Filmspotting Forum

Filmspotting Message Boards => Show Discussion => Topic started by: pixote on December 29, 2017, 12:37:10 PM

Title: #662: (Pt. 2) Top 10 Films of 2017
Post by: pixote on December 29, 2017, 12:37:10 PM
(https://static1.squarespace.com/static/58dc30b59f745617d2da1cc7/t/5a45b674e4966b1d2b0aa9b0/1514518137198/IMG-4988.JPG?format=750w)

With their 'outlier' picks behind them, Adam and Josh - joined by guests Tasha Robinson (The Verge) and Michael Phillips (Chicago Tribune) - get down to business in part two of the Top 10 Films of 2017 countdown with their consensus choices for the best films of the year. Consensus, that is, with the exception of a pair of films that also happen to be among the most divisive films of '17. (Trigger warning for those of you who don't like to hear mommy and daddy fight.)

mp3 (http://traffic.megaphone.fm/FLM2233869652.mp3) | episode details (https://www.filmspotting.net/episodes-archive/2017/12/28/662-top-10-films-of-2017-pt-2)
Title: Re: #662: (Pt. 2) Top 10 Films of 2017
Post by: His Bobness on December 31, 2017, 10:35:57 PM
Adam in this show demonstrated to me yet again that his most vital service on this program is as a perfect reverse indicator of a film’s merit. Josh was bang on in his criticism of the significant tonal problems with Three Billboards (a hallmark of its hugely over-rated Irish writer-director Martin McDonough - a wannabe David Mamet). The movie is a mess in structure, style and dialogue, redeemed only by Frances McDormand’s performance. But, of course, Adam could see none of that, digging in his heels as he tends to do and going into over-praise mode. The wonder is how someone who is a professional critic can be so constantly off-beam in his assessments.
Title: Re: #662: (Pt. 2) Top 10 Films of 2017
Post by: Adam on January 01, 2018, 12:00:49 PM
Adam in this show demonstrated to me yet again that his most vital service on this program is as a perfect reverse indicator of a film’s merit.

I'm perfectly fine with providing this service (if it wasn't nonsense that surely could be contradicted by 1 or 100 movies we've reviewed on the show over the years that you feel the same way about. Hyperbole is fun though).

What a crazy thing to dig in your heels for a movie you love. Perception of tone is totally subjective - obviously. There's a website that tallies up all the various critic top 10 lists and Billboards is at no. 7, making 126 lists and ranking no. 1 on 12 of them. I'm kind of disappointed I'm not more out on a ledge to be honest, but hey, there's a lot of reverse indicator critics out there for you to seek out.
Title: Re: #662: (Pt. 2) Top 10 Films of 2017
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on January 01, 2018, 12:05:33 PM
Oh man, there goes another professional critic with his own personal tastes and opinions and not assimilating with consensus. Don't you just hate it when they do that?
Title: Re: #662: (Pt. 2) Top 10 Films of 2017
Post by: Teproc on January 01, 2018, 12:07:01 PM
Really liked the new format for the top 10s.
Title: Re: #662: (Pt. 2) Top 10 Films of 2017
Post by: Adam on January 01, 2018, 12:12:45 PM
Good to hear Teproc - heard from only few people so far who didn't like it. I don't think we're locked into anything for next year - the picks themselves will largely determine whether the structure works or not. But I definitely don't see going back to the format where we get 3 or 4 different people all explaining why they put movie X at Y slot. I definitely liked the way we built up to Ghost Story, Florida Project, Lady Bird and Get Out as the films of the year. Feels right even if Ghost Story stands out a little.
Title: Re: #662: (Pt. 2) Top 10 Films of 2017
Post by: Junior on January 01, 2018, 12:34:47 PM
I also very much like the new format. As a guy who likes hearing people both talk about the things only they love so I might also discover it and talk about the stuff everybody loves so I can hear different perspectives on it, the format really works for me. And those picks really do stand out as not only great films but also particularly 2017-y.
Title: Re: #662: (Pt. 2) Top 10 Films of 2017
Post by: 1SO on January 01, 2018, 07:42:27 PM
This thread is going to be interesting when Three Billboards receives 4(ish) Oscar nominations including Best Original Screenplay.
Title: Re: #662: (Pt. 2) Top 10 Films of 2017
Post by: Will on January 02, 2018, 06:07:10 PM
Honestly, kind of shocked how Tasha lists MOTHER!, PHANTOM THREAD, & I, TONYA but doesn't even acknowledge the problem many people have with all three films: they either have a questionably misogynistic view of their leading female characters or don't treat their problems with the respect they deserve. I hoped that someone else on the roundtable would've discussed these problems, but not a peep.  :-\

SPOILERS FOR THE PREVIOUSLY MENTIONED MOVIES:

Both MOTHER! and PHANTOM THREAD don't investigate the central female characters beyond their relation to their man. Their goal is to love a man who is withholding love for them because they're obsessed with their art. Regardless of how innovative in style they are, the core narratives of these films have not only been done before, but are pretty repugnant.

I TONYA, on the other hand, gives full breadth of who Tonya Harding is as a person, but repeatedly shows her being brutalized in domestic abuse over and over, sometimes playing it for macabre laughs. I don't know what more there is to gleam from showing the nth time a woman is beaten other than to feel hollowed out by the casualty Gillespie employs in his form with it. I would feel like there could be a point to these excessively violent scenes if there were any commentary on them, but there's barely any.
Title: Re: #662: (Pt. 2) Top 10 Films of 2017
Post by: Adam on January 02, 2018, 06:38:25 PM
Appreciate these perspectives but don't share them. (Haven't seen Mother.) Can't speak for Tasha but would seem she doesn't either.
Title: Re: #662: (Pt. 2) Top 10 Films of 2017
Post by: jdc on January 02, 2018, 09:39:16 PM
Honestly, kind of shocked how Tasha lists MOTHER!, PHANTOM THREAD, & I, TONYA but doesn't even acknowledge the problem many people have with all three films: they either have a questionably misogynistic view of their leading female characters or don't treat their problems with the respect they deserve. I hoped that someone else on the roundtable would've discussed these problems, but not a peep.  :-\

SPOILERS FOR THE PREVIOUSLY MENTIONED MOVIES:

Both MOTHER! and PHANTOM THREAD don't investigate the central female characters beyond their relation to their man. Their goal is to love a man who is withholding love for them because they're obsessed with their art. Regardless of how innovative in style they are, the core narratives of these films have not only been done before, but are pretty repugnant.arely any.

I don't think just because the main character is misogynistic that is makes the film misogynistic, anymore than a film that may show racism makes the film racist. mother! really gave me the opposite reaction, it made me reflect more on how I communicate and make decisions with my wife. Both can be improved and watching it in such a way does make me reflect on myself.

I haven't seen Phantom Thread yet but I don't see mother! the same way that you do.
Title: Re: #662: (Pt. 2) Top 10 Films of 2017
Post by: Will on January 02, 2018, 10:25:45 PM
Appreciate these perspectives but don't share them. (Haven't seen Mother.) Can't speak for Tasha but would seem she doesn't either.

It's just disappointing because I think she's one of the more socially conscious critics out there but a lot of discussion on film sites like letterboxd has been over the gender politics of these films, especially MOTHER!, but I felt the conversation was more about Aronofsky's aesthetic choices and its divisiveness rather than why it's divisive in the first place.

I hope you touch upon 2016 Golden Brick nominee Chad Hartigan on his review for PHANTOM THREAD for your review which lies down the problems of the film better than I ever could:

Quote
On the one hand, this is everything I ever want in a film. A sensationally gifted director at the top of his game choosing a subject to explore, diving deep into the details of that world, and populating it with the best actors in the game. I could have watched this film for ten hours for those reasons. Moment to moment, it's exquisite.

On the other hand, it's a pity that the best PTA could come up with for this whole endeavor was the story of a man who yearns for nothing but perfection in his work and a woman who yearns for seemingly nothing but a man. No matter how well it's done, we've seen it a million times and need it now less than ever.

But man it's done so, so well.

https://letterboxd.com/chad_hartigan/film/phantom-thread/
Title: Re: #662: (Pt. 2) Top 10 Films of 2017
Post by: Will on January 02, 2018, 10:58:24 PM
Honestly, kind of shocked how Tasha lists MOTHER!, PHANTOM THREAD, & I, TONYA but doesn't even acknowledge the problem many people have with all three films: they either have a questionably misogynistic view of their leading female characters or don't treat their problems with the respect they deserve. I hoped that someone else on the roundtable would've discussed these problems, but not a peep.  :-\

SPOILERS FOR THE PREVIOUSLY MENTIONED MOVIES:

Both MOTHER! and PHANTOM THREAD don't investigate the central female characters beyond their relation to their man. Their goal is to love a man who is withholding love for them because they're obsessed with their art. Regardless of how innovative in style they are, the core narratives of these films have not only been done before, but are pretty repugnant.arely any.

I don't think just because the main character is misogynistic that is makes the film misogynistic, anymore than a film that may show racism makes the film racist. mother! really gave me the opposite reaction, it made me reflect more on how I communicate and make decisions with my wife. Both can be improved and watching it in such a way does make me reflect on myself.

I haven't seen Phantom Thread yet but I don't see mother! the same way that you do.

No, I'm not saying anything about who the main character is as a person, but how these men write their main female characters to serve as blank vessels void of personality outside of their total and utter devotion to their man.
Title: Re: #662: (Pt. 2) Top 10 Films of 2017
Post by: 1SO on January 02, 2018, 11:38:05 PM
No, I'm not saying anything about who the main character is as a person, but how these men write their main female characters to serve as blank vessels void of personality outside of their total and utter devotion to their man.
This reads like my reaction to The Beguiled, written by Sofia Coppola.
Title: Re: #662: (Pt. 2) Top 10 Films of 2017
Post by: Will on January 03, 2018, 02:08:11 AM
No, I'm not saying anything about who the main character is as a person, but how these men write their main female characters to serve as blank vessels void of personality outside of their total and utter devotion to their man.
This reads like my reaction to The Beguiled, written by Sofia Coppola.

I don't understand how you can feel that way when the ending is not the kind of one the lead man would prefer, to put it lightly.
Title: Re: #662: (Pt. 2) Top 10 Films of 2017
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on January 03, 2018, 07:23:59 AM
No, I'm not saying anything about who the main character is as a person, but how these men write their main female characters to serve as blank vessels void of personality outside of their total and utter devotion to their man.
This reads like my reaction to The Beguiled, written by Sofia Coppola.
To me, the entire film is about female desire, not devotion.

As for mother!, it's pretty clear that Jennifer Lawrence is framed as the artistic muse, but I think the entire film complicates this idea and condemns artists for abusing women to create their art. I'm not sure how the audience is supposed to side with Javier Bardem in this film as the entire film aligns us with the Mother character. Convention should have her function as a devote wife for the struggling artist type, but she isn't at all and that's where the entire conflict of the film emerges from.

I think there's a strong difference between depicting women in a devout way that can be demeaning, but I don't see it with either of these films. I think especially with The Beguiled, Coppola is trying to show women's sexual desire for men, not in a dominating sense, but simply the desire to want and to be wanted. That's a very human thing and it doesn't make women blindly devoted to men, it's simply a natural part of sexual desire and the need for emotional and relational stability.

Also, there's a sense in which we aren't considering the function of genre in these films. Both The Beguiled and mother! function more like horror films and mother! also has a heavy apocalyptic slant. How do those sensibilities change how characters function in relation to the work as a whole?

Plus, I think that Javier Bardem in mother! is just as much a vessel for the tortured male artist as Lawrence is for the artistic muse. They're function as archetypes in this vision of how art functions and the film aligns us with the muse, not the male artist. I think the gender politics critique is simply a fundamental failure to understand the genre mother! functions within. None of the characters are supposed to be complex portraits and the characters serve more to say something about art and creation than they are supposed to depict life as the director sees it.
Title: Re: #662: (Pt. 2) Top 10 Films of 2017
Post by: sdb_1970 on January 03, 2018, 08:24:37 AM
Great show, as usual, BUT ... it was disappointing to hear the unmitigated piling on re The Florida Project, which was, by far, the biggest disappointment of 2017.  Without going into the eye-rolling final shot, to me and my significant other, the entire film came across as poverty porn dressed up with indie affectation and never once did we sense that the ridiculously overpraised Brooklynn Prince was unaware of the camera, who took us out of the movie from the very first moment.  (As for all the references to the Little Rascals? Um, no, sorry.)
Title: Re: #662: (Pt. 2) Top 10 Films of 2017
Post by: Adam on January 03, 2018, 02:49:48 PM
Great show, as usual, BUT ... it was disappointing to hear the unmitigated piling on re The Florida Project, which was, by far, the biggest disappointment of 2017.  Without going into the eye-rolling final shot, to me and my significant other, the entire film came across as poverty porn dressed up with indie affectation and never once did we sense that the ridiculously overpraised Brooklynn Prince was unaware of the camera, who took us out of the movie from the very first moment.  (As for all the references to the Little Rascals? Um, no, sorry.)
I say this with no snark or condescension intended - but maybe the most, let's say, misguided take I've heard all year. As in disagree strongly with everything you express here.
Title: Re: #662: (Pt. 2) Top 10 Films of 2017
Post by: Adam on January 03, 2018, 02:58:27 PM
No matter how well it's done, we've seen it a million times and need it now less than ever.
I know what he's referring to here specifically, but this sentiment is something you could also suggest about There Will Be Blood, and who knows how many how other really good to great films not directed by PTA. Not only is the 'how' really important, but there are lots of unpleasant (and real) relationship dynamics that are absolutely still worth exploring despite (because of?) that unpleasantness. Can't come up with a scenario in any PTA film off the top of my head where there's a relationship held up as ideal... not problematic... flawed... even, I don't know, dangerous. Take your pick. (And yes, I'm using "relationship dynamics" here to include, among other things, the respective priorities of Woodcock and Alma.)
Title: Re: #662: (Pt. 2) Top 10 Films of 2017
Post by: Will on January 03, 2018, 06:21:24 PM
No matter how well it's done, we've seen it a million times and need it now less than ever.
I know what he's referring to here specifically, but this sentiment is something you could also suggest about There Will Be Blood, and who knows how many how other really good to great films not directed by PTA. Not only is the 'how' really important, but there are lots of unpleasant (and real) relationship dynamics that are absolutely still worth exploring despite (because of?) that unpleasantness. Can't come up with a scenario in any PTA film off the top of my head where there's a relationship held up as ideal... not problematic... flawed... even, I don't know, dangerous. Take your pick. (And yes, I'm using "relationship dynamics" here to include, among other things, the respective priorities of Woodcock and Alma.)

Honestly, that's my only problem with THERE WILL BE BLOOD. It's a well-worn story that Americans love: you can be filthy rich but at the end of the day, money can't buy you love. I acknowledge that that's a mass reduction of what the film is about (I don't think Plainview even wants love), but it's still the general slot I would file the film away into if I were to categorize.

However, the problem with PHANTOM THREAD is that he gives so much time to observe Alma and, by the end of the film, we know very little about her than what I knew from the onset. Is that a good thing? Is that a bad thing? It's certainly something I've seen many times before.
Title: Re: #662: (Pt. 2) Top 10 Films of 2017
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on January 03, 2018, 06:26:26 PM
There is nothing new under the sun.
Title: Re: #662: (Pt. 2) Top 10 Films of 2017
Post by: Will on January 03, 2018, 06:29:01 PM
No, I'm not saying anything about who the main character is as a person, but how these men write their main female characters to serve as blank vessels void of personality outside of their total and utter devotion to their man.
This reads like my reaction to The Beguiled, written by Sofia Coppola.
To me, the entire film is about female desire, not devotion.

Plus, I think that Javier Bardem in mother! is just as much a vessel for the tortured male artist as Lawrence is for the artistic muse. They're function as archetypes in this vision of how art functions and the film aligns us with the muse, not the male artist. I think the gender politics critique is simply a fundamental failure to understand the genre mother! functions within. None of the characters are supposed to be complex portraits and the characters serve more to say something about art and creation than they are supposed to depict life as the director sees it.

So screw authentic characterization in exchange for 100% commitment to genre conventions? Regardless, I have yet to hear someone tell me exactly what genre mother! is. Some say horror, some say thriller, some say surreal melodrama - the whole appeal of the film is that it transcends genre, so I don't know what you're leaning mother! on.

I never said the male artist isn't a detailed character (that's not my point) and to throw out gender critique because they're both hollow archetypes is bizarre. Regardless of the lack of character detail, she's still made to be subservient and is routinely abused by him, so to say that gender critique can't come in at all is not only bizarre but problematic in your approach to the film. How can you not see the film in a specifically gender critical way? The film is called mother!
Title: Re: #662: (Pt. 2) Top 10 Films of 2017
Post by: sdb_1970 on January 07, 2018, 03:36:49 PM
Great show, as usual, BUT ... it was disappointing to hear the unmitigated piling on re The Florida Project, which was, by far, the biggest disappointment of 2017.  Without going into the eye-rolling final shot, to me and my significant other, the entire film came across as poverty porn dressed up with indie affectation and never once did we sense that the ridiculously overpraised Brooklynn Prince was unaware of the camera, who took us out of the movie from the very first moment.  (As for all the references to the Little Rascals? Um, no, sorry.)
I say this with no snark or condescension intended - but maybe the most, let's say, misguided take I've heard all year. As in disagree strongly with everything you express here.

The Florida Project is a pretty critic-proof film.  That is, I would argue, based on my own experience from 25+ years of reading film reviews and criticism, that, due to the degree of agreeability of the their socio-plolitical conveyances, certain types of films get a pass from critics (as a group, without questioning any individual critic’s conscious motives) with respect to formal weaknesses.  I really enjoyed Tangerine (best Christmas movie of the last decade), so I’m not necessarily down on Sean Baker’s General approach to filmmaking; but in terms of casting choices, drawing out effective performances, and selling a Hail Mary ending like that, IMHO, The Florida Project is getting a pass that I don’t think other types of films would.  To quote a member of the filmspotting advisory board who put it better to me than I could to you: “My friend and I commented afterwards to each other that it seems like Sean Baker doesn’t have kids” and “I really didn’t think the Little Rascals thing came through either - the film would’ve needed to be more stylized.”  All of that said, I LOVE arguing, so if you ever find yourself in ATX, I’d love to run through the first 10 minutes of this film and articulate exactly what I’m talking about (tacos and beers on me).   😎

Perhaps not surprisingly, the Three Billboards discussion was definitely my favorite part of the show - that is NOT among the 2017 films that I would’ve expected to generate that level of disagreement.
Title: Re: #662: (Pt. 2) Top 10 Films of 2017
Post by: 1SO on January 07, 2018, 08:38:30 PM
This thread is going to be interesting when Three Billboards receives 4(ish) Oscar nominations including Best Original Screenplay.

And wins multiple Golden Globes.
Title: Re: #662: (Pt. 2) Top 10 Films of 2017
Post by: Adam on January 18, 2018, 05:55:51 PM
Alice, Josh and I responded to you re: Thread on #664.
Title: Re: #662: (Pt. 2) Top 10 Films of 2017
Post by: dheaton on January 26, 2018, 01:36:39 PM
I'm a little late to the party here, but I figured that I'd weigh in on the two-part "Best of 2017" show. First of all, this is among my favorite podcasts of the year. I love hearing from Michael Phillips any time that he's on Filmspotting, and he's always great on the year-end recap. Tasha Robinson is also an excellent guest. Both were a lot of fun on this podcast and had smart insights.

It might just be because I'm used to the straight-up countdown, but I wasn't a huge fan of the new approach. What I like about the typical format is the surprise of learning about hidden gems right up to the end. The new structure put the focus on the consensus films, and I understand why you did it that way (less repetition too), but it felt less novel in a way. I basically knew what would show up in the final hour, and while the discussions were top-notch, it got a little predictable overall.

It's cool to see the tinkering with the format, so I'd love to see more adjustments down the road. This one just didn't make it better for me.
Title: Re: #662: (Pt. 2) Top 10 Films of 2017
Post by: jdc on January 26, 2018, 07:03:53 PM
I preferred the new format, allowing everybody to discuss the films in common at the same time works well.  I also noticed that /Filmcast did something similar but different way. They just went from 10 to 1, but if my 10 was Adam's one, I'd skip revealing my number ten and wait to the round of 9.  Only when it got the person that had it ranked highest, did everybody talk about the common films on the list. Or it was something like that.

Either way, I preferred the new formats that were used.
Title: Re: #662: (Pt. 2) Top 10 Films of 2017
Post by: sdb_1970 on January 28, 2018, 12:00:07 PM
I also noticed that /Filmcast did something similar but different way. They just went from 10 to 1, but if my 10 was Adam's one, I'd skip revealing my number ten and wait to the round of 9.  Only when it got the person that had it ranked highest, did everybody talk about the common films on the list. Or it was something like that.

I prefer that approach.
Title: Re: #662: (Pt. 2) Top 10 Films of 2017
Post by: Adam on January 28, 2018, 01:04:30 PM
I also noticed that /Filmcast did something similar but different way. They just went from 10 to 1, but if my 10 was Adam's one, I'd skip revealing my number ten and wait to the round of 9.  Only when it got the person that had it ranked highest, did everybody talk about the common films on the list. Or it was something like that.

I prefer that approach.
We are considering it. Though I also think there's something cumbersome about a bunch of people saying "We're skipping mine until later" repeatedly.
Title: Re: #662: (Pt. 2) Top 10 Films of 2017
Post by: FLYmeatwad on January 30, 2018, 06:48:30 PM
Just remembered...did Josh ever get around to Sandy Wexler?
Title: Re: #662: (Pt. 2) Top 10 Films of 2017
Post by: Josh on February 12, 2018, 07:50:05 AM
Just under the wire: http://www.larsenonfilm.com/sandy-wexler
Title: Re: #662: (Pt. 2) Top 10 Films of 2017
Post by: FLYmeatwad on February 12, 2018, 08:20:24 PM
That's a fair rating; this is no That's My Boy.
Title: Re: #662: (Pt. 2) Top 10 Films of 2017
Post by: smirnoff on February 13, 2018, 12:27:20 AM
The top 10 episodes were great this year, really enjoy them. Thanks!
Title: Re: #662: (Pt. 2) Top 10 Films of 2017
Post by: Adam on February 14, 2018, 04:32:03 PM
The top 10 episodes were great this year, really enjoy them. Thanks!
Thanks!