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Home » Culture and Criticism

Cinemarch Madness: Milestone Division

Submitted by on March 11, 2013 – 12:33 PMOne Comment

grunge film background

We may have to conduct a separate poll for who gets Cinemarch Madness’s poster-girl honors: Emily Watson and Emmanuelle Riva well in the lead at this point.

Milestone is an odd lot, isn’t it? Yeah, I say it about every division; this one especially, though, no? A Nouvelle Vague classic, an all-star performance by a four-year-old, adaptations of books that kicked my ass, and…a movie about a serial killer named Bunting. Where to start, seriously.

I’ll start with La Haine; aside from an “Americans need spoon-feeding” decision by the American distributors to change Vincent Cassel’s character’s street name from Asterix to “Snoopy,” it’s an impressively ugly and hopeless outing, and Cassel is, as is his wont, riveting. I’ll continue with Jacob’s Ladder and its ending that really should not work, and yet, thanks to quiet and genuine work throughout from Tim Robbins, is a kick to the chest despite seeming to owe itself mostly to The Ambrose Bierce School of Lens Flares.

My third vote is not Tutti stanno bene (usually rendered Stanno tutti bene, I think? Everybody’s Fine is sometimes the English title) or HMA. The former is, in my opinion, a wonderful movie but insufficiently bleak; the latter makes me a little impatient, the machinery creaking as convention is laboriously subverted…it’s a film-fiber issue and entirely subjective, and I’d “get” votes for it. I don’t think it’s terrible, just academic.

It’s also not We Need to Talk about Kevin, but I might have found the film more effective if I hadn’t read the book first. And it’s tempting to give the home team a boost — Snowtown is tough sledding at times — but my last vote here goes to Ponette, a love letter to the strange and beautiful things children believe that made my teeth hurt, in a good way. Honorable mention: All Quiet on the Western Front (1930).

What gets through? Heavily dependent on what people have seen; there’s a lot of foreign-language in here, more than in most divisions. I’m going to guess Plague Dogs and Kevin in the lead, but Lord knows.

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

  • We Need to Talk about Kevin (24%, 131 Votes)
  • All Quiet on the Western Front (1930) (14%, 77 Votes)
  • Jacob's Ladder (12%, 66 Votes)
  • The Land Before Time (11%, 59 Votes)
  • Tess (7%, 37 Votes)
  • Hiroshima Mon Amour (6%, 31 Votes)
  • La Haine (6%, 30 Votes)
  • The Plague Dogs (5%, 27 Votes)
  • Ponette (5%, 25 Votes)
  • One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich (4%, 23 Votes)
  • Snowtown (2%, 12 Votes)
  • Burnt by the Sun (1%, 6 Votes)
  • Tutti stanno bene (1%, 5 Votes)
  • The Last Lions (1%, 3 Votes)
  • Voces Inocentes (1%, 3 Votes)

Total Voters: 222

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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.



One Comment »

  • Wendalette says:

    I haven’t seen any of these except “Jacob’s Ladder.”

    I watched it when I was on a “must-see-Macauley-in-everything-and-also-Tim-Robbins-is-kinda-cute” kick. (Easy to fulfill; my dad was a manager for a once-mighty movie rental chain.)

    Never thought the same way of either of those fellows (or of nightclubs) again. Had nightmares for a long time; not the scary, screaming kind, but the kind where you wake up sobbing, or at least wish you could, because the world was a terrible place and nothing good could ever happen again.

    But then again, I was full of angst and nihilism then — aged 17.

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