Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Top 10 Movies of the Year: #6-TIE! Being John Malkovich/World's Greatest Dad

Top 10 Movies of the Year:
Being John Malkovich
World's Greatest Dad

The first tie to appear on the list, and a well deserved one from both of the respective films. These two both go together quite nicely as well, considering they are both dark comedies, with some really serious tones to them. Being John Malkovich was the film that put both Charlie Kaufman and Spike Jonze on the map, and rightfully so. It's a clever, mind-bending little fantasy, that has Kaufman's typical oddities and craziness, but also comes with his always great world views. Jonze's directs well here, and excellently for a first timer. The film is given magnificent life with solid peformances from John Cusack, Cameron Diaz, Catharine Keener, and of course, John Malkovich, who plays himself zany enough so that we can set aside reality, but straight enough that it allows drama to develope well within the story. It is by far the most fantasy based of all of Kaufman's work, and has its own strengths and flaws because of it. It is probably my least favorite of his work, aside from little talked about Human Nature, and it stilled managed to get into the sixth spot.

In the other corner we have World's Greatest Dad  a dark, dark, dark, comedy about a struggling author and poetry teacher, who struggles just as much at connecting with his son. The film goes about it's course playing as a straight comedy about the occasional awkwardness of raising a child by yourself, but around the half-way point takes a complete left turn and doesn't tell you were it's headed next. Robin Williams is cast perfectly here, in a more subtle comedic role than his usual schtick, and he plays it perfectly straight all the way through. The zany character here is in the form of his son played also to perfection by Daryl Sabara (of Spy Kids fame), who though is outlandish, and obnoxious, and all around just a terrible person, we end up having tinges of sypathy for by the end. Writer and director Bobcat Goldthwait has created something else with this piece, what exactly? I'm not sure, but I am sure that I had a hell of a time with it, and will eagerly wait in line for his next offering. The perfect mix of being a 100% raunchy comedy, and a 100% heartwrenching drama is something hard to do, but some how, it all works out in the end.

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