Every year, Slate's Movie Club is one of the very, very best discussions about the previous year in film. Fiery, feisty, packed with opinion and disagreement, it's worth deep reading even if you think any given year's critics aren't your favorites. You're as likely to find new favorites reading the Club as you as to lose some love for old faves. And this year is no exception. A selection of favorite quotes:
"Speaking of polemics, I know I'm not the only one among us who loathes The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, aka My Left Eyelid, aka Awakenings for the smart set. Yes, I'm talking to you, Scott. I'd dis the thing myself, but I'd probably have to watch it again to do so properly, and we all have our limitsâ€”mine came about two minutes into the interminable, pretentious, Brakhage-for-dummies POV shtick at the outset of Butterfly."
â€”Â Nathan Lee of The Village Voice (who then immediately turned against my sensibilities by dissing Ratatouille)
"[I'm Not There] has experimental balls, but I couldn't get the zipper down to really feel them the way other people seemed to be able to."
â€”Â The Boston Globe's Wesley Morris
"No Country succeeds in the way Javier Bardem's pneumatic cattle-gun succeeds in annihilating his victims: It blows a hole in our brains, over and over again, without explanation, and then asks us to walk out going, "Wow, that was quite a hole you blew in my brain. Thanks.""
â€” Dana Stevens of Slate
"Simultaneously horned-up and sexless, Beowulf taps deeper into castration anxiety than the lame-brained pseudo-transgressions of Hostel II, not to mention the quandary of the Silver Surfer, that intergalactic neuter who roams the galaxy on an externalized penis at the behest of a planet-gobbling vagina dentate."
â€”Â Lee (could it be anyone else?)
"You tell me there's something new at the picture show about the cruel hopelessness and inhumanity of existence and I am so there."
â€” LA Weekly's Scott Foundas
"Hmmm. The question of moviegoing. Having watched films on laptops, iThings, and TVs thinner than Keira Knightley (baby, I love you, but here, take my sandwich), I, too, prefer going to the moviesâ€”the actual movies. But I'm this close to becoming Dr. Will Smith and locking my black ass away from all the freaks."
â€”Â Morris, one of whose pieces is more than worth reading in total even if you don't read a single other page â€”Â which you should, of course.
... OK, got distracted by reading. But seriously. Do yourself a favor and read this.
Me, I've got another couple dozen films to go watch ...