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JulyDiaz

Best of 2018: Critics' Picks

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Amy & Paul continue their review of 2018 in film with a look back at last year's most critically acclaimed films! They praise Nicholas Cage's passion in Mandy, marvel at the realism and empathy of Eighth Grade, and argue whether Hereditary has third act problems. Plus: Listeners weigh in on last week's superhero debate.

Next week we want to hear about your favorite films of 2018! Call the Unspooled voicemail line at 747-666-5824 and leave us a message with what film you think might make a future AFI list. Follow us on Twitter @Unspooled, get more info at unspooledpod.com, and don’t forget to rate, review & subscribe to us on Apple Podcasts. Photo by Kim Troxall.

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Because this podcast focus’s on American made films and the AFI list, how is it that The Favourite is considered an American made film and is thus eligible to be discussed on this show?  

I only ask because at the top of this episode it is noted that Roma won’t be discussed because it is considered a foreign film and is thus ineligible for the AFI list. Feels like an easy argument to make: Alfonso Cuarón is from Mexico City, most if not all the cast and crew is from Mexico, the cast member speak in Spanish the entire film, and the film was shot in Mexico.  The only American influence would be from Participant Media who helped produce the film but in what capacity I’m not sure, and Netflix but for distribution. 

Then there’s The Favourite. Director Yorgos Lanthimos is from Greece, screenwriters Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara are from the UK and Australia, the cast with the exception of Emma Stone are all British and Irish, the producers are all British and Irish, and the film was shot in the UK. Fox Searchlight was the only American production involved but only came into the picture during the distribution phase. 

So how is it The Favourite can be considered an American film thus eligible to be discussed on this show?

 

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31 minutes ago, jrkevinbaconcheeseburger said:

So how is it The Favourite can be considered an American film thus eligible to be discussed on this show?

According to IMDB the US is listed as a country for it, despite never being shot here. Something about it counts.

Ah had to go down a Rabbit Hole of research to find this -

Quote

Ryan Gosling and producer Ken Kao have formed Arcana — a production company that will develop a wide range of unique and diverse material for film and television.

Arcana’s first project is director Yorgos Lanthimos’ upcoming film “The Favourite,” which stars Emma Stone, Rachel Weisz and Olivia Colman and just wrapped principal photography in the U.K. The story is based on a Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara script that follows the clandestine personal and political machinations of the reign of Queen Anne.

Arcana joins producers Ceci Dempsey for Scarlet Films and Ed Guiney and Lee Magiday for Element Pictures, together with Film4 and Fox Searchlight, on “The Favourite.”

While it doesn't list Arcana on IMDB it does list Ken Kao's other production company "Waypoint Entertainment."

Think we found the American tie there.

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So is that all it take? Since one of many production companies involved is American the film is now American?  

Following that logic how does Participant Media’s involvements in Roma not make Roma an American film?

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While I think production company and majority financing is probably the main consideration, I think The Favourite being in English probably meant they didn't consider it not being American. The original AFI list included a few very obviously English movies that were not American. So there's some precedence to that imperialism.

I'm kind of surprised Amy thought so low of Blackkklansman. Generally, I agree with her (and agree with a lot of her complaints with this movie about its tone) but I liked the movie a lot. I thought the ending switching back and forth between stories is kind of standard montage technique going back 100 years in film. I think what limits it from being seriously considered from an AFI type list is being verly limited to this time period. I think the story and themes of racism are timeless but making a point to include specific references to 2017/8 America will make it seem very dated soon (ugh, I hope).

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42 minutes ago, jrkevinbaconcheeseburger said:

So is that all it take? Since one of many production companies involved is American the film is now American?  

Following that logic how does Participant Media’s involvements in Roma not make Roma an American film?

Well I think in that case it's what country is able to "claim" it in terms of awards. Mexico has officially submitted Roma as their film and therefore it may no longer be considered an American film, but The Favourite may not have that claim to it. It's the same with A Clockwork Orange, which I believe that Amy brought up is so heavily UK that it seems odd that it would end up on the American list.

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To partially answer the question and partially to not answer the question at all, the AFI put out a list of the top 10 American films for 2018 and included The Favourite. Roma was explicitly left off the list because it wasn't American, but was given a shout out. 

So, why to answer the part of the question of why it's being considered for the podcast of what might end up on the AFI best American movies of all time list, then according to the AFI it qualifies.

As to why it qualifies according to them, the other posts in this thread are doing the tackling of sorting out the classification that makes me go, "hmmmmm...."

 

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28 minutes ago, ol' eddy wrecks said:

To partially answer the question and partially to not answer the question at all, the AFI put out a list of the top 10 American films for 2018

 

Hm wow I didn't know that.  This should have been the list the podcast focused on then, imo.  If they're not recognizing Annihilation or Sorry To Bother You now, I doubt they will later. 

Their listed criteria

Quote

 

Honorees are selected based on works which:

Best advance the art of the moving image

Enhance the rich cultural heritage of America's art form

Inspire audiences and artists alike

And/or make a mark on American society

 

If anyone's wondering, here's their list

Black Panther
BlacKKKlansman
Eighth Grade
The Favourite
First Reformed
Green Book
If Beale Street Could Talk
Mary Poppins Returns
A Quiet Place
A Star Is Born

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2 hours ago, jrkevinbaconcheeseburger said:

Because this podcast focus’s on American made films and the AFI list, how is it that The Favourite is considered an American made film and is thus eligible to be discussed on this show?  

I only ask because at the top of this episode it is noted that Roma won’t be discussed because it is considered a foreign film and is thus ineligible for the AFI list. Feels like an easy argument to make: Alfonso Cuarón is from Mexico City, most if not all the cast and crew is from Mexico, the cast member speak in Spanish the entire film, and the film was shot in Mexico.  The only American influence would be from Participant Media who helped produce the film but in what capacity I’m not sure, and Netflix but for distribution. 

Then there’s The Favourite. Director Yorgos Lanthimos is from Greece, screenwriters Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara are from the UK and Australia, the cast with the exception of Emma Stone are all British and Irish, the producers are all British and Irish, and the film was shot in the UK. Fox Searchlight was the only American production involved but only came into the picture during the distribution phase. 

So how is it The Favourite can be considered an American film thus eligible to be discussed on this show?

 

Not to mention Paddington 2, made with a completely British cast and British filmmakers and filmed in Britain.

I don't think the studios that funded it are American either. Roma is actually more American than that movie, despite not being in English.

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1 hour ago, AlmostAGhost said:

If anyone's wondering, here's their list

Black Panther
BlacKKKlansman
Eighth Grade
The Favourite
First Reformed
Green Book
If Beale Street Could Talk
Mary Poppins Returns
A Quiet Place
A Star Is Born

The fact that Mary Poppins Returns made that list and Sorry to Bother You didn't really pisses me off.

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27 minutes ago, sycasey 2.0 said:

Not to mention Paddington 2, made with a completely British cast and British filmmakers and filmed in Britain.

I don't think the studios that funded it are American either. Roma is actually more American than that movie, despite not being in English.

Y'all are gonna make me research every movie now aren't ya.

Paddington 2 has production money from UK, France, Luxembourg, and USA.

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21 minutes ago, taylorannephoto said:

Y'all are gonna make me research every movie now aren't ya.

Paddington 2 has production money from UK, France, Luxembourg, and USA.

Hmm, on Wikipedia the only production studios I saw were Heyday and StudioCanal, which are not American. But I guess funding can come from all over the place.

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1 minute ago, sycasey 2.0 said:

Hmm, on Wikipedia the only production studios I saw were Heyday and StudioCanal, which are not American. But I guess funding can come from all over the place.

You gotta go down the research rabbit hole my friend. Amazon apparently put some into this, as well as Marmalade Films and Anton (the Luxembourg part of this).

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6 minutes ago, taylorannephoto said:

You gotta go down the research rabbit hole my friend. Amazon apparently put some into this, as well as Marmalade Films and Anton (the Luxembourg part of this).

And I say if I have to go that deep to find something American about it, it is NOT AMERICAN!

(Which has nothing to do with how good it is, but if The Third Man got knocked off the AFI list . . .)

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38 minutes ago, taylorannephoto said:

The fact that Mary Poppins Returns made that list and Sorry to Bother You didn't really pisses me off.

Also Green Book over Sorry To Bother You.

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1 minute ago, sycasey 2.0 said:

And I say if I have to go that deep to find something American about it, it is NOT AMERICAN!

(Which has nothing to do with how good it is, but if The Third Man got knocked off the AFI list . . .)

I don't think AFI cares about how deep the rest of us have to research, which by the way I say "deep in the rabbit hole" as a joke because I went to IMDB then google then the companies website. Three spots and I found all the info I needed lol.

But I go back to A Clockwork Orange, what about that film is American other than the money? It's filled with British Actors in Britain, and nothing about it screams "furthering American cinema."

I'm not arguing for Paddington or The Favourite over Roma, but obviously there's something deeper the AFI is considering when they put their lists together that we have to recognize.

Also, may we consider the fact that Paul and Amy truly didn't realize that Paddington 2 and The Favourite would be in the same boat as Roma (despite the AFI themselves putting The Favourite on their own list).

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7 minutes ago, taylorannephoto said:

But I go back to A Clockwork Orange, what about that film is American other than the money? It's filled with British Actors in Britain, and nothing about it screams "furthering American cinema."

I kind of agree with that too, but at least Warner Brothers was the primary studio. And Stanley Kubrick was American-born.

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3 minutes ago, sycasey 2.0 said:

I kind of agree with that too, but at least Warner Brothers was the primary studio. And Stanley Kubrick was American-born.

I think in this episode they do a good job of pointing out that foreign directors love to tell American stories, like Steve McQueen with 12 Years a Slave and Widows. So to me, Kubrick being American-born doesn't necessarily make it an American movie when it's such a British story. To that I still say really the only thing American about it is the funding. If we really want to celebrate Kubrick as an American filmmaker there are better films like 2001 and The Shining that in my opinion do that job perfectly while feeling entirely more American.

Basically, it's a blurred line that's for sure.

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2 minutes ago, taylorannephoto said:

I think in this episode they do a good job of pointing out that foreign directors love to tell American stories, like Steve McQueen with 12 Years a Slave and Widows. So to me, Kubrick being American-born doesn't necessarily make it an American movie when it's such a British story. To that I still say really the only thing American about it is the funding. If we really want to celebrate Kubrick as an American filmmaker there are better films like 2001 and The Shining that in my opinion do that job perfectly while feeling entirely more American.

Basically, it's a blurred line that's for sure.

Right. I think my issue with something like Paddington 2 is that I basically can't find anything about it that's American. Not the setting, not the cast, not the writer or director, not the studio. A fine film, but definitely wouldn't be eligible for the AFI. For some of these other examples you can fudge a little.

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1 minute ago, sycasey 2.0 said:

Right. I think my issue with something like Paddington 2 is that I basically can't find anything about it that's American. Not the setting, not the cast, not the writer or director, not the studio. A fine film, but definitely wouldn't be eligible for the AFI. For some of these other examples you can fudge a little.

But I think that's all their doing, fudging the rules or whatever a little so that they can let what they want be eligible. Paddington is absolutely a British story, but I guess to AFI all it needs is something like Amazon putting some money in the pot and it's now a qualifier, as is something completely inherently British like The Favourite (even the title is more British than anything else on that list lol).

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2 hours ago, AlmostAGhost said:

Hm wow I didn't know that.  This should have been the list the podcast focused on then, imo.  If they're not recognizing Annihilation or Sorry To Bother You now, I doubt they will later. 

An individual's list of top films from a year often changes quite a bit over subsequent years. And as we've seen with all of these lists, they also change dramatically over time.

I don't know how the list was determined, but the top 100 was done by ballot by a lot of people who probably didn't contribute to that top 10 list.

What I'm saying is the meta critic list seems as good as a starting point as the AFI list. Also, no Green Book or Bohemian Rhapsody, so from my perspective that's a plus. But that's probably just confirmation bias to my taste (of movies I haven't seen, but I don't even think you could get me to spend the time to watch, either - based mainly on what critics have said).

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Just now, ol' eddy wrecks said:

An individual's list of top films from a year often changes quite a bit over subsequent years. And as we've seen with all of these lists, they also change dramatically over time.

Sure, but it is still AFI.  That's the whole conceit of Unspooled, to talk about what AFI recognizes as great, whether that's a full ballot or just some sort of weird yearly consensus by 2 AFI interns.

Frankly, I thought Amy & Paul focusing on twenty 2018 movies was too much, so would've preferred a more focused list for them to peruse.  

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48 minutes ago, AlmostAGhost said:

Sure, but it is still AFI.  That's the whole conceit of Unspooled, to talk about what AFI recognizes as great, whether that's a full ballot or just some sort of weird yearly consensus by 2 AFI interns.

Frankly, I thought Amy & Paul focusing on twenty 2018 movies was too much, so would've preferred a more focused list for them to peruse.  

Well, between the "Blockbusters" and "Critics' Picks" episodes almost all of the AFI list got covered anyway. The only one not really discussed was Green Book, and given they're also doing an Oscar show we'll probably get some commentary on that too.

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40 minutes ago, AlmostAGhost said:

Frankly, I thought Amy & Paul focusing on twenty 2018 movies was too much, so would've preferred a more focused list for them to peruse.  

I honestly could have listened to another twenty.  I love hearing them talk about what they liked and didn't like about these movies, even when I don't agree with them.

To that end, what are some great 2018 films that haven't been discussed on either list so far?  They're not great, but I expect they'll touch on Green Book and Vice anyway.  I hope they talk a bit about what works and doesn't work in First Man, which I mostly enjoyed.  So what else?  Death of Stalin?  Isle of Dogs?  Wildlife?  Maybe Hearts Beat Loud?  I don't think any of these films belong on the AFI list, but I'd still like to hear Paul and Amy talk about them.

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