Best of the 2000’s: Epilogue

The Best of the Rest: Honorable Mentions for the 2000’s

For every beginning, there must be an end. Sadly, our joint venture has come to its waning days, but the experience has been invigorating and therapeutic. So we have a decade nearly in the books, ten personal favorites revealed, and plenty of great Cinema to spare.

As previously stated in the Prologue, a rash of other masterful films deserve mention as best of the 2000’s, and I’d like to consider each in short bursts. I’ve ranked them 11-20 but in truth, they are interchangeable on any given day. To be followed by my Top 10 performances of the decade. Continue reading

Gone Poaching for Wild Things

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In what will be a regular gig over at Chazz Lyon’s excellent new blog Gone Cinema Poaching, I will be contributing weekly reviews of new films and the occasional long essay on various topics. It’s an exciting opportunity for me to branch out and explore new avenues of this fascinating business, so I’m looking forward to the increased workload. Not wasting any time, Chazz has already posted my first assignment, Spike Jonze’s fascinating and problematic Where the Wild Things Are, which you can find here.

I will continue to post on Match Cuts as always, with a plethora of new material in the coming weeks like posts on The Informant!, Eden Lake, the Korean gangster film Breathless, and A Serious Man, not to mention the continuing Best of the Decade Project. So here we go…

Adaptation (Jonze, 2002)

In 2002, Adaptation seemed silly, ill-conceived, and over-the-top to me. But that was before I started writing screenplays. In viewing this wonderment through a different and more experienced lens, it’s clear my initial complaints address the very point Spike Jonze and Charlie Kaufman are trying to make – that movies are inherently artificial and manipulative, and completely enthralling and personal nonetheless. Adaptation never squanders a moment of dialogue, space, or character even when its trying to convince you of the blatant absurdities at the film’s core. Cage’s dual performance addresses a competition and love deep within the soul of brothers at odds, a trait few movies contemplate with such care. During the great end sequence, when Donald’s death resonates so incredibly with his pessimistic twin Charlie, Adaptation builds emotion out of the dank swamp air and the fading sun light. It takes a character/writer who for nearly two hours has felt lifeless and hopeless, and turns him into something resembling a human being. Jonze might not be the most visually dynamic director of his generation, but he finds an artistic pulse in the strangest pockets of the mind, capturing something altogether uncomfortable and illuminating in the shadows of personal artistic expression.