best film: La La Land. With 18 months left I have La La Land as the second best film of the 2010’s decade. Obviously if that holds up, with approximately 10 decades worth of cinema history, it would make La La Land a monstrous achievement. The film is ambitious and the high visual style is used to tell a small love story. It borrows from Demy, I Am Cuba, Hitchcock, and Manhattan while being completely its own work. Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling are much more than just lucky bystanders witnessing Chazelle’s genius, and this is no ensemble film. It’s a two-person show-piece in front of the camera from an acting standpoint and Gosling is excellent.

best performance: La La Land. Being this good in a film this good does not happen often for actors. When it does you have an achievement that is truly special. Gosling is charming, natural and funny. He also shows believable angst and frustration. He’s believable as a talented musician (that piano work pays off) and of course that look—at the end of the film prior to the flashback—is Clark Gable in Gone With the Wind-esque. It’s part of the arftorm’s history and most memorable images.

stylistic innovations/traits: I think it’s to say Gosling has emerged as the best actor of his generation (depending on how you define generations). He’s the first actor to get nominated for Best Actor was born after 1980 and has taken on challenging roles working with bold auteurs. Of his nine films in the archives to date, six to seven of them are in their respective years’ top 10 and he’ lead (or co-lead)in all but The Big Short. This number swamps someone like Peter O’Toole though, like O’Toole, Gosling has been excellent in one of the best films of the decade (La La Land).  He’s no chameleon but has adopted Steve McQueen’s (or Ryu’s) non-verbal underacting lineage. Unlike McQueen, he’s working in some of the best films of his time. He’s one of the best five male performers in 2010, 2013, 2016 and 2017.

directors worked with:   Refn (2), Cianfrance (2) and then Chazelle once (with another one coming in fall 2018) and Villeneuve once

Top 5 Performances:

  1. La La Land
  2. Drive
  3. Blade Runner 2049
  4. Blue Valentine
  5. The Place Beyond the Pines

Archiveable films

2006- Half Nelson
2007- Lars and the Real Girl
2010- Blue Valentine
2011- Drive
2012- The Place Beyond the Pines
2013- Only God Forgives
2015- The Big Short
2016- La La Land
2017- Blade Runner 2049