Wednesday, December 08, 2010

It's Top Ten Time! (Not Here, But Elsewhere.)

Setting aside for a moment the personal view that people rush too quickly into naming their favorites every year (usually well before the annum is over) I do love reading a good top ten list. When those  lists are from magazines, they have a long lead excuse so let's enjoy them.

The L Magazine, a local NYC offering ("the L"is a subway), has released their Best Films of 2010 and as usual there's a lot to argue with. For instance, Mark Asche lulled me into a state of hipster foreign-film auteurism before clobbering me by honoring Woody Allen at the end. Did not see that coming given the rest of the list and, what's more, I'd call You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger Woody's nadir if I hadn't failed at successfully erasing all memories of The Curse of the Jade Scorpion and Hollywood Ending. Where is Lacuna, Inc when I need them? Nicolas Rapold, like Asche, leads with Carlos but then has to go and throw in Oki's Movie. Someone please point me to a review of this that explains its worth. I remain perplexed that some cinephiles go apeshit for a movie that is so anti-cinematic; it all but refuses visual interest. "I'm just gonna leave this camera here and not for a brilliantly composed one shot either but just because I can't be bothered to think visually. There! Deal with it." And so it goes throughout the lists with the mix of "yes, good point." and "wtf?" but what would Top Ten Season be without that? Dull, that's what.

The most eccentric list belongs to Benjamin Strong who starts with Godard and ends with... Splice? The most surprising list is the most mainstream (they don't often go hand in hand) coming from Jesse Hassenger who mixes geek-causes, Oscar hopefuls, mainstream comedies... and Greenberg. Noah Baumbach's miserable middle-age protagonist is totes the new mascot for L Magazine appearing on five of the six lists. I liked the movie quite a bit, especially Greta Gerwig's deliciously unactressy actressing if you get me, but I'm not sure I follow all the top ten / awards enthusiasm. Not sure it clears those "best" hurdles, though it's definitely a worthy effort.

I Am Love, a succulent dish.

Finally, you should all head over to Anthony Lane's top ten list at The New Yorker. He's long been one of my favorite writers, no matter what he happens to think of any particular movie. He's just so damn readable; an expert at the turn of a phrase, the offhand quip and the skillful resolution. My favorite part is this awesome "divisive/unifying" double feature since I deeply love both of 'em.
There were films that divided, in 2010, like Luca Guadagnino’s “I Am Love,” whose peach-like ripeness of sensation made some recoil, but which to others, a mite less embarrassable, showed with fine, Italianate panache how uncontrollable feelings can be held and sustained by an organizing eye. And there were films that united, like David Fincher’s “The Social Network”; who would not revel in the irony of a movie about smart-ass kids that was suitable for intelligent grownups? People felt moved to feast, in the aftermath, on its many implications—scary or succulent, depending on your taste for the new, endlessly mediated world. And how long, incidentally, has it been since you saw a film that was gripped by great animus and hostility but was not resolved by violent means? Quite the opposite, in fact; when someone raised a hand against Justin Timberlake, he backed away like a kitten.
But go read the whole thing for takes on Winter's Bone, A Prophet, Dogtooth and more.

What? You still want more? You're insatiable with list lust. Here's a few more.

11 comments:

Movies with Abe said...

You made the right choice not to stick around for "Film Socialisme" after "The Social Network." I don't pretend to have much knowledge about the French New Wave, but it was rather hard to sit through (especially only one day after "My Joy"). I'm glad to see "The Father of My Children" on a couple of these lists, but what I really don't get is why people love "Daddy Longlegs" so much.

Dylan said...

I'll present a top five instead of a ten because I have yet to see many key films...

1. 127 Hours
2. I Am Love
3. The Social Network
4. The Kids Are All Right
5. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

Movies that I haven't seen yet that I expect to be in my final top ten: Somewhere, Rabbit Hole, Black Swan, Uncle Boonmee (probably won't be able to see it till next year. When is it coming to DVD?).

NicksFlickPicks said...

I went to college with Nic Rapold; he edited all my film reviews that went in the school paper. Imagine all the sentences he shortened. Anyway, he's great.

I'm completely crazy about Mark Asch's list: eight movies I loved or strongly liked, Black Swan which is great for film culture even if I wasn't always with it. Then, yeah, the Woody, but since I skipped it, I can't comment.

I liked Black Swan more than Splice, but they seem like kind of similar movies to me: not nearly as psychologically acute as they act like they are, but they certainly whip up some unnerving spectacles, and they manage to achieve strong individual identities despite their obvious debts to other films and makers. I didn't even like Splice all that much, but I can see why other people were crazy about it, and I like seeing it on Top 10 lists more than boring, low-risk "prestige."

NicksFlickPicks said...

Just realized that I'd have loved seeing Sarah Polley as Nina Sayers, and might even have preferred a Sarah/Natalie casting switcheroo.

film izle said...

super moruk perfect..

Kyle said...

Splice was...without a doubt...the worst movie I saw this year, and I sat through "Dinner for Schmucks"....yeah, that bad.

Bryan said...

Oh, Peter. He managed to pick, practically verbatim, what the Best Picture nominees will be. Success...?

NATHANIEL R said...

Bryan -- i know. I know. But Peter isn't a real critic so much as a publicist for Rolling Stone. He sure can write a blurb though and that is a valuable money-making skill.

Nick -- what a coincidence. sarah polley as Nina Sayers would be intriguing but a lot of people in that role would be -- it's thin enough that it's one of those roles i;'d loved to see essayed by several people in like a splintered omnibus black swan film. I always want film culture to be crazier than it is. I would just love to see an instant "call and response" with filmmakers remaking black swan ;)

but i loved Natalie's performance.

Andrew R. said...

I write my Top 10 with 15 (Or Less) Honorable Mentions when the year's over.

I will say that there are 7 films that are pretty much locked in for me. In a great coincidence, 6 of them are serious Oscar contenders.

rjrucker said...

very much appreciate the shout-out! seriously made my year, and I've literally printed it out for the 'fridge.

quite impressed with the list buffet from The L Magazine - methinks I really need to get me a subsciption - collective talent like this should not be ignored

patinetly waiting to see the film expierence's year end kudos!

Anonymous said...

As someone who loved Splice (it's currently my 16th favorite film I've seen this year), it's nice to see that at least one other person thought it was very good too. Brody and Polley were both excellent, and I still have Brody in my top five for lead male performances of the year so far.

Also, I'm glad Life During Wartime made a top 10 list somewhere too. It's currently in my top 10 as well.