January 02, 2007

Top 10 Talkback

So: our Top 10 lists are up. Have at it.


The Captain said...

Whoa, for the first time, I'm in nearly total agreement with Walter for the Top 10. Except I'm developing a real disdain for Children of Men, which I found to be highly overrated - to my mind, nothing more than an extremely well made, well shot action film with plenty of references to religious divide and conflict and subsequent war and terrorism and apocalypse without actually engaging in any of these as themes in a significant way - there's no metaphor or subtext to speak of, just a story of a man trying to get a woman to a boat. I'm really looking forward to a full review so I can see exactly what you see in it - no doubt it's amazingly shot, with so few cuts in the astonishing war sequences and in every other moment (Cuarón claimed at the SDCC that there were more cuts in the trailer for the film that there is in the actual movie) but I really didn't feel anything for anyone in the film.

On another note, I absolutely feel the tired from 2006. What a terrible, terrible year for movies.

Dave Gibson said...

This has probably been my lightest viewing year as an adult—I’m quickly becoming less interested in the barnyard, Taco Bell scented atmosphere that passes for film exhibition nowadays. The comfiest seats are usually at the aforementioned barnyard theatres and subsequently, the better films usually require implicit surrender to the lower back pain and cramped charms of the local art house. What with them new fangled Hi-Fi’s on the market---it’s getting much easier to sofa surf. Ask me in six months what I thought of the 2006 movies and I’ll have more justification for handicapping the FFC lists. The one eyesore for me is “Superman Returns”—a bloated gasbag of a movie, and probably my biggest disappointment of 2006. I had a hell of a lot more fun at the boneheaded X-Men movie than the Singer pomposity .That said. I dug: “L’Enfant” , “Six Figures”, “The Descent”, “New York Doll”, “Miami Vice”.

Carl Walker said...

I know Walter's said that we shouldn't place too much importance on the star ratings, but it strikes me that three 3-star films made it onto the top 10. One of these is explained by an apparently-superior DVD edition, the other could be explained as such, but Walter chooses not to, and the other is not explained at all. Meanwhile the 4-star Lady Vengeance doesn't even get an hono(u)rable mention; in fact, there's only one non-English-language films in the top 10 and even it's from the US, whereas last year they took up four spots (but as I read at least one other critic remark, maybe this is more about distribution). I would be curious to hear from Walter if he just views those films as better now than he did then, or if he just had to put 3-star films into the top 10 because 2006 allegedly sucked.

I've seen and liked 7, 6, and 4, want to see 8, 5, and 3-1, and have no interest in 10-9. I would type my top 10, but I have only seen 34 of this year's films, and I'd prefer to watch more of the films listed here before making a judgment.

Alex Jackson said...

A few years ago I saw this top 10/bottom 10 that paired each "good" movie with an unsuccessful "overrated" one. Like, Shattered Glass was considered the good version of Peter Pan. When I write my top ten, I think I'm going to use that template. There are a couple of films on those lists that I really really actively hate and another couple that I just didn't much like.

I honestly don't try and put myself in the role of the lonely crusader, but this is the one year to pick up the cape.

Jonathan said...

Not counting the 2005 hold-overs that didn't make their way to Kentucky until the early part of the year (i.e., The New World), I think it's awfully telling that the best "new" movie I saw all year was Lucky McKee's direct-to-video The Woods. I saw fewer new films in 2006 (just 38 in total) than in 2005 (and fewer in 2005 than in 2004, and so on, back as far as 2002), and, by and large, I just didn't care for what I did see.

This past summer, one of the local Cinemark theaters reorganized and billed itself as an "art house" theater, hoping to compete with the historic two-screen theater that had previously been the only option in at least an hour's radius for all foreign films, documentaries, and future cult classics. By October, that same theater was devoting just three of its eight screens to the winter's prestige crop and was showing not-really-hits like Deja Vu and Stranger Than Fiction on the remainder. I don't believe it's because our market is too small to support that kind of theater; instead, it was more an issue of the inability of things like Hard Candy, Kinky Boots, Fast Food Nation, and Driving Lessons to justify having their own theater.

Pending Children of Men and Pan's Labyrinth, I didn't see many things in 2006 that I'd defend:

- The Descent.
- Tristram Shandy: A Cock & Bull Story.
- Lady Vengeance.
- Lucky Number Slevin.
- Miami Vice.

And I have general goodwill toward Talladega Nights, 16 Blocks, Jackass Number Two, and Thank You for Smoking.

Rick said...

1. The Death of Mister Lazarescu
2. Apocalypto
3. After Innocence
4. Take My Eyes
5. The Departed
6. Mutual Appreciation
7. Deliver us from Evil
8. 12 and Holding
9. Slither
10. Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan

I still have to see Idiocracy, Children of Men and Pan's Labyrinth. I feel half of these movies were very moving, and the others just plain entertaining ( Hence Slither,Apocalypto, etc )

Walter_Chaw said...

Wasn't Lady Vengeance a 2005 picture?

Funny about the 3-star ratings and the lack of foreign-language films. I didn't see The Death of Mr...., alas, nor a couple of others I suspect will cause me great pain in the next couple of months. I'd actually stand by the 3-star ratings of those pics - unlike Alex (whose take on the star rating system is fascinating and well-argued, if contrary to what I believe) - I think that a lot of the flicks in 2006 were flawed in a good way. Even The Fountain, which I think I went the full-four on, is kind of a (glorious) mess. The difference between that and Miami Vice? I think it probably has a lot to do with how easily I'm able to pick out what's wrong.

Have to say that by and large this is the first year that my list has felt predictable to me. Almost as if it was written already and my putting it to paper was just a forgone, and forlorn, conclusion.

2006 was bad - looking back without much distance, I'd offer that it was actually worse than 2005.

Feeling my pulse, it's thready and weak - the outrage tank is running pretty low and so is the inspiration. Wonder if 2007 is the defib or just more of a flatline. In any case, gonna' see Pan's Labyrinth again when it opens in Denver just to feel alive again.

Can't wait for the new Cronenberg, the new Lynch, the new Lodge Kerrigan. . . . looks to be a banner year.

Anonymous said...

Oh yeah, I remember that review, Alex. It's an interesting way of doing things for sure. I hope you write yours a little better than that other guy because his reviews SUCKED, SUCKED, SUCKED. I'm rereading it and it INFURIATES me, even more than before as I've seen more of the movies on that list.

I feel you, though, I see a lot of films on that list I was very much not impressed with. I mean, Miami Vice???


Hollow Man Stuffed Man said...

I'm kinda surprised that there is no mention of Bubble anywhere, not only FFC. I'd put it on my top 10 of the year. It reminded me of Stroszek a bit for some reason. Any opinions?

jer fairall said...

Is there no love left for V For Vendetta anymore? I remember at least having Walter on my side there.

Still my favorite film of 2006 that I've seen, though I obviously still need to see a whole lot. I also really, really liked Monster House, A Prairie Home Companion, A Scanner Darkly, Marie-Antoinette, Shortbus and Bubble.

Rick said...

I am in agreement with everyone, 2006 was pretty much underwhelming. I mean my #1 was The Death of Mister Lazarescu, which was very powerful, but also very grinding. This year no movie was earth-shattering to me, just solid.

Rick said...

Good call on V for Vendetta

But I am glad people seem to have forgotten The Science of Sleep

Alex Jackson said...

Everybody has forgotten about V for Vendetta and good riddance! It wasn't very good to start with.

I liked Bubble a whole lot though, that's one to see. You gotta love Soderbergh, every movie is a new adventure. In 2002, he directed both the best film of the year (Solaris) and the worst (Full Frontal).

Ryland Walker Knight said...

Still need to see BUBBLE. I saw Dave Kehr put it on his list, so it's not wholly forgotten, I don't think.

Hey Walter: 4 things:
1. I noticed there's not a single Almodovar review on FFC. (I guess this is for Bill, too.) Is that a personal choice or reflection of a blindspot or a reflection of a distaste, by chance? Curious.
2. No matter how often I may disagree (which actually is rare, but CACHE stands out in my brain (I hated it)) I sure hope you don't hang it up soon because this year has been great getting to know your work. So thanks. And here's to a great 2007.
3. related to 2: a major epiphany reading FFC this year was realizing I wasn't the only one who ADORES Soderbergh's SOLARIS.
4. I invite y'all over to The House for our own year-end wrap up. It's pretty sweet...

One final thing about the star-rating conundrum: I think MI VI is obviously flawed but at the same time absolutely perfect. This year's other big epiphany was learning to de-value value judgements. As long as the writer is actively engaged in the piece of art, that's all i care about: stars be damned. And these guys are all about wrestling with what's up onscreen and that's why they're all invaluable. How's that for an ego boost?

Walter_Chaw said...

V for Vendetta = also a 2005 picture.

Carl Walker said...

Walter, Lady Vengeance came out on July 29, 2005 in South Korea, but it didn't make its very meager US theatrical release until April 28, 2006, and considering that you included The Descent on your top 10, which also seems to have had its UK release the year prior to its US release, I figure that the US release date is what counts for you in making these lists.

I found your response quite interesting, by the way. I certainly didn't want to say that you couldn't change your mind, but I also think it's interesting that you actually didn't.

Bill C said...

Walt, booby, baby, you're killing me: both V for Vendetta and Lady Vengeance are 2006, at least as far as our Top 10s are concerned. (Rule of thumb, which I sent to Travis but suspect didn't reach your inbox: go by what was released during the year on the Toronto-NY-LA axis.)

Ryland: There's a Pedro Almodovar box set ostensibly on the way to FFC-HQ this month, so the situation should be rectified soon.

Ian Pugh said...

I didn't see enough of the year-end contenders to speak definitively (being unable to see Pan's Labyrinth and Children of Men before '07 rank as the biggest disappointment), but a few scattered musings on the isolation and the nihilism of 2006 (possible spoilers):

- The theme from Midnight Cowboy, "Everybody's Talkin'", was used in two of my favorite films of the year: once, in Crank, where it's played as a druggy victory anthem for a man doomed to die; again in Borat, where a man posing as a charming/repellent "faux-foreigner" sets himself up for a severe beating with his anonymous greetings on the streets of New York. It's a portrait of men who mask their obsessions as popcorn action and vulgar humor: as long as they achieve their goals, their physical well-being is far beyond the point.

- Another pair of unlikely companion pieces: Sympathy for Lady Vengeance and Casino Royale, which both featured a protagonist who metaphorically cries blood (Geum-ja through her red eye shadow, Bond through the visual suggestion of antagonist Le Chiffre). Both are so aching to feel emotion through revenge that, by films' end, the targets of their individual wraths surrender their lives to alternate sources; the intention seems to be to prevent unnecessary suffering for both victim and murderer, but they only succeed in torturing our "heroes" further.

- Perhaps it's easier to consider Michael Apted's Up series as a sociological experiment, but the latest entry, 49 Up, is a fascinating documentary endeavor on its own -- where the subjects start spitting bile at Apted and the series. Although they seem to be doing pretty well for themselves, they're very bitter in considering their participation; they seem inches away from screaming that the project has ruined their lives. Meanwhile, John -- who seems to only come back every fourteen years, and once said "every seven years, a little pillar of poison is injected [into me]" -- gleefully uses the reality TV boom to vindicate his hatred. And yet it's all voluntary, and they keep coming back; several have sworn that this will be their final entry, but we'll see what happens in 2013. The whole project is starting to feel like a survey in self-destruction.

- Finally, there's the most representational image of the year, from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning: torn between the worlds of civilization and madness, Leatherface slowly, unwillingly walks back into the deep black void of insanity. An example/criticism of the nihilism that consumes the entire film that acts as a parallel to Touch of Evil, with John Larroquette's somber narration subbing for the pianola.

Walter_Chaw said...

On an unrelated score - anyone seen that Toby Keith video where Krista Allen is about to be cask of amontillado'd into her basement by an abusive boyfriend only to find herself freed by his 'neck idiocy? Disturbing to say the least - especially in something that seems to be played for yuks.

Didn't receive the message, indeed, about the release dates. (Time to get a new email server - successfully gotten and sent a grand total of a dozen emails the last month - anyone else have a case of the Yahoo! blues?). Included Descent in any case as new footage was shot for the U.S. release.

Alas, I don't think I'd have swayed on V for Vendetta though I liked it quite a lot, but Lady Vengeance would've probably earned a spot somewhere up there. Possibly still slide it in there on the sly as tied with Descent: the U.S. cut of the latter, at least, is deeply into the echoes of vengeance.

Hollow Man Stuffed Man said...

Also, I was really glad to see Clean in Bill's list. Reminded me of Paris, Texas.

Anonymous said...

Youtube: Toby Keith - A Little Too Late

Rick said...

"You know me and my temper, baby"

Anonymous said...

Thank you Travis, I love finding other people who didn't adore Three Times. That easily qualifies for me as the year's most overrated movie.

And further kudos on recognizing Crank, Brick, and District B13 as guilty pleasures, even if I don't feel guilty for enjoying the heck out of them.

Si said...

2006 was a year in which I saw very few films at the cinema, basically 'cause I was convinced there was little worth going to see. I did see one or two of the films you mentioned on DVD, though - sorry, Travis, but The Proposition was a bore. (And I'm still not sure what you found wrong with the ending of the UK "Office".)

I did enjoy Casino Royale, though. First Bond film that's ended on a sad note (of sorts) since OHMSS. I also had a good word to say about Superman Returns, even if my enjoyment of it was only superficial (I believe Batman Begins is superior), and Borat. However, I heard bad things about Marie Antoinette and Dead Man's Chest, so I steered clear. (Side note: Walter, I have to commend you on your brilliant review of Pirates 2 there. Although when I finally did check it out on DVD yesterday, I thought it wasn't awful, just - well - unnecessary. And far too long.)

Guilty pleasures? Snakes on a Plane (though I've all but forgotten it now) and District 13. Got the latter out on DVD a couple of months back and enjoyed it, surprisingly.

I suppose you could say the only film I aggressively hated at the cinema in '06 was The Da Vinci Code. (How low has Audrey Tautou sunk? I've been a fan of Amelie since its release.) Although X3 and M:I III weren't that far off. (The former was unnecessary, the latter was a bore.)

dennis said...

Lady in the Water is the only cinema experience I've had this year that has inspired outright hatred. The Black Dahlia was the most disappointing.

And I'll back up Travis with The Proposition. That would land in my top ten as well, were I inclined to devise one.

jer fairall said...

As it turns out, every movie released in 2006 was actually technically a 2005 release. Adjust your lists accordingly.

Andrew Tracy said...

Thread seems to be dying here, but I'd like to commend Travis (as usual) for searching beyond the confines of the multiplex to find those films worth talking about for more than ten minutes, and for proving once more that profundity does not end (nor start, the great majority of the time) with the latest piece of recycled pop culture detritus.

And I'd like to offer the mildest of kudos to WC for the one film that deserves inclusion on his list, and the one non-risible comment he made: Children of Men, which, as he points out, is the kind of parable that works the best: by being utterly specific about what it's doing with its own narrative, it invites and deserves broader application, rather than being so cannily vague and ambiguous that it can apply to any "archetypal" (that is, cliched) reading.

Though I should note that my guilty love for Miami Vice goes on - it's an absolute failure, and all its reasons for failing are absolutely fascinating.

Anonymous said...

Could you briefly elaborate on your thoughts regarding Miami Vice, Andrew. I agree that the movie is for the most part a failure, and yet it has also proven to be one of the most unshakable, for reasons that are nearly inscrutable to me.

theoldboy said...

Am I the only one who wants Walter to reveal in more depth his thoughts on Silent Hill? That was a three star movie for me for about twelve hours, then it just kinda fell apart. Despite that, as a fan of not just the source material but the visual adaptation of it by Gans, I think it needs a solid piece of defense from somebody that isn't part of the Aint It Cool gang (well, the magical mystical wizard of greatness Outlaw Vern did his part in supporting it, but I think he liked it more than I did). It might even peek into my top 10, which I don't think I could compile before seeing Children of Men, Inland Empire, or Pan's Labyrinth. It's such an interesting movie to think about, even if it lacks cohesion, emotional investment, or dialogue that sounds passable.

Patrick Pricken said...

Part of me still yearns for a Silent Hill without Sean Bean's character and a better edit of the exposition flashback. The scenes in the nether worlds, oh how great they were!

I've seen even fewer movies in theaters than last year (a common trend, it seems), and so I can't really comment on the top 10. I'm glad Pirates of the Caribbean isn't on it – man that sucked, and got me into a multi-page argument on my favorite message board. I'm still not fully won over by Superman Returns; while there were wonderful images therein, there was also some stupidity, some creepiness and the undelivered promise of Why the World Doesn't Need Superman.

Jonathan said...

From upthread:

What's noteworthy about that Toby Keith video-- the source, a few months back, of a rather lengthy argument with my father, but so it goes-- is that it's the first time that the misogyny that has been the foundation of most of Keith's output since his second-or-third album (it's a far more common, if less commented-upon theme in his music and his persona than his callow Patriot Act) has actually escalated into overt violence. Seriously, where even to begin to detail what's appalling about it? (I'll refrain here, so as not to hijack the thread).

And, of course, the video spent a couple of weeks at #1 in CMT's rotation. Disturbing, sure, but hardly surprising at this point.

On-topic? The Fountain is just a hot mess and not something that I'd recommend to (m)any people I know, but there are aspects of it (Jackman's performance, the art direction, the score) that are far better than most anything I saw this (or last) year.

Bill C said...

Silent Hill is spectacularly flawed but I have a feeling it's going to age well. I guess my problem with it is kind of superficial, in that it doesn't operate on dream logic so much as videogame logic; the literalminded approach to the adaptation was kind of a wood killer. Agree that the Sean Bean subplot stinks, but I think the very ending redeems it a bit. Alice Krige was great.

Patrick Pricken said...

Regarding the music video: Toby Keith's fans show just as much intelligence as I would have expected, though. Notice how the poster spells "Toby Keaith" and subtitles the video "toby doing wut he do". Heh.

theoldboy said...

Christophe Gans recently said that a sequel to Silent Hill is in the works, though he's presently engaged on adapting another game that seems to fit more with his Brotherhood of the Wolf genre-bending, Onimusha, and in the same interview admitted to a good deal of the movie's flaws and said that the critics can lick his asscrack. I like that guy, I've got to admit.

I think my problem with it isn't so much that it operates on game logic, it's that it operates on more game logic than the games themselves operate on, and it cheapens a lot of it and robs it of its mystery. (well, that and the dialogue, which is about as bad as the games and sometimes even worse, and the fact that it just isn't as scary as it should be, and the fact that Gans and Avary put virtually no effort into making you give a crap about anything that happens, and...forget it.) I highly recommend the games to just about anybody, gamer or not. I haven't been scared more by anything in my life, and they also have some geniunely emotional material and depth.

The Captain said...

I'm a huge fan of the video game series and was a fan of Gans, but I hated his Silent Hill movie. Aside from making no sense, not being scary, being basically subtextless (I find it a stretch to examine it for the "mother is God in the eyes of the child" meaning, and all the female/madonna/whore imagery/ideologies) and completely boring, it has next to nothing to do with the plotline from the video game(s), which is engaging on a psychological level as well as being slow to unfold, multilayered and lovingly twisted. What I'm saying is, I yearn for a Silent Hill with an actual script, based on the actual property. It was as if Gans - supposedly a huge SH fan - upon acquiring the property, went temporarily insane, deciding to create some absurd fantasy where he finally could bring witches and miners together in one colourful ridiculous universe.

Ian Pugh said...

Agree with the consensus on Silent Hill; its ridiculous adherence to its roots transforms its tensest moments into calculation. (It's all but over once Rose navigates the maze using the Konami Code.) After all, "All we ask for is satisfaction."

Maybe someone will elide Bean's unnecessary scenes to make for a more satisfying whole, a la the Jar Jar-less Star Wars - Episode I. They should really do that more often. (I still insist that there's a good movie to be found within The Man with the Golden Gun.)

jer fairall said...

I obviously hate censorship, or any real moral condemnation of art that extends beyond educating or generating discussion, but as a thought experiment, ask yourself what would have happened if Eminem had made this video instead of Toby Keith.

Anonymous said...

Many people insisted that the original Silent Hill would be impossible to make a straight adaptation for, but I actually believe that a movie closely adhering to its narrative (as in literally scene by scene) would be absolutely brilliant... certainly better than the absolute butcher by Avery. It'd make an awesome companion piece to Inland Empire.

Jefferson said...

A minor thread hijack to point toward Denby's piece on the past and future of movies, in the New Yorker:


And re: Toby Keith ... Krista Allen isa cinematic treasure.

Rick said...

Ian, I like your contributions to the site so far. Coming off the creatively disappointing year of 2006, Dane Cook's Tourgasm would have been an easy target to outlet all of that frustration upon. You gave it a fair assessment, and even though Cook is very overrated, he is not as awful as every jealous comedian makes him out to be ( I guess he tweaked some of Louis CK's old material, but most comedians steal and get away with it )

And I have a question, does anyone here own Fantomas - The Director's Cut? If not, why the hell don't you???

Michael A. said...

I have to admit that I was kind-of confused by the negative reaction Silent Hill received, so I was pleasantly surprised to see it on Walter's list. It's definitely flawed (especially the first crucial character introductions), and all videogame adaptations are inevitably saddled with a hyper-magnified version of the "the book was better" syndrome.
But for all its hokey aspects, there was an unshakable straight-faced sincerity to the premise that I can't help but admire.

The entire scene with the stereotypical peasants chanting "burn the witch!" came dangerously close to Pythonesque comedy - until the punchline was someone getting their face melted off in graphic close-up, and you're forced to remember that there are real people who actually act like that.
I'd call it an imperfect storm of cultural influences (Japanese, French, American, Canadian), all working toward one of the most unabashedly caustic criticism of theocracy and holy war that I've seen in a film.
Not to mention timely, eh?

I'd call it the best videogame adaptation so far, although only narrowly beating Final Fantasy.

Rich said...

Wow, Final Fantasy really IS the second-best film based on a video game. I really don't like it much, but look at the competition. Gives me a little more respect for Silent Hill

The Captain said...

Many people insisted that the original Silent Hill would be impossible to make a straight adaptation for, but I actually believe that a movie closely adhering to its narrative (as in literally scene by scene) would be absolutely brilliant... certainly better than the absolute butcher by Avery. It'd make an awesome companion piece to Inland Empire.

Thank you - I agree 100%. The games are very cinematic, story-driven (exception being convoluted SH4) and include some of the most frightening stuff I've ever seen ever, in a film or video game or otherwise. SH game fans here, got a favourite scene or favourite scare of the whole thing? As for scene, I go with Angela walking into the fire towards the end of SH2 - if you watch that again, take special note of the bizarre mannequins on the wall, that are bleeding from between the legs and covered in bruises. As for scary, the "Head" room in SH4 is the winner, freaking me out much more than anything else, even the infamous mirror room in SH3.

Rich said...

Bill, you have Letters From Iwo Jima as 'directed by Mel Gibson' up top of the review. Also, no caption? Perhaps the infamous Caption Boy is in need of a motivational beating down in the FFC dungeon.

Bill C said...

Caption Boy unfortunately couldn't type without thumbs, the diva. We're having them reattached; admittedly it wasn't one of our smarter methods of discipline.

Ian Pugh said...

Thanks, Rick, appreciate it. 2006 actually struck me as something of an average year -- I was only occasionally appalled (Fur stands out to me as condesending enough to partially explain why Joe Public stays away from modern art) and consistently disappointed (sure, I was looking forward to The Good German, too, if only because of the poster), but the good and the great were peppered in constant rotation -- Crank, Neil Young: Heart of Gold, Texas Chainsaw, Superman Returns, Casino Royale; I think '06 had a better grasp on humanity's frailty than usual. I should really see Heart of Gold again, come to think of it.

My most notable moment of disappointment, though, came in a public showing for Dreamgirls: after Hudson's showstopper successfully blew my ears to the back of the auditorium, a few other patrons applauded -- not because anyone would be there to appreciate it, but because, well, I guess you feel obligated.

Alex Jackson said...
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Alex Jackson said...
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Alex Jackson said...

Fuck HTML.

Behold, my thoughts on pretty much everything.


Andrew Tracy said...

Oh Jackson, you're a genius!!! A genius, I say!!! But please, let you speak for yourself:

"Women are more interesting and more sympathetic than men. The idea is likely deeply sexist. I think that I feel that women are more sympathetic than men for the same reason that dogs are more sympathetic than humans; they’re more vulnerable and are less able to deal with physical and emotional anguish."

Yes!! YESSSSS!!! Women ARE dogs!!! Beautiful!!! Ha!!

Well, I wouldn't comment on your swill at all otherwise, but since you singled me out by name, my "guilty love" of the Vice comes not because it's a rote Hollywood cop movie whose simple pleasures I have to feel guilty about, but because it sabotages its own simple pleasures in a way that makes me think Mann is up to something else - though he certainly doesn't succeed in it, which makes the movie a failure and thus my love of it guilty; The Death of Mr. Lazarescu is a fine picture and you are a moron; The Proposition was by no means a masterpiece but certainly had a lot of blood, sweat, and flies to act as a refreshing tonic in the middle of a hectic Toronto film festival; and kudos once again on your strong recommendation of Into Great Silence, though I'm not sure you like it for the reasons you should. But as a better writer than I once said, "you can't help people being right for the wrong reasons."

Erin said...


vonschiller said...

The ability for Cleveland to get anything in the "prestige" market in any semblance of good time is impossible, so the top 10 for the year of things that I've actually seen would include

1. The Departed
2. The Descent
3. Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story
4. Volver
5. United 93
6-8. Lucky # Slevin, The Proposition, and Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby

With Cleveland not getting me Pan's Labyrinth, Children of Men, or Letters from Iwo Jima until much later, and general laziness keeping me from viewing L'Enfant, The Death of Mr. Lazarescu, and Lady Vengeance. I'll also vouch for 16 Blocks, Dave Chappelle's Block Party, Neil Young: Heart of Gold, The Protector, Slither, and Superman Returns.

Piper said...

The Descent was the best horror movie of the year isn't saying much. I much prefer Dog Soldiers, the directors earlier work.

Glad to see that Miami Vice was added. I think a lot of people dismissed it because they didn't think it would be a serious action. They were wrong. I think it's among Mann's best.

Kevin said...

Travis -

L'efant is certainly powerful filmmaking at times, but didn't you find the end a little too tidy for a top 5 film? I found it out of character with everything that proceeded it.