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Monday, January 16, 2006

The 2005 Manny Farber Awards
Film critic Manny Farber wrote the following for The Nation in 1957:

"The saddest thing in current films is watching the long-neglected action directors fade away as the less talented De Sicas and Zinnemanns continue to fascinate the critics. Because they played an anti-art role in Hollywood, the true masters of the male action film -- such as soldier-cowboy-gangster directors as Raoul Walsh, Howard Hawks, William Wellman, William Keighley, the early, pre-Stagecoach John Ford, Anthony Mann -- have turned out a huge amount of unprized, second-gear celluloid."

In fifty years, and in the thick of awards season, little has changed. We can replace the first two names in his quote with Ang Lee, Steven Spielberg, Paul Haggis, Stephen Gaghan, Fernando Meirelles, or anyone else vying for prizes this year. Let them win, Farber said. Here I present the first batch of "Manny Farber Awards" to the ten best unheralded productions of 2005. These are the films that best live up to the legends of that second list of unpretentious action directors, those purely enjoyable films that few, if any, awards will ever tarnish:

1. Land of the Dead (George A. Romero)
2. Red Eye (Wes Craven)
3. Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang (Shane Black)
4. The Matador (Richard Shepard)
5. Unleashed (Louis Leterrier)
6. Kung Fu Hustle (Stephen Chow)
7. Layer Cake (Matthew Vaughn)
8. 11:14 (Greg Marcks)
9. Serenity (Joss Whedon)
10. November (Greg Harrison)
:: posted by Jeffrey M. Anderson, 1/16/2006 Comments (2)
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At 8:07 PM, Anonymous said...

wwhheeu! What a silly list, sure to make a Manny fan depressed... what about such underestimated films as: Dark Water; Major Dundee; Look at Me; Fear and Trembling; The Chopper (a marvelous film by Costa-Gavras, adapted from same author as Point Blank),Et Cetera... IKnowYouCan'tBeSeriousAbout"Kiss Kiss Bang Bang"--what a piece of !#@$%^*#! that was.

At 12:11 AM, Anonymous said...

I like Farber and I like everything I've seen on your list (numbers 1, 2, 3 and 6). Several others I've never heard of, but will now try and track down. Thanks!

- Jake Wilson


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