Monday, December 28, 2009

YMD and Friends Film Bonanza part 18


Codor finally gets his list posted today. Besides being a Master of History, Codor is a master of lustrous hair, denim, and living in Greenpoint. As noted earlier by Sarah, Codor's dad once proclaimed Nic Cage "the greatest actor of his or any other generation." Correct, or super-correct? You decide.


10. Live Free or Die Hard dir. Len Wiseman (2007)
Well I was going to put 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days or a number of other serious ones in this spot, but I ultimately couldn’t overlook this action gem. Watching John McLane shoot through his shoulder to kill the bad guy is a real first-world pleasure and I enjoyed myself greatly seeing it twice in the theaters and three or four times at home (I was gifted the DVD twice last year). Seriously though, he drives a motorcycle into an airborne helicopter - does The Squid and The Whale have that?

9. We Jam Econo – The Story of the Minutemen dir. Tim Irwin (2005)
At the beginning of this documentary about The Minutemen, Mike Watt describes how he met D. Boon. When both were 13 and hanging out in some park in San Pedro, Boon, while playing army, fell out of a tree onto Watt. From there they became best friends and started a band with drummer George Hurley, which stayed together until D. Boon was tragically killed in a van accident. As documentaries go, this one is pretty conventional, but it made my list because it’s a great love story. Watt’s memories of his extremely talented and genuine best friend are really touching, and as a film they make this one more substantive than most rock docs.

8. The Fall dir. Tarsem (2008)
This was the most visually arresting film of the decade for me. The director, Tarsem, would fly his cast to exotic locales all over the world because he was already there shooting a commercial for Revlon of something. The result is a baroque fairy tale of a film. A lot of people didn’t like the story, but I did, probably because I love The Princess Bride, which this is remotely similar to, and I saw this while I was reading a lot Borges.

7. The Prestige dir. Christopher Nolan (2006)
I spent the better part of a year and half reading and writing about science and the occult in Victorian Britain, so I pretty much had to appreciate this movie. No other film in the past ten years does a better job of limning the terrifyingly alienating capacities of technology.

6. The Royal Tenenbaums dir. Wes Anderson (2001)
Not gonna lie, I still cry every time I watch Royal die at the end. A masterpiece.
 
5. The Wrestler dir. Darren Aronofsky (2008)
Sure, what is most memorable about this film was that it marked the return of Mickey Rourke, the doyen of tough-guy acting, in a role that closely parallels his own career. But The Wrestler is also a very spiritual/religious film depicting the agape performers have for their fans. No movie captures the longing and sacrifice of vocation better than The Mick as Randy the Ram does. Aronofsky’s hand-held technique, singularly focused on the grotesqueries of Mickey Rourke, allows us to recognize his subject as a piece of meat (who, coincidentally also works at a deli) to be offered up for the love of a larger cause - his fans - at the expense of his own corporeal satisfaction. The result, for me, is that each time I watch this movie I come away restless and in want of a trade/calling. The Bruce song at the end is also badass.

4. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy dir. Peter Jackson (2001-2003)


3. Memento dir. Christopher Nolan (2000)
There will probably be (if there aren’t already) scads of half-cooked college papers written about this mind-blowing movie, but let me just say this: Memento blew my fucking mind! While I haven’t seen it in forever and I don’t remember most of it (zing), watching this unfold and thinking about how nebulous memory is, and how fragmented the self can be, was similar to learning about evolution or space in grammar school, or finding out that Ted Williams’ head was cryogenically frozen.

2. There Will Be Blood dir. Paul Thomas Anderson (2007)
“He looked like a man cut away from the stake, when the fire has overrunningly wasted all the limbs without consuming them, or taking away one particle from their compacted aged robustness. His whole high, broad form, seemed made of solid bronze, and shaped in an unalterable mould, like Cellini’s cast Perseus.” Ahab = Daniel Plainview = the coolest movie of the decade.

1. Children of Men dir. Alfonso Cuarón (2006)
The rare blend of a film that is both topically and aesthetically intriguing. Philosophers, sociologists, historians and policy-makers have been talking about the decline of Western Civilization for the last hundred years or longer, but Cuaron vividly shows what this looks like – it’s 2027 and everything is in decay. The characters are passive cynics closed off by fear and parochialism. Sound familiar?


Okay, so it turns out we have three (edit: now four!) more after this. Will try to finish it up by tonight. Whooo!

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