The MoFo Top 100 of the 2010s Countdown

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I despise musicals. It's my least favorite genre without question. I've heard lots of wonderful things about this particular musical, but have still avoided it. Watching that trailer just now, I am quite sure that La La Land would not be an exception to the "I hate musicals" rule. No matter who voted for it and where they ranked it, I'm not watching this.

LaLa Land is my number 6. Chazelle may be my director of the decade. Certainly in my top few young directors. The first two songs of LaLa really had me thinking I was not going to enjoy, but the story, characterizations, and rest of the music more than won me over. I since have come to enjoy those first two songs and I rewatch LaLa as much as I rewatch any movie the last few years. It’s absolutely spectacular, glad to see it this high, and probably should have had it even higher on my list.

Professional horse shoe straightener
Chazelle may be my director of the decade.
Really? Wow.

I expect many would go for Villeneuve. I'd probably vote Celine Sciamma, Almodovar or Kore-eda

A system of cells interlinked
I didn't get a chance to see La La Land until after ballot submission. It was not long after I started the film that my wife exited the room, so I ended up watching it alone. She claims to hate musicals, but of course has several exceptions that she adores, such as The Wizard of Oz, Annie, Xanadu, and a few of the Disney and Pixar films. Sadly, the jazz music focus of this particular musical was too much for her, and off she went. There is actually a scene in the movie that specifically addresses people that say they hate jazz, so it's kind of funny she bailed before seeing that.

Anyway, I loved La La Land. I understand the complaints of the two lead's voices not being big and powerful, but in this particular case, it doesn't matter. Their singing is adequate, and the music and set pieces are all top notch, especially the sequences in the planetarium and on the pier at twilight, which I rewound and watched several times. I'd like to say I would have included this on my ballot if I had seen it in time, but I think I would have second guessed myself and left it off with some offhand comment about my viewing being too recent for a best of the decade list. Just know that I adore the film, will watch it again, and it has a real chance of becoming a favorite musical for me.

"There’s absolutely no doubt you can be slightly better tomorrow than you are today." - JBP

La La Land is kind of just whatever.

In spite of all its technical craft and ambition, I was ultimately left cold by it. Stone and Gosling had fine chemistry together, the cinematography was nice, and the music was good (even though the musical tracks got strangely less frequent as it went on). While the ending was an interesting concept though, it requires for you to feel a connection to Stone and Gosling's relationship to be fully moved by it. That wasn't there for me though as I didn't feel they were fleshed out enough. There were many scenes of them walking around LA and getting into various romantic vignettes together. There just weren't many scenes of them talking to each other and actually getting to know each other, thus getting me to feel a connection to them. Their characters needed more depth to them. Whiplash has similar a similar theme of "you need a pay a price for your dreams to come true", and it's definitely the better film by a pretty long shot. The characters are far more memorable in it. I also didn't care for the dancing sequences as the choreography felt quite unprofessional and could have been much better (the "Someone in the Crowd" sequence is a prime example of this). Badly choreographed dancing sequences can be just as bad as badly choreographed action sequences and this movie is a prime example of why that rings true.

Really? Wow.

I expect many would go for Villeneuve. I'd probably vote Celine Sciamma, Almodovar or Kore-eda
Looks like Chazelle, Lanthimos, Kore-eda, and PTA all had 3 movies on my yearly top tens. Of those Chazelle is definitely my most rewatched, with LALA and Whiplash being watched 4 times each.

I’m definitely more of a fan overall of PTA and Kore-eda, but as far as new directors on the scene. Pretty hard to beat Chazelle for me.

I really loved La La Land; not only as a spectacle of music, color, and all-out extravaganza, but also as an examination of the potential clash between love and dreams, as well as the choices we make in life, and the cost of those. It is extremely well acted, beautifully written, and gorgeously shot. It was my #12.

Here's where I'm at, including the chances for the rest of my list...

Seen: 73/96

My ballot:  
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We have finally come to my number one for the decade. I did not expect La La Land would make it to the number one spot of the MoFo collective, but I am heartened to see it make the Top Five with the help of my full twenty-five points. Damien Chazelle had this bright, funny, endearing Musical vision about the joy of dreams and the choices we make in his head ever since college. When he finally realized it in all of its glory it turned out to be something a lot of us had been cinematically dreaming of, either consciously or subconsciously. Count me in as one of the fools who dream. I am a fan of Musicals, with Singin' in the Rain being the top of the tops, but mostly I groove to Post Modern Musicals like Pennies from Heaven (1981) and The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964). La La Land lives in both, juxtaposing some touches of reality, but also leaning into the colorful fantasy and spectacle of the classic 1950s MGM productions. Gosling and Stone had already worked together twice (Crazy Stupid Love and Gangster Squad) and their chemistry is simply good as it gets. From their grumpy first meetings to encouraging each other's dreams and even the bittersweet conclusion, they seem to have been born to make this film together. Of course one of the key ingredients that just about every great Musical needs is good songs. Chazelle's college classmate had him covered there. "City of Stars" is the perfect, melancholy love theme to carry the narrative. We hear it grow in composition throughout the first part of the film and when it is finished and they sing it together in their apartment it brings tears to my eyes every time. And of course the big "Audition (The Fools Who Dream)" is a fantastic, emotional climax to Mia's artistic journey. The other songs are all good and work and sometimes even wonderful, but those two pieces are absolutely perfect and emotionally powerful.

I know there are plenty of haters (it is on only eighteen ballots), but La La Land is flawless to this sentimental film nerd. I saw it theatrically six or seven times at the end of 2016/beginning of 2017. Could not get enough.

1. La La Land (#5)
2. The Tree of Life (#10)
3. The Social Network (#7)
4. Incendies (#30)
5. Take Shelter (#67)
6. The Artist (#87)
8. Silence (#43)
9. Birdman (#21)
10. The Revenant (#53)
11. The Favourite (#61)
12. A Hidden Life (DNP)
13. Hunt for the Wilderpeople (DNP)
14. Nightcrawler (#55)
15. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (#72)
16. Her (#9)
17. The Wolf of Wall Street (#11)
18. Blade Runner 2049 (#8)
19. Silver Linings Playbook (#24)
20. Blue Ruin (DNP)
21. Room (#97)
22. True Grit (#40)
24. Get Out (#19)

"Film is a disease. When it infects your bloodstream it takes over as the number one hormone. It bosses the enzymes, directs the pineal gland, plays Iago to your psyche. As with heroin, the antidote to Film is more Film." - Frank Capra

I watched La La Land for the first time the other week and didn't like it at all. I hated Whiplash too but the Hollywood setting gave me some hope for it.

Chazelle isn't for me, which puts me at odds with many MoFos on here who I normally have a lot of crossover in taste with. I won't say too much here, as it's a place for celebration for the people who love the films that are appearing I knew it would be Holden's number 1 and it's cool to see that it was Mark's too, I haven't been on here too often the last few years so seeing his list being revealed like this has been very enjoyable in a bittersweet way.

81/96 seen.

These two framed posters are behind me as I type...

*the other framed posters in here, not pictured, are Pennies from Heaven, Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid, Hamlet (1996), and the 50 Years of Janus Films Essential Art House featuring Jules & Jim

mattiasflgrtll6's Avatar
The truth is in here
Even though it's good, La La Land is actually my least favorite of Chazelle's films. It's enjoyable to watch, Gosling and Stone do have great chemistry together and the songs are overall strong. However, it doesn't go all-out with the musical element since most of the second half has no songs whatsoever, and the ending while understandably hitting an emotional chord with a lot of people bothered me.
WARNING: spoilers below
I just didn't buy that it was simply impossible for Sebastian and Mia to be together. Do we live in the 40's? They definitely could've had some form of contact and still seen each other once in a while, which is the case with many celebrity couples anyway. It feels like such an obvious writing contrivance to have them be separated from each other for all eternity just to well up some tears in the audience.

I haven't seen Babylon yet though, so we'll see where that one ranks for me.

Subtle Slayer of Normies
It is hard to adequately share the invigorated ardor for La La Land.

At its outset, the cinematographic composition and general mise-en-scène proffer what is banally mundane: a fair dose of pretty faux Technicolor shots, but more critically, a static realism that plentifully abdicates the deteriorating trial of dramatic impact, combined with middling performances bereft of the aptitude to adequately reflect the incorporeal musical phantasms within.

Nowhere to find is a talented ensemble and a devoted portrayal by master singers/dancers. Acceptable thespians under the direction of a helmsperson who has apparently not gleaned much from Demy's quixotic cinematic style (alas) engage in semi-romantic back and forth as they fake their way into a somewhat lacking but fairly entertaining brouhaha of Revisionist Musical cynicism in the grand finale.

Here, the realism-oneirism dichotomy is subjugated to an almost post-modern styling laden with vanilla imagery directed at serving a lackadaisical undertone. This, unfortunately, engenders a predestined maximalism that agonizes the content.

All my criticism notwithstanding, La La Land is far from bad, employing its cinematic tools rather well to create something just a little bit above the decent mark. There is no need to wax lyrical about the merits of the film, but I'm not denying that it is eminently watchable.
Love and purity are the most important things in life.

A system of cells interlinked
It is hard to adequately share the invigorated ardor for La La Land.
At its outset, the cinematographic composition and general mise-en-scène proffer what is banally mundane: a fair dose of pretty faux Technicolor shots, but more critically, a static realism that plentifully abdicates the deteriorating trial of dramatic impact, combined with middling performances bereft of the aptitude to adequately reflect the incorporeal musical phantasms within.

Seriously, I don't even know if I've seen The Conjuring. The way I get this, and Insidious and Sinister all mixed up is mind-boggling.

Victim of The Night
One of the strangest things about this countdown, and it may be due entirely to how recent the films are, is even with the Top Ten there is no real, true, clear, overwhelming consensus. We are at the Top Five and the point totals are still in the 200s. The MoFo Top 100 of the 1970s List had 99 ballots to this countdown's 98. The only two decade lists that have almost crested a hundred total participants. On that 1970s list the 200 point threshold was hit at movie #39 (Solaris). On this list it was #23 (Inception) and #6 (The Social Network) is at 296 on only eighteen lists. The 1970s countdown hit the 300 point totals at movie #21 (Aguirre, the Wrath of God). It jumped from 381 points at #14 (Close Encounters of the Third Kind) to 444 points at #13 (Monty Python and the Holy Grail). #12 was another huge jump to 540 points for The Exorcist and 542 for #11 Rocky. The Top Ten was simply another level of voting. #10's The Godfather Part II had 728 points, it was on 46 of the 99 lists. And the runaway #1 of The Godfather 1,213 points. It was on 66 ballots, 50 of which had it somewhere in their Top Ten. This is the exact same scoring/voting system.

We may not even hit 400 points at this rate.
Ok, not only is this really interesting, it makes me feel a little less alien.