my top ten o' 2003


1) what's going on

A top ten list and thoughts thereof that's obsessively devoid of sweeping statements, declarations of the "death of cinema," and pats on the proverbial (or literal) back. Plus, some very generalized list-making. You know. For the kids.

2) titles that came this close to making the list but would occupy either a #11 spot or a 11-20 list were I to compile such a fool thing

The Fog of War by Errol Morris most certainly would have been #10 had another doc not knocked it off. Apologies to those who vehemently disagree with this bit of compare-'n'-contrast. Also worthy of high note: Stone Reader by Mark Moskowitz; Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World by Peter Weir; Down With Love by Peyton Reed; Finding Nemo by Andrew Stanton (a.k.a. Pixar cronie); The Dancer Upstairs by John Malkovich; Lawless Heart by Neil Hunter and Tom Hunsinger; The Secret Lives of Dentists by Alan Rudolph; and Damon Packard's underground 2 1/2-hour block of excessive insanity, Reflections of Evil. And, yes, I did quite like LOTR: The Return of the King. [N.B. 03/06/04: I can now cheerfully add Jafar Panahi's Crimson Gold to this list.] [N.B. 03/24/04: Capturing the Friedmans has been bumped. It is now on here.] [N.B. 12/19/05: And now Demonlover has gone the way of Capturing the Friedmans.]

Okay, so that is 11-20. Not ordering them, though. [Same N.B.: No. It's now 11-21. Not cutting one either.] [Same N.B.: And now it's 11-22. Not bad year, eh?]

3) gloomy pronouncements on the death of cinema, or what godard dubbed "fin du cinema" circa '67

Like I said.

But. I will go this far: As much as I'm all abubble about the growth (i.e., the leftfield popularity) of documentaries, it's not as though the fiction folk were slagging off. Indeed the forthcoming list is still more fiction than non-. Calm down, folks; Tom Sizemore of Strange Days may have been right in declaring the lack of new stories, but we've hardly run out of ways with which to tell them. So.

Also, and this is pretty much natch: DV still looks remarkably similar to ass. With a few exceptions, this is to you cretins: if you're gonna do something, do it right. If this is the future of cinema, then park me again in front of that faded, scratchy, and genuinely beat-up 16mm print of California Split I just saw.

Shit. I thought I had promised not to make gloomy pronouncements on the "death of cinema." And there I went! Ignore that; cinema's fine.

4) number of list-members helmed by a person on the XX side of the gender continuum

One. And it's a doozy. How I wish that I didn't even need to mention this.

5) number of list-members whose voicetrack comes to us in a non-english language

Four. Five, if you count one with intertitles. Okay, four. Naturally, not a one of them is nominated for a FL Oscar or was the one (1) title sent to the AMPAS by their apporpriate country. These rules, as ever, are bullshit and stupid and other unflattering adjectives. Stop. Reform.

6) a long (long, long) series of odds and ends, ripped off from Mike D'Angelo by way of Skander Halim

Best leading performances: Billy Bob Thornton, Bad Santa; Monica Bellucci, Irreversible
Best supporting performances: Peter Saarsgaard, Shattered Glass; Nutsa Kukhianidze, The Good Thief
Best performance by an actor I usually hate: Hayden Christensen, Shattered Glass
Worst performance by an actor I usually love: Cate Blanchett, Veronica Guerin (note: never did make it out to The Missing)
Easily the weirdest performance: Anna Faris, May
Easily the weirdest movie, maybe of ever: Reflections of Evil
Best actor I hadn’t realized existed before this year but who apparently had: Bill Nighy, Lawless Heart, I Capture the Castle, Love Actually and, with fangs and face powder, Underworld
Least hateable movie that’s still not terribly good: Camp (runner-up: Anything But Love)
Most baffling mid-film tone shift: Chaos
Stop encouraging mediocrity: A Mighty Wind
Best reason to believe in having guilty pleasures: Dreamcatcher
Best intentions: The Magdalene Sisters
Worst intentions: Bad Boys II
Most underrated: Down With Love
A long list of overrated pics that’s actually been dramatically trimmed down: All the Real Girls, Big Fish, Dirty Pretty Things, Lost in Translation, 21 Grams, 28 Days Later
Most overrated that I almost didn’t want to mention out of outlandish fear of Sean Burns’ wrath: Mystic River
Do you think I’m sadistic?: Lilya 4-Ever, The Magdalene Sisters, the middle section of Blue Car (okay, yeah, and Irreversible)
Most pleasant surprise: In the Cut
Biggest gutting of the heart: Spider (runner-up: Shanghai Knights, actually)
Best non-good film saved by slight belief in the auteur theory: Joe Dante’s Looney Tunes: Back in Action
Ideally should’ve hated: Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle (runner-up: Anything Else)
Ideally should’ve loved: Lost in Translation
Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful: Agnes Godard, Friday Night (runner-up: Dion Beebe, In the Cut)

7) the reverse of the forthcoming list, in which i rank the most agonizing movie-going experiences of the year

01. The Good Thief (R.T. Herwig)
02. The Life of David Gale (Alan Parker)
03. Bad Boys II (Michael Bay)
04. Spun (Jonas Akerlund)
05. Daredevil (Mark Steven Johnson)
06. Gone But Not Forgotten (Michael Akers)
07. Honey (Bille Woodruff)
08. Northfork (Michael Polish)
09. Veronica Guerin (Joel Schumacher)
10. The Matrix Revolutions (The Wachowski Brothers)

[Bumped: Danny in the Sky (Daniel Langlois)]

8) one more pre-top ten list list, made up this time of my favorite 13 non-twenty-first century films seen for the first time, followed immediately by six indisputable classics that miraculously lived up their respective hypes

01. Ball of Fire (1941, Howard Hawks)
02. Quai des orfevres (1947, Henri-Georges Clouzot)
03. Forty Guns (1957, Samuel Fuller)
04. Two-Lane Blacktop (1971, Monte Hellman)
05. 3 Women (1977, Robert Altman)
06. The Lineup (1958, Don Siegel)
07. Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story (1987, Todd Haynes)
08. F For Fake (1973, Orson Welles)
09. Raw Deal (1948, Anthony Mann)
10. Culloden (1964, Peter Watkins)
11. The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant (1972, Rainer Werner Fassbinder)
12. Vampyr (1932, Carl Theodor Dreyer)
13. Loves of a Blonde (1965, Milos Forman)

Bride of Frankenstein (1935, James Whale)
To Have and Have Not (1944, Howard Hawks)
A Star is Born (1954, George Cukor)
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956, Don Siegel)
Hud (1963, Martin Ritt)
The Last Boy Scout (1991, Tony Scott)

9) the anal-retentive rules of eligibility and a couple titles unfortunately impacted by same

Like most out there, we here at Kidney Bingos use New York as the epicenter of the universe. This means that to qualify as a film released in 2003, a title had to either have a) opened in New York theaters (example being one released on Dec. 31 to peskily register for Oscar consideration), or b) not been released at all, at least not theatrically (like a literal "independent film"). Some people -- dicks, really -- like to throw films old to very old onto their list if they finally made it to Manhattan theaters, as was the case with the re-jiggered Touch of Evil in 1998 and Leos Carax's 1991 Lovers on the Bridge, also in 1998. I'll do the same if it's a year or two old, but over that they're out. Were it not for this rule, the following films would've surely bumped some off the list entirely: Peter Watkins' La Commune (Paris 1871) (made in 2000) and Chris Marker and Yannick Bellon's Remembrance of Things to Come (also 2000). Oh well, I say.

10) finally, and to your anticlimactic relief, The List, writ large and fancy

01. Friday Night (Claire Denis, France)
02. Bus 174 (José Padilha, Brazil)
03. Irreversible (Gasper Noe, France)
04. Bad Santa (Terry Zwigoff, USA)
05. Dracula: Pages From a Virgin's Diary (Guy Maddin, Canada)
06. Kill Bill, Vol. 1 (Quentin Tarantino, USA)
07. The Company (Robert Altman, USA)
08. The Son (Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne, France)
09. Gerry (Gus Van Sant, USA)
10. Not on the Lips (Alain Resnais, France)

11) credit where credit is indeed due

As alluded to before, much of this was ripped off from Mike D'Angelo, specifically his 1997 list -- though, to make myself look better, he admitted to ripping off some of the style from David Foster Wallace. We're all in it together, no, comrades?

posted by matt prigge  # 10:21 AM

Can I please go backwards?


02/01/2004 - 03/01/2004  

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?