Because I love you all, here's my list of the best movies I've
Netflixed this year. You don't have to thank me. Special Bonus: since I originally posted this in a private forum, this has bonus commentary by Professor Cox.
(and years later I've done another.)
Five Easy Pieces: Jack Nicholson and a bunch of cool actors
(including Alabama novelist Fannie Flagg!) in a gloomy character
study. Funny, too. Flawless acting all around. Laslo Kovacs,
Cinematographer of such edgy films as Easy Rider and Ghostbusters,
photographs it, so it looks great. (Cox Comment: Dudes that get their heads chopped off in immortal combat: 0)
Blood Tea & Red String: Stop-motion fantasy. Has a crow with a
human skull for a head. (Cox Comment: Car chases: 0 (Though the crow sounds way cool))
Secret Honor: Fictitious drama in which Richard Nixon records his
secret memoirs. (Cox Comment: Scenes with Scottish guy getting revenge on other Scottish guys by riding a HORSE through their living rooms: 0)
La Belle Captive: Arty mystery; kinda like a cheap, funny Eyes Wide
Shut. (Cox Comment: Guys in Bat costumes with Bat shaped boomerangs: 0)
Muriel: A drama about frustrated French people. Funky new-wave
editing helps make this film as dense as a novel. (Cox Comment: A subtle, precise, and wrenching film, shot largely without recourse
to the stylistic flourishes that made Resnais' reputation.
Ed. Note: I believe the good Professor is having a bit of fun here, meta-commenting on the widespread cyberplagerizing his students try to pass of as academic work.)
Zombie: You may think you've seen a zombie fight a shark, but you
haven't really seen a zombie fight a shark until you've seen Zombie!
Seven Men from Now: Randolph Scott and Lee Marvin try to steal a
woman from her wimp husband. (Cox Comment: The plot is unrealistic, Lee Marvin would annihilate Randolph Scott two minutes into the opening credit sequence. Course, then he'd take off his hat and say "Randolph Scott" reverently while standing over Scott's body with a smoking six iron.)
Blood for Dracula: AKA Andy Warhol's Dracula. This thing is
insane. Vulgar, funny.
Anxious Animation: Liquid Television type artiness. (Cox Comment: Talking pigs: er probably 0)
Chocolat: Not the one about the chocolate shop in the French
village; this one's about steamy jungle fever in Africa. Beautiful
camerawork. (Cox Comment: I have actually seen this, it is pretty cool. Its the one French movie where the French don't surrender to something. It would have
been cooler with a French guy in a white suit and an submachine gun
saying, "Okay Jones, you win, blow up the Chocolats, right back to
Alice: Stop-motion Alice in Wonderland. This ain't the usual sugar
and spice Alice; this one restores all the cruelty and futility of
the novel. (Cox Comment: Hookah Pipes: 1)
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning: Whaddaya know, a
Chainsaw sequel that doesn't suck. Horrible hillbillies live in
squalor and chop people up. They could make a million movies with
that premise, and I'd watch them all. This one, though, I'd rewatch. (Cox Comment: A great documentary of rural Texas life!)
By Brakhage: An Anthology: Disc 1 (2-Disc Series): Stan Brakhage is
a total art-nerd, but when he photographs his wife making funky
shadows with a waving candle, it looks pretty cool. Plus his
autopsy footage of fat corpses getting sawed into reminded me that I
need to get in shape, for real. (Cox Comment: Why film this when we live this?)
Alien: Collector's Edition: It's easy to take this movie for granted
or to prefer the action oriented sequel, but this flick is the most
elegant horror movie about space monsters I've ever seen. (Cox Comment: Aliens coming out of a dude's stomach: 1)
Tomorrow We Move: A charming French feel-good-in-a-bittersweet-way
comedy. I LUV it. (Cox Comment: See review of Chocolat!)
The Man Who Fell to Earth: David Bowie is an alien(Cox Comment: Why do we need a film to tell us the obvious?). He gets hooked
on crappy American culture and forgets to save his race. Ain't that
The Lovers of the Arctic Circle: Spanish romance; the kind of
entertainment Hollywood is famous for but hardly ever actually
makes. It takes a Spaniard to make a good Hollywood romance. (Cox Comment: Scenes with Mr. Freeze: 0)
The Love God?: Don Knotts becomes mistaken for a smut-magazine
publisher. You will Laff.
The Old Dark House: The perfect old-tymey Halloween movie.
The Sacrifice / Directed by Andrei Tarkovsky: I thought about this
movie for weeks afterward. An atheist turns to God when a nuclear
war breaks out; God reveals to him that the only way to save the
world is to have sex with his foxy maid. And so he does. Way to
take one for the team! (Cox Comment: Sounds cool! Who drives the getaway car?)
The League of Gentlemen: Series 1: Monty Python: The Next Generation. (Cox Comment: She turned me into a Victorian hero!(Ed. Comment: I trust I don't need to explain the Python/LXG joke, but for the sake of clarification I should point out that League of Gentlemen is a comedy troupe, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen is a splendid comic book, and LXG is a movie that didn't even try to match the comic.))
L'Avventura: My new favorite movie. Reminds me of my cooler
dreams. Don't show it to Natalee Holloway's family, though. (Cox Comment: See review of Chocolat.)
Films of Kenneth Anger: Vol. 1: The short film Inauguration of the
Pleasure Dome is my other new favorite movie. (Cox Comment: Two nerds enter, one nerd leaves!
Alucarda: The best movie about demon-possessed schoolgirls and nuns
EVER. (Cox Comment: Better than the Exorcist? (Ed. Note: I actually haven't seen The Exorcist, but I doubt it has as much girl-on-girl action as Alucarda, nor as much nun-whipping-nun action, so I give the edge to Alucarda.)
Comic Book Pajama Party: Women Who Love Comic Books!: Shut up, I
rented it and I enjoyed it. It's not good by any stretch of the
imagination, but when I'm a toothless old man I'll be looking for a
copy of this to guide me into the twilight. (Cox Comment: Awesome in a creepy way . . .)
The Long Goodbye: Elliot Gould plays Phillip Marlowe. It shouldn't
work, but it does.
Without You I'm Nothing: Sandra Bernhardt (Cox Comment: Stop the sentence here. We don't need to know anymore. Avoid at all costs) shows us why all those
people who hate her are WRONG.
Daisies: Mean girls are mean for an hour and a half. Arty and
funny. Made in Communist Poland; the DVD includes an angry speech
some official made about how this movie spits in the face of Commie
Not on the Lips: Alain Resnais, one-time cutting-edge art-movie
guru, films a corny old french musical. It's a Gallic hoot.
Subtitles whiz by too fast, but what can you do? The guy who played
the Merovingian in the Matrix sequels plays an American, and has an
obvious blast making fun of us. (Cox Comment:See review of Chocolat.)
Tetsuo: The Iron Man: Cheap black-and-white SF movie about a guy
who's infected with a disease that turns him into a machine(Cox Comment: Otherwise known as "The Al Gore Story"). Explosive and weird, like watching a hardware fight on scrambled cable.
Spider Baby: If the Addam's Family actually killed people, they'd be
The Hypothesis of the Stolen Painting / The Suspended Vocation: Two
inscrutable art-movie conspiracy puzzles. Show those Da Vinci's Code
fans what wimps they are by screening this at 'em (Cox Comment: Scenes with S-Mart workers killing zombies with a shotgun: 0)
This public service was sponsored by a grant from the Bored At Work
Foundation. Thanks again to Professor Cox for upgrading my nerdy little list and for letting me share his comments!