Entries in Hit Me With Your Best Shot (145)
I wanted to do a little something extra special as wrap party for our very enjoyable and well attended 20 episode fifth season of Hit Me With Your Best Shot. So imma give out awards since awards are what we love best. The episode I liked reading everyone's takes on the most were -- can I say all? -- the Jamie Travis short films since I never get to hear opinions on those (or any short films really) and Under the Skin as it needs to be spoken of and contemplated. And by as many people as possible. Spread the good word.
But really I could just as easily call everything else "tied for third" because I always love to hear so many perspectives. But no season is perfect: Zorba the Greek turned out to be kind of a dud (I had never seen it so I blame the Oscars!). Two more episodes that were less popular than I expected were Cries and Whispers and Blow-Up which is a shame because they're such interesting films. Perhaps they've gone out of cinephile fashion and I hadn't yet noticed?
MISSING: RJ at (Home) Film Schooled would surely be honored here somewhere if I could find him/her - There were a few great entries early in the season and then both the blog and R.J.'s email ceased to exist. If you're out there, let us know you're okay! Those were some good articles.
MISSING #2: This list was made very quickly as I prepped for Toronto so I missed some key categories I had planned to do so if you don't see your blog represented, that's my bad, not yours.
And now some nominees for "Best" of Hit Me With Your Best Shot: Season Five
Timothy Brayton, Antagony & Ecstasy - 19 episodes
Conrado Falco, Coco Hits New York -17 episodes
Jason Henson, Entertainment Junkie -18 episodes
Shane Slater, Film Actually -20 films *winner*
Andrew Boyd Stewart, The Film's The Thing -15 episodes
These five blogs were fuel to keep going. Quite a few other people popped in and out and if that's you, know that I anticipate your return whenever you vanish. You'll be there for Season 6, right?
I reached out to Shane for an acceptance speech. He kept it short...
I'm not proud to say so but I'd probably take the blue pill.
It's not that I reject reality so much as that I keep misplacing it. It's easy to forget about it you're drawn to the fantasy. My spirit animal is Cecilia in The Purple Rose of Cairo, what can I say?
So here we are completing another season of Hit Me With Your Best Shot and again I've scheduled the final episode for the very moment I'm about to leave the country giving me no time whatsoever to produce anything like a suitable Season Finale with enough pomp and circumstance. [Note to self: Season Six must end before the suitcase has come down from the shelf for the Toronto International Film Festival.] So I'll make it up to you with a little look back at Season 5 in a couple of days.
But that image above, more than any other... apart from the cascading green symbols as visual motif (remember when that screensaver was all the rage?), is what I think of when I think of The Matrix. It needs us to embrace utter fabrication and complicated fantasy for the film to work and yet, as its narrative throughline it demands that Neo completely reject the same for cold hard wet and slimy truth. Is this what the dystopian genre is inherently for, to present dark truths about humanity and our future in the comforting garb of the unreal while screaming "REALITY!" as it pretzels itself back into fantasy like the greatest of contortionists?
I think so.
Here's what the 12 other Best Shot Participants chose as their defining image.
THE MATRIX (1999) BEST SHOTS
click on the image for the corresponding article
What image defines The Matrix for you? Do you see it here?
Hit Me With Your Best Shot soon steps aside for the utter madness of Fall Festivals and Awards Season. It will return for a sixth season next March. Why not join in on the season finale, THE MATRIX (1999). It's enlightening. Take the red pill.
1) Watch the movie
2) Choose your "Best Shot" (your definition - beauty in the eye of the beholder)
3) Post it online somewhere by Sept 2nd at 9 pm with a few words about why you chose it. We link up
Entr'acte After last week's screening of the first half of the gargantuan Gone With the Wind. I realized that three fourths of my memories of the movie come from its first half. What would this screening of Act 2 reveal? We return now to wind-swept Georgia and the tale of the most famous of southern belles, Scarlett O'Hara.
Part 2 The first act of GWTW is, largely, a Civil War film albeit one that's told brilliantly off the battlefield. The second act shifts gears to Reconstruction. While the South is being rebuilt, Scarlett is doing her own life remodelling. It's now a romantic melodrama, but pleasantly also a rich ensemble film as each character comes into sharper focus (Hattie McDaniel's Mammy and Olivia de Havilland's Melanie in particular - both superb)
Ashley Wilkes, simpleton that he is, still doesn't get Scarlett, assessing her strength like so:
You never have trouble facing reality."
Oh, Ashley! Our semi-delusional Southern Belle is still continually fantasizing about you, a man she can't have and wouldn't want if she had him, while denying her love for the one she has and does actually want... in her own way. All the way she's hoping to recapture or clinging to her obsession of former glories of the Old South: Tara with its lush lands and easy wealth, the cheap labor force (ahem), and even her girlish waistline which alarming grows to a (GASP!) 20" and she cannot figure why. 'Childbirth? Fiddle-dee-dee!'
If Ashley Wilkes, who idolizes Scarlett, were choosing Part 2's Best Shot, I know just what he'd choose.
Seventy-five years ago this December (yes, we'll celebrate again...albeit in a different way) Gone With the Wind premiered. No, that isn't quite right. This epic about a selfish Southern Belle surviving the Civil War and beyond ARRIVED IN STYLE with a three day celebration in Atlanta which reportedly drew one million visitors -- how'd they fit them all into the theater? (Hee). 1939's Best Picture winner arrived with roughly a bajillion times the anticipation that today's blockbusters get because pop culture was far less fragmented back then and everyone was obsessed with it. It would stay in theaters for literally years (the first couple of them at twice the normal ticket price) and become the biggest cinematic smash the world would ever see. To put it into perspective only Star Wars ever came close with The Sound of Music, E.T. and Titanic fighting for a distant third.
To look at something this large for a single defining image is an impossible task (or two images rather since we've split it in half). My favorite recurring visual motif of the film, Scarlett moving against the current of the crowd as befitting her singular tetchy anti-heroine nature and her duties as protagonist just doesn't look magnificent in freeze frames, but my favorite instances are two: First, when war has been declared and she walks up the stairs calmly through a sea of pastel dresses running down them (bless the film's first fired director George Cukor - that's obviously his work!), and second, her selfish exit from the scene of an amputation when she moves from the sweaty interior nightmare of a hospital to the shock of an exterior nightmare of chaos outside in the streets. Other favorite images were too small or atypical. For instance, there's this calming exquisitely lit shot of Mr and Mrs Ashley Wilkes. [more...]