Movie Mom

Movie Mom


Slate’s Movie Club

posted by Nell Minow

Slate movie critic Dana Stevens brought together an enormously engaging and thoughtful group for the annual “movie club” round-up discussion of the year in film.
Reviewing films is a lot of fun, but one of the drawbacks is that we have to react so quickly and specifically. I like the way Slate goes beyond the top 10 lists and “best actor,” “best screenplay” summaries of the year with a very robust conversation about the patterns discernible with a bit of distance and context and the opportunity to adjust and revise one’s views in light of a second viewing or just more time to think.
Dan Kois responded to a challenge to explain why he was the only participant who included “Black Swan” on his top 10 list, provided a hilarious flow chart with his reaction to the “trashy greatness” of the film. And I was thrilled by his shout-outs to two performances I thought only I cherished this year, Ginnifer Goodwin in “Ramona and Beezus” and Kathryn Hahn in “How Do You Know” — two movies I thought were badly underrated by critics and audiences.
“Inception” is a film that benefited from a some further time to consider it. Matt Zoller Seitz led off by noting that that critics reviewed some of the year’s other mind-bendy movies by saying that they were more effective than the high-profile “Inception.”

Clearly “Inception” is to 2010 what “Avatar” was to 2009 and “Titanic” was to 1997 and what the original “Star Wars” was to 1977–the box-office juggernaut that many critics find lacking, perhaps egregiously shallow and overrated, but that cast such a powerful spell over millions that they keep invoking it over and over to call attention to their own pets.

Stevens responded

“Inception” was more a series of sensations than a movie–the filmic equivalent of an interactive haunted house where you’re blindfolded and someone thrusts your hand into a bowl of peeled-grape “eyeballs.” Six months later, all that remains are the sensations, which is why the Hans Zimmer button brings the entire Inception experience back in a single BrAAAAAHMMMM.

I was most intrigued by the debate about Sofia Coppola’s “Somewhere.” While friends I respect like Dustin Putman loved the movie, a tone poem that follows (I won’t say it’s “about”) a disaffected movie star and his young daughter, I found its neurasthenic preciousness hard to take. So I was very interested to see what members of the Movie Club had to say.
My views are most aligned with Dana Stevens: “‘Somewhere,’ to me, was a lovingly crafted, impeccably acted, but vanishingly slight little movie.” Stephanie Zacharek responded

Coppola has the lightest touch of any American filmmaker working, but she also has very distinct fingerprints. Her sense of humor is oblique, when it’s not downright odd. There’s that sequence in Somewhere where Stephen Dorff’s lost, disaffected movie star has been slathered with a chilly-looking mashed-potato substance as a prelude for some age-makeup that’s being designed for him. And Coppola and her D.P., Harris Savides, train the camera on that droopy white face (we hear Dorff’s noisy breathing on the soundtrack) for an inordinately long time, moving in verrrrry slowly. I don’t know that there’s an earth-shattering statement there demanding to be “gotten.” It’s like a knock-knock joke reinvented as a koan.

As with Dustin Putman’s review, it didn’t deepen my appreciation for the film, but it did support and deepen my appreciation for the critics and for criticism as a calling. Onward to 2011!



  • FilmAlicia

    I really enjoy SLATE’s annual movie club, Nell. It’s interesting to read/hear the back-and-forth, and I learn a lot about movies that don’t make most “10 best” lists.

Previous Posts

Bang Bang Bang Bang Bang Bang -- Beyonce, Cher, Ariana Grande, Nicki Minaj, and Jesse J
Two hit tunes from the hottest pop divas are both called "Bang Bang."  One is Beyoncé's sultry, glamorous cover of the Cher oldie in this teaser for her HBO special. [youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6WebQaN7Lbs[/youtube] Ariana Grande, Jesse J, and Nicki Minaj have an unrelated song

posted 9:00:40am Aug. 30, 2014 | read full post »

Contest: Hey Arnold! The Complete Series
The football-headed Arnold and all his pals are here in this box set with all 99 adventures from the beloved Nickelodeon series. It's available exclusively at Walmart, but I have a copy to give away! Send

posted 12:20:14pm Aug. 29, 2014 | read full post »

Interview: Dylan Brody on Comedy, Depression, and Robin Williams
Dylan Brody is a comedy writer and stand-up performer dubbed "brilliant" by Robin Williams.  It was Williams' tragic suicide that inspired Brody to write a moving essay about his own struggles wit

posted 8:06:10am Aug. 29, 2014 | read full post »

Opera Flash Mob at a London Grocery Store
[iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/44UC6muN8KY" frameborder="0"] Sacla staged an impromptu Opera in the food aisles of a London grocery store. They planted five secret opera singers who were disguised as casual shoppers and store staff amongst the groceries who bro

posted 8:00:13am Aug. 29, 2014 | read full post »

Exclusive Clip: Juliette Lewis in "Kelly and Cal"
Juliette Lewis stars as a rocker-turned suburban mother of a newborn in "Kelly and Cal."  Here she tries to make friends with the other mothers, who treat her like mean girls shooing off a freshman who wants to sit at the cool table. [iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/

posted 6:00:09am Aug. 29, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.