I gotta start by giving you the ending, all Quentin Tarantino-like. The Fighter is tops on this list and it ain’t even close. The Kings Speech remains my heavyweight champ for Year ’11, but damn if Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale didn’t give it all the money in China to try and wrest that belt away.
So here’s my top five Netflix gets for August. Or more specifically, my top four and Numero Uno.
5- From Paris With Love- I have to admit, I was looking forward to hating this one. The only reason I watched it was so’s I could run to this blog immediately afterwards and posit how a love letter from Travolta to Tarantino would read. ‘Yanno, since QT saved JT’s acting life with Pulp Fiction back in the day? But the movie was some kind of fun, and Travolta was actually . . . God I hate to say it, very funny. That’s all. I can’t go long on Travolta.
4- The Reef- An Aussie flick ’bout sharks? Let’s face it, who knows sharks better than those peeps down under? If you liked Open Water, you’re gonna love this one. A group of friends get capsized on the Barrier Reef and they’re all dressed down with nowhere to go and a great white shark serving as their taxi driver. No sound effects, just right.
3- Precious- I’m not even gonna try a review since most of you know the deal on it even if you haven’t seen it. So I’ll put it this way. Imagine if those little pukes from High School Musical had to act their way out of a paper bag and into a hardcore classic like Monsters Ball. You’d get this amazing movie.
2- Funny Girl- Barbara Streisand . . Omar Sharif . . and are you kidding me if you haven’t seen this one already? You call yourself a moviegoer? Okay, I’m being a tad bit harsh. It’s only because I’ve had a crush on Babs since I was old enough to want to have a crush on a girl. I’ve seen this movie so many times that I could score the role of Nicky with my eyes closed if it came to that.
1- The Fighter- What would happen if you combined a drama, sports flick, love story and dark comedy together and added Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale to the mix? It would be unfair to everybody else looking to win Oscar, that’s what. And as I mentioned earlier, if not for The Kings Speech, this movie would have grabbed that award. I bought it on Blu-ray the day after watching it on Netflix.
I had no blessed idea who Melissa Leo was until I watched this movie, which seems to me a crime of the highest cinematic order after her well deserved Oscar winning turn in this one. I predicted Christian Bale for an Oscar long ago and this was definitely his moment. Wahlberg is brilliant as always, and the rest of this cast is an ugly beautiful in their rock solidness.
You know how you can tell when a movie takes you on a magical ride? It’s when you start yelling at the screen “Head, body, head! Goddamnit!” And you really, really mean it.
It’s all that a movie can be. With a Hall of Fame duo to boot.