One aspect of the Hunt for the Worst Movie of All Time that seems to be perennially confusing to people is the fact that any movie is a possible nominee. Taste is subjective, and one man’s Trash Humpers is another man’s National Treasure. If someone nominates a movie that you like and you are upset about it because you don’t think it is a bad movie and in fact you think it is a good movie, instead of watching the houses flip upside down and back again because your head fell off and is rolling in the sewer, why not just give it a second and see what happens. Case in point: this week’s nominee, Charlie Kaufman’s Synecdoche, New York. After months of repeated nominations, today is the big day in which we talk about it. For many people who did not nominate this movie because they actually liked it, the very existence of its nomination seemed like some kind of crime. To those people I say YOU are the one who goes to jail and the crime is IMPATIENCE and NOT UNDERSTANDING THE RULES (back to back sentences), which I have just clarified above. Because as you will find, although we are discussing Synecdoche, New York in the Hunt for the Worst Movie today, it would appear that the trail has gone cold (good metaphor) because in fact this is not the worst movie. In fact it’s a very good movie. It might even be a great one. So:

Synecdoche, New York is about a middle-aged theater director named Caden Cotard (Philip Seymour Hoffman) who lives with his wife, Catherine Keener, and their daughter, Olive. Everyone seems kind of miserable, which is pretty clearly a theme of the movie. Caden is directing OUR generation’s Death of a Salesman and visiting various doctors for a bunch of encroaching illnesses as his aging body begins the slow but inevitable process of falling apart. When she has an art show of her tiny paintings in Germany, Catherine Keener uses it as an opportunity to initiate a trial separation from Caden, and takes Olive with her. This, of course, throws Caden into an even sharper spiral of despair. Then he wins a MacArthur Genius Grant, which he wants to use to create his masterwork: a piece of theater that captures the immensity of life through its infinite details. In the meantime, he has an affair with Samantha Morton. And then he marries Michelle Williams and has a new baby with her. The rest of the movie is a nesting doll of self-references as Caden, perpetually dissatisfied with his production and always pushing to go “deeper” into its “truth” hires actors to play all of the characters we have met throughout the film and then actors to play those actors until his hanger is filled with its own New York City and inside that New York City is another hanger filled with another New York city and actors playing actors playing actors into infinity.

Finally, Caden dies. The end.

This is actually the second time I watched Synecdoche, New York and I will readily admit that I didn’t love it the first time. The movie is aggressively grim and sometimes feels almost Student Film-ish in its obsession with “depression” and “sadness.” You could imagine Charlie Kaufman writing parts of the script in Sharpie on his jeans. But this second viewing, especially knowing what I was in for, was much better. Really rewarding, actually. What a good movie! It has so many interesting things to say about THE WAY WE LIVE OUR LIVES, which, incidentally, is NOT THAT EASY OF A THING TO SAY INTERESTING THINGS ABOUT. We are all so familiar with our ideas and even pretty familiar with other people’s ideas about how that all works, and in a lot of ways it’s almost all anyone ever talks about, so to talk about it in a new way and one that is compelling and smart and has something to add to the discussion is worth a look-see.

For example: Caden is constantly visiting doctors and the decrepitude of his body is gruesomely on display at all times (Kaufman has talked in interviews about the role of illness in the movie’s origins) and yet none of the things that he thinks are going to kill him ever do. They hardly even effect his ability to work, or fall in weird, agonizing love with different women. He seems to live in perpetual fear of death and failure–as do we all?–to the point where the things that matter to him in his life are constantly slipping through his fingers, what with his eyes being focused on some deep dark shadow far out on the horizon. He is so constantly in search of some kind of artistic truth that he can never actualize his art, and yet by the time he is “done,” the play is much more real than anything he’s ever (avoided having to have) experienced. It takes that age old coffee mug slogan about life being what happens while you are busy making other plans to an awful, diseased, tear-stained extreme. There is also a nice thematic element throughout the movie about wishing someone would just tell you what to fucking DO, which I think is a desperate feeling that many people can relate to, and particularly complicated when put into the heart of a theater director since telling people what to do is kind of his whole thing.

On top of this, though, is the much less dramatic but no less successful way in which tiny moments (see for example, the first 15 minutes of the movie which is just straight-up domestic boredom) are rendered truthfully and realistically. These are actual people (well, no they’re not, but almost!) before they fall down the simulacrum depression hole. Tiny genuine moments, of which this movie has plenty, are just as impressive and meaninfful as large-scale absurdist abstractions (of which this movie has even more).

So, why do people think that this is the Worst Movie of All Time? It’s clearly not. But obviously people’s dislike of it goes beyond a simple dislike and into something deeper. The best I can manage is what I mentioned earlier about some of the film’s focus on “existential crisis” feeling simplistic and pushy. Ultimately, I think the movie has a lot more to say, but maybe people get stuck on that. Also, there is plenty of Charlie Kaufman-esque absurdity that does, at times, feel unhinged from any narrative purpose. Even after the second viewing, I’m still not sure why Samantha Morton’s house was always on fire? But I’m sure (or at least I hope) that Charlie Kaufman had some kind of intended but heavily coded meaning behind this choice. That is what separates him from another writer/director, who would include something like this simply because he thought it “looked cool” (see: Jerusha Hess, Zach Braff). Specifically because Kaufman feels more than capable and thoughtful about what he is doing, this seems admissable and forgivable at the very least, and probably worth more thought and decoding.

And I’m not sure to what extent this is worth mentioning, but I’m by no means the world’s biggest Charlie Kaufman fan. I do think that Adaptation is 100% incredible and not only a really really great movie and a possible CLASSIC if time will allow it, but also one of the better ruminations on WRITING ever ruminated. But Human Nature is a flop. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is very good but slightly overrated. And (wait for it) I did not like Being John Malkovich. I don’t know, I just didn’t like it, what are you going to do. I didn’t like it the first time I saw it in the theater (ladies), so I saw it a few more times to try and like it more, and I didn’t. Life goes on. The point that I’m trying to make is that no matter what, Charlie Kaufman will always get credit for trying things that are narratively complex and different, but he has a wildly inconsistent batting record (sports) and he is certainly as prone as anyone else to creative missteps.

I just don’t think this is one of them. It’s a good movie! It’s certainly a worthwhile movie. You should see it. See it two times!

Next week: Greenberg. As always, please leave your suggestions in the comments or in an email. And if you haven’t done so already, please consult the Official Rules.

Comments (133)
  1. How can Greenberg be a WMOAT nomination? That movie was great!

    • Greenberg was great, as was Synecdoche New York; not 100% sure but I think some of the nominations were made on Opposite Day?

      • Finding love can be tough enough but finding an ideal mate can even be harder.
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        I actually agree with you 100% Steve.

        • H’i, Suslo03!

          Long time no c’omment, man it s’ure has bee’n awhile. What’s new? Still working at Otblac K.W? Is that what it’s c’alled? I coudn’t remember.

          Look, actually I wante’d to t’alk to you about something seriou’s. No no, it’s not your ludi’crous use of apostr’ophes.

          It’s about Steve. I’m worried about you, Suslo03. You gu’ys broke up months ago, and you keep re’plying to comments he never left. Suslo…you need to move on.

          Also, do you know where I can find any beautiful excellent people? I’m in a fli’rtin’ mood. :)


        • His name is Patrick, Can’t you read?

    • It’s not a bad film, but Greenberg is kind of the epitome of a White People Problems film.

      • “White People Problems”, or “People With Legitimate Mental Problems”.

        • …That Just So Happen to Be White”.

          • Not “that”, you should use “who” when referring to people. This is a big pet peeve of mine, aka a problem for a white person of dignity and refinement.

          • I actually agree with you 100% Steve. The term “White People Problems” particularly bothers me, for this reason. Are “Black People Problems” in this scenario impoverished living, painting racist pictures of racist criminal and eating habits and the like. I mean, shit, I got “White People Problems”, but I certainly haven’t enjoyed the White Privilege that comes with that. Personally, I like “First World Problems” when making this comparison. I appreciate your ardor in regards to racism. It is evil indeed, Steve.

      • I think this whole white people problems things has gotten out of hand, lazy even. I mean, I don’t think filmakers like Noah Baumbach think the issues they portray are the worst conflicts of our time. They merely try to explore issues that they can portray with insight and depth. The reality is that most Americans are privileged compared to vast amounts of the global population. And so 1st world problems are not going to be on the level of “my family is facing drought and genocide.” Frankly, I’d rather watch a privileged director explore the ennui of privilege than watch that director pull a Slumdog Millionaire (I realize those are not the only two options, but still). Anyway, human suffering isn’t a contest.

    • Did you not see the rumbling-bumbling-fumbling/whoops-get-me-out-of-here way that Stiller goes down on Gerwig? And she wants to see him again?

  2. Well, that was no fun. I’m going to go back and reread the post for Love And Other Drugs.

  3. The film is SO obscure and so self-referential that I think a good case could be made for it being a “worst” film.

    However, I thought this film was one of the 10 best films of the last 10 years. (Roger Ebert says it’s the best, period: ). After my first viewing I thought the film was too solipsistic and maddeningly obtuse, but it has grown tremendously in my estimation.

  4. So Phyllip Seymour Hoffman smanged Catherine Keener Samantha Morton and Michelle Williams and we are supposed to pity him?

    • The whole thing is a big ‘LIFE IS A PITY PARTY PITY ME COUGH COUGH’ situation.

      • That was my problem with High Fidelity. John Cusack bangs all those hot babes – and yet – he is a mopey faced debbie downer the whole movie. Some of us go a long time with out anything so he should shut his face. Hated that movie as well.

    • Yes, because they’re both beatiful women the relationships must also have been totally perfect and people with attractive parters must not be allowed to have any other troubles whatsoever. And ‘smanged’, really?

  5. I didnt like Synecdoche at all. FYI.

    • I’m with you, Steve Winwood. As I read Gabe’s review, the only thing in my head was NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO *deep breath*OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. Metaphorically speaking as my brain doesn’t need to pause for breath, more like pause to make sure I’m reading it right.

    • Yeah, this was one of maybe two movies ever that I actually walked out on. It’s not that I didn’t get it, it’s that it was so solipsistic and self-pitying that I couldn’t stand it. Other people are allowed to like it though.

      Other people: you have my blessing.

      • A few of you keep saying that the movie is self-pitying, but I don’t see that at all? I mean, I guess we might pity Philip Seymour Hofman in so far as he’s making a mess of his life, but I don’t think we pity him for his life as-is being hard. Like, he clearly can’t get his shit together, he ruins every decent relationship that he has, and he wastes his entire creative potential on a ridiculous, self-involved project that neither makes him a critical success nor gets him any closer to understanding whatever artistic truth he seems to be missing. All of it is his own fault, and I don’t think there’s any confusion about that.

        So, I’ll accept solipsistic, I guess, but someone is going to need to explain the self-pitying thing. If anything, I think his own self-pity is a pretty major (intentional) strike against him.

  6. I kind of see a parallel between the reason Samantha Morton’s house is always on fire and the Tralfamadorians in Slaughterhouse-Five (other than being part of a piece of ART). The Tralfamadorians have seen every single second of their lives; when they were born, everything in between, and when they die. They have no control over their situation; their choices are always going to be the same choices and they accept that this is their life. Samantha Morton’s character accepts the fact that she is going to die of smoke inhalation, and lives out her days without having it bother her. While bleak, it shows that if you focus on the most important moments of your life, you won’t waste them away worrying about things that don’t matter.

    tl;dr; I like Synecdoche, New York and Kurt Vonnegut.

    • I have always thought that Samantha Morton’s house being on fire was a nod to the Tennesee Williams quote from the play The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore (it also became a film called Boom! starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton): “We all live in a house on fire, no fire department to call; no way out, just the upstairs window to look out of while the fire burns the house down with us trapped, locked in it.”
      Other places in culture where this reference has popped up (at least in my mind that WANTS to see it pop up everywhere…) are in the movie Shutter Island, the Modest Mouse song “Blame It On the Tetons,” and the Talking Heads song “Love—>Building on Fire.” Thank you for giving me the opportunity to put this theory into a paragraph. I liked this movie.

    • I almost read it in an opposite manner: that she is specifically making a choice about how she will die. It’s Kaufman’s way of highlighting the effect of choice and that most of our choices are ultimately deciding the manner in which we will pass. That it’s not about the lack of control but simply the fact that we often fail to see it.

      Or not. I’m not totally sure and haven’t seen this movie in a while.

    • I actually heard an interview with Charlie Kaufman that backs your point, tiredandwired. In the interview (Might have been a “Special Features” addition on the DVD, total Special Features-head right here), he said that the burning house was supposed to represent Samantha Morton’s character’s decision to undertake a path in life that she knows will lead to ruin, but that she freely accepts any way. I think that’s a pretty relate-able point because how many times in life do we make decisions that we know in the long term will harm us, but at the time we’re just like “Ehhh fuck it, why not.”

  7. Definitely the best, not least because (SPOILER ALERT) he dead the whole time. He dies in the first shot. Movie over!

  8. I have been dreading this for a week. Not because I didn’t understand the harsh but fair rules, but because I was afraid you’d burn this movie, which means a great deal to me, to the ground. I feared it would be like you calling my childhood dog the worst dog in the world, and poke fun at her high pitch bark; call her a stupid dog for sleeping next to my suitcase that night before I left home and never saw her again. That’s pretty much what I was expecting.

    But instead you looked at the evidence at hand, and found that, indeed, SNY is a good movie.

    I salute you. And I nominate SALT again.

  9. I am outraged at the suggestion that any one of you might have an opinion that differs from mine. Outraged!

  10. And by the way Being John Malkovich is Charlie Kaufmans only good movie. That is the final word on that subject. Over and out.

  11. I saw this movie maybe a year ago, liked it but didn’t love it, but really appreciated the ambition and intelligence that went into it. Maybe the second viewing would make me a hardcore fan, but I remember feeling exhausted in the home stretch. The one thing I thought was that it would have helped if someone had forced Charlie Kaufman to take a red pencil to 10% of the surreal aspects in the margins, just to make him prioritize the surreality he kept.

    • This is pretty much exactly how I felt. Full disclosure: I LOVE Charlie Kaufman and think Malkovich, Adaptation, and Eternal Sunshine are all A+ films and not overrated. I was really intrigued by Synecdoche and liked it, but I really think Kaufman needed someone to reign him in just a little bit so it didn’t become so overwhelmingly surreal by the end. If everything is surreal, nothing is surreal.

      Also, once again and forever – HEREAFTER

  12. i fall into the did not like camp. i felt the whole thing was masturbatory. from the play within a play stuff and the burning house to the over 2 hour running time it all seemed way too self indulgent. having said that, i am really looking forward to frank or francis, which is basically about what i’m doing now.

  13. Gabe, I’m glad it was your second viewing, and I’m glad you were able to get more out of it the second go-round.

    When I rented Synechdoche, NY I watched it in the evening. Ruminated on it, then the next morning put on a pot of coffee and watched it again, and that second viewing was what did it for me. The first time through I knew there was something there but I couldn’t put my finger on it, but damn if there weren’t some interesting themes! The Second time through it was all SO much clearer and I’ve sworn by the film since.

    KajusX says, “I chainSAW it twice!”

    • I actually watched this movie for the first time last night so that I wouldn’t be left out today, and I had a similar experience. I loved the last 40-45 minutes, but the first 19 hours were a droning nightmare of moping tedium and I was like “Someone please drop a dumptruck on this movie.” When it ended (amazing ending), I decided to go out for coffee, but first I decided to rewatch the early scenes with Samantha Morton, to decide if I will marry her in real life.

      And on the rewatch of those scenes, a weird thing happened: all the tedious dialog was suddenly infused with a crazy double meaning that only became apparent once I knew where the movie went later. This made me really want to watch it again.

      But: I had not enjoyed it the first time. All those girls throw themselves at Cadon! And why? He’s such a drip!

      • “Drip” — that’s a coffee reference. I noticed it on second viewing of my post and Kajus’s. It makes them read much better the second time because coffee figures prominently in both posts and Cadon was a drip.

  14. I would like to nominate The House of Yes, because of Tori Spelling and Freddie Prinze Jr and incest and yuck. But I don’t want Gabe to have to watch it, or anyone in existence to watch it, really, so instead I will nominate Wanted. Because Loom of Fate.

    • Wanted is a comic book movie, and as much as it comes up and we talk about it in the comments, Gabe has never clarified whether or not it is eligible for the WMOAT.

    • I always liked to think that Wanted happened when some kid in the 7th grade saw the first (and ONLY) Matrix movie for the first time and immediately opened up a Word document and there you go, Wanted.

    • But: Parker Posey.

      Your argument is as invalid as The House of Yes is hilarious, and The House of Yes is as hilarious as Parker Posey is adorable.

    • Ahhh! I just watched this last night. And it was…pretty good! Not great or anything. But Parker Posey is wonderful in it, and I’d think the general scarcity of films with Posey in the lead would be quite enough to recommend watching this one. Because she’s great! And it’s a damn shame she’s not offered more and better roles.

      Also: this is probably the only movie in existence in which Freddie Prinze Jr. does acting, and I happen to think he’s really funny in it, and yes, Tori Spelling is AWFUL but I think to some degree she’s supposed to be…and finally, this is an adaptation of a play, which, I’m no theater scholar, but I think pretty much requires some incest.

    • I can never hate Wanted. I saw it with a friend, and there were a grand total of three other people in the theater. Two teenagers that made out the whole time and seemed to disapprove of our boisterous laughter and an elderly gentleman who appeared to only be wearing a trench coat.
      You just have to get the right community around you to enjoy movies properly.

  15. Synecdoche = Schenectady, NY = the town I live right next to. It is also depressing and run-down and a metaphor for what’s going on in Caden’s life. Which is why I like it.

  16. It’s not the worst and you know it, nominators. Try to remember there’s only one worst.

  17. I’ve been reluctant to return to this movie. After the first time I watched it I felt troubled and burdened in a way a movie hadn’t really done before (not like Happiness, where I just wanted to puke out of every pore of my body). I know it’s inevitable for me to return to it because I hadn’t responded so emotionally to a film that upon first viewing I really just DID. NOT. REALLY. GET, but man it put a weight on me it took a few days to shake off. I think it may be a masterpiece, but I’m not sure yet. A second viewing is definitely in order. Plus, I’m really not much of a Kaufman fan. In fact, my tastes might line up exactly with Gabe’s.

    Oh, and I nominate Reality Bites. I can’t get enough of people ripping on that piece of shit.

  18. The remake of the Italian Job with Marky walburg and charlize theron was on the tv the other night and man is that lame. Please hate on that noise for me a little, wouldjya?

  19. There was some forum I can’t find anymore where Dino Stamatopoulos was talking about working on the Dana Carvey show and someone asked him about Kaufman, and he said:

    Charlie’s a great sketch writer, unfortunately, very few of his sketches got on Carvey. The show was misrepresented to the writers and ended up being more of a primetime SNL, with long character pieces, rather than conceptual sketches.

    Charlie had a great idea that would have been perfect for Dana though. It was Weird Al Yankovich’s brother, Weirder Al Yankovich. He would take Weird’s parody of “Beat It”: “Eat it” and make it even crazier: “Schmeat It.” Then, another brother would be introduced in the scene, Normal Al Yankovich. He would take “Eat It” and turn it back into “Beat It.”

    I guess what I’m trying to say is ♥ ♥ ♥ X ∞

  20. I nominate Failure to Launch, this time in French…

  21. I think Samantha Morton’s house was on fire the way your life is on fire. I mean, this whole movie is about body rot and the horror of mortality. I thought it was an interesting metaphor for the way your life, your body, your existence are all slowly disintegrating. So glad you didn’t hate this movie, though!

    • I think it’s more about how a lot of people literally live in toxic environments– lead paint, gas leaks, radiation– places where you willingly have set your roots that kinda slowly kill you as they shelter you from the outside world.

  22. uh, Gabe, I think Trash Humpers is pretty much every man’s Trash Humpers. Have you seen Trash Humpers? Because then I think you would know what I’m saying about Trash Humpers.

  23. I watched SNY three weeks ago for the first time. I really love the idea of the film, and I think Gabe’s interpretation is right on. But I can’t really say I ENJOYED the film. Maybe if I had watched it a couple years ago when I was depressed, I’d have a greater appreciation for it. But at this point in my life, it just doesn’t have the same meaning. If that makes any sense, (probably not).

  24. Okay, I nominate THE WOMEN, starring Meg Ryan and lots of other women (only women, in fact!) again (and again, and again, and again, and forever). It is like a very, very poor (destitute, in fact!) man’s Sex and the City, and was offensive to me not only as a woman but as a human being. DO IT GABE. or do Serious Moonlight, since we are on the topic of really well-thought out and foolproof ways to keep your relationship together (also starring Meg Ryan! In fact anything starring Meg Ryan post-2000 would probably be a contender).

  25. You know what other “coffee mug slogan” I’d like to see taken to its “awful, diseased, tear-stained extreme?” World’s Best Grandpa.

  26. I nominate this Hunt For The Worst Movie Of All Time nominee as the worst Hunt For The Worst Movie Of All Time nominee of all time

  27. Have you guys listened to Charlie Kaufman’s radio play, “Hope Leaves the Theater”? It’s great and it features Peter Dinklage, who is also great.

  28. I nominate Redline. It came out in 2007. Its on Netflix. Eddie Griffin is in it. A friend in high school persuaded me to see it. I don’t talk to him any more. Those two things may or may not be related.

  29. Also, speaking of WMsOAT, the one and only Birdemic is now streaming on Netflix. I watched it on Saturday and then went to see The Tree of Life on Sunday. It’s like I ate an old Band-Aid one evening and beluga caviar the next.

    • Whoa, you totally mixed those up. I’ll help you fix it, here: Seeing Birdemic is like eating Beluga Caviar. Okay! Now you finish.

      • It makes sense because I actually had a lot of fun eating that Band-Aid.

        • “Seeing Birdemic is like having a ton of fun, constantly, eating a bucketful of candy flavoured, beluga-caviar-encrusted Band-aids, while following that up with Tree of Life is akin to eating inferior beluga caviar out of a sweaty old sock wrapped in month-old bacon.” – Craig T Nelson’s Simile Academy.

  30. I keep having a moment very similar to the beginning of Adaptation involving getting my freelance project done and having a hard cider. Guess which one I’ll finish first?

  31. Fight Club.

    It’s the Donnie Darko of our generation (kind of, the release dates of both were probably very close together actually.)

    Edward Norton is incredible in it but it gave every hormonal white teenager another reason to be pissed off for being privileged. In a way, it’s the ultimate white people problem movie.

  32. This might be my favorite WMOAT entry. Having beloved films’ statuses questioned is 1 million times more entertaining than the rush one gets from the camaraderie of shared tastes. And so I will list films that I enjoy that I think a lot of others do not: Heartbreak Kid (remake and original), Existenz, House Bunny, You the Living, Observe and Report.

    • I like Observe and Report. I don’t like Seth Rogen’s character at all, but it has some really great moments, like Aziz Ansari’s Chik-filet line. It’s dark and weird, but hilarious.

      I wouldn’t say I enjoy the House Bunny, but it is one of those movies that I always end up watching on TBS, which means I have seen it a lot because TBS airs the same 12 movies over and over again.

      • i loved loved loved loved loved observe and report. like, i cannot stress that enough. maybe because i feel like i (unfortunately) know a lot of people exactly like those characters. people who are just sort of broken in odd ways and do way too many drugs and have delusions of grandeur and really fucked up politics. it made me think a lot about my hometown (which is a shithole midsized city in a shithole southern state filled with absolutely insane people on lots of meth). so it wasn’t even about the humor of it to me, but the realness of going to a shitty house party and talking to a guy like seth rogan about the muslims for an hour and not knowing what to do about it. or meeting up with someone like anna faris’ character after she’s gotten evicted from her house and watching her drink an entire bottle of tequila and get alcohol poisoning. or waking up at your friends house one morning and having to sit at the kitchen table and eat cereal with their deeply sad alcoholic single mom while she chain smokes. when i went and saw observe and report with a bunch of my friends who come from nicer places they all hated it, and i didn’t even know how to argue about it without having to like pull up my crappy memories, which i don’t like talking about in person very much, and why i think it’s important to have comedy that comes from our truly fucked up spaces in america.

    • Excellent list except for the Heartbreak Kid remake. I mean, come on, really? Anyway, how surprisingly good is House Bunny? I started watching it on cable one day and was captivated.

  33. After watching this movie the first time, my only response was: “Well, that was a movie about a man who wasted a MacArthur grant”

  34. I think the burning house is a methaphor for smoking. The woman living in the house was a smoker.

  35. I nominate The Tourist.

    The. Tourist.

  36. Hey, I’m late to the party, but I come bearing gifts!

    • Wow! Nice. Follow the link there to Capgras Syndrome — Capgras is the name on the buzzer when he goes to clean his ex-wife’s apartment. There is a closeup on the buzzer which made me wonder what I was supposed to see there. Now I know!

  37. I love Charlie Kaufman. This and Adaptation are like two of my favorite movies, ever.

    But yeah, some of the over-the-top absurd symbolic-y stuff is hard to swallow. I never got that burning house thing, either. It definitely keeps things interesting, though. Kind of terrifying.

  38. This is a pretty excellent overview of a really dense movie. Kudos. I’m going to have to watch it again. The first time I saw it, I appreciated it, but wasn’t sure I actually enjoyed watching it. But, then I kept thinking about it and I still think about it. That’s a lot more than I can say about almost every other new movie I’ve seen the past 10 years.

  39. As far as earning a nomination is it enough for a motion picture to feel entirely constructed? For the casting to be wholly gutless and mismatched? For the film making to not reach beyond a checking off items on a list (a list which, admirably, attempts a portrayal of lesbian bed death)? For the actual human interactions to clunk horribly and for the emblematic outbursts to cause a brain stem deep kind of furious itch? (A boy tries to piss on a dog. Julianne Moore shit cans the brown man in an insanely off-putting jag. This Ruffalo guy labors toward a green and sustainable sexiness but is really more ass-holistic.) If so please add The Kids Are All Right (and the leads are straight.)

  40. I nominate Chasing Amy.
    Yes, I know you did it already, but once isn’t enough.

  41. I think we can all agree that the soundtrack to this was incredible. Job Brion for the win!

  42. The most asinine and shitty part of this movie, clearly, is that schlubby Philip Seymour Hoffman (see above) somehow manages to sleep with and/or marry and/or reproduce with Catherine Keener, Samantha Morton, and Michelle Williams. Seriously? Philip Seymour Hoffman? It doesn’t matter if he was a pouf-y playwright or theater director or whatever. He’s Philip Seymour Hoffman. As soon as I saw this happening… I was gone. It lost me. Congratulations, Gabe. Fantastic nominee for Worst Movie of All Time.

  43. Also…. another nominee.

  44. I watched Adaptation again because of this post.

    “Just wow them in the end.”

    Wait, that’s voiceover… McKee wouldn’t like voiceover.

  45. Has Moulin Rouge been nominated yet? I’m fucking sick of that shit.

  46. It’s sad when the internet legitimizes such dumb people.

  47. “…until his hanger is filled with its own New York City and inside that New York City is another hanger filled with another New York city and actors playing actors playing actors into infinity. …”


    Sorry to be a stickler, but accuracy seems to be one of the criteria for which some WMOAT targets earn your scorn, so I felt a need.

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