December 29, 2009 the finish line (pt. 8)




Sweeney Todd

Syndromes and a Century


The Assassination of Jesse James

28 Weeks Later

The Darjeeling Limited

There Will Be Blood

No Country for Old Men

10. Syndromes and a Century (7)

9. Eastern Promises (n/a)

8. Sweeney Todd (8)

7. Youth Without Youth (n/a)

6. Ratatouille (6)

5. 28 Weeks Later (4)

4. The Darjeeling Limited (3)

3. The Assassination of Jesse James (5)

2. There Will Be Blood (2)

1. No Country for Old Men (1)

Time and Paprika slide off the end of the list – I’ll miss Time more but as with Paprika, realize that my affection for it may have more to do with a virtuoso sequence or three than necessarily a uniform presentation. An odd thing that of Kim Ki-Duk's pictures, the one that I like the most with the passage of time is what I initially saw as the least of them: 3-Iron. That being said, both have a sprung, nutsoid quality to them that make them firm candidates for revisit. They stay fresh long past the sell-by date. In their place find the remarkable Youth Without Youth, step one in a comeback for Francis Ford Coppola that continues into 2009 with the exceptionally strange Tetro. I love this film for its beauty and textures; for its ambition – its desire to speak of issues of how we first begin to communicate. Gorgeous, rich, a classic alongside Cronenberg’s Eastern Promises that I severely underestimated at the time, given the way that it’s lodged itself in my craw the last couple of years. The Assassination of Jesse James moves up a couple of slots to #3 – it would have moved up to the number one position in many other years, frankly, but in 2007 we get a pair of films in No Country for Old Men and There Will Be Blood that should by rights be called American masterpieces in any decade. The rest of the list stays, not surprisingly, static given our proximity to it.

I haven't, one presumes, had the time to grow up.


Patrick said...

I am really in awe of 2007, and now that I caught up with most films, 2009 seems to be its equal in films. I'll have a hard time with my top 10 there.

My list, in no order: No Country for Old Men, There will be Blood, Ratatouille, Gone Baby Gone, Hot Fuzz, Eastern Promises, 3:10 to Yuma, Death Proof, The Host, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

I mean, wow. No surprise that I didn't go for the Darjeeling thing, and Death Proof is perhaps a debatable choice, though Sweeney Todd is surprising to me on the list above. I don't even like the songs, though there are wonderful moments and, of course, visuals in there, I don't think it fully works. I also still prefer 28 Days to 28 Weeks. Later, I should add.

But man, was there ever a movie as long as There Will Be Blood that you had to immediately see again? No Country was great, but my favorite is There Will Be Blood; in fact, No Country didn't make it on my decade list – though now that I've seen the 2009 films, I am regretting one early film on that decade list that might not be my #2 for 2009, though by all rights it should be, seeing that only one 2009 film is higher up on the decade top 10.

Kyle Puetz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kyle Puetz said...

Strongest year of the decade for me, no doubt. My list would look remarkably similar to yours combined:

10. The Host
9. Time
8. Sweeney Todd
7. The Assassination of Jesse James...
6. Eastern Promises
5. Forbidden Lie$
4. Paprika
3. Syndromes and a Century
2. No Country for Old Men
1. There Will Be Blood

HM: Ratatouille, Offside, The Departed

Somewhat surprised Lady Vengeance was left off the 2006 list once again, since if I'm not imagining things you once acknowledged that its lack of placement the first time was wholly accidental.

Kyle Puetz said...

Oh, and I agree entirely about 3-Iron being the Kim that most sticks in your craw, but it's always had that grasp on me. It'd definitely make my decade list.

Tom said...

i'm surprised (and pleased, honestly) at the lack of 4 months 3 weeks 2 days, and i'm in total agreement with the top 3. despite being a HUGE satoshi kon fanboy i never really saw paprika as being at the same level as 'millennium actress' or the mindblowingly good 'perfect blue', so i'm not even too miffed about that.

best film of 2007 that nobody talks about (and possibly would be 2008 in US? not sure what kind of release it even got over there if any): klass. i like it way, way, waywayway more than i like elephant, which is an obvious comparison point. it's kind of like elephant filtered through dogville i guess.

harry potter 5 would be on my list too i suspect - the only HP to make any of my personal top 10s. haven't seen syndromes, time, youth, host or 28 weeks though so maybe that won't last.

Kyle Puetz said...

Tom: Pretty off-topic, but what do you think about Paranoia Agent? Typically, I don't get into series as I have a hard time dedicating myself to anything longer than three hours or so, but if it's on the level of Kon's other stuff (minus the warm but relatively minor Tokyo Godfathers), I'd be willing to make an exception.

This is theficionado on criticker, by the way.

Bill C said...

This is one of mine I'd love to revise because BLOOD (which I'd rank #1) and SWEENEY (#3) are conspicuously absent from it. ZODIAC would move up to my #2 and NO COUNTRY would drop to #4.

Patrick said...

Tom: Are you talking about The Class, the French documentary? If so, as a teacher myself, I must say I liked parts of it, I thought parts were illuminating for pointing out obvious mistakes the teacher makes, and parts were just too not-Dangerous-Minds for me, possibly because of the obvious mistakes the teacher makes. Then again, the French schools work differently than the German ones, even though we're not Scandinavia (who is, really?).

Kyle Puetz said...

Not quite.

Also, The Class wasn't a documentary, although it had the same observational quality as one, so it's understandable that one might get confused.

Tom said...

kyle: hey man, figured it was you. i've only seen the first ep of paranoia agent and i'm not willing to make any judgments based on that, but i know it's quite a highly rated series so i really need to give it a proper chance. i still have tokyo godfathers sitting on my shelf as well.

funny you should say that patrick, 'cause the only reason i actually saw 'klass' in the first place was because i thought it was 'the class'. :S i never ended up seeing the latter film.

Alex Jackson said...

This is theficionado on criticker, by the way.

Added you on my Kumpel list. As with most users, it seems, our biggest disagreements appear to be with Monty Python and the Holy Grail and Crash. Something like a 1.9 compatibility rating which is very good, though it was based on less than 600 films in common despite you rating 1050 and I have rated 1921!

Kyle Puetz said...

Hey Alex,

Funnily enough, you were my first kumpel as it was your endorsement of the site on this blog that garnered my interest in the first place. Suffice it to say, it's since become a personal favorite of mine.

Breaking News said...

Are you having videos with the movies? Anyway, this is a very informative blog. Hope to be updated with this!

Walter_Chaw said...

"Paranoia Agent" is amazing. Try to track down John Powers' review of it for NPR a couple years back...

Anonymous said...

Paranoia Agent is definitely worth checking out.

corym said...


Good call on Gone Baby Gone. That movie just hit me upside the head. I had a vague notion that Ben Affleck did something during the writing of Good Will Hunting, but this is the movie that made me think Damon was holding him down. 2007 might have been the year of the morality plays, and Gone Baby Gone was the thorniest of the bunch.

Affleck's The Town might be one of my most anticipated movies of 2010. Affleck, Jon Hamm, Jeremy Renner, and Chris Cooper!

brandoncurtis said...

Re: "The Town"-- that cast gives me a boner.

Patrick said...

Kyle: I know it's not a documentary, and I realized I wrote that just after I posted :) On the other hand, it does have documentary elements, even though the students are playing fictional characters. Klass, I never heard of before. Thanks!

As for Gone Baby Gone, it's still my go-to example for films that pose moral dilemmas without serving the easy answer right up.

Tom said...

i'm interested in knowing any and all criticker usernames from regulars here, so hard finding decent kumpels on there. this is aflickering btw.

i guess i need to watch paranoia agent, prompto.

Patrick said...

I just started on criticker and so far am in the process of simply scoring films, not really doing mini-reviews. But my name is Berandor there.

Walter_Chaw said...

I'm Walter Chaw on there. How's that for imagination!

Peacekeeper said...

On Criticker I'm dumbjaw: I've added "Walter Chaw" to my krumpels but with a 2.68 compatibility, tsjeez what the hell is wrong with him! :)

And as for 2007, I'd definitely put Zodiac right beneath The Assassination of Jesse James, There Will Be Blood, and No Country for Old Men.

Patrick said...

I can only find a Chaw. Huh?

Tom said...

yeah i'm pretty sure you're just 'chaw' walter, haha.

corym said...

Watching Sweeney Todd on HBO right now. Damn, 2007 was the year for film this decade.

Speaking of Todd, I'd knock it into my top five were I making a list. It's a spectacle--which, I guess, is the whole point. Of all the films released that year, Todd is the most compulsively watchable. I can flip away from any film on Walt's top ten. I'll linger with Sweeney for a few minutes.