Well, not only have most people’s lists already come out, but Jason Lee even has a lit of his top 10 favorite “things” of 2010.
At least Chadd and Rob, who both spent New Year’s tucked away in some rustic country home (different ones), are both woefully lagging behind in their top 10 lists.
Which makes me feel a little better.
I think Rob’s list also includes either the Russel Crowe “Robin Hood” and/or “Unstoppable” which, for those of you who don’t care to remember, was that train movie with Denzel and the new Captain Kirk.
So I probably already have a leg-up here.
(Cue Rob Malone hateful comments/complaints.)
Oh yeah and Chadd’s list probably has some despicably French movies or something he saw at NYFF with 3 people in the crowd.
And Sam Song probably skipped out on writing a list this year, to go to the Minetta Tavern and order some $26 dollar burgers, along with soem cocktails that involve strange flavors like “hickory” and the Japanese citrus fruit “yuzu”.
Now that I’ve shat all over the competition, I can get down to it.
2010 was, of course, the first year that I worked in a movie theater.
(Actually, it was the second, if you count the summer I worked at one when I was 16.)
But what it means is that it was the first year I was able to go see movies with impunity, for free, taking my time and going during the day.
Also, it was a lot easier to fulfill my requirement of getting someone else to go with me, when I can offer them free tickets.
But that’s neither here nor there. What it means, is that I saw even more movies than I normally would.
Thus this year’s list, which is derived from many good films, may not include those expected and does not include some favorites.
It is like me, spiteful and ornery, but also weird and sometimes unintentionally funny.
If you don’t see a movie you know should be on here, I would be happy to discuss it.
But, not knowing the Oscar field in a year that seems increasingly like a toss-up (which is probably good for many of the small movies that came out this year), means that this list is even more in flux than perhaps usual.
“Is it just going to be a bunch of shit I haven’t heard of?” occasional roommate John Beamer asked me when I announced I was writing the list this morning.
It was a valid concern. In my opinion, a top 10 list should not be a pure exercise in one’s favorite movies of the year, but something balancing both preference and accessibility, the reason why film festival-only films are often not included on published lists. It’s about balance and finding a common ground, some room for discussion, while also sharing some things that not everyone has seen.
In other words, just like the Oscars, its politicking.
For better, or for worse. But there it is.
Now the disclaimer package:
Movies I did not see this year that perhaps I should have (and thus are not included on this list):
Greenberg, Carlos (hoping to see soon/a bad oversight), Secret Sunshine, Let Me In, The Strange Case of Angelica, Lourdes, Summer Wars (no one will go with me…), Ne Change Rien, Rabbit Hole, Another Year, Certified Copy (sorry, NYFF)
And without further ado:
A FEITELIAN TOP 10 OF 2010 or “FUCK YOU ROB AND CHADD FOR NOT WRITING LISTS”
10. THE GHOST WRITER
Seen during the early months of the year, Roman Polanski’s lesser, but still valuable entry to 2010 was a welcome contrast to Scorsese’s supremely disappointing (and Oscar-aborted) Shutter Island. With crack performances from Ewan MacGregor, Pierce Brosnan (as far as I know, the best of his career) and a welcome return (and hopefully Academy recognized) by that hot british chick from Rushmore, The Ghost Writer was nothing more and nothing less than a beautifully-acted and shot political thriller about the ways in which history is written and considered, done with an actual “light” political touch *for once*. This is all courtesy, of course, of the director, a man of some experience (and significant controversy) whom, nevertheless, knows how to make a goddam movie and has not forgotten it. What we end up with is a satisfying head-game based film that works both viscerally as a thriller and metaphorically as a treaty on the place and power of the writer in history. For sure, a metaphor for moviemaking in there as well, and a far subtler one than Inception‘s.
9. EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP
One of two “fake” documentaries that came out this year along with I’m Still Here (three if you count parts of “A Film Unfinished”, I’ve heard), Exit Through The Gift Shop bears comparison to Joaquin Phoenix’s surly, overwrought film only by virtue of genre rather than quality. What Exit is and what it succeeds as, is as yet another Banksy conceptual mind-fuck, the equivalent of his bent telephone booth and, indeed as it is billed, a “Banksy film”. We are posited that our protagonist, one strangely facial-haired Thierry Guetta, is an appreciateur of street art and general LA euro-trash type at large. By luck and relation, Thierry manages to stumble into the motherload of the underground street-art scene, becoming friends with Shep Fairey (of the Obama/Hope poster) and the anonymous, hooded Banksy. I’ll say I believe all of this, as well as the impressive footage taken of the genesis of street-art is real, but I doubt the veracity of what happens next, as Thierry appears to go mad with power becoming an unknowing parody of both the street-art scene he has so loved and the foolish patrons who endorse his work. Whether or not this transformation is real (which I doubt) or whether it is merely a prank Banksy decided would be a lark in which he enlisted Thierry (which I think probable) is besides the point. What is the point is that Banksy has crafted a modern day “F For Fake”, a movie that itself reflects our perceptions of truth and value in both art and cinema. What’s more, he’s made it entertaining, given it a storyline, a quirky protagonist, a third-act twist. It’s refreshing enough that I’m looking forward to the next “Banksy film”, if there is one. Also, should mention that Rob thinks that Banksy is Rhys Ifans, since they sound alike, even when Banksy’s voice is altered.
8. I LOVE YOU PHILIP MORRIS
Not to get all Armond White-y on y’all with a “Better-Than List” but, let’s face it, I Love You Philip Morris is a better gay love story than The Kids Are All Right. Part of that is that The Kids Are All Right is one of those overly PC “Gay is O.K.” films that seems to appear “Will and Grace”-like to explain/reassure White liberals in America that, yes, there are gay people, they live lives, they do things. To be fair, The Kids Are All Right is an interesting movie in its own right, particularly when it explores the limits of a queer family especially in the face of a society of hetero-normative values and definitions of sexuality and parenthood in these fraught modern times. But what it lacks (apart from some great Mark Ruffalo scenes) is a sense of humor, mostly smothered by its own self-righteousness, an area that I Love You Philip Morris shows its superiority in. Written and directed by the team behind Bad Santa, the movie feature that films round-about view of sentimentality, an honest heart hiding behind a dick joke. Part-Catch Me If You Can-style con-man thriller, part dirty comedy and part sincere/queer smooch-fest, Philip Morris is my favorite type of movie, a mash-up of genres that transcends them and hits through absurdity at something close to the truth of life (see: Being John Malkovitch, for different take, same thing). As the opening credits mention, all of the stuff in the movie really happened: a Georgia cop embracing his homosexuality upon meeting his horrid birth mother, finding love in a minimum-security prison, even maintaining ties with a loving ex-wife and children while robbing, looting and generally “gaying it up” all around the Miami area. Jim Carrey, as mentioned by Slant Magazine, is one of the best actors of the last 20 years and if not for the stigma of “comedy” he ought to have won an Oscar several times over now. Ewan MacGregor plays a sweet dandy and even the little-liked Leslie Mann (in a rare non-Apatow role) gives a convincing marm-y performance as a perplexed but accepting southern wife and mother. What I Love You Philip Morris shows and its’ greatest strength is something that The Kids Are All Right could never have: acceptance for all its’ characters. For while The Kids tosses poor Mark Ruffalo out on his ass as just some macho-hipster jerk, Philip Morris believes ultimately that no matter what the crazy, true things that it characters do, they’re always looking for love and their true selves, gay or straight, criminal or no. Who knew a floating dick in the clouds could be such a poignant closing image to a film.
7. DADDY LONGLEGS
Beautiful. A great movie about New York, fatherhood, cinema and “growing up” in one way or more. The Safdie brothers’ tone poem succeeds wonderfully due to the presence and their embrace of Frownland director Ronnie Bronstein’s central performance. Playing a projectionist very loosely based off himself, he sees his children only on the weekends when he gets them from a reasonably hateful ex-wife, who really shouldn’t trust him for five minutes. This is because Bronstein’s character, who seems to spring as one of the adult children from a Roald Dahl book (Willy Wonka, The BFG) has his life in no way together, in a way that makes for both a terror and an adventure. His frantic sexual exploits get him into an impromptu trip to the Catskills, which somehow includes the boyfriend of a girl he just slept with along with his unsuspecting kids, and a job-threatening projection shift causes him to feed his kids an overdose of sleeping pills in a scene that is both hilarious and somewhat mortifying, if we didn’t know those characters were based on the very twins who made the movie. Shot lovingly in 16mm, Daddy Longlegs seems like a potential heir to the films of Jacques Tati or Charlie Chaplin, following the tale of an irredeemable scamp, through the eyes of those who love him: his children and the viewer seen captivated by his performance.
6. THE SOCIAL NETWORK
The most likely Oscar winner (and for good reason) is a film that I do have my problems with. The first scene in the bar with two people exchanging barbs while sitting at a table is pretty unforgivably stagy and is a sign of the limits of Aaron Sorkin’s script, which reflects Mr. Sorkin’s distinguished run as both a playwright and a TV show creator. Just like the opening of Juno, it’s fake and it’s fake in a way that is cloying, even though the movie moves past it. That aside, their is much to like, if not love about The Social Network. Firstly, just the idea that a year ago we were all laughing about how desperate Hollywood had gotten that they were making a “Facebook movie” when there was obviously no story there. Such is no longer the truth as the film is obviously compelling, even thrilling, even though no one ever fires a gun or even has graphic sex. What instead we get is an intellectual thrill-ride about the rise/fall of a young man disconnected from the world and thus creating/defining his own. In the past, this movie might have been called “Lord of the Rings” or “Harry Potter”, but here instead what we get is a literal story of digital creation. Mark Zuckerberg replaces the social arena he has failed in with a new one, where he sets the rules, eliminating human connections along the way. That nothing much “dramatic” happens is to the strength of the script and both Sorkin and Fincher are here in best form, not sacrificing detail for the sake of story. Fincher has been itching for an Oscar for some years and even though I was not a fan of Zodiac he has proven himself frequently a director of interesting character and mainstream appeal, unique in his filmmaking approach. The only weak link here is Andrew Garfield, whose weepy histrionics and mistaken-good-boy approach lead to some of the films weakest scenes, like when he stands in the rain staring in and telling Mark “you’ve lost your only friend”. Some rage, desire or lack of innocence would have served his character well, something anyone from Joseph Gordon-Levitt to even (yes, sigh) Emile Hirsh could have brought to the part. All Garfield knows how to do is heave and sigh and look doe-ish. Here’s rooting for an excellent Justin Timberlake for an Oscar nom, or even the newcomer (and Zephyr Benson friend) Armie Hammer. Eisenberg has never been better either, in the title role, not even in Adventureland and, contrary to popular opinion and unlike Juno, his character is not “Mark Zuckerberg”, he’s a regular neurotic Jew, not a ruthless semi-sociopath.
5. BLUE VALENTINE
Raw, emotionally honest, partially improvised, the creation of 12 years of intensive labor. Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams give the performances of their careers, even though they seem like actors capable of doing that multiple times in a career. A love story told as tragedy, with two people who honestly love each other and honestly mean the best falling out of it due to their characters and their circumstances. Ultimately what is it that makes them fall out of love? Whose fault is it? Whose demands are unreasonable, whose impositions too much? These questions are unanswered, just as they would be at a real break-up, because Mr. Cianfrance has succeeded in crafting a movie that feels like a real relationship, a rare feat. He has done this through crazed directing, hundreds of takes, having actors keep secrets from each other and performing stunts to get real reactions (at one point Mr. Gosling almost falls off a bridge, for real, with no safety net). These are all, of course, totally nuts, but so is the rush of emotion and feeling that accompanies love, that most mysterious and powerful of things and Mr. Cianfrance has succeeded here in capturing even a little bit of that, in no small part by showing it decomposing under a microscope. Shot, intertwined between the couple’s meeting cute and their last-ditch attempt at reconciliation, Mr. Cianfrance also seems to recognize an emotional structure to his film that is compelling to the audience, using flashbacks as Mirch intended them with a twist, showing how one revisits the past as even they try to untangle the intricacies of the present. It’s an honest film and a lovely one, sad and true and heartbreaking.
4. INSIDE JOB
Remember when, after the incredible Bowling for Columbine, which combined South Park humor with Jackass-style jumps, we had to give Michael Moore a pass for all the crappy overwrought movies he did following because he was “tackling important subjects”? Well, at least in this case, we need not sacrifice form for content. Inside Job is a clear-headed, well-explained take on the financial crisis in an efficient 100 minute package. Many people with global political influence are there talking, their points weaved narratively and consistently through like a good essay, cited throughout the film’s indictment of America’s financial system and the speculation it caused. But all of that sounds so boring! What makes Inside Job so good is that it was done by Charles Ferguson, a one-time teacher and PhD at M.I.T. for Political Science. Later, he went on to be an internet entrepreneur, ending up at both Google and Apple at critical stages in their development, but his love of learning and learning well endures. So, like a really great lesson from that “cool” professor, Inside Job is full of humor, dramatic irony and real showmanship. Ferguson, a non-filmmaker, bears an estimable teacher’s gift of condensing something so complicated and making it both more compact, more interesting, and linear; the film’s ending voiceover that the leaders of the financial industry will tell you “what they do is too complicated for you to understand” is repudiated by the movie you just watched. You do understand it now and you’re pissed. But you also just had a really good movie-going experience. With this film, Ferguson’s second after the previously excellent and very similar treatise No End In Sight (which attempted to untangle our “strategy” in Iraq), I get the feeling that Ferguson should move on to narrative. After all, if he can make points so well and so dramatically with only economists and ministers on board, aided by the occasional Peter Gabriel song, imagine what he could do with lights and actors!
3. WINTER’S BONE
When I was sitting in the box office at the Angelika yesterday, worn out by customers and co-workers alike, I didn’t recognize Sam Song, much to his chagrin, and then, when I did (“I’m Sam Song.” he said.) I went on about his imaginary girlfriend, who turned out to be the girl standing right next to him. She seemed nice. I added her as a friend on Facebook. Anyway, when afterwards Sam and I had a text message conversation regarding SMS-flashing, re: his not-imaginary girlfriend, the conversation quickly got off topic to this list, then incomplete. When I mentioned that this film was “somewhere in 2-4”, Sam dismissed this as a “disqualifier” to any such top 10 list of the year. Indeed, some of my friends, while not disqualifying my list, have voiced similar opinions about the quality of the film (which I probably got them in to see for free as it played at the Angelika). All I can say to them is: did we watch the same movie? Winter’s Bone, done by second-time director Debra Granik, makes so many right/interesting decisions it was nice to see it vindicated with a long theatrical run and the A.V. Club’s no. 1 pick. A young woman of no more than 17 (Jennifer Lawrence) cares for her much younger brother and sister in a dilapidated shell of a house in the Missouri Ozarks. Her mother, still living, is dead to the world, shuttered in by abuse and her own psychological problems and her father, most recently, has jumped bail for meth-cooking charges, leaving the house for forfeit. Such starts Winter’s Bone and its protagonist Ree Dolly on her quest to find her father and get him to go to prison for many years for, what we learn, is the only subsistence of this community. In my improv class, my great teacher, Chelsea Clarke, would tell us “be specific to be broad”, meaning that giving details from one’s lives that are specific as possible ring true to an audience, they’re recognizable and thus universal. The same applies here and much as Winter’s Bone is a movie about the insular community that Ree and her family inhabit, it’s also a film about America, the kind of society we’ve become in light of economic “recession”, where Ree tries to enter the Army for escape and the money for her family and asking for help from neighbors is considered shameful. The dialogue was written in conjunction with some of the actors, many of them native to the area and the secondary characters feel specific and real too. But it’s the directorial decisions that impress here, such as Ms. Granik’s decision not to participate in the pornography of violence, eliding the threat and showing its aftermath and wakes, but never letting the audience get a “thrill” from it. Or when Ms. Granik holds a scene at the end of the film to include some banjo riffs by a child, after all dialogue has ended, because it’s a moment worth capturing. The whole film is consistent in tone and color, but it also looks like nothing else American right now. And none of this is even mentioning Jennifer Lawrence’s spectacular performance (hopeful Oscar nom) or John Hawkes (of Deadwood) who gives the best supporting actor performance of the year, no question. As Teardrop, Ree’s uncle, Hawkes embodies both the violence and the lost promise of the Ozarks, a walking contradiction at ease with his own body, he is both protector/antagonist to his charge Ree, in the animalistic ways that his culture permits him. Here’s hoping more people saw what I saw, too.
2. THE ILLUSIONIST
I should start out by saying that Sylvain Chomet’s first film (The Illusionist is his second) The Triplets of Belleville, is one of my favorite films ever. That film was a nearly wordless animated masterpiece evoking old-school Paris, New York, Looney Tunes cartoons, silent film and burlesque, with a crazed plot involving a small grandmother, her dog, illicit bootlegging and the Tour De France. It’s a masterpiece, family-friendly, something both Disney-esque (in an originalist Fantasia-type way) and uniquely its own. The Illusionist is a much less raucous movie, but also a more poignant one. Famously (and to much controversy) based off of an unfinished script by Jacques Tati (Playtime, Mon Oncle), the main character is an animation revival of the writer/actor as Tatischeff (his birth name), a parlor magician in the waning days of cabaret/burlesque/illusion acts. As we see him, Tatischeff does from playing grand halls, to being wiped off by swingy rock musicians, standing in a store window, hating himself. Along the way, he finds a young girl, who acts as the family connection he never had in his life, someone for whom he can make magic, an audience of one who believes in you, which is what a daughter sometimes is. In Edinburgh they live together in a hotel for out-of-work performers and for a time, life seems grand or at least livable as Tatischeff works hard to make money to make “magic” for his girl, and the girl explores the wonder of the city. But soon enough, the world has no place for Tatischeff’s illusions, as the girl grows too and discovers her own pleasures. Tati and Chomet equate adulthood with a farewell to illusion, as illustrated in the film’s ending, but also a belief and a love for those who practice them. The Illusionist is, at it’s best, a tragedy about what we leave behind when we “move on”, a treatise on lost love and grief, done with all the wit and humor and poignancy of a revived Jacques Tati. It’s a marriage, one would hope, that the actor/director/writer would have smiled upon, from the beyond.
AND FOR THOSE OF YOU WONDERING, IN TYPICAL SPITEFUL FASHION, HERE’S A MOVIE NOBODY SAW:
1. FISH TANK
For the past while, Chadd Harbold (mentioned above as the guy who would have something “despicably French” on his top 10 list) was bothering about the number 1 film would be on my list and I kept telling him that it was a film we saw together and a film we saw in the beginning of the year. “Those are pretty big hints.” Chadd said, but he still wasn’t able to guess. He didn’t even say a single movie. Which was interesting as I think we both had the same reaction coming out of the film: we were floored by how good it was. Newcomer director Andrea Arnold has succeeded in my eyes in creating something new, exciting and meritorious, just as Joachim Trier once did on this list previously with his 2008 film Reprise. A worthy successor both to the Dardenne brothers’ style of gritty modern-day neo-realism a la L’Enfant and (yes) the sentimental filmmaking of Francois Truffaut in The 400 Blows, Fish Tank is a movie unsurpassed in its rawness, honesty and kinetic energy this year. The story of Mia, played by unreal newcomer Kate Jarvis in easily the best performance of the year, a 15 year-old scrappy-as-fuck white chick living with her trashy/abhorrent mother and her feral little sister in a crappy British ghetto, is a dystopian story played real. While one might be put off at first by Mia’s fist-fighting hip-hop dancing ways, her fighting instinct is quickly realized as survival impulse, when you find out that her life is one where the closest thing to familial love is familial silence and there is no one in existence to watch her back. When “mum” brings home a boyfriend (Michael Fassbender, quickly becoming one of our finest actors), it’s all Mia can do to reject and then latch on to the little bit of common-sense affection he throws her way; it’s like nothing she’s ever experienced before in her conspicuously father-less home. What follows is an aria of children breaking bad, adults breaking worse and a story of a place without hope. The title seems to represent both Mia’s trapped existence and our complicity in it, as the people in her life fail to help her, one by one, we sit on the outside and watch. Like Lorna’s Silence or (again) The 400 Blows, the ending represents the degree to which we can move on in our lives, our ability to escape and the recognition that the most tragic moment is the one where you can run no further. A feminist masterpiece, a humanist masterpiece, if you were to see any movie off this list, see this.
So, that said, we still have some cleaning up to do.
MOVIES STUCK BETWEEN THE CRACKS IN YEARS AND THUS NOT ON THIS LIST:
LIFE DURING WARTIME- My previous sorta-number 1 from last year came out this year. Still a great film. Still one of Todd Solodnz’s best, if not the best. It marks a welcome return to form and a stunning display/tragedy of emotional honesty.
UN PROPHET- Of course this movie was great! It was fucking fantastic. Credit goes to Dan Pleck for pointing out that, other than the obvious comparison to “The Godfather Part II”, this movie also functions as an adaptation/retelling of the story of Muhammed! Crazy good, the best Jacques Audiard movie. The reason it’s not on this list is because it was an Oscar nominee last year and as such does not seem eligible for this year consideration.
UNCLE BOONMEE WHO CAN RECALL HIS PAST LIVES- Whoo boy, are you all in for a treat in March or whenever Film Forum decides to release this. The most acceptable movie by guy whose name no one can spell/pronounce so we call him “Joe” and, from what I hear, the best. A meditation on reinvention and reincarnation both national and personal, both fantastical and sometimes naturalistic, incorporating non-actors and actors from Joe’s previous films. A splendid mash-up and an amazing picture, disqualified because it was only at NYFF in 2010, but here’s hoping for an Oscar win for Best Foreign! Kudos to Cannes on recognizing the talent.
OTHER MOVIES THAT I SAW THIS YEAR THAT WERE PRETTY GOOD ACTUALLY BUT DIDN’T MAKE THE CUT:
Black Swan, Mother, True Grit, The King’s Speech, Vincere, Everyone Else, Inception, Four Lions, The Kids Are All Right
SPECIAL HONORABLE MENTION:
RED, WHITE AND BLUE- A great horror/mumblecore/”mumble-gore” film with a super-cool kinetic storytelling style and a star turn by Noah Taylor, previously known for playing nerds, who here plays an eerily-convincing Iraq war vet. The sort of “neo B-movie” that is made with some a subversive bent, but enjoyable on many levels for either its blood, guts and boobies, or for its filmmaking appeal/writing.
AND NOW WHAT YOU’VE ALL BEEN WAITING FOR:
NICK”S SOOPER-DOOPER-POOPER SPITEFUL TOP 5 OVERRATED MOVIES OF THE YEAR (SURE TO PISS OFF HIS FRIENDS)
This shouldn’t even need to be on here. No one has seen this movie. It played at Cinema Village for like 2 days. But for some stupid reason, Film Comment and Slant both thought it was the goddam beez-kneez. I saw this with Chadd too and we both thought it was pretty cool and fucked up, but not like, “best movie of the year” fucked up. Art kids need to get the fuck over themselves and stop saying cool things only they see are worth mentioning (cough, hypocrisy, cough, cough).
4. SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD
Sorry guys. I love Edgar Wright and this film is not terrible, but it’s not very good either. Mary Elizabeth Winstead, the main love interest, sucks and is uninteresting in her role as Ramona and, let’s be honest here, the Asian chick is much cooler, a much better match for Scott emotionally/maturity-wise AND she’s a fucking Ninja. That being said, whatever, I understand the apologists who elevate this because of the need to highlight a movie that was unfairly maligned, but that doesn’t make this “Best Picture” material. It makes it an uneven, interesting American film made by Edgar Wright. Here’s to the next one.
3. 127 HOURS
Shitty, some good James Franco moments. Glad the Oscars I think will shun this one. Ending/opening is corny as Chipotle-burrito induced shit.
2. THE FIGHTER
Wow. Like The Town was a decently good, silly movie about Boston-area Masshole hicks and I’m pretty sure The Town, which featured Blake Lively acting like she was Blake Lively high on a speedball, was a better movie than this one, treading similar ground. Full of over-the-top scene-grabbing, throat-yelling performances, you know you’re in trouble when the emotional center of your film is Mark-fucking-Wahlberg. I don’t care what people say about that “the people were even crazier in real life than the actors were playing them” and that Christian Bale’s performance was a “tour-de-force”. What Christian Bale’s performance was in that movie was a greedy, slack-jawed grab at grabbing a movie by the balls and saying “look at me, cause the rest of this movie sucks”. David O. Russell doesn’t as much as make a comeback as give-up and let the actors yell at each other, not that Darren Aronofsky, the original director, would have done much better. A rehash of a Rocky plot with some stuff about family thrown in there. Mostly boring and hokey and annoying.
1. TOY STORY 3
I never saw Cars and I don’t remember A Bug’s Life too well. Maybe that one was worse than this. Toy Story 3 will probably be remembered in the future as the movie where Pixar jumped the shark, from making beautiful original products and occasional story-continuations, to three-quels and hokey junk. The film re-assembles all the great actors from the first two films (classics) and sticks them in a shitty Michael Arndt script with an unconvincing love story, some cheap ethnic humor and a total cop-out ending with some hipster-B.S. embodied by a googling Kristen Schaal dinosaur toy. Toy Story 2 felt like the perfect ending and a welcome return to characters we loved, where Woody had to accept a life without human contact, love or longing, or obsolescence and death with real emotions. He chooses the latter and such has the quality of myth. No such greatness accompanies this film, whose only message is toys can be mean to each other and they’ll always be someone to play with you. It’s reassuring bullshit that, for the first time in my watching Pixar, actually makes children dumber rather than smarter. Even the WALL-E fat people scenes were better this. Kudos though to a welcome Michael Keaton as a dandy Ken doll. Here’s hoping for a revival of your career buddy.
SOME TERRIBLE MOVIES:
The Other Guys, Shutter Island, Dinner For Schmucks.
SPECIAL TERRIBLE MOVIE:
I actually tried to convince people on New Year’s Eve not to see this movie. “Is this really how you want to spend your New Year’s?” I’d tell them at the door. “Go see Blue Valentine, if you gotta. Or just hug? Enjoy each other’s company? I mean I guess it’d be fine if you just sat in the back or just slept or made out, but really, don’t do this to yourself.” It was mostly in vain, though I saved a few people. An accurate description: nothing happens. Another accurate description: Sofia Coppola used to fuck Quentin Tarantino, which is the only reason why this won the Venice Film Festival, since he was the head juror. Gotta pay for the pussy, QT.
So, there we are. Another year gone, another list done. I’m sure there are grammatical errors. It’s way too long. I doubt anyone will even read this.
But one thing’s for sure.
I won’t recognize Sam Song the next time I see him.
Cause he’s Asian.
And I’m racist as fuck.
Love you, Sam.