In honor of the once-a-decade Sight and Sound Poll that was recently unveiled, a list that invariably sets the rules for canonizing the “best” of film history, I participated in The House Next Door‘s very own survey of the greatest films of all time. I’m extremely proud of these films, all choices that resonate deeply with me still, and this piece as a whole. A special thanks to my patient editor Ed Gonzalez for working through it with me. Click here and find out the titles that made my shortlist.
I wonder what a He-Man tentpole film would look like in our current comic book-obsessed, event picture landscape we call modern-day Hollywood? Whatever direction the project would take (origin story; psychologically dark; epic CGI), there’s no way in hell it could resemble Gary Goddard’s jarring mix of corny screwball comedy and choppy action heroics, 1987’s Masters of the Universe. While time has not been kind to this blatantly ridiculous superhero film, it’s still refreshing to know that a “big budget” sci-fi saga based on a popular 1980s cartoon is this manic and strange, even going as far as making its ox of a star, bulging bicep titan He-Man (Dolph Lundgren), the lone voice of reason in a sea of obliviousness. Immediately after a crippling laser shootout occurs between the forces of Grayskull and the dark hooded stormtroopers employed by the evil dictator Skeletor (a masked Frank Langella), the sweaty He-Man tells his loyal brood Man-at-Arms (Jon Cypher) and Teela (Chelsea Field) that “we’re all in this together.” I’m not sure what’s more hilarious, Lundgren’s wonderfully sincere line delivery or the fact that all of the other actors seem on the precipice of explosive laughter.
For my final report from AFI FEST 2011 I tackle Béla Tarr’s life-changing The Turin Horse. It’s so powerful and all-consuming I couldn’t muster any enthusiasm to write about ALPS or The Loneliest Planet, two other films from my last day of the festival.
AFI 2011 Dispatch #3 covers A Separation (masterpiece), The Color Wheel (obnoxious/fascinating) and Green (sinister).
AFI FEST 2011 Dispatch #2 is now up at The House Next Door. The punishing savagery of Faust and Snowtown are my topics of interest.