Even as the rising tide of TiVo-wielding friends and coworkers lapped at my doorstep, I stiff-armed them with the dismissive battle cry "I don't really watch TV." I'm not sure what happened in the past year, but the levee has broken. Big-time. I have no shame. I pimp Lost like no one's business. I spread box sets of 24 like some modern-day Johnny Appleseed. The scales have fallen from my eyes: any given episode of South Park contains more hilarious and incisive satire than American cinema has offered in decades. Freaks and Geeks is the most painfully true window into adolescence since the glory days of John Hughes. And the new Battlestar Galactica (I swear to God) stands shoulder to shoulder with the best cinematic sci-fi of the past century. So drop your burdens by the coaxial river, all ye high-cultured unbelievers, and join us. The water's fine.
Rian Johnson is the writer-director of Brick.
JONATHAN L. KNAPP'S TOP 10 CINEMATIC RETURNS AND ARRIVALS
(1) The return of Big Edie and Little Edie, plus the Marble Faun (a.k.a. Jerry Torre), who accompanied the screenings of Grey Gardens (Albert and David Maysles, US, 1975) and The Beales of Grey Gardens (Albert and David Maysles, US) at the Castro on Nov. 22.
(2) The Up series: 49 Up (Michael Apted, UK) may not have been the most eventful chapter, but a new installment is always welcome.
(3) The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (Jacques Demy, France) at the Castro Theatre
(4) Scott Walker in the video for "Jesse" (Graham Wood, UK) plus various clips on YouTube.
(5) The Criterion Collection DVD of Young Mr. Lincoln (John Ford, US, 1939), a film that equals any of the director's beloved westerns.
(6) The Wayward Cloud (Tsai Ming-liang, Taiwan), SF International Film Fest screening at the Castro Theatre on April 23.
(7) The Host (Bong Joon-ho, South Korea), opening night SF Animation Festival screening at the SF Museum of Modern Art on Oct. 12.
(8) Brick (Rian Johnson, US).
(9) The Descent (Neil Marshall, UK).
(10) Old Joy (Kelly Reichardt, US).
Jonathan L. Knapp is a Guardian contributing writer.
JO&ATILDE;O PEDRO RODRIGUES'S MOST REVEALING MOVIE MOMENT
On Dec. 9 I saw John Ford's The Searchers in the same theater where I had seen it for the first time when I was 15. It was a Saturday evening; 25 years ago, it had been a Thursday evening. Back then, I had never thought a western could be as moving as a Robert Bresson film.
This time the projectionist oddly forgot to put the VistaVision mask in the film projector, and I (and everybody else that was in the audience, even if nobody complained) saw a film "around" the film that continuously took me out of the tale of revenge happening below. Things that shouldn't be seen, that usually remain hidden were revealed. I saw the lights, the microphones, the sets. I was outside the drama, but it was as if the film turned inside out in front of me.
How new can an old film be?
João Pedro Rodrigues is the director of Two Drifters and O Fantasma.
JOEL SHEPARD'S 11 FAVORITE FILMS (PLUS RUNNERS-UP AND MEMORABLE ODDITIES)
(1) I Don't Want to Sleep Alone (Tsai Ming-liang, Taiwan/France/Austria).
(2) Saw III (Darren Lynn Bousman, US).
(3) Syndromes and a Century (Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Thailand/France/Austria).
(4) "The Dundies" and "A Benihana Christmas," The Office.
(5) Miami Vice (Michael Mann, US/Germany).