Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Case Files

BFI's Sight & Sound magazine's annual list of the year's best movies came out to-day, provoking some surprise with Twin Peaks: The Return in the number two spot. On the one hand, this is a new landmark for television, a medium that's increasingly being seen as the successor to film. Sight & Sound's list is considered one of the most significant, being a pool of critics and curators from all over the world. One could argue Twin Peaks would've hit the number one spot if more critics thought voting for a television series was a viable option. On the other hand, the fact that it's the only television series on the list of twenty five is reflective of how unusual it is, and certainly it would be difficult for Sight & Sound to ignore David Lynch's first project in ten years. I also suspect a lot of critics don't watch much television normally since their jobs involve watching a lot of movies. Who knows if more shows wouldn't have made the list.

I guess it goes without saying at this point I think the new Twin Peaks is the best thing to happen this year--not even confining the competition to film and television. I certainly never ate anything as good as Twin Peaks this year. All the same, I hadn't been planning on including Twin Peaks in my list of films--which, weirdo I am, I usually do at the actual end of the year. How does one make a list before all the movies, like The Last Jedi, that get released on Christmas Day? Now I'm probably going to include Twin Peaks. Good luck, other contenders (you're going to lose).

Number one on the BFI list is Get Out, a movie I thought was good but I'm increasingly thinking is overrated. It loses momentum and sense in the third act but the first part of the film remains pretty funny and sharp. Much as Bram Stoker played on English fears of Eastern Europe with Dracula, so Get Out mines the creepiness of out of touch rich white people. Sight & Sound quotes Ashley Clark as calling the film "a much-needed satire of sham white liberalism." I'm not sure liberals need encouragement to hate one another, we seem to do a pretty good job of it already, but I do think self-reflection is a mark of wisdom.

I don't think it was half as good as Blade Runner 2049, which surprisingly didn't even crack the top 25. I was also surprised Lady Bird, which I haven't seen, is all the way down at number 19. A lot of people have been talking about its maintaining 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, I guess we are looking at a different set of critics. I was a little perplexed by the praise Greta Gerwig received for Frances Ha, which I thought a nice but unremarkable ode to the French New Wave, but I'm still curious to see Lady Bird.

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