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The Resident Bitch Prepares for the MoFo 2010s Countdown

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I agree with this. The women are referred to as "wives," but it's glaringly apparent that they're really sex slaves. We see where they were confined. We know they're carrying Immortan Joe's children. We don't need to be explicitly told or shown what went on there. And just knowing that Furiosa was working for such a horrible man and had risen among his ranks is enough to infer that she's done things she feels needs to atone for.

Plus such unnecessary exposition would only end up hindering the movie's momentum and that momentum is one of its greatest strengths.
Exactly. Seeing them being sexually assaulted or whatever would have felt exploitative and taken up runtime we just don't need. The way that the film works with almost minimal exposition and gets us right into the action and the conflict makes it stick out (in a good way!) from all the action/superhero movies that spend 30 minutes talking and world building.





The Florida Project (Sean Baker, 2017)
(Rewatch)

I first watched this several years ago for a Hall of Fame. I came away feeling a bit conflicted about it and tonight's viewing was much the same. Its central character, Halley, is not exactly a good person. She's selfish, she steals, she tries to scam people, she rude, she's ignorant, and she's frankly pretty trashy. My initial impulse is to hate her - and to rather dislike her unruly nuisance of a child. But as I kept watching I started to feel a little bit sympathetic to her. She is trashy, there's no doubt about that, but I also get a sense that her behavior is the result of coming from poor circumstances, not having a necessary support system, and what had to have been a teenaged pregnancy. The end result is that Halley is suffering from a bit of arrested development, at least in terms of emotional maturity. I also started to feel a lot of sympathy for the children, obnoxious though they might be, as they faced hardships they could neither control nor truly understand. And in these roles both Bria Vinaite as Halley and Brooklynn Prince as Moonee did really wonderful jobs of making these characters feel real - albeit really and trashy, but real. And of course Willem Dafoe is wonderful as motel manager Bobby, dealing with the day-to-day demands and abuses of the tenants, while still looking out for their interests and never really turning a judgmental eye on them. I also thought it was really fitting that all this takes place so close to that Magic Kingdom - a place that promises happiness.

In the end though, as good as I think this movie is and as much as it does well, I have far more respect for it than I do actual fondness so it will not be getting my vote.




I agree with this. The women are referred to as "wives," but it's glaringly apparent that they're really sex slaves. We see where they were confined. We know they're carrying Immortan Joe's children. We don't need to be explicitly told or shown what went on there. And just knowing that Furiosa was working for such a horrible man and had risen among his ranks is enough to infer that she's done things she feels she needs to atone for.

Plus such unnecessary exposition would only end up hindering the movie's momentum and that momentum is one of its greatest strengths.
Don't get me wrong, I'm usually a "less is more" person when it comes to cinematic storytelling, but you still need a certain amount of concrete detail there, and it becomes insufficient at a certain point if you skimp on it too much; like, when...
WARNING: spoilers below
...Joe all of a sudden rushes to the vault after Furiosa veers off course, bellowing to ask where she's taking them, we not only have not seen "them" at all by that point, we haven't even heard of them, so introducing the wives into the story in such an abrupt manner is a bit jarring, especially in a movie that otherwise had such good, detailed character development/arcs as it did otherwise.





Anomalisa (Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson, 2015)
(Rewatch)

This is my second time watching this movie and coming away from it now I'm feeling a little torn. I think Charlie Kaufman is a phenomenal writer and, from a visual perspective, this is one of the most interesting animated films I've seen. I also really love the way that it perfectly captures the melancholy and loneliness of both its lead characters. Michael is a man so bored and disconnected from his life and the people in it that he can barely distinguish between those people. They all look the same to him. They all sound the same to him. And then there's Lisa, a woman who has given up on finding love and who has no confidence, no self-esteem, and yet is the one person that stands out for Michael.

It's a really unique and memorable film and is so very Kaufman in a lot of ways. If I were to rate this movie based solely on my respect and appreciation for it, I'd give a 5 out of 5, but for me it needs something more than that. It needs to move me in some way and tonight it just didn't do that. Maybe I just wasn't in the right mood and with another revisit somewhere the road, I'll get there. But for now, it's one more movie I can cross off the list of possibilities for my ballot




Don't get me wrong, I'm usually a "less is more" person when it comes to cinematic storytelling, but you still need a certain amount of concrete detail there, and it becomes insufficient at a certain point if you skimp on it too much; like, when...
WARNING: spoilers below
...Joe all of a sudden rushes to the vault after Furiosa veers off course, bellowing to ask where she's taking them, we not only have not seen "them" at all by that point, we haven't even heard of them, so introducing the wives into the story in such an abrupt manner is a bit jarring, especially in a movie that otherwise had such good, detailed character development/arcs as it did otherwise.
We'll have to agree to disagree because I didn't find their introduction jarring at all. It's tough to say after several years and countless watches, but I don't think I ever questioned who or what "they" were that Furiosa had taken. I think it's apparent by where Joe rushes off to and by the confrontation that he has there with Miss Giddy what is going on before we even see the women.

And I still think that all of what you're suggesting would ruin the momentum and not provide any real benefit. I think if Miller had gone in the direction you suggest, the movie wouldn't be as good as it is.



We'll have to agree to disagree because I didn't find their introduction jarring at all. It's tough to say after several years and countless watches, but I don't think I ever questioned who or what "they" were that Furiosa had taken. I think it's apparent by where Joe rushes off to and by the confrontation that he has there with Miss Giddy what is going on before we even see the women.

And I still think that all of what you're suggesting would ruin the momentum and not provide any real benefit. I think if Miller had gone in the direction you suggest, the movie wouldn't be as good as it is.
Agreed. When the movie does introduce things without fully explaining them, we learn pretty quickly who or what those things are. There's nothing wrong with having a minute to wonder is Furiosa took women or children (my initial suspicion was that she had taken both).

It's nice when a movie lets you wonder things and figure them out on the fly, just like the main character has to do.



We'll have to agree to disagree because I didn't find their introduction jarring at all. It's tough to say after several years and countless watches, but I don't think I ever questioned who or what "they" were that Furiosa had taken. I think it's apparent by where Joe rushes off to and by the confrontation that he has there with Miss Giddy what is going on before we even see the women.

And I still think that all of what you're suggesting would ruin the momentum and not provide any real benefit. I think if Miller had gone in the direction you suggest, the movie wouldn't be as good as it is.
I don't see how a little more setup would ruin the momentum when the film literally did the same basic thing for Nux, when it slowed down to spend some time on his characterization with his conversation with Riley Keough's character, though.



I don't see how a little more setup would ruin the momentum when the film literally did the same basic thing for Nux, when it slowed down to spend some time on his characterization with his conversation with Riley Keough's character, though.
But without that conversation, Nux's betrayal of Joe and his sacrifice would've made no sense. I really don't think the two situations can be compared.





Rango (Gore Verbinski, 2011)
(Rewatch)

I have watched this movie many times in the eleven years since its release and I can never quite decide if I like it or not. I ought to like it. It's animated, it's weird, it's got Johnny Depp, but something just never really quite works for me. I certainly don't hate it. Sometimes when I watch it I even come away feeling pretty amused by it, but other times I've come away feeling rather annoyed at its weird brand of silliness and unfortunately that's what happened today.






Rango (Gore Verbinski, 2011)
(Rewatch)

I have watched this movie many times in the eleven years since its release and I can never quite decide if I like it or not. I ought to like it. It's animated, it's weird, it's got Johnny Depp, but something just never really quite works for me. I certainly don't hate it. Sometimes when I watch it I even come away feeling pretty amused by it, but other times I've come away feeling rather annoyed at its weird brand of silliness and unfortunately that's what happened today.

I watched this movie when it came out, and I have ZERO recollection of it. Not like with Bolt where I remember having a positive response to it, liking the characters, etc. It's just an absolute blank for me.





Klaus (Sergio Pablos and Carlos Martínez López, 2019)
(Rewatch)

I remember hearing about this movie quite a lot when it first came out, but I never got around to it that Christmas and I think it wasn't until last year that I finally gave it a shot. I'm not sure why I waited so long, I love animation and had heard nothing but praise about it from other people, but after finally giving it a try I was really impressed with the quality of the animation. I also appreciated that it gave Santa an origin story that, at least initially, didn't involve any kind of magic. It's just a really sweet and fun movie and I think one of the better holiday films and I enjoyed it just as much this time around.

I don't like it enough to give it my vote but I'll probably watch it again next year.






Captain Phillips (Paul Greengrass, 2013)
(Rewatch)

I think I first watched this movie in 2014 and I vaguely recall thinking it had some really great acting and was solid overall, but I'd largely forgotten about it since then. With only that vague memory, I slapped it onto my watchlist to prepare for this countdown but have put off the rewatch with the assumption that it wouldn't stand any real chance of getting my vote.

Having just watched it again, I still think it doesn't stand much real chance of making it on my ballot, but only for lack of space. This is some really solid movie making, with some really good action sequences and tension so thick you can feel it. But the real highlights here are the performances from Barkhad Abdi and especially Tom Hanks. Both men really sell their performances, but those last few moments when Phillips breaks down under the pressure is incredibly difficult to watch and had me absolutely bawling.




Both men really sell their performances, but those last few moments when Phillips breaks down under the pressure is incredibly difficult to watch and had me absolutely bawling.
That sequence is just some A+ acting. And the contrast with the calm, not-detached-but-very-controlled acting of the woman caring for him (who I understand actually does that job for real) made it all the more powerful.



That sequence is just some A+ acting. And the contrast with the calm, not-detached-but-very-controlled acting of the woman caring for him (who I understand actually does that job for real) made it all the more powerful.
That part had me bawling the hardest, but the waterworks started as soon as he got the pen and paper and started writing his goodbyes to his family. But yeah, that whole sequence is a huge reminder of why Hanks is such a well respected actor.

I vaguely remember watching bonus material or reading something about the woman who played the medic. I would never have the poise to remain so calm in such a situation.





Love & Mercy (Bill Pohlad, 2014)
(Rewatch)

It took a couple of years after the release of this film to give it a try. While I like some of their music, I'm not exactly a Beach Boys fan and I really don't like Paul Dano. There's certainly a resemblance between him and young Brian Wilson, but nearly without fail his presence in a film takes me right out of it. In nearly every movie of his I've seen, he overacts and irritates me so bad. John Cusack, on the other hand, I love but the physical resemblance just isn't there.

Fortunately this turned out to be the one movie where I not only can tolerate the presence of Paul Dano, but I'm actually impressed by him. Besides the obvious physical similarities, he did a really good job of portraying the young Brian Wilson, someone battling to bring out his artistic vision while struggling with personal demons. And while John Cusack lacks the physical similarities, he does a wonderful job of portraying the vulnerable, traumatized husk of a man as shown in the 1980s portion. Paul Giamatti should also be commended in his turn as Dr. Eugene Landy, a man who misdiagnosed, manipulated, and abused Wilson for years. He is nothing short of terrifying.

How accurate the film is to real events, I don't know. But it is a moving and memorable story that I'm really glad to have revisited.






Room (Lenny Abrahamson, 2015)
(Rewatch)

There are a lot of movies out there that deal with kidnapping and rape. It's a premise that's been used over and over and over again. Many of those movies focus on the crimes themselves, some to the point of feeling exploitative of them, but Room doesn't do that. We get a brief glimpse of how Joy, played by Brie Larson, interacts with and is treated by her captor and from the things she tells her son Jack, we learn how her situation came to be, but that is not the focus of the film. Instead we get a picture of a young woman who first must find a way to get herself and her son out of captivity and then must find a way to navigate and adjust to life in the outside world.

And I really respect the way that the world is depicted. She doesn't emerge to a wonderful, happily ever after. She finds her parents divorced. Her father, unable to even look at her son, quickly disappears again from her life. She struggles to relate to her family or to her past self. A cruel television interviewer plants seeds of doubt about her fitness as a mother and Joy simply cannot cope. It's probably an all too realistic depiction of the hardships people face once they escape from such circumstances. But, though I respect it a great deal, I don't love it and since I don't love it, I'm probably not going to vote for it.




But without that conversation, Nux's betrayal of Joe and his sacrifice would've made no sense. I really don't think the two situations can be compared.
Sure they can be compared; one's a relatively slower scene that exists to develop a character, and that's what I'm suggesting the film should've done a bit more of early on, to more firmly establish dynamics between characters and ground us in the current situation they're in better, so when that status quo gets shattered, it's more impactful.


To compare it to, say, Speed, that's also a "non-stop" Action movie that drops us immediately into an intense situation, without taking time to build its characters or their relationships to each other up much early on (or at any point afterward, for that matter), but that approach 100% works for it because that's an entirely situation-driven movie, not a character-driven one; Keanu's character didn't know Sandra Bullock's beforehand, Dennis Hopper isn't targeting them as revenge for some wrong they committed against him in the past, and the only major characters who had a pre-existing relationship are Keanu and Jeff Daniels, and all we need to know about them is that they're partners as cops, which the film doesn't need to significantly slow down to explain to us. Fury Road, however, is a movie where the situation is driven specifically by the characters and their existing relationships to one another, so skipping on sufficient context for that is just a mistake, as far as I'm concerned; obviously not a movie-destroying mistake, mind you, but still one nonetheless.



Sure they can be compared; one's a relatively slower scene that exists to develop a character, and that's what I'm suggesting the film should've done a bit more of early on, to more firmly establish dynamics between characters and ground us in the current situation they're in better, so when that status quo gets shattered, it's more impactful.
But the movie is character driven, so the status quo is about the characters. And all of the actors do a great job with that aspect, so that we perfectly understand the dynamics between them and understand how their relationships evolve over the course of the film. I like that in this movie some of the characters don't have preexisting relationships. That's how the real world works. Not everyone has a history with one another.

This video about the planting and payoff in the film shows this through several example, with maybe the boot being the best one.






Incendies (Denis Villeneuve, 2010)
(Rewatch)

I first watched this movie several years back and was quite moved by its depictions of the cruelty of wartime and of the atrocities committed in the name of religion and retribution, but was a bit put off by its twist ending that felt rather contrived.

I'm not sure what happened today, but I felt very little while rewatching this and the strongest emotion I had was annoyance at the implausibility of its coincidences. I still respect the look of the film and the way that it shows the horrific acts that happen in these situations, so I'll only downgrade its rating a little from my previous one, but this movie is definitely not getting my vote.