Different Floors of the House

Sunday, April 10, 2011

This years' MLB picks: The Efreet has (finally) spoken!

So, this is pretty late, I know, but I can't help it if the Efreet is on vacation.

AL

East:  Ever since the Rays came on strong 3 years ago, the picks in this division have become ridiculously hard.  Expect less wins here this year by the winning team, simply due to the fact that every single team in this division has a shot at the title.  With that in mind, it's win or go home in this division, since the win totals shouldn't be enough to produce a wild card.
  1. Boston
  2. New York
  3. Tampa Bay
  4. Baltimore
  5. Toronto
Central:  Everybody's talking about the Indians.  Ok.  Fine.  But I don't discount the Twins that easily and we all know the Sox are the consummate sleeper team...  I expect a runaway here in the latter half of the season, though.  Detroit could be great or gross this year, so it comes down to picking them to win or stink it up.  I choose stink.
  1. Cleveland
  2. Chicago
  3. Minnesota
  4. Kansas City
  5. Detroit
West:  This is a no-brainer.  Losing their ace pitcher will only make the Rangers fight harder.  The rest of this division is Oakland, and I expect that young staff to produce--but I'm not going berserker-goo-goo over them like most everyone else.  These types of staff may win plenty of games in the latter half of the year, maybe enough to win a wild-card--too bad they'll get swept int he ALDS.
  1. Texas (W.S. pick)
  2. Oakland (Wild Card)
  3. Los Angeles
  4. Seattle
NL
East:  This is not a given.  Both the Braves and the Nationals have great line-ups.  Too bad it always comes down to pitching, pitching, pitching in this division.  But the Braves and the Nats both have injury problems early.  And since the Phils have the best rotation in the universe and a line-up that makes the Yankees drool, they're going to the World Series again this year.
  1. Philadelphia (W.S. Pick)
  2. Atlanta
  3. New York
  4. Washington
  5. Florida
Central:  Here's a division that is actually fun to try to figure out.  We can automatically eliminate the Cubs, since they're addicted to injuries.  We can probably eliminate Cincy, since they broke the bottle that harnessed lightning for them last year.  The Cardinals have legacy problems and too much garbage to unload come June and the Astros will be lucky to get 45 wins.  So that leaves Milwaukee and (gasp) Pittsburgh.  Now, Pitt has an electric, fast offense and a pitcher or two.  But what else?  I'm not sure they have the power to play with the rest of the league, although their division record may surprise everyone.  I'm picking Milwaukee, but watch out for the Bucs.
  1. Milwaukee
  2. Pittsburgh
  3. St. Louis
  4. Cincinnati
  5. Chicago
  6. Houston
West:  Another fun division that I'll probably end up being totally wrong about.  I guess the safe pick would be the Giants, but I don't see it.  Looks like the Dodger are serious about not spending money, so forget them--at least until June when we see what they really are willing to do.  The Fathers are the Fathers, so I never count them out, but not extending a hand toward guys like Capuano and Young in the off-season seem a little weird to me.  That leaves the Rockies and the D-Backs.  I really like what I see in Colorado, they have 5 (FIVE!!) number 2 pitchers, which means they have a chance to win 4 out of 5 games just straight outta the box.  The D-Backs could be this year's Cincinnati--but let's not get crazy with the cheese-whiz just yet.  At any rate, this division is super hard to pick and I don't expect a sucker team here at all.
  1. Colorado
  2. San Fransisco (Wild Card)
  3. Arizona
  4. Los Angeles
  5. San Diego

Monday, January 10, 2011

Liberals Discover Real 9-11-01 Masterminds on 1-09-11

I think we're FINALLY getting how liberal logic works! Yay us!

Pay attention now or you'll miss it...


If This:
Sarah Palin's Crosshair Strategy Map
Equals This:
The aftermath of the bloody rampage in Arizona.
Then This:
Def Leppard's 1980's tour de force album.

Equals This.
 
September 11, 2001

See how easy that was to do?

Def Leppard oughta be tried, convicted and slain in the public square. Haters!

As seen on http://www.willworkfortruth.com

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Continuing American Vandalism of Mark Twain

You know the Vandals, they say, weren't any more destructive than the other invading tribes back in the Roman days. Maybe they were, maybe they weren't. Maybe they just got blamed, popularized, if you will, for their particular bent of chaos and destruction:
particularly the defacing of artworks that were completed with great effort
Works of Art.



Right.

Is Huckleberry Finn a work of art? I know I think it is. I think right up to and including the point Huck says "I'll go to hell" the book serves as the exemplary masterpiece of American art in general, American literature, specifically.

True art breeds the sincerest form of flattery, does it not? When you see James Dean gazing off into the horizon, his windblown hair harnessed only by an intentionally off-set cowboy hat, a lit cigarette dangling off his pursed lips, isn't that "I'll go to Hell" at it's pop-culture zenith? I think it is.

When Elvis swivels his hips, when Salinger refuses accolades, when Bobby Fischer goes into to hiding, that's All-American rebellion.

Lenny Bruce, rebel. John Stewart, rebel. Clarence Thomas, rebel.

Rebels all. Americanism is Rebellion. Think about that for a minute, Mr. I-love-the-Founders.

So what's not Americanism? If we were to host a sociological HUAC in 2011, who would we hunt?

Conformists?

I don't know, maybe.

You know, when I see graffiti, I see art. Maybe you don't, I allow for subjectivity to some extent--and heck, I don't know what true art really is, but I know what sucks.

Sure, I'm opposed to going around spray-painting whatever you want wherever you want it, but there's something wretchedly American about it. Isn't there? In a way, yes. But there's also a very vandalistic side to tagging. It's not the pictures and murals taggers convey on pedestrian bridges and freeway overpasses that bothers me. It's the language.

That language vandals use, you can't read it. You have no idea what it says, without a translation. They're hiding something. American art is not about hiding things. We have no patience for hidden things and we are "a people inherently and historically opposed to secret societies, secret oaths and secret proceedings." [1. From JFK's "The President and the Press" speech at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel on April 27, 1961.] Salinger didn't get famous for hiding things. Neither did Palahniuk, Roth or Twain. They are revealers. True American art reveals something in a language everyone can understand about something they've previously hidden or ignored within themselves their whole lives--for whole generations--or, in Twain's case for the entire duration of a nation's existence.

That's what separates American art from American vandalism. Revelation.

American art is that grafitti mural on the subway wall. American vandalisms are the incoherent, territorial spray-paint pissings that cover that mural up and conceal it with words you know just don't belong there.



In a way, the First Amendment is so ingrained in our subconscious that we have an almost preternatural resistance to expression that is incoherent, truncated or---and this is the crux of it--censored. That penchant for straight-forwardness and our hatred of secrets, these are the brushes our artists use. Always have. We want to know. If there is magic ink on the back of the Declaration of Independence, we want to know. If Jesus bedded down a prostitute and procreated with her, we want to know. Truthers. Birthers. Bilderbergers. NWOers. Alien-ers. You name it, we're on it.

Why then wouldn't we want to know if Mark Twain used the words "nigger" and "injun" in a book? Will we really sit by, we the people who wrangle against international conspiracies of every order, and allow ourselves to be deceived, lied to and vandalized?

Isn't removing a word, replacing it with an alternative, the very antithesis to what we stand for? Isn't that vandalism? Isn't that simply scribbling illegible graffiti over great art? Isn't that the very vandalism from which our definition of the word derives?
particularly the defacing of artworks that were completed with great effort
Here we are, witnessing not the advent of a Secret Society, but the instigated, elaborated plan to build a society with secrets--the VERY THING TWAIN WAS REELING AGAINST.

New South Books, the publisher of this up and coming edition of Huck Finn, justifies their censorship thus:
At NewSouth, we saw the value in an edition that would help the works find new readers. If the publication sparks good debate about how language impacts learning or about the nature of censorship or the way in which racial slurs exercise their baneful influence, then our mission in publishing this new edition of Twain’s works will be more emphatically fulfilled.
In other words, "yeah, we're lying, but we're doing it for your own good". In some warped, monomaniacal way they've convinced themselves that white-washing "nigger" and "injun" (They plan on replacing the former with "slave"---I'm sorry, that's not the same thing) will get more people to read Twain. But...it's not Twain, now is it?

No. It is vandalism.

Go to New South Books and tell them to stop this madness. Tell professor Gibbens (agribben@aum.edu) we won't be lied to. And tell your friends that censorship is vandalism--Vandalism from within.

©2011 CT Lostaglia

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Child's Play

Her middle name is Aurora, so this little girl's discovery was destined to happen, I reckon. Way to go girl. And way to go press, for "blowing" it way out of proportion. Let's try to cap it to 15 minutes of fame, shall we? /evilgrinchiness

Speaking of Grinches, who still has a tree on their compost heap? These boys can help. Can't tell for sure, but I think those boys'll be around a lot longer than 15 minutes.

Something I'm sure you're glad you didn't buy for your grandchildren this Christmas.  I guess that marketing degree really isn't worth the paper it's printed on.

Cowbuoy up.

Apparently Britain has 926,000 young people under the age of 25 who can't find work. Go hunt for supernovas, already. Sheesh.

2010's most popular baby names. Aiden? Really?

2011 is still in it's infancy and everyone wants to make some predictions. Whatever. Check out what Dan Harris has to say (Slide 6). Interesting.

Teenaged angst is one thing, but there's a bloodlust Down Under. Who's shocked?

Ugh. Just skip over this one. Australia has issues.

We have issues. A ten-year-old? Come on.

Five fairly nubile questions for an infantile Congress. Notice: NCLB is mentioned near the end.

Speaking of Congress. Like father, like son. So totally cool.



Here's one that's so totally not cool you cannot let me read if I'm within 100 yards of other living beings. More on this later. I promise. This aggression will not stand.

You didn't think we'd get all the way through Child's Play without mentioning this guy, did you?




Aiden? Really? You named me Aiden?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Old News is an Old Guest

This old guy is "Clearly Inappropriate."  And, apparently he's not alone,  this duck is 80 years old and still copping a feel.

Another venerable violator.

41 might not be old in the real world but this gridiron grandpa needs whatever the opposite of Viagra is.  (The Rosie O'Donell pill?)

Elderly.  Elderly. Elderly.

Geriatric Motors is selling more stuff.  How patriotic.  So what is granny gonna do with that brand new Buick?

The National debt, which was born in 1836 is reaching astronomical proportions.  Go us.

These two old dudes are going to get themselves killed on a mountain--which is fine, but what's that about a Russian Silicon Valley and why is Arnie...oh never mind.  None of our business.  Lathspell.

Apparently, Baby Boomers are a bunch of whiners.  Welcome to 40 more years of entitlement hell.

Alright, maybe they're not all sissies.

This guy is a Baby Boomer.  That'll be enough trashing that little clique.

10,900,000... and counting, to be sure.

Don't worry Chuck.  These days are long behind you.

But seriously, you tell me which is more morbid, this eerie, spookiness or the responses to it?

Even criminals are getting older.

And older.

Didn't Burgess Meredith play the Penguin in the old Batman television show?  Maybe criminality is the key to longevity.

Or is it bacon?

Monday, January 3, 2011

The Coming Apocalypse

A lot is happening, of course.. In some cases, too much.  In some cases, way too much.

In case you're lost, look at this.   Life is pretty good when you can do that.  Maybe too good.

Enter:  The Apocalypse.

And hey, the sky is falling--maybe not now and maybe not everywhere, but it is some weird places--places where the sky should be firmly in place at all times. Apparently, the sky falling brings out the best in some of us.  That's ok.  No matter how trashy things get, everything is going to be just fine.

The sky really isn't falling.  But judging from the apocalyptic zeitgeist running through the pulse of America, maybe what we need is a sort of anti-climactic denouement.  Maybe.

Never fear.  There are things you can do.



Hey, what is it called when you're trying to fix something that was broken and make it worse?  It's called an "overhaul".  Like injecting sulfur in an atmosphere that really doesn't like having sulfur injected into it.

There are probably no repercussions to that.  None whatsoever.  Nope, nothing.   Not a thing.

Nothing to see here.



I'm just saying.

Really though, when life gives you an apocalypse, just learn to swim.

See ya down in Arizona Bay.

As seen on Will Work For Truth

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Fragmentation--A Decade of Cinema

Well, everyone else is doing their "decades' best movies" lists, so I'm going to do one, too.  Mainly because all the other lists are either too long (100 movies!?  Jeez, 2/3 of those have to suck simply due to the law of averages)  or they are just wrong (Gigli is NOT one of the best movies of anything.  ANYTHING.)  And hey, maybe you'll find a movie on here you always wanted to catch but never did. 

I won't be putting any documentaries on this list, although I suggest two right off hand that could EASILY be on any top ten list for this past decade in film:  Man on Wire(James Marsh, 2008) and The Grizzly Man (Werner Herzog, 2005) are must sees.

So what makes a great movie worthy of my list?  Well, I have to like it.  Duh.  A movie, however critically acclaimed or how many box office records it smashed, is not going to get my vote if I yawned while watching it.  Other prereqs might include things like direction, acting, and all the technical mumbo jumbo that goes into production.  But then there's the impact equation.  Did the film do something in the world?  Did it make a statement or introduce an avenue of delivery we haven't seen before--or at least for a long time?   Hopefully every one of these movies did something-something-besides just being entertaining.  But...entertaining is good too, in fact, it may be the number one prerequisite.

So, here ya go.  One guy's opinion on the ten--well, twelve, but I'll explain that below--best movies of the years 2001-2010.

1.  City of God(2002) Fernando Meirelles, K├ítia Lund

As you'll see, 2002 was a great year for movies, both foreign and domestic.  And anything I could say about this instant masterpiece has either already been said, or wouldn't do it justice.  I will say, however, that fluidity is key in film-making and this decade (as you'll also see below) challenged the limits of how far a director can go before losing his narrative, plot or storyline and with the loss of any of the above, the audience.  City of God drives home a message we could all use a little reminder of.  What is it?  Go watch it and you tell me.  I'm convinced you'll get a knock in the head--or the heart.  It's just that damned good.




Best Line:  Oh hell, I don't know.  The whole movie is rife with quotables.  How 'bout this one:

"Fuck!  I'm dead!"

2.  The Lord of the Rings (Trilogy--although, I'd say The Two Towers was the best made)

We're Tolkien fans.  We read all the books.  We read all the supplements.  Hell, we even took Tolkien classes in college.  Dorks.  So, needless to say, we were all really concerned when we heard some no-name director was going to make these films.  Oh great!  Something must be done!  We joined the fan club to keep an eye on things.  We bitched and moaned when we heard Glorfindel was out and Haldir was in.  We even chuckled a little bit at some of the line-switching that got leaked.  They were going to screw this up beyond all hope.  No question.  Then, the day came.  We stood in line.  We sat in awe.  We walked out speechless.  Kudos Mr. Jackson.  Kudos.





Best Line:  John Rhys Davies:  "Nineteen!  Twenty!  Twenty-One!"

Mwahahaha! 

3.  Lost in Translation(2003)  Sofia Coppola


So, when the "find the X" theme is utilized successfully, any writer can spin the yarn, any director knows how to spin the reel and any actor knows how to spin toward toward the X.  X marks the spot.  Unless, the 'X' happens to be one's place in life.  No one quite knows how to do that.  Enter Sofia Coppola and her all star cast and crew.  Wow.  Unbelievably done.  I'm not saying anything else about this movie.  Watch it.  Watch it again. You'll never see Murray better than this, unfortunately.  It just can't possibly happen.  Can it?

Um, did you know that Sofia Coppala is Nicholas Cage's cousin? Loves me some Wikipedia.


Best line:  "My name is Kawasaki. Nice to meet you."
                 "I've heard of you. Thank you."


4.  No Country for Old Men(2007) Ethan Coen, Joel Coen

So all the talk is about Javier Bardem, right?  Who the HAY is Javier Bardem?  Well, now we know.  Damn, do we know.  I'm not sure what Bardem was in this film, the angel of death, a deranged sociopath, a...whatever.  I don't know.  But he scares the shit out of me.  It's a movie about age and death in an age of death.  Sick.  Twisted.  Coen. 


Best lines:  
Anton Chigurh (Bardem): Call it.
Gas Station Proprietor
: Call it?
Anton Chigurh
: Yes.
Gas Station Proprietor
: For what?
Anton Chigurh
: Just call it.
Gas Station Proprietor
: Well, we need to know what we're calling it for here.
Anton Chigurh
: You need to call it. I can't call it for you. It wouldn't be fair.
Gas Station Proprietor
: I didn't put nothin' up.
Anton Chigurh
: Yes, you did. You've been putting it up your whole life you just didn't know it.

5.  Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon(2000) Ang Lee

Ok, so I'm kind of cheating here.  This movie came out in 2000, but...BUT!  It didn't have time to make anyone's best of the last decade list, so it's going here.  Critics, when they speak of this film, are always alluding to it's global marketing strategy.  I'll note, it was an amazing endeavor that involved everyone from the Wu Tang Clan to college professors, but there had to be a reason why they fell in love with this movie, right?  Right.  Because it's freaking awesome!  I mean...jumping off leaves and flying around like some shen/god/badass?  We're there, dude.  Beautifully choreographed.  Epically spun story of love and betrayal entrapped in that pristine once-was world of virgin magic and grace--wow.  Just wow.  It's hard to even get to the point where we notice the actors in this film for what they did, but we have to. Yun-Fat Chow, Michelle Yeoh and Ziyi Zhang, are the trifecta of everything that is "mastery" and the coalescence of the universal, silver-screen love-triangle.




Jen Yu (Zhang):  You want to know who I am? I am... I am the Invincible Sword Goddess, armed with the Green Destiny that knows no equal! Be you Li or Southern Crane, bow your head and ask for mercy! I am the dragon from the desert! Who comes from nowhere and leaves no trace! Today I fly over Eu-Mei. Tomorrow... I topple Mount Wudan!

I give up!


6.  Memento(2000) Christoper Nolan

Ok, I'm cheating again.  But this is the last time, I promise!  Again, this is a 2k movie that didn't nearly have enough time to garner enough support for wowieness.  And it has that.  A ton of it.

Every once in a while, a movie comes along and changes the way we view cinema, if not our own world.  This movie, for myself at least, did both.  I actually run into people all the time who have not yet seen this Nolan work of genius (by that I mean both Christopher and his brother Jonathan who wrote the story), so I'll not give anything away.  If you do see it or have seen it, you'll understand how some other movies came to the fore a little later on in the decade. Both Guy Pearce and Joe Pantoliano deserve a lot of credit for their roles in leaving a beautiful scar on movie history's rosy cheek.  Suberb. 


Best lines: 
Leonard Shelby(Pearce): [running] OK, so what am I doing?
[
sees Dodd also running]
Leonard Shelby
: Oh, I'm chasing this guy.
[
Dodd shoots at Leonard]
Leonard Shelby
: No... he's chasing me.

One of the greatest scenes ever filmed.  Ever.


7.  Donnie Darko(2001) Richard Kelly

I have to say, when someone first told me to see this movie, I was like "what, that sounds stupid.  Donnie what?  Darko?  Dumb."

I was wrong.

Being a fan of horror and of good writing both, I can't not like this film.  The direction, of course, is what makes it stick, but the story itself demands fragmentation in the same way Memento, Moon and Eternal Sunshine attempt to harness.  And while Memento was the linchpin of the decade of fragmented movies, this one is sewn together the best.  Are there things I don't like about Darko?  Sure.  And that's why it's below Memento on the list.  But there are plenty of goodies to love about this neo-noir-horror-slash-thriller-slash-what-the-hell-is-going-on-here-flick.  Darko is the shroud that blanketed the decade in cinematic muck.  It was the muck movie makers ensconced themselves in until about the time Little Miss Sunshine came along and tried to take it all away.  Was there a glimmer of light at the end of the Darko tunnel?  Go see for yourself, if you dare. 




Best Line:  
Donnie(Jake Gyllenhaal): I made a new friend today.
Dr. Lilian Thurman
: Real or imaginary?
Donnie
: Imaginary.

8.  Moon(2009) Duncan Jones

I don't care what anyone says about me putting this movie on the list.  It is one of the best sci-fi movies ever made.  And if I'm a fan of horror, I'm an uber fan of science fiction.  Go suck a Gerty if you disagree.

Let me ask you this:  If you were going to cast an actor to play a monotonous robot who better could you get than Kevin Spacey?

Answer:  No one on God's green Earth.

Let me ask you this:  If you wanted to make a soundtrack that was spatial, eternal, and intrinsically isotropic, who better could you get than Clint Mansell (Requiem for a Dream)?

Answer:  No one in the Universe.

Let me ask you this:  If you were going to cast a guy that would be the only character in a basically one-man cinematic event of Epic porportions, who better could you cast than Sam Rockwell?

Answer:  ABSOLUTELY NOT ONE PERSON IN THE ENTIRE MULTIVERSE.

What's this you say?  Who is Sam Rockwell?

Answer:  I'm not telling.  I'll let Moon tell you.  You be the judge, but I absolutely fell in love with this guy after this role.  Unreal--and that's the trick.  Kudos Mr. Rockwell.  If I were an academy judge, you would have won, big time.

Being a huge fan of Philip K. Dick, I would recommend this movie to anyone of kindred affinities.  You can thank me later.
And you will.

P.S.  Don't think Duncan Jones is a PKD fan?  Think again.  From IMDB:  Duncan Jones is planning a follow-up film, which will serve as a semi-sequel to Moon. "Sam has agreed to do a little cameo in the next film," says Jones, who plans to shed some light to the fate of Sam-6 after XXXX---SPOILER---XXXX. At Cannes Film Festival, he mentioned that his next movie would be the spiritual descendant of Blade Runner, set in the same universe and timeline as Moon. It is not clear if he's referring to the same planned movie or not.



Best Line:  
Sam Bell (Rockwell): "Listen, why don't you relax. Why don't you take a pill, bake a cake, go read the encyclopedia."

That's actually a curiouser question than you might think.


9.  Hero(2002)Yimou Zhang

This was a no-brainer for me.  I'm a fan of the big Pan-Asian classics so going into this one I was pleasantly surprised that the spoilers I'd come into contact with were totally off-base.  Don't get me wrong, I loved Ran and Yojimbo both, but that had been done.  Ya know?

I'll be the first to admit that Jet Li, much like his American bad-dude counterparts (Stallone, Norris, what-have-you) can absolutely not act.  I think if you go in with that in mind, you're in for a major surprise. In Hero, Li is up to the task, handles brevity and longevity both very well, and, in my humble opinion left to shame our American heros of decades past.

Hero is as much a film about color as it is about swordsmanship and calligraphy.  Pay attention to how Yimou Zhang uses colors in this movie and you'll never look at film, real film, through the same old gray-scale action lens again.  Everything is a character in Zhang's world.  Depictions, be they swirling leaves or the desert itself are creations--actors even in this film.  These are the pictorial glue that indelibly bind this film and all it's fragmented parts as whole.  Life, death, wont, sorrow, peace--everything is a bold, gliding stroke of a calligraphers brush, animated and illuminated in living color.


A classic for the ages.


Best lines: 
Nameless (Jet Li): Great calligraphy.
Broken Sword (Tony Leung Chiu Wai): Great swordsmanship.
Nameless
: You didn't see my swordsmanship.
Broken Sword
: Without it, I couldn't have written this calligraphy.

10.  Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) Michel Gondry

When I said Memento was going to set the precedent for this decade, I wasn't fudging even a little bit.  Almost every movie on this list incorporates fragmentation to some degree, possibly none more than this one.  And, like Memento, Sunshine takes the fragments of memory to an extreme--except this time, the memory loss is on purpose!

One of the things that most impressed me about Gondry's direction in this film was his ability to separate the action in the uh...real world from the action in memory.  That kind of trite, fake, concocted dreamworld we step into when we drudge up memories--Gondry's got it.

Both Carey and Winslet are great in the film, sure, that is to be expected, but the pleasant acting surprise for me came from Kirsten Dunst.  I was never sure if Dunst could act or was just lucky to have been cast in a major role when she was knee-high to a vampire.  She can act. 
 
At any rate, here's a movie you'll not want to forget. 



Best Lines:  
Joel (Carey): Is there any risk of brain damage?
Howard (Wilkinson): Well, technically speaking, the operation is brain damage, but it's on a par with a night of heavy drinking. Nothing you'll miss.


A night of heavy drinking?  He's obviously doing it wrong.

Um.

Nevermind. 

11.  Batman: The Dark Knight(2008)  Christopher Nolan

Think of the worst movie you've ever seen.  Go ahead.  Give it some thought.


Got it yet?


Well, whatever that movie was (probably not Troll 2, but something close, amiright?), this movie is the complete polar opposite of that.  Guaranteed.  The movie you hate was boring, silly, asked no questions of humanity, posed no questions to God or the Universe and made no statement on the teleological nature of humanity's shadowed, yet ever-evolving propensity toward abject oppugnancy.  This movie, from beginning to end, stretches those questions into philosophic excogitations of the steepest order.


Bah!  It's just a super-hero flick!


Right, but with everything that happened on the set and off, on the screen and in our own minds, it got us thinking.  We're still thinking about it to this very day.


Best Line:  
Alfred Pennyworth (Michael Caine):  Some men just want to watch the world burn.

:(

12.  O brother, Where Art Thou?(2000) Joel and Ethan Coen

And no, this is not cheating.  The movie premiered just before the stroke of 2001, so it's in there for this decade.

The Odyssey, hillbilly style.  Yeehaw!  I honestly don't think I've laughed harder and thought longer about a comedy since The Big Lebowski (Also a Coen Bros. flick). 

Highlights:

John Turturro.  The more you see this guy, the more you find it hard to ignore his capacity to fill a role completely.  One of my fav's.

The Soundtrack.  Man, whodathunk that old timer music would catch on fire in 21st Century America?  Dunno.  But it did.  I still listen to it from time to time.

Really, if you haven't gotten around to seeing this movie, do yourself a favor...immediately! 


Best Lines:
Delmar O'Donnell (Nelson): Care for some gopher?
Ulysses Everett McGill (Clooney): No thank you, Delmar. One third of a gopher would only arouse my appetite without bedding it down.
Delmar O'Donnell: Oh, you can have the whole thing. Me and Pete already had one apiece. We ran across a whole... gopher village. 



Honorable mentions:

This is how people who do top 10's and can't manage to get only 10 on the list make up for it.  It wouldn't be so bad if my top 10 didn't have 12 in it already, I know...

Finding Nemo(2003)  Stanton and Unkrich

There's really no reason why this movie couldn't have made it on my top ten list except that I've been subjected to seeing it about a million times.  Kids, amiright?  Pixar did an excellent job from pre-production to delivery on this instant classic tale of "find the X".  Just so happened the 'x' in Pixar's equation was a lovable little fish we can probably all relate to.



Best line: "He touched the butt!"

Gross.

There Will Be Blood(2007)  Paul Thomas Anderson 

I don't know anyone who hasn't seen this movie, but if you haven't, welcome to Earth.  I wasn't particularly thrilled with the film as a whole  (I know the critics loved it, but meh...)  But there are parts, scenes and little glimpses of greatness throughout the entirety of the film.  You just have to watch and pick them out for yourself.  So why is it here?  Easy:  Daniel Day Lewis is the greatest actor what ever lived.  And if you argue with me on that, there WILL be blood.  See the film, Lewis makes any film worth watching at least fifteen times.  /mancrush




Best Line:  Any time D.D. Lewis opens his mouth.

The Pianist(2002) Roman Polanski


I admit I have a love/hate relationship with Polanski.  No matter how much I hate his last movie--whatever movie that may have been(*cough* The Ninth Gate *cough*)--the next one is a usually a work of art.  The Pianist is that art at its zenith.  Adrian Brodie may have won an Academy Award for this, but it's Polanski that composed every nuanced note in this excellent film.  There's something about the reconstruction of destruction that serves as the perfect canvas for film art--especially when Beethoven is echoing through shattered walls and across mounds of rubble.  Chaos and Beauty.  That's what this film is all about. 




Best Line:  Moonlight Sonata.  Hands down, as it were.

28 Days Later(2002) Danny Boyle

Alright, so, leave the effing monkeys alone, will ya?  Yes, I am a huge horror film buff from way back in the Killer Tomato days.  I am a sad specimen of humanity.  All true.  But Boyle (Trainspotting, Slumdog Millionaire, 127 Hours) unleashes a titan with this masterpiece.  This film could arguably be the greatest horror film ever made ('happy' endings aside) and probably should be on the top ten for the decade--I didn't put it up there because, well, horror is an acquired taste, especially when zombies are involved.




Best Line:  Naomie Harris, "I was wrong when I said that staying alive is as good as it gets." 

Ain't that the truth!

The Forbidden Kingdom(2008) Rob Minkoff

Now here's a little tale you have to see for yourself. I'd give it some association like "Karate Kid meets Hero" but that wouldn't be too fair. If you want some serious ass-kicking coupled with a superb "Find the X" theme, this movie should be at the top of your list. Jackie Chan and Jet Li. 'Nuff said.



Cold Mountain (2003)--Anthony Minghela

Here's a movie you must see for one reason and one reason only: Renee Zellweger. You know, I'm not a fan of the 'tough chick' representation on the big screen, they never get it right and there always seems to be way too much acting involved. Zellweger doesn't act in this role. She is that bad-ass, roughneck character. What surprises me is how that little glint of femininity never escapes her persona and in effect, highlights her true grit.  Amazingly done.  Much like D.D. Lewis in just about every role he's portrayed, Zellweger latches onto something here. This certainly is a work of art and genius. Besides Zellweger, the story's a good'n. The cinematography is great. Everything is fine, really. But it's simply not top 10 material-apart from Zellweger.




Best Line (Zellweger): "Aight then."

Priceless.


That's it.
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