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Thread: Top 10 of 2020

  1. #26
    Administrator Ezee E's Avatar
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    To watch:
    Palm Springs
    Underwater
    Bad Boys 4 Life
    Zola
    Social Dilemma
    Trial of the Chicago 7
    One Night In Miami
    Wendy
    Promising Young Woman
    Shirley
    Soul
    Mank


    MAYBE, I need a push:
    On The Rocks
    The Father
    Becky
    Wolfwalkers

    Acclaimed, but don't really care:
    Ammonite
    Emma.
    French Exit

    The Lost Daughter - *** 1/2
    The Humans - * 1/2
    Worst Person in the World - ***


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  2. #27
    Super Moderator dreamdead's Avatar
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    Hoping to do a run of films here this month, but so far:

    1. Bacurau
    2. Dick Johnson is Dead
    3. Palm Springs
    4. The Assistant
    5. Da 5 Bloods
    6. Ma Rainey's Black Bottom
    7. Mank

    ETA: Only fully convinced by the top 2, but still working on the list.
    Last edited by dreamdead; 12-19-2020 at 09:54 AM.
    The Boat People - 9
    The Power of the Dog - 7.5
    The King of Pigs - 7

  3. #28
    Administrator Ezee E's Avatar
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    Palm Springs is only available on Hulu I believe.
    hmmmmm....

    The Lost Daughter - *** 1/2
    The Humans - * 1/2
    Worst Person in the World - ***


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  4. #29
    1. Dick Johnson Is Dead
    2. The Trip to Greece
    3. David Byrne's American Utopia
    4. The Vast of Night
    5. Never Rarely Sometimes Always
    6. The Assistant
    7. The Wolf House
    8. Time
    9. Emma.
    10. Da 5 Bloods

    Worst year maybe ever.
    Last edited by Idioteque Stalker; 12-07-2020 at 05:32 PM.

  5. #30
    Quote Quoting Idioteque Stalker (view post)
    Worst year maybe ever.
    1981 still gets my vote. I can only think of four spicy movies from that year: Too Early/Too Late, Modern Romance, Cutter's Way, and Diva. Maybe La Femme de l'aviateur but I'd need to see it again first. And I still haven't seen The Arabic Numerals Series, Eijanaika, Freak Orlando, Ms. 45, Orderly or Disorderly, Thief, or You Are Not I.
    Last edited by baby doll; 12-06-2020 at 11:00 PM.
    Just because...
    Ash Is Purest White (Jia Zhangke, 2018) mild
    Au bonheur des dames (Julian Duvivier, 1930) warm
    Kansas City (Robert Altman, 1996) mild

    The last book I read was...
    Seize the Day by Saul Bellow


    The (New) World

  6. #31
    I have the same number of four star films in 2020 as I have in 1981, so they are somewhat equal to me. Currently I give the tiebreaker to 2020 as the worst year because strictly speaking Das Boot is a more impressive cinematic achievement than The Trip to Greece.

    EDIT: To be fair, I haven't seen a lot of movies from 1981, but of course the same is true to 2020.
    Last edited by Idioteque Stalker; 12-07-2020 at 01:46 AM.

  7. #32
    Replacing Luck Since 1984 Dukefrukem's Avatar
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    1981 gave us Raiders, Escape from New York, Mad Max 2, Possession and the Evil Dead. It's by far better than 2020.
    Twitch / Youtube / Film Diary

    Quote Quoting D_Davis (view post)
    Uwe Boll movies > all Marvel U movies
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    I work in grocery. I have not gotten sick. My fellow employees have not gotten sick. If the virus were even remotely as contagious as its being presented as, why haven’t entire store staffs who come into contact with hundreds of people per day, thousands per week, all falling ill in mass nationwide?

  8. #33
    Quote Quoting Dukefrukem (view post)
    1981 gave us Raiders, Escape from New York, Mad Max 2, Possession and the Evil Dead. It's by far better than 2020.
    As I've said elsewhere on this forum, Raiders of the Lost Ark and Possession both have serious problems with pacing that hold them back from being great films: In each, the filmmakers' compulsion to knock the viewer's socks off every ten minutes or so reaches a point of diminishing returns pretty early. I'll have to take another look at Escape from New York, since I can barely remember it, but my first impression is that it had a distinctive look and there were a couple good scenes but I never cared about the plot enough to get very involved in anything that was happening. I haven't Evil Dead or The Road Warrior but the latter at least piques my interest.
    Just because...
    Ash Is Purest White (Jia Zhangke, 2018) mild
    Au bonheur des dames (Julian Duvivier, 1930) warm
    Kansas City (Robert Altman, 1996) mild

    The last book I read was...
    Seize the Day by Saul Bellow


    The (New) World

  9. #34
    Guttenbergian Pop Trash's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting baby doll (view post)
    Raiders of the Lost Ark has serious problems with pacing
    lol
    Ratings on a 1-10 scale for your pleasure:

    So I Married an Axe Murderer - 6
    That Thing You Do! - 8
    Cocktail - 2
    Child's Play 2 - 7
    Vanilla Sky - 7
    Minority Report - 8
    My Cousin Vinny - 7
    The Limey - 8
    kid 90 - 7
    Another Round - 7




  10. #35
    Guttenbergian Pop Trash's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting Dukefrukem (view post)
    1981 gave us Raiders, Escape from New York, Mad Max 2, Possession and the Evil Dead. It's by far better than 2020.
    It's a great year for genre films, esp. horror. Even a great werewolf movie (American Werewolf in London), and a solid werewolf movie (The Howling). Admittedly less great for dramas and comedies, although haven't seen a lot from that year still. It did give us Modern Romance which is a fine comedy.
    Ratings on a 1-10 scale for your pleasure:

    So I Married an Axe Murderer - 6
    That Thing You Do! - 8
    Cocktail - 2
    Child's Play 2 - 7
    Vanilla Sky - 7
    Minority Report - 8
    My Cousin Vinny - 7
    The Limey - 8
    kid 90 - 7
    Another Round - 7




  11. #36
    Quote Quoting Pop Trash (view post)
    lol
    Great counter-argument.
    Just because...
    Ash Is Purest White (Jia Zhangke, 2018) mild
    Au bonheur des dames (Julian Duvivier, 1930) warm
    Kansas City (Robert Altman, 1996) mild

    The last book I read was...
    Seize the Day by Saul Bellow


    The (New) World

  12. #37
    Screenwriter Lazlo's Avatar
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    1. Palm Springs
    2. Driveways
    3. Dick Johnson is Dead
    4. Never Rarely Sometimes Always
    5. Hamilton
    6. Mangrove
    7. Tenet
    8. Lovers Rock
    9. First Cow
    10. Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets

    Interesting year.
    last four:
    black widow - 8
    zero dark thirty - 9
    the muse - 7
    freaky - 7

    now reading:
    lonesome dove - larry mcmurtry

    Letterboxd
    The Harrison Marathon - A Podcast About Harrison Ford

  13. #38
    Quote Quoting Dukefrukem (view post)
    1981 gave us Raiders, Escape from New York, Mad Max 2, Possession and the Evil Dead. It's by far better than 2020.
    It's a year that really celebrated mediocrity. For every "Road Warrior" or "Evil Dead," there's a "Victory," "Looker," "Quest for Fire," "For Your Eyes Only," "Excalibur," or "Outland." Top grossers included shit like "On Golden Pond" and "Cannonball Run." (And "Golden Pond" went on to win major awards.)

    Quote Quoting baby doll (view post)
    1981 still gets my vote. I can only think of four spicy movies from that year: Too Early/Too Late, Modern Romance, Cutter's Way, and Diva. Maybe La Femme de l'aviateur but I'd need to see it again first. And I still haven't seen The Arabic Numerals Series, Eijanaika, Freak Orlando, Ms. 45, Orderly or Disorderly, Thief, or You Are Not I.
    I'd add "Reds," "Blow Out," "Atlantic City," and maaaaaaaybe "My Dinner with Andre" to your shortlist.

    "Ms .45" and "Thief" are def worth a watch, although ".45" is a bit of a tryhard.

  14. #39
    Quote Quoting Irish (view post)
    I'd add "Reds," "Blow Out," "Atlantic City," and maaaaaaaybe "My Dinner with Andre" to your shortlist.

    "Ms .45" and "Thief" are def worth a watch, although ".45" is a bit of a tryhard.
    I haven't seen Atlantic City (which premiered in 1980 anyway) or Reds. Blow Out is fun, but even after a second viewing, I still can't get completely behind a political thriller that is so at pains not to make any kind of political statement whatsoever. (I prefer Sisters, Dressed to Kill, Raising Cain, and Femme fatale.) I wrote about My Dinner with André on Letterboxd.
    Just because...
    Ash Is Purest White (Jia Zhangke, 2018) mild
    Au bonheur des dames (Julian Duvivier, 1930) warm
    Kansas City (Robert Altman, 1996) mild

    The last book I read was...
    Seize the Day by Saul Bellow


    The (New) World

  15. #40
    Lemme amend: Those are movies I would shortlist, in addition to yours.

    Premiere dates are a dodgy proposition, really. "Evil Dead" played locally in 1981, showed at Cannes in 1982, but wasn't distributed in the US until 1983. "Road Warrior" debuted in Australia in late 1981, but wasn't released in America until mid-1982. But somehow we collectively refer to them as movies from 1981.

    "Reds" is a great movie with great performances, and it's a shame it lost out to middlebrow swill like "Chariots of Fire" and "On Golden Pond." I'd be interested in what you thought of it.

    I see your point about "Blow Out," but yeah ... still a great movie movie. I'll take the first hour of that over most of the other '81 releases. (And to rebut: non-political political thrillers are almost refreshing after the frantic paranoia of some others, eg: "Ipcress File" and "Parallax View," etc.)

  16. #41
    Quote Quoting Irish (view post)
    Premiere dates are a dodgy proposition, really. "Evil Dead" played locally in 1981, showed at Cannes in 1982, but wasn't distributed in the US until 1983. "Road Warrior" debuted in Australia in late 1981, but wasn't released in America until mid-1982. But somehow we collectively refer to them as movies from 1981.
    I go by first public screening, whenever and wherever that happens to have been. The General premiered in Tokyo on December 31, 1926, so by my reckoning, it's a 1926 film.

    I see your point about "Blow Out," but yeah ... still a great movie movie. I'll take the first hour of that over most of the other '81 releases. (And to rebut: non-political political thrillers are almost refreshing after the frantic paranoia of some others, eg: "Ipcress File" and "Parallax View," etc.)
    Maybe I'd be more forgiving of Blow Out as a non-political political thriller if the John Lithgow character weren't such a standard-issue movie psycho whose actions seem motivated more by the requirements of the plot than any internal motivation.
    Just because...
    Ash Is Purest White (Jia Zhangke, 2018) mild
    Au bonheur des dames (Julian Duvivier, 1930) warm
    Kansas City (Robert Altman, 1996) mild

    The last book I read was...
    Seize the Day by Saul Bellow


    The (New) World

  17. #42
    Quote Quoting baby doll (view post)
    I go by first public screening, whenever and wherever that happens to have been. The General premiered in Tokyo on December 31, 1926, so by my reckoning, it's a 1926 film.
    Yeah, that's the way it's done nowadays and I hate it.

    "Atlantic City" was shot in the United States and starred American actors in an American story. That it had European financing and a European director seems inconsequential, as does its premiere at Venice in the fall of 1980. Lancaster and Sarandon were both nominated for the 1981 Academy awards, too, because that's when the movie was distributed in the United States.

    Likewise any recent movie debuting at a high profile festival, but isn't distributed for a year or more afterwards.

    Cf: "The Witch," which premiered at Sundance in January, 2015 but wasn't available to general audiences until February, 2016. I don't know how to refer to it as a product of 2015 when most people couldn't and didn't see it in 2015.

    Gotta say, this seems a strange peeve coming from you, the guy who has said, and more than once, that "best of the decade" lists are an arbitrary distinction.

    Maybe I'd be more forgiving of Blow Out as a non-political political thriller if the John Lithgow character weren't such a standard-issue movie psycho whose actions seem motivated more by the requirements of the plot than any internal motivation.
    God, you're making me wanna watch it again, lol.

    TBH, the only scene I remember clearly is the set-up in the forest, with the bridge, and how the film is obviously a riff on "Blow Up" but done so precisely and with such care that it comes off as fresh, if not unique.
    Last edited by Irish; 12-08-2020 at 02:56 AM.

  18. #43
    Quote Quoting Irish (view post)
    Yeah, that's the way it's done nowadays and I hate it.

    "Atlantic City" was shot in the United States and starred American actors in an American story. That it had European financing and a European director seems inconsequential, as does its premiere at Venice in the fall of 1980. Lancaster and Sarandon were both nominated for the 1981 Academy awards, too, because that's when the movie was distributed in the United States.

    Likewise any recent movie debuting at a high profile festival, but isn't distributed for a year or more afterwards.

    Cf: "The Witch," which premiered at Sundance in January, 2015 but wasn't available to general audiences until February, 2016. I don't know how to refer to it as a product of 2015 when most people couldn't and didn't see it in 2015.

    Gotta say, this seems a strange peeve coming from you, the guy who has said, and more than once, that "best of the decade" lists are an arbitrary distinction.
    It strikes me as rather provincial to privilege a film's US release date, as if a film doesn't matter unless it's reviewed in the New York Times. After all, the overwhelming majority of films never get a commercial release in the US (including most avant-garde films), and when a film does open there, it's often many years after its premiere (A Brighter Summer Day didn't open in New York until 2011). Also, since I don't live in the US, it seems arbitrary--and vaguely colonialist--to date a film by its US release date rather than its British, French, Japanese, or Mongolian release date. The King of Comedy apparently opened in Iceland 1982, so to date it as a 1983 film implies that Icelandic spectators don't matter, or matter less than American spectators, who couldn't see the film until 1983.

    On the other hand, if the argument is that we should date a film by when it opens in its home territory, the example of Atlantic City just goes to show how difficult it often is to assign a film an unambiguous national identity. Is The Last Emperor Italian, Chinese, or British? When I lived in Hangzhou, the DVD shops I went to had it mixed in with Chinese films, suggesting that at least some Chinese people regard it as such, but according to IMDb, it's a British-Italian-French co-production. Yet despite having a British producer and a cameo appearance by Peter O'Toole, it apparently opened in the UK later than it did in the US, as it won the Oscar for the best film of 1987 and the BAFTA for the best film of 1988.
    Just because...
    Ash Is Purest White (Jia Zhangke, 2018) mild
    Au bonheur des dames (Julian Duvivier, 1930) warm
    Kansas City (Robert Altman, 1996) mild

    The last book I read was...
    Seize the Day by Saul Bellow


    The (New) World

  19. #44
    Are we really arguing about this? I guess we are.

    Before we throw around terms like "provincial" and "colonialist" ... Why are festival selection committees the arbiter of release dates? If movies are a democratic art form, made for general audiences, wouldn't that be elitist and exclusionary?

    How does it make sense to define an American movie by a one-off event occurring in Europe?

    Quote Quoting baby doll (view post)
    The King of Comedy apparently opened in Iceland 1982, so to date it as a 1983 film implies that Icelandic spectators don't matter, or matter less than American spectators, who couldn't see the film until 1983.
    In this context, they don't matter. Who gives a shit when Icelanders first saw an American movie?

    Is The Last Emperor Italian, Chinese, or British?
    Good example, but one could just as easily argue edge cases shouldn't define the field.

    (PS: It's British.)

  20. #45
    Quote Quoting Irish (view post)
    Are we really arguing about this? I guess we are.

    Before we throw around terms like "provincial" and "colonialist" ... Why are festival selection committees the arbiter of release dates? If movies are a democratic art form, made for general audiences, wouldn't that be elitist and exclusionary?

    How does it make sense to define an American movie by a one-off event occurring in Europe?

    In this context, they don't matter. Who gives a shit when Icelanders first saw an American movie?

    Good example, but one could just as easily argue edge cases shouldn't define the field.

    (PS: It's British.)
    I'm not committed to the idea that cinema is inherently a democratic art form made for general audiences. Some films, notably avant-garde films, have a narrower appeal and do not find commercial distribution. That doesn't mean Peter Tscherkassky is a less important filmmaker than Christopher Nolan. Incidentally, it's been a long time since commercial movies made their money from theatrical distribution, and in light of the recent announcement by Warner Bros., it seems likely that more and more commercial films will bypass it altogether, even if movie theatres come back after the pandemic.

    I don't think this is merely an issue about dates: It's really an issue about which films are considered important. If the criterion of mattering is a theatrical release in some national territory, a great many films (including some of the best ever made) will fail to clear that bar because they only play at festivals and other, less formal screening venues (e.g., screenings organized by film co-ops and ciné-clubs). I would argue that's more elitist and exclusionary than going by first public screening because the implication is that a film might as well not exist unless a distribution company is willing to spend thousands of dollars to release it.

    On the subject of Icelanders watching American films, I don't accept the view articulated by Pauline Kael in her review of Bonnie and Clyde that that American audiences have a special affinity for American films, as if the American public were a homogeneous mass united by some unique national essence. Even in countries as ethnically homogeneous as Japan and South Korea, there isn't one audience, nor does there seem to me any good reason for privileging one group of spectators over another as being a more ideal audience for a film. All films are available to a wide range of appropriations and interpretations and no one is an ideal spectator.
    Just because...
    Ash Is Purest White (Jia Zhangke, 2018) mild
    Au bonheur des dames (Julian Duvivier, 1930) warm
    Kansas City (Robert Altman, 1996) mild

    The last book I read was...
    Seize the Day by Saul Bellow


    The (New) World

  21. #46
    The Pan megladon8's Avatar
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    I would argue that Americans do have a propensity to prefer American films, as do English audiences with English films, French with French, etc.

    Not only due to language (when talking with friends / coworkers about movies, it is more often that they aren't interested in "something with subtitles" than being open to it). Also due to cultural familiarity and a higher chance of connecting with their sociopolitical, religious or philosophical views.
    "All right, that's too hot. Anything we can do about that heat?"

    "Rick...it's a flamethrower."

  22. #47
    Quote Quoting megladon8 (view post)
    I would argue that Americans do have a propensity to prefer American films, as do English audiences with English films, French with French, etc.

    Not only due to language (when talking with friends / coworkers about movies, it is more often that they aren't interested in "something with subtitles" than being open to it). Also due to cultural familiarity and a higher chance of connecting with their sociopolitical, religious or philosophical views.
    The issue isn't whether Americans prefer to watch American movies (most Canadians also prefer to watch American films); the issue is whether Americans are ideal spectators of American films, my argument being that no one is an ideal spectator of any film. Obviously a black person from Watts is going to see things in Killer of Sheep that a white guy from Scandinavia won't, but the Scandinavian guy may also see things in the film that are less apparent to a black American spectator. Everybody brings their own personal agendas, biases, and blindspots to a movie, and there's no correct way of understanding a movie. (Miriam Hansen has even argued that Hollywood succeeded on a global scale in part because Hollywood films meant different things to different people, both in the United States--which is incredibly diverse--and abroad.) The idea that a Pacific Islander in Hawaii has some special insight into Burnett's film that black audiences in Toronto and London don't ignores the heterogeneity of American audiences. Moreover, Hollywood movies are increasingly designed to appeal to an international audience (particularly audiences in mainland China).

    Also, for what it's worth, none of the French people I know will go anywhere near a French movie. They prefer '80s Hong Kong films.
    Just because...
    Ash Is Purest White (Jia Zhangke, 2018) mild
    Au bonheur des dames (Julian Duvivier, 1930) warm
    Kansas City (Robert Altman, 1996) mild

    The last book I read was...
    Seize the Day by Saul Bellow


    The (New) World

  23. #48
    Quote Quoting Irish (view post)
    If movies are a democratic art form, made for general audiences, wouldn't that be elitist and exclusionary?

    Who gives a shit when Icelanders first saw an American movie?
    Uh...

  24. #49
    Guttenbergian Pop Trash's Avatar
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    My top ten from 1981 since I know ya'll are breathlessly awaiting my $.02 on the matter.

    The Road Warrior
    Raiders of the Lost Ark
    An American Werewolf in London
    Modern Romance
    Blow Out
    Ms. 45
    Escape from NY
    The Evil Dead
    Polyester
    Mommie Dearest



    Easily better than 2020 for me but nostalgia is a cruel mistress.
    Ratings on a 1-10 scale for your pleasure:

    So I Married an Axe Murderer - 6
    That Thing You Do! - 8
    Cocktail - 2
    Child's Play 2 - 7
    Vanilla Sky - 7
    Minority Report - 8
    My Cousin Vinny - 7
    The Limey - 8
    kid 90 - 7
    Another Round - 7




  25. #50
    Guttenbergian Pop Trash's Avatar
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    The release date thing imdb uses is good for standardization. I realize there is some elitism w/ having a Cannes or Toronto premier being the end all/be all but esp. w/ foreign films it helps to not make release dates so Americentric. Something like Audition is a 1999 film because it played in Japan then, even if the vast majority of English speakers never saw it until 2000 (or even 2001 / 2002). International critics polls like Sight & Sound need to have a common consensus about the year of a movie, even if individual publications generally go by year of release in their respective country or even city (Chicago critics will often include a movie as that year if it opened up January or February in Chicago, even if it opened up in NYC the previous December).
    Ratings on a 1-10 scale for your pleasure:

    So I Married an Axe Murderer - 6
    That Thing You Do! - 8
    Cocktail - 2
    Child's Play 2 - 7
    Vanilla Sky - 7
    Minority Report - 8
    My Cousin Vinny - 7
    The Limey - 8
    kid 90 - 7
    Another Round - 7




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