The Jane Doe Awards~ Movie Edition

Being tired of all the awards shows and their lack of enjoying good entertainment,   I decided to create my own awards. The Jane Doe Awards are the opinion of an average Jane just like you. So here are some of my favorite movies of the year.

The Zeitgeist Awards

Magic Mike


The movie world finally decided to cater to over half its movie going audience. Channing Tatum steps away from sappy romances to give women some hot action. He and a gorgeous band of sidekicks take off their clothes to entertain and prove that women to like sex appeal. This made way for other outlets including the extremely hot and lady friendly Chicago Fire. While the plot tried too hard, it was fun entertainment that reminded the world that women are sexual beings. Long live the women’s movement!

The Never Ending Story Award

John Carter


John Carter suffered from horrible advertising. No one had any idea what it was about or that it was based on short stories written by Edgar Rice Burroughs. I rented it from Netflix because I had heard good things. What no one told me was that it is The Never Ending Story of this generation. Faraway places, princesses in peril, and an unsuspecting hero. The CG is well done and the world of Mars comes to life. Taylor Kitsch is a fabulous actor and handles all aspects of Carter genuinely. Thomas Haden Church, Willem Dafoe, and an appearance by James Purefoy add depth to the overall casting. The world of John Carter is magical and children will want to revisit it again and again. This adult does.

The Women’s Rights Award


hysteria_i01Hysteria is a well done, humorous, but not vulgar telling of how the vibrator was created. Originally made to relieve women’s illness, the vibrator has become the most popular sex toy. The movie puts the women’s rights movement front and center. Maggie Gyllenhaal’s Charlotte is the ultimate feminist trying to break out of the box her father has put her in. Hugh Dancy is serious as the doctor who invents the vibrator because a debilitating injury (carpal tunnel from manual “curing” women). It also gives a frank look at a time that saw all women’s problems as being attached to their uterus. It’s enjoyable, the right amount of funny and serious at the same time. It’s worth a watch even if the content is “scandalous.”


Best Superhero Movie

The Dark Knight Rises


The Avengers may have made the most money this year but it traded quality for spectacle. The Dark Knight Rises, on the other hand, was well thought out and executed. Christopher Nolan did well, ending his trilogy. The film weaves aspects from the first two installments into the finishing story. The story was more than just imploding stadium and barbaric fights. The film touches on themes superhero stories do not touch. This movie was an allegory for your world rife with terrorism and need for heroes. Our hero is conflicted and multi-sided instead of a stereotype and viewers are invested in his ending. And we are quite pleased.


The Movie That Should Have Sucked But Didn’t

Promised Land

webpromised-land-movie-damonThis movie about a small town, an environmentalist, and a natural gas company should have sucked. It could have been a puff piece about being green; instead it was smart and emotional. Though viewers could see a twist coming, they would not see what it actually was. Blending humor with real world issues, Matt Damon and John Krasinski proved to be deft screen writers and actors. If anyone else had tried to do this movie, it would have become a sappy mess. Viewers will think critically about the world and their jobs. As a limited engagement, many may have missed it. Put it on the top of Redbox list!


The Technical Wonder

The Hunger Games


The adaptation of the young adult novels does not join this list for the quality acting or the thought provoking screen play (both of which it has), but because the film’s creators took the time to put real thought into each aspect of the movie. For example, the filming is brilliantly plotted. Katniss is followed by handicam in District 12 and in the Hunger Games giving a very documentary feel to the games and its contestant. It’s only in the Capital that the camera is steady and perfect. For many more examples, read my review. Everything from the costumes to the sets oozes the themes and ideals of the screen play. No other movie had so much thought invested.

The Award Winner

Silver Linings Playbook

11LAWRENCE1_SPAN-articleLargeI hate award shows; they always pick movies I hate or haven’t seen. Usually, I really like one of them, and this year it is Silver Linings Playbook. This tale of two emotional damaged people is brilliantly written and gives a very realistic view of mental illness. Bradley Cooper is pitch perfect as Pat who suffers from Bi-Polar Disorder. It’s a shame that Jennifer Lawrence wins when Cooper doesn’t. Lawrence is fabulous in her role but Cooper is amazing and becomes the character; he deserves the accolades more. Never the less, this movie is funny, touching and very real. You should not miss this one.


The Kids & Adults Can Watch Award

Wreck It Ralph


It has finally become popular to make animated or children geared movie with adults in mind. So not only will adults take their children to see these movies, some adults will go without kids. Wreck It Ralph is the best one of the year. It tackles ideas that children and adults can learn from. The film also waxes nostalgia for games past. As a gamer, I enjoyed being able to name so many of the references. The movie has witty jokes but at the same makes childish humor. “Heroes’ Doody” still makes me laugh even though I should be older than such jokes.  For every childish line from Sarah Silverman, John C. Reilly lays down a witty line. But that is what is marvelous about Ralph; there’s something funny for everyone.

The Case for John Carter

It’s no surprise that Hollywood is about profit. It’s also nothing new for publications to lambast any movie that doesn’t financially perform well. Often movies I love don’t do well. I loved Hollywood Homicide and continue encourage people to watch it to this day because it is so funny even though it didn’t bring in much mass appeal and money. In recent time, Taylor Kitsch has been criticized for the monetary failure of two of his latest films John Carter and Battleship.

It’s odd the way the press sees these failures. I happen to know that Entertainment Weekly gave Battleship a good review but constantly makes fun of the movie for its failure to a draw in a crowd. And the jokes on John Carter? Don’t get me started.

I was unable to see the movie in theaters, and, to be fair, I didn’t understand the plot. The marketing for the movie was not done well. If I didn’t understand the plot how could others? While supposedly marketed as a family film, I had no idea it was based on short stories by the beloved Edgar Rice Burrows, and I didn’t understand the complex emotions the main character goes through. Disney missed the mark drawing the audience in that it needed. And with the press devouring it whole, its good qualities were lost in confusion and criticism.

I really enjoyed the film and thought it was well done. It reminded me of The NeverEnding Story; fantastic places, a kingdom almost lost, unique creatures to thrill the imagination. As a child, I would have watched this movie over and over on loop. As an adult, I plan to purchase it on Blu-ray.

John Carter is a cowboy who is an amazing solider but after his wife and children die, he becomes apathetic about anything other than a cave full of gold. After escaping jail, Carter is accidently transported to Mars. Carter must learn to navigate this new planet and its inhabitants. Carter strives to get home to his gold, but the princess of Helium complicates the process. Carter must learn what love really is and how apathy is a curse on the world.

Like most things Disney does, the special affects and CGI were well done. The aliens looked realistic and the voice acting was terrific with Willem Dafoe and Thomas Haden Church.  I never watched Friday Night Lights, but Kitsch has been on my radar since Wolverine (now, because of Magic Mike, is the second sexiest movie in recent years). The majority of major roles are unknowns allowing the character to have unique faces and really seem like they are from another planet. James Purefoy was the only other one I recognized.

Not a perfect movie, but the tight writing, humor, less focus on violence, beautiful visuals and moral exploration makes John Carter a quality to movie that I wished to have more tales from. But with the measly amount it made, I will probably never see them.

Battleship Stays Afloat

Many times I have been very disappointed in a movie. Often, the preview looks really good, and but when you see it, you realize the best parts of the movie were in the trailer. More rarely, however, does a movie that looks stupid actually exceed any low expectations that I have set for it. Battleship blew away all my expectations.

After seeing the preview, I made jokes about how lame the premise was and that Liam Nesson would do anything these days. My father summed it up succinctly: “It’s Transformers in the waster.” What I hadn’t expected was the humor, the character development, and the edge of your seat suspense that the movie included.

After breaking into a convenience store to score a chicken burrito for his a more, Alex Hopper (Taylor Kitsh) joins the navy in order to give his life direction. His over protective brother is an exemplary Commander who is constantly disappointed in his brother (Alexander Skarsgård). After a scuffle with a fellow navy member, Admiral Shane (Liam Nesson) decides to have Hopper removed from the NAVY. During routine war games, Hopper’s fleet comes into contact with an unidentified craft. After sending recon crew, the alien ship puts up a shield that cuts three ships off from the rest of the fleet. The alien quickly decimate two of the destroyers including the one with Hopper’s brother. Hopper is now the commanding officer and Earth’s only defense against the aliens. This rise to leadership is slow and shaky but Hopper leads his crew to victory.

The movie is of course action packed, and because you care about the characters you are moved anymore. You are tense when the USS John Paul Jones is targeted hoping Skarsgård won’t die. Nail biting when Hopper has to abandon ship but the motor is running close to him. Cheer when the cowardly doctor finds courage. Feel relief when Shane gives his consent for Hopper to marry his daughter. The love story is not over done.

The cast shines. Kitsh was not the reason John Carter did not do well; he pulls off the flunkie and the reluctant leader well but then develops into a strong believable leader. Rihanna did not have that annoying over acting reminiscent of Beyonce in Goldmember or Ashantiin Resident Evil Extinction. Her acting was believable as Petty Office Raikes who could both take orders and kick butt. Neeson’s Admiral Shane was both tough and human, a blend that Neeson has done well for years. Brooklyn Decker could have been better cast. Her performance was dry and bland even though she had an admirable professions, she didn’t get more than one dimensional and after a burrito.

The visual effects were stunning, easily rendered into the real world without looking too fakey. The aliens were just enough humanoid to be from a similar planet but different enough to distinguish between human and alien.

A nifty homage to the game was used during a sequence where the Navy is tracking the alien ships using water displacement. Seated in front of a green grid, white and red blips designated where the ships were or weren’t. Each location was used in the jargon from the game. It was a very entertaining way to connect the movie back to the game.

The Battleship in the title is the USS Missouri “MightyMo” that is used to take down the radio signals the aliens are using to contact their reinforcement. The audience willing suspends disbelief when the battleship off and sailing in a matter moments. I was perplexed by one aspect of the plot; if there planet was situated just the right place for life, as is ours, why were the aliens susceptible to our sun? Was theirs in a different state of evolution? Or have I not suspended my disbelief enough?

Though not a movie mast piece, Battleship is an engaging edge of your seat alien thriller. It succeeds from going to shaky premise to cohesive thriller. It was so much better than I had anticipated it to me. I haven’t had this much fun with a movie based on a board game since Clue.