Saturday, November 26, 2016

The BBC's List of the 21st Century's Greatest Films So Far, Part One

I've been meaning to glance at this list since it came out back in August, but since much of the second half of 2016 has been pretty down for me, I didn't make any comments. I saw Roger did this in two parts, and I've had those saved in my RSS reader forever, too. But since I'm alone this weekend and want to get back to some kind of blogging, I figure this is an alright template to follow.

So, the BBC surveyed 177 critics and created some kind of consensus on the best 100 films so far in the 21st century (plus the year 2000... yes, I'm going to be a pedant about that for the rest of my life... the century starts at 1, not zero.), and I'm going to pointlessly comment on them.

100. Toni Erdmann (Maren Ade, 2016) – This one got really great reviews at Cannes this year, so I'm curious to see it, but who knows when that will be?

100. Requiem for a Dream (Darren Aronofsky, 2000) – I know it's gotten a lot of acclaim, but I personally never cared for it. And it makes me ill when I catch any of it. I do think Ellen Burstyn was excellent, but there's not enough about the movie that I find rewarding to offest how damn depressing it is.

100. Carlos (Olivier Assayas, 2010) – Don't know it, but I'm coming to really love Assayas.

99. The Gleaners and I (Agnès Varda, 2000)
98. Ten (Abbas Kiarostami, 2002)
97. White Material (Claire Denis, 2009) - I don't know any of these films, though I'm familiar with Varda and Denis as filmmakers.

96. Finding Nemo (Andrew Stanton, 2003) – I was really moved by this when I first saw it. I admit, I'm a little over Pixar as a corporate brand that sometimes manufactures emotional experiences, but I still think this is an excellent movie. I think it's still probably their best work.

95. Moonrise Kingdom (Wes Anderson, 2012) – I liked this one, but I'm not much of a fan of Wes Anderson. I would pick The Grand Budapest Hotel over this, personally, but this one comes second to that for me. It does feel a little like Wes Anderson Movies: The Movie.

94. Let the Right One In (Tomas Alfredson, 2008) – Excellent movie, and my personal pick for best film of 2008. The original novel is excellent, too.

93. Ratatouille (Brad Bird, 2007) – I like the way this movie depicts creativity, but I've never quite loved this one the way some people seem to.

92. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (Andrew Dominik, 2007) – Honestly, this one just bored me when I first saw it. Maybe I'll try again one day.

91. The Secret in Their Eyes (Juan José Campanella, 2009) – Don't know it.

90. The Pianist (Roman Polanski, 2002) – This is an excellently made movie, but it made me feel sad for a long time afterward. Beautiful, but I probably won't be able to ever watch it again.

89. The Headless Woman (Lucrecia Martel, 2008) – I don't know this one.

88. Spotlight (Tom McCarthy, 2015) – I saw this just a few months ago and thought it was excellent.

87. Amélie (Jean-Pierre Jeunet, 2001) – I always meant to see this but I just never have.

86. Far From Heaven (Todd Haynes, 2002) – I'm sorry this movie seems to have been so forgotten since it came out, as it's quite a good movie. I'm not sure if it would be on a list of my own, but it is very good.

85. A Prophet (Jacques Audiard, 2009) – I've not seen this.

84. Her (Spike Jonze, 2013) – As someone whose mental disorders kept him inside for years, I really related to this movie on some levels. I had just "broken up" with a friend around that time, someone I only knew online, and this hit pretty close to home. I found it really beautiful, which is something I never thought I'd say about a Spike Jonze movie.

83. A.I. Artificial Intelligence (Steven Spielberg, 2001) – I hate this movie so much. It made me angry. When I think of this movie, I think of the pain in my hand when I punched the table after it ended.

82. A Serious Man (Joel and Ethan Coen, 2009) – I'm surprised to see this here; this is an underrated movie in the Coen canon, one that I was a little underwhelmed by at first but which I couldn't stop thinking of for days after I saw it. It sunk in more on the second viewing, and now I think it's one of their best works.

81. Shame (Steve McQueen, 2011) – I liked this when I first saw it; it's a visceral film, emotionally brutal in the way McQueen's films tend to be, and Michael Fassbender is quite good in it. But there are things I don't like about it, too (particularly the way Fassbender having a gay experience is supposed to be indicative of hitting rock bottom, which I found offensive), and I've never revisited it.

80. The Return (Andrey Zvyagintsev, 2003) – Don't know it.

79. Almost Famous (Cameron Crowe, 2000) – It's cute, but so, so overrated. I'm predisposed to like it, since I like the music and the time period, and it's based partly on Bebe Buell, whom I adore... but it's just so steeped in misogyny, like a lot of Crowe movies, and it rubs me the wrong way.

78. The Wolf of Wall Street (Martin Scorsese, 2013) – I thought it was an excellent picture of excess and depravity and the way our society celebrates those things. My wife hated this movie so damn much. I thought it was one of the best movies of 2013, but I understand why anybody would just hate it. It's a lot of excess over a long running time.

77. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (Julian Schnabel, 2007) – Riveting.

76. Dogville (Lars von Trier, 2003) – I figured I'd see it, but I've just not gotten around to it. Lars von Trier is hit or miss with me, though I've liked a number of his more recent films.

75. Inherent Vice (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2014) – I just caught a chunk of this the other day, and I honestly found it unwatchable.

74. Spring Breakers (Harmony Korine, 2012) – Underrated, misunderstood, excellent.

73. Before Sunset (Richard Linklater, 2004) – I love all three of these movies.

72. Only Lovers Left Alive (Jim Jarmusch, 2013) – Fascinating picture about vampires and their ennui. After too many movies about how amazing and romantic vampires are supposed to be, it was great to see a movie about how eternal life is just boring. Great performances by Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston. I'm still not sure if I even like Hiddleston.

71. Tabu (Miguel Gomes, 2012) – Don't know it.

70. Stories We Tell (Sarah Polley, 2012) – I'm a little put out that I don't know this one, since I love Polley as a filmmaker. I need to see this.

69. Carol (Todd Haynes, 2015) – I've not seen it yet, though I plan to.

68. The Royal Tenenbaums (Wes Anderson, 2001) – One of the most overrated movies of the 21st century so far. Sure, Gene Hackman's good, but this is literally everything I hate about Wes Anderson movies.

67. The Hurt Locker (Kathryn Bigelow, 2008) – I thought it was great when I saw it, but it's somewhat faded from my memory and I haven't felt the urge to revisit it.

66. Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter…and Spring (Kim Ki-duk, 2003) – I want to see it, but have yet to.

65. Fish Tank (Andrea Arnold, 2009)
64. The Great Beauty (Paolo Sorrentino, 2013)
63. The Turin Horse (Béla Tarr and Ágnes Hranitzky, 2011) - I don't know any of these.

62. Inglourious Basterds (Quentin Tarantino, 2009) – Tarantino's masterpiece.

61. Under the Skin (Jonathan Glazer, 2013) – I still think about this movie, two years after seeing it. There's just something so fascinatingly lonely about it that I can't stop thinking about it. Meditations on identity and loneliness and human nature are kind of my thing. Glad to see this on here.

60. Syndromes and a Century (Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2006) – I don't know this.

59. A History of Violence (David Cronenberg, 2005) – Excellent movie. I remember it being very polarizing at the time; some people I knew were just so offended by it. And I get it. But I thought it was excellent.

58. Moolaadé (Ousmane Sembène, 2004) – I've not seen this.

57. Zero Dark Thirty (Kathryn Bigelow, 2012) – I thought it was okay, but that it deserved basically none of the awards it was nominated for.

56. Werckmeister Harmonies (Béla Tarr, director; Ágnes Hranitzky, co-director, 2000) – Don't know it.

55. Ida (Paweł Pawlikowski, 2013) – Haven't seen it, but woud like to.

54. Once Upon a Time in Anatolia (Nuri Bilge Ceylan, 2011) – Don't know it.

53. Moulin Rouge! (Baz Luhrmann, 2001) – I've said this a lot: this movie is shit. This is one of the worst movies I've ever seen. I hated this one more than I hated Les Miserables.

52. Tropical Malady (Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2004) – Don't know this one, either.

51. Inception (Christopher Nolan, 2010) – I really hated this dopey movie, too. Hated it a lot.

That's part one. I'll get to part two tomorrow or next week or eventually. I'm trying, but it's gonna be a hard week for me.

XMAS: Donald Duck

Friday, November 25, 2016

And We're in the Holiday Season Now

I'll be posting semi-regularly through the season, for sure picking up my list of essential Christmas songs, Peanuts comic strips, and throwing in commercials and other stuff. I contemplated giving up on this blog after the election, I'll be honest, but I'm going to try to pick some other threads back up and start spinning them again. It's been a really rough time... I'm going through psychological testing, an upcoming disability hearing, and the possibility of being bipolar (I'll talk about that later), as well as just trying to come to terms with how things are going to be and how much I'm going to rage against that. For right now, I'm just going to continue letting this tree glow and adding ornaments and eat some leftover pumpkin pie and we'll see what happens.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

It's Thanksgiving, So...

Yeah, I feel like I have even more reason than usual to be cynical about America's ode to its fall propaganda this year. I'll snap out of it to a point, I suppose. I feel like tomorrow I'll start posting some Christmas stuff and get back to being a presence here. For now, though... well, the anger's still on the surface and I have too much personal health stuff going on to even bother trying to calm it down.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Muppet Monday

A bit of bright news this week: the Muppets are going to be at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade this week! Here they are in a new video, auditioning for the gig.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Song of the Week: "100 Days, 100 Nights"

Rest in peace, Sharon Jones.