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Sarris Down on Borat, Up with ... Sarris

Andrew Sarris today came through with his first original Top-10 list introduction in two years (no, seriously), taking the opportunity to congratulate himself for really taking it to the critical establishment:

I am not at all deterred in dishing out my annual supply of negativity by the correspondent who informed me last year that he preferred all the films on my 10-worst list to all the films on my 10-best list. I have long ago become resigned to my fate as a reviled revisionist ever since my first column in The Village Voice in 1960 hailed Alfred Hitchcock as a major artist for Psycho, and inspired more hate mail than any Voice column had received up to that time. That clinched my job at the ever-contrarian Voice, and I have simply gone on from there.

But wait a second -- read that again. Is that supposed to mean that the films on Sarris's 10-best are some pivotal exercise in iconoclasm or that his 10-worst films will eventually be exposed for the frauds they are? In the case of the former, I wouldn't characterize The Departed or Little Miss Sunshine (or any of his choices besides that shit-smear Flannel Pajamas) as precariously limb-bending selections. In the case of the latter, the author's eloquent distaste implies a contrarian who actually wants things both ways:

(Movies Other People Liked and I Didn't) are usually not the worst movies of the year. ... These are, instead, as their designation indicates, movies I consider to have been generally overrated, blah, blah, blah. But this year I want to make an exception for Borat, which I found the most hateful movie I have ever seen. Boo! Borat! Further words fail me.

Would that it were true. He continues later with a list praising a few dozen other films he liked, along with the names of pretty much any and every actor and actress in a mainstream film screened for critics in 2006. With more to come Jan. 17. Boo! Two-week-long year-in-review pieces! Whatever -- I'll be at Sundance. You all are on your own.

Posted at January 10, 2007 8:27 AM

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