Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Anyway, my top 5 jams are all from the later half of this year. Probably because I played out the jams from earlier this year/I have memory problems. But these are 5 AWESOME songs that I hope to always remember and love...until my 2010 jams replace them. SO ON TO MY JAMS...
***Honorable Mention: Taylor Swift - "You Belong with Me"
Taylor, I'm really happy for you, and I'm gonna let you finish, but your song just missed out my top 5. Beyonce's not on here though so no worries.
AND NOW I PRESENT...MY TOP 5 JAMS OF '09:
5. La Roux - "Bulletproof"
I first heard this song at an American Apparel store. Fitting. This British electropop group's self-titled album is super fun to dance. Dancing aside, I relate to the lyrics of "Bulletproof" so much that it's my official anti-love anthem of the year.
4. Miley Cyrus - "Party in the USA"
Once upon a time, I hated Miley. But now...well ok, now I just rock out to this one song of hers. And I have a feeling many of you have this song in your top 5 jams of '09 as well (if you're cool enough to admit it).
3. Rihanna - "Hard"
OMG I LOVE RIRI. SHE'S SO HOT AND BADASS. FUCK CHRIS BROWN. RIHANNA ROCKS.
2. Jay-Z ft. Alicia Keys - "Empire State of Mind"
Aahh the song I refuse to let LoquaciousMuse hear. Why? Because she already has an unhealthy obsession with NYC and the last thing I want is to further fuel her fanaticism. This song even makes me want to move to New York every time I listen to it. I understand that the city sells itself but Jay-Z does a really fabulous job of selling it as well. Jay-Z just sells. He's money. This song is legit. DO NOT WATCH THIS VIDEO LOQUACIOUSMUSE!
1. Lady Gaga - "Bad Romance"
2009 was the year of Gaga. And I hope much of 2010 will be Lady Gaga's year too. She is our generation's Madonna (I'm not much of a Madonna fan but I think the comparison works). Whatever Lady Gaga does, sings, or wears is genuinely fascinating. She's like an unconventional performance art piece that has miraculously managed to gain mainstream success and fame. "Bad Romance" is a ridiculous song...I don't know why I love it or even why I love Lady Gaga. But I do know that as her best single of the year, it reigns over all other jams. So let's turn it up and dance!
See full post
Monday, December 21, 2009
The thing about Up in the Air is - it was a wonderfully written, well made, entertaining yet melancholy movie, with a beautiful performance from Vera Farmiga (she stole the movie for me) and Clooney's most vulnerable effort yet, but that's just not enough this year, a year when SO many movies I've seen have provided me with a powerful, visceral, emotional experience. Just to name a few that went there for me (and this is just me!)- Hurt Locker, Avatar, Where the Wild Things Are, Fantastic Mr Fox, Inglorious Basterds, Up, D9, even Princess & the Frog! These movies all reached beyond the average voyeuristic relationship that is formed between audience & movie and became actual experiences for me. Which seems like it should be a given, but is actually quite hard to come by with most movies. The fact that SO MANY films accomplished that this year, leaves Up in the Air out in the cold as far as my top ten list is concerned. See full post
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Our condolences and sympathies to her family. We're very sorry for your loss. See full post
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
My absolutely gorgeous freshman year roommate from NYU, Nicole Pacent, is one of the stars of the web series Anyone But Me, (from the creators of The L Word, which just began its second season) and has been nominated for SheWire's Gay Woman of the Year!!
Here's the site's write up,
She’s out, she’s proud, she’s adorable! One of the stars of the breakout lesbian-themed Web series Anyone But Me, Pacent casually interjected that she was gay in real life in an interview with SheWired last May, making her lesbian fans very happy to have another role model! Being the great sport that she is, Pacent even accompanied SheWired while we livestreamed Christopher Street West’s LA Gay Pride last June. For those who didn’t get enough of the New Yorker, Anyone But Me’s highly anticipated second season premiered Dec. 15th.
Bad ass! She's nominated among the likes of Lady Gaga, Cherry Jones, Jane Lynch & Rachel Maddow, tough competition, so I encourage you to head to SheWire and give her a vote! You can vote for as many women as you want so just include Nicole Pacent in your vote and we'll be square :) See full post
As you may recall, back in July, Damon, Carlton and Paul Sheer staged a bit where Sheer presented our lovely show-runners with a velvet painting consisting of, well, Damon, Carlton, and a Polar Bear. Thus began what has become a source of CRAZY for most Lost fans. Or at least, for me. See, every few weeks, a new limited edition Lost art print was released and every time, they all sold out before I could buy one. So when I heard that there was going to be an event at Gallery 1988 with all the art on display, plus special surprises, OBVIOUSLY I was gonna go.
Sure enough, our line-waiting efforts were rewarded with a free badass poster on card stock, none of this flimsy shit, and the chance to buy any of the original artwork, some crazy magnetized figurines or the best thing ever - a shirt version of the Olly Moss Locke print. Damon, Carlton, Bob Orci & Alex Kurtzman were all in attendance, along with tons of the artists behind the prints and other behind the scenes Lost folk. At one point I walked by Orci, Kurtzman & Doc Jensen from EW having a chat and it made my geek heart oh so warm.
Below are some photos from the exhibit, featuring brand new art & some shots of Damon and Carlton. Sans polar bear.
I lied! Polar bear!
One of my favorite new pieces
More after the jump!
The crowd inside - can you spot Doc Jensen?
Ronie Midfew Arts!
I liked this guy's shirt
Showdown pieces. Charlie/Coke, Sayid/Ben - what the hell is the third one? Were a TON of these, all of which can be seen in the complete flickr album. Amazing stuff.
Damon & Carlton being interviewed in between chatting/signing with fans!
Magnetized crazy figurines of Locke & Hurley going for $815!
The various stations on the island
Locke being badass
Best shirt EVAR
Orci, Kurtzman and Doc Jensen
Check out more photos of the event & the original art here on my Flickr
See full post
Saturday, December 12, 2009
Disclaimer: This is from the POV of someone (me) who has interacted solely with members of the Academy who are cool, progressive & vote for what they actually love instead of what what many are pressured into voting for by studio campaigns, critics picks & general Oscar prognostication
Let's get something straight here. I LOVE the Oscars. Love. Every year since I was old enough to have an appreciation of movies, I have made a point to see as many Oscar nominated films as possible, every year. This soon evolved into seeing every movie that COULD be nominated for an Oscar, getting the bulk of my viewing in before the Academy released their noms. I like making my top 10 lists, my top 25 lists and up until this year, my top 5 list, which has always taken careful thought & lots of deliberation, mostly due to having to fight against the influence of Golden Globe winners, Critics choices, etc. My #1 movie of 2005 was Shaun of the Dead. My top five last year consisted of a Swedish Vampire movie & a British movie about a genuinely happy woman from one of my least favorite directors of all time. In 2001, my top 5 was Lord of the Rings and 4 movies that began with the letter M, that are also all considered genre flicks in my book. I've never appreciated being told what to like by critics, but this year, I feel a line is being crossed...
See, every year, the internet gets bigger, but smaller at the same time. More and more blogs get recognition, more sites become well known, more bloggers are invited to screenings, earlier and earlier, so the word gets out sooner and sooner. Opinions are instantly formed and blasted across Twitter and within hours, we have a new front-runner.
Take the past two days. Thursday night my Twitter exploded with 140 character reviews of Avatar, which screened for press for the first time that evening. They were all GLOWING, (save for the seemingly universal thought that the dialogue sucks and the story could have been slightly better) and by Friday morning there were blog posts galore positing that Avatar had a chance not only of being nominated for Best Picture, but winning. That's funny, cause you know who HASN'T seen Avatar yet? ACADEMY MEMBERS.
The rest after the jump
Let's take a look at the Up in the Air, the so called front runner to win Best Picture right now. In December. For weeks, if not months, I've been hearing that this is the movie to beat, it's fantastic, amazing performances, etc etc. But...Paramount only sent the film out to Academy members YESTERDAY. So now, members remotely connected to the Internet at all are going into this movie with incredibly high expectations and perhaps with a bit of a chip on their shoulders. Instead of getting to discover this gem for themselves, they are acutely aware that they are watching the front runner...for the awards THEY nominate. A film that was considered a front-runner before it even opened in theaters or had a single screening for the Academy. Does something not seem off here?
This just adds fuel to the fire that's been steadily rising in my universe of Oscar prognostication. I used to have so much fun guessing the Oscar nominations, but a lot of that fun has been taken away, a little more, year by year, by not only Internet influence, but Critic's Awards.
Children of Men (and frankly, Shaun of the Dead) is now highly regarded as one of the best films of the decade, yet was hardly recognized at the Oscars. I credit this with the fact that it hadn't appeared on any other Critic's list, so what chance did it have? ::Also, Universal, grumble grumble:: Academy members thought, "Oh, it's not on anyone else's best list, so I guess I don't have to watch it" meanwhile, those who DID watch it, had it in their #1 nominating slot. Jennifer Hudson said some lines and sang a song well and because all the other Critics chose her, the Academy certainly had to, right? I'm so sick of this direction the Oscars are heading, where they simply fill in what was outlined by everyone else who didn't work their asses off in this industry to make it into the Academy. (No offense to us bloggers & you critics, you've worked incredibly hard to get where you are, I'm simply saying the Academy should get to do the job they were voted in the Academy to do and that's becoming increasingly difficult.)
Don't get me wrong, politics have been playing a huge role in the Oscars for a long time, especially in the 21st century (Julia Roberts over Ellen Burstyn, anyone?), but we're almost to a place of no return. Up in the Air is officially fucked. Either it's been way too hyped up and a movie that could have taken every Academy member by surprise is swept under the rug as "overrated" or it goes on to win Best Picture and once again, the Oscars are grossly predictable and the new 10 movie nominating format has done nothing.
Ah hah. But there IS something changing this year. The Academy saw what was happening and decided to get old school in an attempt to defy the new school. 10 nominees. If you look at the Best Pic nominees of this decade, they all consist of the following: the epic, the indie fav, the biopic, the musical, the period piece/British fare, the arty farty, the scorsese/eastwood/spielberg or a double up like last years Milk Frost/Nixon double bio pic snooze fest (Sidenote: I enjoyed both films). Now take a look at the 90s - the films DO NOT follow this format to a tee, often the nominees may GASP actually have been the best of the year. In the 2009 Oscars, as we enter a new decade, I'm hoping we may see a marriage of the aughts and the 90s in the Best Pic nominees...sure, there will still be at least 5 noms that are selected out of guilt, or being cornered, or politics, but what if there are also 5 that are ACTUALLY favorites?! Perhaps an animated movie or two! A non-epic genre movie or two! The best romantic comedy in years?! God forbid, a movie directed by a woman?! Movies based on children's books?! A doc about an aging metal group?! A brilliantly disturbing Korean vampire movie?! Okay, maybe I'm aiming too high bringing Thirst into the picture, but you get what I mean.
If you think I'm way off base here, please comment below. I've just been having lots of thoughts on the matter lately so I thought I'd throw them out to you loyal readers & see what you think. There are tons of holes in my argument, I'm sure, I'm not going for an air tight dissection of the movie industry here, just looking to encourage thought & discussion.
And hey, just for fun, if we follow the format this decade has set up for us, the top 5 would be:
Invictus (Eastwood/Biopic. Haven't seen yet)
Up in the Air (Indie fav. Haven't seen yet)
Nine (Musical/Epic. Haven't seen yet)
An Education (British Period Piece - 60s counts!. Seen, loved)
A Serious Man (Arty farty. Seen, loved)
....boring, right? Can you think of some other boring mix a 2009 top 5 would bring us, using those categories?
What other categories do you think the aughts were prone to? War movies? Message movies? World War 2/Holocaust specific movies? Which years in the aughts are the exceptions that prove the rule? Was 1994 the best top 5 ever nominated?
Please comment below. Very interested in your thoughts.
Update 12/15 And then there are times when the buzz sets up a scenario that I would DIE to see - check out Erik Lundegaard's tally and check out who is sweeping the Best Director category. It's time for a woman to win Best Director and since in my opinion, based on what I've seen so far this year, she IS the best director, things are looking good. Almost makes me want Cameron to be nominated too, just so he can lose to his ex-wife.
See full post
Saturday, December 5, 2009
I have had the immense privilege of getting to know Mr. Wein over the past few years. We've talked about character creation and played glow in the dark put put. Easy to talk to, good humored, and possessing a sense of sartorial elegance engineered to set fangirls a-swooning and fanboys a-coveting (of his embroidered denim jacket, who am I kidding, I want one so badly), our acquaintance has been completely freaking awesome.
If one were to compile a list of creative persons who deserved their own day on which to be kept holy, Len would doubtless rank pretty high. As the creator of some of the most popular characters in comic books, including arguably the most popular character in comic books (if you haven't picked up on this blog's Marvel bias yet, you can go home, now), Len changed the nature of who heroes could be yet still achieve wild successful.
Swamp Thing. Nightcrawler. Storm. Colossus. Jamie Fox. Lucius Fox. Clayface. Wolverine. Collaborating with some of comics greatest artists and editors, at time acting as editor-in-chief himself, Len has created all of the aforementioned characters- to name a few.
Wolverine. Conceive of a world without grumpy, sideburn stylin' Logan in it. You don't want to, do you? Well, of course you don't. You know else doesn't? That would be HUGH JACKMAN- -shown here shaking the scribe's hand, after leaping from the Hall H stage at Comic Con Int'l San Diego.
Because he couldn't contain his appreciation.
And let us not forget that the man edited Watchmen, and did such a good job of it that you cannot on any given page see his touch. Maybe that's just my personal criteria for what makes an awesome editor. But he damn well met it.
Well, kudos to you, LA. And Len, walk around with a nametag and a calendar because people, they need to know how awesome you are, since we all do. For you comic aficionados out there looking to give back this holiday season, Mark Evanier has set up a list at his blog of comics Len deserves to get back again, after suffering a fire that tragically consumed his home and invaluable collection of original works. If I had any of them, I would send them all, but I think if I start mailing him Fabian Nicieza X-Men issues, he's going to get offended or weirded out.
Len shown here with Phoenix, Rogue, Tony Stark and a chick in a ball gown cradling the ashes of Michael Sheard. Courtesy of P. Verrant. See full post
You heard right!
December 5th is now Len Wein Day in LA County! How effing cool is that?
If you don't know who Len Wein is, you are very silly, but I suppose I'll forgive you cause you are learning now! He created Wolverine. If you don't know who Wolverine is, I don't understand your existence.
Here's a blurb about him from his wiki page,
Len Wein is an American comic book writer and editor best known for co-creating DC Comics' Swamp Thing and Marvel Comics' Wolverine, and for helping revive the Marvel superhero team the X-Men (including the co-creation of Nightcrawler, Storm, and Colossus). Additionally, he was the editor for writer Alan Moore and illustrator Dave Gibbons' influential DC miniseries Watchmen.
Wein was inducted into the Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame in 2008.
Here is Hugh Jackman shaking Len Wein's hand at Comic Con 2008. Bad ass.
So how should you celebrate this important day? How about by attending the ceremony that officiates all this business? Info below,
1. LEN WEIN - creator of Wolverine, Storm, Collossus, Nightcrawler, Swamp Thing. Editor of Watchmen. Len will receive the official proclamation from the County of Los Angeles signifying today as the Official LEN WEIN day in LA County.
2. 8 popular artists including Joe Benitez (Titans, Fathom), Christian Gossett (Red Star, Star Wars) and many more, signing and SKETCHING for charity.
3. Original Art from the book displayed in our gallery, your only opportunity to see this art before it's sold on Ebay.
4. Refreshments , including some adult beverages, will be supplied on the house.
Come by on Saturday December 5th, from 7pm to 10pm and help us celebrate release of this amazing new book with an exciting multi-creator book Signing event. Meet creator of Wolverine, LEN WEIN, our Special Guest of Honor, as well as a VERY TALENTED Group of artists who had participated in creation of this book.
Artists include : Joe Benitez, Danny Miki, Bill Morrison, Dave Bullock, Christian Gossett, Aaron Sowd, Chris Moreno and Scott Koblish. The is is not complete, as there is a possibility that several other artists who could not commit to the event, will attend and sign.
Len and the artists involved will autograph the Wolverine 100 Covers books, and many of the artists will do sketches, with all proceeds going to Hero Initiative.
We will be displaying the covers to the book produced by many of the artists involved in the Gallery, and will provide refreshments (including alcohol drinks, to anyone 21 and over) and snacks.
You can also RSVP for the event by going to our Facebook event page:
Yeah. You should go to that. If I weren't seeing Jeffrey Combs in Nevermore tonight, I'd be there!
PS Click here to follow Len Wein on Twitter! See full post
Friday, December 4, 2009
So follow the link to Tavis' full interview with Jason where he discusses working on Fantastic Mr. Fox, his bromance with Wes Anderson, Coppola family outings, and his jacket being too tight.
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/video/flv/generic.html?s=tavi08s3626qce3 See full post
oookey dokey, so now that i’ve seen allllmooost everything, i figured i’d take another stab at what’s gonna be nominated for best picture. i do this not because i care, but because it’s a really quick way of pulling together a deceptively substantial post. kinda. i mean, it’s definitely quick, but the substantial part is a pretty tenuous argument. at this point i’m just typing to make it seem that much more substantial. because i care. annnnddd the universe implodes upon itself. okay, *said like mario* HEEREE WEE GOOO!*
okay, let’s start with guaranteed nominations:
1. The Hurt Locker (DAVID MORSE ALERT! but otherwise… pretty good)
2. Invictus (surprisingly involving)
3. Precious (this movie made me want to Mo’Nique myself in the face. and no, i don’t know what that means, but it probably involves a television hurled at my head).
4. Inglourious Basterds: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire (uh-mazing)
5. Up in the Air (does it’s thing, but methinks Reitman can’t make a capital GREAT great film)
the rest, i’d bet your life on. but not my life. my life is too good to be determined by the cussing Oscars.
6. Up (10 nominees means Up makes the cut… i theenk?)
7. An Education (meh)
8. A Single Man (haven’t seen it, but… perhaps?)
9. Nine. but only because this is a total impulse nomination. DDL slays dragons in this thing but it’s not much of an experience.
10. Avatar. haven’t seen it (duh), but… it’s the best guess around.
other possibilities include The Last Station, Bright Star, and A Serious Man. If the Lovely Bones is nominated for best picture, i’m going all Shoshanna on the Kodak theater. but it won’t. it can’t, right? cause there’s awful, and then there’s AWFUL. oh, and then there’s The Lovely Cussing Bones. cuss. cuss. balls. cuss, i hated that movie.See full post
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Fittingly, that was also the day we posted our Lady Gaga video (which has now reached over 1,000,000 hits on you tube!)
I just wanna extend a huge thank you to many people.
First, our regular contributers - EruditeChick, david, Castling, Konoko Bailey, Stealth Bear, & Da7e. You guys rock and this blog wouldn't be nearly as fun without you. In fact, it would probably just suck. Readers, take the time to follow these awesome folk on Twitter!
Second, a few of our most loyal supporters, some of whom have already contributed and others who will hopefully write with us some day - Sarah, Scarletscribe, Garrett, genjadeshade & Erin.
Lastly a HUGE thank you to our fellow geek bloggers & our readers. All of you are our compadres in geekery. We read every comment, every tweet and every post from your own bog that you guys send our way and I'm thrilled that you find some worth in our blabbering.
In honor of this birthday, here are some links to posts from our first month, November 2008.
Five Ways To Avoid Screwing Up Y: The Last Man Self-explanatory and still applies one year later! Only thing that's changed is who I think should play Yorick...
My first ever 90210 Semi-Live Blogging post. Actually makes you realize how far the show has come. Well, at least the product placement has subsided dramatically. That's a step in the right direction!
I prove to you that every product ever created has a Star Wars version in this post - Star Wars Everything
I detail my experience seeing Twilight at midnight
david's first ever Oscar Watch post!
Eruditechick wonders about the leading man/leading woman double standard.
I name all the actors on TV as of 11/08 that are British, Irish, Scottish, Australian etc. who were cast in American TV shows and asked to use American accents. Grrr.
Hope you enjoyed this trip to the past & you enjoy our second year just as much as you've enjoyed the first. Thanks for reading! See full post
Hang on. Let's all re-read that bit about Martin McDonagh and them scream in joy together.
That felt good. Moving on.
At this concert, Castling and I turned the good ol' reliable iPhone camera on at the exact right moment and captured a fantastic 10 minutes, broken up into three videos below.
The first is Reeve Carney's first public announcement to his fans that he will be taking on the role of Peter Parker on Broadway next year. Here, we're also treated to some fantastic news - since the entire Carney band will be in the orchestra, Carney will be performing occasional midnight shows for their NY fans!
The second, is Reeve's solo cover of the first part of Bohemian Rhapsody.
The third is Carney's amazing cover of I Want You/She's So Heavy.
Enjoy! Videos after the jump.
See full post
listomania! which is like “lisztomania” but a lot less insidiously catchy. seriously, that is like the chlamydia of pop songs, you know? i hope you don’t know. cause that would be gross. also, chlamydia is one of those words like “cemetery” where you think it’s gonna require some caraazyy spelling, but really you just have to stick to your guns. sound it out.
anyhoo, now that i’ve seen Sherlock Holmes, Invictus, and The Lovely Bones (don’t talk to me about The Lovely Bones. you wouldn’t like me when you talk to me about The Lovely Bones), i feel like i’m ready to get this hogwash out of the way. there are - as always - a handful of films on my radar that i completely failed to see, and i’m still waiting for A Single Man and Avatar… but i’m in hour 39843 of grad school application hell, and i’ll post what i want when I want, dammit.
oh, also, Hunger doesn’t count cause it was on my 2008 list. but it would have been number 1. sucks. also, Up in the Air could somehow sneak in but methinks i need to see it again before weighing in. astute / deranged / my favorite readers will notice that this doesn’t always jive with my top 100+ of the decade list, to which i say… what, are you one of those fitness freaks? go fuck yourself.
okay, let’s do this thing:
25.) Invictus (dir. Clint Eastwood)
24.) The Hurt Locker (dir. Kathryn Bigelow)
23.) Tulpan (dir. Sergei Dvortsevoy)
22.) Mother (dir. Bong Joon-Ho)
21.) Julia (dir. Erick Zonka)
20.) Coraline (dir. Henry Selick)
19.) Adventureland (dir. Greg Mottola)
18.) A Prophet (dir. Jacques Audiard)
17.) Fish Tank (dir. Andrea Arnold)
16.) Lebanon (dir. Samuel Maoz)
15.) Where the Wild Things Are (dir. Spike Jonze)
14.) Antichrist (dir. Lars Von Trier)
13.) Revanche (dir. Goetz Spielmann)
12.) Fantastic Mr. Fox (dir. Wes Anderson)
11.) Thirst (dir. Park Chan-Wook)
10.) A Serious Man (dir. Coen bros.)
9.) Goodbye Solo (dir. Ramin Bahrani)
8.) Up (dir. Pete Docter)
7.) Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans (dir. He who is too glorious to be named)
6.) Inglourious Basterds (dir. Quentin Tarantino)
5.) Tokyo Sonata (dir. Kiyoshi Kurosawa)
4.) The White Ribbon (dir. Michael Haneke)
3.) 35 Shots of Rum (dir. Claire Denis)
2.) Still Walking (dir. Hirokazu Kore-eda)
1.) Silent Light (dir. Carlos Reygadas)
p.s. click here for a ridiculously ridiculous NSFW version of the poster above (is a giant phallus ejaculating a sharp spike of some kind safe for work? i’m unemployed. i don’t know these things).See full post
Monday, November 30, 2009
Basically, you get two shirts for the price of one, and they could ACTUALLY BE ONE OF THE ONES YOU MISSED OUT ON BUYING THE FIRST TIME AROUND!!! See, TeeFury sells one T Shirt a day and once the 24 hours is up, that shirt is gone forever. But now, because of this grab bag deal, I might be getting the Trap shirt or the LolFather shirt! OH HAPPY DAY.
To buy some awesome surprise shirts for yourself, head over to TeeFury! See full post
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
oops, i kinda sorta maybe forgot Cache. but that happens to the best of us… by which i mean it happened to me. wouldn’t have cracked my top ten, though. also… sorry Hellboy II. alright, let’s end this lugubrious trail of tears… after a RECAP!
115.) GOODBYE, DRAGON INN
113.) REQUIEM FOR A DREAM
112.) RUSSIAN ARK
110.) LAST LIFE IN THE UNIVERSE
108.) CRIMSON GOLD
107.) THE AURA
105.) ENCOUNTERS AT THE END OF THE WORLD
104.) MONSOON WEDDING
103.) THE OTHERS
102.) FISH TANK
101.) INLGORIOUS BASTERDS
99.) WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE / ANTICHRIST
98.) THE ASSASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES BY THE COWARD ROBERT FORD
97.) A CHRISTMAS TALE
96.) THE TRIPLETS OF BELLEVILLE
92.) LET THE RIGHT ONE IN
91.) RACHEL GETTING MARRIED
90.) CITY OF GOD
89.) BATTLE ROYALE
88.) PUNCH-DRUNK LOVE
86.) GOODBYE SOLO
85.) TURNING GATE
83.) KISS KISS, BANG BANG
82.) MARIE ANTOINETTE
81.) THE BEAT THAT MY HEART SKIPPED
80.) MYSTERIOUS SKIN
79.) CASINO ROYALE
78.) THE TWILIGHT SAMURAI
77.) SHAUN OF THE DEAD
76.) LINDA LINDA LINDA
75.) THIS IS ENGLAND
74.) LUST, CAUTION
73.) THE DEATH OF MR. LAZARESCU
72.) THE DEPARTED
71.) WALTZ WITH BASHIR
70.) THE MAN WHO WASN’T THERE / A SERIOUS MAN
69.) SYMPATHY FOR MR. VENGEANCE
68.) THE FIVE OBSTRUCTIONS
67.) 28 DAYS LATER
66.) IN THE BEDROOM
65.) INTO GREAT SILENCE
64.) UP / RATATOUILLE
63.) NOBODY KNOWS
62.) THE WHITE RIBBON
61.) THE DIVING BELL AND THE BUTTERFLY
59.) HOUSE OF FLYING DAGGERS
58.) THE PIANIST
57.) 4 MONTHS, 3 WEEKS, AND 2 DAYS
56.) THE WORLD
55.) MEMORIES OF MURDER
54.) KILL BILL
52.) TROPICAL MALADY
51.) SPRING, SUMMER, FALL, WINTER… AND SPRING
50.) THE PRESTIGE
49.) Y TU MAMA TAMBIEN
48.) TALK TO HER
47.) NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN
46.) THE WHITE DIAMOND
44.) ME AND YOU AND EVERYONE WE KNOW
43.) MY WINNIPEG
42.) TOKYO SONATA
41.) MEMENTO / SYMPATHY FOR LADY VENGEANCE
40.) BEFORE SUNSET
39.) BOWLING FOR COLUMBINE
38.) THREE TIMES
37.) LITTLE CHILDREN
36.) CHILDREN OF MEN
35.) THE LIVES OF OTHERS
34.) SILENT LIGHT
33.) MAN ON WIRE
31.) 35 SHOTS OF RUM / STILL WALKING
30.) THE WIND WILL CARRY US
29.) WHAT TIME IS IT THERE?
28.) CATCH ME IF YOU CAN
27.) LAKE OF FIRE
24.) MULHOLLAND DRIVE
23.) IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE
21.) SONGS FROM THE SECOND FLOOR
19.) LORD OF THE RINGS
18.) FAT GIRL
17.) ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND
16.) BLIND MOUNTAIN
15.) 25TH HOUR
14.) 40 YEAR-OLD VIRGIN
13.) SPIRITED AWAY
12.) SECRET SUNSHINE
11.) GRIZZLY MAN
Top Ten after the jump!
10.) BRAND UPON THE BRAIN! (dir. Guy Maddin)
poor Guy Maddin’s mother. an apocryphal tyrant tempered by nostalgia in My Winnipeg, here - as the overlord of an island lighthouse in which sinister activities are afoot - she’s a pure Freudian monster. the most fantastical of his 16mm fever-dreams (and the one stuffed with the most deliriously indelible of inter-titles), Brand Upon the Brain! finds another cinematic distillation of Guy Maddin revisiting his supposed childhood home and finding himself overrun by memories replete with wild inventions (the aerophone!) and psycho-sexual confusion (Chance and Wendy Hale!), and ties them altogether in a bow fashioned from the forgotten etchings of Edward Gorey or perhaps an Arthur Conan Doyle story deemed too steeped in the fog of memory to ever be published. the relentless voiceover was recorded by a series of performers (and then performed in choice venues by whatever madcap talent Maddin could summon for the evening, including castrato), but my favorite is Isabella Rossellini’s, for she is an actress most simpatico with Maddin, and her spirited and mellifluous cadence is intoxicating. a mess of metaphors that resolves itself into a tender reconstitution of both young men and young film, Brand Upon the Brain! is a singular work from a singular filmmaker.
9.) ALMOST FAMOUS: UNTITLED DIRECTOR’S CUT (dir. Cameron Crowe)
the movie cameron crowe has already lived and was born to make, Almost Famous captures on film a time captured by music. an exuberant and heartfelt elegy for the world that shaped him, this rock autobiography is rich with loving detail and absolutely bursting at the seams with enthusiasm. crowe’s natural proclivity to focus on his proxy (embodied by patrick fugit in an unconventional role so complete it seems to have robbed him of any other significant gigs) allows the film to suffuse every corner of its frames with vibrant period details that contribute to a sense of community rather than hollow spectacle… the ambitions, archetypes, and trajectories on display here are all familiar, but when seen through the wide, naive eyes of a too-young journalist it all feels new again… and the details. the details. this film works and works so well because of the immaculate details, all of which share a harmonious timbre of sly importance… a happy ending is never in doubt - the suspense lies in how kid Crowe will navigate a dreamworld where he seems to be the only one who can hear the music for which everyone ostensibly shares a communal love. and it’s the details that have me singling out the extended cut of the film, in which myriad scenes that don’t contribute to the plot allow for a much fuller portrait of the kid’s loves… the more precise Crowe gets, the more broadly relatable his passions become. i mean… i could go on, i could write essays on Philip Seymour Hoffman’s ridiculous Lester Bangs or the diction of Terry Chen’s Ben Fong-Torres, but i imagine you probably love this movie as much as it loves itself.
8.) CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON (dir. Ang Lee)
an unlikely masterpiece from an erratic filmmaker who is almost always better when he’s not working in english, Ang Lee’s emotionally charged surprisingly wu xia epic not only channeled the great King Hu, but revitalized his films in a broad and painterly melodrama of tremendous feeling. perhaps the most commendable element of Lee’s film is that amidst its unspeakably stunning vistas and immaculate choreography (seriously… the fight sequences here are the stuff of hostile ballet, and Lee has the good sense to not interfere Yuen Woo-Ping’s fluid blocking with lazy cuts, relying instead on glorious long shots), the film has supreme confidence in its characters and story… which is a rarity for the genre. the film takes an expected poetic license with gravity, but rather than do so simply because of convention, it explores how genre tropes might better express character… namely, the various extents to which the characters are burdened by their choices. it honestly smacks of Milan Kundera. the love story is fierce, believable, and legitimately erotic, and the devastating reservations of the tale’s elder statesmen are deeply affecting without ever falling prey to nonsense. add in an unforgettable score and the star-making performance of Zhang Ziyi and you have one of the most surprisingly yet deservedly oscar nominated films ever. for realz.
7.) THE SON (dir. Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne)
methinks i might have mentioned at the verrry start of the fortnight that i never quite jived with the Dardenne brothers this weekend. well… every rule has its exceptions, even if few of them are as indelibly powerful as The Son. the story is excessively simple - par for the course for the Belgian duo - and to reveal too much would be positively criminal… the relentlessly vigilant and bobbing camera (never anchored to anything but the DP’s staunch shoulders) is most trying to keep pace with the aggressive steps of a man (Dardenne regular Olivier Gourmet who delivers one of the single most complete performances i’ve ever seen), who imbues juvenile delinquents with the craft of carpentry. a tight-lipped man whose palpable yet initially unexplored anger seems to course through his muscles (the leather strap that encircles his chest seems there less to support him than to keep him contained)… Gourmet’s absorbing performances is a resolutely physical one… the Dardenne’s are obsessed with labor, and communicate far more effectively through the protocol of motion than through spare dialogue. he has a new ward about whom he seems conflicted. what unspools from there is… i mean, to even describe the emotional territory it mines would be ruinous. suffice it to say that the Dardennes… here… it’s literary filmmaking at its most kinetic and spiritual - they tell stories in a way that exploits cinema’s unique capacities for deceptively naturalistic filmmaking that mocks the very notion of verite… i can’t say much more. this is a concise and perfect film you will never forget. and there’s one shot where Gourmet is driving and says “I’ve gone too far” and looks backwards as he puts the car in reverse that is pretttttyyy much the best thing ever.
6.) THERE WILL BE BLOOD (dir. Paul Thomas Anderson)
paul thomas anderson’s stab at evolving from wunderkind to titan was more than a little successful. i’m not gonna bother here, but… lesson learned: if you’re gonna make a movie about a single-minded oil tycoon, hire jonny greenwood to provide the score.
5.) THE BEST OF YOUTH (dir. Marco Tullio Giordana)
if you haven’t seen Best of Youth, see it before you see any of the other films on this list. as one friend to whom i recently recommended it said after her first viewing: “I am in pieces. I will be in pieces forever.” at first glance that might seem a bit much, but methinks she was being a bit understated about it - Best of Youth doesn’t fuck around.
some films (e.g. The Son) feel like classic novellas, whereas something like the 6-hour Best of Youth (originally devised as a mini-series for Italian television) have the breadth and emotional scope of fine literature. Giordana’s film is intimate, almost unspeakably moving family saga (seriously… you’ve cried more this week than I have in the past 15 years, and one moment towards the end of this film utterly devastated me) about two brothers on divergent paths, that humanizes italy’s turbulent half-century in the years following WWII without ever feeling reductive. episodic and addictive, hugely broad while also hauntingly nuanced… this is rather simple meat & potatoes filmmaking that tells a wonderful story perfectly. it’s one of my favorite films.
4.) YI YI (dir. Edward Yang)
ahh Yi Yi. Taiwanese master Edward Yang’s final finished film before he died a few years ago and not old enough, Yi Yi is cut from the same cloth as Best of Youth in that it’s a multi-generational saga of a family defined by its decisive individualism - unlike the latter work, however, Yi Yi’s narrative is restricted to the confines of a single, occasionally tumultuous year. it’s hard to call it concise at a running time of 3 hours (especially as it seems to span entire dimensions) but at a gentle, ruminative pace (contemplative but never brooding) it seems to slip right on by. a wise glimpse of modern Taipei and the quiet crises of its denizens, the film is anchored by a family man’s curiosity as to what his life might have been with another woman. while every member of his clan gets their fair share, my affection is largely reserved for the family’s youngest son Yang-Yang, an adorable rapscallion with a penchant for photographing the backs of heads so as to reveal to his subjects their most intimately obvious mystery. while an easy metaphor for the film as a whole, it’s also an entirely appropriate one, as Yang’s camera (with yang-yang and his camera a clear proxy) distilling existential crises into domestic doses. the great issei ogata shines as a Japanese software developer named Ota - the time NJ (oops, he be the protagonist) spends with him during a mid-film sojourn to Tokyo is absolutely rapturous. in such limited space i can’t do much more than to draw your attention to the title, which translates literally as “one one” but more colloquially as “a one and a two.” the character couplet “- -“ can be translated as “a one” and also as “two.” given the often perpendicular orbits of the diffuse lives in Yang’s final family, this sly pun essentially delineates the various strata of human perspective within which the film operates.
Yang’s film was most fortunately immortalized in the Criterion Collection, as it’s a work that I very much look forward to growing with and filling in. from a decade overrun with astounding and inventive Asian cinema, Edward Yang’s stoic and reserved yet dauntingly ambitious saga was the best.
3.) WERCKMEISTER HARMONIES (dir. Bela Tarr)
if the opening sequence and the agreeable wikipedia description on top of the film’s lofty position on my list don’t have you convinced to see, reconsider, or continue to admire the austere and enigmatic genius of Bela Tarr’s Werckmeister Harmonies… there ain’t much more i can do. this is how the world ends: not with a bang, but with a whale in a truck.
Werckmeister Harmonies (Hungarian: Werckmeister harmóniák) is a 2000 Hungarian film directed by Béla Tarr, based on the novel The Melancholy of Resistance (1989), by László Krasznahorkai. Shot in black and white and composed of only thirty-nine languidly paced shots, the film describes the aimlessness and anomie of a small town on the Hungarian plain that falls under the fascist influence of a sinister traveling circus lugging the immense body of a whale in its tow. A young man named János tries to keep order in the increasingly restless town even as he begins to lose his faith in the unnatural and disordered universe from which God Himself seems to have disappeared.
The title refers to the baroque musical theorist Andreas Werckmeister. György Eszter, a major character in the film, gives a monologue propounding a theory that Werckmeister’s harmonic principles are responsible for aesthetic and philosophical problems in all music since, which need to be undone by a new theory of tuning and harmony.
2.) DANCER IN THE DARK (dir. Lars Von Trier)
DAVID MORSE ALERT.
i’m convinced that Dancer in the Dark is the greatest musical the cinema has ever known. not exactly in the tradition of Arthur Freed, Lars Von Trier’s sadistic tale is that of Selma - a good woman with bad vision (Bjork, in what i unequivocally consider the single best performance of the decade… that the academy awards failed to acknowledge her work is maddening and particularly damning proof that the Oscars are shrill, meaningless, and out-of-touch… to be generous) who tirelessly works at a factory in order to raise the funds necessary to afford her son a vision-saving operation. the spangly timbres and lush tones of hollywood musicals offer Selma her only solace from a menial and seldom-rewarding existence in the Pacific Northwest… a world ever more complicated by the affections of her doltish co-worker (Peter Stormare, killing it) and a duplicitous neighbor (the one true David Morse). although it initially appears as if Von Trier is content to settle into the grooves of dogme 95’s dane-o-realism, around the 45-minute mark the violent machinery of the factory at which Selma works begins to churn out a faint toe-tapping beat… and through the eyes of several dozen cameras, Selma explodes into song. accompanied by ingeniously organic choreography and one of the several brilliant songs Bjork contributed to the soundtrack (her cuts here are on par with her finest work… and that’s saying a LOT coming from me), Selma’s fantasia of an escape is made palpable and dangerously consuming. later musical sequences - all of which nimbly express Selma’s faintly fanciful inner-being while transcending it entirely - involve as many as 100 cameras, so as to capture the action from every conceivable angle, a tactic which tacitly communicates the completeness of Selma’s delusions. while the film eventually resolves itself into an extremely grueling experience that ends on a particularly deadening note (seriously makes Breaking the Waves feel like a charmer), Von Trier’s increasingly visceral saga uses blunt force to hammer home abstract ideas… gratuitously paralyzing his audience as if opening their pores, allowing his take on human exploitation, capital punishment, and the discourse between culture and fantasy to seep right on in. you’ll never count to 107 quite the same way, again.
END OF DAVID MORSE ALERT.
1.) LOST IN TRANSLATION (dir. Sofia Coppola)
different films resonate with different people. that’s just the way of it. some films were just made for certain people, and it’s the beauty of the medium that you never quite know where they’re going to come from. Abbas Kiarostami’s Close-Up - an Iranian slice of meta-cinema from the early 90s - turned my world upside down at 10 AM one Tuesday morning. my affinity for Sofia Coppola’s sophomore film was a tad more predictable. I have a storied affection with Japan that repeated trips have largely deprived of fetishistic qualities, am more than a little interested in the dialogue between romance and film, and go all quivery at the sight of a simple and confident composition painted with a soft palette. also, i take my films with a heavy pinch of longing and wordlessly unfulfilled desire, thanks. i hate to go all aintitcoolnews on you guys, but my relationship with this film is a decidedly personal one.
while i’d happily prattle on about how there isn’t a single fucking frame in this impeccably edited film which doesn’t in some way contribute to a feeling of isolated discordance, my initial response was purely guttural. sure, i was lulled by lance acord’s immaculately fitting cinematography and the perfect musical accompaniment provided by the likes of KEVIN MOTHERFUCKING SHIELDS, but… as i first watched this film on the afternoon of september 12, 2003 at the 68th street Loews… i was a bit bored. bored but apparently in ms. Coppola’s thrall, as the next day I went back by my lonesome, if only to satisfy my curiosity. as someone who very seldom sees a film more than twice during its theatrical run, I was more than a bit surprised at my behavior as I purchased my 6th ticket for Lost in Translation a few weeks later.
Sofia Coppola is a humanist filmmaker of the highest order (okay, maybe not the HIGHEST order… she hasn’t exactly proven herself the equal of Kurosawa or Bresson quite yet…), and Lost in Translation is a simple and tremendously relatable tale. in it Coppola examines both the macro and the micro of the fundamental isolation of the human experience… a species disenfranchised from one another by virtue of divergent identities, attempting to reconcile the divisive chasms with the unifying forces of culture and partnerships. the obviously foreign qualities of Japanese society are comically and economically employed to jostle the twin protagonists towards self-awareness in a way that the simple flirtations of a chance meeting could only hint, and Coppola is careful not to be jingoistic, but rather to slyly damn her Americans for their natural inability to be at peace with the differences. alternately consuming cultural mores (Charlotte’s inability to cry) or mocking them while suffering from the banal indignities of their own homes (Bob’s experiences in the ad world in contrast to carpet samples and clips from his less than illustrious film career), Tokyo - as a decidedly different brand of metropolis that mirrors American life in a way that the more ramshackle conurbations of Shanghai and the like don’t bother to - is the perfect foil for two Americans made royal by either upbringing or celebrity.
Coppola eventually happens along the rather reductive understanding that connections - no matter how fleeting - are pretty much all there is to this world. but more than that to me Coppola’s is a film about moments spanning entire lives… about aesthetics and how the perfect set dressing or aural accoutrement can save defining moments from withering memories. it’s a film that knows it knows only so much, and one that i’ve been happy to retrace… a somewhat quixotic (yet remarkably successful) adventure undertaken as if to prove the film real (i mean… down to performing karaoke in the actual booth in which Charlotte whimpers Brass in Pocket… among my most fanboyish moments, and one i’ll probably have to strike from the record if in the unlikely event Film Comment ever demands me to don my serious critic hat… which is also a bandit hat from Fantastic Mr. Fox. oops).
there really ain’t two ways about it - Lost in Translation is my favorite film of the… Naughties? at least for now. maybe forever.
if you’re still reading this, thanks. and also… really?
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Previously on 90210
Naomi is a lying ho who cant get into college
Jasper is a drug dealer, despite claiming he isn't, but is REALLY intense about making sure he gets caught in that lie. WHY.
Annie & Jasper did it. Blech.
Silver's mom died and now we have to watch her cry and stuff. Buh.
And now for this week's episode!
Episode 10: To Thine Own Self Be True
Live blogging after the jump!
Silver's mom is taken to the ER. Silver runs and her face gets all contorted. Ohhh, she's sad, I get it.
Naomi asks Navid if she can join the school broadcast...what exactly is the Blaze? Afterschool Broadcast Journalism? Does any school actually have this program other than West Beverly?
But rejoice! Naomi's asking because she realizes that she can't sleep her way into college and that she might actually have to ::gasp:: work?!!?!
But she wants to do a sex segment called Clark After Dark. I don't want sex advice from Naomi. nope nope dont want it please stop
Navid says she can help by unpacking some AV equipment and then says "exsqueeze me" for some reason
"Adrianna's on drugs" "Pshh, noooo." Didnt Naomi and Navid have that exact same conversation last episode?
My cat starts crying when she notices her reflection in the mirror. I am distracted for a good 30 seconds. What just happened?
Oh. This. : Naomi: Are you on drugs? Adrianna: Can't you tell by the way my hair is parted?! Of COURSE I'm on drugs.
Except that Adrianna' s actual response was more like "I'm not on drugs, trust me, I'd never lie to you, ever ever ever, you can totally trust me, no drugs."
Adrianna points out to Naomi that when she was on coke, wasn't she acting totally different? That somehow convinces Naomi. She's not acting like she's on coke cause she's on downers, Naomi, heellloooooo there isn't just ONE drug on the planet.
Damnit. Silver's mom isn't dead, just gonna die. Ugh now we have to deal with all these goodbye scenes and more of Silver's contorted face, buhhhhhhhhhesfisefhkjsdhfgjhgf
Jessica Stroup has really gotten the short end of the stick on this show. She started off making out with the cast member who looks like he's 12 and has zero sex appeal, then went crazy, and now just cries about her alcoholic mom all the time. Booooring.
Kelly doesn't wanna see her dying mom. Do I really have to recap this storyline?
It's morning at Debbie & Harry's house (Debbie Harry? Lead singer of Blondie? Was this on purpose?). Dixon is an asshole and Annie is all chipper. I don't really care.
Huh. Dixon & Annie both had sex with psychos. Too many psychos on this show. It's getting old.
Jasper slept over?! Scandal!! I wish he was normal. Siiigh.
Annie tells Jasper that her parents said he could come over for dinner. Debbie knocks on the door and asks if Jasper would like mahi mahi or chicken for dinner. Annie inexplicably chooses mahi mahi. What high school student picks fish over chicken? I don't care where you go to high school, I call bullshit.
JASPER IS SO CREEPY. Just standing there, doing nothing, he's so creepy.
Ivy's mom suddenly has a recording studio. And they are gonna use it to bring down Naomi's sister. Ooookay.
Ivy jumps on Liam's back. JUMPS ON HIS BACK. WHY. Stop it. And why is this a handheld walk and talk?! That scene was a whole lot of awkward.
Navid & Dixon judge Jasper from afar. Sigh. I hate it when the outcasts everyone hates are actually bad people.
Naomi pretends she is hosting a show about sex advice. Ah! She's creeping me out. Stop talking about sex. Stop stop stop.
Hot College Guy wants to do "filthy things" to Naomi. You're in college! Filthy things to a high school junior?! No no gross gross.
The Dean of CU, mother of Richard, the guy Naomi dated to get into CU, walks in on Naomi making out with Richards roommate, Hot College Guy. Hahaha Naomi, getting what you deserve NO CU FOR YOU.
Cut to Ryan & Jen getting dressed up to which I say NO WHY ARE THEY STILL TOGETHER?! STOP IT. NOOOO RYAN. Ughhhh.
Blair Waldorf could pull off all of Jen's lines way better than Jen could. Jen wishes she was more like Blair Waldorf.
Ryan wants Jen to see more of "his world." But Jen doesn't like your world, dump that shit, please
Hot College Guy dumps Naomi for using the phrase "Carbo-Loading." Oh, that's not why he dumps her?
Hot College Guy actually dumps Naomi for admitting she was using Richard to get into CU. Haha college boys don't like girls who use boys, take that Naomi. Go be a good student and stop being a ho.
Navid is filming a boring segment for The Blaze. Adrianna storms in and says, in front of the camera guy, "Why did you tell Naomi I was using?"
Guy behind camera says "I'm gonna go away from here" and thoroughly earns his sag day rate! First genuine laugh of the episode.
Adrianna is pulling a Jasper and going REALLY out of her way to lie. There are gonna be bad consequences when the truth comes out
Adrianna tells Navid that he was easy to get over. Yikes. Jessica Lowndes just pulled that off very nicely. I buy her bitchiness. The acting backs it up.
Jen arrives at Ryan's with a shitload of stuff for camping. Apparently she went to the Beverly Center to grab some things. She's an idiot.
Silver and Kelly. We consider fast forwarding again.
Why do they think this a storyline anyone wants to watch? ZZZzzzzzzz.
Naomi stops by CU to speak to Richard. Is she gonna tell him the truth and apologize?! Is Naomi gonna grow as a person?!!?!
Naomi says watching the movie about industrial meat production just gave her a craving for "kobe sliders" heehee. Second genuine laugh of the episode.
Dixon tells his parents that Jasper is a drug dealer RIGHT before he arrives for dinner. Dixon is such an ass. Even though Jasper IS in fact a drug dealer. Still a dick move.
Ryan wants to use Jen's New York Times to start a fire. She gets all huffy. Yeah right like Jen reads the Times. Ah hah! Ryan correctly guesses that she only reads the Style section, which will not be used to start the fire. Hey Ryan - did you hear yourself? You are saving THE STYLE SECTION. WHY ARE YOU WITH THIS WOMAN?
Ryan says he didn't bring anything to prepare for bad weather because "It never rains in LA." Uh. Did you just move here?! It rains here.
Jen freaks out at Ryan for not checking the weather report. Why didnt SHE check the weather if she's such a freak about it? I hate her so much.
Navid, Ivy, Dixon & Liam get together to unpack AV equipement. ... Where is Teddy in this episode? Why is no one even mentioning him?
Their revenge plot is way lame.
Ivy, stop palling around with Liam like that! Why is everyone so awkward.
Jasper, Annie, Harry & Debbie enjoy dip. Harry & Debbie are visibly frightened by Jasper.
My mom comments that Jasper's hair is stupid.
Annie gets upset about how dumb everyone at her high school is. Jasper tells Annie "Hey, we talked about this, right? You just gotta forget it." My dad comments that if a guy ever talked to me like that in front of him & my mom, they'd kick him out on the spot.
Jasper says "I know you think I'm a drug dealer," then insists he isn't. Except he is and AUGH this is annoying, some bad shit is gonna go down.
Naomi arrives to unpack Navid's "crap." Hmm, I like Naomi more now that she has a heart.
Ah hah. Here's why she had to help. She runs into Liam, he hurts his hand, she puts ice on it. For no reason, prompted by nothing, Liam tells Naomi he wishes he could take back what he did last year and he regrets it every day.
They still have ZERO chemistry.
This heart to heart moment between Liam & Naomi was REALLY not warranted, 90210
Eraser of death kills Kelly's mom. Kelly is sad. I'm a little sad for her.
Ryan & Jen get in the car cause it's raining. Jen wants to leave. They get into a fight cause Ryan always does what Jen says but she hates whatever he wants to do. Ryan puts up with it cause he likes stupid barbies. Shouldn't the message here be that intelligence is sexy, not vapid whore-ness?
Oh they moved Silver & Kelly's mom to a private room. Not dead. Kelly has time. Yawn.
Debbie, Harry & Annie talk about Jasper. Sidenote: I like Annie SO much more this season
Oh shit! Harry says Annie can't see Jasper anymore. She asks if it's because of the stupid rumor. Debbie says its more than the rumor, it's because "Jasper is odd." Bwhahaha. Good call, Mama 90210.
Kelly and mom. zzzzzzz.
Hot College Guy forgives Naomi for using Richard. "It was hard for me to stay mad at the [17 year old] girl I'm falling for." If they break up, he can't commit statutory rape! Oh noes!
Psychos and Statutory Rape. All this show knows how to do. Oh and drugs. Lots of drugs.
Naomi breaks up with Hot College Guy because...she is still hung up on Liam?! Oh come onnnnn. No chemistry, nothing to back it up. Lame.
Hahaha, Annie tells creepy Jasper that she is forbidden from seeing him. Hahahaa. I laugh and laugh and laugh. Jasper throws the phone at the wall.
Naomi goes to Adrianna's to complain about breaking up with Hot College Guy. She notices Aid's drugs, yells at her & leaves.
Aaaaand "No Drama Adrianna" will now be "Overdose Adrianna" yet again.
Hey, Hot Sleepy Teacher fell asleep! Awesome.
Jen is building a tent, making an effort to fit into Ryan's world, set to Ryan Adam's cover of Wonderwall. Why is the show trying to make us think that Jen cares about anything? Thankfully, we know better.
Ryan says there is nothing Jen could say that would make him like her less...I tend to...disagree...emphatically.
Why does Jen think it's so bad to admit her husband cheated on her? That doesn't reflect poorly on her character, it reflects badly on her ex-husband's. She sucks.
Ryan and Jen are all lovey dovey. Don't buy it. Can't wait for this charade to end next week.
Silver and Kelly's mom dies for like the 80th time. Is it real yet?
And Jasper TRIES TO KILL NAVID by pushing him down the stairs. Are you kidding me?!
Ivy's contribution in tonights episode has exclusively been "Liam, I'm gonna touch you and say one line and be cute lalalala" Oh well. I still like her more than most of the people on this show. Especially Jen.
Next Week: The truth about Jen comes out! Finally. If Ryan forgives her, so help me...
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20.) OLDBOY (dir. Park Chan-Wook)
my thoughts here. though i will reiterate that this film endures not only because of how absurdly slick it is, but also because of its moral intrigue. a deceptively cerebral and emotionally involved film that has as much on its mind as any of Park’s films… here, however, the questions are just as difficult to elucidate and grapple with as the answers. oh, also, the sheer virtuosity of the plot mechanics are astounding in their own right.
19.) LORD OF THE RINGS (dir. Peter Jackson)
i don’t have much to add here… these films are the result of one good decision after another (remember when Miramax proposed that Tolkien’s trilogy be condensed into two installments?). the extended editions of these fully realized fantasies are certainly the definitive cuts - and while i feel as if the gripes concerning the manner in which Return of the King reaches its eventual end were largely unwarranted, Fellowship remains my favorite. could have done without the ents in Two Towers, though..
The rest after the jump!
18.) FAT GIRL (dir. Catherine Breillat)
a wonderfully acidic film that so acutely picks apart the myriad ways in which sex - that most deceptively simple of human acts - is complicated and challenged by… well, everything. a short film about two sisters on vacation (one 15 and attractive, the other 12 and responsible for the film’s title), in which the first sex sequence is 25 minutes, and yet in some ways less tender than the rape with which the film anticipates its final shot (in which Breillat - provocateur extraordinaire that she is - acerbically quotes the last image of Truffaut’s 400 Blows), Fat Girl quickly renders adolescent sex both banal and vital. the oft-acknowledged camera makes for particularly uneasy viewing, wherein pubescent girls challenge the psychosexual dynamics to which our society most desperately clings. Breillat doesn’t empower one particular gender so much as she disempowers any narrative which dares not to confound laura mulvey or a cinema boxed by “gazes.” and the film’s controversial finale (after that masterfully ominous highway drive) doesn’t excuse rape so much as it liberates it from its definition… whereas the former would be unforgivably irresponsible, the latter is the work of some productively shocking filmmaking.
17.) ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND (dir. Michel Gondry)
not merely a perfect amalgam of high-concept screenwriting and delightfully inventive direction, the preposterous Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is is ironically the decade’s most honest depiction of modern romance - not A modern romance or a homogenized distillation of the modern romance as a narrative, but the institution as it exists in the wild. clementine’s often unctuous and intensely self-aware character renders joel (jim carrey’s charlie kaufman proxy) a stone-faced foil for the absurdities of relationships in a world where everyone is subjected to a mess of archetypes and expectations. the supreme achievement of the screenplay is not the fluid execution of its memory-bending conceit but rather how that conceit allows for a convincing love story that excuses most love stories (it exposes common elements of co-mingling so silly that the ridiculousness of the memory-erasing service is smiled at rather than challenged) . cohering into a mutual resignation that’s made all the more powerful by its simplicity (“okay.”), the film excuses entire generations of their behavior in detailing their sage resolve and tender helplessness. gondry’s hectic, fanciful direction charmingly juggles a bouquet of sub-plots and tones while never interfering with the uniformly perfect performances of his cast.
16.) BLIND MOUNTAIN (dir. Li Yang)
a frigid critique of modern rural china as well as a feminist prison film wrapped in a pulpy b-movie winter coat, Li Yang’s second feature film (Blind Mountain was his first, which was pre-dated by an array of documentaries) is brave and harrowing cinema. a pretty young woman signs up for a quick job in the countryside… soon after her arrival she’s drugged and sold as a bride to a village in desperate need of future generations. the village feels not entirely dissimilar from that of The Prisoner - allies are illusory and escape is futile. moreover, the woman is repeatedly raped by her “husband” and all in all is not really having the best life ever. her repeated escape attempts are harrowing stuff, and Huang Lu’s central performance is devastatingly invisible. a violently humanist peek at one of the most frequently ignored of personal tragedies, Blind Mountain is a brave film that confronts a world in which morality is suffocated under circumstance. and the abrupt and bloody ending will make fans of Death Proof’s denouement scream with delight.
15.) 25TH HOUR (dir. Spike Lee)
the decade’s most criminally under-appreciate major american film is also for my money Spike Lee’s best film (though be sure to remember that i’m woefully unemployed). adapted from david benioff’s novel and adapted by the author himself (in an effort that towers over his subsequent hack work), the story of a man’s last day before a 7-year prison stint for drug peddling is impressively wide-reaching for such an astute character study. clinically dissecting modern manhood as if the concept were a cold cadaver, Lee’s volatile film - introduced to the viewer through the blue beams of Ground Zero’s “Tribute in Light” - remains post-9/11 cinema’s finest elegy of innocence and hope. Edward Norton’s indelible lead performance spews frustration in every which direction before eventually turning it in upon himself and his own failings… in this extremely chatty film it’s an unspoken sorrow that rules the roost, hanging its bloodied head in a penultimate sequence in which the bonds of friendship are savagely perverted by a world in which even the best things can hurt. and the sobering fantasia with which the film ends is devastating not only with its imagery but also with its duration, protracted just enough to blight out the inevitable before returning to it with a beleaguered sigh of a final shot. it’s an honest film but not a cynical one - a film that allows you to aimlessly marvel at how close “this life came to never happening.”
14.) THE 40 YEAR-OLD VIRGIN (dir. Judd Apatow)
according to my list, this is the best single film that the major arm of an american studio released this decade. The 40 Year-Old Virgin. really. so deeply and genuinely good that the extent to which it reshaped the comedy landscape is invariably a mere afterthought. comedy is a subjective beast, and so for me to say that (for me) this is the funniest movie i’ve ever seen says far more about my friends, circumstances, and the pathology of my disposition than it does the history of comedies. the ubiquity of this film (particularly on cable) and the subsequent extent to which it has infested my vernacular is not to be underestimated. that being said, the sincere sweetness and wisdom on display in judd apatow’s feature-length debut should not be discounted because its expressed through such brilliant dialogue as “if jack palance looked like that lady, i would want to fuck jack palance right now.” i mean, yeah, the cast is magical… the cadence of every line perfectly considered and the comedy layered in ways that reward that 300th viewing. but seriously, the comedy - sophomoric as some of it appears to be - is so relentlessly successful because of how honest it is… clever and deceptively sophisticated while never betraying either its characters or how people manage to relate to one another in a culture complicated by culture. and if you don’t like it you can go fuck a goat.
13.) SPIRITED AWAY (dir. Hayao Miyazaki)
the incomparable Hayao Miyazaki’s greatest masterwork? that it’s even a question is a testament to the supreme genius of his imagination… cinema’s most transcendent purveyor of animated worlds doesn’t make films so much as he reveals portals, and few of his portals lead to places as rich and profoundly wistful as the bathhouse into which little Chihiro wanders. a domain of spirits which nostalgically recalls an old Japan with a diffusive palette unequaled in other Miyazaki films, it’s in the bathhouse that the little heroine must forge herself a new identity in order to navigate an unrecognizable and disarmingly dangerous world. superimposing cultural mores and grasps for national identity over his usual concern with the environment, Miyazaki spins his most sophisticated tale, relying on folkloric structures to sidestep confusion. and the trip to zeniba’s house is among the more beautiful sights ever imposed on celluloid.
12.) SECRET SUNSHINE (dir. Lee Chang-Dong)
it’s a bit of a travesty that yet another Lee Chang-Dong masterpiece had no domestic life here in the States beyond the New York Film Festival (it’s not even available on region 1 DVD, though I’ve proposed the idea to Criterion and they seemed curiously receptive…). this - his finest film - finds a young widow (the world-rocking Jeon Do-Yeon) and her son relocating to a rural Korean town in order to start their lives. the first hour of the rather luxurious and choppy narrative finds the duo acclimating to their new environs, but in a heartbeat the smooth rhythms of the Korean New Wave are disrupted by a calamitous vertigo of faith and grief more akin to the work of Lars Von Trier. in a decade teeming with phenomenal South Korean films, this was the best. an immensely enigmatic experience that registered and settled with me like few films ever have, Secret Sunshine is undoubtably worth the trouble to see. for a more involved and agreeable take, clickity-clack.
11.) GRIZZLY MAN (dir. Werner Herzog)
i wrote my thesis on the man (herzog, not timothy treadwell) and simply don’t have the interest or energy to devote all that many more words to the man in the midst of some hot listing action. herzog has an unparalleled knack for discovering or otherwise fashioning ideal partnerships between subject and artist, and with Grizzly Man his calculated fortuity makes for some tragically sublime cinema. the scene in which herzog listens to the audio of treadwell’s death is a self-contained storytelling masterclass.
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