The cinematic powers-that-be tend to decree that Citizen Kane is the best movie ever made, or sometimes Raging Bull. I don’t have a problem with that appraisal. It’s fun. Lists are fun—they expose people to cool movies they may not have heard of, and cause debates over who’s the most badass horror villain from the 80s, or what the best movies for libertarians are.
However, what is annoying is that whenever these movie freemasons decide that Vertigo is the third-best movie of all time or something, it causes all the opinion-scavenging cinephiles-in-training to rant their little hearts out about how The Rules of the Game or whatever really deserves to be ranked third-best. These lists also do a good job of tricking people into thinking The Godfather is artistically superior to Back to the Future, which is ridiculous.
Continue reading The 10 Best Movies Ever Made
Any Day Now (2012)
Directed by Travis Fine
Written by Travis Fine and George Arthur Bloom
What does ‘based on a true story’ mean?
The phrase gets used a lot to promote movies, and both your average joe and your above-average joe, when seeing said phrase, typically assumes it to mean that the basics of the story are true. Maybe there’s some artistic license here or there, some composite characters or whatever, but the movie bears enough resemblance to the actual facts that the phrase can be used in good faith.
This assumption is usually correct. Most movies ‘based on a true story’ are, in fact, that. But occasionally, they aren’t. Occasionally, the phrase is used as a deception. The filmmakers and/or producers know that the movie will have more pull if the phrase is there, so they stick it on a poster or promotional material, even though the film is entirely fictional.
Continue reading Any Day Now: ‘Based On A True Story’ My Ass
Quentin Tarantino, director of some actually good ‘cool’ movies. This is a companion piece to my 10 Awful Movies People Think Are Cool list. Read that one first. Or read this one first. It doesn’t really matter. Continue reading 10 Actually Good Movies People Think Are Cool
Michael Moore, being repulsive. That was not intended as a dig at his physicality. He’d be repulsive even if he looked like Kat Dennings. Okay, maybe not then, but you get the point.
What is a documentary?
I know that may seem like kind of a ridiculous, pretentious question to ask, especially right off the bat of an essay or whatever, but I don’t mean it like that. I’m absolutely serious, and it’s an entirely valid question. What the fuck is one? I don’t think we really know. I mean, we know ‘em when we see ‘em I guess. Basically, they’re movies about real life. Nothing staged. Except interviews, of course. Interviews are, by their very nature, extremely staged and controlled and can very easily be manipulated by both the interviewer and the editor, but those get a pass, I guess. (As do dramatic reenactments, which can be very misleading, but are thought of as okay for some reason.) I think we can all agree though that documentaries definitely must not have a script that people are following. That’s for sure. Well—except of course in the case of a sort of monologue through-line or whatever. The documentarian gets a pass on having a script. Even if it’s way subjective. Man, this is getting contradictory. And confusing. And gross.
Continue reading Documentaries: The Most Repulsive Genre
I’ve been interested in movies for as long as I can remember. The story I tell is that Jurassic Park started it all. It certainly didn’t hurt, but movies had definitely been on my mind for way longer than that. And my parents and grandparents were both movie buffs, so when the AFI released their ill-conceived 100 Best Movies of the First 100 Years of Movies, it was the talk of our family for an entire Thanksgiving dinner. I was ten or twelve at the time. By the time I was fifteen, I had seen 92 of the movies listed.
Continue reading A Rebuttal to a Rebuttal: Favorite Equals Best, or, Why Back To The Future is Better Than The Godfather