Oh, come on, man. This is just mean.
My head is telling me that Eyes Wide Shut is the better film here, simply because... well, it's Kubrick! One of the all-time master stylists gives us his ultimate statement in precision and control. But I'm sorry. My heart just won't let me vote against Jesse and Celine. I'm too much of an optimist.
OK... so though I like both of these films quite a lot... and though I prefer Sunset to Sunrise... what got me to vote "Before" is mostly a weird and inexplicable desire to see Linklater win out over Kubrick, even though I definitely like more Kubrick films overall. Maybe it's that Linklater seems better equipped to qualify as a voice for 90s film than Kubrick. Maybe if Tom and Nicole had spent the night wandering through the streets working out their problems it would have turned out ok.
These two films are polar opposites in so many ways, they basically represent two effectively irreconcilabe visions of cinema (and, by extension, humanity). So you'd think it should be pretty easy to pick sides, right? But alas...
Anyway, let's break it down this way, at the risk of oversimplification: Eyes Wide Shut is decidedly a movie for the head, whereas Before Sunrise aims right for the heart (and certainly doesn't miss its mark).
And today I just happen to feel optimistic enough to go with my heart.
Also, something tells me that future generations might actually profit more from getting lost in Linklater's full-on romanticsim than they would from subjecting themselves to Kubrick's emotionally detached, coldly analytical, talmost cynical parable on the corrupting and dehumanizing power of wealth, class, consumerims, capitalism and all the rest of it...
"Isn't everything we do in life a way to be loved a little more?"
I'm going with Before Sunrise on this one by a narrow margin, and not without a good deal of consideration. I was given pause by the comment on your show that most of the love for Sunrise stems from its status as part of the trilogy, the best parts of which come later. That's a fair point, but I would argue that the second and third installments would not have been nearly as effective if this one hadn't clicked on such a deep and resonant level. I can still remember watching Sunrise with friends and that shared ache of that fermata of a closing scene that went unresolved—so much so that when Before Sunset was announced I knew I'd be going the day it opened just to find out if they had met six months later or not. I greatly admire Kubrick's dazzling and sometimes confounding last film, but so often I prefer my treasures simple and lovely. Before Sunrise is exactly that.
(I do want to say one thing about Eyes Wide Shut: the next time you watch, listen to that conversation at the end between Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise in the toy store, only imagine that Kubrick knew this would be the last scene he'd ever commit to film, and wrote it to encapsulate his entire career.)
As much as the word "love" is appropriate during The Madness, I love this matchup. It pits a shaggy, free form semi-improvisatory collaborative movie against the cold hard product of an absolute control freak director who and may or may not have made it his mission to break up the real life couple at the heart of his film but who 100% took years to finish his movie.
I don't love the part where I have to decide between the charismatic opening to a beautiful cinematic experience (which hopefully isn't over? What's between midnight and sunrise?) that I absolutely treasure in the entirety of its emotional arc and a stony, laconic masterpiece about the failure of human beings to connect with anyone at all, accidentally or on purpose. Unfortunately for Before Sunrise in this matchup, it's a part of a trilogy and it's not the part that cuts me the most to the bone (that would be Before Sunset and that spares me until next year). Eyes Wide Shut terrified me with a score that seemed to be an exploration of all the ways a single note can make a body feel something during a movie. It is a vivisection of society and our frustrated desires that has one of the darkest, pithiest ending lines of nearly any film I've ever seen. It is as coldly brilliant as the light refracted through a diamond and I can't bring myself to vote against it here. I don't know what it says about me that I'm voting for such chilling New York distance over the charming warmth of a Viennese summer night, but here we are in The Madness making decisions in the moment and reckoning with the consequences as we go . . .
I chose Eyes Wide Shut because it’s a better film than Before Sunrise. I also chose it to spare future film fans the gut wrenching fight scene in Before Midnight. Maybe if Before Sunrise disapears, no one else will have to feel that pain.
Wait, after just post my last comments a thought came to mind; through some sort of Madness loophole have I just doomed Lone Star to be destroyed at the end of the tournament with the other classics that fell short of reaching the peak? Adam and Sam I see now the error of my ways. You haven't forgotten your roots but in your infinite wisdom you knew that Lone Star could never truly win and so the only way to save it was to leave it off the list. How could I have doubted you? What have I done? Quick everyone, hide your copies of Lone Star before the tournament ends and the Filmspotting police come for them.
I answered every other poll question fairly easily, but I just sat and stared at this one for minutes. Let's call this matchup what it really is; minor Kubrick vs minor Linklater. Ok that might be an over simplification but guess what both Sunrise and Eyes Wide have in common? Neither is nearly as good or represents the 90's nearly as well as Lone Star. I kept my mouth shut through the first round but I couldn't keep quite. Two years ago I started my journey from the beginning of Cinecast and after hearing about Lone Star seemingly every other episode for the first year of the show I broke down and watched it. Is Sayles' 90's classic perfect? No, but there is so much there. The story that is so perfectly crafted that it mixes the past and the present while still giving each character their own unique voice. Cooper's perfect modern take on the classic Sheriff torn between his morals and what is best for this town. There are many themes and lessons here, not the least of which is don't sleep with your sister, but Adam you seem to have forgotten the films main message; that no matter how much you try to bury them, our roots will always be a part of us. You've forgotten your roots Kempenaar. For shame. Consider this my write in vote for Lone Star. I expect to hear it reflected in the final voting. "Before Sunrise with x% of the vote, Eyes Wide Shut with x% of the vote and coming in third with .001% Lone Star." Thanks gentlemen!
Eyes Wide Shut is wonderful, a worthy farewell to the great master. Before Sunrise is a film that lives next to my heart, is like a conversation with an old friend, a love affair, the matchless beauty of Julie Delpy's Celine, perfectly matched by Ethan Hawke's Jesse, feels like you're intruding on something deeply private that is also universal. Immaculate.
Is Linklater a better filmmaker than Kubrick? Obviously, no. But he managed to make a better film than Kubrick in at least this one instance. I legitimately get goosebumps when I think about the beauty of Before Sunrise. When I think about Eyes Wide Shut, I think................yeah, I bet Rex Tillerson and Bill Clinton have both seen each other at one of those weird sex parties and awkwardly looked away and agreed not to talk about it.
This is pretty easy for me. Eyes Wide Shut is the much richer film, thematically and visually. And somehow, it got me to appreciate the cinematic presence of Tom Cruise.
Eyes wide shut has aged like a fine wine and will continue to as the years pass. So much to sink your teeth into, easy choice for me.
Come on, filmspotting family and friends, don't do this to me. Don't do this to yourself! Before Sunrise is full of hope and love and earnest positivity and optimism! Err on the side of love, not decadence and loathing. We deserve this.
in my eyes
is a conversation with God
jiminy cricket, that was terrible. I think I just swung the vote for that old curmudgeon's cantankerous and depressing final film. darn it.
Much of Kubrick's work works immediately, and only gets better over time, while some of his films need time for me to find my connection, or possibly excuse some real flaws. It's fitting that his last film stands on both sides of that line, but Sunrise worked immediately, and still improves with time. It may be less of a cinematic achievement by some of the more technical film-making standards, but I think it says more, and says it better.
Man is this a tough one: the budding beginnings of young romance in Before Sunrise, or the honest dissolution of romance in Eyes Wide Shut. I'm the eternal optimist, so I guess I have to go with Before Sunrise, even knowing that 18 years later Jesse and Celine would get their own riff on Eyes Wide Shut in Greece.