Movie Mezzannine‘s Sam Fragoso has polled several critics and posted several lists pondering the ten best films of the 1980s. What wankery. You can’t pick ten effing films to represent the cream of the crop of an entire decade. It has to be least 30 or 40. Here’s Hollywood Elsewhere’s picks, a blend of the best, the most significant, the most enjoyable and and the most influential. I’ve settled on 47.
Warning: It is the respectful opinion of this columnist that anyone who picks Brian DePalma‘s Blow Out as one of the great ’80s films either (a) has a serious aesthetic perception problem or (b) is being intentionally perverse. I tried watching the Criterion Bluray and I couldn’t get past the first 45 minutes or so.
Notice that Josh Brolin is crawling out of a trunk, not a coffin. You know what I see in this? I’ll tell you what I see in this. I see an obvious resemblance to the attitude and stylings of Park Chan-wook, who directed the original Oldboy as well as the loathsome Stoker, and that scares the shit out of me. I see a nod to 1920s German expressionism and to a late 1960s R. Crumb drawing of Weasel J. Weisenheimer, the neighborhood drug dealer. Either way I see high style and black humor. Please, Spike…please turn down the Chan-wook. You’re better than that.
If Fred Maalox of Gainesville, Florida…sorry, if Fred Maalox’s 19 year-old son who’s going to film school had shot this and if everyone in the Hollywood blogosphere was somehow persuaded to watch it, 98% of them would say “this?…what?…whaddaya want from me?” But because it’s from Jean Luc Godard‘s Goodbye To Language, a 3D film to be distributed by 20th Century Fox, and because it’s the great Godard, who arguably peaked in the late ’60s but kept plugging and is still at it at age 82, everyone is respectful and “interested.” Does it feel like a Godard film? Yeah, kinda…but so? I’m not saying it’s a wank, but it could be.
I’m head over heels in love with the idea of Guillermo del Toro directing a new version of Kurt Vonnegut‘s Slaughterhouse Five with a script by Charlie Kaufman. The presumption is that GDT would direct in his adult mode — i.e., not overshooting and just letting the material stand on its own, as George Roy Hill did for his 1972 version. GDT has worked out an adult take on the material “that is perfect for it,” my excellent source says. GDT is pushing Universal to belly up and pay Kaufman to bang the script out, but Uni won’t pay CK’s fee unless GDK assures that Slaughterhouse Five will be shot within 12 months.
I’m not feeling the energy to write a full-on review of Guillermo del Toro‘s Pacific Rim (Warner Bros., 7.12) because I felt…well, a form of admiration mixed with a growing fatigue and disconnect when I saw it a couple of weeks ago, and I just can’t get it up today, man. No more than I could write an Architectural Digest review of a huge 75-story office building in midtown Manhattan. I admire the obvious fact that this Jaeger vs. Kaiju (i.e., super robots vs. supersized amphibious monsters) flick was made with heart and steel balls and technical mastery second to none. A lifelong believer in monster realms, GDT presided over every last detail of this gargantuan enterprise, delegating nothing and working his ass off 18/7 and delivering, in the end, a visitation that feels relatively fresh, imaginative and (as far as it goes) non-derivative. And it’s very briskly edited.