Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Decade's Best: #11-#20



Whether you hear Lionel & Diana or Luther & Mariah when I say these soothing words, it's all about endless love by the time we've climbed this high in my Best of the 00s Countdown.

Even in a week that keeps forcing me into carpy, dyspeptic grumpiness—because some holiday classics just aren't as good as I had expected, and some current holiday releases are inestimably worse, and even some tried-and-allegedly-true mainstays of the American cinematic canon, whether screened alone or in auspicious company, strike me as sturdy but deeply flawed, although most people disagree—I'll always have some films to revisit in an adoring way, just like Rick and Ilsa will always have Paris.

From Korea to the Yukon, from Pakistan to London, from Romania to Iran, from North Carolina to, um, Virginia, and on one occasion in eleven different nations at once, the world is a better place with moviemakers like these working at the top of their game, having this much to show us, and this much to say.

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11 Comments:

Blogger Glenn said...

Gotta mention that Sherlock Holmes grade. An F? Wow. I wouldn't have expected you to like it (that's not an insult), but not to the effect that you did(n't?) Interesting.

Now, The New World? Just sublime. For whatever reason the other day I had the playful game in the hedges floating through my mind. Gorgeous and devastating.

1:09 AM, December 30, 2009  
Blogger Colin Low said...

This set of ten is pure gold; if only the national library didn't seal all except The Corporation in the Restricted Section, which means I can only watch them on their tiny in-library TV screens, and only after I'm twenty-one, and only one movie in a single session.

You can guess which one I'm scouting out next...

1:16 AM, December 30, 2009  
Blogger Colin Low said...

And I L-O-V-E the snipe at Natalie Wood's "Who lives??" in your Miracle at 34th Street review, because those pseudo-existential utterances in Rebel Without A Cause really damaged for me that movie's credo of speaking for the neglected thrills and sadnesses that these youths (and, by extension, all generations of youth) have to undergo. Not that the simplistic parental complexes help much.

1:59 AM, December 30, 2009  
Blogger NATHANIEL R said...

i'm pretending i didn't read "snipe at Natalie Wood" ;)

cuz otherwise so enjoying this idiosyncratic list and the comments

2:16 AM, December 30, 2009  
Blogger Tim said...

In his Hitchcock interview, Truffaut admitted that whenever he tried to watch The Lady Vanishes with a specific eye towards figuring out how it worked cinematically, he always got too involved in enjoying himself to pay attention. I have exactly the opposite response to 12 Angry Men: I'm so amazed by the use of camera movement and editing in that tiny one-room set that I tend to forget that it actually has a plot, characters, or theme. One of those cases where every word you say is demonstrably true, and yet I do not share your conclusions at all, I fear.

The list: at least a couple that I haven't even heard of, but I'm delighted to see Junebug, even if I would never personally put it remotely that high. And, of course, The New World, which I'll be watching on Blu-Ray in the very near future thanks to Amazon.com's extremely generous post-Christmas sales. So, everybody reading this should go buy it, because it is insanely beautiful and reasonably cheap.

Also, I know it's my fault for reading this so late, but of all Inland Empire stills, it had to be the one that is going to give me nightmares for the rest of the week?

2:41 AM, December 30, 2009  
Blogger tim r said...

By my count, as an obsessive peruser of the main site, 11 straight-A movies are fighting for the last ten spots. Is this wrong? Is Beau Travail being ruled out as a 1999 festival premiere? Some suspense remains! Either way, I'm thinking I may love all the top ten except one (which could well be #1), but we'll see...

6:04 AM, December 30, 2009  
Blogger Colin Low said...

@tim r: We can compare notes as obsessive perusers: I actually count twelve straight-A movies left. Five are definitely in, on account that they're on his list of Bests as well. Of the seven remaining, I suspect Beau Travail and Ghost Dog have been disqualified based on their world premieres in 1999.

This is way more fun than discussing Oscar eligibility... ;)

9:48 AM, December 30, 2009  
Blogger Lev Lewis said...

I already knew I was behind in my viewings, but seeing some of these films placed on your list makes the need so much greater. And, I'm dying to know what your number one is. "Russian Ark"? "Eternal Sunshine"? "Grizzly Man"? "Dancer in the Dark"?

11:54 AM, December 30, 2009  
Blogger NicksFlickPicks said...

@Glenn: Is the "whatever reason" the fact that I've got that very scene snapshotted at the top of the blog? Or is everything not about me? (I'm probably being grouchier about Sherlock Holmes than I need to be, but let's say it's more of a 59% F than a 0% F. I considered something in the low D range, and Derek tried to talk me up, but it just killed my mood.)

@Colin: Well, you'll be sitting at that library terminal for a while with The Corporation, but I hope it's worth it! Don't let Nathaniel hear me say this, but conceding that I haven't yet seen Splendor in the Grass, it's a little bit mystifying to me that Natalie Wood got hired for acting jobs.

@Nathaniel: You didn't hear anything! Go say something cruel about Mariah if it makes you feel better.

@Tim: Which of the 67 versions of The New World is on Blu-Ray? I bought the extended director's cut that debuted on DVD a little over a year ago but haven't watched it yet. I get what you're saying about 12 Angry Men but just couldn't figure out how to parse the formal choices away from the Stanley Kramerish rhetorical point they seemed pretty clearly designed to assist.

@The Eagle Eyes: You've both got it. The same basis in IMDb/international premiere years that I remembered to stipulate for the Backwards & Forwards series but forgot to reiterate for this one still applies. Beau travail and Ghost Dog would be way up there on a 90s list.

11:55 AM, December 30, 2009  
Blogger NicksFlickPicks said...

@Lev: You'll know very soon, though it's dear of you to be this curious.

11:57 AM, December 30, 2009  
Blogger Glenn Dunks said...

No no, it wasn't the banner (as beautiful as it is). I think I may have walked past a garden with a big hedge?

10:56 PM, December 30, 2009  

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