Scott Hardie | January 11, 2005
Better late than never: My annual ten-best list is online at last. (link) I like to publish it on New Years, but several factors conspired to delay it this year, and I wasn't willing to write less or put less effort into the layout. I look forward to this thing all year long and I'm not going to cheat myself out of a well-earned good time.

For a change, I'll be revealing the titles one day at a time, leading right up to the "Predict the Oscars" contest the day after it's finished. You only get to see my #10 choice today, and it happens to be the most obscure title on the list. But just because only one of my choices is visible so far doesn't mean that you can't reveal an entire list of your own. What were the best and worst films of 2004 that you saw? I hope to get a good discussion going here, fueled by a new title on my list each day.

Erik Bates | January 11, 2005
[hidden by request]

Scott Hardie | January 11, 2005
[spoilers] See, I liked "Big Fish" up to a certain point, but it didn't get to me the way that it did you and certain other viewers who recommended it to me. And that's weird, because I'm usually a pushover for dramas about a son trying to honor his dying (or otherwise departing) father. I think I was expecting the film to side with Dad's version of events more than it did; it leaned so much towards the son's disposition that the magic was kind of spoiled for me. All the same, I was prepared to put it on my ten-best-films list despite not liking it as much as the other titles, until circumstances happened to bump it to #11 at the last minute.

Scott Horowitz | January 11, 2005
I agrere with Erik, Garden State was a quality flick

Anna Gregoline | January 11, 2005
I don't know if it was out this year, but I just watched White Oleander and man was it good.

I loved Super Size Me, was that this past year? Fareinheit 9-11 was great too.

Open Water was decent.

Kris Weberg | January 11, 2005
Sideways was a quirky indie comedy in the mold of several others, but it overachieves in the genre.

Switching gears, The Incredibles was far better than the premise might lead you to believe -- not only is its CGI staging better than ever, the story and the characters are genuinely funny at an adult level.

Fahrenheit 9/11 wasn't just a great film if you agreed with it; it's well-filmed, well-shot, and brilliantly edited, even if it distorts and selectively frames the facts at various points. Remember, Bush supporters, you don't have to agree with Nazism to understand that Leni Riefenstahl was an innovative, talented filmmaker.

And Kill Bill v.2 was everything the first volume meant to be; I honestly doubt the "whole" film would have worked, precisely because its first half would still suffer from the same lack of of pseudo-gravitas it does as a seperate film.

Amy Austin | January 11, 2005
Anna, if you liked that, then you really ought to read the book -- SO much better!!!

I always hate when people compare movies to the books and are disappointed, because you just need to enjoy the two separate entities for what they are and forget about disparity and discrepancies. But sometimes, that's just a lot easier to do when you *haven't* already read the book. And conversely, reading the book after the fact can sometimes be a recipe for disappointment, too -- after all, how hard is it to "imagine" anything other than what the filmmakers did??? (That's why I was incredibly grateful to have experienced the reading of "The Hobbit" and the LOTR trilogy *many* years ago -- uh, two decades, to be exact -- so that I had the distinct pleasure of reading the books, but was able to forget much of my pre-conditioning and enjoy the movie for what it was... a phenomenal blockbuster success! And rightfully so... but it was also one that took "artistic license" for cinematic storytelling purposes at times -- something that might nag at a purist who's just read the book!!!

Anyway, I am not a purist. (Anymore.) However, I had read the book not at all that long before seeing "White Oleander" -- so what was an otherwise good movie by itself became just the tiniest bit lacking for the depth of development that was had in certain characters/storylines in the book. A couple of them were left out altogether. But this is just what you have to do in the movies sometimes, or else they'd all be mini-series instead! So I understood... and I still thought it was a good movie. The girl I borrowed the book from, however, totally panned it, saying that it was "horrible" and "nothing like the book" (a slight exaggeration, I think). That's just what happens when you place too high expectations on a screen adaptation. The movie was pretty true to the book... it just didn't have the time to elaborate.

So, Anna, if you enjoy a good fiction book and you enjoyed this movie, then perhaps you owe it to yourself to check out the book! Just try not to set yourself up for disappointment and to use your imagination to experience the superior character development.

To be quite honest, Astrid was *exactly* as I tried to imagine her -- it helped that she was a relative unknown (to me, anyway) -- in the movie. Robin Wright Penn was an excellent interpretation as well. Even Renee Zellweger was a surprising, but appropriate, pick! But I never could picture exactly what I thought Astrid's mother looked like, even though she gave a good & vivid description. It's funny to me that they picked Michelle Pfeiffer -- it seemed odd on the first viewing, but I was more comfortable with her on the second... and she became the more (most?) "natural" choice, once I had divorced myself a little more from the book and from thinking of Michelle Pfeiffer as the somewhat glamorous leading lady that she tends to be. It was a little like the same stretch that I had to make for her as a former Marine turned teacher in the "true story" screen adaptation of "Dangerous Minds" -- if you understand what I mean. I know that she's had a supposedly "tough" edge, ever since "Grease" ("Frankie & Johnny", "Catwoman")... but it's not one that I've ever truly bought, I don't think. Maybe it's just me. But personally, I would try to form your own image of the characters... if you can.

Anyhow... sorry this is so long -- I guess it's just my twelve cents... ;>DDD

Anna Gregoline | January 11, 2005
Quite frankly, I enjoyed the movie stylistically much more than I did plot-wise. The camera work and music were absolutely perfect and created the most awesome mood. The only part I really didn't like was when Astrid visits her mother in jail for the last time - the dialogue was extremely unnatural there to me, so I'm a little concerned that it was dialogue lifted straight from the book and therefore I might not like it, but eh.

I'm sure the book is better plot-wise and character-wise. This is the problem with a lot of movies because you don't usually get to hear a character's inner dialogue to the extent you do in a book, so a lot of plot is lost to imagery, which is usually not quite as powerful. I'll probably read it eventually. I have so much to read right now though. I was reluctant to see the movie or read the book because they were so "book clubbish" popular, and I generally don't like the bestsellers out there. But I'm sure I'll try it eventually.

Jackie Mason | January 11, 2005
[hidden by request]

Scott Horowitz | January 11, 2005
Any votes for the worst movie of the year? Mine is Van Helsing

Jackie Mason | January 11, 2005
[hidden by request]

Erik Bates | January 11, 2005
[hidden by request]

Kris Weberg | January 11, 2005
Van Helsing gets my vote among the movies I actually saw -- horrible dialogue, edited and filmed so badly that I often couldn't tell what was happening, a plot that wasn't one and then tried to "surprise" the audience by making even less sense, and a CGI summer blockbuster that managed to exclude all vivid colors without achieving the look of good monochrome composition.

Utterly stupid, and the kind of awful film that makes you question not only one movie but the entire movie industry. Couldn't those millions have been spent on something worthwhile, like charity for tsunami victims or several good movies?

But I imagine that, had I seen it, White Chicks would win by a mile.

Scott Hardie | January 12, 2005
It's not perfect, but the most accurate dating system that I have found for movies is the IMDB. Just look up the movie, then click the "release dates" link on the left, and find USA on the list. (link) All of the movies mentioned here so far are 2004 films, except "White Oleander" of course.

I also liked "White Oleander" a great deal, and it made my ten-best-films list two years ago, though I don't think I did a very good job of explaining why I liked it. (link) Anna, where you were bothered by the unnatural dialogue in the final confrontation, I thought it was easily the movie's best scene. The whole story was the process of the daughter's maturity, and to resolve the plot, she had to become a woman on equal footing with her mother. Mom had succeeded in passing on her icy disposition to the daughter, but to complete the rite of passage, the daughter turned her cold hatred against her mother. It was the plot arriving at the end of its full circle, and personally I was captivated by the scene. But it couldn't have been the film's only strength if you disliked the scene and still loved the movie. :-)

I managed to see worse, but yeah, "Van Helsing" was pretty bad, for the reasons Kris listed and more. One of my many gripes with it is the way the plot kept happening for no reason: Characters would back up and turn a corner, and standing there for no reason whatsoever would be the exact person the plot needed to be there. This happened nearly a dozen times! When I write escapist fiction like FIN, I also enjoy the convenience that I'm afforded by a well-timed coincidence, but "Van Helsing" went nuts with them.

One friend in particular really enjoyed "Van Helsing," and because I was so non-plussed about it, he lumped me together with the bulk of professional critics, since, in his words, we never like movies like that: We automatically turn up our noses at traditional action-adventure films with monsters and explosions and special effects, because we're elitist snobs. But that's not true at all: Myself and most of the professional critics enjoyed the hell out of "Spider-Man 2," "The Incredibles," "Sky Captain," "Bourne Supremacy," "Harry Potter," "Hellboy," "Hidalgo," and other titles this year. I even liked "Thunderbirds" and "I, Robot," flawed though they were. So I think that I have the right to disapprove of one major stinker in May, and also to have my reasoning taken seriously instead of dismissed as blind bias.

Scott Hardie | January 12, 2005
#9 is up. (link)

Scott Horowitz | January 12, 2005
Good choice for #9 Scott.

Anna Gregoline | January 12, 2005
"The adult intellect gives Alison Lohman's character the crucial ability to reflect on her circumstances, which is what the movie is all about. The best scene is the culmination of this reflection, a final confrontation between mother and fully-grown daughter, that works like a splash of cold water. She's still a teen on the outside (dyed hair, silly accessories and all), but intellectually, she has become an equal match for her mother, a real achievement knowing mom."

I somewhat agree with this, but I feel the movie is more about frustration - frustration at situations/circumstances. The mother feels she is pushed to the edge to do what she does, she rails against what life throws at her. The daughter at first feels buffetted by circumstances and eventually becomes like the mother, except with a better viewpoint, because I feel she is simply a kinder person than the mother.

I thought Renée Zellweger was absolutely brilliant, probably one of the first times I've really liked a performance of hers.

"Anna, where you were bothered by the unnatural dialogue in the final confrontation, I thought it was easily the movie's best scene. The whole story was the process of the daughter's maturity, and to resolve the plot, she had to become a woman on equal footing with her mother."

I agree with that, that it was SUPPOSED to be the culmination of the movie, but for me it still falls flat. I'm not sure why. Like I said, I think the language was just jarring for me? And perhaps I felt that the daughter really didn't need to have that big confrontation, at least not the way it was and the questions she asked. I don't know, I have to think about it some more, and perhaps the book is more natural.

"Mom had succeeded in passing on her icy disposition to the daughter, but to complete the rite of passage, the daughter turned her cold hatred against her mother."

I didn't really see any cold hatred coming from that scene - anger, sure, but I don't think the daughter, if she truly hated her mother, would even bother to speak to her again.

Erik Bates | January 12, 2005
[hidden by request]

Scott Horowitz | January 12, 2005
My personal favorite quote from the movie: "Don't tease me about my hobbies. I don't tease you about being an asshole."

Amy Austin | January 12, 2005
I agree with Scott's take on "White Oleander"... but it's because I read the book. As for that scene being jarring, I don't recall how like the book it really is -- but I think *all* of the movie is flat when compared to the book. It's a better movie if you haven't read the book (my point), but reading the book gives greater understanding of the characters and their intentions. I think that the mother is more than frustrated... she's just a bit fucking crazy, too. And she is definitely ice cold in her independence, which *is* also how she wants her daughter to be -- she doesn't want Astrid to love others, since "loving others" (but *her* kind of love -- the possessive kind) is what has always hurt her/gotten her into trouble! She is always telling her -- in the book AND in the movie -- to "remember who you are, remember where you came from"... as in, remember me and what I've been trying to teach you. The book elaborates more on their Viking heritage that mom is so proud of.

But you are right about one thing -- Astrid *is* nicer than her mom... however, neither the book nor the movie really elucidate whether or not she will ever talk to mom again now that she's (wrongfully) out of prison. My impression is that she has no real desire to do so, since she up and moves to Germany with the comic book guy. The closure scene is, I'm certain, more poignant in the book and definitely says to me that while she does love her mother -- because she is, after all, her mother -- she doesn't need her in her life to validate that love... because she doesn't and she won't (except by not pressing her to testify -- that was her one and only demonstration of "real" love in either the book or movie)! She is... literally... a poison to everyone around her -- most of all, to Astrid -- just as the title of the book and the inside reference to "White Oleander" being poisonous alludes. The author paints her exactly as a very beautiful and dangerous platinum blonde ice queen... just like a poisonous white flower -- it isn't the book's title for nothing.

P.S. -- I just read Scott's take in its entirety... I wrote this first, based only on the quotes excerpted, and it's funny to me that we both used the words "ice queen"; that's exactly it.

Jackie Mason | January 12, 2005
[hidden by request]

Scott Horowitz | January 12, 2005
I liked this years Harry Potter as well, but it had a major flaw. They neglected to mention 2 of the biggest revelations in the book, and it left the viewer confused for a few things. Sky Captain was visually stunning, yet extremely lacking in story.

Jackie Mason | January 12, 2005
[hidden by request]

Scott Horowitz | January 12, 2005
The 4th movie is in production now. It's being released in November of this year. I'm not sure what they're leaving out, but there's a lot in that book which isn't story driven.


If you want to see the cast/crew

(link)

Scott Hardie | January 13, 2005
Anna: You might well be right about the daughter not being so icy in the final scene. It has been two years since I saw the film and I'm not convinced that I remember it correctly. I do recall the daughter being very lucid by the final scene and recognizing that her mother was poisonous and making a clean break from her with their final visit. Maybe I should rent it again.

Scott & Erik: I thought you guys might like that choice. I tip my hat to you for making me wait for it, since I wouldn't have otherwise.

#8: (link)

Erik Bates | January 13, 2005
[hidden by request]

Amy Austin | January 13, 2005
WTF???!!! Does anybody else see these bullshit red links that I know *I* didn't put into my post -- Erik has one, too... is this just me and my computer "issues" right now???

edit: Another one on Anna's... again... WTF???!!!

Anna Gregoline | January 13, 2005
What are you talking about?

Erik Bates | January 13, 2005
[hidden by request]

Anna Gregoline | January 13, 2005
Amy has a way of doing that to me.

Amy Austin | January 13, 2005
I'm talking about my apparently fucked-up computer... what's so confusing and/or hard to understand about what I asked? I just asked if you can see links in your posts that you did not put there... they weren't there before, and for some reason -- unbeknownst to me -- they aren't there now. Perhaps someone with a little more computer savvy (i.e., Scott Hardie) might know what the hell I'm talking about...

Scott Hardie | January 13, 2005
Beats me. I use a php function to convert all URLs into (link), but php is very stable. It's not like it works one minute then it doesn't the next. Does this happen often, Amy, or was it just a one-time thing?

Anna Gregoline | January 13, 2005
So hostile!

No one knew what you were talking about - clarification might have helped us to know what you meant.

Erik Bates | January 13, 2005
[hidden by request]

Anna Gregoline | January 13, 2005
Yeah, I like the new pic!

Amy Austin | January 13, 2005
Thanks for your concern, Scott & Erik (I like the picture, too, Scott... ;>) -- no, the links weren't the usual blue-in-parentheses kind... they were red and underlined, and I don't know where they came from or where they went, but they linked to some bullshit directory pages, like they had been stuck in there by adware or something (e.g., "love" was linked all through mine, and some singles service crap was at the top of the list; "dvd" was linked on Erik's, but I didn't click it after seeing the other bullshit).

I guess it's just all part & parcel of the mutiny that seems to be going on with my damned computer lately... I am just ready for another one. I am tired of Windows ME, and I am DEFINITELY tired from the 7-hour phone marathon that I had last night with Time Warner, Microsoft, & PC Safety (in that order) -- MOST of it spent on hold (it was over an hour at some point), MORE THAN ONCE -- which did limited amounts of good for me, since I got cut off with two different techs! We got as far as getting a successful scan by McAfee (which had told me two nights ago that I had picked up a Trojan called "Back Door-BDI" -- I think it's gone now, but what a pain!), because I had files ("potentially unwanted programs") that would not clean, delete, or quarantine! Whatever's wrong now isn't currently being picked up on McAfee anymore, since I followed their instructions about running the scan in "safe mode"... and *then* we deleted the system restore files, which were the only two left that I couldn't clean. (Didn't get back to restoring the system restore, however...) I also had five hijackers in the browser helper objects, which we deleted -- one of which was responsible for the "blank home page" issue that I thought was just an issue with Roadrunner's home page (that was what the home page was set to, and it never occurred to me *or* the folks at TWC that it was a hijacker; they kept saying that it was because I didn't have flash -- which I kept telling them it *wasn't* because I *do* -- and I was sent to a bunch of other animated sites to prove it. The PC Safety techs were -- understandably and by protocol -- trying to avoid a 1-2 hour registry edit, but I don't know now... it might be needed.

To top it all off, I don't have access through my normal MSN sign-in page -- we have been paying for MSN 9 Dial-up all this time, but all we really needed was MSN Premium (just the software), since we've been using cable wireless services since I left Washington! I also corrected this last night, but the sign-in page (which I had been using successfully for the entire month prior) had already become an issue before I called any of these people. So, instead of my usual "click on the butterfly" sign-in (they tell me that they can't sign me in right now, because they cannot download my settings -- please try again later... but later never works, either), I use the big blue "e" to get into the Explorer browser instead. Even though this is apparently the same browser, everything looks different, and I don't like it... especially since all my "favorites" are stored within the other page set-up. I don't like looking at my mailbox from the "outside" by using the Hotmail sign-in, either -- am I making sense? So the red-link incident happened within the framework of using the browser that I do not prefer and am not familiar with.

To sum up, I have no idea what is going on or what I should do next, because I got cut off with the tech last night -- AGAIN, and at 0230! -- before we could "wrap it up" with our procedures.

Jackie Mason | January 13, 2005
[hidden by request]

Amy Austin | January 13, 2005
Thanks, Jackie... I appreciate your empathy.

Erik Bates | January 13, 2005
[hidden by request]

Amy Austin | January 13, 2005
Grrr... I HATE spyware!

Thanks, Erik -- I've done the scan, and I was considering firefox... I'm not up to doing *anything* about it at the moment, though... this doesn't count as one of those "mindless activities" that I can just do while being elsewhere, you know?

Dave Stoppenhagen | January 13, 2005
You can try SpyBot Search and Destroy as well. It will sometimes find stuff Ad-Aware misses, and vice versa.

SpyBot ((link)

Also yahoo toolbar now has a Anti-Spy on there, seems to have cut down on the stuff I receive. Not sure if ME has it but if you right click on you my-computer icon and go to system restore tab. Turn it off and reboot. The reason to do that is when you remove spyware from your registry and reboot the system will restore your last known good configuration (spyware and all). Then re-enable it.

Scott Hardie | January 14, 2005
That's definitely spyware, Amy. I had one like that called CoolWebSearch. It turned certain words on every web page into links: Every occurrence of "love" linked to a personal ads site, every occurrence of "game" linked to an online casino, et cetera. One of the nice things about having my own site was being able to recognize that it was spyware: Looking at other sites, I couldn't tell if so-and-so word was meant to be a link, but on my own site I knew better. If you see any word linked in a TC comment after 11/1/04, it's not supposed to be there.

I found an excellent program to eradicate CoolWebSearch if this happens to be your problem: (link) My many thanks to the developers.

Amy Austin | January 14, 2005
Thanks, everybody -- I appreciate the tips. Dave, I had done the "system restore" thing last night, but since we wanted to finish trying to get clean, we didn't re-enable yet... so the system restore is still disabled right now, until I can figure out what crap is still lurking in my computer!

Scott Hardie | January 14, 2005
#7: (link)

I expect this to be the least popular choice on my list, but what can I say? I loved it.

Amy Austin | January 14, 2005
I support it, Scott -- I thought it was great and for all the reasons you mention!

Erik Bates | January 14, 2005
[hidden by request]

Scott Hardie | January 14, 2005
I see what you're saying. I meant that it would be the least popular choice because a lot of people actively disliked it, for reasons that I addressed in my review (the shaky camera and the so-called lack of story). Two other upcoming films on my list have also generated strong dislike among certain audience members, but those two films happen to have many ardent supporters, so it's easy to understand why I would like them. My #7 choice, on the other hand, doesn't have anyone who is ga-ga over it like I am, and I felt kind of alone about that. Now I'm glad to have Amy's agreement. :-)

Erik Bates | January 14, 2005
[hidden by request]

Scott Hardie | January 14, 2005
Did you like it? Will you rent the sequel? (I was not very impressed by the first, to be honest.)

Erik Bates | January 14, 2005
[hidden by request]

Amy Austin | January 14, 2005
I agree that the sequel is probably better than the first, and while I have never been a fan of "kinetic cinematography", I understand its purpose and believe it to be very supportive to the storyline in a "film" such as this... but only when it's used sparingly -- I think that the tunnel scene was probably the only one that was jarringly distracting to me... for the rest of the movie, it was just all part of the action!

Jackie Mason | January 14, 2005
[hidden by request]

Scott Hardie | January 15, 2005
#6: (link)

I probably made this movie sound boring. It definitely isn't.

This is the last foreign film on my list. It's all domestic from here.

Dave Stoppenhagen | January 15, 2005
Scott I loved the book the Bourne Supremacy and was disappointed by the deviation from the storyline. But when i take it as just a spy film and disassociated it from the book, I really got into it.

Scott Hardie | January 15, 2005
That sounds like what I've read, that the plots have nothing to do with one another. Doesn't the book take place mostly in China and involve a political assassination? Oh well. I have always said that I will only object to filmmakers deviating from the source material when the final result suffers for it ("Resident Evil" comes to mind), but "The Bourne Supremacy" is such a good movie that it could have been originally based on "Tuesdays with Morrie" and I wouldn't have complained.

Dave Stoppenhagen | January 15, 2005
Yeah the book is mostly based in Hong Kong and the island of Kowloon and Macau, and is about assasination. Kowloon for those that are wondering is a portion of Hong Kong that is known for gangs, gambling, prostitution of any kind and any other devian activity you could desire. Strictly red light district for those in the military.

Scott Hardie | January 17, 2005
#5: (link)

#4: (link)

Scott Hardie | January 18, 2005
#3: (link)

Jackie Mason | January 18, 2005
[hidden by request]

Scott Horowitz | January 18, 2005
I'm actually proud to say that I didn't see that movie.

Anna Gregoline | January 18, 2005
Me too, I will NOT be watching it.

Jackie Mason | January 18, 2005
[hidden by request]

Anna Gregoline | January 18, 2005
I liked it, although yeah, it doesn't really have much of a plot.

Scott Hardie | January 19, 2005
Y'all are missing out on "The Passion." I didn't think I would like it either, but it became such an event movie that I gave in. As you can tell from its placement on my list, I was astounded by it. Obviously Catholics will like it best, but its appeal is not exclusive to them.

The thing that surprises me about "Napoleon Dynamite" is how many people actively disliked it. I can see not laughing very much because humor is subjective, but it's too innocuous to hate, isn't it? Maybe it was just a backlash; that movie played for so many months on mere word of mouth that perhaps the people on the tail end of it couldn't help but be underwhelmed.

Getting started on the year 2005 in film, The Onion just published a great pan of "Elektra." (link)

Kris Weberg | January 19, 2005
I have no interest in seeing someone tortured and beaten for two or so hours. And as I'm not a Christian, that's really about all the film would be for me, I'm guessing.

Anna Gregoline | January 19, 2005
Me too - I know the story, I kind of view the torture of the movie to be like porn, in a way.

Scott Hardie | January 19, 2005
How can you say so, if you have not seen the film? Kris, you seem to dismiss the torture as a matter-of-fact portrayal of the act itself, and Anna, you imply that the violence has appeal as sadism of the can't-avert-your-eyes variety. Neither is the case at all. Though employing some modern techniques, and definitely modern special effects, the film is a classical treatment of the subject; Gibson directed it with the soul of a Renaissance painter, lush and complicated and beautiful. It is not lurid, neither is it a waste of time. (Forgive me if I have misrepresented you.)

Anyway, I guess I was wrong in my prediction about #7. :-)

Scott Hardie | January 19, 2005
#2: (link)

Kris and Anna, I apologize for being insulting and dismissive a few hours ago. The first thing I read tonight on TC was the "Refreshingly Clean Thread" and it did not leave me in a good mood for the rest of my comments.

Anna Gregoline | January 19, 2005
That's ok.

Perhaps I should give The Passion a chance - do I want to? No.

I think, honestly, Scott, that you are able to take a good look at it and enjoy it for only two reasons: you are a HUGE movie buff, and even watch films like "Kangaroo Jack" (right?), and you weren't raised Catholic, as far as I know.

I'm sick to death of the story, and all that goes with it. I don't see the point of beating myself over the head with gratutitus violence in a story I already know about and have no interest in.

I just recently watched "Monster." I really liked it as a film, I found it very powerful, but it was AWFUL to watch, much more so because it was a true story. I came away from it wondering what to think - the movie was so much violence that I was unsure what the audience was supposed to feel like - it's a weird feeling of, "Was I supposed to be entertained by that?"

I think it's hard when film and movies collide - we expect that going to the movies or renting a movie will give us a huge entertainment bonus (I'm thinking in Sims terms, forgive me!), but certain films aren't about that. It leaves a disparity for me. Not an unwelcome one, of course, but it's difficult.

I think I can't watch The Passion because it's larger point as a body of work is one I have rejected - so what is left for me to get out of it? I can appreciate Monster as an examination of a life lived sadly, or a love story, as you posited, or a precursor to thoughts about the penal system, or the larger notion of justice in this world. But the point Mel Gibson was trying to make with The Passion is one I've heard before, and one that I don't need to watch brutal images to understand.

Maybe I'm mistaken, but that's my take on it.

(Whew, it's nice to have some normal discourse for once - I miss that on this site. It used to be we could have normal, intelligent conversations about things like films without it degrading into lame jokes or infighting. I miss that.)

Erik Bates | January 19, 2005
[hidden by request]

Lori Lancaster | January 19, 2005
[hidden by request]

Lori Lancaster | January 19, 2005
[hidden by request]

Jackie Mason | January 19, 2005
[hidden by request]

Denise Sawicki | January 19, 2005
Well I'm proud of any implication that anyone here "knows" me but I've met you maybe a couple of times, Lori, and knowing me I probably didn't speak more than 10 words in your presence! I'm surprised you would remember having met me. :)

Anna Gregoline | January 19, 2005
I'm very sorry if my comment about the Passion offended. That was not my intention at all.

I feel icky watching sustained physical violence as the main part of a movie in the same way I feel icky watching sustained gratutitus sex scenes. I was not trying to impugne anyone's faith or the actual act of Jesus dying on the cross - merely the portrayal of it.

I sincerely apologize if that was offensive, and I can see how it can be.

I know I have said things that have been offensive - once again, no matter how many people might think so, THAT IS NOT MY INTENTION. I'm sure Scott can vouch for me on that. Honestly, we went for years without these kinds of problems. If it's honestly because everyone had a problem with things that were said and stayed silent, then it's good it's all getting out in the open now. But I don't see that. I see lots of offensive jokes. I see lots of personal attacks, like the "clean" thread. I have never made it my business to personally attack someone. The instance I can think of where I strayed from that (the Gay Marriage thread) was wrong and I believe I apologized for it.

So what's really going on here? Why the change in the site? I'm trying hard to be respectful - I'm sorry again if I wasn't above. But, I'm not the only one to be held to that standard. Amy and Dave chose to start a thread that's original purpose was to attack me personally. I'm extremely disappointed in the level of discourse now on the site, if that post is any example.

Lori Lancaster | January 19, 2005
[hidden by request]

Scott Horowitz | January 19, 2005
I chose to boycott seeing the Passion as many Jews had. It may not have had the anti-semitic connotations that were mentioned in the media. However, from my understanding, it depicted Judaism in a negative light. It's bad enough when preachers tell you that you're going to hell because your ancestors killed their lord and savior (it has happened to me). There were many other reasons I would not see this movie. (Also, I don't think Gibson is a good director, I hated Braveheart). Also (I am not trying to offend anyone by saying this or denounce their faith), why would I want to see a movie about something I could care less about? I don't care about Jesus. In my faith, he is not the son of g-d, nor is he a religious icon. The movie was not appealing to me. And with all the negative hype towards it, I chose not to see it.

Anna Gregoline | January 19, 2005
That's me too, Scott - besides the other considerations I talked about above. To me it's a movie I wouldn't see because I'm not interested - just as I wouldn't see a movie about golf...or, I don't know, I'm kind of slow this afternoon. I'm just not interested in the subject matter.

Erik Bates | January 19, 2005
[hidden by request]

Scott Hardie | January 19, 2005
Well put, Anna, in your 9:38 comment. You're right.

Scott and Anna, at the very end, my first instinct was to write back, "But if you don't know the subject matter, wouldn't that make you want to see the movie more? To learn about something new instead of seeing more about the same old stuff all the time?" But there's my perspective leaking in. You do know the story already. It's not a matter of not knowing, it's a matter of not caring. (I didn't care either, but as Anna said, I'm predisposed to like the movie anyway for different reasons.)

Anyway, my soon-to-be-revealed #1 choice is a tough recommendation because the audience seems to be about 40% lovers, 50% haters, 10% indifferent. I fell into the first group, but obviously there's a higher chance that you'll fall into the second group. I do hope you take a chance and rent it and tell me what you think.

Scott Hardie | January 19, 2005
Y'all're crazy.

Lori Lancaster | January 19, 2005
[hidden by request]

Scott Hardie | January 20, 2005
Hmm, I'm thirsty for some Coke... I wonder if I should drink Dr. Pepper Coke or Sunkist Coke?

Lori Lancaster | January 20, 2005
[hidden by request]

Lori Lancaster | January 20, 2005
[hidden by request]

Scott Hardie | January 20, 2005
The best film of 2004 that I saw: (link)

Scott Horowitz | January 20, 2005
I have to say Scott, most of the movies you have listed I have not seen. I'll try to use your reccomendations, but I would think that we have different tastes in movies. I'm curious to see what you hate.

Scott Hardie | January 21, 2005
You'll like these better then, Scott. Here are ten also-rans: (link)

Scott Hardie | January 22, 2005
When I was preparing this feature, I couldn't narrow my list of Honorable Mentions down to just ten; there were too many great movies this year. So, I divided it into a list of ten commercial successes and ten little-known art house releases; you got the first set yesterday. Here are my alternate ten, a round-up of great indie and foreign films that shouldn't be missed just because they didn't have a big budget. I recommend them all. (link)

Erik Bates | January 22, 2005
[hidden by request]

Scott Hardie | January 23, 2005
The last of the feature is now online: The Miscellaneous Awards (link) and Steve West's favorite part, the Worst Films (link) followed by the traditional Complete List (link) at the end. Thanks to everyone who's been reading, and please let me know what you thought of any film you rented because of this feature.

Jackie Mason | January 25, 2005
[hidden by request]

David Mitzman | January 26, 2005
Girl Next Door; a teen movie definitely but I liked it. I thought it was one of those entertaining movies that didn't require a whole lot of brain power to enjoy. Can't say I really use my brain too much, but either way, it was enjoyable.

Scott Hardie | January 28, 2005
Oh, I enjoyed it too. I laughed in several places. But that doesn't mean it's not bad. :-)

Kris Weberg | January 28, 2005
I still can't believe you liked The Bourne Supremacy that much, actually. I hadn't seen the first one, never read the books, and found it excruciatingly dull without a single character I could identify with or be intrigued by.

I mean, Joan Allen is a cookie-cutter 'dedicated cop," Brian Cox is a toned-down version of his X2 character, and Matt Damon's quest for identity was made uncompelling as I realized that in either identity he's a self-serving, ruthless bastard with no emotions beyond calculating anger and blank affection.

Utterly dismal, and wirthout the sort of joyous, unapologetic escapism that allows me to overlook the shallowness of the characters in a Bond flick. It's a thinly-plotted spy film that seems ashamed of its genre.

Scott Hardie | January 28, 2005
Now that's the reaction I was expecting when I published that page. Almost everyone I know in person has found "Bourne Supremacy" mediocre or worse, and I think Amy is its only other defender here so far.

Amy Austin | January 29, 2005
I can handle it. No accounting for some people's bad taste, you know... ;DDD

Kris Weberg | January 29, 2005
I live to serve, but not just pleasant service.


Want to participate? Please create an account a new account or log in.


Other Discussions Started by Scott Hardie

Free at Last!

If you've been paying attention to the state of this site for a while, you've noticed the outages, the weird glitches, the "account suspended" warnings. Go »

This Vote Counts, That One Doesn't

I haven't been reading much lately about vote suppression, despite there being infuriatingly many examples like this and this and this, because the subject makes my blood boil. Go »

Andy Rooney Says

Back in May, a 63-year-old friend of mine forwarded me a rant from Andy Rooney of "60 Minutes." Here's the text I received. Go »

GooCon: Villa Ridge

It's my pleasure to announce the 2011 edition of our annual gathering, GooCon: Villa Ridge! This year, the event will be held in the suburbs of St. Go »

McCain Does Not Speak for Me

In the news: John McCain was booed and heckled during his commencement speech at a liberal university, while some students waved anti-McCain banners and turned their backs on him. Go »

Evil Down Under

Aaron Fischer sent me an evil link. You've probably seen the type before. Enjoy: http://cluepon.sgl. Go »