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10 of '04
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 12.24.2004 10:40 pm    Post subject: 10 of '04 Reply with quote

I've come to the conclusion that I have no idea what constitutes a "great" movie, or the "best" of the year, or what have you, nor do I seem to want to figure out what one would be. I know there are movies that resonate with me, stick with me, and influence me. So, instead of a Top 10 list 2004, I propose a list of ten movies in 2004 that stuck with you long after the lights when up and you got on with your life. These are mine in alphabetical order:



Aileen: Life and Death of a Serial Killer

Collateral

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

The Five Obstructions

Garden State

The Machinist

Open Water

The Saddest Music in the World

Shaun of the Dead

Spider-Man 2




Others I especially liked: Kill Bill Vol. 2, Ray, Touching the Void, Hero, and The Terminal



I still haven't seen Million Dollar Baby, Code 46, Moolaade, The Aviator, Hotel Rwanda, House of Flying Daggers, Doppelganger, and The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou.
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Danny Baldwin
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PostPosted: 12.25.2004 12:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I continue to be a conformist and play along with the LA/NY release dates, and I wouldn't dare release my list early, so, I'm not making mine until late January. Right now, there are only four that I really want to keep on it: The Girl Next Door, House of Flying Daggers, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and Before Sunset. Still have a lot to see though; 142 2004 releases down so far and I have yet to actually feel tempted to set it in stone.
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 12.25.2004 6:03 am    Post subject: Re: 10 of '04 Reply with quote

the night watchman wrote:
I've come to the conclusion that I have no idea what constitutes a "great" movie, or the "best" of the year, or what have you, nor do I seem to want to figure out what one would be.


Me neither. With each passing year, I feel the rug being pulled out from underneath me even further. When I was young it was easy to categorize my responses to movies, but as I continue to expand my notions about what entertainment can mean, it gets tougher and tougher to stay within "traditional" assessment methods.



the night watchman wrote:
I know there are movies that resonate with me, stick with me, and influence me. So, instead of a Top 10 list 2004, I propose a list of ten movies in 2004 that stuck with you long after the lights when up and you got on with your life.


To me, that's the same thing as a Top Ten list. Is there any better criteria than those that resonate the deepest? Since movies can stick with us for a multitude of reasons--some simple, some complex, some amusing, some intellectual, etc.--I'd say resonance covers the entire spectrum of why movies matter.



the night watchman wrote:


Aileen: Life and Death of a Serial Killer

Collateral

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

The Five Obstructions

Garden State

The Machinist

Open Water

The Saddest Music in the World

Shaun of the Dead

Spider-Man 2


Good list. Seven of those were among my favorites, too. I wasn't so keen on Open Water or Garden State, and I haven't yet seen The Machinist.



Eric
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Danny Baldwin
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PostPosted: 12.25.2004 6:03 pm    Post subject: Re: 10 of '04 Reply with quote

beltmann wrote:
the night watchman wrote:
I've come to the conclusion that I have no idea what constitutes a "great" movie, or the "best" of the year, or what have you, nor do I seem to want to figure out what one would be.


Me neither. With each passing year, I feel the rug being pulled out from underneath me even further. When I was young it was easy to categorize my responses to movies, but as I continue to expand my notions about what entertainment can mean, it gets tougher and tougher to stay within "traditional" assessment methods.


Agreed. I actually considered just making an alphabetical list of all of the movies I recommended this year, and then choosing one best. Of course, that was far too broad and I went back to the normal system. "Honorable Mentions" is an even stickier catagory, since I can put as many movies as I want. Still, if I slapped forty movies onto there, it would kind of take away the meaning of "best".
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 12.25.2004 6:38 pm    Post subject: Re: 10 of '04 Reply with quote

Danny Baldwin wrote:
Still, if I slapped forty movies onto there, it would kind of take away the meaning of "best".


I say do what you want. Forty's a lot if you've seen only 50; for me, though, that would represent less than 15% of what I saw in 2004. Own the list, don't let the list own you. Smile



Eric
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Danny Baldwin
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PostPosted: 12.25.2004 6:48 pm    Post subject: Re: 10 of '04 Reply with quote

beltmann wrote:
I say do what you want. Forty's a lot if you've seen only 50; for me, though, that would represent less than 15% of what I saw in 2004. Own the list, don't let the list own you. Smile


I've seen 142 2004's so far, and somewhere around 300 in total, this year. This is one of the few years I've disliked more than I have liked.
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 12.25.2004 7:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Danny, you inspired me to go back and look at my actual 2004 numbers so far. I've seen 267 films that qualify for best list consideration. Overall, I've seen 545 pictures that are new to me. Those figures are somewhat misleading, though, because they also include short films (67 and 162, respectively.) Both are personal records, which shocks me since I've caught considerably fewer movies over the last 4 months than is typical. I guess the film festival helped out quite a bit. (I saw 81 separate titles in those 11 days alone.)



Anyway, that's enough stats for me--combining art with math gives me the creeps.



Eric
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 12.25.2004 7:35 pm    Post subject: Re: 10 of '04 Reply with quote

Danny Baldwin wrote:
This is one of the few years I've disliked more than I have liked.


In 13 years of dedicated filmgoing, I don't think that's ever happened to me. I like most movies to some degree or another because, well, because I like going to the movies. I think one mistake some people make--especially teenagers--is when they have a good time at the movies they automatically assume that means the movie is a masterpiece. Some perspective is usually needed, and that often comes with age or experience. (You've obviously acquired some perspective sooner than most.)



I liked most of my 2004 film year (heck, I didn't even mind The Day After Tomorrow all that much), but there's only a tiny handful that I would call masterful.



Eric
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Danny Baldwin
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PostPosted: 12.26.2004 12:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

beltmann wrote:
Danny, you inspired me to go back and look at my actual 2004 numbers so far. I've seen 267 films that qualify for best list consideration. Overall, I've seen 545 pictures that are new to me. Those figures are somewhat misleading, though, because they also include short films (67 and 162, respectively.)


Now there's some dedication, even if it is always enjoyable. I was shooting for 365 viewings in total, but 57 full-length viewings in six days would just be insane.
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matt header
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PostPosted: 12.26.2004 2:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll take a cue from night watchman's list, despite the fact that I don't have my entire list of 2004 viewings with me (I'm at gramma's house for Christmas!). A recollection of my favorite movies I saw at the theater this year, in random order:



Hero, The Brown Bunny, The Twilight Samurai, Before Sunset, Control Room, Kill Bill Volume 2, Mean Creek, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Spring Summer Fall Winter and Spring, Time of the Wolf, Metallica: Some Kind of Monster, The Return, Coffee and Cigarettes, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.



I know I'm missing quite a few, but these are the best ones I can remember off the top of my head. I also feel compelled to say that The Grudge, Vanity Fair, and Around the World in 80 Days were the guiltiest pleasures I had in a theater this year.
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 12.27.2004 8:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Matt's list makes me wonder if I jumped the gun a bit in composing mine. I'm looking forward to The Brown Bunny, The Twilight Samurai, Mean Creak, and Spring Summer Fall Winter and Spring, not to mention Closer and Finding Neverland.



I really enjoyed Prisoner of Azkaban, and count it as my favorite of the Harry Potters so far, and was also quite taken with Coffee and Cigarettes.



On the horror front, I thought The Grudge was a great "spook-house" horror movie, and Dawn of the Dead was unexpectedly entertaining and well-made. Same goes for Secret Window, which is far more enjoyable than it probably has a right to be, no doubt thanks especially to writer/director David Koepp and , natch, the endlessly watchable Johnny Depp. Still waiting to see H. H. Holmes, which is supposed to be one of the best serial killer docs made, the highly praised I'll Bury You Tomorrow, as well as Ginger Snaps Back (I quite liked Ginger Snaps Unleashed, even if the plot is a bit unsteady around the middle), and Dead and Breakfast.
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 12.27.2004 8:22 pm    Post subject: Re: 10 of '04 Reply with quote

beltmann wrote:


the night watchman wrote:
I know there are movies that resonate with me, stick with me, and influence me. So, instead of a Top 10 list 2004, I propose a list of ten movies in 2004 that stuck with you long after the lights when up and you got on with your life.


To me, that's the same thing as a Top Ten list. Is there any better criteria than those that resonate the deepest?




Probably not, although I wonder how many critics actually compose their list in that way. In other words, how often do they allow for movies that are imperfect yet resonate ineffably on a personal level, rather than go with a film that is demonstrably technically and artistically accomplished? For instance, I think that Kill Bill Vol. 2 is a more expertly crafted and artistically adept than some of the movies I listed, and yet I couldn't bring myself to place it above Garden State, Open Water or The Machinist, which have recognizable flaws in one aspect or another, but which also lingered with me longer.
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 12.27.2004 9:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When it comes to art I don't believe in "perfection"--the term implies that some kind of objective measuring standard can be applied to aesthetics--and so I completely sympathize with your argument. Certainly something like White Chicks is made with more technical proficiency than, say, Kandahar, yet I know which one has continued to rattle around inside my brain. Technique is merely a tool, not an end.



Eric
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Jim Harper
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PostPosted: 12.28.2004 7:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This year I've enjoyed The Grudge, Dawn of the Dead and Kill Bill Part 2. Oh, and Shaun of the Dead too. The worst was Van Helsing. The recent Harry Potter and Jackie Chan flicks were entertaining enough, as was Spiderman 2.
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 12.28.2004 9:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jim Harper wrote:
The worst was Van Helsing.




I didn't hate Van Helsing quite as much as I thought I would. Of course, my expectations were pretty low. I liked it better than either of Sommer's Mummy movies.



I felt the same way about Alien vs. Predator. I set my expectations so low that the movie itself was actually ... erm, not abysmal. Muy bitchin' Alien effectswork, at least, and I had a little fun naming off all the movies PWS Anderson ripped-off (including Alien 3's poster!). Still, both the Alien and Predator franchises deserved much better than this ... and so did I.



At the bottom of my list, discounting direct-to-video fare and Sci-Fi Channel originals, is Welcome to Mooseport, a dull, go-nowhere comedy. I fell asleep for five minutes and missed nothing. I was also profoundly irritated by Saw. The absolute worst movie I saw this year, although its initial release was two or three years ago, was St. John's Wort, a movie so bad it actually made me angry. Very rarely do I feel I've had my time completely wasted, but St. John's absconded with 90 minutes of my life I will never get back.
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