erik lundegaard

Movies - Lists posts

Saturday February 03, 2018

The Five Worst Movies of 2017

Alright, the five worst movies I saw.

That's actually true every year, but for some reason I feel the need to qualify it this year. Maybe because I have less distaste for these films? None of them horrified me like “Tusk,” or sickened me like “Nocturnal Animals,” or turned iconic heroes into ponderous boobs like “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice.” None tried to make comedy out of a massive social anxiety. They just suck. They just dim down the culture a notch.

So maybe this year I got lucky? Or I'm inured? (Voice inside my head: Yes, you‘re a nerd.) Or maybe it’s this: Nothing Hollywood produces could dim down the culture as much as the low-IQ ego-spurtings of Pres. Trump. 

Now on with the countdown.

5. “The Mummy” (Universal): How many movies kill off an entire universe? This one did. Universal wanted to do with its monsters what Marvel did with its superheroes—create an interlocking, continuous, ka-chinging series of films—but “Mummy” sputtered out of the gate. The movie itself sputters out of the gate. It begins in 12th century A.D., shifts to modern-day London, then, why not, takes us all the way back to ancient Egypt for our intro to the titular character. That's a lot of throat-clearing before we get to Tom Cruise playing a devil-may-care opportunist in Iraq. Right, that's another thing: Our hero is an American trying to steal ancient artifacts from a country we already destroyed. Tone? Light comedy.

Worst movies of 2017: The Mummy

“Wait a minute, I do what to Iraq?”

4. The Fate of the Furious (Universal): You know a series has run out of ideas when it makes its hero evil. Dom (Vin Diesel) doesn‘t become evil—like Superman in “Superman III” or Spider-Man in “Spider-Man 3”—he’s just blackmailed by Cipher (Charlize Theron) into doing evil stuff. The announcement to the rest of the team is made with all the gravitas of a newsman reporting on the JFK assassination: “Dominic Torretto just went rogue.” They‘re not even trying to not make this a cartoon anymore. The final battle in Russia involves a nuke sub that breaks through the ice and fires a heat-seeking missile at Dom in his muscle car. But Dom deeks out the missile (yes), and, in slow-mo, drives his shit up over the submarine, causing the missile to do its chicken-coming-home-to-roost thing with the sub. Boom. There are, I’m sure, more ludicrious scenes in the long, sad history of movies. But there shouldn’t be.

Worst movies of 2017: The Fate of the Furious

The classy-as-ever “Fast/Furious” opening credits. 

3. The Circle (Image Nation Abu Dhabi/Playtone/Likely Story/IM Global/STX Entertainment): At first, it seems like our hero, Mae (Emma Watson), a new employee at TrueYou, a Facebookish Silicon Valley megacompany, will provide a cynical viewpoint for all things techy and corporate and awful. She even jokes with another savvy insider about people who drink the Kool-Aid. Then she becomes the Kool-Aid. She agrees to have her entire life recorded 24/7, and in this way accumulates millions of followers and power. And what does she do with this power? When CEO Tom Hanks suggests allowing people to register to vote via TrueYou, she one-ups him. She suggests that everyone be required to have a TrueYou account. That it would be law. The scales only fall from her eyes when she inadventently kills her childhood friend (the kid from “Boyhood”) but by this point we‘re long done with her. And the movie. 

Worst movies of 2017: The Circle

Exactly, Emma. 

2. Transformers: The Last Knight (Paramount): Remember when you were 9 or 10 and played at war, and it was basically, “And then this happens, and then this happens”? No logic, no sense of connecting the past with the now? That’s this. It’s a movie written by 9-year-olds. A big robot named Optimus Prime and a bunch of army men chase our heroes—Mark Wahlberg and a hot newbie chick (British, named, I shit you not, Vivian Wembley)—who are trying to find a MacGuffin (an alien staff) that could lead to the end of the world, and which only they can find. Meaning if they don't find it, no one can find it, and the world isn't destroyed. So of course they find it. And of course the bad guys immediately steal it. And of course the big robot and the bunch of army men now join our heroes for the final battle, which takes place over jolly old England, and which involves a U.S. government scientist (Tony Hale) yelling orders at generals, as always happens. It's all so bad I kept flashing to that “Curb Your Enthusiasm” season in which Mel Brooks hires Larry David for “The Producers” because he wants his hit Broadway show to finally end. Because he's sick of it. Is Michael Bay doing the same with “Transformers”? Or is he simply boundary-testing how stupid we are?

Worst movies of 2017: Transformers: The Last Knight

Exactly, Mark. 

1. “Baywatch” (Paramount): The biggest boobs here are the ones behind the scenes—particularly director Seth Gordon, who has already given us “Four Christmases” and “Identity Thief” and yet somehow keeps getting work. You know how “Jumanji” managed to make Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson both heroic and mockable? That's what this needed. It doesn't come close. The arcs in the movie belong to Zac Efron's gold-medal swimmer, who goes from douche to team player, and Jon Bass' Ronnie, who goes from schlubby tech guy wishing to be part of the team to ludicrously becoming part of the team (because “he has heart”). No, that's not really his arc. His arc involves his not-so-secret crush, C.J. (Sports Illustrated swimsuit model Kelly Rohrbach), who is out of his league by 20,000 or so. For most of the movie, he's constantly humilated around her. I.e., 1) he gets food caught in his throat, 2) she performs the Heimlich to save his life, 3) he gets a boner as a result, 4) he falls on a raft to hide his boner, 5) he gets his boner caught in the slats of wood, 6) medics are called in and a crowd gathers, laughing, as he's extricated. So of course C.J. falls for him. What S.I. model wouldn‘t? After the team saves the day, they wind up in bed together. Cuz movies.

Worst movies of 2017: Baywatch

What S.I. model woudn’t?

Other worst lists: 2016, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011

See you next year, Hollywood. Same time? 

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Posted at 08:19 AM on Feb 03, 2018 in category Movies - Lists
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Saturday February 25, 2017

Top 10 Movies of 2016

Yeah, I'm a little late to the party. What can I say? Busy year. The fall and early winter were particularly busy, and that's the time distributors release their best movies, all at once, blarghhhhhh, and if you're a regular person with a regular job in a regular city you're kind of screwed. No movies you want to see for months, then a dozen you want to see on Dec. 29. They save the best for last. Or never. I blinked and missed the weeks-long window for “Silence” and “Paterson.” I haven't been able to drag myself to see “Lion” or “Hidden Figures.” “The Salesman” still hasn't arrived in Seattle.  

So this is a top 10 list with that caveat. Or several. Here's one more: God, 2016 was a sucky year, wasn't it? In every way. Bless these movies that gave us a glimmer of something better.

10. Love & Friendship

I was wary of this one, afraid of another proto-feminist British costumed drama based upon another 19th century novel, and this is that, but far from that madding crowd. It zipped rather than plodded. And the woman at its center was a Scarlett rather than a Melanie: a schemer, Machiavellian in her ability to twist the world, and men in particular, around her beautiful finger. Her lines are among the dishiest of the year: “He has offered you the one thing he has of value to give: his income.” Yes, her options are limited in Victorian England but she makes the most of those limits. Indeed, with her, they hardly seem limits. More Scarletts, please.

Love & Friendship

9. Tower

Inspired by a 2006 oral history in Texas Monthly, director Keith Maitland spent 10 years filming and then animating the ground's-eye viewpoint of the people who, on August 1, 1966, were trapped and shot at and killed by former U.S. Marine Charles Whitman on the University of Texas campus. It's truly “you are there” cinema. It's recreation and documentary and a revolutionary way of viewing history. In the '60s, that turbulent, violent decade, Whitman seemed an outlier since his violence was random. We now know he was a harbinger. On that day, a radio newman tried to tell his colleagues what was going on: “There’s a guy on top of the tower. He’s shooting.” Then he had to add for clarification: “Shooting at people.” We never need that clarification now.

Tower: 2016 documentary

8. Truman

It’s “My Dinner with Andre” if Andre were about to die, and the story were spread over four days in Madrid rather than one night in Manhattan. Death hovers close, but it’s handled with a wistful shrug. Death is the asshole in the room, and the other two combat it with a shared secret and a twinkle in the eye. I liked hanging with them—that's the main thing. I liked their conversations, and meals, and women. We anticipate a lot of the third-act plot twists but that's not necessarily a bad thing. There's an inevitability to it, as in life. Watching, we feel our own inevitable deaths on a deeper level while being reminding of what makes life worth living. 

Truman: Spanish film

7. La La Land

Throughout, there's a love of L.A., and the movies, and musicals. It's a modernist take on a classic, giving us a bittersweet ending rather than a Hollywood ending. Both of our protagonists actually get what they want—she becomes a movie star, he owns a jazz club—they just don't get each other. Is that bad or is it life? There's magic throughout: their first dance in the Hollywood hills; their first kiss floating amid the stars at the Griffith Observatory. I like her and her friends in different, primary-colored dresses strutting down the street on their way to a party. I like Sebastian on the dock with the fedora. Magic matters. 

La La Land

6. Les Innocentes

It's December 1945, and an intern with the French Red Cross in Poland—helping identify, treat and repatriate French citizens after World War II—is asked to go to a convent, where she finds a nun about to give birth. Then she discovers other nuns are pregnant. Six? Eight? Is it a miracle? The opposite. Backdate eight months and it's when the Soviet Army came through. These are women who hardly know their own bodies, whose bodies, they feel, belong to God. Some of them won't even let the intern examine them for the shame of it all. And Russians soldiers were at the convent for three days. That's the first horrific revelation. The second horrific revelation is worse. 

Les Innocentes/The Innocents

5. Jackie

A powerful rendering of one of the saddest weekends in American history, “Jackie” is interested in story-making and mythmaking and the difference between the two. As first lady, Jackie Kennedy tried to bring the history of the country to life. As first widow, she opted for myth because she knew myth resonated. Myth was remembered and she wantd her husband remembered. She politely stomped over the Johnsons, the Kennedys, and anyone else who got in her way to make this happen, then, with a priest, searched her soul and found a death wish. The movie does the opposite of what Jackie does: It reveals the human within the mythic. 

Natalie Portman in Jackie

4. O.J.: Made in America

I may have been the only person in America who didn't pay attention to the O.J. trial back in '95. There was just too much noise; it felt like tabloid fare to me. But it's actually a linchpin in the racial history of America, meaning the history of America. It's the story of a man who became famous for running, and who ran from his race and embraced his celebrity; and then when the chips were down, he ran to his race. He spent years being treated as a football celebrity, even by the L.A.P.D., and got away with so much because of it; and in the trial he may have gotten away with murder for the opposite reason. The ironies in this seven-plus-hour documentary pile up and overwhelm. O.J. is a subject worthy of Shakespeare. 

O.J.: Made in America

3. Moonlight

How hard do sensitive men have to become to survive? How much of yourself do you have to lose? Early in the film, Juan, the drug dealer/mentor, tells our child protagonist, “At some point, you gotta decide for yourself who you're going to be. Can't let nobody make that decision for you.” But Little/Chiron/Black lets others make that decision for him. Or maybe he simply decides to survive and in doing so you become someone else. By the third act, he's unrecognizable from the skinny, sensitive kid he was. He's a drug dealer with a grill, who intimidates with his presence. But a line late in the film reveals that the sensitive kid is still there underneath it all. It's the most devastating line of the year. 


2. 20th Century Women

Was a better movie less seen in 2016? And yet it's a film that so necessary for our time. It's 1979 but that was the tipping-point year. That was the year before the year we all opted for wish-fulfillment fantasy in our politics as well as our entertainment. We even get Carter's infamous “malaise” speech here, and in it he seems to be predicting the future if we go the wrong way. He's talking to us like adults but we were children. “20th Century Women” is about a single mom who enlists two other women to help raise and educate her teenage son. The kid comes of age just as our country decides not to.

20th Century Women

1. Manchester By the Sea

So many people think this movie as depressing, but I was exhilirated. Yes, it's a movie about a tragedy so large that its protagonist is essentially a dead man walking. There's no “working though the unimaginable” here. It's about two types of male stoicism: one adult, and aware, and tragic, and the other young and blind, and how each shapes the other. We get large understandings and small redemptions. And the redemptions, for being small, for feeling truer than the life outside the theater, are poignant and exquisite. They are cathartic.

Manchester By the Sea

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Posted at 11:43 AM on Feb 25, 2017 in category Movies - Lists
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Saturday December 31, 2016

The Five Worst Movies of 2016

Even the movies didn't help this shitty year.

My biggest concern with the year-end top 10 list is usually how I can pare it down to 10 because there's so many deserving movies; this year, I'm trying to build up to 10. I anticipate filler.

But the bottom five? Hey, that's the mother lode.

So here they are, from awful to horrible. Apologies to “Bad Moms,” (oh, Mila) “X-Men: Apocalypse,” (oh, Bryan) “Knight of Cups” (oh, Terrence) and “Ma Ma” (oh, Penelope): In a normal shitty year, you might've made the cut, too. 

5. “The Girl on the Train” (Universal): It's called a tabloid film but even tabloids aren't this stupid. Anna (Rebecca Ferguson) steals the husband of Rachel (Emily Blunt), a lonely alcoholic, who becomes obsessed with and spies on Megan (Haley Bennett), the aloof sexpot. When Megan goes missing, Rachel gives false info about Megan’s affairs. After Megan is found murdered, Anna finds evidence implicating her husband (Rachel's ex) but does nothing about it. And the theme of this backstabbing movie? Sisterhood. Of course. 

The Girl on the Train

4. “Suicide Squad” (Warner Bros.): Marvel gives us continuity between movies but DC can’t manage it between scenes. It’s as if the filmmakers took chunks of story and lined them up without concern for what came before or after. The whole point of this squad, this government-run team of supercriminals, is to take on the next metahuman (read: Superman) in case he's not such a boy scout. Guess what? The next metahuman could take out the whole squad in a second. So there's no point to them. And the battles here? With Witchie-poo? In the rubble of Central City? It's sound and fury, signifying nothing. It's a tale told by an idiot. Right: Idiots. Yeah, I'm looking at you, Zack Snyder.

Suicide Squad: all wet

3. “Wiener-Dog” (IFC): A clueless boy in the first family that owns the title animal feeds it a granola bar. Cue writer-director Todd Solondz's 45-second tracking shot of shit on the sidewalk. Consider it a metaphor for the movie. “Wiener-Dog” lacks life, joy, meaning. The dog subsequently winds up with: 1) a vet assistant who's hung up on a meth-head; 2) a mentally challenged man who plays violent video games; 3) a lonely teacher/screenwriter who tries to blow up his university with explosives strapped to the dog; and 4) an old woman whose granddaughter visits with her idiot boyfriend to borrow money. Does the dog run across the street to kill itself? If so, it's the smartest one here. I saw it at the Seattle International Film Festival, where someone literally shouted, “This movie sucks!” near the end. With you, brother. 

Danny DeVito in "Wiener-Dog"

2. “Nocturnal Animals” (Focus Features):  There are two storylines: one hopelessly dull, the other hopelessly horrific. In the former, a beautiful, red-haired art-gallery director in a beautiful glass house and a dying marriage reads a novel dedicated to her by her first husband. In it, a man (whom she imagines as her first husband), and his beautiful red-haired wife and daughter (whom she imagines as Isla Fisher and Ellie Bamber), are run off the road in the middle of the night in Bumfuck, West Texas by three yahoos, who slowly terrorize them and then kidnap the wife and daughter. They're later found naked, raped, murdered, artfully posed. For some reason, the novel piques the woman's interest in her first husband again. Focus Features marketed this pointless horror from writer-director Tom Ford as a “sexy thriller” but it's awful enough to kill sex.

Amy Adams in "Nocturnal Animals"

1. “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice” (Warner Bros.): Superman's great enemy isn't Lex Luthor but writer-director Zack Snyder. Snyder let the Man of Steel keep his powers but he took away his joy and purpose. What does Superman want in this movie? Who knows? He seems to help people reluctantly. He flies to Africa to save Lois but when Lex kidnaps his mom he's lost. I get being suckered the first time Batman uses kryptonite on him (he'd never experienced it before). But a second time? How dumb is he? And Batman? Snyder turns the Caped Crusader into a hateful xenophobe, a Fox-News watcher, a literal murderer. He listens to the noise, not the signal. He doesn't see the good Superman does, he simply fears him. And he would've killed him if not for ... Yeah. I know. I shouldn't. But in the future whenever this movie is mentioned, fans can rightly shout, “WHY DID YOU SAY THAT NAME?!?!?” Because no one will want to remember it. Ever. It's the worst movie of the year because Snyder completely botched the first cinematic pairing of the most beloved superheroes in the world. Afterwards, I felt like Brando in “The Godfather”: “Look what they did to my boys.” 

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

Here's other years, if you're interested:

Fingers crossed for the future. Please.

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Posted at 11:11 AM on Dec 31, 2016 in category Movies - Lists
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Tuesday August 23, 2016

BBC's 100 Greatest Films of the 21st Century: Annotated

Llewyn Davis

Cheer up, bro. All the critics love you at the Beeb.

We're 16/17 years into this thing, depending, so I guess it's expected. This list comes from the BBC, who asked 177 film critics around the world to name the greatest movies of the century. Then they tabulated. Voila. Or Eww, depending. 

Links go to my reviews. Annotated thoughts in red. Your mileage will differ.  

100. Toni Erdmann (Maren Ade, 2016)
100. Requiem for a Dream (Darren Aronofsky, 2000)
100. Carlos (Olivier Assayas, 2010) The only Assayas? It's like “Summer Hours” was never made. And wasn't this thing a mini-series anyway?
99. The Gleaners and I (Agnès Varda, 2000)
98. Ten (Abbas Kiarostami, 2002)
97. White Material (Claire Denis, 2009) 
96. Finding Nemo (Andrew Stanton, 2003) A little Pixar action. There will be more. 
95. Moonrise Kingdom (Wes Anderson, 2012) Wes is named three times on this list, tied for most with P.T. Anderson and Apichatpong Weerasethakul. More on him later.
94. Let the Right One In (Tomas Alfredson, 2008) Deserved.
93. Ratatouille (Brad Bird, 2007) This makes it but not “Up”? Huh. 
92. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (Andrew Dominik, 2007) Nice to see. 
91. The Secret in Their Eyes (Juan José Campanella, 2009) Overrated. 
90. The Pianist (Roman Polanski, 2002) Yes.
89. The Headless Woman (Lucrecia Martel, 2008)
88. Spotlight (Tom McCarthy, 2015) More screenwriter-driven than director-driven, and the critics love the latter; so probably won't be on here in another five years. 
87. Amélie (Jean-Pierre Jeunet, 2001) So long ago. Seems like I saw this in another life. 
86. Far From Heaven (Todd Haynes, 2002) Haynes has two. I get the appeal even if he doesn't appeal to me.  
85. A Prophet (Jacques Audiard, 2009) This should be much, much higher. Top 10. Criminally, it's the only Audiard. That's right: No “Rust and Bone.” 
84. Her (Spike Jonze, 2013) No....
83. A.I. Artificial Intelligence (Steven Spielberg, 2001) No...
82. A Serious Man (Joel and Ethan Coen, 2009) Higher
81. Shame (Steve McQueen, 2011) Hmm...
80. The Return (Andrey Zvyagintsev, 2003)
79. Almost Famous (Cameron Crowe, 2000) Kinda shocked to see it here, but I liked it well enough. Rest in peace, PSH.
78. The Wolf of Wall Street (Martin Scorsese, 2013) I'd like to see this again.
77. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (Julian Schnabel, 2007) Higher. Top 20.
76. Dogville (Lars von Trier, 2003) Did I watch the whole thing? We get one more von Trier.
75. Inherent Vice (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2014) Could see this again, too, but for now I'd leave off.
74. Spring Breakers (Harmony Korine, 2012) Good god, no. Awful. 
73. Before Sunset (Richard Linklater, 2004) Meh. But at least it's not “Before Midnight”...
72. Only Lovers Left Alive (Jim Jarmusch, 2013) Huh. Liked it. But ahead of “Un Prophete”?
71. Tabu (Miguel Gomes, 2012) Good god, no.
70. Stories We Tell (Sarah Polley, 2012) Nice, but...
69. Carol (Todd Haynes, 2015) Dreamy. Soporific. Like most Haynes. I need coffee after his movies. 
68. The Royal Tenenbaums (Wes Anderson, 2001) Rest in peace, Gene Hackman. Oh, he's just writing novels? Apologies. 
67. The Hurt Locker (Kathryn Bigelow, 2008) 
66. Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter...and Spring (Kim Ki-duk, 2003) I hope more people see this underrated movie. 
65. Fish Tank (Andrea Arnold, 2009)
64. The Great Beauty (Paolo Sorrentino, 2013) Good. 
63. The Turin Horse (Béla Tarr and Ágnes Hranitzky, 2011) Never did get around to seeing this. Did I?
62. Inglourious Basterds (Quentin Tarantino, 2009) Too high. Should it even be on? 
61. Under the Skin (Jonathan Glazer, 2013) Not for me. Not close.
60. Syndromes and a Century (Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2006)
59. A History of Violence (David Cronenberg, 2005) Could see again. 
58. Moolaadé (Ousmane Sembène, 2004)
57. Zero Dark Thirty (Kathryn Bigelow, 2012) Iffy. Morally. I think. Need to see in 20 years to assess properly. 
56. Werckmeister Harmonies (Béla Tarr, director; Ágnes Hranitzky, co-director, 2000)
55. Ida (Paweł Pawlikowski, 2013) Yep.
54. Once Upon a Time in Anatolia (Nuri Bilge Ceylan, 2011)
53. Moulin Rouge! (Baz Luhrmann, 2001) Hmm...
52. Tropical Malady (Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2004)
51. Inception (Christopher Nolan, 2010) I liked it, but...
50. The Assassin (Hou Hsiao-hsien, 2015) Wait, I DID see this, didn't I? Didn't stick. 
49. Goodbye to Language (Jean-Luc Godard, 2014)
48. Brooklyn (John Crowley, 2015) Really? Ahead of “Carol”? Surprising, given critics. 
47. Leviathan (Andrey Zvyagintsev, 2014) Saw it, didn't write about it. Came to me on waves of praise but didn't transcend or enlighten. 
46. Certified Copy (Abbas Kiarostami, 2010) God, no. 
45. Blue Is the Warmest Color (Abdellatif Kechiche, 2013) Went on too long. 
44. 12 Years a Slave (Steve McQueen, 2013) Not as good as I wanted it to be. Yes, I'm a bad person. 
43. Melancholia (Lars von Trier, 2011) Beautiful images; made me nauseous. Yes, I'm a bad critic. 
42. Amour (Michael Haneke, 2012) Devastating. 
41. Inside Out (Pete Docter, 2015) My friend Vinny is happy anyway. “Take her to the moon for me.”
40. Brokeback Mountain (Ang Lee, 2005) This was transformative just 11 years ago. We've come far. 
39. The New World (Terrence Malick, 2005) I keep trying to grasp onto this movie to like it but I can't get any toeholds. 
38. City of God (Fernando Meirelles and Kátia Lund, 2002) From another life. 
37. Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2010) One of the most miserable times I've had at the movies in the last 10 years. I'm still apologizing to Vinny for taking him to it. 
36. Timbuktu (Abderrahmane Sissako, 2014) I could see this again. 
35. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (Ang Lee, 2000) Hypnotic 
34. Son of Saul (László Nemes, 2015) Painful
33. The Dark Knight (Christopher Nolan, 2008) Yeah, no. It saddens me that for most critics this is the pinnacle of superhero movies. 
32. The Lives of Others (Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, 2006) Definitely
31. Margaret (Kenneth Lonergan, 2011)
30. Oldboy (Park Chan-wook, 2003) Not this high. 
29. WALL-E (Andrew Stanton, 2008) So nice to see you! (But still no “Up”? The fuck?)
28. Talk to Her (Pedro Almodóvar, 2002) Yep.
27. The Social Network (David Fincher, 2010) Yep.
26. 25th Hour (Spike Lee, 2002) Probably not.
25. ​Memento (Christopher Nolan, 2000) Sure.
24. The Master (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2012) Powerfully made, I'm still trying to wrestle meaning out of it. 
23. Caché (Michael Haneke, 2005) One of my favorite from Haneke, who's not one of my favorite directors. 
22. Lost in Translation (Sofia Coppola, 2003) Oh, Bill. Oh, Scarlett. Whither Sofia?
21. The Grand Budapest Hotel (Wes Anderson, 2014) The highest Wes.
20. Synecdoche, New York (Charlie Kaufman, 2008) Again, worth a re-view.
19. Mad Max: Fury Road (George Miller, 2015) Please. Get this shit off here. It's a two-hour chase movie. 
18. The White Ribbon (Michael Haneke, 2009) I could see again. Even though it's Haneke.
17. Pan's Labyrinth (Guillermo Del Toro, 2006)
16. Holy Motors (Leos Carax, 2012)
15. 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (Cristian Mungiu, 2007)
14. The Act of Killing (Joshua Oppenheimer, 2012) Highest doc? Yes.
13. Children of Men (Alfonso Cuarón, 2006)
12. Zodiac (David Fincher, 2007) I thought I was the only one. 
11. Inside Llewyn Davis (Joel and Ethan Coen, 2013) Ditto. 
10. No Country for Old Men (Joel and Ethan Coen, 2007) 
9. A Separation (Asghar Farhadi, 2011) Of course.
8. Yi Yi: A One and a Two (Edward Yang, 2000) Good to see you on here. Taiwan in the house!
7. The Tree of Life (Terrence Malick, 2011) Great movie but mixed feelings. 
6. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (Michel Gondry, 2004)
5. Boyhood (Richard Linklater, 2014)
4. Spirited Away (Hayao Miyazaki, 2001)
3. There Will Be Blood (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2007)
2. In the Mood for Love (Wong Kar-wai, 2000)
1. Mulholland Drive (David Lynch, 2001)

 I stopped commenting near the end because I began to feel a little dispirited by the results. Is this the best we have? Shouldn't it be better? Of the top 25, I haven't seen “In the Mood for Love,” “Spirited Away,” “Holy Motors.” I still don't want to see “Holy Motors.” 

Of the movies not on the list that would be on my top 100 of the century? “United 93,” “Kung Fu Hustle,” “The Drop,” “Le Passé,” “Theeb,” “Restrepo,” “No End in Sight,” “Summer Hours,” “Rust and Bone,” “Moneyball,” “Young Adult,” “Des hommes et des dieux,” “American Hustle,” “The Revenant,” “Birdman.” No love for Inarritu here. Odd. 

Posted at 05:55 AM on Aug 23, 2016 in category Movies - Lists
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Wednesday July 13, 2016

The Least-Popular Box-Office Smash of All Time

Least Popular IMDb rating for the biggest box office smashes

Putting together a post on Steven Spielberg's ubiquity in the 100 highest-grossing domestic films of all time (adjusted for inflation), I often resorted to IMDb to check who directed which box office smash. “Twister,” for example. No clue. (Turns out: Jan de Bont. OK.)

Then I began to notice the IMDb ratings for these films.

Then I began to wonder which had the lowest rating.

In other words, what is the least popular (by IMDb rating) most popular (by adjusted $$) movie ever made? For which movie did we have the greatest buyer's remorse?

Most, to be sure, are still beloved by IMDb users. Two of the top 100 movies are in the nines (“The Godfather,” “Dark Knight”), 33 are in the eights, 51 in the sevens. The average is 7.66. Nothing to sneeze at.

But there are 14 movies with IMDb rankings lower than 7.0. Here they are, from least shitty to most shitty:

 $$ Rank Movie Adjusted Gross Year IMDb
37 Love Story $600,584,100 1970 6.9
39 Independence Day $594,326,900 1996 6.9
56 The Towering Inferno $526,603,200 1974 6.9
70 Smokey and the Bandit $487,626,500 1977 6.9
92 Mrs. Doubtfire $452,032,000 1993 6.9
97 Duel in the Sun $437,755,100 1946 6.9
47 The Robe $561,600,000 1953 6.8
49 Around the World in 80 Days $554,400,000 1956 6.8
60 The Greatest Show on Earth $514,800,000 1952 6.7
91 Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones $458,759,500 2002 6.7
45 Airport $567,234,800 1970 6.6
18 Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace $774,877,600 1999 6.5
81 Twister $469,224,100 1996 6.3
84 Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen $462,470,000 2009 6.0

This makes me truly happy. I remember how I recoiled and thrashed around in the summer of '09 when that idiot “Transformers” movie was raking it in at the box office. How I wished revenge on its viewers. How one post was simply titled “Die, Die, Die!” Turns out many agree with me.

Which of these would you watch again? I don't think I've ever seen “Towering Inferno” so that would be on my list. Ditto “Duel in the Sun.” I have fond memories of “Smokey and the Bandit” but haven't seen it since it was in movie theaters. How quaint is “Airport” now? Has anyone put together an “Airport”/“Airplane” double feature? And if you could spoof one of the movies on this list, a la “Airplane,” which would you choose?

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Posted at 06:17 AM on Jul 13, 2016 in category Movies - Lists
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