Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Top 5 Criterion Films Watched So Far

The time has come. Another raucous 365 days have barreled down the pipe. Tomorrow, across this recessed country of ours, folk will be flipping to the first page of their Hooters wall calenders. Oh yes, it 'tis the end of the year. Sure, New Year's Eve is always a little bit of fun. People come together, people get shitcanned, somebody usually pukes off a balcony, hopefully there's an awkward sexual rendezvous. But the best part of the end of the year?

The Year End List.

So, here it is, my Top 5 Criterion Films Watched So Far. This including all 53 that I've burned through over the course of the last three years, if I wrote about it, it's fair game, so don't try to get all semantic on me about timelines and release dates.


5. SALO (17)

Just for sheer WTF sake. I mean seriously, it's a film about the fascism of the Italian government told through a hallucinatory two hours of child torture, shit eating and perversion. I don't know if I'd ever watch it again, or if I'd even recommend it, but Jesus, it's certainly been seared in to my mind forever.

4. SID & NANCY (20)

Alex Cox, the director of Sid & Nancy (20) has more than a few films scattered through out The Collection and if this tale of Sid Vicious and his vile relationship with Nancy Spungen is indicative of how good they're going to be, I cannot wait. Gary Oldman plays disgusting punk with the best of them, and the last frame of a disillusioned Sid wandering through the near empty streets of London is a beautiful as they get.


Beautiful women, intrigue, a plot to kill and one of the weirdest eyeballs in the history of film? Yup, it's Diabolique (35). French crime films are always the best, bereft of flash and violence like American films, and instead built around near unbearable tension. If you're not kneading your hands in anticipation through the final forty-five minutes of this film, you have bigger cajones than I.


Sweet, sweet Cabiria. The world throws shit at you and all you do is smile. Fellini is so far my favorite director in this whole lot of brilliance, and Nights of Cabiria (49) has resonated with me the most. The very sweet tale of a prostitute who just won't give up on humanity is as beautifully shot as it is beautifully acted by this master director's wife. The final scene of the film, with Cabiria surrounded by singing youth and the camera slowly zooming in her face, should draw a tear to your eye. If not, I believe they describe you as "heartless".

1. HIGH & LOW (24)

You've never seen Kurosawa before? You don't like samurai movies and that's all you think he makes? You're wrong. Dead wrong, I almost want you to turn the computer off, go outside and slap yourself in the face a couple times. High and Low (24), the story of a botched kidnapping of a shoe magnate's son is a three-act piece of cinematic might. A story about Japan as a whole and all the sordid classes that inhabit it. Toshiro Mifune plays coiled anger like no other, and his Kingo Gondo literally radiates with emotion through out the film. Sure, Kurosawa's samurai films are some of the best ever created, but I'll take his Japan-noirs any day.

Alright, lads and ladies, it's ten in the morning on New Years. Thus, I need to start drinking.

Happy New Years. May 2009 treat you just as well as 2008.


Anne said...

Salo? Are you for real? What is the criteria for top 5 movies, you're not trying to recommend that to your readers are you?

wescoat said...

You disgusting perverted asshole! If I watch Salo and die because YOU recommended it, I'm dragging you to hell with me!!!