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December 31, 2006

The Last One

Last year I put together a list of my ten favorite moviegoing experiences. I don't know if I can make it to ten this year, not because I haven't enjoyed going to the movies this year but because the top few entries so completely overshadow everything else. I started hopping off planes and into theaters; catching a last minute flight to Austin and making it just in time to see a screening of Joe's new film Hannah Takes The Stairs segued into going to Chicago to see Satantango, which paved the way for my subsequent trip to New York to see Inland Empire which, being a 2006 release and all, could also serve as a link to a list of top ten new films that I'm also not going to make, where it would appear not too far below the top spot occupied by Army Of Shadows (go see the return engagement at the Film Forum this week, you lucky New Yorkers!). Melville's 30-year old thriller is better than everything else that came out this year, although there were certainly other masterpieces that don't yet have the weight of history behind them - Old Joy, The Proposition, Three Times, Time To Leave, L'Enfant and Dance Party USA , among several others,

Other fragments spring to mind, floating up and down and around in this uncategorical retrospective. Children Of Men is a better film than Pan's Labyrinth, but I actually prefer the latter. I'll always associate Drawing Restraint 9 with The Holiday, not because of any perverse parallels between them but because of who I saw them with. I managed to let go of The Fountain before realizing that I didn't love it. It did my heart good to see Darren Hughes include Stranger Than Fiction on his list; I can't say that it's a great film any more than I can I say why it's somehow managed to linger with me for so long after seeing it. I guess I should see it again. Moving on to music, my favorite record of the year is of course Joanna Newsom's Ys, and as is usually the case with music, there's my favorite and then there's everything else and never the two shall meet. In that lower plane, I also really loved Bonnie Prince Billy's The Letting Go and Regina Spektor's Begin To Hope - and since The Theater Fire's album Everybody Has A Dark Side was officially released this year, it deserves a mention as well, even though it was up at the top of my list last year. As far as literature goes, the only new novel I've read is Cormac McCarthy's The Road, and as I wrote earlier in the fall, I think it's pretty great.

I've decided that I'm going to dedicate 2007 to devouring all the great Russian novels I've never read. Unrelated to that, for the most part, is my hope that, should all go well by this time next year, I'll have finished a new feature film. If all goes really well, I may have even finished two.

Posted by David Lowery at December 31, 2006 3:47 PM


I suspect that if I pushed too hard on Stranger Than Fiction it might collapse, but I really love it anyway. Seeing it a second time, I was impressed by Forster's handling of its tone, which finds a really beautiful melancholy at moments that seem to have been setup for broad humor. That long (distance) shot of Harold screaming up at the voice in the sky is really funny in the trailer; in the film itself, though, it's modulated carefully by a music cue that swings us toward tragedy. Things like that happen several times, and they're some of my favorite film moments of the year.

Posted by: Darren at January 2, 2007 10:33 AM

i'm going to catch army of shadows again this weekend! can't wait

Posted by: brad at January 3, 2007 12:42 PM