December 26, 2009 the finish line (pt. 5)


Before Sunset

The Aviator

Spring Summer Fall Winter and Spring/A Tale of Two Sisters

Ghost in the Shell 2/Incredibles

The Return/Mean Creek

Kill Bill 2


Last Life in the Universe

Crimson Gold

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

10. Gozu (n/a)

9. The Aviator (9)

8. Tale of Two Sisters (8)

7. The Incredibles (7)

6. The Return (6)

5. Last Life in the Universe (3)

4. Crimson Gold (2)

3. Birth (4)

2. Kill Bill 1 & 2 (5)

1. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

So Kill Bill as one film means that the one film is better than the two parts – you take away the tonal differences and… let’s say that treating the picture as one picture as originally intended makes this a five-hour masterpiece of schlock pulp, she-power. Gozu sneaks on the list as the one that got away in 2004; so transgressive and balls-out indecipherable in the most brilliant possible way. That makes two revisions for Miike who’s turning out to be a louder voice than originally suspected. That means we drop the lovely Before Sunset that leaves a golden afterglow, but has proven delible to me. Still a fan of Kim Ki-Duk, his seasons flick seems less vital somehow than his others now and though I still like Mean Creek, I wonder if I didn’t like it more because it made sense in 2004 than because it was something for eternity. Ghost in the Shell 2 is still vastly underrated; as is The Aviator – I was sad to lose one in the wash. Glad to be able to bump Birth up the list a slot; keep the terrifying/sensual A Tale of Two Sisters as still one of the scariest films of the aughties; the Incredibles as the best Marvel team-superhero film ever made (and the one most dying for a sequel); to see Crimson Gold as still a vibrant voice for Iran; all while maintaining Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind in the top slot as one of those movies that I never miss a chance to reference in almost every conversation about films that burn themselves into your experience. So smart, so emotionally graceful, so technically sound.

It’s enough for me to feel like should I have another daughter, she should be named Clementine.

Autism/schizoid episodes done for now – no more authorial manipulations like lumping the Bills into one film – at least until we get to 2009. But for aesthetic reasons, remaining lists will be published sequentially: the list as published first followed by the list revised.


Josho said...

Glad to see your appreciation for Last Life in the Universe, a personal favorite. It's a pretty stunning movie, perhaps one of the most gorgeously shot I've ever seen, and not nearly enough people seem to know about it.

Patrick said...

Eternal Sunshine was my top film, too, with Kill Bill Vol. 2 as also-ran.

Alex Jackson said...

The choice of A Tale of Two Sisters over Spring Summer is my first major disagreement with these lists. Just could not get into that former film. Left me completely cold.

(Similiarly, I regard Spider as possibly the most overrated film of the decade. I was left pretty unengaged by that one also. I'm baffled that hardly anybody talks about it in reference to the Ralph Fiennes performance when it should, by design, be an actor's showcase. I guess that isn't necessarily a bad thing, I just find it baffling.

Re: O'John. Like Bill said, you're dealing with conditional hypothetical situations when establishing the year of release for Kill Bill in 2003. A 2003 release means the film was released in 2003. If the entire thing was released in 2003 then it would be a 2003 release. We know that, assuming we treat Kill Bill Vol. 1 as the first half of a complete film, the entire complete film was not released in 2003.

In 2004, we got the second half and the entire film was now released.

Your argument about foreign release dates is more provocative and sensical, but I think it seems more paternalistic on your part to think that our readers in China would feel slighted if we treated Hero as 2004 release instead of a 2002 one. I would expect that when Chinese critics make their top ten lists and include American films, they use the year of release in China. Does that mean that they have, to some extent, assmilated the American film into their own national identity? Well, sure. I'm not sure there's anything we can do about that. It's part of the game. The idea that everyone is ever having the same conversation strikes me as pretty overly idealistic.

And I apologize for saying that Bill and Walter saw Hero illegitimately.

Dan said...

Year of release is surely whatever time the film was *first* released, irrespective of where? If a film was released in China in 2002, but not in the US until 2004... then it can still form part of American 2004 lists, but must always be credited as a 2002 release. IMO. IMDb seems to agree.

Patrick said...

As I said, I used the imdb dates for most films, and the rest I used the date given on rottentomatoes or metacritic, wherever I happened to find the title.

As for Spider, I don't remember Fiennes's doing histrionics or something, so while I think of that film as an actor's showcase, I don't think there's the "Oscar scene" where he shouts and cries – it's too good for that. Or I misremember.

Bill C said...

@Dan: If it's any consolation, the little year listed next to titles on our reviews always refers to the country of origin's theatrical release date. I really should write that FAQ sometime.

@Alex: No apologies necessary.

JF said...

Gozu is probably my favorite Miike movie. It's one of the funniest shaggy dog jokes ever told. Another interesting one he did in '04 is Izo, which isn't nearly as fun as Gozu but is the most ambitious movie he's made. The only point of comparison for Izo that makes any kind of sense is Weekend-era Godard.