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#56: Vertigo v Sunshine (Poll Closed)

Results for this poll have been set to private.
Posted 8 months.


  • Stuart Feldstein - 7 months ago

    The matchup is almost perfect - two men searching for second chances, one lost in his memories, the other trying to hold onto his memories before they disappear. It's almost as if you planned this...In the end, it's no contest. Sunshine can't hold a candle to the greatness of Vertigo, but it seems the weight of opinion is against me. I can't take all you commenters to a dress shop and remake you in my image of what you should be, so I'll just stay in my bell tower looking forlornly over the edge where you pushed Vertigo to its death.

  • One of the easiest "ways out" of a Filmspotting Madness hangup comes when a favorite filmmaker is represented in the bracket by what you consider a lesser work. The most obvious example? When the Coens, responsible for truly spectacular modern classics like "Fargo" and "No Country for Old Men" is inexplicably fronted by a fanboy cult fave about bowling. I love the Coens and I think they deserve at least one or two Pantheon seats, but I voted against "Lebowski" in a heartbeat.

    I adore Charlie Kaufman's stuff, but interesting as Michel Gondry is, I think Spike Jonze is the superior directorial talent. Put me in the camp that feels Kaufman and Jonze's "Adaptation" is an overlooked masterpiece: it's so damn clever, and like the best ostensibly clever films, it's unexpectedly sweet and heartfelt to boot. Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet do really good work in "Sunshine," but it's nothing like the relentlessly human double-performance Nick Cage offers up.

    Content, reflexive, totally happy vote for "Vertigo," then. Pretty good flick. Robert McKee would approve.

  • Allen Childs - 7 months ago

    I watched Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind for only the second time ever and the first time since 2004 or 2005 on Saturday *specifically* to develop a strong conscience and hopefully a stronger stance on my vote in this poll. Having already seen Vertigo a couple of months ago - for approximately the fifth time and this time on the big screen, no less, with my film-loving but Vertigo-virginal cousin and his awesome girlfriend - I know I can look myself in the mirror after my vote feeling great about my preparation, and yet my opinion is still not strong here. I absolutely love both films, but I am not sure if I will vote for either past the next round.

    Vertigo is one of the most beautiful films I have ever seen and from a visual perspective has a handful of moments as memorable as they come, and those stunning, stirring images combine with the aching pulse of Bernard Herrmann's killer score, how could this not be one of the greatest movies ever made? Eternal Sunshine, though, has the characters, the whimsy, and the heart that stuck with me for over ten years even as my memory of the details of the film faded. I adore Kaufman's creative ways of exploring classic themes - here some of the same ideas as in Vertigo - and Joel and Clementine has become one of my favorite on-screen romances. Aside from the sci-fi twist, the realism is impressive. And yet, doesn't the memory-erasure concept actually make the romance more realistic after all?

    In the end, I voted for Eternal Sunshine because I just felt more of a personal connection to the art, and then I remembered the circling hotel room kiss in Vertigo and immediately regretted it. I had voted on my phone and needed to vote again in order to post this final comment, fulfilling my vow of wholeheartedly commenting on each match-up, and this time I clicked on Vertigo was surprised that my second vote counted. So, my real vote was Eternal Sunshine by a hair, but an even one for each is a fitting conclusion in this torturous round of often choosing divine greatness over other divine greatness.

  • Scott Bosch - 7 months ago

    I know Vertigo is the "right" choice. But when I saw Eternal Sunshine in my early-mid 20s, no other film I had ever seen about relationships felt this true. This end of this movie is devastating and so very relatable if you ever had a tough breakup.

    I'll miss Hitchcock, but this movie is more meaningful and personal to me and that's why I can't give it up (yet, who knows what lies in the next round).

  • John C. - 7 months ago

    In my college days at the end of the semester for my course in Contemporary American Cinema, the professor took a poll of the class for which films should be included in the next semester. Almost everyone suggested Eternal Sunshine. This movie is beloved by so many, including myself. I greatly admire how Kaufman's script, telling Joel and Clementine's love story out of sequential order, makes me feel like I'm watching memories and moments in someone's life rather than scenes being played out within a plot. While a lot of the madness match ups ask people to choose between the head and the heart, Eternal Sunshine beautiful combines both.

  • Jason Mayer - 7 months ago

    These two would be in my Final Four if they hadn't been so mercilessly pitted against each other this early. But I can't believe most of these comments denigrating Vertigo. It's Vertigo! It's a masterpiece!

  • Gil - 7 months ago

    Eternal Sunshine. For two reasons:

    1. We're running out of modern classics on the list. At least one or two films less then 30 years old need to go a bit further.

    2. We can use the technology in this film to erase the memories of all the other films we've discarded, so at least we won't know what we've lost.

  • Aviva Rosman - 7 months ago

    The Filmspotting Madness poll that pitted Sight and Sound's Greatest Film of All Time against the BBC's 6th greatest movie of the 21st century. Can 846 critics, programmers, and academics be wrong?

    Yes. Yes, they can.

    Eternal Sunshine all the way.

  • Joel Edmiston - 7 months ago

    Eternal Sunshine because the main character's name is Joel. My name is Joel and there's not enough representation for Joels in pop culture. We got Paul Rudd in They Came Together, Timothy Olyphant in Santa Clarita Diet, and some others, but Eternal Sunshine is a really special movie.

  • Mike H. - 7 months ago

    This is an interesting one for me, because for whatever reason while I thoroughly enjoy both films, neither really occupies a sacred space in my heart the way they do for so many others. They aren't even in the top 3 of my list for either respective filmmaker's own catalogue, much less what I would consider greatest of all time material. But that somehow made me pause a bit longer to consider this match-up than the others this week.......I guess that's what happens when there's no strong emotions taking over the process.

    That being said, I went with Eternal Sunshine simply because the conceit and pathos of the story are just far more novel and unique than Vertigo, which let's face it, also hasn't held up particularly well technically.

  • Joe from Cleveland - 8 months ago

    I have to be honest, Eternal sunshine is a little overrated and my opinion is it does not hold up after multiple viewings. I understand the love for it, I saw it first in college and was blown away, a few years later I watched it again and felt that it lost its depth after the second viewing. Still a good movie but cannot stand up due to vertigo...

  • Adrian, Boulder CO - 8 months ago

    No contest. I mirror what a few have said. Rebecca and Rear Window are both higher up for me. How anyone can consider Vertigo more thrilling than Rear Window is beyond me. I've watched Vertigo 3 times. I derived no added understanding or appreciation from repeat watching. I've tried. Maybe I'll read up and try again. I'm pretty sure I would have voted Vertigo out first round regardless of the matchup. In my eyes, Eternal Sunshine is a masterpiece, Vertigo not so much.

  • Luke Siemens - 8 months ago

    Vertigo is a fine film. It is a work that reveals both Hitchcock the man and Hitchcock the filmmaker. Its themes remain relevant, but it is only ok. I don't think the story works with Hitchcock's over planning, technical approach. It feels illustrative rather than expressive. I recognize Scottie's behavior, but I feel like I'm viewing it through at telescope, three-feet away from the eyepiece.

    Eternal sunshine is technically impressive, it has a compelling structure and its characters feel lived-in .
    Some of Gondry's later work may overdue it with the emotive quality and benefit from a dose of rationality, but Eternal Sunshine is well is a perfect.

    Vertigo sitting at the top spot of the Sight and Sound poll never sat well with me, I can only hope it doesn't win Filmspotting madness.

    Eternal Sunshine all the way

  • Eddie (Reseda, CA) - 8 months ago

    Yeah, I voted for Annie Hall, but this is so much easier.

    Vertigo is top 20 of all time. Eternal Sunshine is a 2.5-3 star film, possibly my least favorite Kaufman script. I'd rather watch episodes he wrote on Chris Elliot's "Get A Life" than Jim Carey's romance with a quintessential manic pixie dream girl trope of a character.

  • Rob Anderson - 8 months ago

    This contest is playing out in such a way that the results are more representative of the lack of important films in the Pantheon than which of these films is truly the greatest. Where is To Catch a Thief? North by Northwest? Rear Window? Or Rebecca?! All superior films, in my estimation, to Vertigo.

    Vertigo, while a Hitchcock classic, is deeply flawed in the same way its main character is deeply flawed: the relationships between men and women are cerebral, solopsistic, and ultimately unconvincing. I've always found that Scotty's inability to recognize a woman at close distance, with whom he'd shared an intimate relationship, as completely farcical. That plot hole has always been an annoyance to me such that the film is nigh unwatchable because of it.

    Eternal Sunshine, on the other hand, is a deeply visceral examination of a romance that, despite using an element of science fiction as a core plot device, shows is how people react in the real world to the damage that love causes. Eternal Sunshine is sexual where Veritgo is sterile. It depicts a world which we are familiar with and then destroys it in the minds of and through the actions of its characters. Vertigo presents an idealized and unfamiliar world and presents characters that we have no connection to before destroying them. In the end, what do we lose? Nothing, except maybe we learned that Scotty really needed to wear prescription lenses.

    Eternal Sunshine is my pick, and it should be yours, too.

  • Jen Vaux - 8 months ago

    Is there anything more defining of who we are than our memories? Whether it's Scotty obsessively trying to recreate Madeline, or Joel running through his brain maze to save Clementine from oblivion, both films deal with the often fragile and occasionally tricky faculty of remembering, and how the very nature of it will most likely condemn us to repetition.
    My pick is Eternal Sunshine, not only because it's my favorite movie of all times but because it's so personal and beautifully flawed that it's simply irreproducible, while Vertigo is the typical 1950s Hitchcock film: aesthetic perfection, boring female characters and a plot that my generation can't help finding a little slow and predictable after so many sexy murder mysteries and detective TV shows..

  • Ben Hemphill - 8 months ago

    You have pitted the greatest Hitchcock and my personal favorite against what is not even Charlie Kauffman's best screenwriting effort (that honor belongs to Adaptation). Therefore, no contest. Vertigo all the way!

  • Ben Hemphill - 8 months ago

    You have pitted the greatest Hitchcock and my personal favorite against what is not even Charlie Kauffman's best screenwriting effort (that honor belongs to Adaptation). Therefore, no contest. Vertigo all the way!

  • Amanda King - 8 months ago

    This was actually the toughest call for me in this week's round, but I quickly clicked Eternal Sunshine because 1. it is a great film and one of, if not the most, interesting films made in the 2000s, and 2. the remaining bracket is looking like a bit of a sci-fi boys' club and I needed to rep a strong female character here.

    Filmspotting Nation, I'm so disappointed that you have left us with no David Lynch films. Who are you?

  • Kris Dotson - 8 months ago

    Adam! Come on! Second guessing Eternal Sunshine? This is the movie that manages to combine the ideas of both the we-need-the-eggs monologue and the Hannah and Her Sisters ending monologue. No film so beautifully explains that although we may be ultimately doomed in life and in love, the only thing to do is march on and enjoy the good times while we can. Both of these are in my Top 10 of all time, but no film encapsulates the way I live my life better than Eternal Sunshine.

  • Billy Ray Brewton - 8 months ago

    I had a complicated, thought out, intricate, and persuasive argument for why ETERNAL SUNSHINE is a better choice than VERTIGO. Alas, I don't remember any of it. I certainly didn't draw them out of a hat. I would never do something like that. ETERNAL SUNSHINE for the win. Just cuz.

  • Eric Ly - 8 months ago

    I made a huge mistake in round 2 when I assumed Eternal Sunshine, my favourite movie of all time, would beat The Shining in a landslide, and didn't bother voting (currently on holidays, can you blame me?). Imagine my surprise when I heard that Kauffman and Gondry's masterpiece just squeaked by with by a 4 vote margin. I won't make that mistake again, Eternal Sunshine gets my vote from here on out until the final!

  • Ben Frazell (Washington, DC) - 8 months ago

    Oh, man, really??? The only Hitchcock in the list (and definitely one of his best) vs. probably by favorite movie of this century? I'll vote for Sunshine, but please erase this memory so I can't remember I had to make this tough choice.

  • W. David Lichty - 8 months ago

    I had such a chip on my shoulder against Charlie Kaufman's love-killing depressiveness, that it took me a week to realize how much I loved Eternal Sunshine. I have seen it once, only once, before it was even released, and I think I still remember every moment, maybe every shot.

    I also agree that Vertigo is not my favorite Hitch picture, and maybe not even his best.

    But it's still Vertigo.

  • Adam Savetsky - 8 months ago

    I'm happy to have either film advance. They're both beautiful in unique ways. I think it comes down to Eternal Sunshine's ending, which is lovely and honest, versus Vertigo's, which isn't even smart..

  • Stephen Hill - 8 months ago

    Hitchcock's masterpiece vs. Gondry's masterwork. I have to go with Hitch. Vertigo has been a formative film for me since I picked up the restored letterboxed version on VHS in the 90s.

  • Steve Kimes - 8 months ago

    Eternal Sunshine out mind-f***s the ultimate mind f***, Vertigo. That's why I love it so.

  • Chris Massa - 8 months ago

    I probably deserve to be fall out of a bell tower for saying this, but Vertigo has never struck me as top-tier Hitchcock. It's good, maybe even great, but it's not as entertaining as Psycho or The Birds, and I don't think it matches the virtuosity of Rear Window. Heck, I might even prefer Rope. Eternal Sunshine, on the other hand, is the complete package, the closest thing to a perfect movie this century has given us, and it's incredibly re-watchable. It pains me to vote for Gondry, Carrey and Winslet over Hitch, Stewart and Novak, but life is full of tough choices.

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