Wednesday, December 20, 2006

ten *film*

i know, i know. cap't listy mclisterson was so excited about this week in lists and what has he thusfar delivered... one lonely music list (I'd hyperlink to it but, um, just see below, like, the next post down). but fear not. more are on the horizon like a fleet of pirate ships ready to despoil your treasure-trove of preconceived notions. To tide over those poor souls stranded on a desert-blog island with nothing to do: top ten films I saw this year regardless of vintage. it appears i just don't go and see that many motion pictures these days. I wanted this to be an '06 films list but looking back on things I had to open up the netflix-ian floodgates and include a few choice rentals to round things out. a winner every one. enjoy.

10. Nacho Libre 'o6
Nacho disappointed me but nevertheless bounded his way onto this list ending up as the 10-spot, or caboose. with Nacho clad in those form-fitting spandex, i gotta admit this list has one strangely attractive posterior.

09. Kung Fu Hustle 'o4
another film that initially put me off. Yet the more i watched the greater it became, a send-up and homage all at once--and a gorgeous one no less.

08. Batman Begins 'o5
best comicbook movie ever? maybe not but my man crush on Bale deepened (further proof below) and it didn't hurt that Gotham was conceived and filmed in Chicago. chi-town represent or something.

07. Good Night, and Good Luck 'o5
short, intense, and completely revelatory. just now realized the last three films i mentioned were all a) rentals, b) terrific, and c) croftian slumber inducers extrordinaire.

06. the Prestige 'o6
I don't buy the accents but the premise is unbeatable: dueling magicians --flawless! the tone and scenery and all are pitch perfect and there's a David Bowie in the cast might i add. As I read Pynchon's Against the Day (700 pages down, nearly 400 to go) I'm finding the novel and this film may be kindred spirits. and that ain't bad.

05. Little Miss Sunshine 'o6
no movie this year left me feeling happier.

04. Pan's Labyrinth 'o6*****
*****okay, so I haven't actually seen this one yet. But i'm so sure it will so totally rock my world I'm giving it the 4-spot, my favorite number and bringer of good luck. Just watching the trailers is enough to send me into delirious fits of what my mother would call 'ants in my pants.' and since i shall be seeing it on december 29th it so counts for this year.

03. Stranger than Fiction 'o6
excuse me while i gush. the characters of this film are so well-thought-out and well acted that a potentially hokey conceit is transformed into a stroke of, well, not quite genius, let's say greatness. The movie's strongest acheivement? Will Ferrell's mortal struggle to prove his 'real-ness' is so effective it leaves most everyone else looking more and more fictional, and that I believe is the whole point. Stranger helped me to realize that in some pretty significant ways I behave quite fictional-ly and scripted to the point where made up characters would probably make much better human beings than I do. and that is not a value judgement, there's absolutely nothing wrong with this. In fact it makes life richer just as good art does. also it proves e m forster is a complete jackass.

02. the Departed 'o6
if i hear this is the best 'movie-movie' one more time I might plunge my head through this computer screen. forget for a minute that this implies that there are movies out there which are somehow tortoises or accordions or mathematical equations. but "people who like movies will really enjoy this movie." no shit. so will just about everyone else.

01. the Fountain 'o6
and now for a film that most certainly won't be celebrated nearly as much. divisive, over-wrought, wince-inducing--not things you generally want your masterpiece to be described as. And yes, I winced, yes I laughed at moments so awkward only the director could love them, and yes half of you out there (maybe a whole lot more than that) will completely disagree with me and pan the damn thing. but i loved it. loved every single flaw and triumph and will defend it with a flaming sword against anyone who wants a spirited discussion of why its so great. pared down to an essential hour and half this film struck some very key chords inside me. hell, it might have even manufactured, sounded, and broke the damn things. i'm not one for grand summations but in the end its all about fighting off everything and everyone (including ourselves) for those we love. and if you are saying to yourself right now 'that old theme? i'm so tired of that' you are not only dead inside but probably (slowly or otherwise) killing off everyone else around you.



At 12:11 PM , Blogger oline said...

quick yays to nos. 10, 8, 6, 5, and 3.

but more importantly, am glad to see the departed ranked so high. tho' not a fan or martin scorseeeeeez, that was a damn fine film-film. as a sidenote, an alarming percentage of the damn fine film-films that i watched this year featured plotlines at the end of which everyone was either dead or miserable. hmm.

At 12:54 PM , Blogger Les Savy Ferd said...

heads on pikes!

At 1:47 PM , Blogger oline said...


At 7:47 PM , Blogger nick said...

wait, wait, wait. batman begins put the croft to sleep? that movie completely rocked my face off.

At 10:56 AM , Blogger Lara said...

The Croft fell asleep--not due to Batman-boredom--but to comfort and kitties and warm blankets. I would like to see that movie someday...

At 4:22 PM , Blogger oline said...

we can add that to our '07 ToDos.

and pirate, i am stupid forgetful and did fly out of o'hare. you were there? where? had we been together, it might have been simpler to bear.

At 5:06 AM , Blogger nick said...

wait - the Oline hasn't seen Batman Begins, either? that might need to be added to your ATL january jaunt!

dougO - your thoughts on one bit about this flick - i really don't think katie holmes was the "weak link" everyone wanted her to be. yeah - she's crazy, but i didn't mind her at all as an actress in this movie. as for the fab fivesome of bale, caine, neeson, freeman & oldman... see aforementioned rocking of my face off.

already puts me in a manizzy for 2008's the dark knight. rumour (aka has it that the joker will be played by heath ledger.

At 8:10 AM , Blogger oline said...

have seen BB and like it rather a lot. which is why i'd be an excellent companion to watch it with croftie and nudge her awake. yay for cillian murphy. scary as hell yet strangely attractive.

despite all that, somehow i couldn't help but seeing tom crusie shadowing katie and screaming "I LOVE THIS WOMAN!" throughout the entire thing.

At 1:41 PM , Blogger Les Savy Ferd said...

i agree with Nick, BB had a deep cast and Holmes didn't take anything away. she wasn't given much but didn't screw what she had to do up. Also, she is understatedly fine in Wonder Boys...

At 10:26 AM , Blogger oline said...

to completely digress... when are you coming home, pirate? are you home now? i miss the vieve.

At 10:38 AM , Blogger Les Savy Ferd said...

Am home, rather, am at work. got in last night. barry was so happy to see me he didn't let me sleep a wink. not kidding. mashed my thumb trying to scoop him up and calm him down. pretty ugly sight. pretty short sentences. unecessary words reduced. oline unpleased. pirate out.

At 10:39 AM , Blogger Les Savy Ferd said...


At 12:23 PM , Blogger oline said...

oline not unpleased. welcome home, pirate. my ship docks late on the morrow's afternoon. hurrah!

At 10:14 AM , Blogger nick said...

sorry am just getting around to saying this... but Wonder Boys is truly one of the most under-appreciated movies... ever. i love it.


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