Sunday, January 8, 2012

2010 in 2012

I guess the DRIVE 2.0 debate died as soon as Ben used the whole "subjective perception" defense. Geesh, just as Brandon and I were getting our empty Bud Light bottles ready to crack over his skull. Of course, that's what it will always come down to–personal preference. However, it's still fun to debate until we reach that incontestable point. Ben, I knew you'd clarify your position on the film, but I couldn't pass up the opportunity to pounce on your "DRIVE is for people who don't like movies" line. It was just too audacious to ignore. I'm glad you clarified your point though; I can totally understand your frustration at the hype/accolades DRIVE receives over films you feel are more worthy. I think most of that frustration was at the heart of our DRIVE/COLD WEATHER debate anyway. But, I think I get a little frustrated when we talk less about films themselves and instead focus on the politics of criticism surrounding them.

IndieWire posted a great discussion with Jonathan Rosenbaum and Kent Jones on Godard recently, and Jones talks about how there has never been a real discussion of Godard's work because it has always been shrouded in external reactions. It's either blind polemics against anything he does or blinder encomiums for everything he does. He's hip to love and to hate and what fails between these two poles is always his films themselves, never fully addressed for what they are. This is incredibly irritating.

Obviously, I'd be great to be able to talk about films in a vacuum, but this is impossible because there is too much surrounding them that we are constantly aware of. The cultural politics of any artwork invariably get mixed up with the actual artwork itself. Still, I think it's important to remember when we are focusing less on movies themselves and more on the shit around them (something I oft have to remind myself of). I'd rather be told a movie I love sucks because it has no idea how to develop characters than told it sucks because it is popular, critically lauded, or its adherents are all "fanboys." Brandon, you wrote some great things about this, and I appreciate them. Especially, in relation to violent cinema. Much of the talk surrounding violence in film is about factors that have nothing to do with film.

Anyway, good to get this all out there. I'm glad you wrote something passionate against the film, Ben. It's more fun that way. I think 95% of my initial negative reaction to MELANCHOLIA was over external minutia, but once I started to strip that away I started to really like the film for what it was. So, I really can't blame you for reacting to DRIVE the way you do. We all do it.

Glad the 201o updates are coming in, so I can post my own. Actually, this is the first time I'm posting my list in numerical order, as the first list I made was so awful I didn't know how to rank it. John, will be more pleased with this list because it mostly adheres to his dating system; however, I didn't want to make him too happy so I kept ALAMAR on there. I thought about adding COPY, BOONME, and 13 ASSASSINS to my 2011 list but I felt weird mixing them into a list with the 2011 Cannes films, like THE TREE OF LIFE and LE HAVRE. So, they will go into my 2010 list and help it out substantially.

1. Another Year
2. Certified Copy
3. Uncle Boonme Who Can Recall His Past Lives
4. The Social Network
5. True Grit
6. 13 Assassins
7. Blue Valentine
8. Winter’s Bone
9. Alamar
10. 127 Hours

ANOTHER YEAR holds the top spot despite serious competition from COPY and BOONME. The top 3 could easily be interchangeable though. ANOTHER YEAR gets the edge basically for one extended sequence towards the end of the film that is so incredibly awkward and beautiful. Ben, I know you feel that COPY isn't as mind-blowing as others think, but I don't think it needs to be mind-blowing at all to be completely effective and provocative cinema. It rules. Same goes for the mesmerizing BOONME; it rules.

Can't wait to see the first 2011 list, which Brandon has got to be close to finishing. I need to see quite a few more before mine's done, but right now I have a thoroughly solid top 7. I've still got those other lists I have done to post as well. I'm drowning in my own nerdiness here.

Briefly, on a completely different note, Jason's latest post may seem tangential, but it is actually a very cleverly disguised review expressing his love for Paul W.S. Anderson's THE THREE MUSKETEERS. Well done, sir. Well done.

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