Manic Depressive Studios

The opinions of an undergraduate film studies and creative writing major

I wish I could make my voice crack like the lead singer of The Hives. So beautiful.

I am trying my first attempt at poetry. This is scary.

Cinema Around the World: Tropical Malady

Yay, it finally got uploaded!

Also I’m not dead or anything. I just disappeared.

I can’t get over Sun Kil Moon’s Benji. It’s such a sad but beautiful album, and honestly one of the most powerful I’ve heard in years. “Micheline” is an early contender for song of the year.

Cinema Around the World: A Man Escaped (1956)

The Greatest: Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (2010)
I’ve always been a fan of Kanye West. The College Dropout was one of the first albums I ever bought, and there’s just something about him that I can’t get over. No media personality has made a more notorious name for his or herself in the 21st century. But, there’s a raw talent in him that is undeniable; I can’t think of another modern artist to produce so many high quality albums in such a short time. Even his biggest flop, 808s and Heartbreaks, is now getting reconsidered by many publications. He takes it on himself to deliver to his fans as often as possible.
He found a perfect balance between his gaining hatred among the public at large and his extreme skill as a musician with the release of My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. It’s the album where he truly stopped caring. He solidified himself as an untouchable; no matter what he did from this point on, his legacy would be guaranteed. He took all the negative press and made it part of his image. Every snide comment or rude joke would be appropriated into a song lyric.
Though it might be hard to believe at times, Kanye West is only human. His responses to the media image he has gained are mixed between the carefree and the sorrowful. One song will have him telling us to kiss his ass, while another finds him telling a woman to stay away from him because he’s nothing but trouble. It’s both tongue in cheek and reflective.
Of course, an album can’t stand solely on the person that created it. My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy is incredible throughout. “Dark Fantasy” is a very strong intro, and it ultimately ends up being blown away by the majority of the remaining tracks. “Power” is one of West’s most atmospheric pieces, featuring an epic sample from “21st Century Schizoid Man” to create an extra oomph. “All of the Lights” is an exploration of the fears of modern living while also featuring a seemingly endless amount of featured artists. Before this, who could imagine people like Elton John and Justin Vernon appearing on a Kanye West album, and more importantly, having it work flawlessly?
The strongest moments come in “Monster” and “Runaway.” “Monster” is the unapologetic track, where West takes complete pride in his image. Add in an epic verse from Nicki Minaj of all people (how did she not end up with greatness after such a strong introduction) and you get one of West’s strongest pure rap tracks. The beats are unrelenting and it’s just a lot of fun. “Runaway” is the epic of the album, coming in at nine minutes. The chorus is one of the best things West has ever written, fully capturing everything everyone was thinking about Kanye West at the time.

Yet, there is a theme through the album that nothing truly changes. He deeply apologizes for his actions in one song only for the next one to continue his relentless debauchery. If anything, he’s sorry that anyone cares so much what he does. We’re going to keep hearing stories about his ridiculous lifestyle, but hey, he enjoys himself. He has a fun life, we get good music, and people way too caught up in celebrity culture get annoyed. What’s not to love? My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy is the summation of all these ideas, wrapped up in some of West’s craziest productions.

The Greatest: Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (2010)

I’ve always been a fan of Kanye West. The College Dropout was one of the first albums I ever bought, and there’s just something about him that I can’t get over. No media personality has made a more notorious name for his or herself in the 21st century. But, there’s a raw talent in him that is undeniable; I can’t think of another modern artist to produce so many high quality albums in such a short time. Even his biggest flop, 808s and Heartbreaks, is now getting reconsidered by many publications. He takes it on himself to deliver to his fans as often as possible.

He found a perfect balance between his gaining hatred among the public at large and his extreme skill as a musician with the release of My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. It’s the album where he truly stopped caring. He solidified himself as an untouchable; no matter what he did from this point on, his legacy would be guaranteed. He took all the negative press and made it part of his image. Every snide comment or rude joke would be appropriated into a song lyric.

Though it might be hard to believe at times, Kanye West is only human. His responses to the media image he has gained are mixed between the carefree and the sorrowful. One song will have him telling us to kiss his ass, while another finds him telling a woman to stay away from him because he’s nothing but trouble. It’s both tongue in cheek and reflective.

Of course, an album can’t stand solely on the person that created it. My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy is incredible throughout. “Dark Fantasy” is a very strong intro, and it ultimately ends up being blown away by the majority of the remaining tracks. “Power” is one of West’s most atmospheric pieces, featuring an epic sample from “21st Century Schizoid Man” to create an extra oomph. “All of the Lights” is an exploration of the fears of modern living while also featuring a seemingly endless amount of featured artists. Before this, who could imagine people like Elton John and Justin Vernon appearing on a Kanye West album, and more importantly, having it work flawlessly?

The strongest moments come in “Monster” and “Runaway.” “Monster” is the unapologetic track, where West takes complete pride in his image. Add in an epic verse from Nicki Minaj of all people (how did she not end up with greatness after such a strong introduction) and you get one of West’s strongest pure rap tracks. The beats are unrelenting and it’s just a lot of fun. “Runaway” is the epic of the album, coming in at nine minutes. The chorus is one of the best things West has ever written, fully capturing everything everyone was thinking about Kanye West at the time.

Yet, there is a theme through the album that nothing truly changes. He deeply apologizes for his actions in one song only for the next one to continue his relentless debauchery. If anything, he’s sorry that anyone cares so much what he does. We’re going to keep hearing stories about his ridiculous lifestyle, but hey, he enjoys himself. He has a fun life, we get good music, and people way too caught up in celebrity culture get annoyed. What’s not to love? My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy is the summation of all these ideas, wrapped up in some of West’s craziest productions.

Updated Masterpiece List (January 29, 2014)

I have now reached 250 films I consider masterpieces and decided it was about time to post the updated list.

Decade Breakdown:
1910s: 1
1920s: 11
1930s: 8
1940s: 20
1950s: 35
1960s: 33
1970s: 35
1980s: 28
1990s: 31
2000s: 33
2010s: 15

I have bolded all movies that are new to the list or moved up relative to their position on the last list.

The Masterpiece List:

1. Mulholland Dr. 2001 David Lynch
Persona 1966 Ingmar Bergman
Sunset Blvd. 1950 Billy Wilder
Citizen Kane 1941 Orson Welles
Spirited Away 2001 Hayao Miyazaki
The Rules of the Game 1939 Jean Renoir
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly 1966 Sergio Leone
8.5 1963 Federico Fellini
Pulp Fiction 1994 Quentin Tarantino
10. Wings of Desire 1987 Wim Wenders
Dr. Strangelove 1964 Stanley Kubrick
Seven Samurai 1954 Akira Kurosawa
Come and See 1985 Elem Klimov
12 Years a Slave 2013 Steve McQueen *new*
A Clockwork Orange 1971 Stanley Kubrick
Amour 2012 Michael Haneke
Casablanca 1942 Michael Curtiz
Rashomon 1950 Akira Kurosawa
The Godfather: Part II 1974 Francis Ford Coppola
20. Goodfellas 1990 Martin Scorsese
There Will Be Blood 2007 Paul Thomas Anderson
The 400 Blows 1959 Francois Truffaut
Apocalypse Now 1979 Francis Ford Coppola
The Passion of Joan of Arc 1928 Carl Theodor Dreyer
Taxi Driver 1976 Martin Scorsese
The Godfather 1972 Francis Ford Coppola
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind 2004 Michel Gondry
Some Like It Hot 1959 Billy Wilder
Breathless 1960 Jean-Luc Godard
30. 2001: A Space Odyssey 1968 Stanley Kubrick
Ordet 1955 Carl Theodor Dreyer
The Bicycle Thief 1948 Vittorio De Sica
North by Northwest 1959 Alfred Hitchcock
Singin’ in the Rain 1952 Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly
A Seperation 2011 Asghar Farhadi
The Seventh Seal 1957 Ingmar Bergman
City Lights 1931 Charles Chaplin
Vertigo 1958 Alfred Hitchcock
Last Year at Marienbad 1961 Alain Resnais *rank up*
40. Unforgiven 1992 Clint Eastwood
Schindler’s List 1993 Steven Spielberg
Blue Velvet 1986 David Lynch
Blade Runner 1982 Ridley Scott
Raging Bull 1980 Martin Scorsese
The Conformist 1970 Bernardo Bertolucci *new*
Fargo 1996 Coen Brothers
Pan’s Labyrinth 2006 Guillermo del Toro
M 1931 Fritz Lang
Sunrise 1927 F.W. Murnau
50. Satantango 1994 Bela Tarr
Sansho the Bailiff 1954 Kenji Mizoguchi *new*
The Silence of the Lambs 1991 Jonathan Demme
Psycho 1960 Alfred Hitchcock
Un chien andalou 1929 Luis Bunuel
Brazil 1985 Terry Gilliam
The Red Shoes 1948 Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger
Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back 1980 Irvin Kershner
Nashville 1975 Robert Altman
Alien 1979 Ridley Scott
60. Annie Hall 1977 Woody Allen
The Exterminating Angel 1962 Luis Bunuel
Cache 2005 Michael Haneke
Grand Illusion 1937 Jean Renoir
The Great Dictator 1940 Charles Chaplin
La dolce vita 1960 Federico Fellini
Chinatown 1974 Roman Polanski
Metropolis 1927 Fritz Lang
Grave of the Fireflies 1988 Isao Takahata
Paths of Glory 1957 Stanley Kubrick
70. 12 Angry Men 1957 Sidney Lumet
Ugetsu 1953 Kenji Mizoguchi
Cinema Paradiso 1988 Giuseppe Tornatore
Andrei Rublev 1966 Andrei Tarkovsky
The Gold Rush 1925 Charles Chaplin
The Battle of Algiers 1965 Gillo Pontecorvo
Touch of Evil 1958 Orson Welles
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon 2000 Ang Lee
Trainspotting 1996 Danny Boyle
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest 1975 Milos Forman
80. Waltz with Bashir 2008 Ari Folman
Videodrome 1983 David Cronenberg
Underground 1995 Emir Kusturica *new*
Aguirre: The Wrath of God 1972 Werner Herzog
Reservoir Dogs 1992 Quentin Tarantino
Magnolia 1999 Paul Thomas Anderson
Yi Yi 2000 Edward Yang *rank up*
WALL-E 2008 Andrew Stanton
The Searchers 1956 John Ford
Fantasia 1940 Various
90. Shoah 1985 Claude Lanzmann
Moonrise Kingdom 2012 Wes Anderson
The Shining 1980 Stanley Kubrick
Manhattan 1979 Woody Allen
Fanny and Alexander 1982 Ingmar Bergman
Once Upon a Time in America 1984 Sergio Leone *new*
The Celebration 1998 Thomas Vinterberg
Wild Strawberries 1957 Ingmar Bergman
Raiders of the Lost Ark 1981 Steven Spielberg
Holy Motors 2012 Leos Carax
100. The Wages of Fear 1953 Henri-Georges Clouzot
The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie 1972 Luis Bunuel
Memento 2000 Christopher Nolan
Her 2013 Spike Jonze *new*
The Lives of Others 2006 Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck
Make Way for Tomorrow 1937 Leo McCarey *new*
City of God 2002 Fernando Meirelles
The Shawshank Redemption 1994 Frank Darabont
Ali: Fear Eats the Soul 1974 Rainer Werner Fassbinder
All About Eve 1950 Joseph L. Mankiewicz
110. Black Swan 2010 Darren Aronofsky
Once Upon a Time in the West 1968 Sergio Leone
Tokyo Story 1953 Yasujiro Ozu
The Royal Tenenbaums 2001 Wes Anderson *rank up*
A Man Escaped 1956 Robert Bresson *new*
Ashes and Diamonds 1958 Andrzej Wajda *new*
Ikiru 1952 Akira Kurosawa
In the Mood for Love 2000 Wong Kar-Wai
Meshes of the Afternoon 1943 Maya Deren and Alexander Hammid
Lawrence of Arabia 1962 David Lean
120. Chungking Express 1994 Wong Kar-Wai
My Neighbor Totoro 1988 Hayao Miyazaki
Do the Right Thing 1989 Spike Lee
Eraserhead 1977 David Lynch
Intolerance 1916 D.W. Griffith *new*
The Last Picture Show 1971 Peter Bogdanovich
The Social Network 2010 David Fincher
Double Indemnity 1944 Billy Wilder
La jetee 1962 Chris Marker *rank up*
La strada 1954 Federico Fellini
130. Ran 1985 Akira Kurosawa
Solyaris 1972 Andrei Tarkovsky
Harakiri 1962 Masaki Kobayashi
Koyaanisqatsi 1982 Godfrey Reggio
The Usual Suspects 1995 Bryan Singer
The Man With a Movie Camera 1929 Dziga Vertov
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance 1962 John Ford
Stalker 1979 Andrei Tarkovsky
Hiroshima mon amour 1959 Alain Resnais
The Mirror 1975 Andrei Tarkovsky
140. Sans soleil 1983 Chris Marker *rank up*
Rear Window 1954 Alfred Hitchcock
Greed 1924 Erich von Stroheim *new*
The Lady Eve 1941 Preston Sturges *new*
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King 2003 Peter Jackson
Star Wars 1977 George Lucas
Modern Times 1936 Charles Chaplin
The Big Lebowski 1998 Coen Brothers
The Battleship Potemkin 1925 Sergei M. Eisenstein *new*
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring 2001 Peter Jackson
150. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers 2002 Peter Jackson
The Night of the Hunter 1955 Charles Laughton
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari 1920 Robert Wiene *rank up*
Fantastic Mr. Fox 2009 Wes Anderson
House 1977 Nobuhiko Ohbayashi
Sherlock Jr. 1924 Buster Keaton
American Beauty 1999 Sam Mendes
No Country for Old Men 2007 Coen Brothers
Duck Soup 1933 Leo McCarey
Jules and Jim 1962 Francois Truffaut
160. Contempt 1963 Jean-Luc Godard
The Iron Giant 1999 Brad Bird
Faces 1968 John Cassavetes *new*
The Dark Knight 2008 Christopher Nolan
Close-Up 1990 Abbas Kiarostami *new*
A History of Violence 2005 David Cronenberg
A Matter of Life and Death 1946 Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger
Inside Llewyn Davis 2013 The Coen Brothers *new*
The Lion King 1994 Roger Allers and Rob Minkoff
To Kill a Mockingbird 1962 Robert Mulligan
170. Fight Club 1999 David Fincher
Jaws 1975 Steven Spielberg
High and Low 1963 Akira Kurosawa
The General 1926 Clyde Bruckman and Buster Keaton
Yojimbo 1961 Akira Kurosawa
The Night of the Living Dead 1968 George A. Romero
Berlin Alexanderplatz 1980 Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Les diabolique 1955 Henri-Georges Clouzot
Children of Men 2006 Alfonso Cuaron
Barry Lyndon 1975 Stanley Kubrick
180. The Maltese Falcon 1941 John Huston *rank up*
Requiem for a Dream 2000 Darren Aronofsky
Days of Heaven 1978 Terrence Malick
Gravity 2013 Alfonso Cuaron *new*
Journey to Italy 1953 Roberto Rossellini *new*
The Graduate 1967 Mike Nichols
The Grapes of Wrath 1940 John Ford
Boogie Nights 1997 Paul Thomas Anderson
The Thing 1982 John Carpenter
Scenes From a Marriage 1973 Ingmar Bergman
190. Breaking the Waves 1996 Lars von Trier *new*
Groundhog Day 1993 Harold Ramis
The Apartment 1960 Billy Wilder
The Elephant Man 1980 David Lynch
The Third Man 1949 Carol Reed
L’avventura 1960 Michelangelo Antonioni
Night and Fog 1955 Alain Resnais
Histoire(s) du cinema 1998 Jean-Luc Godard *new*
Dogville 2003 Lars von Trier
Umberto D. 1952 Vittorio De Sica
200. L.A. Confidential 1997 Curtis Hanson
Die Hard 1988 John McTiernan
The Wild Bunch 1969 Sam Peckinpah
Kwaidan 1964 Masaki Kobayashi
Children of Paradise 1945 Marcel Carne
Oldboy 2003 Chan-Wook Park
Back to the Future 1985 Robert Zemeckis
The Wizard of Oz 1939 Victor Fleming
Hugo 2011 Martin Scorsese
Drive 2011 Nicolas Winding Refn
210. Terminator 2: Judgment Day 1991 James Cameron
Saving Private Ryan 1998 Steven Spielberg
Brokeback Mountain 2005 Ang Lee
Amarcord 1973 Federico Fellini
Crimes and Misdemeanors 1989 Woody Allen
The Thin Blue Line 1988 Errol Morris
The Hurt Locker 2008 Kathryn Bigelow
Kind Hearts and Coronets 1949 Robert Hamer
Talk to Her 2002 Pedro Almodovar
The Tree of Life 2011 Terrence Malick
220. Three Colors: Blue 1993 Krzysztof Kieslowski *new*
On the Waterfront 1954 Elia Kazan *rank up*
Full Metal Jacket 1987 Stanley Kubrick
It’s a Wonderful Life 1946 Frank Capra
Up 2009 Pete Docter
Y tu mama tambien 2001 Alfonso Cuaron
Out of the Past 1947 Jacques Tourneur *new*
A Streetcar Named Desire 1951 Elia Kazan
Rio Bravo 1959 Howard Hawks
Adaptation. 2002 Spike Jonze
230. Toy Story 3 2010 Lee Unkrich
The Exorcist 1973 William Friedkin
Throne of Blood 1957 Akira Kurosawa
Punch-Drunk Love 2002 Paul Thomas Anderson
Cries and Whispers 1972 Ingmar Bergman
Princess Mononoke 1997 Hayao Miyazaki *new*
The Killing of a Chinese Bookie 1976 John Cassavetes *new*
Monty Python and the Holy Grail 1975 Terry Gilliam and Terry Jones
Rosemary’s Baby 1968 Roman Polanski
The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp 1943 Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger
240. The Magnificent Ambersons 1942 Orson Welles *new*
The Truman Show 1998 Peter Weir
McCabe & Mrs. Miller 1971 Robert Altman
Notorious 1946 Alfred Hitchcock
Le Samourai 1967 Jean-Pierre Melville
Playtime 1967 Jacques Tati
Husbands 1970 John Cassavetes *new*
Halloween 1978 John Carpenter *new*
Young Frankenstein 1974 Mel Brooks *new*
Melancholia 2011 Lars von Trier *new*
250. Rocco and His Brothers 1960 Luchino Visconti *new*

I’m tired, you tired, Jesus wept

—Kanye West, “Bound 2”

Honestly, lay and lie are the two worst words in the English language.