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February 24th, 2009

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06:44 pm - the plaster stapler
I wrote this as a comment somewhere else, but I decided to call it a post. It explains what I thought of all the movies in 2008.

It does contain SPOILERS. But most of those are for Slumdog Millionaire so they are plot points you could just have guessed.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button:
The two meaningful parts were when he was the same age as his girlfriend: with Tilda Swinton at sixty and with Cate Blanchett at thirty. Both times through the women's eyes you got to feel the whole sadness of growing old. Otherwise it was just an adventure movie.

The Dark Knight:
I don't think I would get along with Batman. But everyone else is so awful that I still have to cheer for him. The characters are a little bit weak, but the characters are also kind of weak on a roller coaster, which is to say the movie doesn't always need characters. Joker burning "only his half of the money" was so inspired.

Forgetting Sarah Marshall:
My favourite Judd Apatow movie. They make a movie where everyone is an airhead, and then they make you love all the airheads, one-by-one. Some of the jokes are ordinary jokes like you could see in the Love Guru, but other times they make you really feel the world of the man who stays in and eats cereal.

Rachel Getting Married:
The whole awkwardness of having people in your house, the way beautiful rich beautiful people could feel judged and ignored, the way no argument ever goes anywhere. They show everything that is wrong about having family and then everything that is right about having family.

Slumdog Millionaire:
I got into it while I was watching, but the really left me with nothing at the end. Someone pointed out that the better ending would be if he lost the money but he still walked off happy with the girl. The best part was when he figured out not to trust the bathroom mirror. But still it could easily have been made for children.

Synecdoche New York:
A lot of my favourite movies get called self-indulgent. What are people hoping for? Are they hoping that the movies get watered down, that they be less like themselves? The indulgences are what makes the movie good.

Charlie Kaufman says the same thing twenty times in the movie, yes, but he says it a different way each time. The movie is too alive not to be a home run.

I like this one the same way everyone else does. Adventure story in the second half? Why not. I actually care how the adventure will go this time.

The Wrestler:
I think this one is obvious to everyone who has seen it. It was too real. I love the Fountain for being crazy and I love The Wrestler for being real. The Dardenne brothers could have made this movie.

For fun, a re-post of my Oscar ballot. The lists are ranked in order.

Best Film:
Synecdoche New York, The Wrestler, Wall-E, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Rachel Getting Married, Doubt, Be Kind Rewind, The Dark Knight, Hellboy II: The Golden Army

Best performance:
Mickey Rourke (The Wrestler), Anne Hathaway (Rachel Getting Married), Sean Penn (Milk), Phillip Seymour Hoffman (Synecdoche, New York), Amy Adams (Doubt)

Best supporting performance:
Tilda Swinton (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button), Russell Brand (Forgetting Sarah Marshall), Rosemary DeWitt (Rachel Getting Married), Heath Ledger (The Dark Knight), Marisa Tomei (The Wrestler)

Best director:
Andrew Stanton (Wall-E)

Best screenplay:
Charlie Kaufman (Synecdoche, New York)

Best cinematographer:
Roger Deakins (Doubt and Wall-E)
Current Music: School of Seven Bells - Half Asleep

[7 comments | what do you think?]


Date:February 25th, 2009 05:26 am (UTC)
I like this one the same way everyone else does. Adventure story in the second half? Why not. I actually care how the adventure will go this time.

well put. it's like - if i were 8 years old, this would be the most awesome movie in the world. which excuses it from being the postmodern buster keaton movie most film nerds thought it failed to be in its second half.
[User Picture]
Date:February 25th, 2009 05:27 am (UTC)
whoops, that was me.
[User Picture]
Date:February 26th, 2009 04:53 am (UTC)
Also the fat people were so likeable.

"Hey, I know that guy."
[User Picture]
Date:February 25th, 2009 01:00 pm (UTC)
I thought I had made a list of all the movies I had watched this year. it turns out it's a bunch of stuff in alphabetical order.

You are still too kind to Benjamin Button.

I dunno if I'm going to watch Synecdoche New York. Might be better to rewatch Being John Malkovich 5 or 5 times. (this reminds me that I've forgotten, there was a great Being John Malkovich reference somewhere. like some band or something. did we talk about this? I tried to refer to the scam chocolate selling story in conversation but Nathaniel had no idea what I was talking about.)

Don't want to watch Dark Knight. Want to watch Rachel Getting Married. Want to watch Milk.

I think the only other movies I watched was In Bruges and The Counterfeiters. A solid pair o 7*s
Oh and 2 garbage documentaries which were horribly no good yuck worst kinds of upper (white) middle class 'radical' 'environmentalism' (Garbage Warrior and Garbage, the revolution starts at home.)
[User Picture]
Date:February 26th, 2009 05:10 am (UTC)

if we are to have an affair we will never say i love you

Synecdoche New York I could sort of picture you hating. There are so so so many conceits that you have to just go with in order to like the movie at all.

"Wait. Who's Brendan?"

Milk was kind of an encyclopedia entry movie. Someone made a nice point in Art of Vision, about how it's more honest than, like, Brokeback Mountain about how being gay means having gay sex.

Solid pair of fours. But I liked Forgetting Sarah Marshall so I don't have much of a pulpit.

I have so many times heard bad things about garbage and recycling causes. What is your stance these days?
[User Picture]
Date:February 28th, 2009 12:18 am (UTC)

Re: if we are to have an affair we will never say i love you

"Milk was kind of an encyclopedia entry movie." Elaborate? I almost understand what you mean, I think, but I enjoyed it in spite of it's kind of historical overview-ness. It was well-acted for the most part, and I think we were still able to connect to most of the historical figures as people. Maybe not.

"more honest than, like, Brokeback Mountain about how being gay means having gay sex"

I mean, sure. I don't think Brokeback shied away from the buttsex out of some desire for mainstream acceptance or anything. I think it's probably about as awesome and as flawed as Milk was, which is to say very. I enjoy both movies a great deal, but I'm kind of waiting for the day when we can have movies that incorporate queer themes and characters that are mainstream/worthy of Oscar nomination without them being GAY MOVIES, with all the stigma/expectation of recognition/etc. that accompanies it. I feel like for a lot of people, the surrounding hubbub about OMG LOLZ BOYS KISSING IN A MOVIE probably gets in the way of appreciating the films themselves.

I somehow never saw Synecdoche despite being madly in love with everything Kaufman makes ever. I blame Montreal's odd release schedule coinciding poorly with winter break. I'd been waiting for AGES to see Kaufman direct his own script and I really hope that I'm going to love it.
[User Picture]
Date:February 28th, 2009 08:29 am (UTC)

i actually liked brokeback a lot

The guys in Brokeback Mountain were so ashamed of being gay. It was a hugely important part of the story, but the whole confusion of it made the movie easier for people to swallow. Stuff like Slumdog is weird where it makes being in love sound like a noble sacrifice.

Stuff like the Hours, Being John Malkovich, Y Tu Mama Tambien, Boogie Nights ... I feel like the movie world has completely caught up to our times. I heard weird stuff when Brokeback Mountain came out, but it wasn't from any sources I cared about.

Also the thing about Charlie Kaufman's canon is that it's got six movies now. Even people like you and I are so ready to disown Human Nature. I hope you're on board for this new one.

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