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Home » Culture and Criticism

Cinemarch Madness: Polley Division Poll

Submitted by on March 13, 2013 – 11:17 AM5 Comments

grunge film background

Without double-checking the remaining divisions, I have to compare Polley to the NL East, where you’ve got one team contending and the rest pantsing around like the Bad News Bears.

Washington Nationals duty in this lineup is of course divided between Sophie’s Choice, and its horrible, beautiful end; and Grave of the Fireflies and its horrible, beautiful everything. Both films got repeated nominations and both films should proceed to the semis untouched.

The rest, you get a “maybe next year” feeling. Elephant is strikingly done, and I may vote for it, but it might not go dark enough. Away from Her and Elah I would characterize as sad, but not hopeless. Life Is Beautiful and Ethan Frome want to go there, think they go there, but LIB I found obnoxious and EF is marred (and on paper as well) by on-the-nose imagery and self-seriousness.

I would describe There Will Be Blood as stern stuff, but not bleak in the way I’m talking about. (It’s interesting, what got nominated from the Anderson oeuvre. With the caveat that, generally, his stuff isn’t my thing, I’d call TWBB his most complete — but not as dark as Magnolia, or Boogie Nights, which I hate but does achieve some tonal success.)

Sherrybaby…yeah, that’s pretty hard shit. I don’t think it’ll do much, because like five people saw it, but I may throw that a vote, though it’ll have a tough time competing with Once Were Warriors.

My votes: Sophie’s, Fireflies, and Elephant, what the hell. Your third semifinalist is Elah or LIB, I think.

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

  • Sophie's Choice (28%, 166 Votes)
  • Grave of the Fireflies (16%, 96 Votes)
  • Life Is Beautiful (11%, 65 Votes)
  • Away from Her (9%, 53 Votes)
  • There Will Be Blood (8%, 45 Votes)
  • Sherrybaby (7%, 43 Votes)
  • Once Were Warriors (6%, 34 Votes)
  • Ethan Frome (4%, 23 Votes)
  • Elephant (4%, 23 Votes)
  • In the Valley of Elah (3%, 16 Votes)
  • Like Crazy (1%, 6 Votes)
  • Stella (1%, 6 Votes)
  • North Face (1%, 5 Votes)
  • Rojo Amanacer (1%, 3 Votes)
  • Sunrise (1%, 3 Votes)

Total Voters: 235

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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.




  • attica says:

    My personal terror at the prospect of dementia (my own or any loved one’s) tip my vote for AFH. [shudders]

    I give the movie version of Sophie more points than the book, because I didn’t get the punch-in-the-gut-and-kick-in-the-throat until I saw Meryl. (I still maintain Peter MacNicol wasn’t well cast, however. His accent was laughable.)

  • Rachel says:

    I agree with calling Life is Beautiful “obnoxious.” A little Begnini goes a very, very, VERY long way.

    I just watched Like Crazy yesterday and I don’t know that it belongs here. I think the ending is, ultimately, a happy one. They suffered from bad timing and one bad decision but I don’t think their bad time was as bad as some of these others.

    We’ll have to see what happens in Like Crazy 2: Counseling For Everyone.

  • KT says:

    I still remember the first time I saw Once Were Warriors. I cried pretty much through the entire movie. My friend and I spent the 30-minute drive home (from the little independent cinema in the centre of Sydney) in stunned silence, tears still streaming down our cheeks.

    So yeah, that one got my vote.

  • Sandman says:

    (I still maintain Peter MacNicol wasn’t well cast, however. His accent was laughable.)

    Co-signed, dude. I wasn’t that moved by Kevin Kline, either, I must say. I’m guessing Nathan was supposed to be bipolar, but the glary, all-caps quality of Kline’s performance put me off.

  • MinglesMommy says:

    Ethan Frome … GAD, you could actually FEEL the winter chill. (How did Liam Neeson do that walk and not throw his back out?)

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