Perspectives on Pop Culture and the Arts

Sunday, March 02, 2008

What do you watch in a year?


Now that the Academy buzz has subsided a bit, I feel obligated to alleviate some of the post-awards backlash by posting a list of honors based on movies/television that I've watched in the past year. Since part of my proper day job deals with what I watch, I find it helpful to keep a little log - title, year, director/creator, and a basic rating. When I say basic I mean a three star system:

Three*** = I would own it
One* = I'm so violently angry at this particular movie that I spend the next five days rehabbing with non-stop German New Wave films while mainlining peanut butter.

You might think this is a pretty simple system, and I wouldn't disagree; I'm a simple kind of guy. Easy to please you might say. Forgiving. Stupid. Whatever. I justify the simplicity by the fact that I refuse to watch 'anything'. I hate, hate, hate to have my time wasted watching something lame when I could be watching something I know I'll enjoy (see therapy for one-star films). Therefore, I tend to know beforehand a bit about the film, be it history, context, people, etc. and many titles on the list are repeats (yes, I had seen, among others, Back to the Future, Night of the Hunter, and Big Trouble in Little China before). Basically, I know what I like and what I don't. Now that doesn't mean that I don't like to be challenged or surprised - I do. Hence... the variation in the ratings.

[this is the part where your brow furrows as you contemplate the profundity while simultaneously questioning your life's direction and purpose without Boast]

Since this list isn't limited to what was released (and forgotten - Zodiac!) in the past year, it can serve as a ready reference when you need something new (or old) to watch. And, in an effort to achieve our goal of being the coolest, I have also highlighted a few titles that stood out over the course of the year. Think of this as the Oscars minus the annoying bits. Plus you can print yourself a personal copy of the list for free. Now that's what I call the bomb-diggity.


* * * * *
And the Winners are...

Overall Favorite- West Wing (1999-2006)
Aside from being one of the most prophetic shows on television, Aaron Sorkin's blend of drama and comedy is remarkable. A refreshing polar opposite to the current administration.

Weirdest/Coolest - American Astronaut (2001, Cory McAbee)
It's like indie sci-fi New Wave expressionist rock musical noir. The universe that McAbee creates is like Isaac Asimov meets Joss Whedon. Rocks much?

Best movie that I wouldn't watch with my grandmother - Tipping the Velvet (2002, Geoffrey Sax)
Adapted from the novel by Sarah Waters, this BBC drama is a raunchy, dramatic, and hilarious trip through a side of Victorian England that would cause your grandmammy to blush and then slap you silly. Waters' novel Affinity was also one of my favorite reads from last year.

Strangest run of back-to-back movies - Gabbeh (1996, Mohsen Makhmalbaf), Blade (1998, Stephen Norrington), The wind will carry us (1999, Abbas Kiarostami)
OK. So, I was doing a bunch of research and prep for an Iranian Film Festival that I was organizing and presenting at our public library. That is where Gabbeh and The wind will carry us come in. And honestly, I can't think of a better group to sandwich a bloody vampire flick between. Can you?

Most Misunderstood - Barbarella (1968, Roger Vadim)
That is, "Most Misunderstood" by adolescent boys as well as middle-aged city council members. I'll just say that Vadim's brilliant sex-lib satire does more to illustrate the merits of film as a political tool than anything in the mainstream media. If there is any question, Barbarella holds the power people. Barbarella holds the power. And if any of you feel the need to pour on the Hate, I've got an arsenal of yet unpublished material to make you weep like an impotent man-angel.


The Goods:

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5 Comments:

Anonymous karmen (aka "mom") said...

Is there any way you can make your list sortable to us (the lame viewer)? That way we can easily eliminate the wasted time on the * titles and go immediately to the ***'s.

7:56 AM

 
Blogger Mike said...

Lame viewer? No way.
Haha. Yeah, putting it into a spreadsheet would have been useful wouldn't it?

[sacks the intern responsible for overlooking this]

You make it sound like there's a whole pile of one star titles! I think there's only one... or two.

I'll look into converting it to a live spreadsheet.

Sheesh, we've got demanding readers...
:)

10:12 AM

 
Blogger KC said...

Lol Indeed.. Cant get on wat basis u can damn sort that list :)he he.. Anyway kool site man ! Visit my site on movies too .. www.ampdforinnovation.com .. Its dedicated for IMDB's top 250 flicks !! If u like , lets ex links ! Ok ? :)

1:56 AM

 
Anonymous Joseph said...

The American Astronaut certainly sounds interesting. I'll see if I can dig up a copy somewhere.

6:46 AM

 
Anonymous film izle said...

Nice

2:07 AM

 

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