Lost in the Movies: Best of the blogosphere

Best of the blogosphere

Last year, I posted a year-end round-up of my favorite entries from my "fellow travelers." This was much easier to do in 2008 for several reasons. For one thing, there were fewer sites on my blogroll and as I myself had only been blogging for half the year, I only included entries written after July. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly (and shamefully, from the '09 perspective) I was not a very good member of the blogosphere this year. In terms of my own output - which was sporadic - but also in terms of my participation on other sites.

Certainly, I established a presence at Wonders in the Dark, enjoying the suspense of the countdowns, participating in the lively back-and-forths, and contributing my own pieces from time to time. Otherwise, however, I found myself falling away from following most other blogs with any regularity, and a lot of great writing got lost in the shuffle. Sporadically, I would pop up to read and perhaps comment on individual posts but as such my reading of whole sites was hardly comprehensive. (Since I saw few new movies in theaters this year, I also tended not to check out the applicable reviews, which also played a part in cutting off my reading.)

As a result, combing through the past year's volumes of prose, in order to select my favorite pieces from my "followers" and "fellow travelers" on The Dancing Image and The Sun's Not Yellow has proved difficult. So I've reached a compromise which I think is not only fair, but perhaps better than my original idea. Lazy, perhaps, but also honest and, honestly, more beneficial in the end. I would like to solicit your choices for your own best writing of the year, and I will link it up on my both blogs, same as last year. As a "thank you" there will be three exceptions to the rule: Sam Juliano of the aforementioned blog, Tony Dayoub of Cinema Viewfinder, and Ibetolis of Film for the Soul. All of them published some of my work this year and in return, "above the fold" so to speak (the rest of the submissions will be listed alphabetically) I will post my favorite piece of theirs that I have read (though of course they are invited to highlight their own favorites as well).

So please feel free to propose a piece below - I will also be visiting all the sites on my blogroll to solicit submissions. And, though I said no resolutions, I can say that I hope next year I will be able to repay my gratitude for your readership and thoughtful commentary with a more active presence online - I'm even hoping to set aside some time during the busy week specifically for that purpose. Until then, I hope you will consider participating in the round-up - among other things, I am looking forward to seeing the work everyone's most proud of.

This post was originally published on The Sun's Not Yellow.


Just Another Film Buff said...

One silly doubt. Does it necessarily have to be my own writing or can it be my top 10 articles (or top 5 or THE top) that I read this year?

Ed Howard said...

What a great idea. I'm happy to participate. Here are my favorites from among my own posts this year.

1. Black Book (a lengthy piece on a favorite film, followed by an even lengthier discussion)
2. Damnation (a piece about Bela Tarr later expanded into a much longer essay)
3. A Girl in Every Port (a representative piece from my early Howard Hawks blogathon)

And of course, not at my site, I'm extremely proud of the work I've been doing in the Conversations series with Jason Bellamy, from which I'd like to spotlight especially our comprehensive piece about Michael Mann.

filmgeek said...

Great idea. I don't have the time to make longer posts lately so I tend to favour my work on Talking Pix (http://www.talkingpix.co.uk/) and DVD Times (http://www.dvdtimes.co.uk/). My favourite blog posts are (I'm rubbish with html):
- my feature on Chinese cinema
- film journalism in the digital age
- financing the film industry
- a profile of Kate Hudson
- the future of indie movies
- a profile of Will Smith

MovieMan0283 said...

And JAFB - no way - Humility goes out the window: you've got to pick your own! No way out... ;)

MovieMan0283 said...

Thanks, guys - it depends somewhat on the amount of people who respond but I'll probably be doing one post per person - easier to manage, plus I think people are more likely to click through if there's one gateway instead of several. But I will definitely link to this comments section so anyone reading can pursue further (or perhaps gather the "extras" in another part of the post?).

I will probably select my favorite from among all your links - I like that most of you went that route, because even though it's still easier for me, it makes me feel like I'm still making the call! (Kind of like getting someone a gift card instead of a present for Christmas...hope you all had a merry one by the way...)

Tony D'Ambra said...

Thanks Joel for the pointer to this post.

My commitment to blogging has waxed and waned this year, and I have not been as prolific as 2008, but I did develop my interest in writing short fiction pieces inspired by my interest in film noir, adn these are collected here: Noir Fiction.

Other posts on movies I found particularly interesting:

The Lost Weekend (1945): “I can’t take quiet desperation”

Christ in Concrete (1949): Simply a masterpiece

Caged (1950): “the plot of our life sweats in the dark like a face”

I Wake Up Screaming (1941): Bizarre Transference

Le quai des brumes (Port of Shadows – France 1938): Poetic Realism

Sam Juliano said...

Thanks very much for the shout out Joel. But I can't quite bring myself to say what I thought were my own best features or reviews. I will leave that decision to you. I feel awkward making such a call, though I do not blame or fault others for doing so. This is a fantastic idea by the way!!!

I must say the association with you this year has been terrific in many ways, my friend.

Sam Juliano said...

And Dave, your GOOD FELLAS piece was as great as those other five methinks.

Tony, I was there for the ride on every one of those!

Stephen said...

A Happy New Year to everybody here!

Just Another Film Buff said...

I just feel like Woody ALlen when I blog. I start out with seemingly great ideas in my mind and end up writing what later seems like tepid, cringe-worthy pieces. Anyway, I will give a couple of posts which are the least repulsive, IMO :)

The films of Artavazd Peleshian

Roman Polanski's Repulsion

Ed, Dave, Sam and Joel,

My candidate for your best reviews I've read this year would be Meetin' WA, Mulholland Dr., 35 Rhums and Grizzly Man respectively...

T.S. said...

MovieMan — Great exercise to have the film critics turn their eyes upon themselves, particularly since it makes so many of us squirm. My favorite pieces often were the ones who drew the most comments from my readers and enabled some discussions. Perhaps it's cheating then to come up with a list of favorites that were essentially "chosen" by my readers, but I think that's what I'll do:

• Three from the Hitchcock series, Vertigo (1958), North by Northwest (1959), and Psycho (1960)

• My defense of Chaplin's The Great Dictator (1940)

• Reassessing Griffith's The Birth of a Nation (1915) and reviewing Lang's Metropolis (1927) for my Summer of Silents

• And finally Keaton's Sherlock Jr. (1924) and The General (1927)

John said...

Great idea! Here are five fo my most satisfying...




The Tall T


David H. Schleicher said...

Great idea! Here's my top three from my blog.

1. My personal fave would have to be this one (in terms of the writing...the topics...and the "connections")...WELL, IF YOU MUST SCREAM


2. Based on the conversation it engendered...my discussion of the Best Screenplays of All Time was a big hit:


3. And simply put, I think this review was my most well written (though it was of a book...A MERCY...and not a film)


Jacqueline T Lynch said...

Thanks for the invitation to participate, MovieMan.

From February, “Abraham” examining a particular number in “Holiday Inn.”


From March, a three-part series on women protagonists in film noir, called “Ladies of the Noir”.




Another three-part series comparing “Picnic” to “Peyton Place”.




Thanks again.

Craig said...

Thanks for this. At my blog (The Man From Porlock), let's go with:

Geek Orthodox: Musings on the Unholy Trinity of Filmmakers, Their Critics and Their Fans

Why We Film (Inglourious Basterds)

Armond White Reviews My Breakfast

Fight the Future (Avatar and Southland Tales)

And, over at The House Next Door, my piece for their "Summer of '84" series:

Waxing on Nostalgia: The Karate Kid

Craig said...

Whoops, wrong link for the Inglourious Basterds piece. Let's try that one again.

Roderick Heath said...

Here's some for you...it's been a long, long year.

















Carson said...

Here are some of my favorites, vaguely in order.

A review of Hirozaku Kore-Eda's Still Walking.

A comparative essay between two nauseating films, Pasolini's Salo and Gaspar Noe's Irreversible.

A piece on Eraserhead.

And There Will Be Blood.

And Dusan Makavejev's WR: Mysteries of the Organism.

Zach said...

This is a great idea. I also understand how you feel about being less consistent in the blogosphere this year, as I have had the same problem. It's just been very busy, and sometimes life gets in the way.

I'm not sure how familiar you are with my new blog - Unfettered Tastes, but my film reviews are very short, blunt, and to-the-point, and a lot of people like them that way.

So I'll post two of my personal favorites, and both of these may be two of the lesser known film gems of the year:

Sugar Review
Sin Nombre Review

Adam Zanzie said...

Very many thanks for inviting me to this! I will make this list brief.

1. Redacted (2007): Hands-down my most controversial piece of the year. This is my finalized version of the essay that I submitted to Cinema Viewfinder for their Brian De Palma blogathon back in September; in my original essay, I caused quite a stir when I claimed that most of De Palma's earlier works looked "immature" next to the burning statements of Redacted. I regret leaving those comments, and so this new version of my piece omits them. I am still proud of my overall defense of what is still one of De Palma's best films.

2. Saving Private Ryan (1998): My championing of one of Spielberg's most honored (and most heavily criticized) masterworks.

3. Quintet (1979): My defense of Robert Altman's overlooked science fiction gem.

4. Edvard Munch (1974): A review I wrote of Peter Watkins' biography of the famed, tortured 19th-century artist.

5. Land of the Pharaohs (1955): An appreciation for Howard Hawks' underrated epic.

BONUS- The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (1977): A reading into Wolfgang Reitherman's classic Disney film for children that has aged remarkably well and can even be enoyed and admired by adults to this day.

There ya go :)

Bob Turnbull said...

You didn't ask me directly (sniff, sniff), but I'll toss my hat into the ring as well. My own favourites of the year:

Misunderstood Genius or Spectacular Failure?

The Yakuza Papers

Love At The Twilight Motel

L'Enfer D'Henri-Georges Clouzot

FilmDr said...

I am perhaps the last person to make such a choice, but some posts that got good responses include:

a review of Public Enemies

notes on Psycho

notes on Fantastic Mr. Fox

Land of the Lost

Thanks for the invite!

houseofmirthandmovies said...

This year, my best work is pretty obvious (at least to me) and I doubt I'll be able to match it next year. It was my labour of love that probably deserves a revisal, The Unofficial Film Canon;


Great idea btw!

MovieMan0283 said...

Thanks, everybody. Hopefully the responses keep coming. This is the first chance I've had to even check up on this post in 24 hours and I won't be much less busy prior to New Year's Eve. As such, the post will probably go up early next week rather than late this week. I'll put up an update post here by tomorrow if that's the case.

Funny how several people have chosen the post I would have chosen, if I weren't worried about missing something else. Looks like I caught the best more often than I thought, if only by accident!

Greg said...

I have no idea so I picked the halfway point, June, and selected my three favorite posts from that month. They are:

History and the Movies: There are Places...

The Wanderers: James Edwards

And they had Jazzercise


Joseph "Jon" Lanthier said...

Wow, lots of great comments here that I'm still sifting through, but I wanted to throw out a few articles that I'm particularly proud of from 2009 (reviews from Slant magazine were not included, since I consider that work outside my regular blogging routine).

1. A Book Review of David Thomson's "Have You Seen...?" (a tribute to/review of my favorite living film critic, a source of continuing inspiration, frustration, and awe)

2. An Atheist's Guide to the Legend of Sleepy Hollow (another of my infamous Atheist's guides, this one on the perils of belief as examined by Disney cartoons)

3. My One Horse Town Libido is an Abandoned Miniature Golf Course (I was extremely proud of this piece on the topography of Altman's "3 Women"...it's probably the closest I've ever come to articulating my relationship with Los Angeles)

There were many more triumphs over the year, but these still stick out. Here's to a phenomenal 2010!

Jeremy Richey said...

Thanks for asking me to submit my choices. These are three posts of mine from the past year that I thought stood out:


(A tribute to the late Marilyn Chambers)


(A look at Sam Peckinpah's little seen "Noon Wine")


(A look at what I consider the best film of 2009, ADVENTURELAND.)

Thanks again and have a great New Year!

Marilyn Ferdinand said...

It's nice to have this kind of round-up of posts remembered or still in need of viewing. Here are my perhaps-too-numerous contributions:

Sea of Love


The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie

Death of a Salesman

The Spirit of Ed Wood Blogathon: Babes in Arms

Count Dracula

The Bridge

Gabriel Over the White House

Lady Vengeance

Twenty-five Essential Documentaries of the 2000s

PIPER said...

Is there still time for this?

TheFilmist said...

Well, for the past two and a half months, Glenn Heath from that indelible Match Cuts and I have been counting down our own respective top tens of the last ten years - with a great deal of comparison, and contrast between the two of us in the form of weekly discussions on each of our respective selections. My own ran something like this:

1. [b]Children of Men[/b] - Alfonso Cuaron
2. [b]There Will Be Blood[/b] - P.T. Anderson
3. [b]Happy Feet[/b] - George Miller
4. [b]The Fall[/b] - Tarsem
5. [b]Che: Part One/The Argentine[/b] - Steven Soderbergh
6. [b]No Country For Old Men[/b] - The Brothers' Coen
7. [b]The Hurt Locker[/b] - Kathryn Bigelow
8. [b]Oldboy[/b] - Park Chan-Wook
9. [b]The Lord of The Rings[/b] - Peter Jackson
10. [b]The Dark Knight[/b] - Christopher Nolan

Glenn's own list can, of course, be found at his site, at the left:

TheFilmist said...

That's strange. The HTML coding didn't work. Huh.

MovieMan0283 said...

Yes, definitely, Piper!

I haven't even started reading the entries yet (as I said, I'm going to choose one each so things don't get too cluttered, but I do plan on including all the other links at the end of the post.) It's been a very busy week but I look forward to tackling this tomorrow, though whether it will also be completed and posted by Monday remains to be seen... We'll just keep it at "next week" and I will notify everyone when it's up. (Of course, the relevant link will be posted here as always.)

MovieMan0283 said...

Sounds great, Filmist. I'm a sucker for such ventures and have been frequenting a couple blogs with similar adventures in the past year - Dave's year-by-year countdown on Goodfellas and Allan Fish's massive top 50s for each decade (and a top 100 for the pre-1930 period) at Wonders in the Dark. I will definitely check it out.

MovieMan0283 said...


I'm planning to give my shout-outs to Sam, Tony, and Ibetolis for featuring me on their blog, then I will list a few (probably 4) of my own strongest pieces, followed by a list of all the bloggers who have submitted entries. I'll use one from each - my favorite out of the various nominees - for the sake of clarity and equality, but at the end of the post, I will provide links to all the other posts which were nominated.

Thanks again, everyone for jumping in! Can't wait to put it together.

lights in the dusk said...

A handful of selections from my 2009 post-history. None of them are perfect, but I had a good time working on them, and feel that these four posts at least communicate everything that I set out to accomplish.

First post of 2009; an essay on Apichatpong Weerasethakul's Tropical Malady

From the end of January, an essay on Godard's sci-fi meta-thriller Alphaville

From October, a sympathetic re-evaluation of Uwe Boll's controversial slasher film/revenge fantasy Seed

And also from October, a brief review of Weerasethakul's installation project Phantoms of Nabua

Hopefully the links work.

manwithoutastar said...

Hey MovieMan,

Looking over my site I realise that I haven't written many properly substantial articles on this site this year! This is because my study and teaching are starting to take their toll and leave me not that much time (or drive) to write new stuff here! That said I have notes prepared for a whole series of articles on Josef von Sternberg's early cinema that may come up soon, hopefully (but not that soon.)

For now, I wonder if it would be appropriate to suggest my 10 books list that I did on your suggestion before? I took a bit of care on that... Otherwise it would be between my Ingrid Bergman piece at the start of the year and my piece on Metropolitan. Or if you liked on of the songs I put up it would be great that have those linked-up, though I guess they're not directly related to cinema.

I'll let you decide! And I must get writing more!

MovieMan0283 said...

Incidentally, just hit 50 comments, including my responses. Blog record (for both blogs)!

Stephen said...

Hi MovieMan, I was wondering if anyone knew the legalities of posting a six minute video composed of 5-10 second film clips.

Thanks in advance.

That makes 52 comments :)

John McElwee said...

Sorry to be so slow contributing to this post, Joel. It's a great idea you had, and I've enjoyed reading a lot of the articles linked to here.

It's not easy picking my own "Best" of 2009, as I'm far from a preferred judge of that, however, here are five that are at least close to what I wanted to accomplish (what writer is ever really satisfied with what he/she writes?):

3/17/09: My experience sharing a beloved horror movie, "Black Sabbath", with my girlfriend, plus some American-International musings:


5/13/09: The Max Fleischer Superman cartoons for Paramount:


6/1/09: Silent cowboy star William S. Hart:


7/7/09: The "King Kong" 1956 reissue meets new King of Monsters Godzilla:

12/7/09: Exhibitors go to war with Disney over "Peter Pan" in 1953:


MovieMan0283 said...

Stephen, my understanding is that there are various fair-use loopholes, but I would recommend avoiding You Tube as they take things down at the slightest provocation (usually an automated letter from a corporation sent on whenever they detect a use of copyrighted material, fair or not). I've posted the Astaire-Rogers dances on my blog and never received any trouble, and there will be several 'found-footage' videos featured in my round-up, including one of my own.

MovieMan0283 said...

Thanks, John - to everyone subscribing to this thread, I'm still working on the post but making progress. I can't read every post nominated - there isn't time - but I'm browsing the selections where no preference has been established, and reading the one I decide to highlight. I'm planning to link the other nominations at the bottom of the post.

Stephen said...

Thanks for the help and advice MovieMan.

What happened to the other 282 MovieMen? Is it like The One in The Matrix where every generation has its film messiah?

MovieMan0283 said...

Ha ha, nothing so awe-inspiring. The tag was conceived when I first signed up on IMDb years ago. The year was 2002 and the '83 is for the year I was born.

Stephen said...

MovieMan, I've posted my video. I'd like to know what you think.

Search This Blog