A few days ago Awards Daily contributor Ryan Adams created a cool Photoshopped Birdman image of myself and Michael Keaton that I really liked, and so I wrote him and said so and he responded with a thanks. The guy had been a belligerent punk and a salivating attack dog ever since hooking up with Sasha but all of a sudden he was being nice and I was saying to myself, “Okay…maybe he’s not 100% bad…maybe there’s a tolerable human side to this guy after all.” But last night he, Craig Kennedy and Sasha Stone trashed me a couple of times on their Awards Daily Oscar podcast when they discussed the LBJ/Selma thing. Boiled down they more or less said that if you side with the LBJ advocates you’re either (a) a “dinosaur” like Peter Bart or (b) a closet racist who can’t stand the idea of having to share control of the culture and the film industry with non-whites, and that (c) it’s cool for African American filmmakers to do a little distortion of their own in order to balance the scales.
And then towards the end Adams said a particularly rash thing:
“…[like people who] got behind their favorite and they’ve already bought in and laid their money down on the movie they like the best. Like Jeff Wells. With Birdman. He’s been the Birdman guy all year along. Any movie now that comes along and potentially, even remotely poses a threat to Birdman, he’s not gonna like. He’s not gonna like any movie that’s not Birdman. He’s gonna damn it with faint praise and he’s gonna slur it and slam it any way he can think of. And it’s a sleazy way to cover movies, I think.”
It’s “sleazy” to have a favorite and to be enthused about that? If you have a favorite film you’re only allowed to…what, say this two or three times, mildly and somewhat mushily, and then you have to shut up until Oscar season ends? I’ve never put other films down in order to build Birdman up…never. Over the course of 2014 I went apeshit for at least 27 films, and every review is easily findable on HE. I happen to like Birdman more than Boyhood, okay, but that doesn’t mean I don’t admire and respect Boyhood, and that I wouldn’t be totally fine if it wins the Best Picture Oscar.
But let’s get real. With guys like Adams you have to figure out how to read their twitchy little undercurrents. And one of the undercurrents, I’m fairly certain, is that he doesn’t like my postings about LBJ’s historical record vs. Ava DuVernay‘s version in Selma, and…I don’t know what else. He’s clearly got issues and I’m not his therapist. I do know (and anybody who wants to check will discover) that he’s completely full of shit about me being a “Birdman and only Birdman” type of guy.
I also know that with the exception of that photo thing he did (and which I sincerely thanked him for) Adams has been a belligerent horror all along — jabbing with the stick, always with the needle. He’s a pain-in-the-ass hinterland troll. I know he has the kind of attitude and personality that amounts to almost nothing but trouble and agitation, and so I’ve banned his Kentucky ass from commenting and have blocked him on Twitter. And if there’s any way other way I can push him out of my realm, I’ll do that too.
Oh, and I love that when Adams delivered his rant last night my dear and trusted pal Sasha Stone just chuckled and said “yeah.” That’s what we all want in our lives, right? When somebody puts you down on a podcast we all want a friend who will weakly say “hah-hah…yeah.” There are three…make that four kinds of friends in this world. True friends who will probably have your back no matter what (unless you’ve really screwed up badly), dogs, fair-weather friends and two-faced friends. I respect a dedicated enemy far more than I do a one-eyed jack.
Here are my top 27 films of the year: 1. Birdman (d: Alejandro G. Inarritu); 2. Citizen Four (d: Laura Poitras); 3. Leviathan (d: Andrey Zvyagintsev); 4. Gone Girl (d: David Fincher); 5. Boyhood (d: Richard Linklater); 6. A Most Violent Year (d: J.C. Chandor); 7. Wild Tales (d: Damian Szifron); 8. A Most Wanted Man (d: Anton Corbijn); 9. The Babadook (d: Jennifer Kent); 10. Locke (d: Steven Knight); 11. Nightcrawler (d: Dan Gilroy); 12. The Drop (d: Michael R. Roskam).
Second-Tier Top Fourteen (and not necessarily in this order): 13. Whiplash (d: Damian Chazelle), 14. The Theory of Everything (d: James Marsh); 15. The Imitation Game (d: Morten Tyldum); 16. The Grand Budapest Hotel (d: Wes Anderson); 17. Selma (d: Ava DuVernay); 18. Omar (d: Hany Abu-Assad); 19. Last Days in Vietnam (d: Rory Kennedy); 20. Life Itself (d: Steve James); 21. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (d: Matt Reeves); 22. Into The Woods (d: Rob Marshall); 23. Red Army (d: Gabe Polsky); 24. Foxcatcher (d: Bennett Miller); 25. Edge of Tomorrow (d: Doug Liman); 26. The One I Love (d: Charlie McDowell); 27. Ida (d: Pawel Pawlikowski).