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2003 Milk Plus Droogies

Best Picture
Kill Bill Vol. I

Best Director
Quentin Tarantino, Kill Bill Vol. I

Best Actor (tie)
Johnny Depp, Pirates of the Caribbean

Best Actor (tie)
Bill Murray, Lost in Translation

Best Actress
Uma Thurman, Kill Bill Vol. I

Best Supporting Actor
David Hyde Pierce, Down With Love

Best Supporting Actress
Miranda Richardson, Spider

Best Screenplay
Sofia Coppola, Lost in Translation

Best Foreign Film
Irreversible

Best Cinematography
Harris Savides, Gerry

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The Blog:
Friday, April 26, 2002
 
I rather think shroomy bristled at the idea that a film "aimed at blue-collar idiots" is inferior per se to an highbrow film as Tenenbaums. (Ironically I may prefer Tenenbaums to my three much-touted favourites because the emotions it deals with are more complex, though its critique of social alienation is far less accomplished, in fact only tied to a limited perspective of popular culture; but with its leisurely animated pastel cronies and bittersweet interiors, its visually even more striking than either the sheer lunacy of 3KMTG or the clarity of Ghosts of Mars; The Fast & The Furious on the other hand doesn´t fit in: it contains no subversion, it is just 2-dimensional filmmaking driven to perfection while drawing on genre and mythic tropes without embarrassment for once.) Above notion (the sentence before the bracket) was not explicitly made by joker however, but seemed to cook somewhere beneath judging from the tone of his post. (Even though he disqulifies the statement immedaitely, supporting the buzz-wise more "respectable", but just because of that rather dull Gladiator)

That aside, a few thoughts: The blunt political incorrectness of 3KMTG (which may open here finally - trailer before TBlade 2!) obviously struck most critics as intolerable. Incidentally that completes a trilogy of films which use Vegas as a metaphor for capitalist corruption (the other two being of course Showgirls and Fear & Loathing in LV which were mainly loathed upon release (F&L gathered a few renegades). When you look at the reviews now what´s interesting is the tone of being personally offended; it almost seems like a proof that those films struck a nerve. There´s little criticism, often just plain hatred. What seems most unbearable is that these films gleefully show their big budgets, but deal with trash vocabulary in a sincere way. Though there´s irony in all of them, it´s not the hip, look-ma-I´m-quotin´-everything-has-no-moral-weight irony of the Post-Tarantino school, but mostly a painful irony instead.

Sorta victim of the same fate is GOM (and of Carpenter in the late 90s generally): He seems totally incapable of not taking his characters seriously, no matter what. There´s a trajectory running through his late work that seems like a direct response to the smugness of most recent US filmmaking (more specific: genre filmmaking) - first the world becomes an incomprehensible set of irreal realities manufactured by the media (In the Mouth of Madness, the most complex film about media-induced social paranoia of the last decade); then a self-reworking on bigger scale, an elegant and goofy enterprise, a blockbuster to counter everything a blockbuster´s supposed to do (its brother: Mars Attacks! which unfortunately was a bit too successful to lump it into a Vegas quartet), Escape From L.A.; the panels of Vampires seem mostly a battle to capture the right tone somewhere inbetween straight-faced madness and tongue-in-cheek B-pic-extravaganza (think: Sirk doing Tourneur doing Hawks doing Carpenter, ultimately) - it ran right through James Woods´ great, great performance. It´s a resignative film, almost like giving up: only the form is genuine, the treatment of the story is somewhere close to postmodern hucksterism, as if there´s no other way to go. Weirdly enough, this century GOM with its dreamy lap dissolves and anachronistic KISS-Zombies felt genuinely out of time, but was probably the most lucid assessment of US foreign policy, 2001. (Rollerball threatened to try, but thankfully it plunged head first into nothingness, making a very satisfying, splashing sound as it bumped from rock to rock head-first.)

Why The Royal Tenenbaums didn´t fare better (though it did ok over here) is beyond me: I´m certain it´s better than Rushmore, probably even better than Bottle Rocket. Were I to draw a list of the best 2001 films I´ve seen it, might take second place (after La Libertad). I still haven´t gotten an angle on describing it.

joker: the whole point of the auteur theory was to discover the personal touches in a studio system; firstly it was about discovering the individual strokes in a "manufactured", seemingly normed product. So, if I read "Mission To Mars was not a prestige (read: Oscar caliber) project for Disney. It was not green-lit as an art film. It was a sci-fi film for the lowest common denominator", what about Invasion Of The Body Snatchers, or The Incredible Shrinking Man or simply Invasion From Mars? Still, I love you for not hating Mission To Mars.

Just asides: the good man who represents the small, favourite arthouse distributor (and the local guarantee for of all kinds of Asian films) who just released Amores Perros here told me that they´re just trying to acquire Y tu mama tambien from Centfox who apparently aren´t too keen on releasing it. He also gave me the Monsoon Wedding Soundtrack which I´m listening to right now. Afterwards: Heist and Gerogre Washington on DVD, the latter feturing two shorts by Green and one by Clu Gulager.