- 2004 - My Top Ten, Bottom Ten and Comments

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My Top Ten For 2004

1. Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter ... and Spring (Kim Ki-Duk): Gorgeous piece about the life cycle, told in simplistic, 'Tao Te Ching'-like fashion. A massive step beyond the crude self-mutilation in The Isle.

2. Before Sunset (Richard Linklater): The man simply wills himself to make great films. It's like he's leaving the house one afternoon, and his wife calls to him, "Rich, where are you going today?" and he's all, "Oh, I'm just going to make a masterpiece about two people walking and drinking tea. Keep the pot roast warm."

3. Napoleon Dynamite (Jared Hess): So much goodness in such a delightful picture. Fills up the dry fields of Idaho with deliriously strange oddballs that are impervious to their own doom. What's scary, too, is that I knew people like this when I was in high school: kids who made napalm for kicks, listened to and recorded people's cell phone conversations for posterity, smoked pot out of plastic toy pipes and collected My Little Pony figures without a tinge of insecurity. Ahhhhh memories.

4. Fahrenheit 9/11 (Michael Moore): Moore might not be Vertov, but this cinema-as-political-tirade is still close to my heart. I can't wait for the sequel, Fahrenheit 11/2.

5. The Five Obstructions (Jørgen Leth and Lars von Trier): The buddy movie of the year! Leth overcomes depression to remake one of his old films several times; von Trier, munching on caviar and sipping Chablis, grins knowingly. Who says ol' Larsie doesn't have a heart? Made of shiny metal?

6. Touching the Void (Kevin Macdonald): Stunning retelling of the fight against death. Maybe that's all 'this' really is: constant struggle and then, at the end, release. Yet, you have to commend the human spirit: it can't go on, but it goes on.

7. The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie (Stephen Hillenburg): Part of me can't believe I'm putting this anarchistic movie in the Top Ten List. The other part is mainlining (low fat) vanilla ice cream and screaming at the top of my lungs. Maybe I am just a kid....

8. Sideways (Alexander Payne): Ernest Hemingway once wrote the world is a fine place and worth getting drunk in. I agree with the second part.

9. Notre Musique (Jean-Luc Godard): JLG's apology for a lifetime spent begging for revolution? Or just total disgust with the state of the world?

10. Control Room (Jehane Noujaim): I'd love to have lengthy conversations with everyone in this documentary, which pretty much says it all.

Honorable Mentions

Features: The Corporation (Abbott and Achbar), Dig! (Timoner), The Aviator (Scorsese), Alexander (Stone), Birth (Glazer), I, Robot (Proyas), Twentynine Palms (Dumont), One Night In Paris (Hilton)

Shorts: Staring at the Sun (Jokelson), 99 Problems (Romanek), The Passion of the Jew (Parker)


The Worst Films of the Year
In no real order.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (Gondry): The movie equivalent of Martin on The Simpsons, i.e. you need a Jimbo Jones to come in and administer some serious wedgies. Yes, I notice you, get away from me.

Secret Window (Koepp): Everyone knows that Aida is the scariest Turturro.

The Door in the Floor (Williams): Of all people I should be sympathetic to this, seeing how when I interned with a famous novelist I (a.) tried masturbating on his wife's clothes, (b.) engaged in anal sex with said wife while her daughter watched, (c.) saw his girlfriend naked and afterwards (d.) punched him right in the face. No wonder Tom Wolfe hasn't been the same since....

The Butterfly Effect (Two Guys): So this Chaos Theory business isn't really about fractal geometry at all, but rather about what happens when Ashton Kutcher flaps his arms in LA and a hurricane hits Florida? Dolce!

Collateral (Mann): I don't care if I'm in the China Club dancing to Stardust's "Music Sounds Better With You" with three Stolis in my system and Thora Birch inches away, if a SWAT Team bursts through the door, I am going to stop dancing.

We Don't Live Here Anymore (John Curran, not John Currin): I thought fucking your friend's wife was supposed to be, I don't know, fun and stuff.

Hero (Zhang): If you played the movie at normal speed and had Jet Li tell the story only once instead of doing the Rashomon thing, it would only be 25 minutes long.

I Heart Huckabees (Russell): Oh Russell, I knew something was wrong when you gave Jude Law bigger tits than Naomi Watts.

Closer (Nichols): Portman's too cute to be this new-gen whore; I mean seriously, casting dudes. For a second there, I thought I was going to see fuzzy warbles, but Clive Owen's big freak head is in the way.

Starsky and Hutch (Phillips): Hey Ben, all Will Ferrell has to do is sit there and he upstages you.

The Dreamers (Bertolucci): What's this? Eva left me for Theo? That traitorous slut! So what if New Jersey isn't an island! And who cares about a little pollution?? And so what if I'm broke???

Vanity Fair (Nair): A certain actress once said that Otto Preminger couldn't direct his niece to the toilet. Nair couldn't direct a PA to buy lattes.

The Passion of that Guy (Gibson): I hang out with whores too but you don't see anybody making a movie about me.

Also, ugh: Hidalgo [So boring I almost forgot about it.], Saved! [So offensively awful I tried to forget about it.], The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou [It's like a fart in church only not as funny.]

And also....

700 TV Channels and These Are Worth Seeing?: Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Da Ali G Show, Real Time with Bill Maher, The Wire (Go Omar!), The Office Special. NetFlix has most of the past seasons. Queue 'em up.

Movie Soundtrack of the Year: Everything on The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie Soundtrack except The Shins because I hate them. You're a Goofy Goober. (ROCK!)

Best Line to use at a 7-11: "... and the Barely Legal. [beat] No, the new one."

Come On of the Year: "I see you're drinking 1% milk. Is that because you think you're fat? Because you're not. You could probably be drinking whole milk." (Napoleon to Deb, young love abloom)


© Copyright 2017 Matthew Lotti.