Thanks Jason, Ben, and Chris for sticking with THE TREE OF LIFE through and through. We really have to band together in these uncertain and troubling times.
Actually, I'm glad there's a bit of controversy over the film. It's ambitious in every sense of the word. Anytime you go for something so grand there will invariably be people on one side calling it pretentious and people on the other calling it genuine. I certainly make no secret of the fact that I think that Malick is one of the most genuine filmmakers alive and that I wouldn't charge him with an ounce of pretension or intellectual preening. To me, he's still just a big kid who loves everything he sees and wants to share that love with everyone. He's basically just a Romantic poet with a movie camera. But, like I said, I'm glad there's a bit of dissent on him. Lisa and Adrienne, if you found TTOL to be more pretentious then sincere, then stick to that impression. It's completely valid even if I disagree entirely. The only thing that isn't valid is John's amnesia on the film. Apparently, he's the only one who needs to be CLOCKWORK ORANGE'd.
Adrienne, there are definite hints of Kubrick's 2001 in TTOL, and I felt the comparisons as well. I think Kubrick would have loved the camerawork in the film, but I also think that emotionally and thematically he and Malick are polar opposites. TTOL and 2001 couldn't be more different in terms of how they view life and what they have to say about it. Still, I can understand your criticism. I worship Kubrick. But I also worship Malick. So to me, Malick is no Kubrick and Kubrick is no Malick. Love 'em both (though Kubrick gets the edge).
Great list by the way! It was fun to read even if I haven't seen most of the films you mention. I did see DON'T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK though. Completely disappointed by it as well. As John wisely said, we went into it thinking we'd get a full-blown horror flick and instead got an episode of Goosebumps.
Lisa, everything could've used the Gos instead.
Ben, I'm really glad you saw LE HAVRE, and that you liked it as well. My only beef with your comment on it is that there was absolutely no mention of Little Bob. A travesty! (Same goes for Brandon).
I'm gonna watch THE SKIN I LIVE IN today or tomorrow; don't you worry.
Jason, loved the 2011 post! Even if I've only seen 10 of the films you listed, still cool to read.
John loves JOYEUX NOEL if my memory serves me correctly. I've yet to see it.
MOST IMPORTANTLY, I loved your ZELIG post. I meant to write something back yesterday but I got sidetracked by separations and TTOL defending. I love ZELIG though it's been a while since I saw it last. All the reasons you give for it are really spot-on. The humor is subtle but oftentimes genius in its delivery. I think the film certainly stands out as one of his more creative efforts, but it's definitely not so anomalous once you start thinking about some of the other films he had made/would make at the time. By the time he made ZELIG, he had already made INTERIORS (his "Bergman film") and STARDUST MEMORIES (his "Fellini film"), both of which are quite distinctive within his oeuvre. Then THE PURPLE ROSE OF CAIRO would come two years later and and SHADOWS AND FOG eight years later, another two that stand out stylistically from the majority of his films. So I think ZELIG fits right in with Woody as a director who likes to mix it up from time to time. Still, in comparison to MANHATTAN and HANNAH AND HER SISTERS, it's quite different so I can imagine you were surprised by it. Reminds me that I need to watch it again.
I know I posted my top 10 Woody films a while back for you, but did you post one yourself? If not I'd love to see how you rank what you've seen by him. I love just about everything he's done, and also love nerding out over his work. In college, I met a girl and we talked about CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS for like an hour. It was bliss.
Keep all the posts coming everyone! This is the most the club has been active since the summer.