CINEJABBER: The test of time

Posted by · 10:42 am · February 5th, 2011

Catch up with the idea behind these weekend posts here.

I was talking with a friend this week about “the test of time,” as it were.  She posited, as have many, that “The King’s Speech” is not the film we’ll remember 10 years from now.  I don’t know that “The Social Network” is either, frankly, but I also don’t subscribe to the law of time’s judgment when it comes to these things, either.

The film I’m likely to remember most this year?  The one that occupies my mind more than most?  If I’m being honest?  “Biutiful.” I have a lot of respect for what’s going on with that film, but I still believe it has inherent flaws that keep it from a certain pristine quality.  Flaws that won’t take on new characteristics with time.

I think it’s become a bit facile to go there so quickly.  “Time will tell.”  Etc.  I actually think time can kill a film.  Just look at the revisionism of films that lost the Best Picture Oscar to admittedly greater works.  The haze of hindsight is not always a great lens to look through, and the inherent subjectivity of this stuff means, to me, you’re best bet is an educated take in the moment.

But I thought I’d throw it out there for you to chew on today.

Elsewhere, if you were on the fence with a Hailee Steinfeld prediction, Melissa Leo may well be shooting herself square in the foot with an embarrassing (everyone’s talking about it) self-promotional campaign.  Pete Hammond’s story hit Deadline last night literally minutes after I was talking about the situation with a few USC Scripter attendees.  Add in the video thing she did for the Globes and you have the perception of a diva on the loose, and one that could see an Oscar slip out of her grasp.

Anyway, plenty there to talk about, but if you want to address other issues, feel free.  You know the drill.  Open thread.

[Photo: MGM]

→ 94 Comments Tags: , , , , , | Filed in: Cinejabber

94 responses so far

  • 1 2-05-2011 at 4:10 pm

    Jacob S. said...

    From a recent NY Times article on “Poetry,” “Great reviews are better than prizes,” Mr. Paik said, perhaps speaking from his own experiences. “It would be awful to get prizes and terrible reviews.”

  • 2 2-05-2011 at 4:10 pm

    Nelson said...

    I don’t like the argument of, “well it’s good now, but will it be remembered?” because everyone remembers different films and films don’t decrease in quality as they get older. Kris, if you really think this argument, I ask you, what films from ten years ago do you remember best? For me, I remember a lot of good films from ten years ago: Requiem for a Dream, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, Memento, Traffic, Gladiator, and O Brother Where Art Thou? It isn’t as though these films didn’t stand the test of time, they’re all still very well-liked.

  • 3 2-05-2011 at 6:05 pm

    Pauley said...

    I think Black Swan will stand the test of time. I think its the kind of film, people will study in film school.

  • 4 2-05-2011 at 6:47 pm

    Chase Kahn said...

    In thirty/forty years, when Darren Aronofsky is the new Brian De Palma, yes, “Black Swan” will be remembered…

    And “Let Me In” is damn near a shot-for-shot remake of the original, I don’t know why people would remember that one over the Swedish-language version.

  • 5 2-05-2011 at 6:49 pm

    PaulH said...

    Late word: WGA winners are Christopher Nolan, Inception (original screenplay); Aaron Sorkin, The Social Network (adapted).


  • 6 2-05-2011 at 7:22 pm

    SC said...

    In terms of what people will remember, “Toy Story 3” and “Inception” are probably the best candidates. In the first case, Pixar has a great track record with being remembered; and for both, they were huge hits that tons of people saw, which greatly increases their potential imprint.

    “The Social Network”, I don’t know. I’m a bit unconvinced by many of the more hyperbolic statements like “defines a generation”; even the director is. It’s solid filmmaking, but, as with TKS, I don’t know that there’s anything really revolutionary there.

    Of course, “remembered” is kind of complicated. For instance, a lot of people cite 1997’s “Titanic”/”LA Confidential” showdown as an instance where Oscar’s choice has really not held up in retrospect. While there has most definitely been a (in my opinion, really over-the-top) backlash against “Titanic”, I have never detected any great surge in popularity for “LA Confidential” over the same period. The people who trumpet it now were the same people who preferred it then.

  • 7 2-05-2011 at 8:32 pm

    Cde. said...

    I don’t think Black Swan will stand the test of time, mainly because it’s a hodgepodge of elements from better films.

  • 8 2-05-2011 at 8:33 pm

    DarkLayers said...

    SC, Roger Ebert included ‘LA Confidential’ in his great movies collection. It is on the ‘They Shoot Pictures, Don’t They’ top 1,000 list. But EW had Titanic #3 on its new classics list, and while one can easily question them as an authoritative source on quality of cinema, it is an indicator that many people who loved it still do.

  • 9 2-05-2011 at 9:06 pm

    DarkLayers said...

    One limitation of “Inception” over the long haul is that some feel it doesn’t improve on repeat viewings, which many classics do.

    Owen Gleiberman contended that Black Swan and Inception strive to turn into narrative the processes that go on in the mind. Interesting to see if future directors will strive for the same.

  • 10 2-05-2011 at 10:16 pm

    Adam said...

    FWIW, I’m one of the few who loves the Dances With Wolves win and think that the Goodfellas backlash has turned it into an incredibly underrated film.

    On another note, I am sad that I missed “The Way Back” which was playing around my city for only about two weeks and was pulled off the shelf this weekend. Really bummed that I missed the chance to support Peter Weir and all the great actors in that film.

  • 11 2-06-2011 at 12:25 am

    Danny King said...

    Funny, I just saw “Biutiful” today. It will definitely linger for a while. I think that’s a rare quality of Inarritu’s films, even if some of them, including “Biutiful,” have flaws. He still finds a way to get under your skin.

  • 12 2-06-2011 at 2:37 am

    The Great Dane said...

    Test of time, oh yes.

    I remember the year Ghost came out and became one of the biggest hits of all time. It was even nominated for Best Picture and won Best Screenplay, leaving the other romantic hit of the year (Pretty Woman) in the dust.

    And today? Pretty Woman is considered by many (women) a true classic. Ghost? Forgotten. Considering it’s status as one of the biggest hits ever, it amazing how “dead” it turned out to be with time…

  • 13 2-06-2011 at 2:48 am

    The Great Dane said...

    Again: Black Swan is NOT a horror film! That would mean that Donnie Darko is a gore feast…

    Just because a film has creepy elements, it does not mean it’s a horror film. What makes it a horror film? Blood? Nightmarish visions? Self-stabbing?

    If I went to a video store I would look under Drama, Suspense/Thrillers and Art Films before I went looking for it in the Horror section…

    It seems every time a film has the slightest horror element, Oscar fans are so quick to call out “yes, a horror film finally gets recognition”!

    I wouldn’t even label “Silence of the Lambs” a horror film, even though every Oscar statistic thing points to it as “the only horror film ever to win Best Picture” (I would argue Rebecca is just as much a horror film as Silence of the Lambs). Silence of the Lambs is a thriller/crime/suspense film with horrific elements. Is Hannibal a horror film? Red Dragon???

    No… People are grasping for things that aren’t there. The people calling Black Swan are ONLY Oscar fans (not all Oscar fans). No one who was not dedicated to the Oscars and their genre bias would call Black Swan a horror film. Unless they never saw another horror film…

  • 14 2-06-2011 at 3:24 am

    ThinWhiteDuke said...

    What did Leo do wrong in the video. I watched it and have NO idea what anyones problem would have been with it. If people have a problem with Leo running ads on her own behalf, I guess thats fine, but if it effects anyones vote it is silly.

  • 15 2-06-2011 at 3:27 am

    ThinWhiteDuke said...

    Leo probably genuinely thought getting her face out there a little more would help her chances. Getting an Oscar win usually has some immediate impact in getting better roles and a little more cash, so it may have been a form of an investment. I think Leo is one of the few possible winners that was actually the best of their category, so it would be a shame if this had a real impact and led to a loss.

  • 16 2-06-2011 at 7:21 am

    JJ1 said...

    Well, it’s easy (and logical) to think that Leo’s campaign could hurt her, BIGTIME.

    But I wonder if Melissa Leo has just been far in the Lead all along. I mean, she’s won so many critics awards. She won BFCA, she won GG, she won SAG. Every single time we (collective) thought someone else could win.

    Maybe she’s far out ahead. Maybe the industry respects her (she was nommed 2 years ago). I know not many Brit people will go for her (BAFTA snub). But … we really DON’T know what those 5,700 people will do?

  • 17 2-06-2011 at 7:23 am

    JJ1 said...

    I also agree with ThinWhiteDuke: “Leo probably genuinely thought getting her face out there a little more would help her chances.”

    I don’t think she’s a diva. I just don’t think she is Hollywood savvy, at all.

  • 18 2-06-2011 at 8:04 am

    SC said...

    “SC, Roger Ebert included ‘LA Confidential’ in his great movies collection.”

    Well, yes, but Ebert liked it when it came out.

  • 19 2-06-2011 at 9:26 am

    Bill Melidonneas said...

    The films that will stand up out of the ashes of 2010: Black Swan (for Portman’s performance), Inception (for its technical fete’s), & Toy Story 3 (for its presumptive conclusion to the most beloved film trilogy of the last 25 years).

  • 20 2-06-2011 at 9:33 am

    S.D. said...

    The Social Network is the one movie from 2010 with the best chance to someday be included in the AFI Top 100. The King’s Speech? Not a chance.

  • 21 2-06-2011 at 9:43 am

    S.D. said...

    I actually think Portman’s performance will become more legendary if she doesn’t get an Oscar for it. It would be one of those “How the Hell did she not win the Oscar for that?” questions we all look back on.

  • 22 2-06-2011 at 11:24 am

    James D. said...

    I just saw Another Year on Friday. I think it is the best movie of the last 13 years. I hope it gets remembered.

  • 23 2-06-2011 at 11:40 am

    Georgia said...

    My most obvious guess at what will continue to be seen is the Joseph Gordon Levitt weightless scene in “Inception”. That will be shown to illustrate marvelous effects, like Fred Astaire’s dancing on the ceiling in “Royal Wedding”.

    Of 2010 films, I think Ghost Writer will look like a classic Hitchcock film, still interesting later on. Of the 2010 nominees, oddly enough, I kind of think 127 Hours will still engage audiences, because of the basic elements that don’t change that much (nature, stupidity) as well as the central performance. But who knows?

    Random guesses: Black Swan will be like The Red Shoes, the second True Grit will be watched as much as the first True Grit, Winter’s Bone and The Fighter will fade, The Social Network will look like Sandra Bullock in The Net with her black screen and green letters. Toy Story 3 will be burned into every child’s brain like the Disneys. The Kids are All Right will be watched for the early stages of Mia Wasikowska’s career. And The King’s Speech as a re-creation of another era will still look like the re-creation of another era (dated by technique rather than costume) and will be an old-time favorite.

  • 24 2-06-2011 at 12:03 pm

    Speaking English said...

    ***Again: Black Swan is NOT a horror film!***

    Oh, now I’m convinced!

    Please… if it’s not a horror film, than what is YOUR definition of a horror film? You don’t even give us that in your long, I’m-right-you’re-wrong post.

  • 25 2-06-2011 at 12:15 pm

    DarkLayers said...

    Ebert had LA Confidential at 7 and Titanic at 9, so it wasn’t a huge difference then.

  • 26 2-06-2011 at 12:21 pm

    DarkLayers said...

    Well, S.D., would “King’s Speech” actually be eligible given it is a British movie?

  • 27 2-06-2011 at 12:23 pm

    Vladdy said...

    S.D.: The King’s Speech doesn’t have a chance of being in the AFI Top 100 because it is ineligible, seeing as how it’s an English movie, not an American one. (AFI=American Film Institute.)

  • 28 2-06-2011 at 12:45 pm

    Scotty said...

    I saw Melissa Leo on Tavis Smiley the other night – and the thought that came to mind was Catherine O’Hara in “For Your Consideration” – enough said

  • 29 2-06-2011 at 1:03 pm

    DarkLayers said...

    This is an open thread, so I wanted to throw out one thought on something that may occur but is not a given: A Tom Hooper victory.

    Where exactly would his career go? Would there be much retrospective disdain–from the vantage point that he beat Fincher, Russell, and Aranofsky? It is worth noting that some of these directors with Oscar bait haven’t had consistently strong careers. While “The Talented Mr. Ripley” and “Cold Mountain” can’t quite be scoffed at, I don’t know much people admire him. Richard Attenboro has not done much notable since “Gandhi.”

    And will David Fincher have to wait a while, if he loses, since he’s got “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” and some comic-book related projects?

    On that note, I think many people would agree that the kind of movies Chris Nolan makes work against him with AMPAS. At the most simple level, roughly 10-12 Science Fiction films garned a direction nod. Some at Sasha’s panel noted examples of directors who came around with more AMPAS-friendly material (e.g. James Cameron). It is worth noting that some have done this on their one terms–“The Thin Red Line” is World War II, but Terrance Malick’s voice is there. Riddley Scott couldn’t pull off noms for “Alien” or “Blade Runner”, but did eventually get some. Could doing a prestige flick project maybe get Nolan his nod– a biopic, war, etc. With the comics, maybe a cinematic adaptation of “Maus”?

  • 30 2-06-2011 at 5:25 pm

    Glenn said...

    Wow. This comment thread has been hilarious. Some people are just… wow. Lighten up! It *is* entirely possible for more than one or two movies to “stand the test of time”. The irony that people are debating with such ferocious determination what movie/s will be remember in 30 years is surely lost of many.

    As for Leo… well, if she wants Academy voters to really send a message about ageism and “the performance” then they’d give the statue to Jacki Weaver who’s far less known and even older than Melissa Leo and – some may say – gives a better performance, in a smaller film, too. The worst thing about Leo’s “rogue” campaign is that the pictures are bad.

  • 31 2-06-2011 at 6:30 pm

    Mike said...

    I think Rabbi Hole and Blue Valentine will stand the test of time. And I agrees with a previous post saying that District 9 from last year will also do so.

  • 32 2-06-2011 at 8:43 pm

    john t. said...

    I respect Melissa Leo’s talent, but all her award speeches – are over-the-top , nutty, annoying, desperate, unbearably painful, and it seems like she can’t control herself. She always gives me a good laugh with her speeches, and Leo acts as if she never won an award before. Her speeches are definitely worst than those cold & robotic acceptance speeches of Annette Bening. This will cost Bening another Oscar win.

    Mike, Blue Valentine has good performances, but the film is very overrated and it is not sturdy enough to last the test of time. After seeing Blue Valentine, it didn’t resonant with me , and most of the film audience I saw the movie with, were verbally disappointed. Definitely, this film is not for everyone’s taste.

    P.S. When will Michelle Williams stop portraying these downtrodden & miserable broads ? I am sure she has more tricks in her bag of tricks. I want Williams to loosen up and kick some ass on film .

  • 33 2-06-2011 at 11:24 pm

    Glenn said...

    Rabbi Hole…

    Rabbi Hole…

    Rabbi…. Hole…

    Freud slipped.

  • 34 2-07-2011 at 8:12 am

    Freddy Ardanza said...

    The truth is that nobody knows what will stand the test of time. Nobody.

  • 35 2-07-2011 at 8:21 am

    Maxim said...

    “This is an open thread, so I wanted to throw out one thought on something that may occur but is not a given: A Tom Hooper victory.

    Where exactly would his career go? ”

    This kind of rhetoric borders on offensive. I think that there’s nothing worse than a comment like that. Hooper may be getting more attention than he should be (I have’t seen his film so I’ll abstain from making any judment calls here) but to imply that just because he is going nowhere just because… I’m sorry what was the point you were trying to make again?

    Also, last I checked Oscars were supposed to recognize the best of the year and not careers.

  • 36 2-07-2011 at 9:47 am

    Sawyer said...

    The Social Network will look like Sandra Bullock in The Net with her black screen and green letters.

    The Social Network is a film about events that took place between 2003-2005. The computer equipment used was the equipment that was widely-used then. I suggest you don’t watch All the President’s Men anytime soon if you don’t want to laugh at typewriters. Idiot.

  • 37 2-07-2011 at 9:48 am

    Sawyer said...

    Why is that question offensive? No one really knows the answer, but what is it about the question that has you in a tizzy?

  • 38 2-07-2011 at 9:55 am

    Afrika said...

    The Social Network will look like Sandra Bullock in The Net with her black screen and green letters

    LMAO!!! I fell off my seat. Absolutely hilarious.

  • 39 2-07-2011 at 10:03 am

    Maxim said...

    Sawyer, it’s the implication that we’ve seen everything that Tom Hooper has to offer. In other words, “Where exactly would his career go?” is not so much a question but a dismissal. If you read it again I’m sure you can see how it reads like one.

    And I just happen to think that it’s unfair.

  • 40 2-07-2011 at 11:20 am

    Ben M. said...

    The whole time argument really doesn’t matter to me, since the oscars are always voted on feelings then, and no one can really know how films would be viewed decades down the line.

    Plus there could be a difference between the film that will be most remembered and the “best” film. For instance last year Hurt Locker was clearly the critics favorite of the oscar nominees but may not be remembered because of how the film wasn’t widely seen (even now some may be forgetting it, I remember a recent ABC poll said only 4 in 10 viewers of last year’s show could correctly recall Hurt Locker winning BP, compared to 7 in 10 recalling Sandra Bullock’s best actress win). While Avatar will probably be like Star Wars where its huge popular success means people are still watching and talking about it decades down the line, even if it wasn’t the most acclaimed nominee.

  • 41 2-07-2011 at 6:50 pm

    Walter said...

    What film is remembered 40 years from now depends of who is remembering. Is it film fanatics and movie geeks? Is it the general public? Critics?

    It’s a pretty good assumption Toy Story 3 will be remembered by all three groups, but Disney’s films tend to have long lives, so I think even Tangled will be remembered, just as 101 Dalmatians and The Jungle Book are remembered today, and they are nowhere near Snow White classics.

    When thinking of 2010, most everyone else will probably just say Avatar, once the years blend with age. Maybe Inception, maybe even a cultish following for Tron. Social Network will just be remembered for Facebook and how cool it was in 2004. True Grit will be part of a Coens/Big Lebowski type cult following, and The King’s Speech, well, I don’t know. Could be like Amadeus, could be like Tom Jones.

  • 42 2-08-2011 at 12:38 am

    DarkLayers said...

    Walter, I don’t know about your rationale for “The Social Network.” “Dr. Strangelove” is widely respected, although the Cold War is over.

    Maxim, I didn’t mean to say Hooper has no future. I might not have communicated well, if thats what came across. I guess I meant, if there is negativity towards the King’s Speech in the future, will he enter that conversation if he beats Darren A. and David Fincher for director?

    It’s true that competetive Oscars aren’t in principle for career achievement, but in some cases where a nominee is in their career matters. But it wasn’t meant to be bitchy or dismissive :-/

    I wonder where Oscars themselves will be in 2025? Will the brand have decayed some? On a more recent note, it seems like the 2012 movies might make for intense competition in the crafts categories–Spider Man, The Hobbit, The Dark Knight Rises, Star Trek 2.

  • 43 2-08-2011 at 6:40 am

    Me. said...

    I fully agree with Kris. The only film that is still haunting my thoughts is “Biutiful”.It is so disturbing, intense and raw but also so poetic, humanistic and breathtaking. Definately makes you think about life and the struggle to maintain the ones you love.

  • 44 2-08-2011 at 7:33 am

    JJ1 said...

    I’m fascinated by the ‘Biutiful’ discussions. Some think it’s incredible; Innaritu’s masterwork. But then it’s also got the worst reviews of his filmography. Why is it loathed by some?