Posts Tagged ‘Charlie Kaufman’


The year in film 2008

December 18, 2008

A.V. Club  • Noel MurrayKeith PhippsNathan RabinTasha RobinsonScott Tobias
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synecdochenewyork2previewNoel: Gang, a year ago at this time, we were so overwhelmed by the quality of the movies we were seeing that we actually came up with a feature where we looked back at other great years for movies, just for the sake of comparison. Well, that run sure didn’t last long, did it? I actually don’t think 2008 was a bad year for movies—I’m happy with my Top 10, and I can think of 10 to 15 more ’08 movies I’d recommend fairly strongly—but I certainly didn’t see much that I believe will stand the test of time the way the likes of No Country For Old Men and There Will Be Blood surely will. I didn’t see a lot of greatness, in other words, or even much that aspired to greatness. Outside of the daring, wonderfully confounding Synecdoche, New York, much of the real ambition in 2008 came from blockbusters like WALL-E and The Dark Knight (and even Hancock, to some extent). Those were the movies that stirred debate, and earned passionate defenders and detractors. As much as I like Milk—to name just one of the purportedly serious movies competing for our attention here at the end of the year—I don’t consider it a landmark piece of cinema that people will be discussing for decades to come.
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Chinese Democracy vs. Synecdoche, New York

December 8, 2008

Josh Modell   •  A.V CLub

“When are we going to get an audience in here? It’s been 17 years.”

Yesterday, completely by coincidence, I saw Charlie Kaufman’s Synecdoche, New York for the first time and listened to Guns N’ Roses’ Chinese Democracy, also for the first time.

I’m guessing this parallel has been drawn by some sharp word-jockey already: SNY is a movie—a fantastic movie—about a guy who spends his whole life and inordinate amounts of money trying to create art that is “true” and “honest.”Chinese Democracy is an album made by a guy who didn’t seem to blink at the idea of spending more than a third of his life (read that again—a third of his life!) and untold millions to make it exactly the way he wanted to.

And while Chinese Democracy didn’t move me at all, I find it incredibly difficult to dismiss after watching the painful (and often painfully funny) Synecdoche. More than that, I find myself creating a new movie in my head, a sort of post-modern reality show following the creation of Chinese Democracy as seen from Axl’s eyes. The amazing review that Chuck Klosterman wrote for us theorizes a bit about Axl’s thought processes, but I want more—straight from the mind of a crazy guy so deep into the creation of something that it all seems fairly normal, as if there’s no other way to do it.

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