Original Press Release for The List II: Land of the Overlooked
After countless rumors and information leaked to various online media, the speculation comes to fruition with the announcement that a The List sequel has been greenlit, and put directly into production. With the spirit of the original post at the front of the producer’s minds, the subject matter has been tweaked to reach and appeal to broader audiences. One producer said, “The goal of this post is to make it as enjoyable to the die-hard fans as to the regular everyday fan who has no prior knowledge the original post even existed.”The yet-to-be-titled sequel will be accompanied with a rank-and-file viral marketing campaign, product sponsored tie-ins, a line of collectable figurines and a multi-platform video game adaptation. The sky is the limit, both in profitability and creativity. Welcome to The List Franchise.
The List II: Land of the Overlooked
10. Black Book – Paul Verhoeven – The year has been full of tacky Iraq war commentary films using the Iraq war to make their comment. Paul Hagis’ In the Valley of Elah is the great great grandfather to Idiocracy’s Ass: The Movie. It is no surprise the best war movie of the year is a WWII film by a man who is B-Movie director with an artistic eye. The film says more without blatantly saying more, is smarter without a pretentious title, and more emotional without being melodramatic.
9. Host – Joon-ho Bong – This is the year of reviving classic b-movie genres to explore contemporary problems. This film leans on the pre-Jaws rules of the genre heavily. It doesn’t take the first thirty minutes of the film to establish character and the internal motivations of the heroes. Joon-ho Bong’s shouldn’t only be admired for the tautness of the script. The only thing keeping this film from being a huge summer Blockbuster was the subtitles. It has the action, humor, and special effects to fill an air conditioned megaplex with pubescent males with cash burning a hole in their pocket.
8. Black Snake Moan – Craig Brewer – There was so much apprehension about this film. The plot seem like a joke, the poster dripped of misogyny, and Sam Jackson’s Pulp Fiction street cred had worn gold leaf thin, but despite it all I checked it out. After the film I was ready to anoint it as a Southern masterpiece. Brewer doesn’t glamorize the South, but he doesn’t mock it either.
7. The TV Set – Jake Kasdan –Jake Kasdan is lucky to be friends with Judd Apatow. This was the year for Apatow. Knocked Up was nominated for WGA original script award and he produced a handful of money-making films. Kasdan directed two of four Apatow produced films. Unfortunately, The TV Set was the acceptation to the rule that everything Apatow touches turns to gold. Despite having a stunning cast, the film failed to find an audience or even a major distribution deal. The brotherhood of studio execs stick together and hate it when they are openly mocked. Which makes this film nearly impossible to appeal to the people who decide what movies you get to see.
6. Sunshine – Danny Boyle –Sci-fi is getting a bad name when it comes to films, and this is because of the Sci-fi channel. There is barely enough quality Sci-fi to fill the waking hours of a single day, much less an entire channel devoted to it. So, Sci-fi channel goes around buying options for any student film with the vaguest of science fiction reference, slaps a shinny ad campaign on it and slowly begins to discredit all sci-fi films. Luckily there is Danny Boyle. Sunshine is a fusion of sci-fi clichés patched together in a phenomenally visual example of filmmaking.
5. Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead – Sidney Lumett – Every family has its share of problems, but this film shows the dangers of being raised in suburban environment and leaving the nest for the megatropolis. The city provides problems that don’t have easy suburban solutions, which leads to a modern tragedy. Philip Seymour Hoffman steals the show as the older brother, and is easily his best performance of the three of his films this year. The only way this film could be more tragic is if first time screenwriter Kelly Masterson’s name was replaced with Aeschylus.
4. Eastern Promises – David Cronenberg –The end of the film might be a slight cop out, but the first ninety minutes of the film are as good as any post-Godfather mafia film. But the strange release date kept the film from garnering the praise it was due. Released in the art house circuit when everyone is busy with summer blockbusters. The new period for Cronenberg is as violent as it is impressive. Viggo Mortensen proves in this movie that exposed junk is not a death sentences for a great action sequence.
3. Joshua – George Ratliff – The team that brought the world the inside look at scaring people to Christ in the 2001 doc Hell House have provided the fictional companion piece in Joshua. The plot revolves around a pseudo-grown up couple and their not-demonic-but-just-as-evil son, Joshua. The plot requires too much thought to appeal to the mainstream crowd of movie goers and the religious sub-text is enough to scare away self respecting intellectuals. The psychological battle the parents face in this film is creepier than a hundred supernatural Damiens. The film is so good I’ve forgiven the original Dave Matthews Band contribution to the soundtrack.
2. Control – Anton Corbijn – In the last list I talked crap about the ineffectiveness of bio-pics, and here I’m praising a bio-pic. The form is still weak at best, but Corbijn’s enthusiasm and use of black and white make the Ian Curtis bio-pic better than most. The most profitable aspect of bio-pics is it give casual fans a chance to criticize “acting.” Which in the case of bio-pics is simply impersonation. The film only showed a week at the Starz Film Center and not nearly enough exposure to be appreciated. The script was heavily influenced by Deborah Curtis ’biography Touching From a Distance, making the film more of an expose than a traditional bio-pic. And what better way to cast a bio-pic than having the lead played by a Ian Curtis clone Sam Riley.
1. Gone Baby Gone – Ben Affleck – Mr. Tabloid takes a step out of the limelight and this is what happens? I’m excited to see what happens when Lindsey Lohan moves to Montana and learns to read and write. This film deals with subject deeper and more complex than any other Bennifer II movie. He adapted the script, reminding everyone why he has an Oscar. The film is dark, but Affleck peppers the early scenes with calculated humor that tapers off once the intensity of the plot increases. The man has good sense as a director. If fatherhood and denouncing celebrity can lead me to admire Ben Affleck, it can do anything.
These are the films lesser critics overlooked, and a way for me to include my Honorable Mentions in a handy list form. Don’t make the same mistake as the bourgeoise pigs on studio payrolls and neglect great cinema. Put these films in the queue and get ready for unappreciated greatness.