The Eighth Annual Anti-Oscars

Most Underrated

“Fantastic Mr. Fox”

Speaking as someone who winces at the name Wes Anderson, I have to give it to him: His shit may be fucking kitsch and overrated, but “Fantastic Mr. Fox” wasn’t half bad.

If anything, Anderson’s stop-motion, miniature marvel was unfairly eclipsed because of the cutesy iron curtain trailing “Up” (whose reviews were as bloated as its animation), or because it came packaged as a children’s movie. Whatever the reason, “Fantastic Mr. Fox” didn’t get its due distinction this year. It managed to be endearing without begging for sentimental spare change and as charming as its dapper, tweed-tailored protagonist could hope to be.

Building off Roald Dahl’s puckish prose and pigeonholed band of burrowing creatures (wrapped in a thinly veiled class critique), the film manages to texturize the book with handcrafted, pop-up panache. And while Anderson’s typical strategy for communicating character depth usually relies on quirky mannerisms, this time around, it ironically didn’t feel as childish.

—Edwin Gonzalez

Senior Staff Writer

Best Hair

Kristen Stewart

Kristen Stewart is, inarguably, a one-dimensional actress with a blank stare and husky voice. So why was Plain Jane on the cover of every magazine in 2009? Because Stewert has one solid acting tool at her disposal: her shiny, versatile hair. What could translate teenage angst better than ten fingers running through one vampirically tangled mane every 15 minutes? You can watch the technique in practically every film she’s ever been in, from “Into the Wild” to the “Twilight” series. The pressing question becomes: Who needs character development when there are greasy tresses to tussle? In “Adventureland,” Stewart took this attitude to a whole new level, allowing a fleet of heavily doused dead cells to upstage her acting. Blowing in the wind on cue and perfectly coiffed when necessary, her black mop is a highly contributing member of whichever cast it graces — too bad Stewart is beneath it.

— Rebecca Erbe

Staff Writer

Worst Picture

“Knowing”

Under no circumstance would I have ever thought to recommend a latter-day Nicolas Cage film — considering they’re as empty as his bank account, post-IRS repossession — but after I describe the plot of “Knowing,” you might be curious enough to check it out.

It’s not the girl with the power to predict when and where all humanity’s major catastrophes will occur, nor the deadbeat scientist on a mission to prevent them from happening. No. It’s alien bunnies.

Now, unless your eyes were pried open with a “Clockwork” lithotripsy machine at AMC, there’s a good chance you didn’t have enough endurance to make it through to the last five minutes of the film, and therefore have no idea what I’m talking about. But that’s a shame, because when two alien bunnies hop into the limelight for the last scene, it makes the whole excruciating two-hour Ford commercial worthwhile.

Trust me: After watching notorious over-actor Cage run in circles yelling lines like, “The caves won’t save us! Nothing can save us!” while his partially deaf son is receiving nightly visits from grown Draco Malfoys holding shiny black pebbles, you’ll be overcome with thanks for the completely nonsensical ending. Drumroll please: A wiffle-ball-alien vessel straight out of “Independence Day” transports the “chosen” children to a remote planet of wheat fields and (you guessed it) alien bunnies, all while our dear old Earth burns to a crisp. Don’t believe me? You can’t make this shit up.

— Jenna Brogan

Hiatus Editor

Worst of the Mall-Cop Trend

“Observe and Report”

Two films starring mall cops hit the screens last year — and that was two more than anyone ever needed or wanted to see. The first of the pair, “Paul Blart: Mall Cop,” was a PG-rated farce of wholesome attempts at banana-peel humor, but failed to keep our eyelids open past the opening credits. Then, as if it couldn’t get any worse, Seth Rogen’s “Report” rode mall-cop mania to a state of utter mayhem. In its futile attempt to pass as edgy dark comedy, “Observe & Report” became the most painfully laughless comedy of the year with a nearly suicidal protagonist (please, just do it) and handicapped humor. What’s worse, director Jody Hill even claimed his vision for the film that it be a comedic version of “Taxi Driver.” As the protagonist’s delusions of grandeur unravel during attempts to save a hostile world in the confines of a shopping mall (instead of New York City), we can see the birthplace of Hill’s delusions. But Rogen is no DeNiro, Hill is no Scorsese and the problem with doing a funny version of “Taxi Driver” is that it needs to be, well, funny.

— Arielle Sallai

Staff Writer

The Michael Cera Award

Michael Cera

Playing part-time lover and full-time friend to Ellen Page never gave Michael Cera much time to hone a versatile skill set. So it’s only natural that he’d play himself in the most abhorrently quirky “comedy” of the year: “Paper Heart.” Cera’s the awkward turtle that Hollywood recurrently beckons from Canadian waters to launch cute indie comedy after cute indie comedy to the big time. And, somewhere between his penchant for sweaty palms and googly-eyed stares in “Paper Heart,” we do get the sense that Cera’s well aware of just how adorable he is.

It’s bad enough that the film centers on the humdrum, highly simplified documentary of a sheltered young “comedian” (of the non-funny variety) questioning the existence of true love only to (surprise!) become enamored with Cera. But when the lovable dweeb-osaurus appears onscreen as himself, “Paper Heart” becomes mired in a pathetic attempt to forge a new genre in film: Faction. It ends up doing for indie love flicks what “The Soloist” did for the Oscars: tug all tropes to vie for a nomination as this year’s best — of course, failing miserably. “Paper Heart” may surpass Cera’s personal record for the most awkward silences in a single film, but that’s about it.

— Leila Haghighat

Senior Staff Writer

Worst Career Move

Gary Oldman

When a production company has to put a girl in her underwear on the movie poster just to attract an audience, you know it’s going to be shitty. The plot of “The Unborn” revolves around some chick hallucinating about a creepy kid, dead twins and — oh, yeah — Nazi Germany. But all that doesn’t matter until halfway through the movie, when we are greeted by fucking GARY OLDMAN.

Gary! What the heck are you doing here, old buddy? Why are you playing a Rabbi and performing exorcisms? Did “The Dark Knight” not make you rich enough to feel comfy rejecting roles like these? Or were you simply craving special effects — no matter how shitty — to connect with a new generation of garbage consumers? Hope you can still sleep at night, Gary, because after watching dead babies haunt the living, I doubt we will.

— Neelab Nasraty

Staff Writer

Worst For Kids

“Where the Wild Things Are”

Films like “Harry Potter” and “Shrek” prove that by simply combining a successful children’s book with some talking monsters, you can have a nation of youngsters eating out of the palm of your hand. “Where the Wild Things Are” almost got the winning recipe right: What could go wrong with a treasured childhood fable by Maurice Sendak and some furry costumes to work it? Turns out, in place of innocent childsplay, Spike Jonze decided to turn the film into an adult look at a child’s psyche. It’s no surprise that confused and terrified children dragged their parents out of movie theaters across America.

Lucky for Jonze, where there’s a cool soundtrack and pretty cinematography, there’s a circle who will eat it up: the hipsters. With Urban Outfitters tees to match, they watched in glee as “Wild Things” shed its innocence and took its place as the latest commercial trend in the one-speed repertoire.

— Arielle Sallai

Staff Writer

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