The Long Take

He was thinking of a different shotOver at the AV Club this morning, Mike D’Angelo bravely confronts his hatred of the extended take in a piece about the amazing in-car assault sequence in Alfonso Cuaron’s “Children of Men” … which, it seems, will be turning up on a lot of best-of-the-decade lists in the coming weeks. Including mine, probably.

The best-of-the-decade thing has been kicking my ass, actually. I mean, there are a few obvious entries, but suddenly you’re staring at two or three dozen obvious entries, and then you realize there’s no room for “Bad Boys II” … and that’s when the panic sets in.

Anyway, I’m struggling with it. Any suggestions?

8 thoughts on “The Long Take”

  1. I actually like what the A.V. Club did with their comics list, just making it alphabetical and not feeling compelled to rank everything. Really, why do 10 or 20 or 30 items have to be ranked, unless you think there is someone out there who is saying “I can only see eight movies, so let me know which are nine and ten on your list so I can skip them.”
    And why do lists have to be limited by the number of fingers we have, anyway?

  2. Best of a bad lot, but here’s a top nine:

    Cast Away
    Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
    Lars and the Real Girl
    Letters from Iwo Jima
    Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World
    No Country for Old Men
    The Pianist

    …couldn’t think of a tenth.

  3. WALL-E
    Battle Royale (does a film have to be domestically released to be eligible?)

    And the usuals:
    Shaun of the Dead
    No Country…

  4. Best advice for narrowing down the list would be to have some whole categories such as animated, documentary, foreign, horror, etc., represented by one movie. I don’t envy you the task, since you’ve seen considerably more movies than me to choose from.

    For what it’s worth, here’s my list in no particular order:

    – No Country For Old Men
    – Children of Men
    – Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind OR Adaptation (flip a coin, and thankfully Being John Malkovich was 1999)
    – Memento
    – Wall-E
    – Spring Summer Fall Winter and Spring (partly on its own merits and partly because I couldn’t decide between the visual spectacles of Hero and House of the Flying Daggers)
    – In the Bedroom (tough call between it and Monster’s Ball for their different portrayals of grief, both of which resonated with me)
    – Starting Out in the Evening (I’ve noticed a number of lists including The Visitor, which was excellent, but for me this is the smaller movie/exceptional performance choice)
    – Grizzly Man
    – Sunshine (I’m sure most people choose Slumdog Millionaire to represent Danny Boyle, but I preferred Sunshine)

    I feel bad ignoring my nerd side (Spiderman 2) and for ignoring this year (The Hurt Locker), but I’ve gone with movies that have stuck with me for a variety of reasons.

    Totally irrelevant, but the movie I’ve watched most often over the last decade – Serenity.

  5. I don’t think dividing up into categories is the best way to approach it (where do you draw the boundaries?)

    However, the best films of the decade to annoy an overly-sensitive and ick-averse lover/spouse:

    1. Gozu
    2. Save the Green Planet

  6. Mark, I agree that drawing the boundaries between categories can be difficult, if not impossible in some cases. The idea is just an attempt to break a daunting task into slightly more manageable chunks and avoid ending up with a list that ends up all dramas, all documentaries, etc., based on subjective personal preference for one genre. Although, obviously, subjective personal preference is part of the point of these lists and I would never look at one reviewer’s list as definitive for the decade. Narrowing a decade to just 10 movies seems unfairly restrictive…too many honorable mentions. Ten for a year, 50 for a decade seems easier, but I’m sure newspaper space is a major factor.

  7. Norm, since the current decade doesn’t actually end until Dec. 31, 2010*, you still have lots of time to think of a Best of… list. (* the Millennium began on Jan. 1, 2001.)

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