Li’l Fatass’s Top 5 of 2011: Michel Hazanavicius’s The Artist

#1: The top fifteen grossing films of 2011 were all fairy tales. This makes sense as life has become so utterly complicated so as to be considered magical. Everywhere we operate machines that are powered by invisible forces. The Interwebs – invisible. Satellites and televisions – invisible. Cell phones – invisible. Air travel – invisible. Vending machines? I mean, how does the food get in there? Fucking magical.

Also we’ve never been in proximity (temporally or geographically) to more undeniably villainous creatures than right now. Serial killers. Priestly child molesters. Osama bin Laden. Bernie Madoff stole eighteen billion dollars. Eighteen billion. Can you even fathom what that means? It means that if he stole that amount in $100 bills he’d have thrown his back out trying to lift the three hundred and ninety-six thousand pounds of cash (a hundred and ninety-eight tons) into his getaway van. Supervillainous forces are upon us. It is a reasonable response for us to become desperate for superheroes.

The obsession with fairly tales also makes sense since we now live in a godless America. I do not judge Americans for denouncing their various gods. The church has lost so much footing given that 2.6 billion dollars they’ve spent in molestation-related costs. But now our trust has gone out aimlessly. Our spiritual energy has gone out in search of magic, omniscience, predetermination, and moral authority. And it has apparently found Harry Potter and Edward and the Pirates of the Caribbean.

I believe magic can exist at the cinema – but in general I believe it does not exist at the top of the American box office. For me, one of the best markers for good art is surprise. Unforeseen delight. The least surprising artistic pieces are oddly the most profitable and accessible – those showing at your local movie theater. And probably involving Shia LeBeouf. There is an incredible tolerance by American audiences to be consistently disappointed by the movies they go see. I’m not sure if this is courageous or borderline-retarded behavior.

How many films can you list that didn’t waste a single opportunity? I thought so. Michel Hazanavicius created the only truly ingenious picture of the year. He made ten times the film of the any other and he did it using one-tenth the money, one-tenth the technology. Still, the magic got in there  . . . $14

If you heart The Artist:

Recommendations by Li’l Fatass:
Campbell Scott’s & Stanley Tucci’s Big Night
Paul Thomas Anderson’s Boogie Nights
Darren Aronofsky’s The Wrestler

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