285. A Fish Called Wanda [B+]
286. True Grit [A]
A FISH CALLED WANDA: This is almost a perfect comedy, but it loses ground due to two (relatively minor) complaints. The first is the score, which is unremarkable and so heavily reliant on synthesizers that it is unmistakably from the 80s. This is a shame, since the rest of the film is both timeless and unique. The second complaint is the ending, which goes into deliciously dark territory by killing off Kevin Kline's character (with an asphalt roller!)...only to have him suddenly alive and somehow clinging to the window of the plane as it takes off in the end. It's a weird moment of comedy because it is physically unbelievable--every other gag in the film, as far as I can remember, is completely possible.
TRUE GRIT: I didn't have a problem with the epilogue here--it seemed to work perfectly fine to me, and made sense, since we had been hearing the older character's voice over describe her younger exploits throughout. It's not the Coen brothers best film, but it's still great, and the brothers remain my favorite living American filmmakers. I don't think they've made a bad film since Intolerable Cruelty, and that was but a blip in a career otherwise filled with films that are either great or outright masterpieces. I look forward to what they'll bring in the rest of this decade.
And that's it for 2010. I didn't make my insane goal of a film a day this year, nor my revised goal of 300 films, but I'd say 286 films isn't a bad year by any means (and it's really more, since I saw CONTEMPT at least four times in a row in order to complete an assignment this quarter, but it didn't seem right to list the same title four times over).
I think I'll just grade films with whole letter grades next year (A, B, C, D, F) rather than quibbling over pluses and minuses.