It's Like It's Always Right Now
Putting together a year-end film list is pretty easy for me. 1) I keep up with most of what I want to see in any given year as the films come out. There’s sometimes a bit of a backlog around Christmas, maybe four or five late releases I want to catch up with. Not always--this year, Inherent Vice is the only thing that I know I need to see. (Rather optimistic, seeing as I haven’t unreservedly loved a Paul Thomas Anderson film since Boogie Nights. But there’s always that chance.) 2) There’s an ILX thread called “Last (x) movies you saw” that functions as a running log of whatever I see throughout the year--new releases, DVDs, everything--and I’m able to search back through that for a pretty complete list. Occasionally something will slip through-- I wrote a bit about Particle Fever on ILX’s running documentary thread, but for some reason didn’t mention it on the “Last (x)” thread. Also, like most people who post there, I attach ratings to what I see, so I can use it as a rough guide to how I felt about the films. 1. Boyhood 2. Particle Fever 3. Citizenfour 4. Regarding Susan Sontag 5. The Pleasures of Being Out of Step 6. The Dog 7. National Gallery 8. Finding Vivian Maier 9. Beyond Clueless 10. Guidelines 11. A Most Wanted Man 12. We Are the Best! 13. The Double 14. The Unknown Known 15. Concerning Violence 16. Gone Girl 17. Palo Alto 18. Mugshot 19. Altman 20. Only Lovers Left Alive I seem to have seen between 30 and 35 new films this year, about my usual number. I think last year’s list was a little stronger than this year’s. I feel about equally enthusiastic about my two #1s--Room 237 in 2013, Boyhood this year--although Boyhood will probably become part of film history, while Room 237 is largely forgotten. Boy- hood is about as predictable a #1 as any film of the past few years. I’ve got to put it there, though; it’s the film that most affected me this year, and the one I’ve thought about the most. My ILX ratings for the 20 films I’ve listed ranged from a low of 6.5 for Palo Alto (which seems a little better in retrospect...its mood lingers) to 8.5 for Boyhood. Ac- tually, I gave Boyhood 7.5 the first time I saw it, then moved that up after a second viewing. The ratings are very general. If a film holds my interest and is reasonably well done, I give it a 6.5 or 7.0. Anything I really like gets 8.0 or higher. The 10.0s I give out during the year are all old favourites from previous years. Looking at the full list of 30+, the only thing I really hated this year was Wes Anderson’s Grand Bu- dapest Hotel. I gave that a rating of “ordeal.” The rest of what I saw: Love and Terror on the Howling Plains of Nowhere, The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Inter- net's Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz, Ida, Whitey: United States of America v. James J. Bulger, Fed Up, Citizen Koch, Begin Again, Rich Hill, Goodbye to Language, Nightcrawler, St Vincent, Mock-Ups in Close-Up: Architectural Models in Film.