Film Poll Comments: Winners and Losers

“The cycle of abuse is funny as long it’s dumb white trash!”


On Call Me by Your Name:

“This film makes so many compromises to reach a ‘mainstream’ (read: heterosexual and relatively socially conservative) audience. It leaves both gay sexuality and identity offscreen, letting the camera float out the window when Elio and Oliver fuck. Aesthetically, it offers such a tourist’s-eye view of Italy that no one would guess it was made by an actual Italian without Luca Guadagnino’s name on the credits.” —Steve Erickson

“I can only presume it reminded viewers of their own first love, as it’s an otherwise boring slog that doesn’t even film the local beautiful scenery in any interesting way. But thank goodness Michael Stuhlbarg spells out the entire point to us at the end, and Timothée Chalamet stares at the camera for four minutes.” —Luke Thompson

“Dull, derivative, and, as Richard Brody put it in the New Yorker, it’s essentially just a treatise on good parenting. Then there’s writing that should be nominated for the cinematic equivalent of Literary Review’s Bad Sex in Fiction Award. ‘You’ve moved on to the plant kingdom, now? What’s next, minerals? You’re done with the animal kingdom. You know that’s me, right?’ ‘I’m sick, aren’t I?’ ‘I wish everyone were as sick as you.’ And people think the Star Wars prequels have bad dialogue?” —Christian Blauvelt

“It’s certainly the film where my opinion diverged most from the consensus. It felt like a series of surfaces that revealed nothing, in a narrative about the inner lives of the characters depicted. This is nowhere near as thorough an explication as this idea deserves, but I desperately want to see the version of this script James Ivory would have directed himself.” —Danny Bowes

“The only difference between Call Me by Your Name and the dime-a-dozen, twink-led, straight-to-DVD dramedies proliferating in the ‘Gay and Lesbian’ section on Netflix is that Guadagnino is attached to it.” —Kyle Turner

“Enh, whatever.” —Sherilyn Connelly

On The Post:

“Folks, it’s bad. And my issues go beyond the continued objection from Bridge of Spies that Spielberg is too sentimental about America, a place undeserving of his Capra-corny reverence. It just feels rushed and unlabored-over, which we know it was. From the goofy Nixon bits (on two separate occasions, friends have compared it to Seinfeld’s winking depiction of George Steinbrenner) to the costume-closet wigs and clothes to a literally and figuratively phoned-in performance by Meryl Streep to that mortifying final scene — what is everyone else seeing?” —Charles Bramesco

On I, Tonya:

“The cycle of abuse is funny as long as it’s dumb white trash!”
Sean Mulvihill

“I don’t think people are wrong to be unmoved by I, Tonya, or to be exhausted by it, or to be annoyed by its pop-hit Greek chorus, or to find it sometimes clunkily obvious in its technique, or to want to spend less time with [Jeff] Gillooly and his dopey co-conspirators. But I take sincere issue with accusations that the film is cruel to Harding or to her milieu, or that its depiction of abuse is comic or exploitative. Often, abuse in real life is a quick everyday explosion, as it is in Craig Gillespie’s film, which is uncommonly clear-eyed about how cycles of violence replicate themselves.” —Alan Scherstuhl

On Good Time:

“Yes, Pattinson was very good, but the critics wildly overrated this posturing fetishization of low-life New York, mistaking grime for authenticity. That overwhelming soundtrack didn’t help.” —David Ansen

On The Florida Project:

“Many of this year’s best films (Dunkirk, Nocturama, BPM, The Beguiled) were about the power of collectivity. That’s sort of how The Florida Project starts out, but it eventually retrenches into a selfish world where families and finally individuals turn on one another, as if to imply that in the last analysis, there’s no helping the feral poor. And, when all else fails, go to Disney World.” —Michael Sicinski

On The Killing of a Sacred Deer:

“More so than even Darren Aronofsky with his deepest dive yet into bad self-romance, Yorgos Lanthimos supplied annus bloody horribilis 2017 with its ultimate analogue, an unstoppable interruption by everything that must at all costs not be normalized. Non-horror movies that act like horror movies: making cinema great again, again.” —Eric Henderson

On The Shape of Water:

The Shape of Water is not a love letter to classic monster cinema or a beautiful romance or a touching plea for tolerance. It just looks like those things, because Guillermo del Toro is a master of images. His movies look so gorgeous that they seem like there must be vast currents of feeling underneath — and obviously for some people there are. But I’ve seen The Shape of Water twice, and I still don’t really know why Sally Hawkins falls in love with the fish-guy, besides that, yes, he’s pretty sexy as fish-guys go. I’m not quite ready to pull a Michael Shannon and demand its dissection — in large part because I think it would be a waste of time. There’s not much there to dissect.” —Jesse Hassenger

“A film for seven-year-olds instead of adults, not an ounce of moral ambiguity, a film divided into Good People and Bad People. It was no Creature From the Black Lagoon.”
Gerald Peary

On A Cure for Wellness:

“I’ll take any opportunity I can to stump for Gore Verbinski’s latest film. It’s a Grand Guignol masterpiece, and not enough people managed to see it before it was unceremoniously kicked out of theaters.” —Karen Han

“Accept the diagnosis. Take the Cure.” —Chris Evangelista

On Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri:

“Completely offensive, from its sympathetic portrayal of a racist cop, through the demeaning line about ‘the little boys’ room’ it gives to Peter Dinklage, to its dismissive, jokey attitude toward domestic violence and the violent rape and murder of a young woman it just can’t stop giving us all the gory details of. Two of my favorite actors, Frances McDormand and Peter Dinklage, are in it: They’re both excellent in it and the film was still fucking terrible.” —Ren Jender

On Blade Runner 2049:

“My experience of this film was reading men writing rapturously about how groundbreaking it was and talking to other women who had found its sexism unbearable. No film this year more clearly illustrated for me the massive gender imbalance in film criticism. (Also…I don’t even think it’s that aesthetically pleasing!)” —Morgan Leigh Davies

On A Ghost Story:

“You have no idea how many times I fell asleep during whatever the hell that was.” —Craig D. Lindsey

“The only question I kept asking during this movie was, ‘When does Pac-Man show up to eat this effin’ ghost?’ ” —Odie Henderson


To see the winners from this year’s Village Voice Film Poll, click here