Friday, December 22, 2006

Somehow "Date Movie" was shockingly omitted

Due to firings and corporate restructuring the annual Village Voice film poll has been moved to indieWIRE this year. OK, I'll do my homework and check out Death of Mr. Lazarescu but I've been burned before - as have we all; thanks a lot, subjectivity! - by films the elitest of the elite have raved about (I still think A History of Violence is kinda lousy, for one). Anyway, just for my own self-indulgent cataloguing purposes, here are highly unscientific letter grades for every film on the list that I've seen thus far (or so I think. My eyes were glazing over by the end), with a few scant comments.

The Departed: B+. Alec Baldwin: more hilarious here than on "30 Rock?"
Army of Shadows: A+. Ahem.
Old Joy: B-
Borat: B+
Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story: B-
The Proposition: C
Brick: B- "Where are you eating lunch these days?"
Neil Young: Heart of Gold: B
Dave Chappelle's Block Party: B+. Dave gets more and more likable. There's a sequence with an odd, elderly couple who own an "Angel" house that feels straight out of an Errol Morris movie.
Lady Vengeance: B
An Inconvenient Truth: B
The Devil and Daniel Johnston: A. One of the best rock docs I've seen. Regardless of what you think of his music it's a fascinating look at how mental illness impacts creativity, and how audiences, friends and family respond.
Talladega Nights: C+
Jackass Number Two: A-. Funnier and probably more subversive than Borat. John Waters beams like a proud papa in his cameo.
Why We Fight: C+
The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada: B-. Initially overrated by me, as I was happy to see anything vaguely Peckinpah-ish in theaters at the time.
Street Fight: A-. Makes the election on The Wire look as soft as one of Namond's punches.

Since I mentioned it, I should mention that except for Army of Shadows, The Wire and Deadwood were several universes above everything on this list in terms of quality this year, illustrating again how difficult it is for movies to reach the novelistic depths of the very best television. And no, I still can't work up the desire to see Little Miss Sunshine.


BayonneMike said...

I've only seen 4 of the Top 20:

The Departed: B-. Goodfellas lite or Goodfellas with a slight brogue

Borat: B+ I laughed, but those were pretty easy targets, no?

United 93: A- I can understand why people may not want to revisit this subject right now, but I thought this was a compelling and effective depiction of what happened that day.

Inland Empire: C- About halfway through Lynch throws plot to the wind and lets weird carry the day. Unfortunately, the weird isn't particularly unique this time around (lots of the flashing lights and strange sound effects feel recycled at this point). If you're sober when you see it, you'll spend most of the time in a state of confusion trying to make sense of it all. Not my idea of fun considering Lynch probably has as much of a clue as I do. Harry Dean Stanton has a nice scene, though (too bad Lynch can't string together scenes like that into a cohesive whole).

Chris said...

Yes, Borat was kind of a disappointment in terms of pure satire. The funniest thing in it - the naked wrestling - had nothing to do with that aspect at all (although I was still practically crying from laughing at that scene)

I've been reluctant to see United 93 for that very reason but the acclaim is piling up now so I'll check it out soon.

I'm still psyched to see Inland Empire. I'll admit the flashing lights and creepy noises (what, no red curtains this time?) are getting a little tired though.

BayonneMike said...

See, for me, the naked wrestling scene in Borat can go either way for viewers. Either you're going to find it hysterical or you're going to be completely repulsed. I would include myself in the latter category.

I'm pretty sure sure there were red curtains in Inland Empire, Chris. And lots of shag carpeting, too. And a couple dance numbers. A little something for everyone who doesn't care if the movie makes any sense.

litelysalted said...

I haven't seen any of those movies but I do have Little Miss Sunshine on it's way to my house. Heh. Go figure...

litelysalted said...

Update: Little Miss Sunshine was much more entertaining than I had even anticipated. Alan Arkin stole the show, IMO. I would recommend you bring yourself to see it. ;)

PS: I forgot to mention, I'm on a MST3K bender thanks to you. Girl in the Gold Boots was HILARIOUS. (Not so much Monster A Go Go, but that won't deter me from additional rentals.)

Chris said...

LS: I was just worried I'd OD on quirk from LMS. I'll get to it soon though.

I think I remember Monster a-Go-Go as being a tough one to get through. As I think they said during the show, there's no monster, and there's certainly no "a-go-go." A couple other great ones are "The Giant Spider Invasion" and "Space Mutiny."