Tag Archives: 2022

YOUR VOTE DETERMINES THE WINNER OF THE 13TH ANNUAL WEIRDCADEMY AWARDS

The big news in the (weird) movie world is that this year, there’s an actual overlap between the Weirdcademy Awards and the Most Conventional Movie Awards dog-and-pony show Hollywood throws together every awards season. Everything Everywhere all at Once (and its star, Michelle Yeoh) was nominated by both august bodies. Does this development speak well for the Academy’s taste? Probably not, if you look their omissions. ‘s Mad God got snubbed, despite him being an industry insider (the man worked on Star Wars, for heaven’s sake!) Hungary’s microbudgeted black and white existential quandry Cybersatan Apocalypse Nightmares doesn’t get a sniff for International Feature Film, just because it was never released and played exclusively on Vimeo for free—what snobbery! And Neptune Frost doesn’t even merit a “Best Original Song” nomination for its crowd-pleasing hit, “Fuck Mr. Google”?

Instead, we get to choose between Stephen Spielberg’s touching story about how he came to be Stephen Spielberg, more blue people from , an 80s money grab nostalgia piece where they try to switch the love interest on us and think we won’t notice, and movies about Women Talking—I mean, movies about women literally doing nothing but talking for the first 80 minutes! At least this year we can be happy if take everything.

The Oscars are a joke, and everyone knows it. But you, my friend, you aren’t content with the same-old same-old. You want weird in your movies. The Weirdcademy Awards are for you, the moviegoer whose friends roll their eyes and sigh loudly when you suggest movie night should feature a flick about a lesbian planet terrorized by a monster known only as “Kate Bush.”

Although the editors of 366 Weird Movies select the nominees from the pool of available movies, the Awards themselves are a naked popularity contest, and do not necessarily reflect either the artistic merit or intrinsic weirdness of the films involved. The Weirdcademy Awards are tongue-in-cheek and for fun only. Ballot-stuffing is a frequent occurrence. Please, no wagering.

The Weirdcademy Awards are given to the Weirdest Movie, Actor, Actress and Scene of the previous year, as voted by the members of the Weirdcademy of Motion Picture Arts and Weirdness.

Who makes up the Weirdcademy? Membership is open to all readers of 366 Weird Movies. If you can figure out how to vote in the poll, you are qualified to join. You can not be turned down because of your age, sex, religious affiliation, pronouns, vaccination status, or the fact that you once bought a Marilyn Manson album when you were 15. There is no requirement that you’ve have to actually see any of the movies listed before voting. You can vote for any or all categories.

Unlike previous years, this year, you can only vote once—so choose carefully. We’ll keep voting open until March 11  at 12:00 Noon EST, so we can announce our results before the Academy Awards and steal their thunder.

Be sure to also vote for Weirdest Short Film of the Year. To watch all five nominees and to cast your vote, please click here.

Without further delay, we unveil the nominees for the 2022 Weirdcademy Awards:





VOTE FOR THE WEIRDEST SHORT FILM OF 2022

It’s time for the 2022 edition of the Weirdcademy Awards, the premier (only) awards contest focused on weird films, chosen by weird film fans. That means shorts as well as features. We’ve collected all five nominees for 2022′s Weirdest Short of the Year together in one place, for ease of voting.  You can cast a vote for your favorite  until March 11 at 12:00 Noon EST. Choose carefully, because this year you can only vote once. Cameron Jorgensen, 366 Weird Movies under-appreciated, recently retired shorts Czar, discovered and selected these unusual films through his own research. This year’s slate includes 90s horror videogame parodies, Bangladeshi vampires, killer cassette tapes, creepy robots, and piping hot tea.

You can watch all the nominees in full below before voting (shorts may contain strong language, animated gore, and/or crude humor):

“The Backrooms (Found Footage)” by

“Chloe Cherry Likes Her Men Like Her Tea” by

“Earworm” by

“GHOSTBLEEED: The Bio Horror” by

“Moshari” by


SLAMDANCE 2023: NEW RELIGION (2022)

366 Weird Movies may earn commissions from purchases made through product links.

DIRECTED BY: Keishi Kondo

FEATURING: Kaho Seto, Satoshi Oka, Saionji Ryuseigun

PLOT: Still grieving from the accidental death of her daughter years ago, escort Miyabi’s dreary routine is shaken up when she meets a strange client who only wants to take pictures of her individual body parts.

Still from New Religion (2022)

COMMENTS: New Religion arrives at Slamdance with an assured style and polished look that belies its low budget. Using little more than colored filters, an evocative soundtrack, and some remarkable microphotography, Keishi Kondo delivers a crowdfunded wonder, shot mostly on weekends with a first-time cast, that most of the time looks like it could have come from a major Japanese studio.

New Religion relies heavily on atmosphere: its full of slow, portentous glances scored to ominous drones, hinting at horrors unseen. The sound design is a key element, so see the film with a good stereo system, if possible. The opening credits set a tone of mystery: scritching strings accompany a pan over a blood-red cityscape, which merges into a tinted tour of moth anatomy. This is followed by shots of abstract organ-like structures and a possible fetus that forms and melts before our eyes, as the music swells and resolves into a desperate drone. This moody experimental-film opening deserves comparison to the disquieting prologue of Under the Skin. We emerge from that brief storm into a quiet drama, with main character Miyabi recalling the loss of her daughter and remembering a photograph taken with the child on a beach. A scene of her and the girl staring out to sea, then slowly turning to face the camera, will recur a couple of times; its significance is eventually revealed—perhaps, although as her strange client Oka says, “memories can’t be trusted.” Miyabi moves through her life in a sad daze, obsessively watering the plants on her balcony or sitting in near silence in a grungy basement with two other prostitutes, waiting to be called up for a date. For most of the movie no one expresses much visible emotion, even when angry or frightened, which makes Seto’s desperation as her mind breaks down in the film’s second half stand out: her grief is set free, along with an irrational hope.

The film works as a melancholy drama, but contains eerie notes which are not fully expressed, haunting the story like fleeting memories. Oka, a purported survivor of throat cancer, speaks only through an otherworldly electrolarynx. He is obsessed with moths, and might be indirectly linked to a series of homicidal rampages and terrorist bombings. Who Oka actually is isn’t made completely clear, but he is a catalyst for an inhuman transformation, and he feeds on women like Miyabi whose deep emotional traumas make them receptive to whatever voodoo he performs through his photographic project. Oka’s motives are as murky as Miyabi’s grief is vivid. In the end, what he offers seems to be voluntarily entanglement in a web of dreams: dreams where the dreamer dreams of another dreamer, while simultaneously being dreamed themselves.

Kondo’s curious concoction will mesmerize and enthrall many art-horror fans. Others will find the deliberate pacing more of a chore—while still being intermittently mesmerized and enthralled. But there’s no doubt that this is a promising debut, and we salivate thinking what Kondo could do with a bigger budget—if he is able to maintain his independent sensibilities. It would not shock us to look back years from now and realize that New Religion founded a cult of Kondo.

WHAT THE CRITICS SAY:

“One of the strangest, most refreshing edge-of-genre films in recent years.”–Kim Newman, The Kim Newman Website (festival screening)

SLAMDANCE 2023: A PERFECT DAY FOR CARIBOU (2022)

366 Weird Movies may earn commissions from purchases made through product links.

Recommended

DIRECTED BY: Jeff Rutherford

FEATURING: Charlie Plummer, Jeb Berrier, Oellis Levine

PLOT: Before committing suicide, Herman gets a call from his estranged son Nathaniel; meeting at a cemetery, Nathaniel brings his own son—who goes missing.

Still from A Perfect Day for Caribou (2022)

COMMENTSMuch as the film’s father and son teeter along the edge between acquiescence and despair in this ambling dialogue of a movie, Jeff Rutherford teeters along the edge between “indie” and “weird” with A Perfect Day for Caribou, his feature debut. While we generally prefer to bring attention to stranger films, if we can take the time to highlight slow-core tedium, we can take a moment here to talk about something melancholy, oddly humorous, and quietly hopeful.

Against the back-drop of close-knit upholstery, the movie begins with Herman (Jeb Berrier) dictating a final message to his son Nate (Charlie Plummer). From his scattershot remarks, it’s clear Herman’s anecdotes, pre-apologies, and side notes seem much like his life: unfocused, lacking purpose, and a bit sad. He’s prepared for his final moment, much as he’s prepared for his son to not care much what he has to say; despite this, he’s recording this rambling confession of sorts because even though he’s grasping at straws, “…the straws you grasp at—you should grasp them.” His would-be final words are interrupted when Nate calls him on his mobile phone, and the father and son meet up at a nearby cemetery, Nate’s autistic son Ralph in tow.

Thoreau said, “the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation”; and Herman and Nate quietly face the mindless and unavoidable sadness they have endured throughout their lives, with ample cigarettes. We watch two men travel the Oregonian countryside in search of young Ralph, interrupted only be surreal memories and hopeful imaginings. Herman spends most of the film carrying a sealed parcel his ex-wife, Nate’s mother, left behind. The men meet another lonely soul on their hushed, unhurried quest: a woman who accidentally shoots at Nate followed by the immediate heartfelt shout of, “Sorry!” No big deal. They all chat, share some water, and part ways.

As a general rule, I eschew anything so overtly art-house, but there is an odd satisfaction in watching these two broken men attempt to makes peace with themselves and each other. The sweeping vistas contrast their tiny existence. Nate is wise, either in the face of or because of his fractured background. His anguish is captured by his wish for his own son: “I don’t know if these type of people exist,” he says, “but I want Ralph to feel very limited hurt.” The best he can imagine is less pain.

Nate and Herman pursue the lost boy, who leaves clues behind for them to follow: a soccer ball, a toy truck, a plastic bag; the strange—and defiant—undercurrent is underscored by Herman’s closing scene. He’s opened the box, donned a pair of novelty reindeer antlers, and can’t quite find the right position for the gun barrel on his body. Everything’s wrong, nothing fits into place, so you’ve got to keep trying, I suppose, and maybe something will eventually click.

WHAT THE CRITICS SAY:

“…in its best moments, [Rutherford’s] debut reaches for the mournful everyday poetry of Wim Wenders’ ‘Paris, Texas’ or Kelly Reichardt’s ‘Old Joy.’ Elsewhere, the film feels a little determined in its minimalism, a little too cute in its brushes of absurdism. Still, it promises significant things from its young writer-director, who shows more formal nous and rigor than many neophyte directors of comparable U.S. indies.”–Guy Lodge, Variety (festival screening)

ONLINE FILM CRITICS SOCIETY 26TH ANNUAL AWARDS (WITH OUR VOTES)

The Online Film Critics Society awards for 2022 are in the books. As expected, Everything Everywhere all at Once fared well—in fact, better than expected (and maybe better than even I thought it deserved). No other films of weird bent received much notice at all. Still, overall I think we got it right this year: two films (Everything Everywhere and Banshees of Inisherin) stand far above all the others, and deservedly dominate the awards.

As always, despite the occasional levity in my tone, I take my voting responsibility seriously. I do not put forward weird films at the expense of worthier mainstream candidates just because it’s “my thing.” Here is the list of this year’s winners, along with my choices and a touch of personal commentary for the major categories.

This post was written before the 2022 Academy Awards nominations were announced, but the slates turned out to be similar enough that this can also serve as an Oscar preview.

BEST PICTURE

Poster for Everything Everywhere All at Once Winner: Everything Everywhere All at Once

Also nominated (listed ranked in order of votes): The Banshees of Inisherin, Tár, The Fabelmans, Nope, RRR, Top Gun: Maverick, Aftersun, Women Talking, EO

My vote: Everything Everywhere All at Once

Comments: An easy choice here. What surprises is that mainstream audiences and critics like Everything every bit as much as those who crave strange fare. We might worry about the cosmic implications of the collision of the weird cineverse and the mainstream cineverse: will they annihilate each other? Is it a sign of the End Times? Coincidentally, the movies finished in the voting in almost exactly the same order I would have ranked them.

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE

Winner: Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio

Also nominated: Apollo 10 1/2: A Space Age Childhood, Marcel the Shell with Shoes On, Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, Turning Red

My vote: Marcel the Shell with Shoes On

Comments: I have no issue with ‘s antifa take on Pinocchio winning this award. I, however, found Marcel an unexpected, charming surprise. The fact that ‘s life’s work, Mad God, did not get any love was a huge disappointment. I also thought Inu-Oh had a legitimate shot at a nomination.

BEST DIRECTOR

Winner: Daniel Kwan, Daniel Scheinert – Everything Everywhere All at Once

Also nominated: Todd Field – Tár, The Banshees of Inisherin, Steven Spielberg – The Fabelmans, Charlotte Wells – Aftersun

My vote: Martin McDonagh

Comments: Fair enough. I thought I’d try the old trick of splitting Continue reading ONLINE FILM CRITICS SOCIETY 26TH ANNUAL AWARDS (WITH OUR VOTES)