Justin Souther’s Best and Worst Picks for 2007

As this is my first full year as “that other” film critic with the Xpress (and it’s been my experience that I’m sure that it’ll come as a shock to quite a few that there is more than just one), it also means that I get my very first top ten list. It’s an undertaking I have approached with some trepidation, mostly due to the fact that I know in my gut that I won’t be happy with this list in a month. There will be something I’ll watch again and not love as much or something I’ll catch for a second or third time and absolutely fall in love with. But such is the tortured life of a film critic. You get one chance to decide whether or not you love a film before it’s on view in posterity in print (I’m sure one of Ken’s greatest regrets is his Signs review).

When approaching 2007, it’s simple to just look at a year’s worth of films and immediately focus on the dreck that Hollywood as pumped out. The same goes for looking at what next year holds. And while I don’t think I could blame anyone for this attitude (I am the guy who has to watch it), please keep in mind these are not the films we’ll be remembering decades or years or months from now (I honestly forgot until a few days ago when I was researching this article that I had watched Sydney White, and that was 3 months ago). What we will remember, however, is the good stuff, and 2007 was a year chock full of honestly great films. We’ll just have to wait and see if 2008 can keep up.

And with that, for better or for worse, here are my top ten best and worst films of 2007.
         

1. The Darjeeling Limited. For all intents and purposes, Wes Anderson’s The Darjeeling Limited is perfect. From the top down—from Anderson’s direction (which continues to mature), to the performances (topped off by a nuanced and occasionally heartbreaking performance by Adrien Brody, a piece of acting which has seemed to have been overlooked by everyone), to the cinematography, to the set design and on and on and on—it accomplishes everything it intends to do, and then some.

2. There Will Be Blood. Since Paul Thomas Anderson’s latest hasn’t hit town yet (and apparently isn’t scheduled to until Jan. 18), there’s only a handful of people that I know to whom I could wholeheartedly recommend this film. It’s very long, a bit on the slow side, and I’m still not sure that there’s any real point to it all. And that’s where its brilliance lies. Featuring Daniel Day Lewis (in one of those roles that’s destined to become iconic if there’s any justice) as a greedy turn-of-the-century oil man and his descent into madness, it’s a film made outside the world of focus groups and demographics. It’s a film made for no one in particular, but for those with the wherewithal and the patience is the reward of one of the year’s most taut, fascinating and haunting films.

3. Sunshine. Easily the most visually beautiful—and most dramatically tense—film of the year, Sunshine is just another example of director Danny Boyle flexing his creative muscle. It’s a science-fiction film for people who don’t necessarily like science fiction, yet it manages to touch on many of the themes popularized by the genre in wholly different—and often times unexpected—ways.

4. Eastern Promises. With Eastern Promises, it would seem that David Cronenberg has officially entered a new stage in his long career, one that eschews the overt oddity of his earlier films for the nitty-gritty, while still exploring many of the same concerns he’s always had. And in some ways, this less fanciful approach is more unsettling; the body horror of Videodrome (1983) and Scanners (1981) is in the real world now, and boy, is it nasty. And don’t overlook Viggo Mortensen, in what’s easily the best performance—and the most daring (for just about anyone)—of his career.

5. No Country for Old Men. An easier film to admire than to truly love, the Coen Brothers’ No Country for Old Men is a stark, brutal, intense, superbly acted meditation on good and evil. It’s one of those incredibly dense films that even after dozens of viewings will likely still be giving up its secrets.

6. Black Snake Moan. Who’d have thought a movie about chaining a sex fiend to a radiator in an attempt to cure her of her unholy ways would turn out to be one of the year’s most unabashedly sweet movies. Director Craig Brewer is proving himself a completely singular talent, tackling subjects no one else even bothers with (like handling the South intelligently and with a genuine affection, instead of the usual bumpkin stereotypes). Plus, it’s one of the few movies that actually gives Samuel L. Jackson something to do. It’s in no ways a perfect film, but it’s more satisfying, enjoyable filmmaking than any number of “important” movies out there.

7. Grindhouse. If Robert Rodriguez’ Planet Terror, the first half of this double-feature, had been released by itself in theaters, it probably would’ve gotten my top spot. Unfortunately, the missed opportunity which is Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof couldn’t keep up with Rodriguez’ sublimely over-the-top splatterfest. Nevertheless, Grindhouse remains easily the most fun I have ever had in a theater, bar none. The year’s biggest travesty remains the fact that more people didn’t take the time to catch this on the big screen in all its glory.

8. Across the Universe. While I’m not as forgiving towards its flaws as Ken Hanke, even when it falters, Julie Taymor’s Across the Universe cannot be denied; it still works by means of sheer ambition. Pulsating with energy, life and humanity, Across the Universe is a constant parade of sheer vibrancy. It’s an example of filmmaking that’s in short supply these days, and just another reminder of how far imagination and zeal can take you.

9. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. It’s good to know that the year’s bloodiest movie just happens to be a musical. Tim Burton’s Sweeney Todd is the musical for people who can’t stand musicals (though musical haters will probably still stay away simply because it’s still a musical). The first time I saw this, I liked it, but wasn’t sure if it’d make its way onto my list. But a subsequent viewing has shown me that it’s a much more layered, cohesive, deep film than any single viewing could show.

10. Hot Fuzz. This was probably my big surprise of the year. I never did—and still don’t—get the big deal about Edgar Wright’s previous film (which also featured Hot Fuzz stars Simon Pegg and Nick Frost), Shawn of the Dead (2004), and the trailers for Hot Fuzz made it look like more of the same. I’ve never been so happy to be wrong. Unlike Shawn, Hot Fuzz never lets up, making itself easily the funniest film of the year, while simultaneously being one of the best action films of the year to boot.

Honorable mentions: Paris Je T’Aime (which was on my list until Sweeney Todd knocked it off, and I’m still worried that I’ll regret its omission), Juno, 2 Days in Paris (even faux Woody Allen is more enjoyable than most anything else), Stardust, You Kill Me, Paprika (the only anime I’ve ever seen that didn’t bore me to tears) and my guilty-pleasure award “for movie I like a whole lot more than I’d ever admit to even myself,” Live Free or Die Hard.

The Worst

1. Hostel: Part II. Any number of films on this list are purely worse than Hostel: Part II, but none of them are quite as infuriatingly obnoxious. It would be one thing if this movie was just another exercise in run-of-the-mill torture porn, but instead, director Eli Roth actually seems to think this stuff is clever. So instead of just a dumb horror movie, you get a dumb horror movie oozing with Roth’s self-congratulatory ego. And don’t get me started about the film’s idiotic climax. A stupid movie in every conceivable fashion.

2. Transformers. If you took everything I hate about modern film and distilled it down into one movie, you’d get Transformers. It’s overlong, it’s loud, it’s overly reliant on CGI, about two-thirds of the plot is superfluous, good chunks of it make no sense. I could go on, but the less I think about this movie, the better. I thought that if there was one thing that Michael Bay could do right, it would be giant robots blowing stuff up, and he still managed to screw the pooch.

3. 300. The politics of this film can be debated until the cows come home, but it remains that 300 is just plain boring. It’s a humorless attempt at being “epic” (whatever that means) and a failed attempt at spectacle. If I wanted a greasy, muscle-bound meathead to yell at me for a couple of hours, I’d egg Hulk Hogan’s house.

4. Beowulf. Roger Avary, what are you doing?! Rules of Attraction was brilliant, and now you’re adapting Beowulf for Robert Zemeckis of all people? I guess the big trend of 2007 was sweaty men yelling as loud as possible. I’m still not sure if it was the 3-D process the film was presented in or Beowulf constantly reminding the audience his name at the top of his lungs every chance he gets that gave me a headache.

5. Alvin and the Chipmunks. Let Jason Lee be a warning to you all. If you have a nice little career going as a supporting actor in a few small movies, but can’t seem to break through as a leading man, and then sign on to do a TV show and take an easy paycheck to do a kids movie that just happens to feature CGI chipmunks eating feces—beware: There’s always the chance that the movie could be the biggest hit of your career.

6. Delta Farce. In all honesty, I only sat through about 45 minutes of this dreck (and really, 45 minutes of Larry the Cable Guy is a lifetime, trust me), but it was still horrid enough to make it on my list. Think about that for a second. Only five movies this year are worse than just half of Delta Farce.

7. Hot Rod. Easily the most purely idiotic movie of the year, Hot Rod was an attempt at making Saturday Night Live alum Adam Samberg into, god forbid, the next Adam Sandler. Instead, they made him into the next Chris Kattan.

8. Epic Movie. When I told a friend of mine my top-10 worst films of the year, he tried to convince me to take Epic Movie off my list, simply because it was too obvious a choice. “Everyone knows this movie is bad,” he said. My response was that he hadn’t seen this monstrosity. I think the Geneva Convention actually addresses these kinds of atrocities.

9. Eragon. Fantasy for the kiddy set, Eragon should’ve more aptly been titled Every Fantasy or Sci-Fi Movie Ever. If Uwe Boll branched out from video-game adaptations to adaptations of fantasy novels written by teenagers, you’d have Eragon.

10. Saw IV. Not as irritating as Saw III, the latest entry in the yearly Saw franchise is simply moronic. Maybe the worst part is that the makers aren’t even trying to be gross or edgy anymore. The only enjoyable aspect of any of these movies is listening to the reactions of those more queasy audience members. It’s a pity that on Halloween weekend moviegoing and Saw have become so synonymous.

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24 thoughts on “Justin Souther’s Best and Worst Picks for 2007

  1. Ken Hanke

    “I’m not as forgiving towards its flaws as Ken Hanke”

    Flaws? OK, so I don’t care much for the bar scene part of “A Little Help from My Friends,” but I’ve gotten used to it — and the Richard Lester inspired running about toward the end of that number makes up for much. Actually, that bit — along with the tramp who drums on the garbage cans in “Hey Jude” — is a terrific evocation of the infectious quality of music.

  2. Justin Souther

    First off, I think if the film makes any glaring mistakes, it’s in the way the character of Prudence is handled. She just comes in and out of the movie so willy-nilly that sometimes it feels like she’s only in the movie so they could use “Dear Prudence.” As well, I don’t care for the more “modern dance” aspects of some of the musical numbers and I also think I have a natural aversion to any movie that thinks giving Bono a role is a good idea. But even when it’s something that bugs me, or I don’t think is a good idea, the movie moves in such a way that there’s suddenly something else to look at or see that you forget about it pretty quick. On top of that, the film is so packed with, well, stuff, that there’s bound to be a misstep here or there.

    My main gripe right now — and one I doubt I’ll ever get used to — is that I really do not like the performance of Dana Fuchs, who plays Sadie. She’s the only actor in the film who seems like she is acting, but that might not completely be her fault, since everyone else seems so natural in their roles.

    There are a few other problems I originally had when I first watched the film, but I’ve managed to get over them the more times I’ve seen the film. But I guess it should also be taken into account that when I say that I’m not as forgiving to this movie as Ken — knowing Ken and knowing how many times he’s managed to watch this film and how many times he will in the future and knowing how much he absolutely adores it — that I guess I also mean that no one could be as forgiving or love this movie more than him. I don’t think it’s possible at this point.

  3. Ken Hanke

    My only gripe about your gripe is that I just don’t think it matters that much that Prudence disappears from the film and returns without any explanation. At least, it was never a factor that bothered me. (Maybe it’s the fact that the film made me like “Dear Prudence,” which I’d never much cared for enters into this. Certainly, I would forgive much for the inclusion of her version of “I Want to Hold Your Hand.” And I give bonus point for Taymor not feeling compelled to include songs based on every character name.) I have no problem with Dana Fuchs, but otherwise I see your points — and even concede a few of them. I’m not a huge Bono fan, though I don’t mind him here and freely admit that I very much like his cover of “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” on the ending credits.

    I do hope that your comment that the movie’s got “stuff” is a Mr. Kite reference.

  4. Justin Souther

    “I do hope that your comment that the movie’s got “stuff” is a Mr. Kite reference.”

    If it wasn’t, can I now pretend it is?

    “Certainly, I would forgive much for the inclusion of her version of “I Want to Hold Your Hand.””

    I think that might be part of why I don’t like how her character is handled. She’s such a naturally — almost tragically — sympathetic character at the beginning of the film that when she’s just pushed in and out of the film or forgotten for chunks of it, that I wish — for her sake — she had been given a bit more to do.

  5. Ken Hanke

    “If it wasn’t, can I now pretend it is?”

    You’d better, otherwise I’ll think you were channeling a certain critic’s comment that a movie was “full of good things.”

    While I wouldn’t minded seeing more of the Prudence character, I’m still not complaining, though there’s no doubt that Taymor could’ve handled her ins and outs a bit more smoothly, especially considering the way she manages to chart the breakdown of Sadie’s relationship with Jo Jo and both characters’ disillusionment with life apart in such subtle, almost throwaway, strokes.

    I’m sure by now everyone realizes that both Mr. Souther and I are snowed in.

  6. Justin Souther

    “You’d better, otherwise I’ll think you were channeling a certain critic’s comment that a movie was “full of good things.””

    The thing is, that movie IS full of good things.

    “While I wouldn’t minded seeing more of the Prudence character, I’m still not complaining, though there’s no doubt that Taymor could’ve handled her ins and outs a bit more smoothly, especially considering the way she manages to chart the breakdown of Sadie’s relationship with Jo Jo and both characters’ disillusionment with life apart in such subtle, almost throwaway, strokes.”

    In most cases (I say “most” because THERE WILL BE BLOOD is also on my list) I’m very big on every part of a movie having a purpose. I’m not big on superfluousness in movies. This was one of many gripes I had with TRANSFORMERS, since there are at least two subplots I can think of off the top of my head in that movie that served no purpose whatsoever, and could have been completely cut out and at least made the movie shorter. That’s my problem with how Prudence is handled: while she has a purpose in the plot, it seems to be forgotten or at the very least muddled by the end of the film. She at least seems superfluous on a couple of occasions, and I don’t think that’s fair to her character.

  7. Ken Hanke

    “That’s my problem with how Prudence is handled: while she has a purpose in the plot, it seems to be forgotten or at the very least muddled by the end of the film. She at least seems superfluous on a couple of occasions, and I don’t think that’s fair to her character.”

    Even granting that, it would have been possible to merely lose track of her after she becomes entranced by the masked characters and puppeteers at the war protest, but instead she appears briefly in the expansion of this when the others encounter Mr. Kite. (This scene could be construed as superfluous and basically would be without the connecting character.) After that she vanishes from the film — not that surprising in a way since everyone is becoming fragmented in these scenes — and returns without explanation in the final scene. Now, a little explanation concerning her return wouldn’t have hurt, but I’d far rather have her in this scene than not. I think it would feel wrong if she weren’t.

  8. Justin Souther

    I think we’re picking up on the same things, it’s just that it’s those aspects of the film which don’t necessarily bother you seem to bug me. But I guess that’s something that would be expected from viewer to viewer.

  9. Nam Vet

    You both over-analyze films. Just go and enjoy. If it sucks, note it afterwards. You both go into a flick with a critical point of view that skews the experience of movie going.

  10. Justin Souther

    “If it sucks, note it afterwards.”

    That’s what we are doing. It just doesn’t make for good criticism if I simply turned in a review that said, “This sucks.” I’m sure the paper would be none too pleased as well.

    And while you may think that I’m being too critical and skewing “the experience of moviegoing,” I don’t see it that way at all. It’s not like Ken and I don’t enjoy watching movies; we wouldn’t be doing this if we didn’t. Instead — and while I can’t speak for Ken — I like to think that this “critical point of view” we have just allows us to enjoy the things we do like that much more. To me (and at the risk of sounding too pompous), I’d like to think that this cultivates more of an appreciation, past a simple “I liked it” or “I didn’t.”

    Criticism, in any shape or form, is important to the arts, and I think that’s something that’s been lost, somehow, along the way.

  11. Ken Hanke

    I think Justin said it pretty well. But really what is criticism if not analysis? It’s the why of a film being good or bad — or at least the critic’s reason for thinking that. What exactly does Roger Ebert do if not analyze a film? It’s a way of looking at a film — or of reading it, if you will, though that’s an overused term. Really good criticism at its best ought to present the reader with many things. It ought to be entertaining in itself. It ought to be instructive in some way. But most of all, it ought to give the reader a way of looking at the movie (or book or painting or musical compensation) under consideration that might be different from the way the reader looked at it. You may or may not agree with that interpretation, but it at least gives you something to think about — or it might send you off on an interpretation of your own. I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating — a thing worth interpreting only one way probably isn’t worth interpreting at all. All art is ultimately about communication — a good critic can enhance that.

    I don’t know of anyone who writes about movies who doesn’t love movies — usually pretty passionately. Good Lord, I’ve been in love with the movies for as long as I can remember. (I own somewhere around 4,000 titles.) That I analyze them doesn’t detract from my love for them.

  12. Nam Vet

    “Criticism, in any shape or form, is important to the arts, and I think that’s something that’s been lost, somehow, along the way.”

    Justin, my point is that the critical mindset going in skews an objective screening of the film. It is akin to a scientist who expects a certain outcome before the actual experiment has been done. An occupational hazard I assume, and no fault of the reviewer. As far as your quote above, you know the old saw “those who are artists create, those without talent become critics.” (meant as a friendly needling) :)

  13. Ken Hanke

    “Justin, my point is that the critical mindset going in skews an objective screening of the film.”

    There is no such thing as an objective screening of a film. That’s pure BS. We’re dealing here with an art form, not something that can be measured in objective scientific terms. And any critic who claims objectivity is lying or deluded. Everyone brings his or her life experience, worldview and personal tastes to a movie — including you. Tell me, what’s your wholly objective take on FAHRENHEIT 9/11?

    “It is akin to a scientist who expects a certain outcome before the actual experiment has been done.”

    A scientist does expect a certain outcome before an actual experiment, since the experiment is based on previous knowledge and attempts to extend that knowledge. Otherwise, the scientist wouldn’t be making the experiment.

    “An occupational hazard I assume, and no fault of the reviewer.”

    No, it’s not even a hazard. Tell me, how do you decide to go to a movie? Do you just pick a title at random? Or do you pick a title that you’ve heard about or read about or seen a trailer for and decided that the movie looked interesting or good or had people in it or was made by people whose work you enjoyed in the past? If it’s the latter, then you’re going to that movie with a certain expectation, and therefore you’re no different from the critic. In fact, your viewing choices are probably much more restricted to this than those of a critic, who by the nature of the job sees a broad range of movies not governed by choice.

    “As far as your quote above, you know the old saw ‘those who are artists create, those without talent become critics.’”

    In the same friendly spirit that could be turned into “those with the talent to review a film become critics, those without become people who complain about critics.”

  14. Nam Vet

    LOL, not at all Ken. That old saw holds true of critics whether they review plays, movies, books, whatever. Critics hang on the fringes of the truly creative and “criticize”. I ask you this. Just what is your background and qualifications to give your subjective opinion of how a film was directed, scripted, acted, sceneried, etc? By the way, my niece attended AFI and has made several Indie films. So I am not a complete novice in this area.

  15. Ken Hanke

    “That old saw holds true of critics whether they review plays, movies, books, whatever.”

    It also holds “true” of people who criticize critics — at least with just as much validity. The real saw, of course, is “those who can’t do, teach,” which is just as dubious an assessment.

    “Critics hang on the fringes of the truly creative and ‘criticize’.”

    Meaning that you are hanging onto the fringe of those hanging onto the fringes, doesn’t it?

    “Just what is your background and qualifications to give your subjective opinion of how a film was directed, scripted, acted, sceneried, etc?”

    The work should speak for itself — and in many cases, it does (for better or worse) — but let’s see…I’ve had four books on films published (not self-published, mind you) — KEN RUSSELL’S FILMS, CHARLIE CHAN AT THE MOVIES, A CRITICAL GUIDE TO HORROR FILM SERIES and TIM BURTON: AN UNAUTHORIZED BIOGRAPHY OF THE FILMMAKER. I wrote the chapters on four filmmakers for THE FEAR MERCHANTS, and chapters on three other filmmakers (including your favorite John Waters) for THE SLEAZE MERCHANTS. I’ve been a reviewer for FILMS IN REVIEW (the publication of the National Board of Review), as well as contributed articles to them. I’ve written articles and reviews for FILMFAX, SCARLET STREET, PHANTASMA, VIDEO WATCHDOG, ALTERNATIVE CINEMA. Most of this was before I undertook a weekly column. I’ve also contributed essays to the British Film Institute’s recent book on European horror films and wrote the entries on Pedro Almodovar, Leo McCarey, Josef von Sternberg, Ken Russell, Rouben Mamoulian, Neil Jordan, Preston Sturges and Tod Browning for a recent book detailing 501 directors. I’ve recorded audio commentaries for several of the films in Fox’s Charlie Chan DVD sets (these were refered to as “expert commentaries” in the NY TIMES, by the way, but that, of course, came from a critic).

    Is that sufficient for you? I’ve also worked a bit on independent projects and made the odd short film myself. I gave up — more or less — the latter because it’s a hugely expensive undertaking. In any case, I do know a little about the actual mechanics of filmmaking.

    You seem to be wrapped up in the idea that a critic only criticizes, which, as I’m sure you know, is only a part of the story — at least in the sense of negatives. Historically, critics have been the champions of a great deal of art that might otherwise have gone unnoticed. If it weren’t for the film critic James Agee, who in the 1940s sang the praises of a series of low-budget movies being turned out at RKO that the other critics were largely ignoring, it’s unlikely the world would even remember the films of producer Val Lewton. Now, that set of nine little horror movies is considered classic. Agee turned others onto these movies and that branched out over the years to a point where just recently Martin Scorsese introduced and discussed these films — and their impact on him — on TCM. If it hadn’t been for the persistence of Pauline Kael, we’d all probably still being buying the studio PR that the films the Marx Brothers made for MGM were superior to their earlier work at Paramount. Today, because of Kael, that isn’t the case. I could name one filmmaker who is of the opinion that my championing of a film of his is the reason it was a hit in this area. I think he overstates the case, but I don’t doubt I had some impact, if only because I’ve too many first hand reports of a rise in the box-office on some films in the days following the publication of my reviews. No, I’m not saying I’m in a league with Agee or Kael, but the dynamic is the same. I’m also not saying I can make a film successful — that would be ridiculous — I’m saying that I have on occasion had a positive impact. At the end of the day, what any critic wants is to share his or her enthusiasm with others in the hope that those other may appreciate something they admire.

    Would you prefer a world without critics where only the publicity churned out by the studios was all you got?

  16. Nam Vet

    I actually find critic’s reviews close to useless. I go to films based on the actors, director, and general “feel” that it may be good. I have a fairly low standard, critically speaking, only wanting to be entertained. I only go negative if the movie is very bad, like the recent hometown-filmed “Dance for Bethany”, which was the worse movie I have ever seen. Fortunately, most of what Hollywood puts out is worth seeing. Backers and studios do not invest large amounts of money in complete pieces of caca, afterall. But I must say my tastes, as I get older, are for softer, romantic-comedy genre flicks. I do get a little sick of the violence and normally don’t go to that type of film very often. And of course there is cable. Ah cable. Just turn the channel if you are not entertained enough. :)

  17. Ken Hanke

    “I actually find critic’s reviews close to useless.”

    One wonders why you bother arguing about them then. Aren’t you wasting a lot of time and effort? Why for that matter do you bother reading them?

    “Backers and studios do not invest large amounts of money in complete pieces of caca, afterall.”

    Oh, on the contrary, they do it all the time. You don’t honestly mean to tell me that you think ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS, BRATZ, MR. WOODCOCK, GOOD LUCK CHUCK, DELTA FARCE or HOSTEL 2 were made by persons overly concerned with producing a quality product.

  18. “Fortunately, most of what Hollywood puts out is worth seeing. Backers and studios do not invest large amounts of money in complete pieces of caca, afterall.”

    This is wrong on so many levels.

    I feel that critics are essential to film more than any other art form. How else can you explain ACROSS THE UNIVERSE running here for four months? Or LIFE AQUATIC for six? Critics can champion a small film and make it popular, mainly because they have the medium to reach the masses. Besides, a big budgeted film is critic-proof (to a point), so it really doesn’t matter what they say.

    I met Ken from his reviews and have gotten to be his friend, but I don’t always agree with him. I liked BEOWULF, for example, and I know that his love for musicals sometimes clouds his judgment, so I’ll knock off a star. Overall, Ken and Justin do a great job and we’re lucky to have them here. Remember the last critic spending her time openly salivating over Adam Sandler? We’ve come a long way!

    BTW, my favorite dvd last year, RATATOUILLE. My most hated? BALLS OF FURY.

    marc

  19. Nam Vet

    “How else can you explain ACROSS THE UNIVERSE running here for four months?”

    Orbit, it is called “word of mouth”.

    Ken, I comment here because I don’t have a life. :)

  20. Ken Hanke

    Oh, yes, word of mouth certainly enters into it, but a good review definitely helps. It may even be what starts that word of mouth. See my above comments on having seen increased attendance in the wake of reviews. Ask the folks at the Fine Arts.

  21. “Orbit, it is called “word of mouth”. ”

    Trust me, I know all about word of mouth.

    But to create that initial buzz, to get that first group of people in the theater, this is where the critic comes in. Once those that trust the critic have seen it and also like the film, they will tell their friends about it.

    marc

  22. Ken Hanke

    It may or may not be totally connected — seeing as how it comes right after the publication of these lists — but I just learned that Asheville Pizza is bringing back ACROSS THE UNIVERSE in their words “by popular demand.”

  23. Nam Vet

    Brew and View…love the place. I think I’ll go and screen this flick a second time. I enjoyed it very much at the Carmike. I’m so old I remember when the place was just a movie theater. I saw “American Graffiti”, “Blazing Saddles”, “Jaws” there…first run.

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