127 Hours

At the end of this movie, the protagonist cuts off his own arm. Oh wait, I think I was supposed to start that paragraph with a Spoiler Alert. Continue reading

Inception

The point of this site was to warn people about certain films that may cause hurling and other unpleasant side effects, but I wanted to cover all the Best Picture nominees and wouldn’t you know it, only three out of ten have earned any barf bags at all. Where is Cloverfield when you need it? So we’ll just consider Inception to be a nice tall glass of ginger ale that will soothe that tummy and not cause any more problems. Lord knows we all need a break now and then – they can’t all be The Fighter. Continue reading

True Grit/Winter’s Bone

Because I can’t get to all the nominated films before the big show on Sunday, I’ve brought in a guest blogger. Although her motion sickness issues are not quite as pronounced as mine, she does have a trigger-hair gag reflex, so at least that’s something. Meet KADC, (pronounced like “catz” only the z sounds like an s), who will take you on a slow slow trot through two tales involving plucky teenage girls and meth dealers. Well, there’s meth in at least one of them, and who knows what Josh Brolin has in his saddlebags.

Shaky inner ears need not feel any trepidation when settling in to experience True Grit: go ahead and get that greasy popcorn and giant soda (though I’m adding “slurping” to cell phone checking and chatting on my list of annoying cinema behaviors). Almost universally this film is described by terms like “classic” and “old-fashioned Western.”

The Coen brothers leisurely unfold their story through wide, bright landscape shots, dim interiors lit by filtered sun or firelight, night scenes and enough silhouettes to rival a shadow puppet theater. Cinematographer Roger Deakins, who also shot “No Country for Old Men,” “Fargo,” and a host of other non-Coen films, is up for his ninth Oscar nomination this year. His steady, beautiful camerawork adds nuance and context to the main characters: Jeff Bridges’ slovenly Rooster Cogburn, Matt Damon’s prissy LaBoeuf and Hailee Steinfeld’s preternaturally self-confident Mattie Ross. (Deakins is nothing if not versatile, though, since his work on the underrated 3-D How to Train Your Dragon rivals Avatar with its vertiginous flying scenes.) Continue reading

Toy Story 3

I don’t know a lot about how animated features are produced, but even with computers now doing the bulk of the work, I felt it was a safe bet that Toy Story 3 was not going to be a problem. Given that it takes them years to produce these things, it seemed to me that trying to make hand-drawn characters look like they were shot with hand-held cameras would take forever, not to mention, just be stupid.

No, the only thing you had to worry about with Toy Story 3 was whether or not you had a box of Kleenex nearby and a bottle of water handy, for the copious weeping and subsequent dehydration that occurs during the course of the film. Continue reading

Exit Through the Gift Shop

I’m veering away from the ten Best Picture nominees for a moment (yes, I know I have five more to do; calm down!), because I wanted to mention a film that was nominated for Best Documentary. I have very conflicted feelings about it because while it was my favorite movie of 2010, it was also quite possibly the worst film I have ever seen as far as the nausea-quotient is concerned. Continue reading

The Fighter

Okay, this one was my own fault. Had I done my research on this film (or had a fabulous website like flicksthatmakemesick to go to!), I would have realized that The Fighter was directed by David O. Russell. Or maybe I knew that but didn’t make the connection. Or maybe I made the connection but was blinded by the idea that Mark Wahlberg would be sweaty and shirtless for the majority of the film. Whatever my problem was, it wasn’t until fifteen minutes into the film that I grabbed my stomach and shouted “David O. Russell directed Three Kings!” But by then, of course, it was too late.

Here’s a little warning: if you have a problem with motion sickness in movies, don’t go see a film that involves the shooting of an HBO documentary (hand-held camera), boxing (quick cuts, choppy edits, weird angles as bodies hit the floor), ballooning bruises and spattered blood (eewwww) and a crack addict who was so jittery that he made everything look like it was shaking even when the camera was locked down. Continue reading

The King’s Speech/The Social Network/The Kids are Alright

Since these two films seem to be the frontrunners for Best Picture, I thought I would lump them together. Actually, I could wad them up, roll ’em in a big ball, and toss them together with a little The Kids Are Alright thrown in for good measure and still not have enough to even fill one popcorn barf bag. These films all embraced classic cinematography techniques and straight-forward storytelling, and consequently I got lost in the stories without giving my stomach a second thought. Continue reading

The Barf Bag Ranking System

The films reviewed here will be ranked by a specially trademarked symbol exclusive to flicksthatmakemesick: the popcorn barf bag! Here is how the system works:

Zero Bags: This means that you can enjoy the movie with your eyes wide open and your heart full of peace, because there is not a hand held camera anywhere in sight. This film is solid, static and totally safe. It’s like it has been projected on Mark Wahlberg’s abs.

One Bag: This is not a big deal. You might have to cover your eyes once or twice but you may not even notice if the film has enough going on to distract you. Go ahead and have the popcorn – you will not end up with your Orville Redenbacher coated in a light film of vomit.

Two Bags: This ranking is for the unexpected films that sneak up on you when you’ve let yourself get complacent. You’re totally immersed in Fair Game, admiring the way that Sean Penn disappears into a character, when all of a sudden they are at the dinner table and the camera is zooming around like a crazed bird getting ready to peck people’s eyes out. Why was that necessary in this movie?!!! I hate the Two Bag films the most, because they trick you into thinking you’re actually going to be able to sit through the whole thing.

Three Bags: Now you’re in the Retching Zone. This is for the ones start out bad and just keep getting worse. You can cover your eyes and try to follow just the dialogue, but frankly if you’re watching a film that features ballet or boxing, you’re going to want to see the dancing and the fighting. Not to mention Mark Wahlberg’s abs.

Four Bags: Don’t even bother. You will not make it through this film with your dignity or the cuffs of your friend’s pants intact. This is Bourne Supremacy territory, and believe me, Matt Damon will kick your ass every time.