Hello New Year!
We know you all wait with bated breath for the next time that we gather in bars and shout indiscriminate things at each other about new media, film criticism and Synecdoche. But that was 2008. This is now 2009: year of good times, HOPE, CHANGE, that guy who got elected into office and will totally make everything better within 2 minutes or else we’ll start complaining about it.
Best news: Big Hollywood opened. If you want to see how “The People” think, give this site a gander. Then run screaming as the people also helped make Paul Blart a $34 million opening weekend.
Better news: It’s Sundance!! yayayayayyayay!!
Worse news: It’s Sundance! booooooooooooo!!
Before all that, though, we gathered the best and brightest (i.e. the people we know who’ve been on the show before—and we did email Armond White. Still waiting for that response.) about showing up to the bar and talking about what many kept referring to as “the worst year in film.” There were no stand-outs like There Will Be Blood or Juno, and ’08 was weird in that no real Mainstream or “Alt-Indie” contender showed up until the last part of the year: Gran Torino, Milk, Slumdog Millionaire aka Crash with More Brown People, The Reader and Doubt.
Of course, who better to join us than—*deep breath*—Aaron Hillis (GreenCine Daily) and Andrew Grant (Like Anna Karina’s Sweater), Glenn Kenny (Some Come Running), Michelle Orange (The Village Voice, The Rumpus), Evan Davis (Film Comment), Akiva Gottlieb (Slant Magazine, The Nation), Kenji Fujishima (HND, My Life, at 24 Frames per Second), Ryland Walker Knight (HND, Vinyl Is Heavy), Keith Uhlich and Vadim Rizov (who still doesn’t listen to the full podcast but assumes most of you can do at least 15 minutes.)
Special Guest: Dan Sallitt! (Thanks for the Use of the Hall)
Our oddly epic podcast begins on lists and the critical interpretation of “Why Do We List?” Some navel-gazing about that, but when lists are synonymous with digg baiting people to pointless entries why bother with a year-ender? Aaron points out he had 30 favorite films of ’08 and could make a top 50. (Then again, let’s not forget I rarely leave my apartment and sit in a dark closet streaming the latest in Japanese animation on my laptop.)
We do go into a mildly blasé reproach of ’08 films that made us cry, etc; what touched us this year (appropriately and inappropriately); and we then end on the state of documentaries and Dear Zachary.
We’ve also added intermission and outro music! We’re a real podcast now! And we’re almost one year old!
That means, in two more decades, we’ll be legal to drink at the bar!
So as always, thanks and you’re welcome for being able to hear our fantastically inebriated thoughts on film. If you’re curious, after the recording we went downtown to celebrate Filmcatcher and had a gay old time. And ate delicious salmon cubes from a second party before having to take a taxi home. Happy New Year!
(Also, if you ever see Vadim or myself at the bar, buy us a drink. It’s been nearly a year. Someone—anyone. Do it.) John Lichman
Evan Davis is a contributor to Film Comment and The FilmLinc Blog.
Kenji Fujishima is a Rutgers University journalism graduate who is currently earning his keep at The Wall Street Journal’s Global News Desk in New York while messing around on the side. He maintains—poorly—a blog named My Life, at 24 Frames Per Second. Feel free to check it out.
Glenn Kenny is the former film critic of Premiere Magazine and head honcho at Some Came Running.
Ryland Walker Knight is the editor and creator of the blog VINYL IS HEAVY. He gets goofy at freeNIKES!, where he likes to talk basketball and rap, among other things. His writing can also be found at The Auteurs Notebook and Reverse Shot from time to time. He is thrilled to be back in the rotten apple.
John Lichman is a freelance writer in New York who once broke Digg. He will work for your pennies, scraps and list-making needs.
Michelle Orange has contributed, among other publications, to The Huffington Post, The Reeler, and McSweeney’s. She is a member of the Alliance of Women Film Journalists and is the author of The Sicily Papers.
Keith Uhlich is editor of The House Next Door.