Thursday, January 23, 2014
The Favorite Films Of My Lifetime: 2004
Ten years ago, damn, we had a really good year. My list of films to edit down for 2004 was quite sizeable and very difficult. But, I pulled through. Once again it came down to factors of owning the movie, how much I've watched and what's actually been revisited over what may or may not have been better. I'm interested to see some of your picks as I think they could differ greatly from mine. The Oscar race for this particular year looks kind of weak in comparison to how good this year turned out. Solid movies were released from start to finish this year. The past few years had taken until summer for something truly notable to show up.
And nominees in the category for Best Motion Picture are
WINNER - Million Dollar Baby
And Brandon's picks in the category of Favorite Films of 2004 are
The Bourne Supremacy
And here's the movie that changed the action film to where we still are now. Paul Greengrass took over the reigns and crafted the so-called "shakey cam" style that everyone mocks today. You may hear me bitch and moan about a lot, but do not mistake, as I am not against it. When its fully realized and someone knows what exactly the hell it is that they're doing, its an incredibly powerful and engaging tool. Most don't understand this and just shake to be shaking or to hide their cheapness and in return cause a mass confusion with the audience member not being able to tell what the hell is going on or feel nauseous from the movement. The Bourne Supremacy was something incredibly new at the time. I think we compared the style to a more documentary look. When I first saw the film it was pretty engrossing, the punches hurt more and you felt the impact of all the action with Greengrass style. But I also felt like with that aesthetic it seemed as if the film was shot over the course of a weekend as I wasn't used to a film not have still frames and neatly tracked shots. It looked as if they just picked up the camera and hurried up and shot it. But, it freaking works. Paul Greengrass really should be the only person allowed to use this style, but imitators will keep on coming until something new takes the world by storm.
Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind
So, this is one of my favorite movies ever. But, it also came on accident or by chance. I'm gonna go full disclosure on how I happened to see this theatrically and for the first time. One night in college, my friend Jay and I were planing to go and see Jersey Girl late on a Sunday night. When we got to the box office, we realized we misjudged the showtime by about 25 minutes. Well, we were there and wanted to see a movie, so we perused the listings and this one was on there. We thought "Eh, it looked ok, this will sufficed until we go see Jersey Girl tomorrow". And 108 minutes later our minds were blown. The movie was amazing. We stayed up late just discussing the hell out of it. We both agreed on how incredible it was. I was particularly taken with Kate Winslet's character. There was absolutely nothing out there like this movie. Incredibly weird, crazy and original. It wasn't until I moved to Los Angeles that I found more people who shared my love of this movie equally. As for Jersey Girl, hah...well...
The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou
This always seems to be considered one of Wes Anderson's least best movies, but for me its one of my absolute favorites. I love the visuals, the performances and the score is totally dynamite. I'm gonna forgo my praise of this one for another theater going experience. Or non-experience in this case. Like a lot of you, on Christmas Day I used to go see a movie (and most of them with my sister). Usually we were pretty sure of what we were going to go see. But this particular year there was a debate. She wanted to go see Meet The Fockers and I wanted to see Life Aquatic. It was a heated debate, but she ended up winning. Had Meet The Fockers actually been good, I might've have been more forgiving. But I couldn't stand that movie and I didn't get to see Life Aquatic til DVD and I absolutely loved it. It had an original story, something Meet The Parents Redux with 2 new characters did not. Still bitter about that to this day! :)
Harry Potter & The Prisoner Of Azkaban
This is the first Harry Potter film that really got me on board. Yeah, I know "cuz it has time travel, Brandon?" Well, maybe. Alfonso Cuaron took over the helm, and the film just seemed to have more of a vision and much more style than the "typical blockbuster" look the previous two had. The story feels a little smaller, more intimate and bit more personal. Granted, its easier to follow this one if you've read the book, but I think it still works. The film is far more darker, a little scary and features some great turns by the adults in the cast. This was easily the best of the series up until another one came further down the road. There still is no Harry Potter movie like this one.
I can't lie about this one at all. When this movie first came out, I was blown away and loved it. I saw it twice the week it came out. I never in a million years imagined this would be the first film in what would be the Friday the 13th franchise of the 00s. Over the years, maybe my fondness has lessened a tad, due to being able to see some of its problems. I do agree with Scott Mendelson, in that this film feels like an early draft and needed maybe another rewrite or 2 before going in front of the camera. The problems are easy to spot; Elwes has a rough time handling the emotional moments, Danny Glover's death is hilarious and the film has quite possibly the worst car chase of all time. But, I have an appreciation and a forgiving heart for films of Saw's nature that are made for really next to nothing. I find myself not striking it for things it couldn't handle and appreciating what the COULD do with no money. They shot this movie in one warehouse and I find a charm to seeing in some scenes to make a room look different they just covered the walls with curtains. I dunno, I've always had an appreciation for people who try and pull of big ideas with little money (maybe why I love John Carpenter so much). The movie is far from perfect, but damn, its still really fun.
Shaun Of The Dead
This movie and I were instantly in love. Shaun was one of those that I didn't "discover" or anything, I just had to take it upon myself to show everyone I could in college. Edgar Wright and the gang made a passionate zombie comedy that proved to us they were fans and totally did all their homework and research. While Shaun of the Dead is a parody or whatnot, its biggest triumph and one of the most amazing things about it is that its actually a legitimately great original zombie film in its own right. You laugh a bunch, but you also are really on board and care about this band of misfits surviving through the night. Its got great characters, comedy and zombie action. I'd much rather pop this one in than the Dawn Of The Dead remake to be quite honest. I think its perfectly easy for me to say they crafted one of the greatest zombie films of all time.