I think I might start this piece by juxtaposing my status as a frustrated moviegoer with the plight of the dinosaurs. Wait. I just did.
I have yet to see the Scorsese and the two Spielbergs. Still, like a mind-blowing wine, Drive is a movie you dream of — and, once seen, know you’d have waited years to see. That any other title from 2011 could dethrone it for my favorite flick of the year is unlikely.
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is a close second. Both films pack a wallop. Only Drive runs on WOW juice.
I don’t get the flak TGWTDT has gotten. Paced expertly, inhabited completely by actors who are cast well, and mooded the f*ck out, the film is winter-gorgeous. Even the end, slightly changed for the film, feels right. Some critics find the movie unnecessary; think the Swedish adaptation is sufficient. My take? There are any number of directors I’d like to see try their hands at this or that story. David Fincher nails this version. It’s a tribute to the novel and the Swedish film. And I don’t much like The Social Network, anyway — his so-called masterpiece with nary a character to root for.
Oh, and The Tree of Life? The Aid to Sleep.
Terrence Malick made a good movie in 1973. He himself may have wanted to see The Tree of Life; I’m sure it means a lot to him. The camerawork is pretty.
But dude. Stop reminding me you’re a poet!
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A word about Stephen King.
Two seminal creative works that influenced me greatly are the film and the book of The Shining. When I saw Kubrick's movie, I was about ten years old. Soon after, I read most of the novel. Only recently did I finish it — and boy, is Stephen King the boss. Two of the biggest books I’ve read, he wrote. Some of the slimmest, too: The Body, The Mist, and Misery are among my favorite Kings. He's a pro.
Compared to most living popular writers, his gift for character and forward momentum is almost unparalleled. He glides through his words. If his stock has diminished (Christ, after quitting coke), I don’t begrudge him the millions of dollars he's made. So good are his first two decades of output — as far as I'm concerned, he's earned every penny.
This year I tried two of his Bachman Books: Rage (pinned to an antihero I couldn’t stomach) and The Long Walk (pinned to a premise I found inherently dull). Published long after they were written, both are cash-ins that prove a young, untested writer’s work should not see the light of day.
I say that mostly as a memo to self.