…And now for my entry in the obligatory “gotta make a list at the end of the year” internet noise.
I have to admit it: I detest year-end Top 10 movie lists. Frankly, I only have myself to blame because I tend to approach Top 10 lists looking for that rare hidden gem – that movie I’ve never heard of. Almost every time, I’m disappointed. This year is proving to be no different. Add to that, a new disease has reached pandemic proportions this year. It’s called screeneritis and it’s making most top 10 lists useless to me. I love seeing movies in a theatre setting. (Almost) all distractions are removed and I have the opportunity to let the movie sweep over me, envelope me. It’s a shame that (for some) the cachet of having movies arrive in the mail has overtaken the experience of seeing a first-run film in the theatre.
The air is a little thin up here on my soapbox, so I’ll be stepping down now….
Here is my Top 11 list of movie-going experiences of 2010. All of these screenings happened at the Alamo Drafthouse (which managed to take a lot of money out of my wallet this year):
A SINGLE MAN
BEST BEHAVED AUDIENCE
I was ready to proclaim this as the best film of the year….in January. This was one of the few screenings where I can’t remember anyone talking during the movie, not one chip crunched, no cell phone lights… All I remember is how beautiful Tom Ford’s debut film looked.
BIRDEMIC: SHOCK AND TERROR
ALMOST TOO MUCH FUN
What happens when you combine a film where birds inexplicably explode, friends, and a dark movie theatre? Well, you get 90 minutes of laughs and ribs that ache for a week. The movie is beyond ridiculous, but the experience of watching it wouldn’t have been the same had I watched it in someone’s home. I had the opportunity to meet the director, James Nguyen, prior to the screening. He is a nice guy who is genuinely inspired by film. It’s a shame that his film left us guffawing, snorting, and even crying. The most fun I had in a theatre this year.
A SERBIAN FILM / SXSW
MOST VISCERAL EXPERIENCE
I detest this film. It disturbs me that it even exists. The post-screening discussion is the reason this film has to be on this list.
THE GOOD, THE BAD, THE WEIRD
NO STRANGER DANGER HERE
I sat next to the coolest stranger at this screening. In the short time we had before the screening, we got to talk about Korean film. He is one of the reasons why I am spending some time next year exploring more films from South Korea.
NIGHT NURSE / Cinema Club
WOMEN WRITE ABOUT FILM TOO
There aren’t a lot of audible female voices in the movie criticism/review/blog world. Kim Morgan has managed to rise above the fray with her amazing blog, Sunset Gun (http://www.sunsetgun.typepad.com/). We were lucky enough to have her serve as the expert during this Cinema Club screening.
Two Nights with Mink Stole
(May 15th & 16th)
SOMETIMES I HAVE ACTOR ENVY
Mink Stole made her way to Austin for screenings of ALL ABOUT EVIL and PINK FLAMINGOS. I may have cried (a little bit) when she first stepped foot on stage.
OPEN YOUR MIND OR CLOSE YOUR EYES
Porn on demand. Adult entertainment in cerebral post-apocalyptic scenes. A pencil scene that still gives me nightmares. Vernon Chatman accompanied his film and provided the state-mandated edits as the film rolled. How? By sticking his hand in front of the projector whenever an image that the state of Texas deemed too offensive for our eyes appeared.
Ernest Borgnine on the Bus / The Jeff Krulik Story
CUTER THAN A BABY ANIMAL
This screening is on the list solely for the scenes of Borgnine going to the Miller Brewery. Never has seeing a geriatric drunk been more adorable.
SCOTT PILGRIM VS THE WORLD
Alamo Drafthouse exterior.
FILM FANDOM AT ITS BEST
When is the appropriate time to show up for a movie that begins at 7:30pm? 6 or 6:30pm? For the folks who showed up for this screening after 3pm, it was unlikely they were going to see the film. I showed up at 9:30am! That’s how excited I was to see this film early. Joining me in this outrageously early line were director Emily Hagins, movie bloggers David Oliver and Brian Kelley, bon vivant Jarrette Moats as well as 100s of other Edgar Wright fans. We were all eager to get our first glimpse of this film and we were willing to brave possible tornado weather to do it! Honestly, some people got caught in some serious downpours as we waited. The unseasonably cool weather was a blessing. Almost 9 hours sitting outside an Austin movie theatre in July ….well, you can imagine the possible nerd stench. The movie was totally worth the use of vacation time, but being able to hang out with friends in front of the Drafthouse was priceless. *sniff*
WHEN THE Qs GOT INSIGHTFUL As
Carl Gottlieb offered up my favorite Q&A this year.
I SAW THE DEVIL / Fantastic Fest
This film was secret screening # 1 on the Fantastic Fest schedule. There were rumors that it was going to be JACKASS 3D, but I still took my chances. I took the seat closest to the door because I choose to live my life SteveO-free and needed a quick escape if JACKASS was the secret movie. When it was announced that we would be seeing Ji-Woon Kim’s latest, I was elated. This screening is on the list because of the person sitting next to me, Michael Saulters. I remember inadvertently kicking him a couple of times during the screening. This may be the only film where I ended up clutching my hoodie as if it were a blankie protecting me from the boogeyman. I squirmed, squealed, kicked my feet and grabbed Mike’s arm while watching this film. Best film workout I’ve ever had!
So that’s it. Hope to see some of you at the movie theatre in 2011!