look like a total dipwad and interviewed the former magazine reporter that he had a fling with and is probably the most deluded woman since Alex Forrest. She’ll be boiling his bunny within a month. Actually, let’s just make that Prediction #631.
We’ll have a new MOVIE MUSIC BEATDOWN tomorrow featuring the old classic, Heart and Soul. Not very exciting music, but I’m pumped for two of my favorite music scenes in history.