Cranky Hanke’s Screening Room: A crash course for the 21st century in film

As soon as the movie listings are completed on Monday I take off for a week in Florida. No, it’s not a film festival this time, nor is it a gathering of overaged horror movie geeks. It is, in fact, as close as I’ve come to vacation in nine years, but it has its movie-related side. Some time back—in a column about changing tastes—I mentioned becoming reacqainted with a friend I’d lost track of for nearly 20 years. While I’d lost track of him, he’d lost track of modern movies.

Indeed, I believe my friend hasn’t actually seen a movie made after 1995. He’s of course heard things about the state of modern film, and what he’s heard hasn’t enticed him to venture into it. Naturally, I’ve taken it upon myself—with his seemingly enthusiastic permission—to bring him into the 21st century of movies. The trick is I have five—maybe six—days in which to do this. The question then is how to do this? What really is essential viewing for a baptism into the quality side of current film and filmmaking? How do you reduce that to six or seven movies?

I’ve been working on this and discussing it with others for some considerable time. Bear in mind, that there’s no attempt at being all-encompassing here. That’s clearly not possible given the time frame. Also realize that I’m basing this partly on a knowledge of his taste in movies, which, thankfully, is not dissimilar to mine. (It would be remarkable if it was, since I had a youthful hand in shaping his taste in film. I’m the guy who made him get up at 6 a.m. one Saturday morning in 1970 to watch Preston Sturges’ Christmas in July [1940]—something he wouldn’t have done on his own, believe me.) Still, the overall idea is to demonstate that movies these days aren’t just some dismal wasteland of unadventurous rubbish and remakes.

Some of the choices have been easy. Not everyone will agree, but you just can’t undertake 21st century film and not include Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge! (2001). It doesn’t even matter if you like it or not. It did bring back the musical film in an altered form, and its stylization and aggressive editing technique have had a profound impact on film in general—both for good and bad. Yes, Luhrmann’s film borrows heavily from the work of earlier filmmakers—most obviously Ken Russell—but that doesn’t mean it is without its own influence and importance. As a result, it’s in there.

Similarly, Julie Taymor’s Across the Universe (2007) was a given. It treads some of the same ground as Moulin Rouge!—and throws a Milos Forman influence into the mix—but differs in as many ways as it’s similar. I’m not just talking stylistically, since Luhrmann’s film deals with the 1960s mindset in an allegorical manner, while Taymor’s film tackles it head on—and with somewhat greater complexity, since it recognizes a downside to the era that Luhrmann ignores. This one is also something of a very personalized choice in that my friend is (to put it mildly) crazy about the Beatles. He will either embrace this movie wholly, or hate it with a passion.

After those two, it gets trickier. In my mind, you can’t, for example, look at this century and not include a Wes Anderson film. Fine. But which one? I suspect The Royal Tenenbaums (2001) is the most accessible starting point, but it’s not my favorite by a good margin. I could just throw him into the deep end and run The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004), but that’s easily the least accessible of his movies to someone not familiar with his work. As a result—after much back and forth with co-critic Justin Souther, who is easily as big an admirer of Anderson as I am—the choice appears to be The Darjeeling Limited (2007), which seems to embody something of the accessibility of Tenenbaums with the full Anderson experience of Life Aquatic.

I have similar feelings about Michel Gondry, but I can’t really think of a stand-alone Gondry title that will do the job, so for the moment I’ve ruled him out. Alfonso Cuaron seems a given, but again the question of which film arises. My leaning is Children of Men (2006), but that really doesn’t cover his diverse filmography, so he may get slighted on this initial journey.  The Coen Brothers present a similar problem, but if I do opt for them, it’ll certainly be O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000). That is a distinct possibility, not in the least because it’s also the film that, for me, turned George Clooney into the essential “movie star” of our age.

Guillermo del Toro is a certainty for me, and Pan’s Labyrinth (2006) is the clear winner there—especially since we cleared the question of a possible resistance to subtitles (there isn’t one). So that one’s settled, I think. Really, can anyone make a case that this isn’t del Toro’s finest film to date? (Yes, I’m sure someone can and probably will now that I think about it.) Granted, it probably has more power if you’ve seen Cronos (1993) and The Devil’s Backbone (2001), but I think it stands on its own pretty well. (And if you want to get into the whole stand-alone question, you can also argue that both Pan and Backbone work better if you’re familiar with the films of Luis Bunuel.)

I do think I’ll dip back into the 1990s in one case—Bill Condon’s Gods and Monsters (1998). This is grounded to a great extent in the realm of knowing my audience. The fact that it’s tied to a person—James Whale—with whom he’s familiar and an era in movies he likes is a plus. But I also think of it as one of the great modern films on a number of levels. Much the same dynamic is at work in another possible choice, E. Elias Merhige’s Shadow of the Vampire (2000), the utterly fantasticated story of the making of F.W. Murnau’s Nosferatu (1922). Its mix of fact, legend and fiction is quite possibly unique. And I have a soft spot for it since it was the first film I reviewed for the Xpress to get five stars.

I’d love to introduce him to Rian Johnson’s work, but I likely won’t be bearing a copy of The Brothers Bloom (2009) and don’t think that Brick (2005) by itself is quite essential, though it’s a very near thing. As a result, Johnson may have to wait for another trip.

Danny Boyle, however, is going with me—and, yes, in the form of Slumdog Millionaire (2008). I suppose that almost seems like a cliched choice, but I don’t know a better Danny Boyle picture—which in itself says a lot. Plus, it has the advantage of being a pretty shining example that it is possible for the Oscars to get something right.

So right now what I have are Moulin Rouge!, Across the Universe, The Darjeeling Limited, Pan’s Labyrinth, Gods and Monsters, and Slumdog Millionaire as firm to pretty firm choices—with a few others waiting in the wings. And I’m not disatisfied, but it seems such a meager cross-section. I’ve left out some key filmmakers. Where are Tim Burton, Pedro Almodovar, John Cameron Mitchell for starters? I’d put in Tarantino if I had a copy of Inglourious Bastards, but I don’t. I hate leaving out David O. Russell’s I Heart Huckabees (2004) and Charlie Kaufman’s Synecdoche, New York (2008). I’m not much keener about omitting Marc Forster’s Stranger Than Fiction (2006), if it comes to that. There are many others.

I deplore the fact that there’s not a horror movie on my list, but I can’t settle on one that seems absolutely essential. I guess Pan’s Labyrinth will have to suffice, but it’s only partly a horror film. So it goes. There are, I’d say, some horror pictures that are essential to the genre without being essential in a broader sense. So it goes. There’s just no way to do it all here.

Having said all that—and being mindful of the fact that I’m sure I’ve forgotten some candidates—the process is still somewhat in flux at this time—and will remain so through Monday during the day. With that in mind, I put it to you to make suggestions for titles I have overlooked or not considered as I should. In short, a little help would not go unappreciated. And, yes, I did think of Pootie Tang (2001)—for maybe five seconds. I have not ruled out just leaving my copy behind for him to stumble upon after I’m gone. Would that be intolerably cruel?

SHARE
About Ken Hanke
Head film critic for Mountain Xpress from December 2000 until his death in June 2016. Author of books "Ken Russell's Films," "Charlie Chan at the Movies," "A Critical Guide to Horror Film Series," "Tim Burton: An Unauthorized Biography of the Filmmaker."

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

43 thoughts on “Cranky Hanke’s Screening Room: A crash course for the 21st century in film

  1. Dread P. Roberts

    Have you looked back in the archives over all of your previous “10 Best of the Year” lists since you started making them? I really don’t know how long you’ve been doing that, but it might be a good start for idea’s.

    It’s kind of hard to make recommendations for this sort of thing when one doesn’t know the target audience. For example, if it was me, I wouldn’t have Gods and Monsters amongst the top six essential movies to be viewed over the last decade. But then again, I’m guessing that James Whale is (or at least, was) more of an important figure in your friends life, than in mine. It’s a good movie, and I think it should be seen by anyone who is familiar with Mr. Whales films. But it’s just not quite what I would consider amongst the top 7 of the decade (or decade and a half). I’d probably have The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) on my list.

    I’d put in Tarantino if I had a copy of Inglourious Bastards, but I don’t.

    Is there any particular reason that a movie currently playing at the theaters has to be excluded? As you already know, this is the best way to watch the movie anyway.

  2. Ken Hanke

    But then again, I’m guessing that James Whale is (or at least, was) more of an important figure in your friends life, than in mine

    It’s kind of a guess on my part that this is the case. Whale is in my personal pantheon of the great filmmakers, and that enters into it, I’m sure. At the same time I know that Whale’s four horror films and Remember Last Night? are among his favorites. Come to think of it, he went with me to see The Old Dark House when a copy was found.

    I’d probably have The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) on my list.

    I have my doubts that it would interest him. And much as I admire it, it’s not really that important to me — if that makes sense to you.

    Is there any particular reason that a movie currently playing at the theaters has to be excluded? As you already know, this is the best way to watch the movie anyway.

    I haven’t entirely ruled that out, but I’m not sure if his health (stamina might be a better word) would be up to it. The other problem is that this is purely B.F.E. Florida. There is a fairly new Regal multiplex in the area, which might have enough screens that Basterds may still be around. But it’s also a typical Regal-built theater, which is to say the screens don’t really accomodate true widescreen films. I took my daughter there a few years ago to see Peter Pan and noticed it was falling off the screen.

  3. Dread P. Roberts

    I have my doubts that it would interest him. And much as I admire it, it’s not really that important to me—if that makes sense to you.

    Absolutely. I kind of assumed as much. Plus, being such a mainstream affair, I’m sure he’s familiar with the LOTR trilogy, and could’ve just as easily have watched it in his own spare time by now if he really wanted to.

    The other problem is that this is purely B.F.E. Florida. There is a fairly new Regal multiplex in the area, which might have enough screens that Basterds may still be around.

    I never thought I would ever hear anyone complain that there’s a shortage of ‘Basterds‘ in the B.F.E. region(s). It just goes to show that there’s a first for everything.

  4. Tonberry

    “Life Aquatic” was actually the Wes Anderson movie that made me a big fan of his. I’d probably have another Anderson movie, Paul Thomas Anderson that is, on my list, “Boogie Nights” (really entertaining). Also, Christopher Nolan’s “The Prestige.”

  5. Ken Hanke

    Absolutely. I kind of assumed as much. Plus, being such a mainstream affair, I’m sure he’s familiar with the LOTR trilogy, and could’ve just as easily have watched it in his own spare time by now if he really wanted to.

    I’d put the Harry Potter pictures into much the same league, which is why I didn’t include them. They also present the problem of being not entirely stand-alone affairs. In fact, more so, since I’d pick Prisoner of Azkaban as the best one, followed by this most recent one (I cannot keep the titles straight — Half-Blood Prince?). Hardly fair in introducing the series.

    One thing that I kind of regret is that the titles are all at least vaguely artsy. I’d like to include something a little less rarefied. To that end, I’ll probably take Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day along “just in case.” Why it? Because it’s a relatively straightforward movie, and it’s also one I’d put up against any of the classic romantic comedies of the 30s. Plus, how can you not need to be introduced to Amy Adams?

    I do think all the films considered — exempting Gods and Monsters, O Brother and Shadow of the Vampire — were on my 10 best lists. The first is before I was reviewing and the other two were from my first year, which wasn’t a full year of reviewing.

  6. Ken Hanke

    “Life Aquatic” was actually the Wes Anderson movie that made me a big fan of his. I’d probably have another Anderson movie, Paul Thomas Anderson that is, on my list, “Boogie Nights” (really entertaining). Also, Christopher Nolan’s “The Prestige.”

    Glad you didn’t say Paul W.S. Anderson. I toyed with P.T. Anderson, but leaned more toward Magnolia or There Will Be Blood. Boogie Nights is probably my least favorite of his. I ultimately decided against him more on the basis of guessing his taste than mine. The Prestige is an interesting idea, though, and I may consider it as an alternative to take along on the “just in case” basis.

  7. Tonberry

    Plus, how can you not need to be introduced to Amy Adams?

    Best comment of the day. 5 stars.

    Glad you didn’t say Paul W.S. Anderson. I toyed with P.T. Anderson, but leaned more toward Magnolia or There Will Be Blood. Boogie Nights is probably my least favorite of his. I ultimately decided against him more on the basis of guessing his taste than mine.

    I almost suggested “Magnolia” or “There Will Be Blood,” but I don’t think they are quite as accessible as “Boogie Nights.” Almost flirted with “Punch Dunk Love” but that really stands as a you love it or hate it type of movie. (Of my friends, I seem to be the only one who loves it).

    The Prestige is an interesting idea, though, and I may consider it as an alternative to take along on the “just in case” basis.

    I watched it a couple of weeks ago, and every time I see it, it still blows my mind, even after seeing it so much. Maybe because I’ve always underrated the movie that it just always has the power to sneak up on you and draw you in every time.

  8. I have similar feelings about Michel Gondry, but I can’t really think of a stand-alone Gondry title that will do the job, so for the moment I’ve ruled him out.
    Why not Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind? You cover Gondry and Charlie Kaufman in one picture.

    Does he like musicals? Sweeney Todd covers Tim Burton and Johnny Depp, who’s surely one of the major acting forces of the last decade.

  9. Ken Hanke

    Best comment of the day. 5 stars.

    But your interest is in hopes of an actual encounter.

    Almost flirted with “Punch Dunk Love” but that really stands as a you love it or hate it type of movie. (Of my friends, I seem to be the only one who loves it).

    Don’t know if I love it, but I like it a lot. At the same time, it’s almost certainly the most impenetrable of his films.

    I watched it a couple of weeks ago, and every time I see it, it still blows my mind, even after seeing it so much. Maybe because I’ve always underrated the movie that it just always has the power to sneak up on you and draw you in every time

    It’s one of those movies — Valentino is another — that’s always better than I remember whenever I see it.

  10. Ken Hanke

    Why not Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind? You cover Gondry and Charlie Kaufman in one picture.

    An instinctive sense that he wouldn’t respond to it. And in some ways it’s the least Gondryesque of Gondry’s work.

    Does he like musicals? Sweeney Todd covers Tim Burton and Johnny Depp, who’s surely one of the major acting forces of the last decade.

    I kind of consciously left off Burton, since he already knows some Burton and some Depp, come to that. I am, however, taking it with me because we talked about it and he’d never heard of the musical show — and was surprised that anyone should think it suitable material for a musical (he does know the old Tod Slaughter movie).

  11. This is a fun idea, I’d love to have the opportunity someday.

    In regards to Danny Boyle, why not go with “28 Days Later?” It is perhaps the defining horror film of the decade (“Saw” and the rest of the torture porn genre deserve their own circle of hell). I personally find “28 Weeks Later” to be a bit more entertaining, but the former is rather brilliantly filmed, and satisfies your Boyle requirement.

    Kudos for bringing along “Pan’s Labyrinth.” I’m a little biased in that I’ve spent some extensive time with “Pan’s,” but I feel like it works on enough levels and is both disturbing and beautiful enough to be at the top of any collection from the past 15 years.

    Perhaps “Talk to Her” for Almodovar? It’s the most moving examination of relationships in the past decade plus, in my eyes.

    Finally, I’d implore you to reconsider “Children of Men.” Cuaron doesn’t give you too many options since 1995, and while this probably isn’t the best representation of his work as a whole, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better post-apocalyptic polemic…

  12. Ken Hanke

    This is a fun idea, I’d love to have the opportunity someday

    Well, the circumstances are not unique, I’m sure, but they are unusual. Finding someone who hasn’t seen a new movie for about 10-15 years might be tricky.

    In regards to Danny Boyle, why not go with “28 Days Later?”

    Well, I like both Slumdog and Sunshine better is probably why I didn’t even consider it. I wonder if it really is the defining horror film of the decade. I haven’t really thought too much about that concept. It’s certainly one of a small handful where you don’t have to constantly qualify the choice with a bunch of “if you overlook this or that.” (Off the top of my head, for me the others would be From Hell, The Others, The Ring and The Orphanage.)

    Perhaps “Talk to Her” for Almodovar? It’s the most moving examination of relationships in the past decade plus, in my eyes.

    And one of the most complex. It’s probably going with me in the “in case” lot. (“In case” is partly defined as “in case we decide to stay up all night and keep going.”)

    Finally, I’d implore you to reconsider “Children of Men.”

    It’s still under consideration. It has the added benefit of having a couple of pretty significant folks in the cast with Clive Owen and especially Chiwetel Ejiofor.

  13. troland10

    Any thoughts on including a documentary? I guess one of Michael Moore’s would be obvious, but I love some of the quirkier ones like “Spellbound” or “The King of Kong” also.

  14. Rob Close

    For some reason, I want to suggest Iron Man. Possibly because the LotR trilogy wasn’t up his alley, and there’s been such great advancements since the action films 15 years ago. And RDjr made that film simply a pleasure.

    And reconsider Life Aquatic – I don’t think it’s at all inaccessible (and far more relatable than the Royal Tenenbaums was for me).

  15. Ken Hanke

    Any thoughts on including a documentary? I guess one of Michael Moore’s would be obvious, but I love some of the quirkier ones like “Spellbound” or “The King of Kong” also.

    Not being a huge admirer of documentaries in the general sense, and being unable to think of more than a couple I’d particularly want to see a second time, this hadn’t occurred to me. Also, I don’t have any at hand, other than the Harvey Milk one, which is 20-plus years old. Were I to consider it, I might think of D.A. Pennebaker’s Down from the Mountain because it ties to O Brother. (Or maybe because the interview I did with Don Pennebaker that was supposed to last for 15 minutes turned into an hour of all-over-the map conversation about everything from Bowie to film stocks to Duke Ellington’s “Daybreak Express.”) Or that great documentary about crossword puzzles a couple years ago (the title escapes me).

    But — even to some degree with Michael Moore — I have to wonder if there’s been any real change in the form in the 21st century. Man on Wire perhaps? But the form is not my area of expertise (I am much more comfortable with narrative film), so I’m really not the best person to make that call.

  16. Ken Hanke

    For some reason, I want to suggest Iron Man. Possibly because the LotR trilogy wasn’t up his alley, and there’s been such great advancements since the action films 15 years ago. And RDjr made that film simply a pleasure.

    I don’t think it would interest him very much. I have nothing but praise for Downey in the film, but I wasn’t that keen on the film itself. I’d also say that effects have improved in the past 15 years, but I have yet to see a modern action film that I thought was as well crafted as George Stevens’ Gunga Din (1939) or Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai (1954) or Welles’ Chimes at Midnight (1965).

    And reconsider Life Aquatic – I don’t think it’s at all inaccessible (and far more relatable than the Royal Tenenbaums was for me).

    Interesting and I really appreciate that input. I certainly find it more relatable. (There’s not that much emotional resonance in Tenenbaums.) So many people seem to be either baffled by Life Aquatic, or are even truly angered by it that I pulled back from it instinctively. I may still go with Darjeeling, but I think I’ll take Life Aquatic with me, and we can discuss which one to go with.

  17. Or that great documentary about crossword puzzles a couple years ago (the title escapes me).
    The one with Bill Clinton in it? I think that was called ‘Wordplay’.

    I may still go with Darjeeling, but I think I’ll take Life Aquatic with me, and we can discuss which one to go with.
    I’m another vote in favour of Aquatic. It’s easily my favourite Wes Anderson picture, and the first one I saw.

  18. Ken Hanke

    The one with Bill Clinton in it? I think that was called ‘Wordplay’.

    Yes, Bill Clinton in the ugliest color tie I’ve ever seen.

    I’m another vote in favour of Aquatic. It’s easily my favourite Wes Anderson picture, and the first one I saw

    It tussles with Darjeeling for me. But that’s three votes for Life Aquatic, so I’m starting to think I’m being too cautious.

    What surprises me is that no one has wondered something I’ve wondered myself — where are the animated films?

  19. Dread P. Roberts

    I’m another vote in favour of Aquatic. It’s easily my favourite Wes Anderson picture, and the first one I saw.

    For whatever it’s worth, I’m honestly in the same position (mindset?) as Jeremy and co. – Life Aquatic was also my first exposure to Anderson, and is still my personal favorite as well. Of course, this may have something to do with the fact that it was my first, and it’s really a great defining point in deciding how one feels about Anderson. He’s one the best examples of a director that you either love or hate. I remember walking out of the theater with a friend who just kept going on over how stupid the movie was, and I cowardly kept my mouth shut, even though I was so excited that I wanted to go back and watch the thing again. I’m kinda surprised that no one has suggested Rushmore (1998). Maybe it’s just a little too early, but I love that movie, too. Darjeeling is a great movie, and I don’t really think you can go wrong either way. If you love one Anderson movie, you’ll probably at least like them all. However, if he hates Aquatic, I doubt he’ll like Darjeeling very much either. It’s just a matter of taste for the style of Anderson. My suggestion to you Ken, is to go with your instinct, or go with your own favorite of the lot. Ultimately, they are all good.

  20. Ken Hanke

    For whatever it’s worth, I’m honestly in the same position (mindset?) as Jeremy and co

    You boys are wearing me down. Maybe I just keep remembering people I saw bail on Life Aquatic after 15-20 minutes. Or maybe it’s a hangover from when Marcianne Miller first saw the film — on a DVD screener — and positively loathed it. Later on, I enticed her to catch its final theatrical showing and she absolutely loved it. Now, I first saw it on a screener and loved it, but I didn’t love it until I saw it theatrically. (I didn’t even get the implication of the final shot until then, because I didn’t notice a significant detail reduced to that size, which is why I now try to watch all screeners projected onto the big screen.)

    I love Rushmore, Life Aquatic and Darjeeling. I really like Tenenbaums. I’m just glad no one has opted for Bottle Rocket, which I can take or leave and find mostly interesting for historical purposes.

  21. Tonberry

    What surprises me is that no one has wondered something I’ve wondered myself—where are the animated films?

    If you pick “Life Aquatic” over “Darjeeling,” it’s like covering Wes Anderson the director and a little bit of Henry Selick the animator.

    As for a purely animated movie, I’d vote “Spirited Away” or “Howl’s Moving Castle,” I just prefer the former.

  22. Ken Hanke

    As for a purely animated movie, I’d vote “Spirited Away” or “Howl’s Moving Castle,” I just prefer the former

    I have very few modern animated films (or animated films at all) at hand, but I do have Howl. I expect I’ll leave this aspect of film for a later date (by which time we can consider Anderson’s The Fantastic Mr. Fox). If I do take an animated film, it will probably be Paprika — just to see if his head explodes.

  23. Tonberry

    If I do take an animated film, it will probably be Paprika—just to see if his head explodes.

    I have never heard of Paprika until now, and now I must see it!

  24. Dread P. Roberts

    I have never heard of Paprika until now, and now I must see it!

    Oh yes sir, if you are in any way interested in anime, then I would recommend you see this posthaste – just be prepared for your brain to hurt.

    Persepolis is another good animated flick. But I wouldn’t choose Waltz With Bashir. Despite however good the merits of the movie may be, I think it’s just too damn depressing for an introduction to the evolution of 21st century animated films.

  25. Ken Hanke

    Oh yes sir, if you are in any way interested in anime, then I would recommend you see this posthaste – just be prepared for your brain to hurt.

    But it hurts in the best imaginable way!

    Persepolis is another good animated flick. But I wouldn’t choose Waltz With Bashir. Despite however good the merits of the movie may be, I think it’s just too damn depressing for an introduction to the evolution of 21st century animated films.

    You know, the further away I get from Waltz with Bashir, the more I question just how good those merits really are. Apart from some striking images, what I’m mostly left with is the memory of often being bored by a movie that seems to exist mostly to be depressing.

  26. Tonberry

    Oh yes sir, if you are in any way interested in anime, then I would recommend you see this posthaste – just be prepared for your brain to hurt.

    When in High School, I use to be WAY into anime. So much so, that one tragic day I was reading the ‘manga’-zine Shonen Jump, that it dawned on me that a lot of anime was practically the same. I quickly grew out off a majority of it. Still every now and then there is a series/movie I’ll stumble upon that brings the goods and “Paprika” sounds like it fits the bill. Bring the brain pain!!! I’m shocked at myself for having not heard of it until today, but I at least know who the director is, even though I have only seen one of his films, the beautiful “Millennium Actress.”

  27. DrSerizawa

    You are limiting it to American cinema? I would include “Oldboy” in any view of movies of the 21st Century.

  28. Dread P. Roberts

    But it hurts in the best imaginable way!

    Oh yes, it most certainly does. This is truly an anime experience! It’s really a shame that Tonberry won’t be able to watch this on the big screen.

    When in High School, I use to be WAY into anime

    Personally, I never really got into anime. I despise almost all anime TV shows. Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away was the first anime movie that I ever saw that I liked. I guess the art style has grown on me since then, because I’ve now seen practically every Miyazaki film that I can get my hands on (here in America) and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed all of them. Even though the voice acting and music are not quite as good in Miyazaki’s earlier stuff, the stories and animation are still fantastic.

  29. As far as animated films from the 21st century go, ’twere myself in charge, I’d top the list with TRIPLETS OF BELLEVILLE. Fun, inventive, nearly dialogue-free without being dull (take *that*, Wall-E!), caricatures of everyone from DeGaulle to Gordon Gould, great score, impressive character animation (though several of the designs are far from “cute,” almost grotesque at times, I still find them appealing, in a sort of 19th century editorial art fashion), and proof that yes, there is such a thing as a thrilling *slow* speed chase. LILO & STITCH was from this century too (perhaps not essential but unquestionably worthwhile, but TRIPLETS is more out of the ordinary).

    I’d like to see WALTZ WITH BASHIR one of these days but I have little doubt it would indeed be quite an ordeal to get through, as far as the emotional content (and I’m depressed enough as is just at present).

  30. Ken Hanke

    It’s really a shame that Tonberry won’t be able to watch this on the big screen.

    Well, arrangements might be made.

  31. Ken Hanke

    You are limiting it to American cinema?

    Well, neither Pan’s Labyrinth, Slumdog Millionaire, nor Moulin Rouge! are American. And if we do Paprika that’d be another one that isn’t.

  32. Ken Hanke

    As far as animated films from the 21st century go, ‘twere myself in charge, I’d top the list with TRIPLETS OF BELLEVILLE.

    Good choice and a movie I tend to forget about for some reason. I still think it’d be more amusing in a culture shock manner to hit him with Paprika.

    LILO & STITCH was from this century too (perhaps not essential but unquestionably worthwhile, but TRIPLETS is more out of the ordinary).

    Lilo & Stitch is probably my personal favorite animated film from the 21st century, and I did think about taking it, but really chances are good that we won’t get to animation. Still, you never know. We have been known to stay up all night with movies. Granted, we were much younger then.

  33. DrSerizawa

    “Well, neither Pan’s Labyrinth, Slumdog Millionaire, nor Moulin Rouge! are American. And if we do Paprika that’d be another one that isn’t. ”

    Yikes! My apologies. Teach me to post before Monday morning coffee. Actually, the dearth of US production says a lot about what the studios are pushing out these days. It gets hard to tell one movie from the next. I guess that’s why I’ve become a fan of Korean output the past few years.

  34. Ken Hanke

    I wouldn’t worry about it, Doctor. Pre-caffeination posting can be like that.

    Anyway, I am now in the lovely land of Florida (sunny Florida by the sea) where it is ungodly hot, primarily because Florida is in Florida — a bad choice on its part if you ask me. The great experiment begins tonight…

  35. T.H.X. Pijonsnodt, Esq.

    I’m curious to see how this experiment will end. Had I noticed this thread in time, I would have advised against screening The Life Aquatic, much as I love it.

    Sean and I tried showing that one to a gathering of family and friends and provoked a surprisingly vicious altercation.

    Personally, I never really got into anime. I despise almost all anime TV shows.

    I’d agree with you on that point, but my understanding from Sean (and I know with a certainty approaching dread that he’ll correct me) is that there are different categories of manga and that the majority of the material available in the English market is basically pulp fiction. Apparently, there is more mature work available, but it’s not distributed as widely.

    (By the way, Ken, you’d best beware: Sean saw this thread and is compiling a crash course in graphic literature for you. I’m doing my best to restrain him, but his geekish enthusiasm knows no bounds, and there is a very real possibility that he will drive down to Asheville to ambush you with staplebound copies of Hellboy and Courtney Crumin.)

  36. Ken Hanke

    I’m curious to see how this experiment will end. Had I noticed this thread in time, I would have advised against screening The Life Aquatic, much as I love it

    Well, you’re too late because we ran it last night, and it appeared to go over positively. Of course, whether or not he lets me into the house this evening remains to be seen.

    Sean saw this thread and is compiling a crash course in graphic literature for you. I’m doing my best to restrain him, but his geekish enthusiasm knows no bounds, and there is a very real possibility that he will drive down to Asheville to ambush you with staplebound copies of Hellboy and Courtney Crumin

    You know, it seems to me that there are far worse things that could happen.

  37. Sean Williams

    I know with a certainty approaching dread that he’ll correct me

    Actually, you’ve got the basic gist. Manga is divided into categories based on demographic. The majority of the manga that’s imported to the U.S. is sh?nen, or comics for young boys.

    Although the market for American comics in Japan is much more limited, the situation is comparable in that they receive primarily mainstream superhero comics.

    Sean and I tried showing that one to a gathering of family and friends and provoked a surprisingly vicious altercation.

    For the life of me, I still can’t figure that one out. I consider it an inoffensive and even sweet movie. I’m glad to hear that Mr. Hanke’s screening went over more smoothly.

    Courtney Crumin

    Her name is Courtney Crumrin, you philistine!

    Sean saw this thread and is compiling a crash course in graphic literature for you.

    Well, I wasn’t entirely serious…but I do have some titles in mind.

    You know, it seems to me that there are far worse things that could happen.

    Couple’s Retreat, for one.

  38. LYT

    FIGHT CLUB.

    And for animated movies, the South Park movie is pretty damn groundbreaking in the way it shatters a whole ton of cultural taboos. It has dated a bit, but for its time, man!

    Paprika is a great choice, though. And Waltz With Bashir, despite your prejudice against it, is most excellent. Not particularly fun, though.

  39. Ken Hanke

    I’m glad to hear that Mr. Hanke’s screening went over more smoothly

    Well, tonight is the last night of the process, and I’m tempted to throw Darjeeling at him, if there’s time, just to see which one he prefers.

    Couple’s Retreat, for one

    I haven’t heard how that played out for Justin yet. I did hear about The Secrets of Jonathan Sperry — at great length. In fact, was called for the express purpose of a bitchathon about it.

  40. Ken Hanke

    FIGHT CLUB

    Uh…no. Emphatically. I do not understand this movie’s appeal.

    And for animated movies, the South Park movie is pretty damn groundbreaking in the way it shatters a whole ton of cultural taboos. It has dated a bit, but for its time, man!

    You know, that’s really not a bad choice. I’m assuming you’re talking about the movie — a film I’m surprised the MPAA didn’t insist on a title change (unless they didn’t get it). I remember seeing this with a couple of savvy friends and we were the only people in the audience laughing hysterically when Elton John’s piano — labeled as being made by “Felcher and Sons” — appeared. Too bad I didn’t bring it with me.

    And Waltz With Bashir, despite your prejudice against it, is most excellent. Not particularly fun, though.

    It’s not so much that I find it depressing, as it’s the fact that whatever merits it has, it bores me — and that’s the sin a movie can’t overcome.

  41. Dread P. Roberts

    How did the various movie screenings turn out? What films did you end up showing, and how was the response?

  42. Ken Hanke

    How did the various movie screenings turn out? What films did you end up showing, and how was the response?

    Well, that will end up being this week’s Screening Room. Actually, we’re going to discuss the response telephonically this evening.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.