13 February 2008

Skandies: #4



Picture: Grindhouse (127/12)
Director: Quentin Tarantino, Grindhouse (179/16) [third nomination]
Actress: Ellen Page, Juno (198/21)
Actor: Sam Rockwell, Joshua (196/13)
S. Actor: Hal Holbrook, Into the Wild (165/14)
S. Actress: Tilda Swinton, Michael Clayton (202/16) [second nomination]
Screenplay: Noah Baumbach, Margot at the Wedding (189/17) [second nomination]
Scene: Waterloo Station, The Bourne Ultimatum (135/12)

[This was my top choice, for the record.]





HISTORY:

Previous Skandie winner Tarantino (Kill Bill, Vol. 1, 2003) also placed 5th the following year for Vol. 2.

Swinton scores her second nomination and her fifth appearance overall. She previously finished 18th in the lead category for Female Perversions (1997), 5th (lead) for The Deep End (2001), 9th for The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005), and 19th for Thumbsucker (also 2005). Page makes it two in a row, having landed at #14 last year for Hard Candy. Rockwell's only previous appearance was for 2002's Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, at #13. The venerable Mr. Holbrook is new.

Baumbach won Best Screenplay two years ago for The Squid and the Whale, and also finished 10th in 2004 for co-writing The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou.

My joy at seeing Rockwell's otherwise unheralded performance get its rightful due more than compensates for the fact that we, too, fell for Holbrook's banal Wise But Lonely Old Man routine. (Thanks one other person who voted for Brian Dierker.)

27 comments:

Anonymous said...

I've never even heard of this movie.

STEPHEN THE GOLDBERGER said...

haha, most of america probably agrees.

I think the fact that these are the 4th and 5th best movies of the year shows a pretty mediocre year overall. Or it means the skandies have failed to properly rank films and performances, which is clearly an impossibility.

md'a said...

Crap, were the results supposed to reflect the sensibility and discernment of the average American? I never got that memo.

STEPHEN THE GOLDBERGER said...

my point was the fact that the "best" movies this year were seemingly irrelevent is an indication that this was not a particularly strong year for film.

Steve said...

I've never even heard of this movie.

Somewhere, Harvey Weinstein is having an apoplectic fit.

md'a said...

I don't see how that follows. You could conclude that it wasn't a strong year for films that reached an appreciative mass audience, but that's about it.

STEPHEN THE GOLDBERGER said...

I guess because I believe truly great films find an audience. I think both of these films failed to do so.

md'a said...

Even if I agreed with that, which I don't, there are plenty of films that only found an audience long after their initial commercial release. Perhaps you've heard of, oh, say, The Wizard of Oz.

STEPHEN THE GOLDBERGER said...

Yeah well its not a fool proof way of judging a film's merits, or you may feel, even an appropriate one. I guess its sort of a tough question to deal with when it comes to film, which is form of storytelling (and so therefore communication). The entire point is to impress the audience, so do you work for them, or work for whatever vision is in your head, even if that vision is 4 ditzy girls talking about car chase movies from the 70s that no one cares about.

Steve said...

Fear not, Stephen the Goldberger. Your theories of quality and mass relevance will be borne out when Transformers takes the top Skandie slot.

I also predict Dane Cook as best actor for Good Luck Chuck.

Matt Noller said...

Had I predicted Dane Cook as Best Actor, I probably would have done just as well with my predictions as I'm doing now.

"The entire point is to impress the audience."

But which audience? Clearly both Grindhouse and Syndromes impressed some sort of audience. Grindhouse didn't make much money, but many people who saw it loved it. And Syndromes was a huge high-brow critical favorite, so it impressed that audience.

If by "the audience" you mean "the mainstream Americans sitting in the multiplex," then I'm not sure what to say.

Furthermore, to say that film is simply a form of storytelling is hopelessly reductive. Film is an art and, like any other art, can serve any number of purposes. Are non-narrative films not truly films, or are they not "good" films because they're so hard to see? Is Stan Brakhage not a film-maker? Is he a bad film-maker?

Matt Noller said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Matt Noller said...

Which is not to say that I agree with your argument that the point of a film is to impress the audience.

Because I don't.

Anonymous said...

Goldberger dude, I wrote "I've never even heard of this movie" in mockery of your comment on the previous nominee. Please try to keep up.

Seriously, though, would someone please tell me: who is this "Wizard of Oz"?

STEPHEN THE GOLDBERGER said...

"Fear not, Stephen the Goldberger. Your theories of quality and mass relevance will be borne out when Transformers takes the top Skandie slot."

Funny you should say that, since Transformers was my personal favorite movie this year. No Joke. I dont think it was the best movie but I enjoyed it the most.

"But which audience?"

Well thats why I am following the Skandies because I am curious what this audience of film connoisseurs thought the best movies were this year. The fact their their opinion seems so far to be out of line with the mainstream, and general critical consensus to me indicates that the major movies were lacking, so the Skandies Jury had to reach for their picks this year. Meaning that it was a relatively poor year for films.

"Is Stan Brakhage not a film-maker?"

Well I think he sucks and I guess you are correct that his films aren't storytelling, but he is trying to impress the audience by stirring emotions or what have you.

STEPHEN THE GOLDBERGER said...

"Goldberger dude, I wrote "I've never even heard of this movie" in mockery of your comment on the previous nominee. Please try to keep up."

I was fully aware you were mocking my previous comment, thats why i laughed, but I did think it was appropriate given the tepid reaction to grindhouse.

Atli Sig said...

The Skandies have always been far from the mainstream AND the critical consensus so the fact that obscure movies are placed high on their list does not have to mean that the films of the cinema were lacking in quality this year. I can at least be safe to say that most skandie voters would probably consider last year a vast improvement over 2006. But that would just be their opinion.

Steve said...

Funny you should say that, since Transformers was my personal favorite movie this year.

[plus]

"Is Stan Brakhage not a film-maker?"

Well I think he sucks and I guess you are correct that his films aren't storytelling,


Yes, because Window Water Baby Moving and Deus Ex aren't telling stories. *grumble*

When I see statements like these, I'm reminded how far my tastes actually are from the mainstream, no matter how much I dig Pixar and Rob Zombie. Le sigh.

Eric Henderson said...
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Eric Henderson said...

more than compensates for the fact that we, too, fell for Holbrook's banal Wise But Lonely Old Man routine

Good job Skandie voters.

Matt Noller said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
David said...

Successful troll is successful!

Jeff said...

Why are so many comments deleted? Stephen the Goldburger has many a good point.

Kza said...

Dammit, why didn't Brakhage make more movies about toys? That Hollywood career coulda been his, I tell you. What a waste.

J said...

If you use IMDb as an approximation of mainstream tastes, they're actually going to line up well with the Skandies. No Country, Blood, Grindhouse, Bourne, Ratatouille, and Zodiac are all pretty high.

Not so sure on Transformers though. I only seem to recall the part where Jazz says (sez) "You wanna piece of me?" and Megatron replies "No, I want two!" 10 seconds of enjoyment out of 144 minutes ... improvement on Michael Bay's part if I ever saw it.

STEPHEN THE GOLDBERGER said...

"If you use IMDb as an approximation of mainstream tastes, they're actually going to line up well with the Skandies."

Yeah i certainly spoke too soon.

Also I didn't mean to troll, I just thought the 4th and 5th selections were interesting given their seeming irrelevence. I enjoy the Skandies and Mike's reviews because they help me to discover films I wouldn't otherwise bother to take the time to discover.

Adam Villani said...

"the major movies were lacking, so the Skandies Jury had to reach for their picks this year."

This implies that the Skandie Jury begins their search with the most popular, or at least most critically popular, movies of the year and then moves on to more obscure films only if they don't find what they're looking for in the most popular films. This is not how it works.

Skandie voters deliberately seek out films that interest them for various reasons over the course of the year and may consider a film with a very limited release a "must-see" based on positive reviews from film festivals or a history of liking a director. Certainly a big release or a critical favorite has a good chance of being seen by a lot of Skandie voters, but a lot of more obscure releases are discussed just as much among the members.

Certainly nobody operates in a vacuum, but by and large Skandie voters do a good job of evaluating the films they see on their own merits, however the individual voter may perceive them, and not on any obligation to vote for the big-name movies, nor, conversely, a feeling that bigger films should be left off of ballots to champion smaller films merely by virtue of their level of publicity.