Discussing
TC Top Ten: Movies

Josh Larsen

Christian Bell
January 5, 2012

I assumed this post would include the divisive ‘Tree of Life.’ Put me on the side of “disliked it strongly.”<br><br>Josh’s plot and theme synopsis here are believable, although I didn’t walk out of the theatre after the movie thinking I’d just watched a narrative on original sin. Perhaps only art-film fans and cinema critics can see these subtle themes — but then all the more argument that the movie failed to be anything more than cinema for cinema’s sake.<br><br>The imagery and cinematography were indeed beautiful — on that, everyone seems to agree — but that’s hardly a balm for the disjointed script, the oddly pseudo-religious imagery, and its thoroughly ambiguous motives.<br><br>Christians who genuflect to this movie are, I caution, only playing up the notion that Christianity’s message is coy and inaccessible to many. It’s not necessary to employ tens of millions of dollars of special effects to demonstrate the plain reality of original sin.

Todd Hertz
January 5, 2012

Love that Muppets made it so high, Josh. Agreed. While some of your films aren't on my Top 10 list, there are none here that I don't respect. And there's a few I need to see still...so thanks for the recommendations. <br><br>My Top Ten list this year is admittedly pretty populist. I like what Richard Corliss of TIME wrote: "My list this year is short on indie dramas, heavy on mainstream mayhem because it was that kind of year." I agree. A lot of the normal Oscar-push films didn't do it for me but some big Hollywood flicks did. Here's my current list:<br><br>1. Drive<br>2. Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol <br>3. The Muppets <br>4. Super 8<br>5. Source Code <br>6. Take Shelter <br>7. Moneyball <br>8. Jane Eyre <br>9. The Artist <br>10. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2<br><br><br>

Mara
January 5, 2012

Oh Man! I have some catching up to do. I've watched HP. Loved it too! Haven't seen anything on Josh's list yet. Time to find a new video store since Blockbuster here closed.

Dianna
January 5, 2012

I'm with Todd - I published my own top 11 (because it was 2011, get it? har har) over the holidays, but mine were basically in reverse order, with some more "fun" movies on the list:<br><br>1. Martha Marcy May Marlene<br>2. Drive<br>3. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy<br>4. Paul<br>5. Bridesmaids<br>6. 50/50<br>7. HP and the Deathly Hallows: Pt 2<br>8. Like Crazy<br>9. Melancholia (I initially didn't like it, but I tried again, and had to put it up here).<br>And the last two are purely fun - movies I had an immensely fun time watching:<br>10. X Men: First Class<br>11. Fright Night<br><br>Then again, I haven't seen a lot of the movies I should have seen this year (like the muppets, source code or super 8).

Josh Larsen
TC Staff
January 5, 2012

Hmm. My initial inclination, Christian, is to say different films for different folks, but I think there is something more troublesome to what you're suggesting: that Christianity's message must only be told "plainly."<br><br>That's one way to do it, certainly, but it's often a method - at least when employed via the movies - that ends up preaching only to the choir (see 2011's Seven Years in Utopia). <br><br>Something like The Tree of Life - which is the most Christian mainstream release I've seen in quite some time - can be a prodding, provocative piece of art that leads the skeptical and/or seeking to deeply wrestle with ideas of sin, grace and creation. Isn't there value - both artistic and spiritual - in that?

Todd Hertz
January 5, 2012

Mary Martha is on my "to see" list. And I too liked Melancholia. It'd be in my Top 15.

Josh Larsen
TC Staff
January 5, 2012

Source Code! I meant to revisit that - really liked it when it came out early last year - but it got lost in the glut of year-end screenings. Thanks for the reminder.

Rickd
January 5, 2012

I thought the cinematography was luscious, though I felt the film was disjointed and pretentious. I could only watch half and turned it off. However, it could be my own lack of patience. I suppose owe it another complete viewing. In terms of pure pleasure, I enjoyed Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris, I also enjoyed Source Code. I have high respect for Clooney (his acting, not his politics) and I must see his latest film the Descendants as well.

Josh Larsen
TC Staff
January 5, 2012

I liked Fright Night as well, Dianna. Colin Farrell gave it a comic sort of sexual hysteria. Of your list, I'm sorry to say I missed three of them: Paul, 50/50 and Like Crazy. As for Melancholia, it was provocative and gorgeous, but to my mind both Take Shelter and The Tree of Life handled a similar cosmic-ness in more interesting ways.

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