If I were to make a list on the movies that deserve the most accolades or what I believe to be definitively the best, it would of course be different. These movies are simply my favorites for various reasons.
Movies that I meant to see that might have made the list are: 20th Century Women, The Salesman, Aquarius, The Invitation, Yourself and Yours.
10. Everybody Wants Some!!
Linklater is so good at allowing us to inhabit a space with the people within his frame -- creating both phrases and situations that feel both universally relatable and also intimately privileged. Everybody Wants Some!!, like its characters, wants nothing more than to enjoy itself and to relish a youthful bliss that is only fully realized because we're unaware of its mortality.
We are, after all, here for a good time, not a long time.
9. Complete Unknown
Joshua Marston weaves a film that is as mercurial as its subject matter, shedding genre skins as the night slips onward. There's something profoundly touching about Weisz' character seeking out Shannon in search of self-identity, and something deeply stirring about the crescendo of frogs that leaves Shannon stripped of words and unease. Coupled with cinematography that is as elusive and translucent as Shane Carruth's work, the conclusion leaves us with a deep sense of peace even in the face of life's uncertainties.
8. Hell or High Water
In a place that often forces men to take matters into their own hand or subside into a hushed nada nada...it is the sparse connections made that serve as brilliant pinpoints in this film. Taylor Sheridan once again writes a screenplay as nuanced and fuliginous as its characters. There's no guarantee of better days, even with the effort or an acceptance of your past flaws...But there is a sense of doing right by what and who you believe.
7. The Lobster
Maybe it's a reflection on what so many algorithmic statistized dating websites offer to do, or just a highly satirical look on what we believe a relationship offers us. Rachel Weisz effortlessly inhabits the warmest, most natural evincement of a soulmate, making it so easy for us to fall in love with her along with Colin Farrell.
Humor and horror go hand in hand with improbability, but it's a preposterous kind of laugh that's only uncomfortably funny because it's true. There's so much we change of ourselves, consciously or not, to be with someone else. If ever a movie could both be merciless and full of loving humanity, The Lobster is the one.
And yet what's so refreshingly incandescent about it is the lack of ennui that we see so much in film today. Paterson is laconically revelatory, unassumingly satisfied, and blissful at expressing itself without worrying what the world thinks of it. Paterson's wife is consistently in a whirlwind of flux from cupcakes to country music stardom, but it's never with a sense of dissatisfaction at who she is. Somehow, instead, it's a full appreciation of her identity. Paterson's art is not meant to change the world or even ever be put in a place that can hear itself. It's as quietly appreciative as the smile on his face as he listens to the conversations of the riders on his bus.
There's a rhythm and sometimes small cadence of life's miracles that often goes unnoticed. Paterson sees twins throughout the movie not as a motivic meaning, but merely because his wife's dream has drawn his attention to a detail in the world. If anything, watching Paterson will hopefully open hearts' eyes to the importance of art and the beauty of the life we inhabit, perhaps even if it's as sparse and haltingly affecting as Adam Driver's voice in the closing scenes.
Top Five to follow this next week!