08 February 2010

Skandies: #13



Picture: Revanche (84/11)
Director: Nina Paley, Sita Sings the Blues (87/8)
Actress: Sasha Grey, The Girlfriend Experience (64/8)
Actor: George Clooney, Up in the Air (99/13)
S. Actor: Joshua Leonard, Humpday (70/8)
S. Actress: Juliette Binoche, Summer Hours (88/11)
Screenplay: Hong Sang-soo, Night and Day (68/6)
Scene: One last party at the old estate, Summer Hours (60/7)

[SPOILER: This is the end of the film. No subtitles, but it doesn't really matter—all you need to know is that at the end she's reminiscing about having come to this house as a child, and when she gets sad it's because the house is about to be sold.]



HISTORY:

Sita Sings the Blues is Paley's first feature.

Clooney makes his sixth appearance in the top 20, having previously placed 15th for Out of Sight (1998), 5th for O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000), 8th for Intolerable Cruelty (2003), 10th for Michael Clayton (2007), and 18th in Supporting last year for Burn After Reading. (We didn't love his Oscar-winning performance in Syriana, however.) Binoche makes her fifth appearance, beginning with 6th in Supporting for The English Patient way back in '97; also 13th in Supporting for Code Unknown (2001), 11th for Caché (Hidden) (2005), and 5th last year for Flight of the Red Balloon. Grey and Leonard are new, though the latter seems more awesome to me in The Blair Witch Project every time I rewatch it. (Only Heather Donahue placed.)

Hong placed 11th last year for Woman on the Beach.

26 comments:

Victor said...

Good job, the seven others of us for recognizing the awesomeness of Sasha Grey, who transcends the notion of "good" and "bad" acting.

Oh ... and your Twitter analogy be wack. You meant "if we'd been around in 1968, we'd have honored Keir Dullea." Maybe we shouldn't have, but that's the actual analogy -- an emotional state of being that "bad acting" embodies. Not (I presume) using a thespian's overt sexiness and/or the novelty of a porn star to pander to gorehounds.

Victor said...

Also good job, 10 others of us for making the AVB (I suspect) the only body to honor this superbly airtight thriller.

Has it actually won anything or "been nominated" (other than ... um ... the Oscar nomination last year)

md'a said...

Not (I presume) using a thespian's overt sexiness and/or the novelty of a porn star to pander to gorehounds.

You just made a pres out of you and me both.

Ryan said...

Might as well get in my predix while the going's still (relatively) early:

12. Lorna's Silence
11. Two Lovers
10. Antichrist
09. Duplicity
08. Julia
07. Summer Hours
06. Hunger
05. Up
04. Hurt Locker
03. A Serious Man
02. Fantastic Mr. Fox
01. Inglourious Basterds (in a landslide)

Ryan said...

Sorry, I'll go with Night and Day at 12 and remove Lorna's Silence. Must be more points for the movie than screenplay, I imagine.

Bryant Frazer said...

Revanche will get its much-needed second wind when the Criterion DVD/Blu-ray hits next week.

I considered giving points to Sasha Grey but decided -- as I think someone else pointed out during the Twitter discussion -- that her performance was really a triumph of casting rather than skill on her part.

Coincidentally, I happen to have my DVD of Rabid here at my desk right now. I'll note that, given that film's subject matter, casting Marilyn Chambers was actually quite appropriate and not merely an appeal to genre fanboys. (According to Wikipedia, Cronenberg was actually hoping to cast Sissy Spacek but was overruled.)

Bilge said...

I dunno, Sasha Grey is fine in this (overrated) movie and all, but isn't "triumph of casting rather than skill on her part" a bit patronizing? I don't necessarily expect SOPHIE'S CHOICE from her, but she does what she's supposed to here; we don't know for a fact that she couldn't display more range if she were asked to. (I suspect that makes no grammatical sense, but whatever, I'm tired.)

Victor said...

Sorry, I'll go with Night and Day at 12 ... Must be more points for the movie than screenplay, I imagine.

I would bet serious stakes against that happening.

(I just wasted an hour crunching numbers and looking up people's sites to confirm what was only an impression, so forgive the length of what follows. Be glad I didn't footnote it.)

Last year, WOMAN ON THE BEACH placed at #13, with 91 points/7 votes, so you're pretty much predicting exactly the same showing for NIGHT AND DAY.

The consensus among those of us who gave points to WOMAN last year is that we thought NIGHT is a lesser film. Uncle Dan thinks contrary and I can't find Matthew Butcher's opinion. But Hirschkron, myself, Panayides, Pittillo, and Prigge all have somehow said publicly that NIGHT is a lesser film (and I don't think Sky is voting, unless he's got a misleading e-mail address).

So unless we got an influx of Hong fanboys to replace baaaaaaaaab ... the points just ain't there. You, Noel, Vadim, and Chris S. all gave Hong script points but not film last year -- a potential new source of votes. But Chris was mixed on NIGHT AND DAY, and Vadim and Noel have both published their Top 10 lists, and NIGHT isn't on either.

As for NIGHT's script showing, WOMAN actually did better last year in script (101/9, #11) than in film.

It's also my subjective impression that WOMAN was better distributed than NIGHT -- which is always a limiting factor for Hong. To judge, WOMAN received 38 votes on Crix Pix while NIGHT just had 18 people cast votes.

And speaking of Crix Pix -- not a single Skandies voter, other than myself, gave NIGHT an upper-case pro. (And I'm a soft grader who gave a dozen films PROs but no points.)

Obviously these are a bunch of imperfect measures -- but they're pretty robust, when combined.

Ryan said...

Okay. I bow to your superior research skills, since my only reason for revision is my sense that Hong movies should finish above Hong screenplays (and that Uncle Dan might be tossing NIGHT AND DAY 25 points or so).

Okay, why don't I flip-flop back to LORNA'S SILENCE.

Nictate said...

It would've been nice to see Revanche crack the top 10 as I consider it top 5-worthy, but I'm glad to see it show up nonetheless.

While I thought Sasha Grey did a surprisingly solid job in that role, I wouldn't have ranked her among the best of the year. I doubt she's got more range than that, but she delivered the goods and brought sleek chic to an interesting (and successful) cinematic experiment. I *do* think she's more worthy of an acting nod than Clooney doing Clooney.

Michael said...

Wish I'd found the time to see Night and Day prior to the deadline. I would've thrown it some significant points. After Tale of Cinema, it's my favorite Hong.

Michael said...

For the record, discussions of Sasha Grey's "skill" as an actor are utterly wrongheaded. Did her performance represent an exceptional component of the film as a total work of art? This stuff just rubs me the wrong way because (a) I doubt she'd be singled out this way were it not for her porn career, and (b) it smacks of "...but could Pollock paint like the Old Masters if he wanted to?" discussions, prizing falsely objective notions of craft ahead of close reading of the artwork at hand as an integral, functioning aesthetic whole. Must we get back in the Wayback Machine to Cannes 1999 for the Cronenberg / L'humanite controversy? [Please. God. No.'

Victor said...

You just made a pres out of you and me both.

So do I infer correctly that since my presumption made an ass of myself, that "we're voting with our dicks" wasn't the point of the Marilyn Chambers analogy.

If not ... then what WAS the point of it, and why am I not correct that Keir Dullea is a better analogy.

md'a said...

The point was simply that we're not biased by someone's previous experience as a porn star.

Bryant Frazer said...

You guys are right. Certainly nothing about Grey's performance in The Girlfriend Experience suggests a lack of skill. I may give Soderbergh too much credit for the film's general vibe — it's entirely possible that, rather than inflicting his own sensibility upon her performance, Soderbergh found his work on the film to be inspired/dictated by Grey's presence/performance in the lead role. The part does fit her like a glove is all I was thinking.

Atli Sig said...

Here's my prediction:

12. Lorna's Silence
11. Antichrist
10. Two Lovers
9. Summer Hours
8. Duplicity
7. A Serious Man
6. Julia
5. The Hurt Locker
4. Hunger
3. Up
2. Fantastic Mr. Fox
1. Inglourious Basterds

Nictate said...

For the record, discussions of Sasha Grey's "skill" as an actor are utterly wrongheaded. Did her performance represent an exceptional component of the film as a total work of art? This stuff just rubs me the wrong way because (a) I doubt she'd be singled out this way were it not for her porn career, and (b) it smacks of "...but could Pollock paint like the Old Masters if he wanted to?" discussions, prizing falsely objective notions of craft ahead of close reading of the artwork at hand as an integral, functioning aesthetic whole.

I think awarding her performance is wrong-headed, but discussing its merit isn't. Mainly because if she would've sucked in the role, she could've ruined the film.

That said, I agree The Girlfriend Experience is much more about the "integral, functioning aesthetic whole" than any one element.

I may give Soderbergh too much credit for the film's general vibe — it's entirely possible that, rather than inflicting his own sensibility upon her performance, Soderbergh found his work on the film to be inspired/dictated by Grey's presence/performance in the lead role.

I don't think you can give a director as multi-faceted and seasoned as Soderbergh too much credit for anything, although based on interviews some aspects of the film were serendipitous (e.g., improvised conversation on plane and how it managed to bookmark a turning point in the state of economy).

As an experience, TGE is remarkable. The editing (which I've heard is similar to The Limey) especially knocked me out. Its rhythms created this really cool waves-lapping effect that made jumps in chronology give me the feeling I was recalling memories of things I'd witnessed. Trippy shit.

Nictate said...

I'm surprised that both of the list predictions above include Antichrist, but don't list Bad Lieutenant. While I'm not privy to the Movie Nerd Discussion Group buzz, I never would've predicted those predictions.

As much of a Lars von Trier gearhead as I am, *I* didn't even put Antichrist in my top 10.

Atli Sig said...

Well, i know of at least 5 cinemasters who have Antichrist on their top 10 list: Victor Morton, Theo Panayides, Skander Halim, Jason Overbeck and Jeremy Heilman. It also got a PRO rating from Jeff McCloud. That means at least 6 votes and then there's probably a couple more votes from people not participating in the crix pix that i don't know of.

There are of course other likely candidates, 35 Shots of Rum and Headless Woman seem likely but Antichrist somehow seems like the most likely choice, if it's not in the top 20 it's probably at #21. Which would mean that probably 35 Shots of Rum will come instead, helped by the almighty passiondex.
The other 11 are pretty much a lock, though i'm not 100% sure about Lorna's Silence.

Bad Lieutenant is not really that loved it seems, i predict it'll place at about #25.

Alex said...

I am also surprised people are predicting Antichrist. What about Claire Denis?

Nictate said...

Thanks for the stats, A.S.

Perhaps if Jeff long-bombs it with another 30-pointer, Antichrist will beat 35 Shots. I'm betting on the passiondex to give Denis an edge, but that is a lot of top 10 support for Lars.

Jason said...

I'm surprised that both of the list predictions above include Antichrist, but don't list Bad Lieutenant.

I think BAD LIEU POCNO will get the majority of its support in the form of Cage Best Actor points. I predict he has the #1 spot all wrapped up.

md'a said...

Anyone who wants to play Beat MuseMalade, send your guesses for the top five (in all categories), in order. You get 1 point for each "nominee" you get right but in the wrong position, 5 points for hitting its slot on the nose.

md'a said...

(E-mail them, don't post them here. dangelo who resides at the address of what is called panix.com)

Ryan said...

As I haven't had the time to delve into the available data and basically took a stab in the dark with those gueses, take the following for what little it's worth. I picked Von Trier over Denis for one simple reason: TROUBLE EVERY DAY's decade top 20 finish aside, Denis' Skandie finishes usually are below the critical consensus while no filmmaker, besides the Coens, is more strongly supported by the AVB (above and beyond the critical consensus for any given film) than LvT. Folks don't like CLaire that much, but boy do they like them some Lars.

With this crowd, something as ludicrous as ANTICHRIST finishing above 35 RHUMS isn't just possible, it's likely.

Nictate said...

While not learned in the ways of the AVB (or Denis, for that matter), I'd take a rookie guess that the horse race is more even than suspected due to the fact that:

1) ANTICHRIST and 35 SHOTS are artistic departures for both directors

2) 35 SHOTS seems to have earned similar sentimental affection to SUMMER HOURS

3) ANTICHRIST is divisive enough to send even loyal LvT fans running for D grades. (I personally would rank it B minus-ish, mostly admiring it for Lars' unblinking self-examination.)