By Ezra Stead
Well, here we are again, folks! Every year since 2001, I’ve made it my self-imposed obligation to see at least 100 new movies (104 in 2016) and then attempt to rank my ten (or more) favorite ones against one another. Notice I didn’t say these were the “best” movies of the year, but my favorite ones; the distinction is important, lest anyone mistakenly expect a shred of objectivity herein.
Anyway, this year, in the interest of championing underdogs and holding a light to some movies you might not have been constantly hearing about since November or so, I have decided to exclude any of the Academy’s Best Picture nominees from my top ten. If you want to know how I felt about those films, you can find my favorites, unranked, in the Honorable Mentions just below the main list, and if you want to know more than that, there’s always the annual MoviesIDidntGet.com Oscars Podcast, which you can listen to on this very site, very soon. Read More
By Scott Martin
Your Highness, USA, 2011
Directed by David Gordon Green
What happened to David Gordon Green? I remember seeing George Washington (2000) years ago on IFC and having my mind blown. Then I got to see All the Real Girls (2003) shortly after its release and I thought to myself, “This man is a genius.” After Undertow (2004) and Snow Angels (2007), I could safely say that he was one of my favorite directors. Admittedly, I didn’t care for Snow Angels at first, but it has grown on me over time.
Then we get Pineapple Express (2008), and while it doesn’t fit in with the rest of his filmography, it’s a solid film toting subtle homages to films Green loved growing up, and even he has said it’s a film he wanted to get out of his system. But Your Highness? This is a strange inclusion to an otherwise flawless canon. I feel like he’s lost himself, or fallen in with the wrong crowd.
I don’t know if this is supposed to be a farce, a spoof, a straight comedy, or what. It’s all played for laughs, which is a plus. No one takes any second of it seriously; perhaps if they had, it would have been funnier. I think the safest thing to call this film is a misguided effort from almost everyone involved. Danny McBride and David Gordon Green have been friends since college, which is common knowledge; Green has even helped produce and direct episodes of Eastbound and Down, McBride’s brilliant television series. Pineapple Express was born of their friendship, and a mutual adoration for that sort of film, which worked purely because of their dedication to the material and Green’s unique ability to put a satirical and sarcastic twist on even the most vile subject matter. He used to remind me of Atom Egoyan (Exotica, The Sweet Hereafter), and perhaps he might again, if he avoids further films like this. Read More