Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Woodstock Winners

I meant to reveal the winners of the Taking Woodstock contest earlier in order to celebrate that peace/love '69 flick from Ang Lee (Utopia!). Unfortunately I've been pretty hammered by the flu (Dystopia!) so I'm just now getting around to it. The five winners receive the original motion picture soundtrack, a t-shirt, an air freshener and a mud sliding date with Emile Hirsch (kidding!).

If you missed Taking Woodstock in theaters, I hope you'll check it out on DVD. It felt a bit formless in the theater but I think that form, er...formlessness, was right for the material and it plays well in the head (and heart) afterwards. I asked each contestant to name their favorite Ang Lee movie so I've included their comments below.

Winners were drawn randomly.

And the Winners are...

Cindy from Washington
My favorite would have to be Sense and Sensibility. I don't particularly like Jane Austen films, yet I loved this movie. And besides, who would've thought that a Taiwanese director could do something so charming and utterly British at heart?
Amir from Surrey
got to see Taking Woodstock yesterday. Joyous ensemble piece. Definitely not the "lesser Lee" some people are making it out to be. Watching Mamie Gummer in that wonderful, little, lived-in performance, it felt as though Manhattan-era Meryl was back. (That long hair! Ah!) Still feeling all tingly about Jonathan Groff. (Ah!)

Anyway, as for my favourite Ang Lee film, I have to cheat and go with two: Brokeback Mountain and Lust, Caution. For me, there is absolutely no separating the two. Both are repressed love stories (my favourite kind). Both subvert the conventions of their genre to startling effect. Both are very pretty to look at. I actually think the two films were made to be in dialogue with each other. They are his twin masterpieces.
Ang Lee's filmography. How many have you seen?

Dimi from Nashville
Hands down my favorite is Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon simply for blowing my mind when I first saw it. I was 10 years old and naive to the capabilities of films that aren't Adam Sandler comedies. I have learned better since.
David Low from Connecticut
I have two favorite Ang Lee movies, Sense and Sensibility and Brokeback Mountain. Sense shows Lee’s masterful sensitivity in capturing matters of the heart, abetted by Emma Thompson’s impeccable adaptation of the Austen novel. Elinor and Marianne have to suffer before they find fulfillment with the right men but the serious side is balanced by the gentle humor throughout the film, leading up to the memorable ending in which Elinor (Thompson) cries uncontrollably and then smiles grandly when she finds out that Edward (Hugh Grant) isn’t married – what a moment of bliss at the movies. Elinor is like Ennis Del Mar because she represses her true feelings but thankfully she finds a happier end.

As for Brokeback, which I just rewatched recently, I love the spareness of the dialog, the precision and beauty of the cinematography and editing, its portrayal of American life we just don’t see very much in American cinema, and the devastating and heartbreaking portrayal of the love between Ennis Del Mar and Jack Twist, played to perfection by Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal. That scene when Ennis breaks down in Jack’s arms the last time they see each other is so moving you can barely stand watching it—and then there's the unforgettable last shot of Ennis with tears in his eyes looking at the two shirts entwined.

Drew Smith from California
My favorite Ang Lee movie is Lust, Caution because Tang Wei. The end.
Ha! Drew doesn't beat around the bush. Tang Wei was definitely something special in that movie. So very Oscar worthy. Sadly, we haven't seen a follow up film just yet. At first I expected Ang Lee to ride in to her rescue but then I remembered that he doesn't tend to work with actors a second time. But, ah, good news... she has finally made a second feature. It's called Yue man xuan ni shi (aka Crossing Hennessy) and it's a romantic comedy co-starring Jacky Cheung (Ashes of Time) about shopkeepers in Hong Kong.

Congratulations people!

Just for the record The Ice Storm had several votes for "favorite Ang Lee" movie but none of them were drawn. It was quite interesting for yours truly to see how well loved his entire filmography is. Though I don't believe Hulk nabbed a single "favorite" vote.


Though he did not win the contest, I must also send out a big groovy loving thank you to frequent commenter/loyal reader Wayne B who was the only contestant to send in a photo with the requested hippie vibe. Well done, Wayne! I guess everyone else was shy this month but that's a total bummer because reader photos are fun-fun-fun! Hopefully when the next contest with a photo request rolls around, y'all won't be so stingy with your collective beauty.

Peace out,

Nathaniel (your host)


amir_uk said...

Omg! Omg! I won... I love today so much more now (for I am also recovering from the flu, Nathaniel). Amazing. Thank you.

(Seriously though, you don't have to send it all the way to the UK if postage fees are ridiculous... Unless you have oh-so-special journalistic privilege rates, or some such ;-) ...)

Wayne B said...

Wow, the only one? ... Really? Colour me surprised. Congrats to the winners.

cal roth said...

The next Best Picture series entry, please?

Arkaan said...

Also, you have Canada as having three nods and one win on your foreign film page. It has four (Decline of the American Empire was the first).

Arkaan said...

Never mind, I actually read it more closely.

Congrats to the winners and excuse this attempted hijacking.


cal we're in process. unfortunately our schedules haven't aligned well of late.

Jude said...

No love for The Ice Storm? Darn.

Dimi said...

Thanks Nathaniel!

I suppose I should actually go and see the movie before/if I wear the t-shirt around.

Kyle said...

I would have voted for "Hulk" I love that movie and feel like it's gotten a bad rap, much like Superman Returns.
People have to have their superheroes spoon-fed to them ala Spider-man I guess.

Cindy said...

Ahh! How exciting! Thanks Nathaniel! :)

gabrieloak said...

Wow, I just saw that I won. I was on my 10 day trip to Toronto and wasn't able to check in here. I'm psyched.

gabrieloak said...

It would have been fun to read what everyone had to say about their favorite Ang Lee films!