Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

John Waters' list of the year's best films is as eclectic and fascinating as ever

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Photo: Jamie McCarthy (Getty Images)

Asking someone to put together a list of the year’s best films is a good way to get an insight into who they are. For instance, one kind of person might put Avengers: Infinity War on their list, while another might retch at the very idea. Unsurprisingly, there are no superhero movies anywhere near the best films list compiled by iconic filmmaker/overall iconic person John Waters, as you’d actually have a harder time finding a less mainstream list than the fascinating one he compiled for Artforum. Really, who else could write a list of their favorite films, say something like “It’s the best movie of the year. You’ll hate it.” and still make it sound good?

That aforementioned best movie of the year is Bruno Dumont’s Jeannette: The Childhood Of Joan Of Arc, which Ignatiy Vishnevetsky noted in his A.V. Club review is the latest bizarre continuation of Dumont’s journey into self-parody, pairing “sternly religious dialogue” with “head-banging medieval children” and “voguing visions of saints in trees.” Waters appreciates the way the actors “seem like they might burst out laughing” and calls the film an “insanely radical heavy-metal grade-school religious pageant,” which makes it sound way more rad than his insistence that “you’ll hate it” would imply.

The rest of Waters’ list is just as good, with the most famous entry probably being Bart Layton’s American Animals, best known as the heist movie with Evan Peters that MoviePass pushed really hard just as it was gutting the screening options open to subscribers (not a great legacy). He also liked Brian Taylor’s Mom And Dad, the movie where Nicolas Cage tries to murder his kids (it’s a comedy!) and Xavier Legrand’s Custody, of which he raved: “this feel-bad movie of the year is so beautifully acted that it made me feel happy, happy, happy!”


The full list is worth checking out, and you can see it at Artforum.

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