Sunday, December 25, 2016

What's So Sweet About Sweet Sixteen?

2015 kicked my ass. 2016 kicked everybody's ass. We need not chant a litany of failure and frustration, we know all these cruel sights are too real.

It is exactly one year since I last even posted to this site. Thankfully, I have been writing for others. In fact, I am indeed lucky to be featured on one site that represents the spirit of adventurous pop culture that defined my adolescence, and another that represents the spirit of divergent film programming freed from the pressures of mass appeal, though the masses are always welcome, or of making the rent, because the curator is also the landlord. The honor of seeing my prose under the mastheads of Night Flight and New Beverly Cinema gives me strength in good and bad times.


In addition, my services are associated with other terrific arts organizations in Los Angeles, in a less showy fashion, and I take enormous pride in my quiet, specific, and valued role with them.


On the one hand, I have Six Jobs and Counting precisely because no single one of them, unfortunately, can provide the security to cover my monthly obligations and pay off the massive debts occurred in the last few years of wandering the employment wilderness. But on the other hand, I am working with people who cherish and respect me, getting access to exciting things happening within and without, and I don't have to wear a name tag, sit through a seminar, or fulfill a "sales incentive".

I get to walk into my house justified.

Okay, it's not a house, it's a rent-controlled apartment. Let me have my Peckinpah moment.

Unfortunately, much like last year, first-run filmgoing was more of a luxury than a mandate. I again wrestled hard with the notion of canning the list completely due to feeling that it was grossly uninformed. More importantly, I am concerned that in many ways this list will be merely parroting the same few hegemonic titles that are currently dominating Award Season, because those are the works I saw, whereas the films I live to elevate, who can benefit from getting name-checked here since I have an ostensible following...I didn't see them this year. Yes, I missed that many new movies. However, since there have been so many good souls who have directly told me they await hearing the rundown as part of their holiday, I am going forward with it.

So to put it in baseball colloquialisms, this list carries a huge asterisk, pending peer review by an elite, Blue Ribbon fact-finding commission consisting of whoever gives me the most grief, or hooks me up with the most opportunities to catch up. And remember, there's always the Decade list to redress wrongs.

Presenting now, without the express written consent of Film Twitter, The Top 13 of 2016*

13. THE NICE GUYS

12. EVERYBODY WANTS SOME

11. THE NEON DEMON

10. AMERICAN HONEY

9. GREEN ROOM

8. ARRIVAL

7. ZOOTOPIA

6. MANCHESTER BY THE SEA

5. LOVING

4. SILENCE

3. MOONLIGHT

2. ELLE

1. O.J.: MADE IN AMERICA



"If I cannot bring you comfort,
Then at least I bring you hope
For nothing is more precious
Than the time we have, and so...

We all must learn from small misfortune
Count the blessings that are real
Let the bells ring out for Christmas
At the Closing Of the Year."