Sunday, December 16, 2007

Film-Watching Robot's Ten Favorite Movies of 2007

I'm a nerd who likes lists, and I also write down in a notebook every movie I see in a theater and every rock show I attend. However, I think ranking lists in any kind of hierarchical order is silly and ridiculous. Therefore, this year I have taken on the silly and ridiculous challenge of trying to rank my favorite movies in order of preference. I think it's also ridiculous that most critics' top tens of the year mostly include movies released in the last two months. They seem to be little more than PR tools for Oscar season. I've included the whole year on this list, bitch! Huzzah!

1. Inland Empire (David Lynch)
2. The Boss of It All (Lars Von Trier)
3. Eastern Promises (David Cronenberg)
4. I'm Not There (Todd Haynes)
5. Offside (Jafar Panahi)
6. Lights in the Dusk (Aki Kaurismaki)
7. Rescue Dawn (Werner Herzog)
8. No Country for Old Men (Joel & Ethan Coen)
9. Pan's Labyrinth (Guillermo del Toro)
10. Romance & Cigarettes (John Turturro)

Close, but no cigar: Tsai Ming-Liang's "I Don't Want to Sleep Alone," the fake trailers and Tarantino's half of "Grindhouse," Bong Joon-Ho's "The Host," and Wes Anderson's "The Darjeeling Limited." I can't decide if Richard Kelly's "Southland Tales" is a giant turd or hilariously appropriate. Answer: Both! I liked everything about Sean Penn's "Into the Wild," except the boring lump of Emile Hirsch in the lead role, Eddie Vedder's score, and Penn's uncritical adoration of Christopher McCandless. Unlike previous years, I didn't see anything I completely hated. Thank god I didn't have to sit through anything like "Blue Car" or "The Dreamers" this year. Curse god I didn't see anything as delightfully shitty as Labute's remake of "The Wicker Man."

Film-Watching Robot Year-End Top 10, Part II: My Favorite Reissues, Film Society, and Revival Screenings of 2007

1. Killer of Sheep (Charles Burnett)
2. My Brother's Wedding (Charles Burnett)
3. The Whole Shootin' Match (Eagle Pennell)
4. Taxi Driver (Martin Scorsese)
5. Climates (Nuri Bilge Ceylan)
6. Clash by Night (Fritz Lang)
7. The Seventh Continent (Michael Haneke)
8. Brewster McCloud (Robert Altman)
9. Brief Encounter (David Lean)
10. The Window (Ted Tatzlaff)

Monday, December 03, 2007

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Bathroom Break #40

from James Whale's The Old Dark House
This is the last one, for now. I'm putting this thing to bed.

Bathroom Break #39

from Victor Fleming's The Wizard of Oz, but you already knew that

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Bathroom Break #38

from Roger Corman's The Wild Angels

Bathroom Break #37

from Bob Clark's Deathdream

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Bathroom Break #36

from Edward Cline's Million Dollar Legs

Bathroom Break #35

from Nagisa Oshima's Taboo

Bathroom Break #34

from Dario Argento's Inferno

Bathroom Break #33

from Claire Denis' Beau Travail

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Three Stooges

John Cassavetes, Peter Falk, and Ben Gazzara on "The Dick Cavett Show" in 1970, promoting Husbands. If you get tired of their hijinks, I suggest jumping to Part 3, where they say a lot of insightful things. It's hard to imagine a talk show segment like this happening now. Lawyers and "Entertainment Tonight" are currently winning the battles. It's their world now. But it doesn't have to be.

It's always hard for me to imagine John Cassavetes being dead. It doesn't seem biologically possible. It's like imagining Humphrey Bogart, William Shakespeare, William Faulkner, Keith Moon, or Louis Armstrong dead in their graves, rotten, covered in dirt. It just doesn't make sense, given the evidence.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Bathroom Break #32

from Stephen Norrington's Death Machine

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


Ride the nerd-train to Connection City!
In April 2005, I wrote a post on this blog comparing John Cassavetes' Husbands and Satyajit Ray's Days and Nights in the Forest. Two weeks ago, I watched Wes Anderson's The Darjeeling Limited, and noticed that he used several pieces of music from Satyajit Ray's films. I also noticed, during the film's only flashback sequence, that the three leads (Adrien Brody, Jason Schwartzman, and Owen Wilson) wore the exact same suits as the three leads in Cassavetes' Husbands (John Cassavetes, Ben Gazzara, and Peter Falk). In both films, these identical suits are worn in scenes that feature the three leads in the back of a limo going to a funeral. Doing some Internet research when I got home, I discovered that Anderson's major inspirations for his new film were Husbands, Satyajit Ray, and Jean Renoir's The River. The Renoir film was introduced to Anderson by Martin Scorsese. Anderson has become friendly with Scorsese in a master and apprentice sort of way and seeks out his career advice. Scorsese sought advice and friendship early in his career from Cassavetes. In addition to music from Satyajit Ray's and Merchant-Ivory's films, The Darjeeling Limited draws heavily from The Kinks' album Lola vs. Powerman and the Money-Go-Round, Part One. This album contains the song, "Apeman," which my wife and I have decided is our song (as in "they're playing our song.") The album also contains the song, "Lola." A character in Husbands is named Leola. (That one's a stretch, I know.) Seymour Cassel is a frequent cast member in both Anderson's and Cassavetes' films, but he doesn't appear in either Husbands or The Darjeeling Limited. Wally Wolodarsky plays Owen Wilson's assistant in Darjeeling. In the early-to-mid-1990s, Wolodarsky was a writer and producer on "The Simpsons." The character of Apu on "The Simpsons" is named after the character of Apu in a trilogy of films by Satyajit Ray, music from which is on the soundtrack of Darjeeling. For more information, consult the Illuminati.

Visual aids (feel free to print out and connect with Magic Marker, or the writing utensil of your choice).

Picture these guys in the suits below (I can't find any stills from the flashback scene.)

(Days and Nights in the Forest, left, and The Darjeeling Limited)

The Two Apus:

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Bathroom Break #31

from Charles Brabin's The Mask of Fu Manchu

Bathroom Break #30

from Takeshi Kitano's Kikujiro

Bathroom Break #29

from Joe Dante's Homecoming

Bathroom Break #28

from Tod Browning's Mark of the Vampire

Bathroom Break #27

from Lou Ye's Suzhou River

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Bathroom Break #26

from Alejandro Jodorowsky's El Topo

Bathroom Break #25

from Mariano Baino's Dead Waters

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Bathroom Break #24

from Luc & Jean-Pierre Dardenne's Rosetta

Bathroom Break #23

from Wong Kar-Wai's Fallen Angels

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