2007: Officially Over

by robbiefreeling
January 15, 2008 7:43 AM
  • |

Out with the old, in with the new. We've given you our best, we've offered up our worst, and now, stick a fork in us, because our annual year-end spectacular is more done than Helena Bonham Carter at the end of Sweeney Todd. Top tens are fun, and bottom elevens are even more fun, but goddamn it, so much gets lost in the middle.

To rectify this aching problem (ewww), check out those films that by all accounts should have made it to the top ten, nearly squeaked in, or were disqualified on account of being, oh, 30-plus years old. Then turn your attention to those films that we can't quite get behind, even if they have a lot of smart vocal supporters. And finally, join in our old-fashioned coin toss for our once annual, previously thought retired "Two Cents" column, in which we get together and award the best and brightest of the industry...for one night only...check your local listings....this year, though we had to settle for host Billy Bush (he's good!).

It's just one more chance to sound off on those things that gave us movie hard-ons . . .

. . . those things that made us go "meh" . . .

. . . and those things that made going to the movies feel strangely akin to a rupturous bowel movement.

juno phone.jpg

  • |

More: new issue


  • Chad Channing | January 16, 2008 6:48 AMReply

    Yeah, Robbie, that's all I was trying to say. I saw 29 Palms at the Nuart, it must have been midnight, and the only other people in the theatre were two single men. The movie ended and I was frightened, like I just woke up from a nightmare, and there was no one on the road as I was driving home, and it seemed as if the film was bleeding into my life a little bit. I hadn't felt that way in a long time and from what people told me about the ending of TWBB, I thought maybe I would feel that way again. But I didn't because I thought the ending of TWBB was a little silly. Yes, it was the logical conclusion for all involved, it's just the way that PTA shot and cut the scene that I thought was silly, Kubrick/2001 references and symmetrical beginning/ending hoo-hah be damned. The ending of TWBB was not cruel enough, I guess is what I'm trying to say. It was melo-operatic and told me that PTA has probably never seen any kind of real violence up close in his life. I just wish that TWBB had a little more French running through it's blood. American filmmakers know how to make violence and murder gross and funny. And I'm sorry, but the end of TWBB is funny. Actually, the whole movie is funny, and I'm starting to pick up on this from other people. I don't think TWBB is going to be a camp classic, but it could.

  • robbiefreeling | January 16, 2008 5:43 AMReply

    Thanks for reading, Chad; we're usually more used to people taking us to task for our "thumbing through thesauruses" (the usual response from monosyllabic morons). So the positive feedback is refreshing! It shouldn't come as a surprise that we're great fans of Dumont, as well; the complete failure and general indifference to Flanders astonished us. Perhaps if it had come out closer to the release of the far more problematic, even more stylized Redacted, critics (and a handful of lucky viewers) would have been more willing to note its achievements, even on a relative level.

    I think your response to the end of There Will Be Blood obviously had a lot to do with your expectations; as you say, you "wanted" to feel a certain way at the end of the film. And though that's totally understandable (oh, man, if only American films could regularly make me feel the way those works by the world's great film artists do), I think Anderson wasn't necessarily trying to achieve what Dumont was aiming for at the end of Twentynine Palms. There's a shock to the end of TWBB I think because, though an allegory, the film has become greatly character driven at that point, and that sort of behavior is unimaginable to an ostensible "hero" figure. In Twentynine Palms, the characters remain purposely stenciled in; when the final shock happens, it arrives with the full weight of repression; the id unleashed. I like both films very much, but they're hard to compare. But for the record, yes, I think the end of Dumont's film is not only more conventionally "shocking," but also truly, primally explosive. I was truly rocked to my core at the end of Dumont's film, and I literally shook for a long time after. I can't recall the last time an American film did that to me.

  • Chad Channing | January 15, 2008 6:25 AMReply

    Reverse Shot is my favorite film site. You guys have, consistently, the best writing. And I also wanted to thank you for giving a nod to Dumont. I thought Flanders was a nice step in another direction (I mean, the last words in the movie are I love you. In a Dumont film?), and I always get excited when I hear he has another film coming out, even if it does take an extra six months to get to Los Angeles. And while I liked TWBB, it's ending is a wet fart compared to 29 Palms. I thought I was going to be shocked by what happens to Dano, but I wasn't. Nothing compares to the ending of 29 Palms. Fat Girl comes kind of close. And the first murder in Irreversible, where the guy in the gay club gets his head bashed in with a fire extinguisher, is, I think, what PTA was going for, but I don't think even he has the cojones to put that kind of carnage on screen. I mean, that scene in Irreversible was upsetting, and that's what I wanted to feel at the end of TWBB, but I wasn't, because the scene didn't have the kind of compositional detachement that Irreversible did. So I just don't get why everyone is so agog over the ending of TWBB, but that's just me. Anyway, good stuff.