Dec 29, 2008

At year's end: A look back@2008, part 1

By Evan Louison

Mr. Harris has asked me to put some closing thoughts into writing and here they are. I am grateful to be able to say a little something, something, about what these pictures have felt like to me, be they elysian fields or mouthfuls of glass in my memory.

(note: none of these films are ranked in mention, these are merely collected lists)


Mister Lonely

Harmony Korine's first step into an almost musical structure. All I can say is the scene when Buckwheat rides his pig is like watching someone walk on water.

Mary & Go-Go Tales

I may be personally biased towards Abel Ferrara's work; It's just that I've never felt really floored by any films so much as I do when experiencing his movies. There's really nothing like it. I can find immense pleasure and wonder in all of his films, even the worst of them. These two are not of that spectral end, and the anticipation I had going into them was met like a champ coming spitting and hissing from his corner of the ring, bloody and fearless in spite of all his obvious weakness.

Silent Light

Perhaps my feelings about this film would not be so strong were it not for the visceral nature of feeling induced by Cornelio Wall's performance as Johan. We are initiated into his spiritual struggle so intimately, without any callous, exploitative intent to the process and unflinchingly devoid of any polite quality. Watch his children swim. Watch his wife fall in the rain through the foggy car window. Watch his tears become clear when the truck passes by some lightsource in the dead of nighttime. You'll see what I mean.

The Pleasure of Being Robbed

Eleonore Hendricks is divine; she's like when you spot someone being sneaky while their friend is asleep. Even after they're caught, they just smile and keep doing whatever sneaky thing they were doing anyway --- including you in their game.

The Last Mistress, Boarding Gate, Mother of Tears & De La Guerre

Asia Argento really cuts herself wide open in every role, splays herself and lets anyone worthy of seeing her look deep in. She's tougher than people give her credit for and that's why so many men describe her as an animal. It's cause it's frightening for men to see someone so brutally composed, so alpha in intent and thought, but yet not a man, never a man. These four films are completely different and yet can be safely mentioned in the same breath as they could not have been what they were to me without her, with anyone else but her.


Never have I felt like I was watching a filmmaker want to accomplish something, know exactly how to do it and bring it off with such panache. There are many paths to failure in making a first film, a political film, a historical film or any of the other unorthodox feelings in storytelling, and making it count, making it right, as this one so effortlessly does. My new favourite Steve McQueen.


Is this a guilty pleasure? David Mamet, the only fascist worth pardoning. Chiwetel Ejiofor in a performance for the ages.


Patient, brooding, like all my time served in private school put up on display and then set ablaze. Fucking beautiful.

Snow Angels, The Wrestler & Blindness

Each of these films contains superlative performances, ones that a viewer could get so much out of as to redeem, for me, the aspects of each which may have fallen short.



If the worst thing in life is wasted potential, imagine squandering Tom Sizemore and Brian Cox in one of the most aesthetically unattractive things ever.

My Blueberry Nights

Once when I was 20 I saw Happy Together, In the Mood for Love, and Fallen Angels all in one day. This film lives up to none of those efforts; it is a singular disappointment. Not even David Strathairn could save it. And Chan, Oh Chan what are you doing here?

Funny Games

I don't know if I can really convey my frustration with this movie here in any formidably respectful way. Let's just say that I haven't been so angry after sitting through something in some time, and my expectations were below the basement floor.


I take back what I said in the last entry. Here is the most angry and insulted I've been made to feel by a film in a long time. In another classic case of mistaking the trees for the forest, Mr. Stone actually thinks that laughing at a unprecedented, treasonous cabal of concentrated power, rather than taking the members straight to task for the now over 600,000 innocent foreign lives murdered in our country's name, in our citizens' names, and in our service men and women's names, is the high road. Well no, it's not, and yes, it is bullshit that anyone might think so.

Righteous Kill

I mean, there is nothing to say. Al.


Sam Rockwell eating cold cuts and mayo, straight, no bread, in Snow Angels

asia argento writhing atop her man next to their dead daughter's funeral pyre in The Last Mistress and making out with a dog in Go-Go Tales

Mathieu Amalric in greenface and aping martin sheen, playing guitar and singing, listening to dylan on a park bench and smiling at everyone who walks by in De La Guerre

denis lavant in Mister Lonely

All of Guerilla (Che part II)

Michael Shannon and Tom Noonan as greek chorus members in Revolutionary Road and Synecdoche, New York respectively

Ezra Miller getting a little too close for comfort, Afterschool