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The MoFo Top 100 of the 2000s Countdown

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The trick is not minding
Oldboy is my #15. From the opening scene it hooks you and never lets go, taking you on twisting tale of revenge. I donít quite agree with the QT comparisons, as the violence depicted isnít something he has a monopoly on, and it doesnít have the same flourishing dialogue as his often do.
If youíre a fan of Oldboy, treat yourself to the whole (loose) trilogy, Sympathy for Mr Vengeance and Lady Vengeance.

Oldboy is my #15. From the opening scene it hooks you and never lets go, taking you on twisting tale of revenge. I donít quite agree with the QT comparisons, as the violence depicted isnít something he has a monopoly on, and it doesnít have the same flourishing dialogue as his often do.
If youíre a fan of Oldboy, treat yourself to the whole (loose) trilogy, Sympathy for Mr Vengeance and Lady Vengeance.

Yeah, unless Tarantino invented the concept of revenge, not seeing all that many similarities between these two filmmakers outside of the fact that they are both marvellously gifted at visual storytelling. And I guess, both revel in violence. But even on this surface comparison of Oldboy being a violent revenge film (and Tarantino essentially being a revenge filmmaker), Park Chan-Wook seems to have a more mature understanding of the human toll it takes and allows a little mystery to penetrate the motives of characters. He also has a more developed sense of irony and there is a much more cutting and despairing sense of humor in his films. Conversely, Tarantino has never gotten much past devoting his films to high-school wet dreams about how to get back at the baddies (and I say this as a devoted fan of this particular man-child, he has the emotional maturity of a Happy Meal)

I think an important element which might draw the two filmmakers close together in the mind of some viewers though, is that I think these two directors attract a lot of their audience from the same pool of filmmgoers. Someone who is a QT fanboy, is certainly ripe picking to become a similar drooler over Oldboy. The type of person who really mostly just cares about stylized bloodlettting. And if we are judging the filmmaking qualities of them both by the company they sometimes keep (which, I will be very clear, we definitely shouldn't), I can see why they might leave a bad taste in some mouths. For many, possibly an interchangeably similar bad kind of taste.

Tarantino unapologetically cribs from exploitation films, usually not modern ones either. So, yeah, I donít think heís going for subtlety or thematic resonance with his violence. Also, despite it being what heís known for, I donít think itís what most of his fans like about him. I also think he picks his spots with the violence. His movies are very dialogue driven.

I saw Oldboy when it was new, and while some scenes were certainly interesting, I found the whole thing just okay. Friends of mine who saw it later really loved it though, and every couple of years I've thought about rewatching it. Whenever it comes up online, I also think about rewatching it, but I never have.

O Brother, Where Art Thou? is I film I rented with my mom when it came out on video. Neither of us knew anything about it going in, and we both hated it. I've had no desire to revisit it, even though I can no longer recall why I disliked it in the first place.

Seen: 49/80

My List:
05. The Lives of Others (2006) - #41
06. Millennium Actress (2001) - DNP
08. Mother (2009) - #96
10. Iron Man (2008) - #83
11. Paprika (2006) - #64
12. Memories of Murder (2003) - #27
16. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005) - #76
17. Hot Fuzz (2007) - #30
20. Moon (2009) - #48
25. Bon Cop, Bad Cop (2006) - 1-pointer


Now to the awards received by Oldboy...

  • Asia-Pacific Film Festival Award for Best Actor (Choi Min-sik) and Best Director (Park Chan-wook)
  • Austin Film Critics Association Award for Best Foreign Film
  • Bangkok International Film Festival Audience Award
  • Cannes Film Festival Grand Prize of the Jury
  • Grand Prix de l'UCC
  • Hong Kong Film Award for Best Asian Film

Among many, many others.

As for O Brother, Where Art Thou?, it won...

  • BMI Film & TV Award Special Citation (T-Bone Burnett)
  • British Society of Cinematographers Award for Best Cinematography (Roger Deakins)
  • Golden Globe Award for Best Lead Actor (George Clooney)
  • Grammy Award for Album of the Year
  • Florida Film Critics Circle Award for Best Soundtrack and Score (Burnett and Carter Burwell)
Check out my podcast: The Movie Loot!

Bit of countdown trivia... entry #21 (O Brother, Where Art Thou?) and entry #20 are tied at 249 points, with the former being in 15 ballots only as opposed to 19 ballots for #20. That pair will be the last tie in the countdown, as the gaps in points get wider towards the Top 20.


As for O Brother, Where Art Thou?, it won...

  • Grammy Award for Album of the Year

This alone makes it a mandatory inclusion. I happen to catch the "Down From the Mountain" concert when it toured through here. Many of the artists were the acts. It was...SPECTACULAR!

I like Oldboy. It was worth watching it in a "theater" with a bunch of people. The reactions from the audience as the film unspooled were priceless. But it didn't make my list.

O Brother, Where Art Thou? was my number 4. Sure, it's the Odyssey thrown into depression-era southern America. But the interplay between Clooney, John Turturro and Tim Blake Nelson is breathtaking (whether they sing at the radio station or Delmar at the river fears that Pete has been turned into a horny toad), the cinematography is impressive and the script has a good mix of dramatic and comedic moments. Throw in some good support from John Goodman and Holly Hunter and a memorable climax and you got a trip worth taking.

My List:
1. City of God
4. O Brother, Where Art Thou?
6. Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl
8. Up
9. Million Dollar Baby
11. Spider-Man 2
13. Brokeback Mountain
14. Finding Nemo
15. Requiem for a Dream
21. Chicago (Just Missed)
22. The Wrestler
25. Gladiator

Honorable Mentions:
Remember the Titans

O Brother is not one of my favorite Coens, but Oldboy however, was my #12.

One of the best revenge movies made. Itís also brutal in its own twisted way, but very well done and everything works all the better for it. Great movie. Could even be higher tbh.

I like Oldboy. It was worth watching it in a "theater" with a bunch of people. The reactions from the audience as the film unspooled were priceless. But it didn't make my list.
Ooof, I would've loved to hear/see that



Did you know that...
  • the film is loosely based in a 1990s manga of the same name written by Garon Tsuchiya?
  • actor Choi Min-sik actually ate the live octopus in the restaurant scene? There were four used and Choi, a Buddhist, said a prayer for each one.
  • the hallway fight scene took 17 takes in 3 days to perfect and was one continuous take? There was no editing, except for the CGI knife stab in the back of Oh Dae-su.


O Brother, Where Art Thou?

Did you know that...
  • Tim Blake Nelson, who has a degree in classics from Brown University, was the only person on set who had read The Odyssey? Not even the Coen brothers, despite the fact that Ethan describes it as one of his "favorite storyline schemes", being familiar with it through adaptations and pop culture.
  • George Clooney practiced his singing for weeks, but his voice was still dubbed by country blues singer Dan Tyminski?
  • J.K. Simmons auditioned for multiple parts, but backed out when the one character the Coens thought about casting him as was too similar to his racist character on Oz? The Coens would later cast him in The Ladykillers, Burn After Reading, and True Grit.

11 Foreign Language movies to go
Foreign language movies are being so well represented. Very glad to see.

22. Oldboy : This is very much due another viewing from me. A really dark film with an interesting plot which sets up a mystery after our protagonist has been held against his will for an extraordinary long time without knowing why or who is doing it. The violence in this film is nothing compared to the final reveal near the end and what happens after that. I've never seen the more recent remake as nothing can compare to director Park Chan-wook's vision and version of this story. It's really my kind of film, and perhaps it would have made my list if I'd watched it again in preparation for this countdown. After rearing it's head in the Foreign Language Countdown I really should have done that by now. I was shown this film by a friend who really isn't into violent and horrific films, but is a fan of Asian cinema. That made some scenes more unexpected for me - it can be confronting at times, but despite it's hard edge there's a compelling story with depth and substance. Despite that I'm still really surprised at the lofty position this film has shown up in.

21. O Brother, Where Art Thou? : This is one Coen Bros film that I've very slowly warmed up to - and if I say it's one of my least favourite of theirs it's not because I hold this in particularly low regard, but because the rest of their output has been so great. Something that puts me off quite a bit is the twangy old-time singing that the escaped convicts in this start making their name (The Soggy Bottom Boys?) with. I watched this some time last year, once again with a view that I'd finally have more of an appreciation for it. I did, slightly. I think George Clooney is great in it - and I never miss and opportunity to enjoy anything John Turturro does, especially in relation with the Coen Bros. This is another big surprise for me - I would have been expecting A Serious Man to place around here, and for O Brother, Where Art Thou? to place around about where the former did. Then again, that's mainly because I pretty much expect everybody else's taste to align exactly with mine.

Seen 67/80
My movie ratings often go up or down a point or two after more reflection, research and rewatches.

Latest Review : Miracle Mile (1988)

Hint, hint...

WARNING: spoilers below

Take your car
Remember to lay low
Go to your mother's
Kill, and go with the flow

Pick up your girlfriend
Can you perform?
Go and drink some
And wait to go home

Watch for them scurries
They'll get you in trouble
Kill or be killed
I'll have a double.

Have not seen Oldboy but I've certainly heard enough about it to intrigue me. I'm like @mrblond in that I can't find it to save my life. What with three streaming services and YouTube and IMDB's free movies, you'd think it would show up somewhere but no go.

I love O Brother, Where Art Thou? because it's the Coens being crazy off-kilter and I love them that way the best, but then again I love pretty much anything by them. Still, I saved room for one Coen film in particular that I think is their masterpiece and I'm convinced it will show up in the Top 20 or more likely the Top 10. Neither of these two made my list. Dammit! At this rate, maybe four or five films on my list will make it...hopefully.

#5.Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl 63
#8. Unbreakable 62
#10. Million Dollar Baby 57
#18. The Royal Tenenbaums 35
#22. Fantastic Mr. Fox 70
#20. Iron Man 83
#21 Finding Nemo 44
#23. The Descent 80
#25. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang 76
"Miss Jean Louise, Mr. Arthur Radley."

Welcome to the human race...
No votes. Oldboy is definitely an indelible film that I liked, but like so many twisty films it's one I don't really go back to. O Brother is definitely a solid Coens joint and in the top half of their filmography at least.
I really just want you all angry and confused the whole time.

From the hint sounds like Shaun of the Dead made it. "You've got red on you."
"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