December is upon us and there are so many things I haven’t covered in my blogs this year.  I haven’t updated my cinema reviews.  I haven’t gone through my favourite actors, actresses and directors of the year.  There have just been too many other things to talk about.


Golf Pie


What I have done every year at this time is devote a few words to a couple of golfers I have been following in recent years.  For those keeping score at home, golf is my other love outside of movies.


Anyway, 4 years ago I had the chance to play a round in Melbourne with a 17-year-old named Oliver Fisher and a 16-year-old named Rory McIlroy.  I wrote about it at the time and you can check my article right here.


For my annual update, the news is all good for both players.  Rory McIlroy is now ranked 10th in the world.  That’s pretty spectacular for someone his age.  He notched his first professional win at the Dubai Masters back in February and made the cut in every major championship – including a 3rd at the U.S. PGA.  He had 12 tops 10 finishes for the year and won $3.6m euro on the European Tour.  Incredible stuff.


Oliver didn’t have as strong a year but he’s still going well for a 21 year old.  He finished with $234,459 euro in earnings on the European Tour but will have to head back to tour school later in December to retain his card for next year.  I hope he does.


Tiger Woods


With the Tiger Woods accident saga being played out in the media at the moment, it’s left me thinking about the private lives of sportspeople and celebrities.  Do we have a right to know a little more about them?


Given the success of Tiger and the fact that he’s the most successful sportsman on the planet, it’s kind of surprising that he’s been able to keep his personal life so private.  What does he do when he’s not playing golf?  Where does he live?  What’s he really like as a person?


I have to admit that I think that being somewhat open about your private life is just part of being a top athlete or entertainer.  People pay to see you in action.  The reasons some people can command more in endorsements is because they are more popular.  People like them more – they idolise them, they want to be like them (in a healthy way of course).  In the golfing world, I speak of younger stars like Rory McIlroy, Sergio Garcia, Adam Scott and Camilo Villegas.


That said, I do detest agents, publicists, etc who feel it is their role to manipulate the image that we have of these people.  They do it because these people are so successful that they are in fact a “brand”.  To lose face with the public would equate to a severe loss of earnings.  When something semi-controversial pops us, they go behind close doors and craft a statement to release to the media.  Politicians are no different.  Call me a cynic but everything seems to be about spin.


For this reason, I find it harder and harder to judge the filmmakers, actors and sports stars that I myself look up to.  Are they really the people they purport to be?


I saw a wonderful movie last Saturday called The Topp Twins: Untouchable Girls and this reaffirmed my stance on this issue.  The Topp Twins are a lesbian, folk singing, yodelling, comedy duo to come out of New Zealand.  Part of the reason they are so successful is that they’re not afraid to speak their mind and put themselves out there.  Off the stage, they’re exactly the same as they are on stage.  It’s refreshing.  You must see the film too by the way – it’ll be in my top 10 list in a few weeks.


Matt’s Best Of The Decade – Comedy


I’ve said this many times but the hardest genre to master is that of comedy.  We all have a different sense of humour and what one finds funny, another may find offensive.  I think it’s for this reason why comedy films do so poorly in major award shows.  It’s a lot easier to create a moving drama that will reduce audiences to tears.


The Simpsons is the greatest comedic television show ever made and it has moulded my own warped comedic stylings.  When it comes to movies, I like my comedies dark.  The blacker, the better.  There’s nothing better than taking something serious and making light of it.  Perhaps the best black comedies I’ve ever seen is Election, released in 1999 and starring Matthew Broderick and Reese Witherspoon.


But as for the past decade, my two favourite comedies are…


Ghost World (released in 2002) – full review is here.


Juno (released in 2008) - full review is here.


Ghost World is pure brilliance.  So many memorable one liners.  And it ends in such brutal fashion too with regards to the Steve Buscemi character (which I won’t spoil for those yet to see the movie). 


Juno came out just last year but it earned as swag of Oscar nominations and won an Academy Award for best original screenplay.  It too has an edge and doesn’t always go in the direction you might think.  The sarcastic Juno MacGuff is one of cinema’s great creations.


Honourable mentions in the comedy genre must go to Nurse Betty, Gosford Park, Galaxy Quest, Series 7: The Contenders, Shadow Of The Vampire, Adaptation, Igby Goes Down, Bend It Like Beckham, Intolerable Cruelty, Punch Drunk Love, The Rage In Placid Lake, The Spanish Apartment, The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou, The Squid And The Whale, Superbad, Bur After Reading and Forgetting Sarah Marshall.  A long list.


We’ve got two weeks to go in my best of series.  Next week, we’ve got my favourite “mind mess” movies (replace “mess” with another word starting with the letter “f” if you’re over 18) and then after that, we’ll have my favourite dramas.


Until next time!