The Resident Bitch Prepares for the MoFo 2010s Countdown

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Her (Spike Jonze, 2013)

This brilliant tale from Spike Jonze presents us with Theodore, a man who earns his living by helping others to express their feelings and strengthen their relationships, all while failing to do the same for himself. That is until he enters into a relationship with a new artificially intelligent operating system and suddenly he is able to feel joy again.

The film is poignant, surprising, funny, romantic, and heartbreaking. It explores loneliness, isolation, self-doubt, and the desperate need for human connection. And all of this is carried masterfully on the shoulders of Joaquin Phoenix in what I believe is the greatest performance of his career. He injects Theodore with grace and sensitivity. I believe every emotion he expresses and I feel it right along with him - the joy, the confusion, the anger, and the tremendous grief. To me, Her isn't just a movie to be watched, it's one to be experienced, and for me it is the greatest movie experience that the 2010s has to offer.

Kitbull (Rosana Sullivan, 2019)

When this film first appeared on YouTube, I was a little hesitant to give it a try. Pixar does 2-D hand-drawn animation? I don't know about that. But at only 9 minutes, I didn't exactly have much to lose so I clicked that play button.

Almost immediately, a smile began to spread across my face. The simple designs, soft music, and warm colors quickly swept away any skepticism I had and this adorable tale of the unlikely friendship between a feisty stray kitten and and an abused pitbull charmed the hell out of me. Of course, as any great Pixar film will do, that smile was at times replaced by tears - of both joy and sadness - and by the time those 9 minutes had passed I knew that this would be an enduring favorite for me. As I wiped away my tears I also knew that I needed to watch it again and I clicked that replay button right away. I've lost track of how many times I've watched it since then and I expect I'll watch it many more times in the future.

Countdown Rectification #1

World of Tomorrow (Don Hertzfeldt, 2015)

I've seen a few of Herzfeldt's other films and the design of this one shares the same charming crudity of the others I've watched. It's a really fun mix of humor and sadness and I found myself laughing several times, even with such a short runtime. Also, I found the character of "Emily Prime" really endearing - which says a lot because I'm not normally a fan of child characters (or children in general, really).

I think I liked this a bit more than It's Such A Beautiful Day, but I don't think it would have gotten my vote if I'd seen it before the deadline.

Countdown Rectification #2

The Raid: Redemption (Serbuan maut) (Gareth Evans, 2011)

The action in this movie is absolutely relentless and it features some incredibly well choreographed fights that display some truly impressive skill. If I was a fan of martial arts and martial art films, I might have loved this.

But the reality is that I'm not a fan of such things and that non-stop action quickly began to feel monotonous. This feeling was not helped by the fact that this film has very little else to offer. It has the skeleton of a good story here, but neither that story nor the characters in it felt fleshed out to me really at all and so, as impressive as those fights were, I simply didn't care who won. The end result was that I was rather bored by it all and its 100 minute runtime felt far longer. I don't regret watching it, but I certainly won't be revisiting it nor am I likely to bother with its sequel.

(This is not listed as a rectification watch because it was seen after the voting deadline, but before its appearance on the countdown.)

I saw that this was available on Kanopy so I gave it a shot. Gonna put it here since it's 2010s.

The Lighthouse (Robert Eggers, 2019)

WTF did I just watch?

This movie defies categorization and it defies description. I also don't really know what the hell I actually thought of it. It's repulsive, it's intriguing, it's bizarre, it's confusing, and it's funny. It took me a good long while to get into it and I nearly shut if off a few times (in no small part because of a certain character's flatulence), but once I did get into it I couldn't look away. That said, I wouldn't go so far as to say I enjoyed it. That doesn't seem like quite the right word. I mean, I liked some of the imagery and I thought both Dafoe and Pattinson's performances were impressive, but mostly my experience could be described as horrified fascination.

I'll give it a positive rating because I think that the film accomplishes its goals and I very much respect it, but this is definitely not something I could see ever becoming a favorite (nor do I suspect I'll ever rewatch it) and as such it would not have gotten my vote if I'd seen it sooner.

Countdown Rectification #3

Ex Machina (Alex Garland, 2014)

I think the best word I can come up with to describe this film is "interesting." The concept is interesting. The look of the film is interesting. The performances are interesting. The way the story unfolds - while not especially surprising - is interesting. I never felt bored, frustrated, or annoyed by any of it. And I would go so far as to say that I enjoyed it.

However, I didn't love anything about it. It is too deeply Sci-Fi for my tastes. I always felt a little detached from it and it never triggered the sort of emotions that would make me want to come back to it. And while I acknowledge that the shortcomings here are with me and not the film, the fact remains that this is not something that will ever be a favorite and I would not have voted for it had I seen before the deadline.

Countdown Rectification #4

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, and Rodney Rothman, 2018)

I finally let the animation-loving side of me win over the superhero-hating side and gave this a shot. Having done so I'm now not so sure that it was a good decision. Now don't get me wrong, if I were to rate this solely on the quality of the animation, it would score quite high with me. It's gorgeous. But that's not how I rate movies and the reality is that I hate most superhero stuff and this is very much superhero stuff. I was hoping for something more along the lines of The Incredibles - where all that was balanced with a lot of emotion and heartfelt scenes - but this wasn't that. It tried to be that and had a few good moments but it mostly just seemed to be full of callbacks to previous Spidey movies/comics and a whole lot of flash for the sake of flash. I suppose I might've appreciated all of that if I was Spider-Man fan but I'm not.

Oh well. I will give it credit for being pretty and for giving me a couple of chuckles, but this is just not my kind of movie.

It's decent but the one that we both had on our ballots got robbed.
Yeah, it definitely got robbed. It was my #2. I mean, I wasn't expecting it to be high on the countdown or anything, but considering that sorts of things that did make the list it's super frustrating how little animation is here and which animated movies made the cut.

Countdown Rectification #5

The Social Network (David Fincher, 2010)

I don't really have a whole lot to say about this. It's fine. David Fincher is a very skilled director who knows how to make a movie. The film looks good, it's paced well, and the performances are solid. I don't have any really major complaints about it and I was never bored by it, but I would be lying if I said I actually liked it. For all its strengths, it still viewed to me as little more than a laundry list of the ways in which Mark Zuckerberg is a prick and, frankly, I didn't need to watch a two hour long movie to know that Mark Zuckerberg is a prick. I kind of already knew that.