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Joel Mayward

2017 Arts & Faith Ecumenical Jury Nominations and Discussion Thread

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On 11/30/2017 at 3:55 PM, Joel Mayward said:

A note about Hunter Gatherer: IMDB has it as a 2016 film (see the release dates below). So, unfortunately, I don't think it's eligible for this year's list.

Edit: the same should be noted for Aquarius, which had a limited US release on 14 October 2016 (also played Cannes, TIFF, VIFF, and NYFF in 2016).

I will try to continue looking through the list of seconded films to make sure we're only including eligible films from 2017 on our list of films to vote for.

1

Hi Joel, 

I have no particular emotional investment in HG, but in the past we've sort of gone by the first-time festival, theatrical, or dvd release to allow for films that made Oscar qualifyng runs the year before but were not widely accessible to those without screeners. (I'm thinking of Selma, which got traction among the people who saw it but was largely unseen by voters at time of voting.)

Not saying you should do it that way, but historically what determined eligibility was whatever the foreperson (in this case you) said was eligible. 

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9 hours ago, kenmorefield said:

Not saying you should do it that way, but historically what determined eligibility was whatever the foreperson (in this case you) said was eligible. 

In the initial post, I wrote this on qualifying films "a first time theatrical, DVD/Blu-ray, streaming, or festival release in the 2017 calendar year." Like Twin Peaks: The Return or Patton Oswalt: Annihilation, I trust the jury members' voting for what we collectively think should be included on a 2017 film list. If Hunter Gatherer, Aquarius, or other films were unavailable to viewers apart from online streaming until 2017, and they're nominated and get the votes, then I'm totally good with that. It all gets complicated with tracking festival, theatrical, and/or streaming releases. 

All that being said, I also hope our list would be a selection of what was best of *2017* films, which is what prompted my post--I watched Hunter Gatherer, went to look up details about it on IMDB, and found its US festival and theatrical release dates as 2016. And I'm going by US release dates despite currently living in the UK, where we already have Paddington 2, but we won't have Lady BirdThree Billboards, or Phantom Thread until February 2018.

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On 11/13/2017 at 12:27 PM, Josh Cabrita said:

Hi all, and thanks for having me on board, Joel!

I'll second the following: Milla, 24 Frames, Good Time, Sleep Has Her House, Split, Western (all of which are in my top 15 of the year).

A few other nominations:

Call Me by Your Name (Guadagnino)

Ex Libris: The New York Public Library (Wiseman)

On the Beach at Night Alone (Hong)

Zama (Martel)

Princess Cyd (Cone)

 

 

Second "On the Beach at Night Alone." I'd love to nominate Hong's 2017 film "The Day After," which I preferred to "Beach," but it looks as though "Day" doesn't have an official opening date in the U.S. this calendar year.

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M. Leary   
On 12/1/2017 at 5:10 PM, kenmorefield said:

Hi Joel, 

I have no particular emotional investment in HG, but in the past we've sort of gone by the first-time festival, theatrical, or dvd release to allow for films that made Oscar qualifyng runs the year before but were not widely accessible to those without screeners. (I'm thinking of Selma, which got traction among the people who saw it but was largely unseen by voters at time of voting.)

Not saying you should do it that way, but historically what determined eligibility was whatever the foreperson (in this case you) said was eligible. 

Yeah, it does look like it had some sort of very limited release in 2016 (Box Office Mojo has zero recorded stats for this release) - though D'Angelo has it on his NYC release list for 2017. I follow the latter but I don't see why that has to be the standard for this jury. Feel free to pull it from the nominations if you think that advisable.

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20 hours ago, M. Leary said:

Yeah, it does look like it had some sort of very limited release in 2016 (Box Office Mojo has zero recorded stats for this release) - though D'Angelo has it on his NYC release list for 2017. I follow the latter but I don't see why that has to be the standard for this jury. Feel free to pull it from the nominations if you think that advisable.

Not to belabor this, but looking at Mike D'Angelo's NYC releases page, I can't find Hunter Gatherer nor Aquarius listed. However, Hunter Gatherer appears on the 2016 list on Nov 18, Aquarius on Oct 14.

On the Beach at Night Alone has a 2017 release for both D'Angelo and IMDB, so feel free to nominate it!

FWIW, I'm basing the US release dates on IMDB, with D'Angelo's list as a secondary source. But as I said above, I ultimately trust the jury members' judgment and perspective in voting.

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M. Leary   

Ah, must have looked at the wrong list for Hunter Gatherer. Such a shame, as this one really fell through the distribution cracks.

And I think Aquarius did have a run in 2016, but am not sure. Again, feel free to pull whatever you think best.

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I second The Florida Project. I've updated the nominations page, and have left Aquarius and Hunter Gatherer--they're both films worth watching and contemplating, they just aren't necessarily *2017* films, so vote accordingly. :) 

5 hours ago, kenmorefield said:

Bi-weekly reminder that nobody has seconded The Boss Baby yet....

Unfortunately, it's not streaming on Netflix UK.

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4 minutes ago, Evan C said:

Second Darkest Hour.

 

And Ken, I will be watching The Boss Baby this week.

It is still in my Top 10 for the year, but that honestly has more to say about lack of depth this year.

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Evan C   

Re: The Boss Baby - it's a delightfully inventive take on sibling rivalry with some really impressive animation to match the originality of the story told from the pov of a 7 year old, and it features some of the best one liners of the year. So, second.

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Anders   
10 hours ago, Evan C said:

Re: The Boss Baby - it's a delightfully inventive take on sibling rivalry with some really impressive animation to match the originality of the story told from the pov of a 7 year old, and it features some of the best one liners of the year. So, second.

You guys are going to make me watch this, aren't you?

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13 hours ago, Evan C said:

Re: The Boss Baby - it's a delightfully inventive take on sibling rivalry with some really impressive animation to match the originality of the story told from the pov of a 7 year old, and it features some of the best one liners of the year. So, second.

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Edited by kenmorefield
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I second Princess Cyd. It's now available to rent via iTunes and Amazon, and would be well worth your time to view it. 

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Sorry to be so late to the dialogue here - My credentials some how got wonky when trying to sign in. 

Here's an "under the radar" nomination:

I'd like to nominate "The Bachelors" with JK Simmons & Josh Wiggins.

This film follows a father and son attempting to start a new life after the death of a wife and mother. It is a film ultimately about trying to come to terms with loss, sadness and loneliness. The story question that drives the film - can a father and son move on through the pain to a better place in life - and if they can, will their relationship remain intact?

J.K. Simmons is such a strong and authentic actor, His talents are so amazingly natural. Wiggins really impressed me also.  

 

This Drama with touches of organic comedy - Written and directed by Kurt Voelker. This picture offers wonderful shot selections and editing; really amazing storytelling through visual and musical montages.  I Loved, Loved, loved the original music & the lighting choices for certain key scenes, It was absolutely amazing in helping to tell the story. 

I was truly impressed with the chemistry between Simmons & Josh Wiggins. It was truly a beautiful father and son relationship story - which is so different from many that we read about in books or see on film today. It was about finding strength to move on in life together and individually as well. 

One of only a few films I gave an "A+" to this year. 

 

 

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I'd also second:

Logan Lucky

War for the Planet of the Apes

And would like to nominate "Logan." One of my faves of the year (for various reasons). Wade Bearden captured some wonderful thoughts about logan here: http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2017/march-web-only/logan-is-ragged-intimate-depiction-of-wages-of-sin.html

I know earlier in the thread that Disney/Pixar was under consideration for boycotting, but "CoCo" is currently in my Top 15 of the year. It earned one of my highest grades. At it’s heart, it is a film about family, choices, the power of something beyond self, and remembering those who paved the way before us. An absolutely beautiful story that touches on some interesting themes and topics for adults and children alike. 

The animation is flawless, and in some scenes, I was literally speechless at the intricate detail. It offered truly wonderful and distinct characters, some great cameos, and tributes to real life historical figures. The film kept getting better the further along it went. 

Some of the scenes were so touching that even grown men were brought to tears – this is an amazing piece of cinema that I’ll revisit a few more times. 

   I'd also like to nominate: "Wonder" - It is a story of perseverance, family devotion, courage, and standing up against oppression. This film is told from multiple character perspectives ( I loved that uniqueness).  It is a marvelously wonderful family film, well-acted, topical themes, & great character chemistry. 

 

 

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I nominate Thelma. As I posted in my Letterboxd review, "The four films which came to mind while watching ThelmaCarrieThe WitchLet the Right One In, and The Trial of Joan of Arc (Bresson, not Dreyer)." I'll keep the plot details to a minimum, but the film follows a young woman in her first semester at university after growing up in what is suggested to be a strict-but-kind conservative Christian home. Her faith plays a key role in her identity formation. The portrayal of Christianity here is noteworthy in that the film remains fairly neutral--or at least ambiguous--in its evaluation of faith, and I will say that there's an overt spiritual or transcendent dynamic. A few Letterboxd review say that it's cold, boring or pretentious, so your mileage may vary. I found it interesting, and even sympathetic.

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Evan C   

I nominate The Shape of Water and The Transfiguration. The first is another beautiful del Toro fairy tale about giving a voice to the voiceless with a few Biblical references tossed in; the second is a low-key vampire coming of age tale set in Manhattan that uses the inherent isolated, predatory nature of vampirism as a force compounding the isolation the young black protagonist already feels since he doesn't want to join the local gang but doesn't trust his teachers or the police either.

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3 hours ago, Joel Mayward said:

I nominate Thelma. As I posted in my Letterboxd review, "The four films which came to mind while watching ThelmaCarrieThe WitchLet the Right One In, and The Trial of Joan of Arc (Bresson, not Dreyer)." I'll keep the plot details to a minimum, but the film follows a young woman in her first semester at university after growing up in what is suggested to be a strict-but-kind conservative Christian home. Her faith plays a key role in her identity formation. The portrayal of Christianity here is noteworthy in that the film remains fairly neutral--or at least ambiguous--in its evaluation of faith, and I will say that there's an overt spiritual or transcendent dynamic. A few Letterboxd review say that it's cold, boring or pretentious, so your mileage may vary. I found it interesting, and even sympathetic.

I was lagging in my enthusiasm for Louder than Bombs, but I'll definitely check it out.

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On 12/18/2017 at 9:56 PM, kenmorefield said:

I was lagging in my enthusiasm for Louder than Bombs, but I'll definitely check it out.

I'll second Thelma, somewhat neutrally. 

It feels oddly dated to me...and it tries to do too much -- add Requiem, The Exorcist, The Twilight Zone (ep w/Billy Mummy), and God's Not Dead to Joel's list of antecedents. But it warrants consideration. 

 

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Evan C   

I'll second Coco, although I'm not as wild about it as others are.

 

I nominate My Happy Family, Bilge Elbiri's #1 film of the year, a Georgian drama somewhat in the style of Farhadi about the dynamics of a supertight family when one member decides she wants to move out. The exploration of the family dynamic is quite powerful, along with the generational and gender expectations. It's streaming on Netflix now; as a warning, Netflix defaults to playing it dubbed in English, and the dub is pretty terrible, so make sure to switch it over to Georgian dialogue with English subtitles.

Edited by Evan C

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Second Hostiles, which strikes me as a film that has a lot of themes suitable for this list though may split people on how well it executes those themes. Pike and Bale are darn good. 

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On 21/12/2017 at 9:25 PM, kenmorefield said:

It feels oddly dated to me

This comment has intrigued me for the past day--can you unpack this description? Like, the film hasn't "aged well" in terms of tone or themes or content? Or, it addressed an issue which has already been dealt with, and it's been there/done that? Or, it feels like it was made in a different era? It's old-fashioned? Anachronistic?

I'm happy for the second. :) It's a film which has stuck with me longer than I anticipated, and I can see both the Exorcist and God's Not Dead connections. One more film which came to mind during a few particular scenes was Under the Skin.

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