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a sense of joy and then a panic
a sense of joy and then a panic
the good thing is, I kept thinking of movies I liked, not movies I hated 
My Favorite Movies of the '00s: 

10.  Hot Fuzz (Edgar Wright, 2007).  Exactly my brand of humor.
9.  Synecdoche, New York (Charlie Kaufman, 2008).  Saddest movie ever.
8.  The Fog of War (Errol Morris, 2003).  The anti-Frost/Nixon.
7.  28 Days Later (Danny Boyle, 2002).  Zombies, the apocalypse, digital video, what more do you want?
6.  Mulholland Drive (David Lynch, 2001).  This was just masterful. 
5.  Grizzly Man (Werner Herzog, 2005).  Everything good about Herzog, wrapped into one.
4.  The Dark Knight (Christopher Nolan, 2008).  Beautiful, harrowing.
3.  No Country For Old Men (Coen Brothers, 2007).  Can't stop what's coming.
2.  O Brother Where Art Thou (Coen Brothers, 2000).  My romantic love for this one knows no bounds.
1.  The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy (Peter Jackson, 2001, 2002, 2003).  Had to do it, sorry.

Honorable Mention Goes To (11-20): Friday Night Lights (All About The Football), Encounters At The End of the World (My Second Favorite Of Herzog's in the 00s), The Departed (Well Made), Hero (Stylish Visuals), Bowling For Columbine (Preaching To The Choir), Zodiac (Creepy, But Long), The Devil's Backbone (The Anti-Pan's Labyrinth), W. (Kind Of Changed My Life), Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (Great At The Time, But Made Too Little Of An Impression), Tropic Thunder (Hot Fuzzian). 

Wild Card: 4 [Chetyre] (Visceral Reaction, To Be Sure).

Not sure what to conclude from all of that, except that it feels surprisingly America-centric.  Huh.  Keep in mind I have far from seen all the movies of the decade. 

Movies I Really Fuckin' Hated (Not Counting Obviously Bad Movies)

10.  9 (Shane Acker, 2009).  Worst movie I saw this year.  Worse than 2012.  Just awful.  Burn all puppets.
9.  Far From Heaven (Todd Haynes, 2002).  I was embarrassed that I made my mother watch this.  Like Crash, but worse.
8.  Y Tu Mama Tambien (Alfonso Cuaron, 2002).  I think I just don't get Alfonso Cuaron. 
7.  Thank You For Smoking (Jason Reitman, 2006).  Way too proud of itself, this one.
6.  Children of Men (Alfonso Cuaron, 2006).  High upon your horse, you preach, preach, preach, preach. 
5.  Frost/Nixon (Ron Howard, 2008).  Tedious, apologist's perspective.
4.  The Good Shepherd (Robert De Niro, 2006).  Boring, ugly.
3.  Donnie Darko (Richard Kelly, 2001).  C+ for the first 75% of the movie.  Below F for the final 25%. 
2.  V For Vendetta (James McTeigue, 2005).  There are no words for the terrible quality of everything involved here. 
1.  Pan's Labyrinth (Guillermo Del Toro, 2006).  When this one gets top slots on best-of-the-decade, I laugh and then I cry! 

I think you can conclude that I don't like dystopias, boring political movies, movies about the '50s (The '50s part of The Hours greatly excepted - Pleasantville was originally my #4, but then I saw it was made in 1998, and now I can't believe I don't have a single Tim Burton on there, but now I realize it's because I learned to avoid him like the fucking Plague), or Alfonso Cuaron.  I did like his Harry Potter (Prisoner of Azkaban), but that's it. 
01.04.10 (UTC)
So agree w/you about V for Vendetta and O Brother Where Art Thou
01.04.10 (UTC)
Luckily V for Vendetta has not made it onto any Top movies of the decade lists, as far as I'm aware.
01.04.10 (UTC)
Did I rant about how much I hate that movie in your journal? I can't remember where I leave what comments, sometimes.

I really hate that movie.
01.04.10 (UTC)
No, I don't think so. Rant away! It's actually funny because this is the one movie I always agree with conservatives on. My main reason for hating it is that it was so amateurish it was like a made-for-MTV movie - like, as I was sitting in the theater I could not believe that it was playing in front of me - but then we have all the political/moral reasons, and yes.
01.04.10 (UTC)
Well, the moral bankruptcy was a pretty big problem for me. A screamingly big one. I just couldn't believe we were meant to get behind torture when it's for the sake of, y'know, "freeing" the heroine.

But that whole idea was bad on tons of other levels too--not just morality, Bob, but for OTHER REASONS too!! Frex.... this guy can go to all this trouble to concoct and create this pseudo prison, etc. etc. etc. ... for the sake of brainwashing freeing this one girl? Please! Isn't he supposed to be, like, bringin' down the government? (And where does he get his money? And, and, who does he hire to build these things and... oh, Alan, I don't think you thought this one through)

And I'm sorry, from a feminist perspective, the notion that you'll grow up and discover the Revolutionary Within with a little male-administered torture? No thanks.

Oh and then just the pure babyishness of the adolescent politics in the damn thing. Oh hey, we've blown up parliament!! Yeah, okay, and now, all you free spirits, how are you going to govern? Or, or, maybe you're not? Maybe we'll all live in joyful anarchy now, yeah? The state's finally withered away?

... so, yeah--that's my rant.
01.04.10 (UTC) - awesome.
I think by the time Natalie Portman was being tortured I was zoned out, so the feminist thing didn't occur to me, but you're right. I was surprised he didn't rape her while he was at it (but that was pretty much right there under the surface, wasn't it?). But yeah, seriously didn't make pragmatic sense. Did he even have real accomplices? Speaking of accomplices, the end made no sense either.

The politics are just that, totally adolescent. The idea that all these people would suddenly say, yes, I too am tired of our government, I will wear masks and risk my life - yeah right. Going from one flock of sheep to another.

Oh, I should also add that any story that does the whole "my EEVIL authoritarian government has banned MUSIC and ART and BOOKS and all that is BEAUTIFUL and I will REBEL for the sake of ART" is pretty much an automatic fail for me. Have these people heard of Leni Riefenstahl? Come on!
01.04.10 (UTC) - Re: awesome.
What's so laughable is the only time that I've ever experienced anything faintly like authoritarianism (and I'll grant you, it's only like it by analogy, but still) was on LJ! When suddenly, last year, people were having to make self-flagellating statements about their inner racism or be branded a *worse* sort of racist (the unrepentant kind). I found myself unwilling to comment on certain topics for fear my remark might not pass muster. That made me understand self-censorship, and the need to be guarded in one's public speech in a really visceral way. I suddenly understood how people have felt in controlling states. .... And the funny thing was, this was a mood that was fostered by the purported liberals, trying to stamp out or cure badthink.

Anyone can be a totalitarian, quite willingly, it appears. Yeah.
01.04.10 (UTC) - Re: awesome.
Oh yes... THAT. I totally was not in the specfic community last year when that was happening, so I missed it and had to read about it afterward. I'm pretty sure I would fail as well. TBH I feel that way about a lot of "controversies," so I stick to movies and football.

Having lived in an authoritarian state (I guess...), it annoys me that dystopic movies always present authoritarianism as a sort of cartoonish ultra-evil (or maybe that they only present extreme totalitarianism). I know it's exaggeration but it's b.s., because most of the time it's not, you know, retinal scans, which is why it survives and gets used as an excuse for economic development and security.
01.04.10 (UTC) - nuance
What gets me, just having seen humans operate now for 40-plus years, is how little nuance there is in the portrayal. No sense of the ways people get by, subvert the system, funny quirks about the system, things about the system that people would miss if it fell, etc. Nope--that's all lost, in simplistic dystopias.

I watched an Iranian movie; I forget what it was called, but it was about this boy who works on a construction site who is angry when this other boy comes to work there too--only then he discovers that the boy is actually a girl--a girl from Afghanistan-- in disguise. She eventually has to leave because there's some crackdown going on on hiring refugee laborers. ... Anyway, that's all beside the point. The thing is, the main-character-boy goes to the boss man to get some of his wages early because he wants to help this girl. The boss man is on the one hand exploitative and on the other hand, in a sense, paternalistically protective. One the one hand, he withholds the kid's wages; on the other, that means the kid can't lose them or get robbed or spend them, etc. I think (I don't recall very well) the boss man does give the kid the money. I just remember thinking how this guy wasn't portrayed purely as a goon or as a kindly uncle-figure, but as a real, mixed, person.

... too much talking for a small point, but there you go...
01.04.10 (UTC) - Re: nuance
No sense of the ways people get by, subvert the system, funny quirks about the system, things about the system that people would miss if it fell, etc.


Oh, us and our mixed-up people.
01.04.10 (UTC) - also
...plus, most people think that having food and a little stability IS better than starvation and constant chaos and war... which is another reason people aren't always eager to overthrow a bad regime.

....not that war and totalitarian regime are the only two choices, of course...

Edited at 2010-01-04 09:37 pm (UTC)
01.04.10 (UTC) - Re: also
throw in some healthy patriotism/revolutionary angst and you're good to go for the next 60 years.
01.04.10 (UTC)
eh, hate me if you want, but i didn't mind V for vendetta. it wasn't great, but it wasn't awful, either.
01.04.10 (UTC)
also i didn't really like no country for old men.

i know, i know.
01.04.10 (UTC)
There are many things we disagree upon (re: taste in movies).
01.04.10 (UTC)
I don't hate people for their taste in movies!
01.06.10 (UTC)
but then, taste often speaks to something deeper.
01.06.10 (UTC)
I agree, although I think a lot of it also depends on how people are judging whatever they're judging (which may also say something about the person's aesthetics/values). And a whole big muck of it depends on personal experience.

I think in terms of taste (in music/movies/books) I'm more dissimilar to you than any of my other friends, but... that hasn't really bothered me?
01.04.10 (UTC)
also, somebody totally had that icon in this layout-making community and I didn't recognize you at first :/ icons are strange.
01.05.10 (UTC)
Haven't seen V for Van, but I did read the comic, which I liked quite a bit.

Donnie Darko??? We're going to have to throw down on that one. There are so many more movies worth of the not-top-ten than that.
01.05.10 (UTC)
I never read the comic. I have the impression Moore wasn't a huge fan of the movie, fwiw. As I said above, what turned me off the most about the movie was how shoddily made and poorly (overly) acted it was.

Well, I did say it was "not obviously bad." Obviously G.I. Joe, say, or any SyFy movie of the week, is worse. These are the well-regarded movies that I can imagine actually being on a Top 10 list, and some of these movies made it on here due to sheer disappointment. D. Darko is one of those (Children of Men is another). This, of course, can be dismissed as "it wasn't the movie I wanted it to be." But, I'll explain anyway. It seemed like it was going somewhere cool and then became conventional. There are scenes in the beginning that I really liked, like the pageant/pedophile thing, and the family dinners, and the scary bunny, and cellar door. And I kept feeling like, there is no way that the explanation/resolution is going to be as cool as the set-up, and for me, it wasn't. It's like it just spiraled down and down. Would have been better if they didn't explain any of the weirdness, but then again, I like David Lynch.

I was so annoyed by Donnie by the end (when it was obvious that he was supposed to be the oh-so-smart-and-cool hero who was so above everyone else in his pathetic little community, and he was going to be a martyr) that he couldn't die fast enough. Yeah, now that I think about it, it was Donnie I couldn't stand. Erase him from the movie and it wouldn't have ended up here - unfortunately, he's pivotal to the plot.

Still love the soundtrack, though.
01.05.10 (UTC)
To explain/give a reason or be weird/opaque is something I've been talking about with other folks recently. I dig the weird plenty, but there are times when weird/opaque for the sake of it is kind of a cheat, I think. I loved that Darko wasn't a Lynch flick, that it gave an explanation (to varying levels of success).

I thought Darko's oh-so-smart-martyr shtick was kind of befitting his teen boy-ness. They all think think they're oh-so-smart martyr's. ;)

Now, as far as Pan's Labyrinth is concerned...keep it up and I'll put Nebraska back on my hated teams list!
01.05.10 (UTC)
I thought Darko's oh-so-smart-martyr shtick was kind of befitting his teen boy-ness. They all think think they're oh-so-smart martyr's. ;)

Definitely! The problem was the movie exalted that. I remember the scene where he sticks it to the motivational speaker and I was just like, you sound just as asinine as he does, but I get the feeling I'm supposed to be cheering for you.

To be sure an explanation can work (and I agree that weirdness just to be weird is kind of a cheat). I do like murder mysteries, and liked The Prestige's long windy explanation (but I know a lot of people don't). This one I thought was better off left weird. Time travel, to me, feels like a cheat.

Pan's Labyrinth I have an even harder time explaining, and nobody agrees with me on that one except one person I dislike (so, y'know, I don't expect anybody to change their mind, and I know it's got like the highest Rotten Tomatoes rating ever). I wrote a post about how awful that movie made me feel a long time ago, after I watched it for the second time: here, longer explanation. Basically I feel it trivializes death, so it hits a raw nerve. Which is funny because I LOVE its "prequel," The Devil's Backbone, which has the exact opposite message. Hmm, I'm starting to think that what all these movies really have in common is a celebration of martyrdom. Yeah... I think that's about right.

But don't take it out on Nebraska! :(
01.05.10 (UTC)
To preface. I have an awful memory of movie details. Having seen Darko a long time ago, I don't even remember the motivational speaker scene. So I'm grasping at the impressions of the flick that have stayed with me. Which is something about me I hate (that I tend not to remember specifics about movies and books).

01.05.10 (UTC)
Whoops. Hit post too soon. I read your thoughtful post on Pan's. And I do think I liked Devil's backbone better, maybe. I go back and forth.

I didn't take away death-is-a-relief from Pan's. I thought Pan's was more sad and brutal precisely because there was no ghost there to set things right, that horrible things do happen and sometimes all we can do is cope. I thought Pan's was about coping, trying to live, and unfortunately, failing.
01.05.10 (UTC)
I think it's easier to read it that way if you take it for granted that she's making everything up, which in my class that I originally saw it in, we were undecided on. And here my memory is failing, but doesn't it end with her in high court in the underworld, not bleeding on the concrete (I think I would have liked that ending more)? I dunno.

I felt like she didn't cope, though, she escaped (the maid coped, I liked the maid). Which, for a child, is totally understandable (the escapism thing). But I did feel like failing in this case was set up as a happy ending.

You're right that the ghost kind of deus-ex-machina's things in Devil's, though (duh, that's what good ghosts do!).
01.05.10 (UTC)
I usually remember minute things and come to a conclusion immediately after seeing the movie, and I rarely change my mind after that, which is also bad. Like I thought that War of the Worlds was awful when I first watched it, but after rewatching it years later (soon after watching 2012) I was like, oh, this is actually pretty ok!
01.05.10 (UTC)
and by War of the Worlds I mean Spielberg, not 1953.
01.05.10 (UTC)
I haven't seen the Spielberg, but I probably should.
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