Week in Review
On Thursday, December 28th, I watched The Black Dahlia, DVD 500 for the year. Some said it couldn't be done, others said I would quit before I finished the project. But I ended up finishing with 3 days to spare. The only way I could think to wrap up a full year of obsessive binge watching is with a "Best" and "Worst" list.
Worst Pretentious Art Film
Not only did Cowards Bend The Knee win this for the year, but maybe for the worst film of all time. It was shown for the first time at a museum. Which makes it an art film in my opinion. It's a film about hockey and sperm. Really. Ugh.
Worst Use of Klaus Kinski
I had numerous problems with Web of the Spider, namely that there was no spider in it whatsoever. And what started as a ghost story turned into a vampire story. Or maybe they were vampire ghosts. Who knows...the crime was casting Klaus Kinski as Edgar Allan Poe and only filming two scenes with him.
Worst Titled Film
Vampire Clan had no vampires in it. Nuff said.
Worst Overall Production
Youtube has better production quality than Soccer's Most Violent Fan Fights.
Worst Film by a Guy Who Should Know Better
Jim Jarmusch's Coffee and Cigarettes has the worst career performances of each and every actor in the film.
Basic Instinct 2 was a worse drop off than the Highlander sequels. I was stunned they couldn't get a run of the mill average screenplay for the sequel, instead of something so horrible -- and after so long.
Worst Made-For-TV Movie Made to Look Legit
There are many made-for-TV movies that look like theatrical releases on Netflix. From the opening titles, It's obvious that you're getting a second rate film. When I saw that Midnight Madness had both Michael J Fox and Paul Reubens in it, I queued it up, thinking it was an early '80s teen flick. It was a really bad made-for-TV film, with very little Paul Reubens at all.
In Wassup Rockers, Larry Clark wanted to show a day in the life of poor Latino skateboarders who spend the time getting into trouble. The problem is, they're wearing really expensive designer clothes made to look trashy, like the $300 jeans that were "distressed" denim.
Worst DVD Transfer
To Kill a Jackal has the quality of a camcorder-in-the-theater bootleg. It looks like they filmed a DVD from a video on a TV. Only the center of the original picture is seen, and sometimes neither character talking to each other is seen. I never thought I'd say this, but Pan and Scan would have been better.
Worst Amateur Documentary
While well made, Why Won't Anyone Listen? fails on a deep level. The documentary is about a band that can't achieve success. It would've been good had the band been an undiscovered gem, but soon it's apparent the band isn't successful because they suck.
Best Career Move
Denis Leary had some moments as a standup comic and is an archetype for the Angry Comic. But he followed that up with really bad choices in quite a few films. Then a few years ago, he got the lead in Rescue Me, which is the perfect role for him. Rescue Me is a well-written drama that focuses on the lives of firemen in the city.
Best Unlikely Love Story
Badlands, a film inspired by the Charlie Starkweather killings, focuses on the relationship between the killer and his teenage girlfriend. Terrence Mallick directs his script, with stellar performances by Martin Sheen and Sissy Spacek. It's been knocked off quite a few times by now, in films such asDown In The Valley and Natural Born Killers, but was done best the first time around.
Best Film That Drastically Switches Moods
The Swimmer literally starts off sunny and bright and turns progressively darker until it's a black clouded, rainy mess. Burt Lancaster vows to swim through all his neighbors' pools on his way home, but along the way, we learn how much his life has unraveled.
Best Foreign Film
The dreamlike Kagemusha almost won this, but I have to hand it to Werner Herzog for Aguirre: The Wrath of God Watch this DVD twice, the second time with the commentary track on.
Best Teen Flick
I almost gave this to The Chumscrubber, but Brick's hard-boiled dialogue won me over. Brick is original and smart. One of my favorites of any genre for the year.
Best Horror Film
Dario Argento's Suspiria was truly terrifying. While Donnie Darko is a nightmarish film, it's not really scary is it?
I watched more Westerns this year than in any other time in my life. Edging out McCabe and Mrs. Miller is Sam Peckinpah's Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid.
I caught up on Michael Ritchie, Arthur Penn, and many others. But watching all the Anthony Mann films was a real treat.
Best Amateur Documentary
My Date With Drew was actually good. With the advent of new camera equipment and software, anyone with about five thousand dollars to blow can make his or her own movie. But this doesn't mean that the movie will be good. This film was good enough that, if I were Drew Barrymore I'd be flattered.
Best Unintentionally Creepy Film
I loved The Great Gabbo, an early talkie about the titular ventriloquist who hates everyone except for his dummy, Otto. While Otto is not a "living" dummy, his mouth does move even when apart from Gabbo, which totally creeped me out.
So how do I wrap up a fully obsessive year in which I spent slightly more than 36 days in front of the tube? I'm looking forward to the theater, books, and going outside. Whether it's frivolous or productive, there's a lot you can get done in a year if you devote even one hour a day to your goals. Find something you want to do or learn this year, and stick to it!