CJ’s UPDATED Top Ten Movies of 2013

blue-is-the-warmest-color-lea-seydoux

After I’ve seen a few more, here’s my new list, in alphabetical order rather than ranked, and now categorized into fiction and documentary!

TOP TEN FICTION

12 Years a Slave

American Hustle

Before Midnight

Blue is the Warmest Color

Computer Chess

Gravity

The Great Gatsby

Her

The Hunger Games

Inside Llewyn Davis

TOP FIVE DOCUMENTARY

The Act of Killing

Call me Kuchu

Cutie and the Boxer

The Square

Stories We Tell

My additions into my top ten list were “Before Midnight,” “Her,” and “Blue is the Warmest Color.” All of them were great; “Her” might ultimately be my favorite movie from the last year.

“Blue is the Warmest Color” is a weird one to think and talk about. So I flat-out loved the movie. But when you read about it, you find out the process of making the film was awful for almost everyone involved. The crew was abused and didn’t get paid enough, and the two actresses were also bullied to the point of tears and terror by the director –especially during the sex scenes. Lea Seydoux said she was humiliated and made to feel like a prostitute. So that’s unsettling: how do you think about it when you watch these incredibly moving and affecting scenes and you know that, while they were being made, the actresses were being tyrannized. It’s difficult to take onboard, and made me wish I liked the movie less. You know, I never really feel any conflict about Woody Allen anymore. He’s an awful person, whose movies also are terrible. Where’s the conflict? But with this, this was a moving, almost brilliant movie. What does one think if the person who made it seems to be at best really nasty, at worst something of a monster? I have no solution to this.

As for the Oscars, I actually was much less horrified that usual about the movies that got awards. “12 Years a Slave” is a fine choice for Best Picture, and the whole slate of nominees was pretty good as a set. Since I’m not the dictator of the Academy Awards, some things will never be how I’d wish — much as I’d like, Sarah Polley is not going to win best director for a Canadian documentary about her family — but all told things basically made sense.

As a postscript, I also saw “Nebraska” and really enjoyed it. Not one of my tops, but notable for being the first thing I’ve seen by Alexander Payne that didn’t make me want to die inside.

CJ’s Top Movies of 2013

Aaaah I’m writing a thing.

So here are my top movies of 2013. My usual rules: I’ve had to have seen them, and they’ve had to have come out this year. I’m also mixing in documentaries this time around just because there are some I really liked and wanted to include.

Also as usual, I have high hopes for many movies that came out this year that I haven’t seen yet, so I will release an amended version of the list later on.

GRAVITY
#10 — Gravity

Gravity was a lot of fun, though it was almost more of a very good theme-park ride than a movie. I wonder if it would be worth seeing not in 3D or on a big screen – I doubt it; but it was a pretty great experience as it was. Sandra Bullock is also very good, and her talent and charisma saves the movie from being completely trivial. The one scene where she hallucinates George Clooney giving her a pep talk is so stupid that it almost sinks the whole thing, but it doesn’t last very long.

europa-report#9 — Europa Report

Another space movie. This one made for a lot less money! (Under ten million dollars versus a hundred million for Gravity.) I admit to a clear bias in my attitude toward this movie. I think the series of discoveries about Jupiter’s moon Europa showing it has a warm subsurface ocean are possibly the most amazing things that have happened during my lifetime. The idea of a manned mission to Europa to sniff out life is so appealing that I would watch almost any movie with that premise. All this said, I think this movie was a good movie about a Europa mission rather than a bad one! There’s an emphasis on accurately depicting what a near-future space mission of this magnitude would really take and be like. The astronauts always come across as professionals doing their job. And when the film does take a dive into some more speculative stuff, it’s fun and inspiring rather than ridiculous.

#8 — The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

I just continue to really like the Hunger Games movies. Both this and the first are smart, well-put-together blockbusters that do what they’re meant to without disrespecting the audience. Everything comes together, writing, acting, even the special effects don’t detract attention from what’s going on. Jennifer Lawrence is still great, and Donald Sutherland is just awesome — his villainous President Snow gets more screen time this time and is hypnotically scary. Basically, whoever is casting director of the Hunger Games is brilliant (and well-funded, obviously). Every secondary character is just perfectly cast: Stanley Tucci is brilliant and bonkers; Jeffrey Wright and Amanda Plummer as the weird techie couple are slightly unexpected but also great. Only Philip Seymour Hoffman seems not to care very much, weirdly.

GTL-013#7 — Gimme the Loot

“Gimme the Loot” follows two New York teens as they plot to graffiti the big apple that pops up when the Mets hit a home run at Citi Field. This ends up being a pretty classic macguffin, though, since the movie is much more about following around the two leads, Malcolm and Sophia —  incredibly appealing as played by Ty Hickson and Tashiana Washington — on their daily life and chronicling their interactions with each other and many other characters.  The most biting part of the movie is Malcolm’s interaction as drug dealer with a clueless and occasionally cruel rich girl 20-something who seems to have stepped out of a different movie. The tone is light throughout, though, and it’s more a comedy than anything else.

#6 — 12 Years a SlaveDF-02238.CR2

Harrowing but really good. There’s something interesting about the idea that to make a really honest movie about slavery, you need a a director and a cast that are either British or otherwise not American. If I had a criticism, it would be that the movie comes across a little bit as a series of episodes and could use more connective tissue. But to a certain extent I think that’s faithful to the source material. Chiwetel Ejiofor is a great as a smart everyman forced into these horrific situations. And as a nasty plantation owner, Michael Fassbender comes right up to the edge of camp villainy and just barely avoids falling off.

Inside-Llewyn-Davis#5 — Inside Llewyn Davis

I liked “Inside Llewyn Davis” a lot, all with the caveat that it was extremely depressing. The main character is such a sad-sack, and such terrible things keep happening to him, that it really wears you down after a while. This said, the film goes some interesting places, and all the acting — and singing — is pretty terrific. Like everyone else, I think the best thing about the movies is probably Ulysses, the post-modern cat or cats who is off having his own adventure in a parallel universe somewhere. And is Llewyn caught in a Groundhog day style time loop? Maybe? Folk music!

#4 — American Hustle????????????????????????

Really really really weird movie this. I enjoyed it a lot, but boy is it strange. It has a weird arc, the genre is never totally clear, and you never know exactly what you’re feeling about what you’re watching at any point. In the end though it’s an incredible amount of fun to watch. Christian Bale and Amy Adams pull off what I think are my two favorite lead performances in any movie I saw last year as fictionalized versions of the Abscam conners. Jennifer Lawrence and Jeremy Renner are also great, and the whole impression you get from the movie is one of just barely contained chaos. Why is there so much weight given to the idea that crooked politicians aren’t so bad? Why do we see little Family Guy style flashbacks throughout? Why do all the male characters have such spectacularly bad hair? I honestly have no idea, but I was never bored. Also, Louis CK almost completely runs away with this movie in a relatively minor part.

great_gatsby (1)#3 — The Great Gatsby

I really enjoyed Baz Luhrmann’s Great Gatsby movie. And I can go hot or cold on Luhrmann — I love “Strictly Ballroom” but “Moulin Rouge” is kind of a disaster. And I know critics weren’t wild about this movie! But for one thing, Leonardo DiCaprio really has the charisma to pull off Gatsby. The anachronistic music worked for me too. And yes, the film hits you over the head with its metaphors, but so does the book, for God’s sake, unless I’ve been reading a different Gatsby than everyone else. Certainly, this is miles better than the awful, bloodless Robert Redford movie, though that’s a low bar. Even some things that initially made me nervous, like Tobey Maguire as Nick — and the frame story with Nick in a sanatorium — either worked pretty well or were at least inoffensive. And some things were truly great: I love that Tom comes off as thuggish but cunning instead of just a stupid foil. And the very strange friendship between Jay and Nick is almost more believable on film, because it’s easier to see what each is looking for in each other.

Film-maker Sarah Polley with her father Michael in documentary Stories We Tell#2 — Stories We Tell

A wonderful documentary by Canadian actor and director Sarah Polley exploring her own family history. But due to smart storytelling (hah!) — and some gimmicks I don’t want to spoil — this is one of those rare documentaries that has as much or more suspense as a fictional narrative. This is a tricky movie, but the tricks are earned and make you more attentive to the story rather than distracting you. This all may sound a little nebulous, since I’m dancing around talking about the way this movie is presented, and even the central question being answered. But that’s because it’s better to watch and see how the film unfolds everything. Summary would be kind of a disservice.

Computer-Chess#1 — Computer Chess

This is NOT the movie I had any suspicion would be my favorite of the year before I watched it! I wasn’t even sure going in whether it was fictional or a documentary. It is in fact fiction, loosely in the format of a mockumentary though that format gets smashed to smithereens by the end. Basically, the film — directed by mumblecore king Andrew Bujalski — chronicles a tournament in the early 80s to crown the best chess-playing computer program. At first, it seems almost like a Christopher Guest movie, except for the extremely naturalistic dialogue. Loopy characters who care deeply about an extremely narrow and specialized field. Then, some really odd things start happening. “Computer Chess” at first appears to be a comedy, but that ends up being almost a disguise for something much darker and stranger, occasionally dipping into something like existential dread. Basically, while watching this movie, I had thoughts along the lines of — “Wouldn’t it be amazing if this suddenly went in x direction… but no, that’s too insane.” Then that’s where the movie went! After I watched Computer Chess, I wanted to write fan fiction about it. Far and away the best movie of the year for me. Also, more cats. Here, at least watch the trailer:

So that’s it! Still plenty of movies from 2013 I haven’t seen yet and am excited about though. “Her,” “Frozen,” “Short Term 12,” “The World’s End,” and “The Act of Killing,” just to name a few.

Heroes of 2012

Here’s the other half of my heroes and villains thought-spew.

#5 — Suzy Bishop and Sam Shakusky (from “Moonrise Kingdom”)

The young couple that runs off to be together in “Moonrise Kingdom.” These guys get to be heroes in my book because they stop at nothing to pursue their love, which may not be forbidden, but is at least very unconventional and earnest. I think it’s that extraordinary stone-faced earnestness which makes the characters so appealing. They’re often funny, but they’re never played for laughs. What they’re doing is at every moment the most serious thing in the world for them, even when everyone around them completely fails to understand it. Suzy’s obsession with fictional young adult paperbacks is also very appealing, coming right up to the edge of the Wes Anderson twee cliff without quite falling off. And another nice thing about the movie is, they succeed in their mission, more or less. They consider themselves to be married, whether or not anyone else does.

beasts-of-the-southern-wild-review-image-Quvenzhane-Wallis-noscale#4 — Hushpuppy (from “Beasts of the Southern Wild”)

Another character that blows you away with her genuineness. I think it’s a cool gesture that Quvenzhané Wallis was nominated for a best actress Oscar, though I have some doubts that anything a 6-year-old does on film is exactly acting. Hushpuppy saves the world from very large baby piglets and brings her dying father a piece of magic deep-fried alligator, all of which seems freighted with awesome symbolism when you’re watching “Beasts of the Southern Wild.” She also just seems so completely real at every moment that it’s almost unsettling to see her on a screen; it’s not something you’re used to seeing at the movies. The thing her portrayal most reminds me of is kids in Francois Truffaut films, but with the added lens of the film’s magic realism, which makes it seem even truer to a child’s perspective.

martin-freeman-as-bilbo-baggins-in-the-hobbit#3 — Bilbo Baggins (from “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”)

Martin Freeman continues his run of straight men and audience stand-ins, from Arthur Dent to Dr. Watson to Bilbo Baggins. Martin Freeman reacts! Anyway, Bilbo is so iconic I figured he had to be in here, as almost the founder of the unlikely hero trope. And seriously, Freeman is absolutely the best  imaginable casting for this. “The Hobbit” movie is strongest when it’s firmly focused on Bilbo; it’s when it drifts off into prologues and Thorin’s heroism that it’s weakest. Bilbo is (obviously) the heart of the story, and the fundamental brilliance of Tolkien is that hobbits may be made-up creatures with fuzzy feet, but they’re also much more like you and me than heroes in almost any other fantasy story. Bilbo’s not Siegfried, he’s a guy who likes to eat and read maps. And that makes him automatically more interesting to me than, I don’t know, Conan the Barbarian or something.

JenniferLawrenceHungerGamesKatniss002#2 — Katniss Everdeen (from “The Hunger Games”)

There has been a lot of ink spilled on how Katniss is a new kind of heroine, most of which I agree with. She’s an unusually powerful and independent hero, who is — at least at this point in the story — mostly uninterested in romance with her available man-candy, seeing it as secondary to survival and the protection of her family. She’s competent and powerful at the same time as being vulnerable. She’s a pragmatic hero; she does what needs to be done without worrying too much about grand ideologies. At the same time, you totally believe that she could become the symbol of a movement in the way she does. She has the charisma and the presence. And Jennifer Lawrence is perfect in the role. She’s a serious, skilled actor who is good enough that she makes you believe that she has actually gone through the things the character has.

Daniel-Day-Lewis-as-Abraham-Lincoln-634x445#1 — Abraham Lincoln (from “Lincoln”)

This one is easy. And of course Abraham Lincoln was actually the hero of two movies this year, though I’m concentrating on the Spielberg-y one rather than the one with vampires. Lincoln is another deeply pragmatic hero, who gets things done in the face of incalculable odds. And the stakes he’s playing for are higher than in almost any fictional story that you can think of. He saves the country and its soul. And I noticed that several of my other choices on this list are kids. Lincoln obviously is not. He’s wise and deeply moral without the benefit of the youth, innocence, and naiveté that make it easier. He’s moral despite — or because of — all that he’s lived through and all the pain he’s seen. It also is a nice symmetry that my top hero and my top villain (Old Georgie) both wear a stovepipe hat.

Villains of 2012

I’m still hanging out at home, busy being horribly ill, so I’m going to keep churning these entries out. It’s one of those things, though, where I really don’t know what I’ll make of them later on when the huge doses of cold medication wear off.

Anyway, I thought it would be cool to do an AFI-stye list of the best heroes and villains of the movies in 2012 — so I’ll start with the villains.

#5 — Ravenna (the evil queen from “Snow White and the Huntsman”)

Back to this again. This movie wasn’t good, but I loved the evil queen, or at least what she could have been. Charlize Theron was very scary in an interesting way; she never seemed completely in control, instead she seemed constantly desperate, just hanging on by the skin of her teeth and trying to figure out a way to keep on going. This made her very scary in that you got the sense she was unpredictable, and ready to do just about anything. She’s running scared through the while movie, since the point she finds out that her whole “the fairest” deal isn’t going to last forever. And again, it seems like there’s a much more interesting movie that could have been –that we just get hints of through the brief appearances of this character. Basically since the only way a woman can exercise power — or even stay alive — in the  world of the film is to be beautiful, she decides that she’s willing to do anything that’s required to remain beautiful forever, because the alternative terrifies her.

django-jackson#4 — Stephen (from “Django Unchained”)

Another character I liked from a movie I didn’t. It’s the same deal; I thought Samuel L. Jackson as the house slave Stephen was by far the most interesting part of the movie. He’s a nightmare version of Uncle Tom or Pork in “Gone With the Wind.” He’s the archetypical loyal old male slave who loves his master more than life itself  — and that the master shows a kind of creepy mock deference to. This kind of character is always unsettling to look at through modern eyes anyway, so I like that “Django Unchained” calls it out and makes him the primary antagonist. He’s sort of semi-comic relief, but also has real teeth — he’s the one who figures out what the heroes are up to and stops their plan. And tellingly, when Django ends up slaughtering everybody, he’s the last to die. It makes it seem as though, at least in crazy Tarantino world, Django isn’t just killing the bad guy, he’s killing a symbol of this nasty malingering stereotype. Of course, the more you think about this, the less sense it makes — has Django defeated racism? — but I think that’s true of this movie in general.

8024346983#3 — President Snow (from “The Hunger Games”)

Part of this is because President Snow is a pretty good character anyway, but a big part of it is the brilliant casting of Donald Sutherland and of Donald Sutherland’s beard, which makes him look like an evil Canadian Santa Claus. As the primary antagonist of the whole Hunger Games series, Snow doesn’t even get all that much screen time in the movie, but none of it is wasted. He’s shown as affable, charismatic, and completely cold and ruthless. The books make a lot of hay out of descriptions of Snow’s eyes — “snake eyes” — and Donald Sutherland can do that. He can make his eyes look totally without emotion or sympathy; it’s very creepy. And I mentioned the beard as a joke, but it actually really enhances the character. Snow wants to be seen as this benevolent, paternal figure, so he has this big friendly Walt Whitman beard to cover up how cold and calculating he is.


#2 — The Director (from “The Cabin in the Woods”)

No picture here, because the actor who plays the Director is a fun uncredited reveal and it would be a shame to ruin the surprise for those who haven’t seen the movie. The Director is one of those villains you don’t hate, and to some extent you can’t even fault. He/she is in charge of torturing and killing the heroes of the movie, but you find out it’s all for a pretty good reason: namely to stop the world from being destroyed and every living person from dying in agony. (Why exactly this is is explained in the movie.) So that’s a bummer, but can you really fault him/her for his/her actions, ruthless as they are? The Director is also a fun, “The Third Man” style antagonist who only shows up at the very end of the film after being repeatedly referred to in hushed tones throughout, so it’s a treat when you finally get the reveal, even though he/she isn’t onscreen for very long before things wrap up. And the actor packs a lot of character into those last few minutes.

#1 — Old Georgie (from “Cloud Atlas”)

So Old Georgie — played by Hugo Weaving — is a possibly imaginary devil figure who appears to Tom Hanks in a post-apocalyptic future and tries to push him towards doing the wrong thing. In this guise he gets an awesome Baron-Samedi-type outfit, a warty zombie face and creepy yellow eyes. The cool thing, though, is that in the other time periods the movie covers, Hugo Weaving plays a bunch of other nasty characters, including a vicious assassin, a corporate thug, an 19th-century slaver, and a dictatorial female nurse at a nursing home (seriously). So all these characters and the qualities they exhibit can be see as echoes throughout time of one protean embodiment of evil, hatred, and selfishness. So Old Georgie may or may not actually exist, or may be an archetype of all of humanity’s worst qualities that exists beyond time.

UPDATE: Can we get some more comments up in here? What do you think of my choices?

Calamity Jim’s Most Disappointing Movies of 2012

Aaargh!As a disappointing coda to my best movies of the year list, here are my two biggest disappointments.  In fairness, I don’t think either of these was the WORST movie I saw this year; that honor goes to Woody Allen’s latest, “From Rome With Love,” which I don’t even want to discuss.  That wasn’t a disappointment, though. I knew it would be awful, and had to see it for work. These two are genuine disappointments, in that I expected more and was smacked down.

#1 — Snow White and the Huntsman

Snow White and the Huntsman wasn’t really laughable or stupid or offensive or anything. It was just horrifically boring and really really long. It felt like about six hours long, though I think that may be slightly inaccurate. The issue is that this movie had a bunch of really great trailers featuring Charlize Theron.  These trailers, to loosely paraphrase Jezebel (because I can’t find the post I’m thinking of), tricked movie-goers into thinking the movie is about a bad-ass evil queen doing bad-ass things.  Unfortunately, it’s not.  There’s not that much evil Charlize Theron in the movie, which is a huge mistake. It’s mostly Kristin Stewart walking around in the woods. The trailers made me think it was all Charlize striding around castles and bathing in milk and being creepy and evil. There’s a bit of that, but nowhere near enough to justify seeing this thing. I still want to see the movie the trailers promised me about a psychotic evil queen.

Ugh.

#2 — John Carter

This one was even worse, because it was totally my fault. I read the reviews and should have known how awful it would be, but I refused to believe it. It can’t be THAT bad, I thought. It’s an adaptation of the Barsoom books directed by Andrew Stanton, who directed “Finding Nemo” and “WALL-E,” both terrific movies. Well, I was wrong, it was that bad. This one felt like it lasted ten hours. I didn’t care about any of the characters. (I dare you to go back in time and tell 13-year-old CJ that there would be a movie of “A Princess of Mars,” and he wouldn’t care whether Tars Tarkas lives or dies.) It was ugly and washed out, I hated the way everything looked. The villain was Jimmy McNulty with a hand-me-down costume from “Xena: Warrior Princess.” Ugh ugh ugh.  I literally don’t understand how this movie could be as bad as it was.

Again though, I would watch each of these movies ten times instead of “From Rome With Love.” That is all.

My Favorite Books: Read in 2010

Though I didn’t read many novels actually *published* in 2010, I did read avidly over the year. Here are my top ten picks:

10. Her Fearful Symmetry-Audrey Niffenegger

I was disappointed that I didn’t love this as much as The Time Traveler’s Wife. However, Niffenegger creates sympathetic and complex characters capable of holding your attention and gaining your empathy. This novel is deftly plotted and fast-paced, making it a great beach read; there are a fair amount of ghosts, a good deal romance, and a plot twist that an experienced reader can see coming midway through the book. Also, Niffenegger’s name is fun to say!

9.The Absolutely True Confessions of a Part Time Indian-Sherman Alexie

8.The Liar’s Club-Mary Karr

7.Letters to a Young Teacher-Jonathan Kozol

Some of my teacher friends dislike Kozol because they feel he is too angry and too radical. This book was my first experience with him and validated the above criticisms. However, Kozol’s anger and his desire for progressive education reform endeared him to me even more. Kozol’s advice is sound and his personal experience as a teacher in Boston during a period of extreme racial turmoil is invaluable (his memories of corresponding with Fred Rogers are also very sweet). He writes not only with an authentic voice and absolute sincerity, but with the intelligent and shrewd eye of a veteran teacher, putting this text a step above other entries in the “inspiring teacher” genre such as Educating Esme.

6.The Age of Innocence-Edith Wharton

Rich bitches throw down over an undeserving guy. Gossip Girl of the 19th century.

5.Cherry-Mary Karr

4.Old School-Tobias Wolff

I like to think of Wolff’s slim novel as what would have happened if Holden Caulfield were a well-adjusted but ambitious young writer instead of a phony-hating poseur. Though I don’t know what it’s like to be a young man, to attend boarding school, or to have lived in the 1950’s, I was totally drawn into the world of Wolff’s hero. Worth reading for the scene with Ayn Rand alone.

3.Gertrude and Claudius-John Updike

Marvelous. Updike separates this retelling of the Hamlet story into three different iterations, each more poignant than the last. I was sad to leave Gertrude behind when I finished the novel: a witty, passionate, and vibrant woman.

2.The Wordy Shipmates-Sarah Vowell

One of my male friend’s girlfriend’s explained to me once that the only woman that he would be allowed to fantasize about beside her would be Sarah Vowell. I didn’t really get this at the time because I had no context for who Vowell was, but after reading The Wordy Shipmates, I definitely see the fantasy appeal. This was one of the most fun books about history that I’ve ever read. Endlessly fascinating with an eye for the obscure and quirky, this should be required reading for anyone studying American history.

1.The Great Gatsby-F. Scott Fitzgerald

I read Gatsby at least three times a year since I teach it so frequently. Each time it just gets better and better. I dare you to read the final chapter without having your breath taken away by Nick Carraway’s vision of New Amsterdam as seen by the first European explorers. Also: Daisy Buchanan remains the character that I most love to hate.

Honorable Mention: How Did You Get This Number?-Sloane Crosley; Me and Orson Welles-Robert Kaplow

Of Note: I also read most of the Sookie Stackhouse books. If you love werepanthergeniemagic sex, you’ll love these.

Dishonorable Mention: Sarah’s Key-Tatiana de Rosnay. Treacly mess about the Vél’ d’Hiv’ roundups of 1942. This was an interesting subject that deserved better than this chick-lit treatment.

What were your favorite books read in 2010?

Calamity Jim’s Top Ten Movies of 2010

The rules are simple. It had to have come out in 2010 and I have to have seen it. Also I’m separating out documentaries for some reason, even though I have seen far fewer than ten. Here we go, whores.

  1. Toy Story 3
  2. The Black Swan
  3. Winter’s Bone
  4. The Social Network
  5. The Town
  6. The Kings Speech
  7. The Kids Are All Right
  8. Harry Potter 7
  9. How to Train Your Dragon
  10. The Last Station

In making up this list, my takeaway is actually that this wasn’t such a great year for movies. Last year, I had no trouble whatsoever in thinking up ten that I really liked a whole lot. This year, it honestly gets a little thin down near the bottom of the list. And I saw a LOT of movies this year, including some that got a lot of praise – Inception, Scott Pilgrim, the Prophet, Ajami, Vincere, Mother, and so on. But I just wasn’t that blown away by many of them. (Vincere especially was just kind of unpleasant.) Does this mean movies are getting worse, or I’m getting to be sadder and more difficult? I don’t know.

But Toy Story 3 was great, no surprise there. I’m not sure that Pixar is capable anymore of releasing a movie that isn’t awesome. The Black Swan and Winter’s Bone were both spectacular, and are movies I just can’t stop thinking about. The Social Network is very good, although it’s one of those movies that the more I think about it, the LESS I ultimately liked it. And I think How to Train Your Dragon was a lot of fun and deserves a lot more kudos than it got.

So let’s go to documentaries.

  1. Restrepo
  2. Exit Through the Gift Shop

Aaaaand apparently that’s my top ten because they’re the only two I saw. Whoops. Restrepo was terrific. Exit Through the Gift Shop was very good. I really want to see Inside Job still, and possibly Waiting for Superman, though my suspicion is that it might end up making me angry.

Anyway, what do you think of all this? Especially you, Calamity Jane.