Cinemarch Madness: De Palma Division Poll
I don't know if Blow Out will do very well, but it's a great film with no hope for human beings — as well as 1) De Palma at his best at harnessing his intensities and 2) Travolta at a fork of sorts in the road. People always forget he's in this; you forget what he can do. And then everyone just forgot him period and he wound up in straight-to-video dreck comedies about Potemkin villages until Pulp Fiction. Dark horse.
The Cove is an unstintingly awful viewing experience involving a dolphin abattoir. Someone mentioned in the nominations thread that s/he saw it on a plane, and I hope that someone wrote a stern (and tear-soaked) letter to the airline, because WTF. Very strong candidate to move on.
I have not seen all of Finding Neverland but I didn't love Depp's performance. Probably filed under "sad, but not depressing." Have also not seen Head On and how well it does may depend on how large an Aussie contingent we have voting (it did go onto my to-see list).
House of Sand and Fog is an interesting case for me, because I watched it for two reasons: Ron Eldard, which is irrelevant here; and the well-regarded performance of Shohreh Aghdashloo, which I found overpraised, although I enjoy her. The ending is effective, and while I wouldn't have thought to nominate it, it's widely enough seen that it could place here.
La Jetee inspired 12 Monkeys; Jules et Jim inspired any number of cynical meditations on the nature of commitment. The first is not well known enough to figure, and the second is, in my opinion, undercut by Moreau's off-putting performance. This is a minority opinion, as is my not considering this the bleakest Truffaut, but that's why we vote.
Medea I have not seen, but it's Medea and enough said. Probably depends on who's seen it. Ditto Miracle Mile and its cult following…although I would love to figure out what the age dividing line is for people who watch even mediocre The Bomb Went Off movies and still feel genuine anxiety. We had to watch a couple of them in school (tremendously shitty call by the school, PS) and I forget until I see them again that we all had a ticker of fear about the Russkies obliterating us all running under everything we did. And kids my age obviously didn't remember/know about the Cuban missile crisis. Anyway, I'd be interested to know how old you have to be to feel that kind of subject as a reflection of how we lived, versus as a more abstract dystopia.
Aaaanyhoodle. Ordinary People, oy. Talk about things that hit harder at the time — my mother tried to explain that to see Mary Tyler Moore as Bitch Lake that froze over was really weird. It is a tough sit at times, both qua story (the flashbacks) and because the Hirsch sessions haven't aged well, or we've seen them done to death…I don't think it punches its weight here.
The Passion of Joan of Arc. Hmm. Could make a run at it. The final sequence of images is not fucking around.
I hate to say it, but I don't remember A Separation very well. The Oscars Death Race brings me into contact with a lot of brilliant films I never would have seen otherwise…but it grinds a few great ones up in the gears, too, because I'm rushing to check them off, and I loved it at the time but now I remember little about it. It could have legs.
I don't think Seven belongs here; it's scary and harsh, but not hopeless, in my opinion. It's been a while since I've seen it, and certainly it's among the better-known titles.
Take Shelter is apparently quite grim — and ambiguous, often the most affecting sort of grim. A dark horse.
Not sure about We Were Soldiers. I thought it dragged, but the subject matter could power it through.
I'm going with Blow Out, The Cove, and A Separation. I think The Cove gets through, maybe A Separation but more likely Sand and Fog or Seven. And Jennifer Connelly elbows her way into poster-girl consideration.
De Palma Division: Vote for the THREE (3) harshest films.
- The Cove (50%, 112 Votes)
- House of Sand and Fog (42%, 96 Votes)
- Seven (38%, 86 Votes)
- Ordinary People (27%, 62 Votes)
- A Separation (15%, 33 Votes)
- Blow Out (13%, 29 Votes)
- Take Shelter (11%, 24 Votes)
- We Were Soldiers (10%, 23 Votes)
- Finding Neverland (9%, 20 Votes)
- Medea (9%, 20 Votes)
- The Passion of Joan of Arc (8%, 19 Votes)
- Jules et Jim (5%, 12 Votes)
- La Jetee (5%, 12 Votes)
- Miracle Mile (4%, 8 Votes)
- Head On (2%, 5 Votes)
Total Voters: 226
Tags: 12 Monkeys A Separation Blow Out Brian De Palma Cinemarch Madness Finding Neverland Francois Truffaut Head On House of Sand and Fog Jeanne Moreau John Travolta Johnny Depp Judd Hirsch Jules et Jim La Jetee Mary Tyler Moore Medea Miracle Mile movies Ordinary People Oscars 2012 Death Race Pulp Fiction Ron Eldard Shohreh Aghdashloo shut up France Take Shelter The Cove The Passion of Joan of Arc We Were Soldiers