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And the best film of the noughties is..... a failed television pilot!

Darkstone
Half-elven


Mar 24 2010, 7:48pm


Views: 132
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And the best film of the noughties is..... a failed television pilot! [In reply to] Can't Post

 
Somehow that seems appropriate.


Basically this poll is a list of shaggy dog stories, or stories with totally repulsive characters, or shaggy dog stories with totally repulsive characters. No wonder critics love them. I'll agree that most of these films have great cinematography, but surely being pretty to look at isn’t the main critical criteria for a “best of” list.

Is it?


1. Mulholland Drive

Actually conceived as a two hour pilot for ABC. The pilot introduced the characters and laid the groundwork for a host of future story arcs. The network turned it down. Lynch then tacked on a quick ambiguous ending and released it to critical acclaim. Anyway, I thought his Inland Empire (2006) was much better. At least it was actually a movie!


2. In the Mood for Love

Cousin, Cousine (1975) did this much better. In the film it’s pointed out that to get rid of an awful secret you dig a hole, whisper the secret in the hole, then cover the hole with mud. Somehow the image of the audience left in a hole and covered with mud fits the ending perfectly.

3. Yi Yi

Almost three hours long. A leisurely study of a broken family trying to hold together. If you can stand it, it builds to a nice little conclusion. Good, but hardly in the top 20 of the films of the noughties. Still, it’s beautifully shot.


4. Syndromes and a Century

Random scenes in a small rural hospital followed by the same random scenes only different in a big city hospital a few years later. This is supposedly about the director’s doctor parents. He must have hated them.


5. There Will Be Blood

An original story kinda based on the first few pages of an Upton Sinclair novel and sorta modeled on a real life oil baron in California. Yeah, the film is pretty confused. It struck me as a low budget Heaven’s Gate (long and boring), only without the latter’s redeeming gorgeous cinematograph. It’s kind of difficult to conceive of Daniel Day-Lewis’ unlikable and unpleasant character as a Christ figure (“I am finished”), especially since Jesus isn’t recorded as chasing people around with a bowling pin. Nor does trying to give him street cred work either. (“I drink your milkshake” merely induced giggles when I heard it.) With the treachery of the slant drilling I suppose I could twist it to some sort of allegory of Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait, but it really isn’t worth it.

6. The Death of Mr. Lazarescu

A very unpleasant dying old drunk spends the night being shuttled from hospital to hospital accompanied by a rather passive nurse who is belittled by all the jerk emergency room doctors. That's the movie. And this is supposed to be a comedy.

7. A History of Violence

Based on a comic book, er, that is, “graphic novel”. Frankly Brad Douriff’s sequence in Grim Prairie Tales (1990) did this so much better, and in only ten minutes.


8. Tropical Malady

Two unfinished movies in one. The first is basically Brokeback Mountain, or rather, Brokeback Jungle. After that sequence ends abruptly, the second part is about a terrible unnamable evil in the jungle. (Hmmm. You don’t think the writer is trying to say something, do you?)

9. 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days

That’s how far along one girl’s pregnancy is before her friend helps her get an abortion. The process of getting the abortion is pretty much the entire movie. The two girls seem to be in a fierce competition as to who can be the most vacuous and self-absorbed. I suppose this could be seen as a tale of the hypocrisy of Communist Rumania. Not a very nice movie.

10. The New World

I liked Disney’s Pocahontas better. Still, a nicely photographed period piece, if overlong, predictable, and rather static.

11. Platform

Kind of a political and depersonalized version of Chorus Line. The camera stays back and avoids close-ups. The movie is about how the culture, not the people, of China changed over the course of the 1970s. A clever movie that takes a bit of digging to be rewarding. I can see how it could get on some people’s “Best of the Noughties” list. But not mine.


12. Zodiac

Consider a murder mystery written and directed by Emily Litella. The detective reviews the cold case crime, assembles the evidence, zeroes in on a suspect, and, after bringing the film to a dramatic crescendo, goes “Never mind.” Roll end credits. That’s Zodiac.

13. The Intruder

This is probably the worst movie on the list. The totally unlikable character lives alone out in the wilderness and finds he needs a heart transplant. So which of his sons does he kill? Can he substitute an actor for the son he kills so nobody notices? Or does he get the heart from a woman who wanders into his house and takes a bath? Or maybe a complete stranger whose body he dumps in a frozen lake? Or does he go get a heart transplant in Korea? Or is his heart problem metaphorical? Who is the intruder? Which is the intruder? Is any of this real? Do we care? Now the last question I can answer: No.

14. The Son

A carpenter unknowingly (at first) takes as an apprentice the young parolee convicted of his son’s death. Basically the picture is the last part of A Clockwork Orange (1971) turned on its head. Why does the carpenter show forgiveness? Why does he help his son’s killer find redemption? Why does Man show mercy? As the carpenter tells his wife in the movie, “Heck if I know!” Yeah, great message.

15. Dogville

A stunning, extremely unpleasant story leavened only by being told in a very theatrical and stylized way. It’s the only film on this list I agree should be on a “Best of the Noughties” list. It's also so disturbing I wouldn't recommend everybody see it.

16. Caché

Another long pointless boring film about unpleasant unlikable people. I think it’s a metaphor for France’s oppression of Algerians. Or maybe it’s a statement about terrorism induced paranoia and racism against Muslims. The Battle of Algiers (1966) did this so much better.

17. Kings and Queen

Nora is an aging unpleasant golddigger who destroys the men she uses. Unlikable Ismael is her only surviving ex-lover, and is stuck in a mental institution. They come back into contact because Nora wants Ismael to legally adopt her son by another lover. Who cares? The film’s redeeming feature is that it has beautiful cinematography.

18. Elephant

A fictionalized version of the Columbine shootings. Or actually the build-up to the Columbine shootings. A couple of jerks kiss and hug in a shower, then prepare to shoot everyone at school, then they go to school. Maybe they shoot people, but that all happens off screen. Kinda anti-climactic, but I can see where the producers didn’t want to encourage this sort of thing. Indeed, apparently they thought better during production because the film ends abruptly during the bloodless massacre while one jerk is dead and the other jerk is still alive. I’m sure this means something but I don’t really care.

19. The Royal Tenenbaums

A poor copy of the mixed up dysfunctional Glass family of JD Salinger. He shoulda sued. And this shoulda been at the top of the poll. It’s everything the critics love: A shaggy dog story with unsympathetic characters. But it clocks in at under two hours, so the fact that it's short and boring rather than long and boring probably cost it a few slots.

20. Before Sunset

A totally unnecessary sequel to Before Sunrise (1995). This takes place in real time and lasts a little over an hour, so it’s mercifully short. Basically 24 without explosions and terrorists. Anyway, like Before Sunrise, the film ends with the possibility of a happy ending. But then, this film showed that the promise of a happy ending in Before Sunrise was false. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.


BTW, my own “Best of the Noughties” list is here:

http://newboards.theonering.net/...i?post=227520#227520

******************************************
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Sometime hours and hours hence:
In The Green Dragon two ales could buy
And drank the one less filling I
And that has made all the difference.
- The Ale Less Filling, by Robert Frostymug

Subject User Time
Poll lists top 150 films of the decade. How does LOTR rank? N.E. Brigand Send a private message to N.E. Brigand Mar 23 2010, 10:03pm
    Very interesting MrCere Send a private message to MrCere Mar 24 2010, 12:25am
        Oh and one other thing MrCere Send a private message to MrCere Mar 24 2010, 1:14am
    I think we've seen this effect before. FarFromHome Send a private message to FarFromHome Mar 24 2010, 1:50am
        Do many critics think "Citizen Kane" is the greatest of films? N.E. Brigand Send a private message to N.E. Brigand Mar 24 2010, 2:40am
        There's also the SFF effect Arandiel Send a private message to Arandiel Mar 24 2010, 2:49am
        Proprietary pride Darkstone Send a private message to Darkstone Mar 24 2010, 7:57pm
    Spider, SirDennisC Send a private message to SirDennisC Mar 24 2010, 2:56am
    similar to book rankings... weaver Send a private message to weaver Mar 24 2010, 1:48pm
    And the best film of the noughties is..... a failed television pilot! Darkstone Send a private message to Darkstone Mar 24 2010, 7:48pm
        Dogville Annael Send a private message to Annael Mar 24 2010, 8:24pm
        Delightfully contrarian. N.E. Brigand Send a private message to N.E. Brigand Mar 24 2010, 8:47pm
            Excellent question. Darkstone Send a private message to Darkstone Mar 24 2010, 9:42pm

 
 
 

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