Friday, November 04, 2005

Going around, like the flu, but not as bad, yet

Name your top 15 movies of the past 15 years. This is kind of silly, like anyone should care about yet another person's list of movies they are convinced the world should know about.

But look, you have to be silly to be a blogger, so why not?

These are not in any order, so I am not numbering them. I looked up a few of the dates, to be sure they were made in the 15 year limit, but otherwise I'm working from memory here. I have no doubt left out all the good movies.

* The Big Lebowski. Despite the corny opening and closing sequences, a movie that really made me laugh a lot, almost like the great Peter Sellers comedies. How come there are not any really make-your-ribs-hurt funny movies anymore? Is it the times we live in?

* Hable con ella. My favorite Almodovar at the moment.

* Y tu mamá también. A charming Mexican coming of age road movie, with a slightly artificial sad plot gimmick, but one necessary for the movie to work, which it does, at least for me.

* Como agua para chocolate, a fairy tale of the Mexican Revolution, one which somehow suspends my disbelief.

* Motorcycle diaries. Fairytale Che Guevara, which captures our idealism before we betrayed the revolution.

* Der Untergang. Hitler in his bunker. This sort of thing would be old hat, and perhaps boring, for people who watch the history channel, which I don't. I expected I would dislike the movie, but didn't.

* High Fidelity. I can't remember when this was made. Maybe outside the date parameters. It now seems very archaic, probably because of the technology. Kind of like a film Woody Allen would have made at some time after he began his regression to adolescence, but before he got there.

* Monsoon Wedding, lightweight and charming, Bollywood (or at least a Bollywood atmosphere) for Americans.

* The Guru. Even more lightweight, but made me laugh. Marisa Tomei cracked me up.

* Erleuchtung garantiert, enlightenment guaranteed. Germany and Japan misunderstand one another, so naturally it is funny and very Zen.

* Lost in Translation. America and Japan misunderstand on another. Dark. Verges on creepy. Nevertheless, I liked it. Nothing happens.

* Trainspotting. Scottish. Dark. Well beyond creepy. Stuff happens. The antidote to Braveheart.

* Bread and Roses. Social commentary wrapped in a small and agreeable package. Kind of like El Norte but a little more up-to-date. Nobody has ever heard of this movie. Adrien Brody has a slightly comic role.

* Oxygen. Adrien Brody's best role, a truly over-the-top villain, like Anthony Hopkins in Silence of the Lambs with touches of Dennis Hopper in Blue Velvet. Maura Tierney is the cop. Nobody has ever heard of this movie either.

* Short Cuts and *Pulp Fiction. Made a year apart. The former is the brilliant beginning of a genre, and the latter is the exhaustion of its possibilities, though filmmakers continue to make derivative knock-offs (Crash, for example), so I put them together.

* Fargo. Depressing, for the same reasons that Prairie Home Companion is, maybe like if Garrison Keiler had been using crank, and with the addition of a disagreeable scene with a wood chipper. But it sticks in my mind, though I wish it wouldn't.

* American Beauty and *LA Confidential. I bracket them because both seem to have a similar mythic and escapist quality, at least to me, and probably only to me, and I found myself liking them even as I was thinking "you know, this is a complete crock of shit."

That's more than 15. I guess I should have numbered them.

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