Thursday, January 08, 2009

LES NEUF RÉSOLUTIONS DU CINÉMA 2009 (with no apologies to Jean-Luc Godard)

The following is a response to another tag from Bill over at The Kind of Face You Hate; this time Bill instructs us, via Adam Ross of DVD Panache, to come up with nine cinema-related resolutions for the new year, ones that we could conceivably have a chance at keeping. Here, with one to grow on, is the dark cloud of obligation I have concocted for myself.

1) In the interest of broadening my cinematic horizons (and giving less and less attention to whatever new superhero franchises come wiggling down the Hollywood pipe), I will make better progress on paring down that list of unseen foreign films than I did in 2008. There are some movies on the list now that no longer belong there, but those that remain a mystery to me far outnumber the ones with which I have since become familiar. That really must change.

2) In that same spirit, I will see every movie on this list before the ball drops on 2009 a mere 12 months from now. (I have it within my power to scratch three of them this January alone! Hey, Andrew, are we still on for God’s Angry Man?)

3) I will see more movies in revival theaters and repertory cinemas than I do first-run features in multiplexes.

4) I will relearn to be a more disciplined reader. Right now there are probably 20 books on various shelves in my house that have my bookmarks in them—novels, nonfiction, film criticism, collections of dirty jokes, you name it. Ever since my children were born my ability to find time to sit down for an extended period of time with a good book has significantly dissipated. (Yes, girls, I’m blaming it on you so, when you’re 20-ish and I’m even more broken-down and beaten up than I already am, maybe we can have our own phony-baloney Evan Rachel Wood/Mickey Rourke-style moment of reconciliation. But I will not get an Oscar nomination for it.) However, school will be over soon and the distractions from literature will be again minimized, at least for a while. It will again become possible for me to read a book that doesn’t rely on phrases like “California content standards” or “zone of proximal development” to ground its subject matter. And the first thing I’m going to do is resume, or perhaps even restart, Flicker, the best, most entertaining and entrancing novel I’ve ever stopped reading cold..

5) In the spirit of Bill’s Tarr/Syberberg double-header, I will not only seek out Satantango (which will be my first Bela Tarr movie), I will trade Our Hitler for Berlin Alexanderplatz and then, just to prove that I’m no slice of Eastern Eurotrash, I’ll throw in an all-day marathon of the extended versions of the Lord of the Rings trilogy too. After all that, nothing over 92 minutes in 2009! (I’m probably kidding about this last part.)

6) Once again, I will see no movie starring Kate Hudson in 2009, especially if she’s costarring with Matthew McConnaughey and/or wearing bridal gear. I reserve the right to change my mind if she should unexpectedly appear in another bayou-set horror opus opposite the likes of John Hurt and Gena Rowlands

7) I don’t care how goddamn hungry I get-- no more movie theater popcorn! I vow that the only kernels to pass my lips during feature films projected in any public auditorium will be the Orville Redenbacher 94% Fate-Free Smart Pop variety smuggled in courtesy of my none-too-conspicuous backpack (unless I’m at the New Beverly, where the popcorn is not only good, but it supports something other than the corporate coffers of Mssrs. AMC, Mann and Pacific). However, I cannot make the same vow as regards the bubbly soda pop. The carbonated allure of a freshly fountain-poured Diet Pepsi is just too much for this weak, thirsty man to resist. (Besides, they get all room-temperaturey when I put ‘em in the backpack.)

8) I will try not to devote every spare moment before April 1st to The MLB Network (but I won’t try very hard…)

9) I will try to remember that writing this blog is a pleasure and a privilege, not a duty, and that the world will not end if I make less than four posts a week. I’ve been getting better about this, but the adrenaline generated by being productive and connecting with a readership, however modest, is addictive and, dismaying as it may be at times, I have to realize that I don’t have as much time as I’d like to devote to SLIFR, I’m likely to have even less in the future, and that I must learn to be okay with that.

10) That said, the next thing I post on this blog will be my somewhat delayed year-end blow-out. (I’ll just have to come to terms with not having yet seen Synedoche, New York, or A Christmas Tale, or…)

Happy New Year, everyone!



Thom McGregor said...

Nice list. For my sake, please work real hard on number 8. One more echoey "Today I am the luckiest man in the world" and I'm gonna explode, Scanners-style.

Ali Arikan said...

I hear ya. Instead of the cross, a piece on the best movies of 2008 around my neck is also hung.

Great list.

bill r. said...

Sorry I keep tagging you, Dennis! I know it's probably a hassle, but I keep getting tagged myself, and I only know eight people.

I should have chosen Berlin Alexanderplatz! What was I thinking!? It's twice as long as the other two, but I bet I'd enjoy it more.

I really, really hope you do finish up Flicker this year. I would LOVE to read a post by you about it that covers the whole book (or as much as you could reasonably fit into one blog post)

Adam Ross said...

Thanks for posting this Dennis, and good luck. I'm actually in the middle of an all-day (more like two day) extended Lord of the Rings marathon. The hardest part figures to be the home stretch, I think Return of the King pushes 4 hours, and damn if that last hour goes on for two.

Lindsay Vivian said...

God, I saw Fools Gold too. We knew it was wrong, but we did it anyway. I'm so ashamed... I had to cleanse my visual palate with Cannibal Holocaust. It worked.

Jonathan Lapper said...

Damn, that was actually a resolution post in which the resolutions seem admirable (apologies to everyone else, except maybe Fox) and noteworthy. I'm impressed. I didn't do mine (I resolve to continue to ignore memes) but I linked back to Adam anyway, he's such a nice guy. And I tagged some crazy man in the supermarket.

Anyway, good luck with those.

Dennis Cozzalio said...

Thom: How about this instead? "In a year which has been so improbable, the impossible has happened!" Whoo-hoo! Only about a month and a half until spring training!

Ali: Cross, albatross, what have you-- when I finally get to sit down with it, it will be lots of fun to compile... I think. I look forward to yours as well!

Bill: No worries! I likes the tag! It's like being hit with a surprise assignment by a crusty yet benign editor. And I promise, once I finish school this month, I think I'm just going to start Flicker all over again-- I enjoyed the first 200 pages so much that it won't be anything like a chore to read them again!

Adam: Is this your first time with the extended LOTR marathon? My wife and I have talked about doing it for years, but we've never found time. We saw the extended versions of the first two at the Cinerama Dome on successive weekends before The Return of the King was released, but neither of us have even yet seen the extended Return, let alone all three at once. "Daunting, but seductive!"

Lindsay: Eeewww! Did you see the trailer for this new Bride Wars thing? Guess what movie I was attending when I saw it for the first (and hopefully only time): Rachel Getting Married! And some ladies sitting behind me were clearly and vocally pissed off when RGM didn't turn out to be a frothy, raucous comedy in that vein but instead something, um, a tad more harrowing...

Jonathan: Adam is a man upstanding, to be sure, and this is a great meme idea of his. I worry most about that popcorn pledge (#7), but then, hey, if I keep #3 with any kind of consistency, then maybe there's a natural loophole there that I can exploit!

Peter Nellhaus said...

If it's any consolation, most major city libraries carry Criterion Collection DVDs so you don't have to clog up your rental queue or shell out the big bucks, unless you want to.

Robert Fiore said...

Apropos of the Kate Hudson pledge, for quite a long time it seemed as if I would manage to miss the entire career of Meryl Streep. I was able to do this because (1) I somehow never got around to seeing MANHATTAN and (2) other than that she was normally in the kind of prestige picture I have no interest in. For a while I got so into it that I felt sullied when I saw trailers for movies she was in. It might have lasted a lifetime if she hadn't been cast in an Albert Brooks picture, something I couldn't skip. (Hell, I've even seen LOOKING FOR COMEDY IN THE MUSLIM WORLD. Muslims were going throw a riot over it but they couldn't find a theater where it was playing.) Since my cherry was popped I've seen ADAPTATION, but strangely I still haven't gotten around to MANHATTAN, though the DVD is on my shelf.

Tom Beshear said...

I'd suggest watching "Werckmeister Harmonies" before "Satantango." It's Tarr's "other" masterpiece, has a more concise plot, and is under 2.5 hours. The opening scene -- despite lacking a cow -- is one of the most mesmerizing in all of cinema.

Rick Olson said...

I'd go with Mr. Beshear if I were you, Dennis ... though i was entranced with them both, I think Werckmeister Harmonies is the better picture. And you don't have to plan a week in advance to see it.

And I have the same problem as you do with number nine. I'd better get on it and post mine (bill tagged me too), before all the good resolutions are taken.

Brian said...

I will third the advice to skip Satantango in favor of Werckmeister Harmonies...unless of course the former suddenly is booked to play at a cinematheque near you, in which case jump right into the deep end of the pool!

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