The First Annual Academy of Thunder Awards – It’s like the Holland of Cinema Awards

6 Mar

The First Annual Thunder Awards

The Oscar’s father’s brother’s nephew’s cousin’s former roommate. Well not really, but we here at the Academy would like to recognize the cinematic achievements of 2009. We don’t have a red carpet, but give us 20 minutes on any beach and we’ll show you red.

Without further ado I give you,  the absolute greatest honor we here at the Thunder Academy can bestow…The Tan Hammer.

Best Picture: The Hurt Locker, this adrenaline soaked ride through the Iraq war presents a picture of the conflict without taking any political stances. Jeremy Renner is excellent as the thrill junkie-bomb tech, whose maverick style rubs against the grain of the rest of his team. It’s a complete film that mixes quality film making and entertainment better than any other in 2009.

Most Disappointing Picture: X-Men Origins: Wolverine.  It was close between Wolverine and it’s comic book colleague GI Joe, but the tipping point was the fact that we here at the Academy knew the GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra would be bad. The trailers looked cool, they really did. Unfortunately for Hugh Jackman this film didn’t satisfy anybody, it didn’t stay true enough to the comics to satisfy the fan books and it wasn’t you know…good. Although, like so many lemmings, we here at the Academy are pumped for the sequel…damn you Hugh Jackman.

Best Actor in a Leading Role:  Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart. He was amazing as the alcoholic western singer on the back 9 of his life and career. The movie itself is a bit formulaic, but Bridges stellar performance and the original music make it worth a watch.

Worst Actor: Channing Tatum, Fighting. It’s like a very very poor man’s version of Rockie, but Mr. Tatum turned disengaged monotone into an art-form of boring.

Best Actress in a Leading Role: Carey Mulligan, An Education. We know that Sandra Bullock will win the Oscar, because everybody loves a comeback story, but Carey Mulligan was excellent as the British school girl who struggling with the realities of young love, and of life. Also it’s worth checking out her episode of Doctor Who, entitled “Blink”.

Best Actor in a Supporting Role: Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds. He was hauntingly good as the Nazi opportunist. The guy asked for milk and we got a shiver up our collective spines.

Best Achievement by a Director: Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker. We here at the Academy of Thunder don’t understand the technicalities of good directing, we can admit that, but this film just looked cool.

Best Writing, Original Screenplay: Quentin Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds. A small platoon of Jewish soldiers takes the fight to Nazi occupied Europe. In the most brutal and gory of ways. We here at the Academy believe that it is important to recognize extreme originality and risk taking in authorship and Tarantino’s Jewish revenge story has both.

Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay: Michael Robert Johnson, Simon Kinberg and Anthony Peckham, Sherlock Holmes. We here at the Academy understand that Jason Reitman’s Up in the Air is technically, and perhaps actually, better writing; however, as previously established we enjoy a originality and risk taking authorship. Not enough has been written about the unique, and surprisingly accurate depiction, of one of the most iconic characters in fiction. A great deal of the credit goes to Robert Downey Jr and director Guy Ritchie, but we have a soft spot for writers.

Best Special Effects: Avatar. This is a no brainer. James Cameron and his team have revolutionized the possibilities of 3-D. There was a reason this movie made money hand over fist and it had nothing to do with the worn-out, semi-politically motivated story line. However, it sure did look pretty.

And now…for the fun stuff.

Worst Picture: Fighting, there are literally no redeeming qualities to this “film.”

Best Picture, Comedy: The Hangover, fair and away this was the funniest movie to see in theatres in 2009. It’s the next generation in a long line of frat house comedies.

Best Picture, Action: Star Trek, J.J. Abrams rides again in this newest incarnation of the stalwart science fiction brand is all kinds of quality that re-invented the story for a new series of films.

Most Forgotten Picture: Public Enemies, Directed by Michael Mann starring Johnny Depp and Christian Bale, this film should have been not only awesome but Oscar worthy. But it suffered from defined expectations that it didn’t meet. It wasn’t the next Godfather or even Heat. For those who saw it, it was entertaining. The problem was that nobody saw it.

Best Actor, in a Villainous or Dark Role: Jackie Earle Haley, Watchmen. Haley was tremendous as the disturbed anti-hero, Rorschach in Zach Synder’s adaptation of the groundbreaking graphic novel.

Worst Actor, in a Villainous or Dark Role: Matthew Goode, Watchmen. Goode’s slightly effeminate portrayal of Ozymandias, the actual villain of the film, does not live up to expectations. Granted Ozymandias is one of the most significant villains in comic book history, and among the greatest in modern fiction, but Goode performance never matches that level.

Best Actor, in a Forgotten or Under-recognized Film:  Patton Oswalt, Big Fan.

Best Fight, Hand to Hand Combat: Robert Downey Jr,’s v. Joe Egan, Sherlock Holmes. The greatest twist on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic detective was the addition of his love of pugilism. This basement boxing match was some quality action.

Best Fight, Pitched Battle: The Na’vi v. the evil corporate human forces, Avatar. The scale was impressive, and the choreography was not very original, but pitched battles are all size.

Best Fight, Verbal: George Clooney v. Anna Kendrick, Up in Air. Jason Reitman unders verbal thrust and perry better than anybody and Clooney and Kendrick have impeccable rhythmic timing throughout the film.

Winner of Hollywood:  James Cameron, he has definitively proven that he knows how to make money. He has also proven that he is understands special effects. He has also proven that his ego knows no bounds and that he still hasn’t made a real enjoyable movie since Terminator 2, can I get an Amen!

The 2009 Pool of Thunder

AdventurelandAngels & Demons


Away We Go

Big Fan


The Boondock Saints 2: All Saints Day

Crazy Heart

District 9


(500) Days of Summer

An Education



Funny People

GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra

The Hangover

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

The Hurt Locker

I Love You, Man

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus

The Informant!

The International

The Invention of Lying

Inglourious Basterds



The Men Who Stare at Goats

Observe and Report


Paul Blart: Mall Cop

Precious: Based on the Novel Push by SapphirePublic Enemies

Sherlock Holmes


The Soloist

Star Trek

State of Play

Sunshine Cleaning


The Taking of Pelham 123

Taking Woodstock

Terminator Salvation

The Time Travelers Wife

Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen

Underworld: Rise of the Lycans


Up in the Air

The Ugly Truth


Where the Wild Things Are

X-Men Origins: Wolverine

Youth in Revolt




3 Responses to “The First Annual Academy of Thunder Awards – It’s like the Holland of Cinema Awards”

  1. Becca March 6, 2010 at 3:11 pm #

    I can’t really say this enough. If you actually read the Sherlock Holmes books one of the things it says as one of his qualities is that Holmes is an accomplished boxer. This movie is actually closer to the books than any of the others. The only problem I had with it was that the Warner Brothers executives insisted on putting Moriarty in the movie. He wasn’t necessary. Well, and Holmes wasn’t actually in love with Irene Adler, he was just fascinated by the fact that she was the only woman that ever beat him.

  2. Kelly March 9, 2010 at 7:13 am #

    First, good job of the word pugilism. Reminds me of GRE vocab words – you rarely use them, but they sound cool when you do.

    Also, Carey Mulligan is a bit part (Kitty Bennet) in Pride and Prejudice (2005) and a main character in Bleak House, both of which are worth the watch. She was also decent in Northanger Abbey, though her character was annoying.

  3. Dave March 10, 2010 at 8:01 pm #

    I just wanted to say Mike that I agreed with all of the Thunder Academy’s choices with the exception of Up for Best Adapted screenplay. Mine would have gone to Up In The Air, with District 9 being a close second.

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