Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Big Picture: "MovieBob's 2011 Top Ten"

Sorry this didn't get up earlier. Busy week, already...


22 comments:

Ryan said...

Captain America was better than Drive? Man, you really liked that movie.

Uncle Tim said...

Good list. The only thing I'd disagree with is that I thought the effects in First Class were really damn good on the whole, particularly the flying scenes.

David (The Pants) said...

I really gotta see The Muppets. I was so glad I got to see Attack The Block when it played in one theater at a time in the WHOLE COUNTRY in my vicinity.

Graham said...

I disagree with you on Super. That movie was terrible.

It was only good for the first half. After the Crimson Bolt spends a night clubbing drug dealers, the movie just goes downhill from there. The entire film is bogged down by an unwatchable second half and a cast of stupid, unlikable characters.

Blue Highwind said...

MovieBob, I agreed with this list mostly until Tree of Life. That was the worst movie I have ever seen. Twilight 4 was better. Green Lantern was better. Transformers 3 was better. Those were all movies, and even if they were done badly, they at least got the general idea right.

I don't believe you for a second that you actually liked that movie. I don't believe anybody who claims to like that film. Maybe you dozed off halfway through and saw a different movie, it isn't hard to fall asleep during a movie so intolerably boring. Terrence Malick is a fraud, he made a fake-movie, and people bought it hook, line, and sinker.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Blue Highwind and recommend the abridged script for the Tree of Life.

I belive movies need to have some kind of plot to be entertaining and Tree of Life had none.

Good list though, apart from Cap. America, which I would probably replace by Melancholia.

paul feldioreanu said...

Really good material, movies, books, music are not meant to fill the holes in you head and distract you. They resonate with what's already within you. The more complex a person's emotional and mental structure is the more sensitive he is to good literature and art. There is a reason why the majority of intelectuals don't listen to the crap you usually hear on the radio.

The Tree of Life is not entertainment for the mases, nor is it a movie for children or teenagers. It speaks of family, of loss, of profoundly intimate matters and existentialism which children have very little interest in or experience with.

If you didn't like it might not necessarily mean that you lack the education and mental capacity to understand it, it might just be that you're not there yet.

Anonymous said...

Well, the Tree of Life actually doesn't speak of anything, or better, it speaks of anything you want it to be. That's why people who consider themselves highly educated and woh can't fathom the notion of art being crap, see things that aren't actually there. So not only is the movie pretentious, i.e. it pretends to be meaningful and deep, but also the critics who pretend to see what is pretended.

But maybe I'm just not there yet...

With good movies, music or books you are as entertained as you are provoked to think. Tree of Life had me thinking alright, but not in a good way, more in a why-is-there-constant-whispering-voice-over-wait-dinosaurs?-kinda way.

Andy Warth said...

Look at all the rage from this edgy anonymous guy! Delicious rage. Very good list Bob.

Blue Highwind said...

@Paul: I love the way you basically just said "you're not sophisticated enough to understand good literature and art". Then you inexplicably rail against pop music, as if the two are linked together.

You know what? Lady Gaga may not be a great artist, her music may not be very good, but she is putting in tough work. Singing, performing, touring, putting on ridiculous make-up, that's hard work. I can respect her for trying. Terrence Malick just isn't trying, he didn't make a movie.

You could easily have made a narrative about family, about loss, about the way children's identities are shaped by their parents, and still have things like dialog and characters and plot. But Malick didn't. That's too much work. So he just edited together random shots. Then he put in whispering narration that sounds straight out of David Lynch's "Dune" and called it a day. Movies have done all these profound things, and been entertaining, and had endearing moments that you remember, and had characters. "The Tree of Life" doesn't, and it puts you to sleep.

Its not a movie, its a photography montage. It shouldn't be in a cinema or in a DVD player, it should be on the wall of an art museum. And even then, it would still be about 1000 photographs too many. I wish it was in a museum, because that would force Malick to cut down the content and be concise. No gallery owner would allow him to be so self-indulgent and have that many images up.

When I watch things like Green Lantern, as lazy and badly made as that movie was, I can better sink my teeth into it. Because Green Lantern is a movie, it tried. The Tree of Life doesn't care. I have never seen a more cynical filmmaker, who knows that simply being inexplicable and incomprehensible is enough to make people think he's being deep. The less work Terrence Malick puts in, the more people will eat it up. Its a sad cycle.

Anonymous said...

Anyone else find that being told you didn't like something because you didn't understand it pretty much robs you of all desire you ever may have had to give it another chance?

It's funny, I didn't dislike Tree of Life THAT much when I first saw it. Now, six months later, after being told over and over again that the only way it could not be your favorite movie ever is if you are an idiot child, I despise it about as much as any movie I've seen in the last five years. I literally cringe upon hearing its title.

MovieBob said...

@BlueHighwind,

I don't go in for the "you just didn't get it" retort, but you ARE factually incorrect insofar as your assumptions about the production.

Mallick DID write and shoot most of the film as a more conventional, plot-driven narrative - originally Sean Penn's "present" character was THE focus and the rest of it was his dreams/flashbacks/visions/etc.

At some point in post-production, Mallick felt/decided it was working better BEING a dream-logic movie and cut the "present" sequences down to the barest essentials to focus on the memory stuff (this is why Penn hasn't been promoting the film, he unsurprisingly disagreed with the choice.) Supposedly there's also twice (maybe even three times) as much "evolution of universe" stuff, too, that may end up being released as an IMAX feature.

Blue Highwind said...

@MovieBob: (This is like my star moment, you replied to me. I'm so touched, even if it was pretty negative. Oh well.)

I feel bad for Sean Penn, really bad. Sean Penn is kinda a dick from what I've seen of him in real life, but he doesn't deserve this. He's probably pissed. You sign on for a film to star in it, then it gets completely cut, you're completely pointless in the final version. Sean Penn only seems to be in the movie now to bring up the question "why is Sean Penn in the movie?"

I want to see the real movie that Malick destroyed. With such pretty cinematography, you could have made something really special. This actually makes me really sad... I wish this movie was just a joke now, because that way the world wouldn't be missing out.

TheAlmightyNarf said...

Hanna would probably have been my #1, but mostly because I just enjoy that sort of aesthetic. And, if there's one thing Hanna pulled off better then just about any other movie on your list, it's aesthetic.

And I would also compare Tree of Life to 2001, in that like 2001 it spends an awfully lot of time trying to look deep, meaningful and symbolic with out ever actually really saying anything. I mean, can anyone tell me what Tree of Life's thesis actually is (or 2001's for that matter)? I don't mind a movie not really being about anything, but hiding behind that sort of faux profoundness is just annoying.

Sylocat said...

Yeah, I don't care for the "You just didn't understand it" retort either, but when you start making objective statements about the motives and thought processes of the people involved, things that are factually incorrect, that is just Not Cool.

Aiddon said...

It's Terrence Malick, he's been doing this kind of crap for decades and people gobble it up. Albeit, the cinematography is striking as he is talented from a visual sense but keep him the FUCK away from a script. Nobody in Tree of Life besides Brad Pitt acts like a human being. If someone would have told me this was made by some Evangelion fan who decided that writing meaningless faux-poetic drivel makes something deep than I would believe them (and this is coming from someone whose favorite show of all time is Eva). Also, Terry needs to work out his fucking disturbing as hell Mommy issues. I'm sorry your adolescence was boring Malick, but don't wave it in my face via a movie screen

Ryan said...

Here's one review I liked: "Tree of life is the world's longest AT&T Commercial"

jojjo said...

TAN/
Haven't seen "Tree of life" (except for the abstract parts, which where great) so I can't defend that, I have however seen 2001 and loved it, so I'll say something brief abut that.

2001 is not, in my opinion, mainly a thesis movie, it is a representation of mans first contact with extra-terrestrial intelligence. As such it is a very classic sci-fi story: an exploration of a strange concept. Of course it does say things beyond that, about men's inherent inclination towards violence and the dangers of true AI, but they are secondary to the story itself. It is after all called "A space odyssey"

Uncle Tim said...

I won't say that anyone who doesn't like Tree of Life didn't understand it as that is at best presumptuous and at worst insulting. There are different genres and styles of film and different viewers and it only makes sense that some won't mesh. I'll confess there are times I've found Malick's style, particularly the narration in The Thin Red Line, to be frustrating.

That said, I think it's just as presumptuous and a bit foolish to assume that because you don't dig the film, that someone who does like it or even says they love it (which I did) must therefore necessarily be lying. In the same way it didn't work for you, it does work for others.

@TheAlmightyNarf: As for your question regarding the film's thesis, I can only give you my take. Your mileage will vary. My view is that the film is, as suggested in part of the narration, the conflict between grace and the harsh ruthlesness of nature as personified by a mother and father respectively and their young son's struggle to define how these concepts as expressed by their parenting styles shape him as a person. We see the harsh, cold persona of his father who is attempting to prepare him for a harsh, unforgiving world and the gentle, compassionate outlook of his mother attempting to keep him on the right path. This conflict, and the great montage chronicling the boy's development, is put into perspective through scenes regarding the creation of the Earth, which can be seen as a metaphor for the boy itself as it is shaped by natural forces and the unexpected grace of its inhabitants, even its dinosaurs, or viewed as the cosmic thoughts of a boy considering the origins of these two concepts. Along the lines of this second view, much of the boy's narrated dialogue to 'father' could be also interpreted as being toward God or whatever universal consciousness if any that one subscribes to. Ta-daa.

Don't get me started on the meaning of 2001, though I find that a bit more straight-forward.

TheAlmightyNarf said...

@ jojjo

My problem with that answer though is that the "first contact" is just a 10 minute trippy light show at the end that really didn't seem to have much to do with the rest of the movie and, honestly, felt really out of place. It was almost as if, oddly enough, some one just slapped a couple of Arthur C. Clarke short stories together and called it a movie.

@ Uncle Tim

That's an interesting interpretation... I'm not sure that I agree, but I'll give you that it might be worth me watching it again to see if I get that.

My name is O.B. and I am Tha Variable said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
O.B. Tha Variable said...

I completely agree about "The Tree of Life." I haven't seen any of the others, though, so I don't have any comment on them.

Any love for "Sucker Punch"? Would it be a runner-up/honorable mention? I, for one, would definitely put it in my Top 3.