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ol' eddy wrecks

Best of the Decade Part 3 (2016-2019)

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Paul & Amy continue their Best of The Decade miniseries, picking their favorite films from each year of the 2010s! This episode focuses on the years 2016-2019, and they’ll discuss a misunderstood technical achievement, a groundbreaking horror debut, and a centuries-spanning meditation on death, among many others. Plus: looking back on an infamous Oscar debacle.

Next week is the final episode of our Best Of The Decade series! 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 credit: Kim Troxall

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I'll have more to say later about the rest of the decade but I am mildly busy at work right now.

I liked Call Me By Your Name okay but no one ever talks about how it's a grown man grooming a 17 year old to sleep with him. The movie is very well acted and shot but it's still about statutory rape in a lot of the US.

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2 hours ago, grudlian. said:

I'll have more to say later about the rest of the decade but I am mildly busy at work right now.

I liked Call Me By Your Name okay but no one ever talks about how it's a grown man grooming a 17 year old to sleep with him. The movie is very well acted and shot but it's still about statutory rape in a lot of the US.

People have talked about that in discussions I've had on the movie.

I think it's that for a lot of gay men this is accurately representative of their formative sexual experiences, so they are okay with it. There's a lot to unpack there.

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My personal picks for these years:

2017: 20th Century Women, La La Land
2018: Lady Bird, Phantom Thread
2019 (a serious work in progress here): A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, Knives Out (also Parasite, but that's not American)

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Haven't listened to the ep yet but my picks:

2016: Moonlight, Arrival
2017: Get Out, Lady Bird*
2018: Black Panther, If Beale Street Could Talk, Spider-Man Into The Spider-Verse (bonus b/c I flipflop all the time which superhero movie I like more)
2019: I dunno yet. No pick for me. I still have to watch a lot. Current faves are Ad Astra, Parasite, Lighthouse. I'm surprised they'd cover 2019 since they could easily just wait and do it in Feb at Oscar-time like they did last year.

@sycasey 2.0 is Lady Bird not 2017?

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Whoops, I need to redo that. I left 2018 out!

2016: 20th Century Women, La La Land
2017: Lady Bird, Phantom Thread
2018: Roma, Eighth Grade (If Roma doesn't count then First Reformed)

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1 hour ago, sycasey 2.0 said:

People have talked about that in discussions I've had on the movie.

I think it's that for a lot of gay men this is accurately representative of their formative sexual experiences, so they are okay with it. There's a lot to unpack there.

I haven't brought up the subject of the protagonist's age with friends (I also haven't seen it), but is it usually 17 with a post doc student or just barely 18 (just out of high school) and with someone older?

I mean, it's less creepy than the age difference in Manhattan (Woody Allen's personal life aside) which was a 17 year old and a 40 year old, but still.

Fwiw, I believe the age of consent in most the US wouldn't classify 17 as statutory rape, but I think it is close to 50 percent (weighted by population - a lot of Midwestern states have it at 16, IIRC - which l, growing up in California, found to be... weird. Which now as I write that makes the, "this wasn't an uncommon experience at 17," seeming more likely).

 

 

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1 hour ago, sycasey 2.0 said:

People have talked about that in discussions I've had on the movie.

I think it's that for a lot of gay men this is accurately representative of their formative sexual experiences, so they are okay with it. There's a lot to unpack there.

Then I'll leave it as it's not really my place to say but that is a sad realization. I do think a lot of straight people ignored it because the incident happened to a boy instead of a girl 

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2016:  Moonlight, Paterson, Certain Women

My real favorite is the fall episode of Gilmore Girls:  A Year In The Life which I can technically count as a movie right?

2017:  Get Out, Lady Bird, Good Time

I have some similar reservations to Amy for Get Out. I'm not holding out for Jordan Peele to better it but I find it's a tad inconsistent. I feel like the humor takes away from the horror. I still respect it a lot of its strengths though. 

2018:  Sorry To Bother You, Eighth Grade

I'm still waiting on seeing a few more movies before making a 2019 list. 

For a lot of these movies, I wouldn't put them on a list of the 100 greatest as they are just my favorites. I'd seriously consider Moonlight and Get Out and that's about it. Maybe it's recency bias against them but we're talking top 100 of all time not just movies I like a bunch.

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36 minutes ago, grudlian. said:

Then I'll leave it as it's not really my place to say but that is a sad realization. I do think a lot of straight people ignored it because the incident happened to a boy instead of a girl 

Also portrayed by an actor who was what, 20 or 21 at the time.

I suspect it also makes people feel less uncomfortable with age issues when the face portraying it isn't actually that young. 

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Bolded are my best 10-13 of the decade list, italics are more honorable mentions. (I’m going by release dates on letterboxd, which gets me into trouble for 2019 since half of my 2019 movies were released in 2018).  Sorry for all the spacing, I first typed this up in a google doc and pasted.

*: directed by a woman

+: directed by a person of color

2016 - Moonlight (+)

Patterson

I only caught up with Silence recently, still evaluating it.  Andrew Garfield might have been too weepy for my liking in it.

Moonlight - I couldn’t tell if I misheard if Paul said he couldn’t think of another movie like it or if he said, he could only think of artsy European films to get another movie like it.  Anyhow, Barry Jenkins referenced Wong Kar Wai as a strong influence on the film (I’d say mostly In the Mood for Love, some Happy Together) - which were movies that touched me deeply in my developmental years.  I didn’t get that emotional response from Moonlight which makes me think it’s more just me being dead-inside in my later years.

 

2016 is a good year for horror directed by women

Raw*, The Love Witch*, I am the Pretty Young Thing in Your House*, and Under the Shadow*.

If you liked Parasite (+), The Handmaiden (+) was released this year, which if you haven’t seen, might be worth checking out (I don’t recall it having the socio-economic commentary that Parasite has though) - you might like it.

 

2017 - In a year that had The Phantom Thread, The Florida Project, First Reformed, Zama*, Lady Bird *, and It Comes at Night… the sole movie that made my best of the decade list was… The Death of Stalin?  Yeah, looking at that list, it kind of surprises me as well.  I really like well done, political satire and this hit the sweet spot for me.  I think for a few years now I’ve been wanting to see a dark comedy of the final days of the czars before the bolshevick revolution.  This transition of power seemed like the closest thing I could hope for. It’s no Strangelove but it’s the best work I’ve seen from Iannucci (IMO).  Though admittedly, this detail is a reminder that the “better than” relation of ranking movies is not induced from a larger set (best of the decade) to a smaller set (best of the year) - the latter, it’s hard imagining I’d take Death of Stalin over both The Phantom Thread and The Florida Project.  Yeah, there’s mathematical terminology for this type of stuff.

 

I’m less enthralled with Get Out (+) than some people are.  I enjoyed. It’s good. I’m really glad it did as well as it did.  I hope we keep getting a lot more Jordan Peele movies (I still haven’t seen Us).  I just don’t love/think it’s an all time great movie.

 

2018 - Sorry to Bother You (+), Annihilation

Remember when I said I liked political satire… Yeah, Sorry to Bother You shouldn’t be any surprise after 2017.  Annihilation was definitely a tough call. Stalker is a better movie, it is so much doing the same things as Stalker - but I really do like Stalker (despite how infrequently I seem to see it).

The style and sounds of Roma (+) has remained with me.  The Ballad of Buster Scruggs is great.

As part of calling out movies from women and people of color:

If Beale Street Could Talk (+)

High Life (*)

Shoplifters (+)

Leave No Trace (*)

 

2019: Nothing from this year is making my best of decade.

As I said before half of my 2019 viewing is showing up as 2018.

So far, the movie that’s sticking with me the most and am looking forward to revisiting at some point is… The Lighthouse.

Callouts for POC and women:

Parasite (+)

Atlantics (*+)

The Last Black Man in San Francisco (+) - lusciously shot, especially the interiors.  It felt like a movie that was building towards something, but as Amy pointed out, that ending wasn’t good.  At least, it didn’t really seem to work for me (I would have to go into the detail of my issues with most of the play, plus why does it exist?), but still - go see it.

Horror Noire (*+) - if you want a short documentary on African Americans in horror films, i.e. more a movie to lead to other movies

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53 minutes ago, grudlian. said:

For a lot of these movies, I wouldn't put them on a list of the 100 greatest as they are just my favorites. I'd seriously consider Moonlight and Get Out and that's about it. Maybe it's recency bias against them but we're talking top 100 of all time not just movies I like a bunch.

Yea same. Moonlight and Get Out for sure, and I'd be cool with Black Panther or Spider-Verse repping superhero movies on the list if they wanted. I do think Lady Bird made a pretty decent cultural mark so maybe it could fit too.

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54 minutes ago, AlmostAGhost said:

Yea same. Moonlight and Get Out for sure, and I'd be cool with Black Panther or Spider-Verse repping superhero movies on the list if they wanted. I do think Lady Bird made a pretty decent cultural mark so maybe it could fit too.

If we absolutely must include a superhero movie, I'd pick Superman: The Movie or Into The Spider-verse. I like Black Panther a lot and I'll say it's the best of the MCU, but I just can't get behind it as a top 100 movie of all time.

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I didn't add American movies directed by women or people of color. I put up a few already but, again, I want to recognize some that aren't in my favorites. A lot of these are maybe not great or top 10 of the year but I think they are all worth your time.

2016

Tallulah
Edge of Seventeen
Jackie
Queen Of Katwe
Sleight
American Honey
Fences
Swiss Army Man
13th

2017

Detroit
The Rider
Mudbound
Thor Ragnarok
Kingdom Of Us
Shape Of Water
Beach Rats
Columbus

2018

The Kindergarten Teacher
Skate Kitchen
Private Life
Leave No Trace
The Long Dumb Road
You Were Never Really Here
Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Madeleine's Madeleine
To All The Boys I've Loved Before
Blockers
Uncle Drew
Crazy Rich Asians
Blackkklansman
Blindspotting
Black Panther
Roma
Creed 2
The hate U Give
Widows
Searching

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3 hours ago, ol' eddy wrecks said:

The Last Black Man in San Francisco (+) - lusciously shot, especially the interiors.  It felt like a movie that was building towards something, but as Amy pointed out, that ending wasn’t good.  At least, it didn’t really seem to work for me (I would have to go into the detail of my issues with most of the play, plus why does it exist?), but still - go see it.

The ending is why I don't understand naming it one of the best of the year. Isn't that supposed to be the whole point of the movie, where you finally understand the conceit? I was not impressed by where the film built up to.

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14 minutes ago, sycasey 2.0 said:

The ending is why I don't understand naming it one of the best of the year. Isn't that supposed to be the whole point of the movie, where you finally understand the conceit? I was not impressed by where the film built up to.

Yeah, that's why it's on my list of callouts for the year and not my best of list. (So I'm taking your statement more at Amy naming it).

Generally, I think movies can be really good in spite of a bad ending, it usually requires a lot of cohesive stuff working and making peace with a non-ideal ending.

That didn't happen to me for LBMiSF. There were aspects in the ending that I liked, but just.... IDK.

I mean, the theme of wanting a place and having a sense of identity tied to it (and your need for it) - that made sense. IDK. I still felt it was worth watching. Just not single best of year.

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16 hours ago, ol' eddy wrecks said:

Yeah, that's why it's on my list of callouts for the year and not my best of list. (So I'm taking your statement more at Amy naming it).

Right, it's more about Amy nominating it for the best of the year. I've seen a lot of people I respect putting it high on their lists, and for me that blah ending really hurt the experience. I also felt like Blindspotting from the previous year got at similar ideas in a more dramatically satisfying way (though perhaps not as visually poetic).

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As always these are just my favorites of these years, and not necessarily ones I would 100% argue deserve to be on the AFI list. However, I think all of them should be watched and part of the conversation of what's considered the best of film in America. So many of my favorites end up being the indie flicks that just hardcore surprise me in the end. I was fucking SURPRISED by how much I love The Invitation when I saw it, and I've rewatched it multiple times and it still shocks me by how good it is and has now become one of my top 4 movies of all time. Things like Hearts Beat Loud and Leave No Trace are such small movies that will forever be overlooked, but they are some of the most American movies I've seen, especially when paired with what is actually on the list currently. And even though The Farewell takes place 99% in Beijing, I feel it is 100% more of an American movie than something like A Clockwork Orange.

 

2016:

  • The Invitation (IMDB has this as a 2015 movie so it typically gets lumped in that year, but it wasn't actually released for public viewing until 2016 thus my inclusion)
  • Captain Fantastic
  • Hell or High Water
  • Nocturnal Animals

2017:

  • Get Out
  • I, Tonya
  • Lady Bird
  • The Shape of Water
  • Mudbound

2018:

  • Hearts Beat Loud
  • Hereditary
  • Leave No Trace
  • Sorry to Bother You
  • Black Panther

2019:

  • The Farewell
  • Booksmart
  • Little Women
  • Marriage Story
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I'm closer to Amy's opinion on Get Out than Paul's, but I have to note that it's MUCH better made than Stepford Wives. That had looked like a made-for-tv movie. Horror is perhaps my favorite genre, and I tend to like horror-comedies less than others because the comedy is so often at the expense of the horror ("You're Next" is my favorite of the sub-genre because the horror isn't diminished). So Get Out really can't compete with the scariest horror movies, but the comedy bits with Lil' Rel Howery were great and there was some really impressive scenes like "the sunken place". Some have said that's cribbed from Under the Skin, but one might as well steal from the best.

On 12/26/2019 at 3:40 PM, ol' eddy wrecks said:

Roma (+)

I know that Americans tend to lump all Mexicans together (although the U.S government actually considers "hispanic" an ethnicity rather than race, so it doesn't exclude being white), but in this somewhat autobiographical film the director himself is supposed to be one of the kids in the upper-class white family, and clearly racially distinct from their servant.

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18 minutes ago, FictionIsntReal said:

I know that Americans tend to lump all Mexicans together (although the U.S government actually considers "hispanic" an ethnicity rather than race, so it doesn't exclude being white), but in this somewhat autobiographical film the director himself is supposed to be one of the kids in the upper-class white family, and clearly racially distinct from their servant.

Yeah, I think I saw someone else also classify it that way in an earlier discussion of this topic in the recent threads and also thought, that's a tricky subject (for Americans) for the reasons you laid out (I think you also see these ethnic/class divisions show up in John Sayles' Men with Guns). Or maybe someone listed another movie that made me think of the trickiness that would be presented by Roma (probably someone listed Gravity as a movie by a PoC) - and then didn't think to call it out as I listed it here. 

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On 12/27/2019 at 5:25 PM, ol' eddy wrecks said:

Yeah, I think I saw someone else also classify it that way in an earlier discussion of this topic in the recent threads and also thought, that's a tricky subject (for Americans) for the reasons you laid out (I think you also see these ethnic/class divisions show up in John Sayles' Men with Guns). Or maybe someone listed another movie that made me think of the trickiness that would be presented by Roma (probably someone listed Gravity as a movie by a PoC) - and then didn't think to call it out as I listed it here. 

I think that within the United States, Cuaron would definitely be seen as a "Mexican" first, regardless of how fair-skinned or upper-class his family was there, and therefore still a "PoC" in that context. In Mexico he is probably seen as "white" when compared to the other ethnic groups there. That's part of what I liked about Roma, that it showed similar racial or class-based stratification existing elsewhere just as it does here.

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21 hours ago, sycasey 2.0 said:

I think that within the United States, Cuaron would definitely be seen as a "Mexican" first, regardless of how fair-skinned or upper-class his family was there, and therefore still a "PoC" in that context. In Mexico he is probably seen as "white" when compared to the other ethnic groups there. That's part of what I liked about Roma, that it showed similar racial or class-based stratification existing elsewhere just as it does here.

Being fair skinned, or full blown white, does not erase the fact that he is Mexican though. He is still a Latino man who is also fair skinned and both of those things can exist simultaneously.

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5 hours ago, taylor anne photo said:

Being fair skinned, or full blown white, does not erase the fact that he is Mexican though. He is still a Latino man who is also fair skinned and both of those things can exist simultaneously.

Yeah, in the USA him being Mexican would supersede all other racial identity for most people. In Mexico I'm sure it's a different story, and indeed I think that's what he made his film about.

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11 minutes ago, sycasey 2.0 said:

Yeah, in the USA him being Mexican would supersede all other racial identity for most people. In Mexico I'm sure it's a different story, and indeed I think that's what he made his film about.

Yeah I re-read what you wrote and I definitely see what you mean, but I do also think that in America fair skinned Mexican people are treated faaaaar differently than dark skinned Mexican people. I also think a lot of white Latinx people have their culture erased by idiots here because they don't "look it." I think Oscar Isaac never gets recognized as a Guatemalan man because his skin is far lighter than what people consider as being Latinx. But that also definitely doesn't erase the colorism and racism that happens within these countries as well. I read that Yalitza Aparicio was literally the first woman with indigenous heritage to be on the cover of Vogue Mexico last year, which was WILD to me considering sooo many Mexicans have indigenous heritage!

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So... Just caught up with Ash is Purest White (2018/2019 | China). Recommended. Crime drama that spans over a decade. It's on Kanopy, so free for everyone. Not making my best of the decade list - but worth seeing.

Still have An Elephant Sitting Still (2018/2019, China) queued up on the criterion channel. It's a long one, so will hopefully get to it by this weekend.

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