Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Idiot Savant's Guide: An Idiot's Best of List for 07

Everyone likes doing lists. They're an example of proving how each and every single one of us are unique snowflakes with special designs and intricate opinions. Then, you realize that your number one is the same as 106 other critics and you're a fucking sheep.

It just so happens I'm great friends with The Sheep Man.

So without further ado and still pissed that I haven't seen Juno, Diving Bell, Assassination of Jesse James, Southland Tales and National Treasure: Book of Secrets--no, dead serious.

Brief side note. Vadim: WTF. Paprika AND Taste of Tea? Oh god, I suddenly feel like you do secretly listen to me when I discuss my Japanese film obsession and you're not just a bitter ex-Tischie.

On with the picks:

# 1: There Will Be Blood

Dir. Paul Thomas Anderson

Blah, blah, blah. Best film of the year, amazingly well shot, Danie Day-Lewis and Paul Dano are incredible against each other, Jonny Greenwood score is amazing, "I Just Drank Your Milkshake," epic film, etc.

Everyone'll say the same thing about this. You just need to see it and join the sheep, man.

# 2: No Country for Old Men

Dirs. Joel and Ethan Cohen

Is it too lame to call it a "Neo-Western" ? I'm all about starting buzz words but what else can you call the film that decries humanity and empathizes the bitter realization that the angel of death has a page-boy haircut?



# 3: I'm Not There
Dir. Todd Haynes

God, this is so formulaic I should be painting by numbers. The list, I mean, not this ambitious, multi-faced take on the concept of Dylan as society's mouth piece BUT OMG DO NOT CALL HIM THE VOICE OF A GENERATION!!!!!11.

Anyway, I thought Cate Blanchett's "ground-breaking" performance was a complete bore and only worthwhile for the David-Cross-as-Allen-Ginsberg cameo. Christian Bale was far superior under Haynes'finely manicured hand as the caricature of Folk Dylan/Preacher Jack.


# 4: Zodiac
Dir. David Fincher

Aside from liking this film far more than I thought I would, it also marks the best worst first date ever.

45 Minutes Into the Film...

Date: You can hold my hand now.
Me: Shhh!


Fincher's epic look back at the Zodiac killer, those involved, the CGI shots that still blow my mind when I realize they're not just backlot...Good times.


# 5: The Host
Dir. Bong Joon-Ho

Hands down, the best modern "creature" film in the last few years. Joon-Ho had some obvious connections to Godzilla (read my interview with him at The Reeler)but it's his choice to leave the Tadpole From Hell behind and focus more on the characters than a silly rubber suit.

Also the "most real film featuring how a Korean family would act" according to an actual Korean. Actually.


# 6: Hipster Horror
Dirs. Jeremy Saulnier, Todd Orr, Ti West

Lame of me to lump them together, but again--zomg, read the feature here!

Murder Party and Blood Car are part of the lo-fi aesthetic that would make for an awesome--and much needed--creative resurgence when it comes to horror, sci-fi or genre in general. If most studios* had a quarter of what Saulnier and Orr had, you wouldn't have to remake already lame J-Horror films that were made by Miike because he was still operating on a 6-films-a-day schedule.

Trigger Man, directed by Ti West, may be the most important to the genre--as Vadim claims--because of the pacing, the opening song and the abrupt ending that leads to nothing. That is the pinnacle of "hipster." Whereas Murder Party and Blood Car are clear comedies and apply to "Hipster Horror" as an easy way to classify--and man, do I apologize for it--Trigger Man would wear such a title with pride. Hell, it even got West--or so the rumor goes--the attention of a major studio and the directing duties for Cabin Fever 2.

Which, if you saw Trigger Man, is very fucking surprising.


*Note:Glass Eye Pix excluded. Larry Fessenden 4 lyfe.


# 7: Paprika
dir. Satoshi Kon/Studio MADHOUSE

Best. Animated. Film. Of. The. Year.
And I can't believe it was snubbed for an Academy Award over Tekkonkinkreet. But then again, Kon isn't an American director, now is he?

(My feature/interview with Kon here.)

# 8: Once
Dir. John Carney

This lo-fi, Irish-without-being-Irish musical (U2-sical?) tugs the heart strings and will have you humming "Falling Slowly" and a cover of "Into the Mystic,"



The only reason you'd dislike this movie is if you're a bitter fucker with the initials "V.R." and all you listen to is Bishop Allen. Either way, there's a larger context here of whether or not Once can be seen as Irish. I know, this is lame fuckery, but Once--for purposes--is the U2 of musicals. But better than U2.

# 9: The 15 Minutes of Exiled before my Screener Broke Down
Dir. Johnny To

SCENE: AN APARTMENT IN BROOKLYN. THE IDIOT SAVANT AND HIS FRIEND, MR. SNUGGLES, SIT ON A COUCH. THEY ARE DRINKING MILLER HIGH LIFE, BECAUSE THEY ARE COOL AND HIP AND WITH "IT." IT IS OCTOBER.

IDIOT SAVANT:
hey, so i've got nightmare detective and exiled on dvd.

MR. SNUGGLES:
how?

IDIOT SAVANT:
eh, i kept the screeners from over the summer.

MR. SNUGGLES:
cool.

IDIOT SAVANT:
let's watch exiled.

THE IDIOT DOES SO, PUTTING THE DVD INTO A DVD PLAYER. THEN HE HITS PLAY. NOTHING HAPPENS.

IDIOT SAVANT:
the fuck?

MR. SNUGGLES:
* GIANT FUCKING QUESTION MARK APPEARS OVER HIS HEAD. LIKE METAL GEAR. Ya'KNOW?*

IDIOT SAVANT:
uh. let's watch robocop. wait. it's starting.

15 MINUTES LATER

IDIOT SAVANT:
fuck. why aren't they working?

ACROSS TOWN, GRADY HENDRIX SITS AT HIS SUPER DUPER VARIETY BLOG-O-TRON 3000. HE HAS A MUSTACHE HE TWIRLS, AND A LONG GRAY BEARD THAT TOTALLY MIMICS PAI MEI'S. SO HE'S ALL, "HA HA, MY BEARD IS AWESOME." GRADY SEES ON HIS MONITOR SOMEONE IS TRYING TO WATCH exiled AND THAT THEY HAVEN'T RETURNED THEIR NEW YORK ASIAN FILM FESTIVAL SCREENERS TO HIM. GRADY LAUGHS.

GRADY HENDRIX:
ha ha ha.

GRADY PUSHES A BUTTON. THE DVD FAILS. GRADY HENDRIX TWIRLS HIS MUSTACHE WHILE FLICKING HIS PAI MEI BEARD. IT'S KINDA IMPRESSIVE.

GRADY HENDRIX:
i am impressive.


SCENE!



# 10: Shoot 'Em Up
Dir. Michael Davis

This mindless, goofy piece of gun PR0N was everything you expect. But still sharply divided critics: note Slate's Dana Stevens (which I think is now on her driver's license) begins with, "I know I'm typing myself as hopelessly unhip by not rolling with the amoral "fun" of Shoot 'Em Up (New Line), a grubby little action spoof with a thrown-together script, a mystifyingly top-notch cast, and a body count to rival the war in Afghanistan."

Eric Kohn refers to it as "a depraved Looney Tunes episode." I like to side with Kohn's reading, but more than acknowledge Stevens: the film is an 80s-actioner slicked with CGI and made with the faintest of plots. Whether or not it was intentional will be up for debate.

It gets up on #10 (and bumped Darjeeling Limited) because it may signal the emergence of a self-aware action film. If it doesn't, I'm fucking retarded and I'll just put Wes Anderson's Daddy Issues back here next month.





And honorifics...

Best Catchphrase from a Vaguely Homoerotic Setting:
TIE
"Kneel. Kneel before Xerxes, Spartan."
-Xerxes, 300.

"RIPPER. SLASHER. TEETH IN THE NIGHT. I. AM. BEOWULF!"
-CGI Ray Winstone, Beowulf

Best Supporting Actor
Fred, I Am Legend

Best Quote by Will Smith in an otherwise awful film that cheats with CGI New York
"Aw. Aw naw. Aw HELL NAW. NO. NO. FRED?! WHAT YOU DOIN' OUT HERE FRED? WHAT YOU DOING OUT HERE! FRED, IF YOU REAL, YOU BETTER SAY SO. FRED! FRED, IF YOU A REAL, YOU BETTER SAY SOMETHING! AAAAAHHHH!!"
-Will Smith, I Am Legend

Best Intro
Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters


Best Comedy
Control

Best Quote from the Best Comedy
Ian Curtis: If...if you wanted to sleep with other people. I'd be fine with that.

Ian Curtis' boring wife played by Samantha Morton: Wot?

Ian Curtis: You know, if you wanted to sleep with other people. I'd be fine.

Ian Curtis' boring wife played by Samantha Morton: A-are you...cheating on me?

Ian Curtis: *smokes cigarette.*

[beat]

*cue "Love Will Tear Us Apart," laughter, angry crowd at Film Forum who enjoys black and white film because it is SO independent and stuff. You know?*


The Year's Best Line, hands down.
TIE
"I just drank your milkshake!"

and

"I'M FINISHED."
-Daniel Day-Lewis as "Daniel Plainview," There Will Be Blood

Best Use of Jason Statham
War

Best Ex-Stripper/Screenwriter who Lou Lumenick would totally do because she's female and was once a stripper but is now a screenwriter and he'd totally do
Diablo Cody!

Best Moment I Question An Editor

Me: I feel dumber for having seen that.

STV: It wasn't that bad.

-directly after I Am Legend, WB Screening Room.

Best Most Awkward Press Event
The There Will Be Blood 35-min spectacular.

Best Response by P.T. Anderson after an inane question
*leans back. leans forward.*
"...the fuck?"

Best Reason to <3 The Pioneer Theater
The cast of Trigger Man drinking beer at the premiere, then leaving 35 minutes into the film and going to Mo Pitkins.

Worst Film Event Ever
CMJ.

Best Thing at the Worst Film Event Ever
The screening of Frank and Cindy w/ post-show Q&A featuring Ira Glass moderating.

The other Worst Thing at the Worst Film Event Ever
Totally not seeing O'Death due to crushing hangover.

Best Film with Daddy Issues
The Darjeeling Limited with Hotel Chevalier

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