Sunday, January 02, 2005

Music...is much like the surgeon's blade which as it cuts both heals and destroys. It is that powerful.

-Danny Sugerman

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Fuck the Oscars

Don't watch the Oscars. They'll fuck you out of the good movies. Critics are fickle, and they lie through their teeth on occasion. Here:

10 Best Movies of my Present Mindset

10. Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004)
I put this in not so much because I think it is the 10th best movie of all time, but more because I see Michael Moore as one of the greatest documentarians in history. His ability to persuade and prove his point using powers of deduction and research is thoroughly unparalleled.

9. Donnie Darko (2001)
The darkest movie I've ever seen, by far. Fucking awesome.

8. American History X (1998)
Great commentary on the racism still present in our society, as much as we'd love to ignore it and write it off as non-existent.

7. Kill Bill Vols. 1 + 2 (2003 and 2004 resp.)
I used to think Quentin Tarantino was a pretentious dickface, especially after I saw him on TRL spouting some shit about being part of a breed of dying artists. I actually still think he is, to some extent, but I'm confident in saying he makes damn good movies. He's one of the rare directors who reads up on his shit and places his movies against years of experience in Japanese culture, the anime style of animation, and the typical American gung-ho action flick. Both "volumes" (I hate that he didn't just call them Kill Bill and Kill Bill 2) show an in-depth understanding of the genres he is working in, much in the same way that up-and-coming painters will study the works of great artists in the same medium from past generations. I think that his work is very much on par with that of the great breakthrough filmmakers of our day, like Andy and Linda (nee Larry) Wachowski, Charlie Kaufman, and Ang Lee.

6. The Matrix (1999)
There's so much more depth to this film than it ever gets credit for. The Wachowskis know their shit - they understand the use of symbolism in films better than most directors in the past 20 years. I was watching this on TV recently, thinking to myself that every time I watch it I see more things symbolic of life and death. You can look at me and call me a haughty dickhead for writing this, but next time you watch it, look at the mirror montage, or the constant use of color and even sound (take Neo's scream turning to an electronic whine) to illustrate a point better than the plot ever could.

5. Apocalypse Now (1979)
If you've read Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried, you know that stories about Vietnam are not so much based in fact as much as they are based in the emotions that occurred during the event in question. Apocalypse Now chronicles this in a beautiful yet deadly array of images that range from the most gruesome things you'll ever see to the more wondrous and graceful aspects of war. Coppola moves seamlessly from scenes involving the worst atrocities you could possibly imagine, like a man holding his own guts in with a pan, to the prettiest and most awe-inspiring shots that could possibly come from such a hellish place, like the seeming weightlessness and power of a squadron of helicopters as they swoop down and bomb an unsuspecting village to the tune of Wagner's "Ride of the Valkyries". Probably the most gorgeous movie I've ever seen in respect to cinematography and color schemes.

4. Dr. Strangelove or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)
Watch it. Learn it. Love it. There's no better commentary on the age that it was made in, the paranoia of that Cold War mentality that came with the 50's on through the 70's.

3. Goodfellas (1990)
Scorcese is a fucking genius. Nothing less. The cast didn't lessen the character of the film either: Ray Liotta, Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, it doesn't get much better. Fuck the Godfather trilogy - I call this the best gangster movie of all time. I can't even explain it in words, you just feel it so much more than you'll ever feel any movie in the same category.

2. Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986)
It's impossible to explain the allure of this movie unless you either are a high school senior or have the memory of being one fresh in your mind. I liked this movie for years, but only now, being a second-semester senior am I truly growing to appreciate what this movie has to offer. The carelessness, freedom, and apathetic nature that comes with the knowledge that it's almost over for this chapter of your life can lead to such things happening. The accessibility of this is so great that it became the only movie where I know next to every line. Save Ferris.

1. Gladiator (2000)
I know some of you are going to see this and automatically think it's bullshit because the movie was so hyped and overpopularized. Fuck that. When you get down to the core of it, this movie is all-out unbelievable. In every area, it trumps anything I can remember. The plot is riveting, nothing less. It nearly had me crying at some parts, especially at the end. The music aids the story, jerking the emotions of the more attentive crowd. In addition, the characters are easily related to - Maximus (Russel Crowe) as the wronged man seeking revenge is arguably the most accessible archetype in movie history. Even in lesser categories, the ones that usually go unappreciated and under the radar like cinematography, supporting roles, and costumes, Gladiator is second to none (I took Latin for 6 years in school, and I can safely say that this movie is as close to perfectly accurate as it can possibly get, being a work of historical fiction). Props for using Hans Zimmer too - best composer of our times.