Some Guy’s Canon – An Intro

I hated L'Avventura.

I hated L’Avventura.

Sight & Sound released their once-a-decade Top 10 Movies of All Time poll recently, and it inspired me to sit down and come up with a Top 10 of my own. I ended up having 148 nominees for those 10 slots, so I figured I would talk about them some on my bloggity-blog. I hope to get to them all over time, and I’m sure I’ll add more as I go. Hopefully, I’ll inspire you to seek out some flicks you should have already seen,  and who knows? Maybe we can discuss that here.

Here’s my list, which will be updated with links as I post new blogs. Please note that I came up with this list in about 30 minutes, so I reserve to add and remove films at my leisure:

  1. 8 1/2
  2. 2001
  3. A.I.
  4. The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai
  5. Adventures of Robin Hood
  6. After Hours
  7. The Age of Innocence
  8. Aguirre, The Wrath of God
  9. Airplane
  10. Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore
  11. Alien
  12. All About Eve
  13. All The President’s Men
  14. Anchorman
  15. Annie Hall
  16. Apocalypse Now
  17. The Aviator
  18. Barry Lyndon
  19. Barton Fink
  20. The Best Years Of Our Lives
  21. Bicycle Thieves
  22. Big Lebowski
  23. Black Swan
  24. Blade Runner
  25. Blazing Saddles
  26. Blow Out
  27. Blue Velvet
  28. Boogie Nights
  29. Bridge Over The River Kwai
  30. Bug
  31. Burn After Reading
  32. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
  33. Cache
  34. Carrie
  35. Casablanca
  36. Casino
  37. Children of Men
  38. Chinatown
  39. Citizen Kane
  40. City Lights
  41. The Conversation
  42. Cool Hand Luke
  43. Crimes and Misdemeanors
  44. Dawn of the Dead (original)
  45. The Departed
  46. Die Hard
  47. Dr. Strangelove
  48. Duck Soup
  49. E.T.
  50. Ed Wood
  51. Exorcist
  52. Fargo
  53. Fight Club
  54. Finding Nemo
  55. For All Mankind
  56. The General
  57. Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai
  58. Godfather Part 1/2
  59. The Gold Rush
  60. Goodfellas
  61. Gosford Park
  62. Halloween
  63. Hausu
  64. Heat
  65. Hoop Dreams
  66. I Am A Fugitive From A Chain Gang
  67. Inception
  68. The Incredibles
  69. Inglourious Basterds
  70. Jackie Brown
  71. Jaws
  72. Kill Bill 1/2
  73. The Killing
  74. The King of Comedy
  75. The Last Emperor
  76. The Last Picture Show
  77. The Last Waltz
  78. Lawrence of Arabia
  79. Let The Right One In
  80. The Lion King
  81. The Long Goodbye
  82. Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring
  83. M
  84. Magnolia
  85. Manhattan
  86. Martha Marcy May Marlene
  87. MASH
  88. Master & Commander
  89. McCabe & Mrs. Miller
  90. Melancholia
  91. Metropolis
  92. Midnight Run
  93. Miller’s Crossing
  94. Mulholland Dr
  95. Mystery Train
  96. Nashville
  97. No Country For Old Men
  98. Paper Moon
  99. Paris, Texas
  100. The Passion of Joan of Arc
  101. Paths of Glory
  102. Persona
  103. Planes, Trains and Automobiles
  104. Pulp Fiction
  105. Raging Bull
  106. Ran
  107. Rashomon
  108. Rear Window
  109. The Red Shoes
  110. The Royal Tenenbaums
  111. Schindler’s List
  112. School of Rock
  113. A Serious Man
  114. Seven Samurai
  115. The Seventh Seal
  116. Sherlock Jr
  117. The Shining
  118. Shock Corridor
  119. Shoot The Piano Player
  120. Short Cuts
  121. Sideways
  122. Singing in the Rain
  123. Speed Racer
  124. The Sting
  125. Stranger Than Paradise
  126. Strozek
  127. Sunshine
  128. Targets
  129. Taxi Driver
  130. Texas Chainsaw Massacre
  131. There Will be Blood
  132. The Thing
  133. Three Colors: Blue
  134. Three Colors: White
  135. Three Colors: Red
  136. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
  137. Touch of Evil
  138. Toy Story 1/2/3
  139. Traffic
  140. Up
  141. Vampyr
  142. The Verdict
  143. Vertigo
  144. Wall-E
  145. A Woman Under The Influence
  146. The Wrestler
  147. Young Frankenstein
  148. Zodiac

Some brief notes about my choices:

1. I tried to think of films throughout movie history, and not just, say, the best films since 1980. I know several people who roll their eyes and get bored by older films. To those people I say, “You’re terrible, your lack of curiosity is terrible, and your opinions are terrible, too.” So nyah.

2. This is definitely an incomplete list. I’m guessing the bulk of films I choose will be ones that most people have heard of. There may be a few surprises, but even those you’ve probably heard of.

3. The list will be alphabetical. So, for example if I post about “Vertigo” and I have #143 beside it, it just means it’s #143 alphabetically, so don’t get all testy.

4. I have lots of blind spots in my cinema-watching experience, and there are several filmmakers left out that a more advanced cinephile would consider sacrilege: Ozu (haven’t seen), Antonioni (I struggled through L’Avventura during my first semester of film school. It was brutal, in part because I was a young, impatient goober. I also don’t really like Blow-Up that much), Satyajit Ray (haven’t seen) and Tarkovsky (haven’t seen). I have Bergman on my list with Persona and The Seventh Seal, but would you believe those are the only Bergman films I’ve seen? I’m lame.

5. I’ve seen several Godard films. The guy’s a genius, and I respect his advancement of the form. I also don’t want to see any of his movies twice. If there’s one thing all of the films on my list have in common, it’s that I’m eager to see them twice. Yes, even Schindler’s List.

6. Only about 15 percent of my list consists of foreign films. Hopefully that number will grow as my list grows.

So there you have it. Look for my reviews to start appearing Monday. How fun!


“We Still Be Doomed” By Bizrq Is The Album Of The Millennium


bizrqA man, a plan, a canal….A MASTERPIECE.

Bizrq’s “We Still Be Doomed” is the long-awaited sequel to their landmark debut “We Be Doomed”, which posited that the gadgets with which we’ve become dependent on in our daily lives will one day turn on us, starting a revolution that makes the La Paz Revolution of 1809 seem like a jaunty picnic. In this amazing follow-up, Bizrq takes the vital ideas found in WBD and expands on them with a swagger acquired from years of perfecting their craft.

Bizrq’s love/hate relationship with the machines in our lives is illustrated in the push-pull dynamics of their compositions, with analog and digital modes swirling in a miasmic stew. This may be the rare concept album in which the concept is illustrated *within the music itself.* “We Still Be Doomed” makes “Pet Sounds” sound as hasty and poorly thought-out as the latest Ke$ha single.

If I were to compare this to any other work of art, I would not choose music but rather David Foster Wallace’s “Infinite Jest”. Both are sprawling tomes bursting with ideas and a deep sense of morality vis a vis man’s place in the universal firmament. The only difference is that Bizrq will make you dance.

And the humor! Walter Cornish, Anundson’s beloved creation last heard on the late, lamented Mangy Dog Radio Hour Whoopdee-Doo (which you can find at provides a warm, soothing presence. Cornish’s gentle good humor adds a significant layer of depth to the already-proven Bizrq formula, leading to a moving climax that left this reviewer devastated. Yes, Dear Reader, I learned that I, in fact, can cry.

Witty, fun, exuberant, thrilling, smart, joyous and funky as all hell, “We Still Be Doomed” by Bizrq has swooped in on the last week of the year to be, easily, the best CD of 2012. Buy 4 copies and hand them out to strangers. YOU WILL BE CHANGING LIVES.

You can buy “We Still Be Doomed” at

Looper is … Ehhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh


Joseph Gordon Levitt as Young Joe in Looper1

Supposedly, Rian Johnson’s Looper has a lot of plotholes related to time travel that caused a lot of people to not like the movie. I don’t really care about that crap. Complaining about the implausibility of something that’s impossible seems a little goofy to me. It’s like complaining about the magic rules in Harry Potter or nitpicking about whatever the hell it is that Hobbits do. Looper is flawed, but its refusal to play by “proper time travel rules” is the flaw that interests me the least. No, the biggest flaw in Looper is a second act that’s deadly.

Looper is about Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s character Joe, who’s a hitman in the future that kills people with a blunderbuss. He’s also apparently a drug addict, I’m presuming because of the horrible plastic surgery that was done on his nose. (More on that later.) Jeff Daniels also plays a crime overlord from the future who blahblahblah, and also telekinesis is involved for plot-motivated reasons. Anyway, the narration in the film will get you up to speed on the ins and outs, but this is all building to a showdown between JGL and Bruce Willis. At least, it seems that way, and that’s kind of what happens, but…hm.

Which brings us to the back half of the film, which is primarily set on Emily Blunt’s farm. There are several shots of Blunt chopping on the same tree stump with an ax that made me laugh for some reason. (Does the entire farm run on tiny splinters?) Emily Blunt’s kid has telekinesis, and is going to be Jeff Daniels in the future (I think?), so Bruce Willis goes back in time to try and find the kid and kill the kid before he grows up to be eeeeeeeevil and so Bruce Willis can preserve his fond memories of the pretty Chinese lady he was married to after he “closed his loop” back in the day. (Just see the movie for further explanation on all this stuff.) Is Emily Blunt’s kid the one that Bruce is looking for? I don’t want to give anything away but of course he is.

This all leads to a surprising, clever ending that maybe doesn’t have the emotional resonance it’s meant to. I think that’s my issue with the work of Rian Johnson. I love all of his films as ideas, but I run hot and cold on their quality as movies. I’m reminded of Johnson’s second film, The Brothers Bloom, another intriguing, well-made film that seems to wander for a bit before it closes. Johnson uses these moments to try and add an emotional layer, but in both these films, the wonky structure stops the movie in its tracks. On a scene-by-scene basis, Johnson’s work is outstanding, but I’m not sure he’s made a film yet where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

There’s some interesting world building going on here. This is one of those movies set in the future where things aren’t TOO futuristic save for  the occasional flying motorcycle. I liked all of that very much. However, I was somewhat distracted by Levitt’s makeup. I get that they wanted him to resemble Willis, but that’s what the acting is for. Putting Levitt in a crude version of WillisFace was an odd decision that didn’t quite work for me.  When watching actors play older/younger versions of each other, I’ve managed to suspend my disbelief for decades now. Why bother?

There’s much to like in Looper, and it’s impossible to deny Rian Johnson’s ambition and ability. His films are easy to like, but difficult to love, and pacing seems to be his constant downfall. I flat-out blanked for 10 minutes during the second act. For me, his best work has still been the two episodes of Breaking Bad that he’s directed.

UPDATE: Jeff Daniels was playing a different character, not the evil Rainmaker guy. I think.

SHILL: Looper (+ UltraViolet Digital Copy)