The closer we get to the top ten, the more exciting these little mini-clusters of titles get. I'm a fan of "Wild," the Reese Witherspoon film about a woman who found herself at rock bottom and found a way to pay a penance by hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. It's not what I expected it to be, and it cuts pretty close to the bone. I think Witherspoon has never been better, and she's never played a character quite this emotionally ugly before. It's bracing adult work, and as we look around at a cinema landscape that has become increasingly infantilized, it's important to celebrate films that are made for grown-ups about things that actually matter.
When "Inherent Vice" made its premiere at the New York Film Festival, I was there, having flown out specifically so I could see the film and then attend the after-party at Tavern On The Green.
At the party, I spoke to many of the cast members and finally got to meet Joanne Sellers, Paul Thomas Anderson's longtime producer, and at the end of the evening, I spent a few quick minutes talking to Anderson about his film. It was a lovely evening, and they all seemed to be enjoying the high of that first public reaction.
Since then, my enthusiasm for the movie has only grown, and I was eager to attend this year's Los Angeles Film Critics Association meeting to vote for the film in several key categories. So of course, that's the exact time they also scheduled my time to speak to Paul Thomas Anderson, and there was no other window for the interview.
I hate to specifically disappoint Jenni Miller, but when she was guessing at films on my list for this year, she mentioned Jim Jarmusch. For me, though, "Only Lovers Left Alive" qualified for last year's list, and while it didn't make my top ten, I am a fan of the film.
One of the things I love about it is that it managed to be a straight-faced take on vampires and still somehow avoided cliche. It felt fresh because it was so simple, so unafraid of the archetypes. On the other hand, knowing those cliches isn't a bad thing every time. Take the example of "What We Do In The Shadows," the wicked mockumentary about a house full of vampires living in modern-day New Zealand. It is a painfully funny film, and one of the things I love about it is how they manage to tweak each and every iteration of the pop culture vampire using each of the characters in the house.
See, this is what happens.
I am nothing but good intentions. But real life has a way of climbing all over those good intentions and kicking me around a bit. In this case, it's just been a labor-intensive week, and everything's been focused on finishing that top ten list, as well as the worst of list for next week.
My schedule is frantic this week. That's the best word for it. I feel like I'm constantly in motion.
You'll start to benefit from that in these next couple of days. I have some great "Inherent Vice" stuff going up, I've got a piece about the "Community" 100th episode celebration at the CBS Radford Studios, and my ten best video goes up on Thursday.
When I recently reported on the possibility of Spider-Man making an appearance in an official Marvel movie, the news was greeted with no small amount of skepticism. Tonight, thanks to the massive hack of Sony's internal networks, the Wall Street Journal has published a piece that details many of the conversations that have happened about the future of the iconic comic book character.
The problem is that while I'm certainly curious to read about Sony's plans, I am deeply uncomfortable with the way the media has responded to the Sony hack. These massive infodumps that are happening are obviously designed to hurt the company, and it feels like much of the coverage of the leak so far has been playing right into that goal.
Then again, much of what I do is based on the way I protect my own sources of information, and it depends on me being able to sometimes see and read and hear things that were not meant for my eyes or ears. I can't very well be upset if people want to read all of this leaked material simply for the curiosity of it.
Here's the thing... if my top ten list for the year ended up with a single one of the next five titles on the list as I count down from fifty to the top spot, I'd be perfectly happy with that.
A dude e-mailed me this morning and asked me why I would bother ranking 50 films. "There are never more four or five great movies in any year, and you're a cheap date."
We're coming down to it.
We'll probably only have one more "Ask Drew" before the end of 2014, but it's been fun to see how well it's gone so far. The video team tells me there are always way more questions than we can use, and they love the breadth of stuff you guys ask about.
I'll admit that I may have stammered my way through one of my answers this week a little more than normal. I've always tried to stick to a couple of simple broad rules in what kind of material I'll publish about film: no gossip, no numbers, no Oscars. I'm sure I've broken all of those rules at some point, but for the most part, I stick to them. When I was asked what my feelings are about dealing with the art of someone who has a public scandal about their personal lives, I'm not sure I explained myself in the most elegant way possible.
One of the things I like about James Franco is that he seems to constantly be thinking about art, and he takes advantage of the opportunities he is presented in a way that feels genuine to me.
Take, for example, "The Color Of Time." You can purchase the film on digital stores right now, like iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, or Google Play, but you probably have never heard of it. He's got a pretty great cast in it. Mila Kunis, Jessica Chastain, Zach Braff, and even Bruce Campbell are part of the movie, which was adapted from the poetry of CK Williams.
I did not see this one coming.
When Toho partnered with Legendary Pictures to make "Godzilla," I assumed that meant this was their official take on the franchise, dormant since "Godzilla: Final Wars," and it seemed like the film succeeded enough to make Toho happy. They're moving forward with a sequel, after all, which promises to introduce more of Toho's iconic monsters into the same film universe.