You Can Lose Your Way

Without checking back, I probably start every one of these movie year-ends the same way: I saw the same 30 or 40 new films I always do. Forty-one, to be exact, although itís tricky deciding which late-2015 releases I didnít catch up with until January feel more like last year and which to count as this year. If itís a bigger film that comes out with a lot of fanfare and which ends up getting nomi- nated for awards--e.g., The Martian--I tend to relegate those to the previous year. If itís something smaller that is dated 2015 but probably didnít show up in Toronto until early in the new year--e.g., James White and I Smile Back--those Iíll count as new. According to ILXís ďLast (x) movies you sawĒ thread, I listed and rated 141 films this year, which means I saw over 150--at a certain point, because it was getting embarrassing, I stopped including some of the older films I seem to re-watch on a rotating basis every two or three months. That 41 of them were new actually surprises me, as three things got in the way this year: 1) I have three somewhat pricey memberships with local theatres--the Revue has now gone the way of the Lightbox and the Bloor--and it felt like I just wasnít using them very often. Donít like driving downtown, parking gets worse and worse, and I didnít much like the Light- boxís schedule this year. 2) Spent a lot of August and September watching older Trump-related films for the book. 3) Once I finished with that, I kind of shut down for a month--job-related stress--and hardly left the house. With all of that, I still managed to semi-keep up with what I wanted to see. First, a Top 10, then Iíll break down the rest of the 41 by ratings: 1. O.J. Simpson: Made in America (8.5) 2. De Palma (7.5) 3. Maggieís Plan (7.5) 4. Obit (7.5) 5. Manchester by the Sea (7.5) 6. Sing Street (7.5) 7. Moonlight (7.5) 8. Christine (7.0) 9. Arrival (7.0) 10. Eat That Question: Frank Zappa in His Own Words (7.0) The O.J. documentary was the only new film I gave an 8.0-or-higher to on ILX. I saw it at the documentary festival in one sitting, so I donít know if it would feel quite as epic chopped up on TV, which seemed to be how most people experienced it. Complaining that itís not a ďreal filmĒ seems silly to me. How would it have been made any differently if it had been done expressly for theatre release? All I can think of is that it would have been sub- stantially shorter. Also, how is it any different than something like Fassbinderís Berlin Alexanderplatz (or other such parallel examples), which was also originally made for TV? The next nine films were the 7.0s and 7.5s, along with the following: Don't Blink - Robert Frank (7.5), Ingrid Bergman: In Her Own Words (7.0), Mustang (7.0), Janis: Little Girl Blue (7.0), Hockney (7.0), The Pulitzer at 100 (7.0), Wiener Dog (7.0), Lo and Behold, Reveries of the Connected World (7.0), Under the Sun (7.0). As always, Iím too forgiving with documentaries. There was nothing particularly noteworthy about The Pulitzer at 100, but the subject and interviewees held my interest the whole way through. 6.0s and 6.5s would seem to be interchangeable, but 6.5s usually have a performance or something else that stays in my mind, and 6.0s are often things I was looking forward to and were disappointing. Not always--sometimes they just mean that I saw this movie, didnít dislike it, and quickly forgot about it: James White (6.0), The Hateful Eight (6.0), I Smile Back (6.0), Joy (6.5), Crazy About Tiffanyís (6.0), The Big Short (6.5), Cemetery of Splen- dor (6.5), The Incomparable Rose Hartman (6.5), The Damned: Don't You Wish That We Were Dead (6.0), Midnight Special (6.5), American Dreamer* (6.5), Weiner (6.0), Money Monster (6.0), Eight Days a Week (6.5), The Girl on the Train (6.0), The Accountant (6.0), Every- body Wants Some! (6.0) Three films I couldíve and shouldíve liked and didnít: Hail, Caesar! (5.5), The Nice Guys (5.5), Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You (5.5). The thoroughly pedestrian Everybody Wants Some! was approximately two minutes--the great ďRapper's DelightĒ scene--away from being dumped into this group. Film I was wary about assigning a rating to: No Home Movie (--). Iíve liked Chantal Akerman films, and this one (released just before or after her death) was obviously as personal as could be. I found it tedious. The one film I most regret missing was Tower, about Charles Whitman. It played at the Kings- way for a few weeks, but mostly daytime screenings during the week, and knowing it was a mix of news footage (good) and animated recreations (not good), I kept delaying until finally it was too late. David Edelstein had it on his Top 10, and Iím not sure if itíll show up again anytime soon. *The Kit Carson/Lawrence Schiller documentary from '71 about Dennis Hopper's The Last Movie. Got its first official release this year, and improbably turned up at the Carlton for a week. I think there were four other people in the theatre besides me.

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