I’m at the Vegas airport, my flight was due out at midnight, but currently delayed until 2 AM, and I’m a little tipsy.  I take no responsibility for anything contained in this post.  If you are looking for a chill bar in Vegas, I recommend The Griffin, on Fremont St., downtown.  And across the street, check out Insert Coin(s), for a bar (with a decent beer selection) that features a number of old school video games.  I got to instruct my co-worker on the cultural importance of The Simpsons and X-Men arcade games.

44. Winter’s Bone

We talked about the film plenty this year, and I reviewed the film way back in October.  As with most of the other Oscar nominees, I’m all talked out here, so let’s just keep it moving.

43. The Town

Another movie we tackled some this year, including a great post pulled together by John.  I think the film ended up a little too high on my list, but 2010 really was a subpar year for film.  Honestly, I’d already forgotten that Jeremy Renner nabbed a Supporting Actor Oscar nomination for his performance in the movie.  Could we maybe institute a moratorium on Boston movies for a little bit?  The accent is annoying, and there are plenty of underused places in the US that would make for good locales.  Just saying.

42. Red

Red was a good idea, I just wish they fully committed to the absurdity.  Because this movie is, almost by definition, ridiculous.  If you are going to have Dame Helen Mirren machine gunning people, then just embrace that.  There was an undercurrent of seriousness here that I just didn’t get.  Not to say it was a bad movie, it wasn’t.  Just think there was the potential for something really great.

41. Dogtooth

I’m pretty certain Dogtooth is the most messed up movie I’ve ever seen.  It is just so (intentionally) wrong.  Just…wow.  To the point where I hope writer/director Giorgos Lanthimos (along with co-writer Efthymis  Filippou) seeks out therapy.  The fact that it received an Oscar nomination was heralded as a sign that the selection process for Best Foreign films was finally working.  Which may well be true.  But I think all the film’s advocates have some serious issues they need to work out.

40. Toy Story 3

Naturally came up a few times this year for us.  I gotta say, I’m baffled at the love for this film.  I feel like I’ve spent a lot of time bad-mouthing it, so I just want to clarify that I like the movie, but I didn’t love it and don’t see how others do.  It isn’t a bad movie, but not particularly compelling.  Pretty much just two hours of the familiar crew being placed in crappy situation after crappy situation.  Maybe because the characters mean so much from the first two movies that their predicaments felt a lot more meaningful for people?  I dunno.  To me, one great thing about Pixar movies is their heart, and I just didn’t see it here.

39. Salt

Questionable DC geography aside, Salt is a perfectly serviceable action flick.  Screenwriter Kurt Wimmer has come up with a bevy of thinking man’s thrillers, and he comes up with a good premise here.  The third act is a little disappointing, though, it felt like he could have gone a little deeper with the mysteries surrounding Angelina Jolie and Liev Schreiber (who between this and The Manchurian Candidate has found a rather specific niche for himself).  And hey, that was Smash from FNL as a CIA officer.

38. Date Night

Starring Tina Fey and Steve Carell, with cameos up the wazoo, Date Night should have been a home run, but instead settles for a double.  Which I’m inclined to lay at the feet of screenwriter Josh Klausner, who also wrote Shrek Forever After.  Man, can you imagine if Carell and Fey had co-written this bad boy?  The movie was generally funny, but I wouldn’t call the characters exactly in the respective wheelhouses of the leads.  And it doesn’t seem the film is sure exactly what question about their relationship is trying to be answered over the course of the night.

37. Kick-Ass

I mean, it was decent,  but given the hype, director (Matthew Vaughn), screenwriters (such as Jane Goldman) and cast (Aaron Johnson, Nicholas Cage, Mark Strong), I was kinda hoping for more.  I guess it was a little unsettling to see someone as young as Chloe Moretz being shot at by her character’s father, kicking butt, and tossing out curse words, but it takes a little more than that to rile me up.  Johnson does seem to have a promising career in front of him.  Also, I don’t know if it is the lack of vowels in her name or her lack of lines on HIMYM, but I was a little surprised to see that Lyndsy Fonseca is quite the fetching young lass.

36. Machete

Robert Rodriguez does a number of things very very well.  He’s probably got one of the best understandings of the sensibilities of Westerns of any writer or director working today.   Crazy shootout scenes with tons of guys going after each other?  Knocks that out of the park.  He can establish a certain gritty, Robert Rodriguez feel to a film.  He seems to work well with name actor and actresses, turning their roles in ensemble pieces into something memorable.  On the flip side, I’m not convinced he’s yet figured out how to put together a coherent story.

35. Leaves of Grass

In this Tim Blake Nelson film, Ed Norton plays…you may want to sit down for this one…a dual role.  He’s a well-regarded philosophy professor drawn back to his Oklahoma hometown at the request of his drug-dealing twin brother.  The rest of the eclectic cast includes Susan Sarandon, Richard Dreyfuss, Maggie Siff, Keri Russell and (that) Steve Earle.  The film may not be quite as insightful as it thinks it is, and occasionally veers into weird subplots (including one revolving around anti-Semitic graffiti spraypainted on the wall of a synagogue).  But it has a good heart and manages to be funny, interesting, and often insightful

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