16 October 2009

Skandies Decade Bonus: The Singletons

Downstream among the comments, Ryan "Let's Pretend The Inauguration Only Just Happened" Wu muse(malade)d about the efficacy of the borrowed Pazz & Jop voting system with such a small pool of voters. He makes some valid points, but it should also be noted that there's a big difference between the annual survey and this decade poll. In any given individual year, the number of respectable candidates is sufficiently small that a genuine consensus quickly forms, making it quite difficult for one or two rabid fans of some otherwise ignored film or performance to make a dent in the top 20. (Generally it takes at least six votes to crack the list nowadays.) But it's also small enough that people often have to resort to "filler" votes in various categories, allowing widely respected but not necessarily deeply beloved candidates to squeak out a victory.

The decade poll is another matter, simply because there are ten times as many worthy candidates (compounded, in the case of the actors, by the fact that I combine four performance categories into one). It's safe to say that there are no filler votes here. But there's also much less consensus. Indeed, there were only 70 films total that got multiple votes—out of, what, probably like 5000 or more pictures that were either commercially released or featured prominently on the fest circuit? (I'd say that's conservative.) An additional 76 films received a single lonely citation, even though many of those are widely beloved—it's just that only one person happened to love them that much. Because I'm grateful to everyone who voted their heart without regard to whether the film or actor had any real shot, I'm gonna list those singleton votes here, along with each one's admirer. In alphabetical order, no points.

(So, yes, if you voted for a film and it ain't on this list, at least one other person had your back.)

• Adaptation. (Murphy)
• Afterschool (D'Angelo)
• A.I. (Halim)
• All About Lily Chou-Chou (Vispo)
• All the Real Girls (Overbeck)
• Amélie (Marks)
• The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (Panayides)
• Ballast (Hirschkron)
• Bamako (Sicinski)
• Blissfully Yours (Sicinski)
• Brick (Renshaw)
• The Brown Bunny (Lambert)
• Children of Men (Jacobson)
• A Christmas Tale (Overbeck)
• City of God (Waters)
• Cowards Bend the Knee (Jacobson)
• Death Proof (Butcher)
• demonlover (Lambert)
• Distant (Ebiri)
• The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (Jacobson)
• Elephant (Heilman)
• Fat Girl (Sallitt)
• Femme Fatale (Ralston)
• The 40 Year Old Virgin (Halim)
• Frank Miller's Sin City (Halim)
• Friday Night (Muse)
• Girl on the Bridge (Marks)
• Hero (Reiher)
• A History of Violence (Frazer)
• Home (Cowen)
• The Host (Fung)
• Hunger (Schwartz)
• Import Export (Rizov)
• Jackass the Movie (Lambert)
• Kill Bill Vol. 2 (Overbeck)
• Kung Fu Hustle (Renshaw)
• Last Days (Rizov)
• Linda Linda Linda (Marks)
• Lilya 4-ever (Rothkopf)
• The Lives of Others (Reiher)
• The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (Odell)
• The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (Jacobson)
• Lorna's Silence (Hirschkron)
• Love Exposure (Waters)
• Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (Bowman)
• Me and You and Everyone We Know (Nictate)
• Millennium Mambo (Lambert)
• Morvern Callar (Murray)
• Moulin Rouge! (Bowman)
• My Kid Could Paint That (Renshaw)
• Mysterious Skin (Rizov)
• Night and Day (Sallitt)
• Paranoid Park (Ebiri)
• Perfume: The Story of a Murderer (Odell)
• Pistol Opera (Butcher)
• A Prairie Home Companion (Murray)
• Rachel Getting Married (Fung)
• Raja (Sallitt)
• Red Lights (Ebiri)
• Reflections of Evil (Lambert)
• Requiem for a Dream (Ralston)
• The Rules of Attraction (Cowen)
• The Saddest Music in the World (Cowen)
• The Son (Sicinski)
• Southland Tales (Cowen)
• Speed Racer (Cowen)
• Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter...and Spring (Schwartz)
• Still Life (Sicinski)
• Together (Rothkopf)
• The Tracey Fragments (Sallitt)
• Twentynine Palms (Halim)
• Vera Drake (Sallitt)
• Waking Life (Hirschkron)
• Woman on the Beach (Hirschkron)
• The Wrestler (Rothkopf)
• You Can Count on Me (Bowman)

51 comments:

Jason said...

The only one I haven't heard of on this list is REFLECTIONS OF EVIL, I will check it out. I think Dan Sallitt wins the most individualistic skandie voter with 5 solo votes.

ALL THE REAL GIRLS is the only film I voted for that I didn't see for a second time and I'm a little nervous to look back at it. If I had submitted my ballot a couple weeks later INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS would have replaced it.

md'a said...

I think Dan Sallitt wins the most individualistic skandie voter with 5 solo votes.

You think falsely. Dave Cowen stands alone on 6/10.

If I had submitted my ballot a couple weeks later INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS would have replaced it.

Obviously you can do this at year's end, as this is just a preliminary ballot. Of course, you will then have three Tarantino films on your list and I will have to change your name to Fanboy.

Anonymous said...

I may have made a miscount or two, but this is the tally of which voters made the most individualized choices -- helpful in identifying the group's iconoclasts and its tastemakers-or-sheep:

6-Cowen
5-Lambert
5-Sallitt
4-Halim
4-Hirschkron
4-Jacobson
4-Sicinski
3-Bowman
3-Ebiri
3-Marks
3-Overbeck
3-Renshaw
3-Rizov
3-Rothkopf
2-Butcher
2-Fung
2-Murray
2-Odell
2-Ralston
2-Reiher
2-Schwartz
2-Waters
1-D'Angelo
1-Frazer
1-Heilman
1-Murphy
1-Muse
1-Nictate
1-Panayides
1-Vispo
0-???

My own number probably would've been 3 or 4 -- I've got a jones for gangbusters Social Studies movies like Fog of War. And I would've bumped Children of Men and Rachel Getting Married out of the singles basement.

Ryan said...

Who's the other fucknut who voted for I [Heart] Huckabees? I thought that was a loner vote for sure.

Jason said...

"You think falsely. Dave Cowen stands alone on 6/10."

Quick tabulation skills fail me again. Congratulations Dave Cowen and Jeff Lambert on also being individualistic as fuck.

"Of course, you will then have three Tarantino films on your list and I will have to change your name to Fanboy."

Both my top ten albums and films of the decade have three artists placing twice so I clearly am not shy about getting behind a certain artist and championing them. Making a rule to limit myself to one placement per person seems silly to me because it would not be a true representation of what I felt was the best work. However, it is odd that no actor placed twice in my ballot.

md'a said...

Making a rule to limit myself to one placement per person seems silly to me because it would not be a true representation of what I felt was the best work.

I am not suggesting that you impose an arbitrary limit or otherwise vote falsely. I am just saying three Tarantino pictures = fanboy. Sky has three Hong Sang-soo films on his list but that doesn't make him look like he gatecrashed from the AICN survey.

Skander said...

Do not fault Overbeck for the dumb administrative decision to count KILL BILL as two films.

Also, another definition of fanboyism is embracing an auteur's worst tendencies, i.e. DEATH PROOF.

Also Jesus, Cowen. Just ... Jesus. At least thanks for taking the heat off me for including SIN CITY -- which may eventually be replaced with INGLOURIOUS.

Clearly IB is the only latecomer with any real chance to make a dent in the results. Unless everyone goes crazy for THE WHITE RIBBON or something.

md'a said...

Do not fault Overbeck for the dumb administrative decision to count KILL BILL as two films.

I do not. I blame Tarantino.

Alex said...

Wow, Victor scored a zero?

It would be interesting to know if any of the singletons was the voter's #1 imo.

Ryan said...

So this means Gregersen didn't vote.

msic said...

McCloud, I got your back on Garrel, obv. And cstults, it's me and you and a Jenn called BLUE.

As far as other Singletons, I'm disheartened by the poor showing of Baby Boy.

The Hunting of the Snark said...

Jason - REFLECTIONS is worth your time. Most of Packard's work is.

Only one in favor of ASSASSINATION... COWARD...? Zounds.

Gilidor said...

Whoa... Unless the next two months include a HUGE suprise, Moulin Rouge! will be my #1 of the decade, and it only got one vote here! Craaaaaaazy.

lee said...

Nice shout for 'Master and Commander' there, DonnaB!

cstults said...

OK, so Wazzers dropped a(n obvious) BLUE's clue... but I'm impressed that another hombre sang a TALE OF CINEMA.

I really need to get around to securing a copy of LOVE EXPOSURE.

Will you be doing this for performances, m'da?

md'a said...

Who's the other fucknut who voted for I [Heart] Huckabees? I thought that was a loner vote for sure.

I was waiting to let the fucknut respond himself, but I see that he's too busy right now conducting a sociological study of Nebraska.

It would be interesting to know if any of the singletons was the voter's #1 imo.

There were cases where that film was tied with one or more other films for most points allotted, but no cases where it was an unequivocal favorite.

So this means Gregersen didn't vote.

Erik just doesn't see enough films anymore. Ditto Eric C. Johnson, Adam Villani and some others.

Will you be doing this for performances, m'da?

That was my original plan, but then I looked at the list and hoo boy are there a lot of 'em. Over 100. Still, I might put it together over the weekend.

Robert Fuller said...

Nictate is my new best friend for including Me and You...

Interesting that The Two Towers and Return of the King received one vote each, and not by the same person (and neither of them are the best of the LOTR movies).

md'a said...

Interesting that The Two Towers and Return of the King received one vote each, and not by the same person (and neither of them are the best of the LOTR movies).

Fellowship of the Ring kinda put me to sleep, but it's not on the list because it's the one that got multiple votes.

J said...

Looks like Spirited Away was the only animated film with a chance, according to Skandie history. Was it a multi or a nil?

Private Joker said...

It would be interesting to know if any of the singletons was the voter's #1 imo.

There were cases where that film was tied with one or more other films for most points allotted, but no cases where it was an unequivocal favorite.

Incorrect, mi amigo. REQUIEM was my #1 movie (not tied with anything). My other singleton movie, FEMME FATALE, was my #3 in pts (not tied) and it *shocks* me that I'm alone on it.

Really, DePalma fans? Bilge? You disappoint me, Bilge. I thought for sure you'd have my back on that one.

Not surprised I'm the only one on REQUIEM, though. I know most of you (hi Bilge & Skander) think it's a piece of shit.

But wait, Skander thinks AI and TWENTYNINE PALMS are two of the decade's best films so who's really crazy here? Who, I ask you... WHO?!

Alex said...

I had both Requiem and Twentynine Palms on my shortlist, so .. apparently me.

Victor said...

Besides myself, I see at least 1 other zero-score -- Scott Tobias. And I don't think of myself as a Skandies bellweather (I would bet my manhood that nobody else gave points to Simpn Pegg and Maia Morgenstern). But between that fact and my egalitarianism in point-giving (annually as well as here) means I may have either no impact or huge amount near the top.

Froilan said...

I guess I wasn't the lone voter for three on my list but I can't dismiss just yet the chances that the fourth - SONGS FROM THE SECOND FLOOR - will turn up in the Top 7, especially seeing how it placed 9th in 2002 while TROUBLE EVERY DAY was 13th. Um, never mind that the No.1 for that year just showed up at No.8 here.

Oh, and Victor's manhood has nothing to fear at least from my ballot. Whew.

Matthew B. said...

Also, another definition of fanboyism is embracing an auteur's worst tendencies, i.e. DEATH PROOF.

This from a guy who went upper-case PRO on both Kill Bills. It is to laugh. Ha ha ha ha, I laugh.

BT said...

Hope still remains for The Virgin Suicides!

Adam Villani said...

OK, I went through my lists, and here's what I would've voted for, unordered:
Films:
BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN
DANCER IN THE DARK
THE DARK KNIGHT
DOGVILLE
HOUSE OF FLYING DAGGERS
THE LIFE AQUATIC WITH STEVE ZISSOU
THE NEW WORLD
THERE WILL BE BLOOD
UNITED 93
ZODIAC

Performances:
Oksana Akinshina, LILYA 4-EVER
Christian Bale, BATMAN BEGINS
Javier Bardem, NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN
Sasha Baron Cohen, BORAT
Björk, DANCER IN THE DARK
Daniel Day-Lewis, THERE WILL BE BLOOD
Heath Ledger, BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN
Heath Ledger, THE DARK KNIGHT
Imelda Staunton, VERA DRAKE
Tang Wei, LUST, CAUTION

Private Joker said...

Hope still remains for The Virgin Suicides!

Premiered at Cannes in May of 1999 I believe. A few other festivals too, though its domestic release was early 2000. I don't think it qualifies for this decade per Mike's rules.

Adam -- good job on FLYING DAGGERS; it *just* missed my cut at #11 or #12. It's so many leagues better than HERO I want to cry.

Josh said...

It thrills me -- and also pains me -- to see that you would have voted for Oksana Akinshina, Adam. That might have been enough points.

Skander said...

M@B, my DEATH PROOF dig was aimed at D'Angelo (who had the picture on his short list), not you. You are far less frequently insane, and far less fun to make fun of.

I thought at least one other person would have my back on A.I. I guess I have to wait for Armond's decade roundup.

Other surprising singletary: CITY OF GOD. Waters is understandably pissed.

Skander said...

Also, this Dumont fanboy would've also put HUMANITE on his list, had it not fallen through the cracks due to the dumb administrative decision to change the eligibility rules from NYC release date (90's poll) to IMDb release date.

What are some other potential victims of this rule change? BEAU TRAVAIL, AUDITION (and perfs therein), I know D'Angelo loved Fuckhead in JESUS' SON...

Skander said...

Note that there was a clerical error, and Cowen is no longer sole king of the Singletons.

Bilge said...

Sorry Joker, as much as I love FEMME FATALE and De Palma, this just wasn't his decade. I don't even think FEMME FATALE made my Top 10 the year it came out, but maybe I remember wrong. (I no longer have my ballot.)

BTW, I figured I'd be alone on DISTANT and RED LIGHTS, but which of you tards forgot about PARANOID PARK. Jezus.

md'a said...

BTW, I figured I'd be alone on DISTANT and RED LIGHTS, but which of you tards forgot about PARANOID PARK. Jezus.

Bud it is not a question of forgetting it is a question of there are many great pictures that get left out when you have to pare an entire decade down to only ten. Just from this list of singletons I count 21 films that made one of my individual top ten lists over those ten years. Most of those, including Paranoid Park, would be in my top 50 of the Aughties. They just weren't as awesome as State and Main (which I can't believe nobody has yet marveled at the absence of on the list).

Bilge said...

Bud it is not a question of forgetting it is a question of there are many great pictures that get left out when you have to pare an entire decade down to only ten.

Bud I am aware of this which is why I said I knew I'd be alone on THAT WACKY DISTANT and THE FOO ROOJ. But for some reason I thought PARANOID'S PARK had more devoted love round these parts. I guess people thought it was Too Soon or something, etc.

Bilge said...

Also I realize 25TH HOUR placing so high was a welcome surprise to those not intimately familiar with the Skandie voting base but it is shocking! to me that that picture is not in the Top 3. (Wrong comment thread but whatever.)

Vadim said...

I was waiting to let the fucknut respond himself, but I see that he's too busy right now conducting a sociological study of Nebraska.

This is my fifth visit (a good friend lives here). It just never ceases to surprise.

I was on the fence about including Huckabees, but I watched most of it again a few weeks ago (after putting it on my ballot on faith) and was shocked how well it held up (i.e., better than anything I'd expect from something I adored freshman year of college that tackles Big Issues). In some ways Russell tips his hand politically too much, but the farce of it is really impeccable IMO.

Am *really* surprised I'm the only guy voting for Last Days. Almost had Assassination on there, but aside from my top 3, there's any number of films that could've been the other seven depending on my mood that day.

Michael said...

For what it's worth, Skander, I rewatched quite a lot of AI recently, and my estimation of it jumped up unexpectedly, so much so that it did end up on my short list (that from being a low-mixed when it came out).

When you consider that GvS will likely place only for Gerry, since his other key films of the decade have no consensus here, you must wonder how clinically insane we look to the larger world. In this case, it's a good kind of insane.

Michael said...

Oh, and since no one else has mentioned it, allow me to mention the film that would have been my #11, the single film that it was most agonizing to leave off my list: Brakhage's The God of Day Had Gone Down Upon Him.

There. Now it has been mentioned.

Anonymous said...

Too soon! I'd like to see you guys revisit your "Best of the 90s" lists. I've noticed that these sorts of lists -- when conducted immediately at the end of the decade -- skew unfairly towards the middle or early part of the period because people are hesitant to go to bat for a recent film/song/book. Or they need more time to really separate the wheat from the hype.

Also, are you guys not allowed to list sub-hour films, TV films, or docs?

md'a said...

I've noticed that these sorts of lists -- when conducted immediately at the end of the decade -- skew unfairly towards the middle or early part of the period because people are hesitant to go to bat for a recent film/song/book. Or they need more time to really separate the wheat from the hype.

Yes. I addressed that very tendency in my introduction some weeks ago, and also explained why I didn't especially want to wait until August 2012.

Also, are you guys not allowed to list sub-hour films, TV films, or docs?

Documentaries and TV-movies were eligible, but all films had to be feature length, which I defined as at least 45 minutes. I don't think it's spoiling anything at this stage to say that no nonfiction film made the cut. Capturing the Friedmans came closest, followed at some distance by Grizzly Man.

Darren said...

Only one vote for STILL LIFE? Mike, would you mind revealing how/if other Jia films fared in the voting? (I assume it's safe to assume THE WORLD won't be showing up in your top 6?) Aside from the two or three Skandies voters I know personally, I don't know much about the group's history or taste. But, to me, Jia is in a dead heat with the Dardennes for Most Important Filmmaker of the Decade, so I'm surprised he hasn't made an appearance in the countdown.

Michael said...

Darren, I'm sure md'a will be along soon with stats 'n such. But I will interject to say a few things.

1) On the whole, this group is not especially impressed with Jia. This is one area where the AVB skews decidedly against critical / fest orthodoxy. A significant part of the voting bloc has active antipathy toward his films, finding them boring and (perhaps more damaging with this group) prone to foreground capital-H History and social relations, as opposed to the characters and human-level drama that one finds in more psychologically-driven films. And, he does this without an aggressively mannered visual style (e.g. Trier, Andersson, Tarr) that would clearly extract his allegorical moves from the realm of apparent realism. (I'm sure this is a not-entirely-satisfactory summation of some people's Jia problems -- and I'm sure some would be happy to leave it at "he's boring" -- but it's the best I can do at articulating what I perceive as the arguments against him In These Parts.

2) Among Jiaphiles, there's probably not much consensus of which film is THE masterpiece. Personally, I have big problems with The World, but that one does seem to have emerged as the frontrunner (mostly, I think, due to having a big, honking, irony-drenched Symbol of Globalization at its core). In polls like these, as we know, a director's consistent quality hurts more than it helps. Hence the absence of Haneke, the Dardennes, or, I would argue, James Benning, since those of us (I reckon) who consider him easily one of the key filmmakers of the 00s knew that we would never agree on a single film, so voting for him was pointless.

3) Okay, everyone, wakey wakey, eggs etc.

Darren said...

Thanks, Michael, for the background. "Apparent realism" is the key to your description of Jia, I think, and it's why I feel he's so important. I've already decided that if I make a Best of 00s list, I'll treat STILL LIFE / DONG as a single work, and it'll probably end up in the top 3.

Nictate said...

Thanks so much for posting this, MD'A. There were smiles and nods as I read down the list.

So good to see Moulin Rouge on there. I'm still amazed that a film that ambitious and oddball ever got financing and managed to be so perfectly realized. A movie miracle, indeed.

And I'd completely forgotten about the beautiful Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter...and Spring. Ahh...

(Oh, and "hi" to new best friend, RF. You're welcome. It was my pleasure to include the sublime Me and You and Everyone We Know.)

md'a said...

Don't have much to add to what Michael said re: Jia. I certainly don't think he's made a great film, personally; Xiao Wu comes closest, but that's the wrong decade anyway.

Also, it's quite possible for a filmmaker to be among the most important of the decade without necessarily having made one of its ten best films in your opinion. If I were naming directors based on importance, both Joe and the Dardennes would be shoo-ins, but I couldn't find room for either one on my ballot.

Ryan said...

Sicinski rocked the house. Just to supplement some of the points above: it's true that the AVB likes to down Significant Cinema with a mannerist chaser rather than a realist one. To wit: Abbas Kiorastami, hailed in many quarters as the most significant filmmaker of the 90s, was never a favorite with this crowd. Jia's in the same boat, partially a victim of the voting body's inherent biases.

But I also happen to think the dude's just not very good, Still Life aside. Sicinski summarized the objections of Jia skeptics pretty well, so I'll make it short and sweet: if Jia's movies were more pleasurable to look at or told good stories or featured interesting characters, I'd be less irritated by his heavy hand. But if you are going to make ugly movies about ugly people in ugly places, I need a bit more than an obvious thesis statement on how globalism is displacing people.

Vadim said...

I almost included "Still Life" as well. It's the only Jia movie that totally works for me, though I kind of like "Useless." Haven't seen "Dong," "Platform" or that first one.

Darren said...

To each his own, I guess. I won't try to convince anyone otherwise, but I think Jia's recent films are far from ugly. (As for "ugly people"-- I'm not even sure what that means or why it would matter.)

But anyway . . .

Thanks again for the background. I've enjoyed watching the countdown unspool. It sounds like part of the fun of voting is trying to decide, strategically, how to best exercise the influence of your own taste over the list as a whole.

md'a said...

It sounds like part of the fun of voting is trying to decide, strategically, how to best exercise the influence of your own taste over the list as a whole.

Though I specifically ask everyone not to do that...

Anonymous said...

Shocked that Adaptation. only got a single vote. It would be at or near the top of my list. Hero, too.

Anonymous said...

The full result please!!! I want to see the ranking of fellowship of the ring.