Happy New Year, HTMLnets. I watched fewer new films in 2011 than usual, but that won’t stop me from opining on what I saw. Although I should clarify that the following list isn’t limited to 2011, but covers “the thirty newish films I saw this past year.” And here are my lists from 2009 and 2010, for comparison’s sake.
We’ll start with the best…
I read a little more than half a Louisville Slugger’s worth. Not included: the books I started and didn’t finish. Included below but not pictured: books I’ve given to friends. It was a great year, though, in that I read more books that I know I’ll reread than in any other. In mostly scattered order:
Gossip until it’s not, but anyway: James Franco to write/adapt & direct As I Lay Dying and Blood Meridian.
Mike Kitchell: his big screening log.
Nassim Nicholas Taleb: “Don’t tell my publishers, but as soon as I see a book of mine in the stores, my book is dead for me. My book is only alive when I am still writing it otherwise it does not respond to me anymore (Socrates who hated the written word said the same about the statues of Daedalus: you cannot talk to them). I only like to talk about things (LIKE THIS) I am writing.” and “I was explaining Antifragility to my Italian publisher: a writer is antifragile, a blue-collar worker robust, others fragile. If I beat up an economist, I would spent a few days in an Italian jail, but book sales would shoot up and my message wd be authentic. People would be convinced of the validity of my DeVany-style workout. If a corporate executive did the same his career …” Both of those from his Facebook.
Kickstarter: Howard Glitch, a multimedia jigsaw puzzle.
11 degrees and snowing. The weather and its children–snow, slush, wet shoes, stung faces–frames Sundance. As much as I’d like to say I acclimated, I didn’t. But the weather does amplify a sense of frenzy & camaraderie already present for the sake of the namesake: movies. People go to see movies, buy movies, sell movies–share movies and share themselves. And, yes: if you don’t have passes, know that you should wake up at 6am or earlier every morning to stand in line for hours at the box office, just to find out that you can only get tickets to 2 (max) of the 5-8 movies you wanted to see. There was a guy, first in line, who camped out at the box office for the night only to be beaten to the punch for tickets by someone who paid faster (cash). Devotion.
So there is a madness to the festival. It is worth it. I met filmmakers–actors, writers, directors, producers–I highly respect, and had leisurely conversations with them. All were warm, all were happy to be sharing. I saw six films in four days and a night, three of them great. It was thrilling.
The title above comes from a line in Enter The Void–one of the characters is describing a DMT trip. I stayed away from the DMT, but the festival, all gathered & gleaned, is a very specific and inspiring drug and gauntlet.
Okay. Here’s what I thought of the films:
And here’s Denby’s list of the best movies of the decade. The only ones that I really love are There Will Be Blood and Caché (even if it’s probably in my top 20 rather than top 10). He also includes The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, which I had extreme difficulty sitting through. I don’t care if the movie is about a guy who’s lost the use of his body and can’t even really open his eyes. I don’t want to spend the first twenty minutes looking at a lens smeared with Vaseline.
My list, which you should feel free to dismember, is after the jump.
READ MORE >