22 October 2009

Skandies: Best Films of the Decade, #5



There Will Be Blood (2007, Paul Thomas Anderson)
originally placed: #1, 2007.

46 comments:

Ryan said...

Who are this film's champions, I wonder? It's quite surprising that questions remain as to the identities of both the #4 movie and performance. For film, seems to me Tropical Malady, Eternal Sunshine, and The Prestige are all plausible #4s (and counterintuitively, they are all plausible as films that could be left out of the top 20 entirely), whereas performance could easily be someone I haven't considered, though I'd bet on Bardem, Gosling or Scott, in that order.

Personne said...

This getting a spot and Punch-Drunk Love zip is a very very very sad thing, people (and I do like both filmes a lot). Anyways, I echo Ryan: who voted for it? Never thought it got support that strong. Well now there's dogville, in the mood for love and what? Very sad Primer also got nothing btw.

Nictate said...

I personally think Punch-Drunk Love drinks TWBB's milkshake, but people love that windswept epic vibe and outsized performance shizzle.

I'm hoping Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind can eek its way in. Every time I watch it, I'm more amazed by its depth and beauty.

md'a said...

They also love films starring actors who can act.

Personne said...

DRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAINAGE!

I don't think many of P-DL's supporters are rabid Adam Sandler fans, anyways; most people would agree that he really isn't very good (less polite: fucking annoying) but that his 'style' or whatever that is, filtered through PTA's direction, made sense in the film. There is no such thing as 'can act', there are only more acclaimed/accepted modes of acting and the coherence they bring to the movies in which they are inserted. Yeah sure Sandler is not a very 'multiple' performer but whatever he does did work in Punch-Drunk, same way Daniel Plainview would be laughable if a character in Summer Hours or something. And anyways there is so much more to both of these films than 'just' the actors and... whatever.

Nictate said...

And dogs that play basketball! People love movies with dogs that play basketball!

But seriously, I do respect DDL's work in this film. He is no Isabelle Huppert.

md'a said...

And anyways there is so much more to both of these films than 'just' the actors and... whatever.

Of course there is. But Sandler is such an emotional vacuum (in every film) that his presence in the lead role pretty much singlehandedly nullifies any chance at true greatness imo. It's too huge a liability for any movie to overcome.

In any case, almost nobody considers Punch-Drunk Love one of the greatest films of the last ten years. It didn't even come close (and would have been on the singleton list had Jason Overbeck not been drafted this year).

Personne said...

I'm sorry, I just don't see that. His manic singlemindness and irrational unexplainable violence outbursts are actually one with the movie, indulged and explained instead of fought - he seems weird and intense (albeit in a crazy way), I don't know what you mean by emotional vacuum. IMO to dismiss his performance you would have to dismiss the whole project of the film, otherwise it just doesn't make sense.

md'a said...

I don't know what you mean by emotional vacuum.

I mean he's supposed to be in love with Emily Watson and I don't believe that for one nanosecond. Nor that she would have any interest in him. It's a love story that stars someone incapable of connecting (at least onscreen) with another human being. Problematic.

Michael said...

Listen, I didn't have any votes to send TWBB's way, but it's an absolutely magnificent film. What's with all the bitching? It lands squarely in the Kubrick tradition and holds its own within that wheelhouse. The wordless opening scene should be enough to demonstrate its bowels-of-the-earth elemental power.

Michael said...

It's a love story that stars someone incapable of connecting (at least onscreen) with another human being. Problematic.

Maybe she just has a thing for angry tards.

Nictate said...

I think Sandler was perfect in Punch-Drunk Love -- there were moments he tore my heart out. Sure, PTA must've done some kinda voodoo to make it happen, but that performance wasn't Sandler's usual schtick. He wasn't in vacuum mode. There was quiet aching going on.

Michael said...

Well now there's dogville, in the mood for love and what?

Mullholland Dr., maybe?

Very sad Primer also got nothing btw.

Best of the decade? Shit, why not Whisky or A Prairie Home Companion? The line between the Good and the Great must be drawn somewhere.

Personne said...

But that is kind of the point, isn't it? Barry is cuckoo and can't relate to mostly anything, Lena is the first person he can 'focus' any kind of emotional relation or connection (the more cynical ones would say he relates to the concept of loving her more than with her, but...)onto. He is so 'rusty' with connecting to a living being that all his attempts seem manic and exaggerated, but nevertheless it is some kind of connection - an extreme one, and one might say that it's his 'innocence' (that's how Lena sees his crazyness - remember she isn't completely normal either) or purity or etc that attracts her. His straightforwardness (in all senses), dunno. Anyways, guess we're just in different vibes or something, it all seems very believable to me. Also sorry for the cranky english, been ages since I wrote anything that wasn't in portuguese.

Mike Lee said...

Michael: Primer must have gotten at least two votes, as Gemko presumably voted for it (it's on his top 10 films of the decade page) and it's not on the list of singletons.

Mike Lee said...

And by Michael, I meant the person Michael quoted, i.e. Personne. Stupid me. Adam Egoyan, director of Where the Truth Lies, would have gotten that right.

Personne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Personne said...

I feel so much like a retard when I can't use the tags correctly. Stupid me, etc.

Personne said...

Listen, I didn't have any votes to send TWBB's way, but it's an absolutely magnificent film. What's with all the bitching?

I like this movie a lot, it's just that The line between the Good and the Great must be drawn somewhere.. Nah, just kidding, it's a great movie for sure, I just happen to think that another work by the same director (hence the comparison) is more deserving. But it's not at all something that pains my heart for being in the list, it sure is a great movie etc etc ambition etc great force of the earth etc quirky ending etc great music blah blah blah. I actually loved this quite a lot first two times I saw it, it just doesn't hit me that much now. And I could easily direct the 'good from the great' complaint to a number of filmes that were listed; Zodiac, No Country For Old Men and New World being the fastest to come to mind (and I actually like these films). Primer is incredibly ambitious, well thought, gourgeous, intelligent, thought provoking and simply awesome to be ignored in favor of a half-baked Bardem as Death Metaphor set-pieces collection, for example.

Oh, and I figured Primer got some votes, just sad it didn't pop in the list and all.

Ryan said...

Wasn't so much bitching as surprised that Blood has the depth of support that it evidently does. Wrongly thought that the widespread "milkshake" parodies had dented the film's rep.

No knock on the movie -- I'm a fan, enough of one to put Blood on a decade top 50, but not so hardcore to divvy points to it in this here survey.

Michael said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael said...

Well, Personne, as I ramp down my (needlessly) defensive posture, I'll grant you this. P-DL is absolutely PTA in a funkier, loose-limbed kind of way (although it's still pretty controlled -- he is who he is), whereas TWBB is 110% Teh Maestropiece, with all the regimented, sculptural Direction that entails. Preference for one over another is an utterly reasonable matter of taste.

(This is the previously deleted comment, with content-killed typos corrected.)

Luis said...

"The line between the Good and the Great must be drawn somewhere."

Yeah, and PRIMER is so far on the latter's side that it cannot even fucking see the line. The line has become a dot.

I like TWBB as much as the next guy (that's not true), but PTA doing Important comes off as a bit silly (and when he does Silly, it comes off as important, e.g. his masterpiece PUNCH-DRUNK LOVE.).

PRIMER, on the other hand, is an actual sophisticated, complex movie dealing with philosophical-type matters. There is no milkshake here.

Robert Fuller said...

"I like TWBB as much as the next guy (that's not true), but PTA doing Important comes off as a bit silly (and when he does Silly, it comes off as important, e.g. his masterpiece PUNCH-DRUNK LOVE.)."

Perfectly stated.

Jason said...

"In any case, almost nobody considers Punch-Drunk Love one of the greatest films of the last ten years. It didn't even come close (and would have been on the singleton list had Jason Overbeck not been drafted this year)."

This is distressing. I thought PD-L had a solid enough fanbase that it probably landed in the 21-30 area (I was similarly delusional about Desplechin's chances).

I think PD-L is a masterpiece and I think TWBB is a slightly superior masterpiece. I voted for both and gave them both 95 on the reterded 100-pt-scale. Good job other Punch-Drunk Skandie voter that I assume is a Martyr.

Nictate said...

PTA doing Important comes off as a bit silly (and when he does Silly, it comes off as important, e.g. his masterpiece PUNCH-DRUNK LOVE.).

I heartily concur. Perfectly summarized.

Nictate said...

He is so 'rusty' with connecting to a living being that all his attempts seem manic and exaggerated, but nevertheless it is some kind of connection - an extreme one, and one might say that it's his 'innocence' (that's how Lena sees his crazyness - remember she isn't completely normal either) or purity or etc that attracts her.

Yes, yes and yes.

I certainly understood/believed the love from both sides -- as dysfunctional as it is.

Nictate said...

Little known fact: The working title of PUNCH-DRUNK LOVE was THERE WILL BE PUDDING.

md'a said...

Hey guys. Could we not leave comments that just quote somebody else's comments and add "I agree." On account of this is my blog and I find that super fucking annoying. Thank you.

Robert Fuller said...

"Hey guys. Could we not leave comments that just quote somebody else's comments and add "I agree." On account of this is my blog and I find that super fucking annoying. Thank you."

I totally agree.

Nictate said...

Dear Fucking Annoyed Host:
Outside of RF’s jocular reply to you, I don’t see a case on this comments page of a quote with *only* an agreement attached. The chosen formats here are “quote + compliment” or “quote + agreement + added point.”

While you find it fucking annoying, I find it makes for a lively discussion. Every agreement here is typically a disagreement with someone else here = fun! And if a fellow commenter happens to state a particularly pithy insight, it should be an option to give that accomplishment an acknowledgement outside of a silent nod at one’s computer screen.
Sincerely,
Fucking Entertained Participant

md'a said...

Sorry, I don't see what's "lively" about "I agree; well said." Adding the "well said" may brighten the other person's day, but it doesn't make the comment any more interesting to the rest of us. (I don't care for retweeting either, and you may have noticed that I never do it. I have no control of what people do on Twitter, but I do have some control here.) Please stick to the silent nod, or wait to affirm until you have something else to say and can append it there.

md'a (on this crusade since USENET in the mid-'90s)

Mike Lee said...

I'm going to predict an upcoming surprise: Mulholland Dr. will be the no. four film, giving us two more days to argue over what no. three will be. Which will be All or Nothing.

Victor said...

sorry Mr. Lee ... But your excellent fillum ALL OR NOTHING has no chance and the 00s in general just weren't your decade. No outright misfires like CAREER GIRLS, but just 3 films, and only on one would I say the consensus view is "great" and it got eclipsed by all those other Abortion Movies (except for PALINDROMESEMORDNILAP, which blew big chunks). I think the AVB may have thought it's outgrown you or maybe there just wasn't a signature masterpiece, just three excellent films and not in everybody's opinion in my opinion.

Still, I had ALL OR NOTHING and VERA DRAKE in my top 5 for their years, and HAPPY GO LUCKY just missed the top 10. You are still awesome. I hope you remember giving me your autograph outside the Uptown on the day Katrin Cartlidge died. thanksmikebud

Michael said...

Better that overplotted slice of miserablism than Happy-Go-freakin'Lucky. I mean jesus bud. Defend that homeless dude scene. Seriously.

Victor said...

I don't defend that scene and haven't since the day I saw the film. It's a reversion to Leigh's weakest habit, one I thought he'd left behind with the just-about-perfectly acted and structured VERA DRAKE

Victor said...

Meanwhile, let me add my voice of puzzlement about the puzzlement. BLOOD is a superb film, the greatest Kubrick film not made by Kubrick as Waz-the-Leigh-hata said; it won the Skandies the year it came out, beating a film that already has placed in the Decade Top 10 and which was considered a shoo-in to win the Skandies until late December; it was by an important auteur of long standing but without obvious self-competition in this decade; it had a towering, unforgettable performance at the center.

Sorry buds ... this predix was a no-brainer.

Nictate said...

I'll defend the homeless scene in Happy-Go-Lucky.

Admittedly, it does feel shoe-horned in, but it does serve a purpose in demonstrating how Poppy's stubborn optimism can put her in harm's way (outside of the tooth-grinding menace of her driver instructor/stalker).

Poppy is clearly out of her league as far as the darkness she faces here (not just the homeless man himself, but poverty and injustices of the world at large he represents). The encounter knocks the wind out of her, but strengthens her at the same time (while also taking the audience off-guard) -- that's not nothing.

Mike Lee said...

I think my best abortion movie was Hard Labour. Discuss.

Whether or not to cut the homeless scene in Happy-Go-Happier was the hardest decision I had in directing the film. But then I remembered how much everyone loved Timothy Spall in Life Is Sweet.

lee said...

1. "I didn't like this movie so much. Here's Why." = Rational-Person Commentary.

2. "How could you other people like this movie this much?" = Self-Absorbed Asshat Commentary.

The whole reason to 'do the Skandies' is as an exercise in community. To make Comment #2 is basically saying "my taste is better than all you other folks"... and really aren't we supposed to be past that? ( TWBB, BTW in my decade Top 5 )

Nictate said...

To Mike Lee:
I think your best abortion movie is the one you *didn't make*, because how fucking meta was that of you?!

To lee:

The whole reason to 'do the Skandies' is as an exercise in community. To make Comment #2 is basically saying "my taste is better than all you other folks"... and really aren't we supposed to be past that?

Conflict in a community like this is as necessary and entertaining as conflict in a film. I've found that colorful arguments that swerve into "You're crazy to like that film! You're insane to think that performance was crap!" are actually amazingly enjoyable even when I've been the target.

It may not be polite or sophisticated discourse, but it's damn fun and adds an energy to both sides' arguments. I think it's great people are passionate enough about the films/actors being discussed here to lapse into asshat-y behavior. The spirit of community is only enlivened by it.

Michael said...

(Incidentally, Victor, when I demanded defense of the homeless scene, your comment hadn't appeared yet. I was demanding it of The Mike Lee, not you. But thanks for chiming in.)

(And All or Nothing is a bad film, but it's got a certain....I dunno, integrity to it. Something I can't just dismiss.)

Sijmen said...

I am a champion of this film (although I didn't vote)! More so: BLOOD is my absolute favourite film of the decade. It's a film I want to see on the big screen at least once a year.

James said...

My fearless peerless predictions:

4. Eternal Sunshine...

3. Dogville

2. Mulholland Dr.

1. In the Mood for Love

The only deserving one is Dogville. There are so many movies not in the top 20 that it's very disappointing. There are maybe only two or three movies on the list that would definitely make my top 20, and I've seen everything so far.

md'a said...

There are so many movies not in the top 20 that it's very disappointing. There are maybe only two or three movies on the list that would definitely make my top 20, and I've seen everything so far.

Ah well. Sorry our collective taste doesn't meet your lofty standards. I don't love every film that placed, but all in all I think it's a fair representation of the last ten years in excellence.

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