10 February 2019

The 2018 Jim Ridley Film Poll: The Apocrypha.

The 2018 Jim Ridley Film Poll: The Apocrypha.
So in addition to all the stuff publushed in the Scene’s Film issue, there was a lot more left over. I present it here because it’s a monument to the diversity of thought of this year’s contributors, especially in their willingness to tackle some of my weirder questions, and because I want everyone out in the world to be able to experience each of these responses. I would have had it up sooner but for my house flooding, which is a whole other thing. Be good to one another.

Who would you most like to see in concert: Darlene Sweet, Ally Maine, a festival experience with all the performing artists from Episode II of “La Flor,” or Celeste?

Darlene Sweet for sure. Cynthia Erivo made Bad Times at the El Royale enjoyable for me. She is amazing! She deserves to be a household name. (Howell)

All of them. (McQuiston)

Calum Worthy/Jackie Long/Shoniqua Shandai in Bodied  (Skipper)

I do not especially care for A Star is Born, but I do quite like the music of Ally Maine when she is initially starting off. I imagine it would make for quite a fun lounge show, with Gaga, ahem, I mean Ally’s increasingly velvet-like voice basking over the expansive soundscapes of her quasi-Elton John tracks. (Turner)

I managed to avoid Bad Times at the El Royale — a trend that may continue until my dying days. And I didn’t have time for all 500 hours of La Flor. That said, instead of Ally Maine, I’m going to go see Clint Eastwood from The Mule stand on a stage and sing dirty reworkings of songs he hears on the radio. (Prigge)

Psh. None of these. I want to see Gilda Live in 1980. (Okay, maybe I’d want to see Ally Maine, too.) (Williams)
Buster Scruggs (Tafoya)
I would love to see a Celeste concert, but only if Willem Dafoe narrates. (Burns)

Lakeith Stanfield’s character from SORRY TO BOTHER YOU, performing “Nigga Shit.” (Lindsey)

What’s the film you most want the rest of the world to see in 2019?

Thunder Road is a dazzling portrait of a flawed man trying his damnedest to be better.  The opening 15 minutes are among the best I've seen in years. Writer-director-lead actor Jim Cummings plays Jim Arnaud, who delivers a eulogy at his mother's funeral that is both heart breaking and hilarious, and that frenetic energy carries through the film. We might all see ourselves in Officer Jim — in the ways we grieve, fail and triumph. (Ciccarone)

Sorry To Bother You, if only to shut down the idea that communists can't have fun. (Leavitt)

I would like everyone to put down their cell phones and watch Won’t You Be My Neighbor, especially if they didn’t grow up watching Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. We could all use the wisdom and legacy of kindness and compassion that Fred Rogers left us. (Howell)

A tie between Jean-Luc Godard's THE IMAGE BOOK, Kamran Heidari's ALI AQA and Ulrich Koehler's IN MY ROOM. (Erickson)

Hu Bo’s An Elephant Sitting Still. KimStim is providing a domestic release for this starting in March 2019 and it’s an incredible first (and last) film for a talent exploring four distinct characters that interact over the course of a day and ultimately decide to find an elephant rumored to grant wishes. It has multiple single-take sequences as the camera diligently follows the characters and one especially neat sequence taking place outside over a prolonged sequence to show the gradual shift from day to dusk. (Lichman)

After the Screaming Stops - It's a fantastic documentary and not to sound cliche, but it made me laugh, cry and immediately want to call my mom. It has been released in the UK, and although most Americans don't know who Bros are - I hope they have a chance to find out. (Feldbin)

I can’t choose! Definitely ONE CUT OF THE DEAD, the indie Japanese zombie movie, because it’s the most innovativefilmgoing experience I’ve had in years. And everyone needs to experience the joy that is THE WORLD IS YOURS, a French crime/thriller/comedy so charming I bet you two eagles you’ll love it to bits (catch it on Netflix right now!) (Winters)

The Academy Film Archive has completed a countless number of restorations of queer experimental filmmaker Barbara Hammer's long filmography, showing a number of these in Los Angeles. The Academy only charges shipping + handling for prints, so I hope ambitious programmers take advantage and show off this wondrous oeuvre. (Labuza)

Dragged Across Concrete. Stop projecting politics onto the film / flmmaker and just watch the damn film. It’s electric and Mel Gibson delivers one of his best performances somewhere between Buster Keaton and Lee Marvin. (Kane)

What movie do you want rest of world to see? For anyone with a narrow, staid, or reductive view of the horror genre, I urge them to see SUSPIRIA (2018). I initially was dubious about this "remake." It is a sequel as anti-sequel. Is it a revision of the fairy tale motif ? Is it an exploration of the nexus between magic and delusion ? Is it a meditation on late 20th century European history ? Or is the entire film an exercise in Lacanian psychoanalysis ? It is a film of multifaceted thematics. I saw this film on five occasions and each viewing revealed additional layers of meaning. This film dispels the notion that the horror genre is mindless and tired. (Cosner)

Since Ahmad Kiarostami’s tweet last May that let slip the news about The Criterion Collection working on a restoration of Abbas Kiarostami’s Koker trilogy (WHERE IS THE FRIEND’S HOME?, LIFE AND NOTHING MORE, and THROUGH THE OLIVE TREES), I’ve been longing for the chance to see these three films in a way that most of America has never had the chance to see them. It has been said that Akira Kurosawa credited Kiarostami as the filmmaker who filled the void left by the passing of Satyajit Ray. But with the devastating news of Kiarostami’s death in 2016 while still working on 24 FRAMES (which was finished by his son Ahmad and played at the Belcourt last April), I’d been left with merely the hope that his hard-to-find and poorly mastered masterpieces would soon get the same treatment that Ray’s Apu trilogy received in 2015 with the Janus Films theatrical release and the Criterion blu-ray release of the miraculous 4k restoration of those wonderful films. Now that the 2019 version of the Criterion Collection New Year’s Drawing seems to suggest that this will be the year they release the Koker trilogy, is it too much to hope that Janus Films will also give us a theatrical release of these three rare gems? (Millennium)

Black Mother (Tafoya)
Front-runner for my next year's best film is Radu Jude's I DO NOT CARE IF WE GO DOWN IN HISTORY AS BARBARIANS, which takes the ACT OF KILLING / BISBEE 17 template (re-enacting a past atrocity) but adds the element of the viewer. The director wants to engage in a revisionist take on Romania's role in World War II and the Holocaust, to ... mixed results. Even when the production at its most successful as intended propaganda. Patriotism is a tougher nut to crack than many think. (Morton)


I think American audiences are going to flip for Climax, but it isn't in English so I'm probably wrong. (Martini)

There should be a law requiring everyone to see MINDING THE GAP. It's a great skateboarding film that evolves into a blistering portrait of dying industrial small towns in America and the violence that exists there. (Owens)

I only want the usual, self-selected group of non-haters to see Godard's The Image Book, thank you very much, so a film I love that I'd want *everyone* to see would be Transit, the latest from Germany's Christian Petzold. It's a story of a fascist takeover of Europe, and from one moment to the next you can't tell if it's set in 1936 or the present day. The two times have melded into a single strand of daily horror. A brilliant film about our times. (Sicinski)

SEDER-MASOCHISM, the latest animated feature from Nina Paley (SITA SINGS THE BLUES). (Lindsey)

Everyone who has ever complained about the lack of quality cinema, the paucity of Black films that aren't romantic comedies, or the lack of productions with roles giving women characters equal power and authority with their male counterparts should see and savor "If Beale Street Could Talk." Barry Jenkins surpasses his amazing achievement of "Moonlight" with this gripping adaptation of the mid-70s Baldwin novel, keeping his work steeped in the intense romanticism and unrelenting authenticity that always resonated within Baldwin's writing. Everything, from musical choices to a gripping, if heartbreaking ending, made this an unforgettable masterpiece. (Wynn)

Bodied! (Skipper)

ONE CUT OF THE DEAD! Unfortunately everyone had a one-day window to get a sneak peek of the film when someone posted a pirated copy to Amazon Prime at the very end of last year... Hopefully that only feeds the hunger for a decent US release of this absolutely phenomenal film about the joys and struggles of collaborative creation. It's also the best film about why you shouldn't denigrate and disparage so-called "so bad they're good" movies. (Hall)

Which film has the production design that you’d most want to live in?

"Bad Times at the El Royale," but without all the creepy hidden stuff. (Duralde)

Wakanda Forever! Not since COMING TO AMERICA has the cinema put forth a place I wanted to live better than BLACK PANTHER. I want to parade around in Ruth Carter's costumes and take in every aspect of T'Challa's homeland. Of course, my clumsy ass will probably fall off one of those cliffs. It's a risk I'm willing to take. (Henderson)

It’s a toss-up between the big-ass house from ROMA or the big-ass house from THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WIND. (Lindsey)

I want to live in the ROMA house -- whatever room they’ll give me. (Inman)

I'd love to linger at any of the vantage points and window sills in 24 Frames. My own pocket of serenity. (Stoehr)
Barbara (Tafoya)
It’s hard to say anything other than Black Panther, which Hannah Beachler so expertly crafted from a multitude of Afrofuturist sources. Wakanda brought, to mainstream audiences everywhere, a way of looking at the world as it might have been were it not for overwhelmingly European-colonial influence. Rather than tradition and modernity being mutual exclusives, it creates a world  where deeply-rooted culture and technological progress go hand in hand, so different from what western cinema normally shows us that even films set in fantasy realms or on distant planets can’t hold a candle. (Adlakha)

As a student of early 18th century British history, I would love to inhabit Queen Anne's palace in THE FAVOURITE. (Cosner)

The cold cement tombs of Luca Guadagnino’s Suspiria might not seem inviting to most but I would love to scratch my fingernails against that Brutalist Utopia.  (Adams)

Probably Bad Times at the El Royale - from the funriture to the clothes, to the cars and even wallpaper, that time period and aesthetic (lots of Mid-Century Modern - SWOON) are very much my bag. (McQuiston)

Mandy. I must live in a shared universe with Cheddar Goblin. (Kane)

The Hong Kong musical biopic HOUSE OF THE RISING SONS, which dramatizes the story of Beatles-esque teen idol band The Wynners, features a a meticulous recreation of a 1970s Hong Kong neighborhood block, but drapes it in candy-colored nostalgia. It’s like Wes Anderson got his hands on it and added lots and lots of orange, mint green, sunshine and whimsy. I’d like to move in tomorrow, thanks.(Winters)

Mandy and Red’s house in MANDY. The Tanzgruppe Markos’ headquarters in SUSPIRIA. The house in COLA DE MONO. Treepeopleville in ANNIHILATION. (Shawhan)

Ava DuVernay and the production team behind A Wrinkle in Time practically brought empathy to life with its lush, welcoming vision of Madeleine L'Engle's novel. If I could book a ticket to go hang out with Oprah the a sentient being of hope and be a warrior of light to fight evil bad mood storms, I'd do it in a heartbeat. (Woodroof)

I would want to live on the island in The Wild Boys. It comes from a vulgar imagination, as if erotically charged dreams conjured it out of thin air. (Turner)

1977 Berlin, but mainly the witches’ kitchen, den, and wardrobes, in SUSPIRIA; the miniature and masterfully crafted apocalypse of ISLE OF DOGS; and Sandi Tan’s imaginative dreamworld glimpsed in the lost fragments of SHIRKERS. (Smith)

Benjamin Loeb’s photography in Mandy captured Hubert Pouille’s horrific neon fever dream production design so perfectly to me. Not only would I want to live in it, I’d want to submerge myself in those reds and blues. (Howell)

What are you most looking forward to in 2019?

New Almod├│var, and it sounds like it's his 8 1/2. (Duralde)
Watching Adam Sandler in Auteur Sandler mode, Idina Menzel, Lakeith Stanfield, Pom Klementieff,The Weeknd, and Judd Hirsch working with the incomparable Safdie Brothers on Uncut Gems, what could potentially just about be the greatest film of all time. (Woodroof)

New Martin Scorsese gangster film with De Niro and Pesci and Keitel. But in a theater, Netflix! In a theater!! (Morton)

As a big Star Wars nerd, Episode IX is huge for me.  (Skipper)


Robert Mueller handing down some Trump family indictments. Impeach the motherfucker! (Sicinski)

KNIVES OUT, the latest from Rian Johnson, has me really excited. (Owens)

The ridiculously glorious cliffhanger at the end of the second installment has left me triple excited for JOHN WICK 3, due out this May. Sometimes all you need in life is a little Keanu Reeves, a lot of guns, and maybe a pencil.  RUINED HEART: ANOTHER LOVE STORY BETWEEN A CRIMINAL AND A WHORE from Filipino filmmaker, musician and poet Khavn, was absolutely groundbreaking when it was released in 2015. I have no idea how he could possibly top himself in the newly announced sequel, but I am absolutely ready to see him try. (Winters)

Films from women fueled by #metoo. (Inman)
Glass, Godzilla: King of The Monsters. (Dr. Gangrene)
R. Kelly finally going to jail. (Lindsey)


Oh, that's tough. Markos definitely appeals to the lumpy, blobby, misshapen dictator I am in my heart. And who can resist her sunglasses/vestigial baby arm fashion combo? But ultimately I must shout BLANC! She's not who I am, but she's who I'd want to be. She's exacting and cruel, sure, but she's also capable of love and besides, it's all in the name of art! And she looks great eating chicken wings. Who doesn't aspire to that? (Ponder)

Blanc all the way. (Kane)

Blanc! (Skipper)

Blanc. (Feldbin)

Markos. (Martini)

Blanc. Steely-armed artists in flowy outfits > b├ętisier signifier vulture capitalists. (Shawhan)

This question was actually harder than I anticipated once I realized you get Tilda either way, but I gotta go with… Blanc!!! I always vote the way Ingrid Caven tells me to. (Adams)