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Home » Culture and Criticism

Cinemarch Madness: George Division Poll

Submitted by on March 10, 2013 – 11:53 AM9 Comments

grunge film background

From the looks of the nominations thread, the George Divison belongs to Hotel Rwanda, Pan's Labyrinth, and Where the Red Fern Grows. We saw valid cases made for all; I haven't watched any of these, though, so I won't vote for them — or for Kramer vs. Kramer (downbeat, great gritty era light, but not enough, even with that playground sequence) or Lost in Translation (Sofia Coppola's clinical eye can alienate, but tends to stop short of harrowing).

Salo…tough one. (On every level.) Having not seen it either, I wonder if that one's straddling (…sorry) an In the Realm of the Senses line between "this is a reflection of the/a human condition that is extraordinarily hard to take" and "this is an exercise in hard-to-take-ness."

And I might have thrown The Wedding Banquet a vote if it had started out in another division. Not here, because it's in with Kids, a film whose eponymous little personality disorders haunt me to this day (and the sex scene; and her cab ride; and the claustrophobia of Telly's mother's apartment), and They Shoot Horses, Don't They?, which brings you along into the exhaustion and disorientation of the characters, and the grime of hopelessness and sour moral relativism that covers everything, so effectively that it doesn't even need the kicker…but what a kicker it is. (And with a soupcon of…well, just Google Gig Young.) (…Iiiii know.)

The third slot is a tough one once again; I could go Ice Storm. Kevin Kline looking both hopefully and hopelessly into the back seat at his son had me choking in the theater, and Adam Hann-Byrd is flawless (and his scenes beyond disquieting) as Sandy.

But instead, I think it's The Vanishing. (Not this one.) You know what's coming. You know Rex's ruin is inevitable, and you know its nature; the sadness of the emotional situation fights with a physiological and phobic response to its arithmetic. It's stayed with me ever since. (On a side note, if you…well, "liked" is maybe not the thing with these, but if you "thought well of" The Vanishing, give Epitafios a try, if only so that someone, anyone else has seen it and can talk about it with me. And also if you're like, "Sleeping? Hate it!" because yeee-iiiiiikes.)

George Division: Vote for the THREE (3) harshest films.

  • Hotel Rwanda (51%, 154 Votes)
  • Kids (44%, 132 Votes)
  • Pan's Labryinth (40%, 120 Votes)
  • Where the Red Fern Grows (25%, 75 Votes)
  • The Ice Storm (25%, 75 Votes)
  • They Shoot Horses, Don't They? (19%, 57 Votes)
  • The Vanishing (Dutch ver.) (16%, 48 Votes)
  • Kramer vs. Kramer (11%, 32 Votes)
  • Lost in Translation (8%, 24 Votes)
  • Salo (4%, 13 Votes)
  • Ratcatcher (3%, 10 Votes)
  • Mean Creek (2%, 7 Votes)
  • The Wedding Banquet (1%, 4 Votes)
  • The Wages of Fear (1%, 3 Votes)
  • Kanal (1%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 301

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Not sure what's going on? You'll fit right in around here (heh) but in the meantime, the Cinemarch Madness FAQ is here, and a poll overview is here.

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9 Comments »

  • lsn says:

    I have actually seen about two thirds of Epitafos when it was screening on SBS. It certainly sucked me in, I'll have to get hold of the rest of it.

  • anotherkate says:

    The Wedding Banquet? Gay man convinces tenant to marry him for a green card? I watched that really recently and I can't see how it could possibly belong here. Different movie?

  • Bess says:

    I understand what makes people vote for Pan's Labyrinth, but for all it's original-Brothers-Grimm style gruesomeness I find it a truly enjoyable film. Lost in Translation, on the other hand, just leaves me exhausted and numbed. LiT it is….

  • Rachel says:

    I really loved Lost in Translation. I think Sofia Coppola did a great job of showing us both "stranger in a strange land" and the idea that you can be surrounded by people yet still be utterly alone. The ending broke my heart, but in a good way. It doesn't get the obsessive re-watch treatment that some of the fluffier movies in my collection tend to get (Love Actually comes to mind) but there are times when it fits just right.

  • Jack says:

    Goddamn Wages of Fear. Two hours of excellent, gripping suspense, followed up by a "shocking" ending that is just such pointless nihilistic bullshit that it gets me angry even thinking about it.

  • Maren says:

    When I was an introverted, nerdy ninth grader my mom made me watch Kids one day while I was home sick from school by myself so I could see "what teenagers are really like." Congratulations, mom, you made me never want to have sex for all of high school, and also live in a cardboard box forever.

  • Judy says:

    Wedding Banquet had definite strains of "the suck" but yeah, I don't get what it's doing here. I can't say why because of the spoilers, but it's nowhere near the bar set by some of the others on this list, or even in this division…

  • Rachel says:

    @Maren – does your mom consider that a success, then? That's kind of what we want for our high-school-aged daughters, if we're being honest.

  • Tarn says:

    The Ice Storm was successful in that it made me feel cold, clammy and uncomfortable all the way through. And admirable feat, but I will NEVER watch it again. It "wins" in this category for me.

    Pan's Labyrinth disturbed me deeply, but I was fascinated enough that during my more masochistic moments, I will watch it and enjoy it again. But not at night, and not alone (White creature with eyeballs on hands will eat me!).

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