Thursday, February 04, 2010

535 - You Aught to Know - 25-27

Bad Santa, Terry Zwigoff, 2003, 25 points

Billy Bob Thornton seemingly natural cantankerousness combined with Terry Zwigoff's bitter misanthropy added up to the decade's funniest comedy, a very adult Christmas comedy where the laughs spring from profanity, child abuse, and the three B's. Thornton, one of cinema's greatest living actors, goes for broke as his alcoholic, safe-cracking mall Santa spirals into the abyss, taking his partners (an equally profane dwarf and his mail order bride) and a pathetically lonely rich kid down with him. The crowning achievement of Thornton's performance isn't the laughs, but that when Santa turns a corner (of sorts), we actually believe that this wretched creature has seen a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. The greatest Christmas story of my lifetime, for sure, but who would have thought the most sincere and touching? - James Frazier

Dogville, Lars von Trier, 2003, 25 points

At a time when many filmmakers are pushing the boundaries of digital photo-realism, leave it to Lars Von Trier to go in the other direction. Dogville first provocation is to tell its tale on an undressed soundstage with chalk outlines in place of walls, but it’s by no means the last. More than ever, Dogville led its critics to decry its anti-American streak (and not without reason), yet while the characters’ treatment of Grace has distinct parallels in the American immigrant experience, it’s also a pointed parable for humanity’s need to subjugate others throughout history. - Paul Clark

The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, Wes Anderson, 2004, 25 points

Previously on You Aught to Know: 29-30

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