Tag Archives: as good as it gets
Since we started this website, I’ve always felt like I was on a mission. A mission, despite the fact that, at the end of the day, nothing anybody says about art matters at all. Art is an individual experience—even in a group, it’s an individual experience. I can’t convince you of anything, and you can’t convince me. And it should be that way. But right now, fuck all that.
Ghostbusters is high art. Ghostbusters should be thought of the way the Mona Lisa is—as this sacred, unachievable thing forged from genius—because that’s exactly what it is, and it’s been my mission to explain that concept. There are only about a dozen great movies, and these movies are untouchable. They are perfect in every way, and they represent the ultimate synthesis of story, performance, writing, color, music, and all the myriad elements that come together to make whatever is on screen at any given moment the perfect thing.
People don’t give a fuck about art. They like things all willy-nilly and just regurgitate whatever fucking nonsense someone says about why Raging Bull is brilliant. Fuck all that noise. Movies like Ghostbusters are advanced. They do all of the artistic shit Raging Bull does, but for the purpose of entertainment, of making you soak into the movie. That is beautiful, that is advanced, that is transcendent, and that could only happen a dozen times in about a century because it’s insanely hard to do.
And Ghostbusters isn’t even his best movie.
Field of Dreams. The undisputed king, for sure. But here’s ten other great ones.
It was a really tricky thing putting this together because they’re ranked on niceness, not goodness. Number two and number five are the best movies on the list. But they aren’t the nicest.
Niceness is even harder to define than coolness. Niceness is a warm and fuzzy feeling that a lot of art can generate. Probably the most popular example would be Norman Rockwell paintings. Niceness, like coolness, taps into our primal brains somewhere. We’re wired to feel it because it connects us to each other. But the problem with niceness is that it borders so heavily on cheese. Cheese done right is transcendent. But cheese done wrong is, well, cheesy.
Promised Land (2012)
Directed by Gus Van Sant
Screenplay by John Krasinski & Matt Damon
Story by Dave Eggers
Promised Land is a good movie. And Gus Van Sant is a good director. And Matt Damon and John Krasinski are good actors and writers.
This is a movie that nobody saw last year. It’s a small movie, the kind that still gets made by mega celebrities like Matt Damon but that nobody sees because the market is pretty well taken over by other kinds of movies like Taken 2 and The Vow. But I’m not here to wax pretentiously about lowest common denominato, fluff that ‘Hollywood’ is so ‘evil’ for churning out. (The hipsters have that market well cornered.) I’m here, rather, to talk about Promised Land. But first, about Gus Van Sant.