Best Movie Ever

Uncategorized Oct 18, 2005 No Comments

We asked readers last week for nominations for their favourite film about or by an artist. The reward for effort [and don’t we all need a little rewarding now and again?] was a ticket to see a movie by an artist about an artist. The question was simple – complete the sentence ‘The best film about an artist is […] because…” The answers were interesting:

Frida because it came along when Hollywood decided it was okay for attractive actresses to ‘downplay’ their beauty for a so called brilliant script. And we musn’t forget the melodrama it oozes, the physical pain, anger, and disappointment… Hey what can I say, I’m a sucker for any movie where there is a remote inkling of bisexuality, torture and a fat man to complete the picture. That, and all I want is to do is paint, marry said fat man and have him build/buy me a house that has a connecting bridge and occasionally watch him fornicate with my sister…. only problem is, I’m an only child.”

Legal Eagles, 1986, because Chelsea Deardon (Daryl Hannah) sets the benchmark for all performance artists aspiring to Hollywood budgets. I know, it’s not strictly by or about an artist, but then again, maybe Chelsea really does or did exist.”

Immortal Beloved. (Dir. Bernard Rose, Gary Oldman), because never before, nor since, as far as I am concerned, has there been a film about an artist that so thoroughly and enchantingly woos the audience into the life of an artist, including his loves and his pain. Oldman’s portrayal of Ludwig Van Beethoven is stunning, subtle and complete, giving a real sense of the (almost shattering) tensions that ran through his life. Directed with precision and care, avoiding nostalgia for it’s own sake, and using a textured and tightly woven narrative that wraps you up, then spins you outward, dizzyingly, into the madness behind the genius, and the agony and ecstasy behind the music. I dare any viewer to forget the emotionally taught storyline that ferments into his 9th Symphony (Ode to Joy) when next they hear it.

Love Is The Devil because it never shows the works of the artist so you don’t have to get upset by seeing a filmaker trying to reproduce the creative experience. Oh Basquiat was really good as well ….”

Derek Jarman‘s The Garden because being carried away by someone elses imagination has never been so all encompassing or rewarding.”

“The best movie by or about an artist is Happy Gilmore because the artistry of just tappin’ it in may be the most underrated action ever. seriously, it’s a happening. “

“The best movie by or about an artist is Drop Dead Gorgeous because they made a dancing Jesus out of stockings and he has wheels on the bottom of his cross and … um … I think I misunderstood the assignment.”

Bukowski: Born Into This because: It inspires honesty, dedication and faith to the artists’ way of life and life of work. At times painfully absolute, the film technique is complimentary to Charles Bukowski’s life and art, only leaving room for the viewer to taste the grittiness and feel the heartbeat of a man and his desire. A story that connects you with a complex cluster of emotions and almost lets you live through the eyes of the writer for a few hours. The documentary and it’s subject matter, refreshingly awaken our senses from the glossy post-production driven aesthetic of today’s popular culture in terms of the moving image. This, as well as, Bukowski’s concentrated spirit and candid veracity which are ultimately humanizing and stimulating make Born Into This the best movie about an artist.”

“The best movie about an artist (Woody Allen‘s Bullets over Broadway) is about a writer. The reason is for the catharsis at the end of the movie when the Allen stand-in David Shayne (John Cusack – I wish he always played Woody) goes to the woman he loves and says “I know two things for sure. I love you, and I’m not an artist”. I melt every time … I wish I could just admit it and give up. It’s like a kind of artistic existentialism … he finally understands his own mediocrity, and his acceptance of his failure to be a good
artist offers the opportunity for a new life, liberated from the burden of his creative practice … it’s the most optimistic vote for life over art. Of course it’s a fantasy, for a risk-free, safe (if banal) existence. But it’s a good
one. Oh its meant to be a sentence innit … Oh well. There’s a great writer/artist scene is Husbands and Wives as well, when Juliette Lewis‘ character is talking with Woody about his new manuscript that she’s begged him to let her read … there’s a perfect depiction of that whole, how do you explain that you hate your friend’s artwork without appearing to say anything negative about it … “it’s like Triumph of the Will; it’s brilliant, but you despise the ideas behind it … that’s a bad example”

“…Empire Records because the artist says, “I don’t feel the need to explain my art to you…”

“dear artlife, I would like to win some movie tickets to rescue my relationship. My relationship has been damaged by my decision to nominate a Fassbinder film. the best movie by or about an artist is Martha by Rainer Werner Fassbinder, because he’s such a <>, but has no humanity whatsoever.

“The best movie by or about an artist is CRUMB because it promotes piggyback love.”

“The best movie by or about an artist is I Shot Andy Warhol because it’s about Valerie Solanis; the plays she writes are funny; and the guy that plays Warhol is ok. [This is not a clever or witty entry I know, but I’m not too good with these types of things. I really did like the movie though.]”

“The best movie by or about an artist is Days of Thunder because Tom Cruise is awesome and it’s about god damn time someone acknowledged his amazing talent.”

“The best movie by or about an artist is 9 Songs because.”

The Art Life

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