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The Duke Presents The Best Of 2003

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The Duke’s Thirteen Best Of 2003

The Duke has been debating what the hell was the best film of 2003 since mid-November. It has, alas, taken until now to decide that I can’t decide, and so instead present The 13 Best Films What Have (2003) Next To The Title.

As per usual, each film in the list has been graced with a Mondo Irlando Award for its particular expertise.

Congratulations, Thirteen Best Films Of The Year, keep up the good work.


Best Performance Of The Year By A Fire Extinguisher

Gasper Noe is one of the most fucked-up motherfuckers to ever have been fucked up. First, he gave the world I Stand Alone, about a man wants to screw his daughter and stuff. Then he follows it up with this here, about a man wants to kill a man with a fire-extinguisher on account of he raped Monica Bellucci for 9 minutes. It might have been made a little more approachable had it featured a laugh-track, but this is mere speculation on my behalf.

What we do get, instead of the laugh-track, is a bass rumble utilised by the authorities to break up riots by way of making the upstarts in question puke themselves silly. Noe obviously felt that the whole fire-extinguisher to the skull and nine-minute anal rape tomfoolery just wasn’t disturbing enough.

Irreversible, though, probably against Noe’s wishes, turns out to be the best rape-revenge film ever made. Granted, there aren’t many in the genre that reach anything approaching even mediocrity, never mind greatness, but well done to The French anyway.

By beginning with the revenge, Noe denies us the troubling sense of vindication usually granted by these scenes of “justified” slaughter. The film runs backwards, and so we get the rape half-way in, and then a load of talking and lying about naked in bedrooms, with the two young lovers heartbreakingly unaware of the whole rape / fire-extinguisher malarkey just around the corner.

Irreversible talks about the inanity of revenge, and denies the viewer the ability to experience the retaliation in relation to the initial outrage. We just see a bloke gets his arm broken, and then a fire-extinguisher crushes a skull. What the hell’s up with these crazy Frenches, we’re thinking? It’s singularly uncomfortable, and is also by some way the most effective horror film released in the last 12 months.

Merci Beaucoup, Gasper Noe, you demented motherfucker.


Outstanding Achievement With Regards The Spelling Of Big Words

Not since Van Damme’s Dictionary Showdown has there been such tension with regards the old spelling in a feature film. But there’s more than the tension in this here Documentary, on account of there’s also an abundance of heart and humanity and wit and all that stuff.

The eight children whose adventures we follow up to and including the Spelling Bee itself, are all delightful. The Duke’s favourite is young Harry, a child obviously consuming ten too many cups of coffee of an evening.

The film never makes fun of these kids, though, never says “Hey, how weird are these guys? Very weird, I’m guessing.” Indeed, on the commentary what is on the DVD, the filmmakers reveal that if a scene had more to do with laughing AT the subjects than laughing WITH them, then it was cut.

And that spelling. It really is remarkable. If you thought there were four C’s in ecclesiastical than prepare to be shocked and possibly stunned. The twist is that there’s only three. (SPOILER)


Nuns Of The Year

At The Duke’s school, one was kicked through the window if one so much as chuckled during RE, and sadly it turns out there were others who suffered similar brutality.

Peter Mullan, you may recall, was Mother Superior in Trainspotting, and here he continues with the religious angle by throwing us straight into the horrors of The Magdalene Laundries, where teenage girls were sent on account of diabolical crimes such as being too pretty and therefore a whore.

Understandably, The Pope and various other religious types were unimpressed by Mullan’s film. The rest of us, however, can see that it is heartbreakingly touching and yet also quite funny, and an important exploration of the crimes taking place under the banner of “Morality”.

Really, The Pope, you should give this Mullan character a little more credit. Didn’t you see My Name Is Joe? He was brilliant! Lighten up, The Pope, anyone would think you were Catholic.


Documentary Of The Year What Wasn’t Real But You Kinda Wish It Was

Prepare to chuckle, and to smile, and also to hear a catchy tune or two, because this here film by the name of A Mighty Wind will force you to do all three, like as if it were standing over you with a samurai sword going “Do it! Do it motherfucker! Whistle that tune!”

Thankfully it doesn’t even have to throw stones at you, because it turns out that you wanna do those things anyway. Put the sword down, man, I already was whistling.

This here is one of those Mockumentary things like Zelig or Bad Boys II, that use the conventions of the normal documentary to tell their delightful tale, in this case the delightful tale being all about the folk singing and the mandolins.

Some folks have been harping on that it’s Spinal Tap with Folk Music, and sure enough, those three Spinal Taps are joined in holy matrimony once more in this here affair, as a folk band by the name of The Folksmen. It’s more than Spinal Tap with acoustic guitars though, at least 57% more as far as The Duke is concerned.

Interesting fact – The Folksmen supported Spinal Tap on several occasions, mostly being booed off by an audience who didn’t know it was the same fella’s they’d sold a lung to see.

Guest is a fine director also, and if you haven’t done so, The Duke recommends picking up Waiting For Guffman and Best In Show for yet more Mockumentary mirth.


Documentary Of The Year What Was Real But You Kinda Wish It Wasn’t

This right here is some unpleasant viewing. In case you didn’t know, it’s about a man is arrested on account of abusing children, but maybe all he did was look at child pornography, without ever physically carrying out his fantasies.

We don’t know what’s real, we don’t know what’s been made up, we don’t know a damn thing, other than that this here is a brilliant film.

Thanks. I guess.


Arachnid Of The Year

No, it wasn’t the best film of 2003. It wasn’t even Peter Jacksons best film. It wasn’t even the best Hobbits film. But it was still rather good. Especially the giant spider.

What this third instalment in the moderately-successful The Hobbits Trilogy is all about, is the king returns. Where he returns to is anyone’s guess. Maybe he goes to those two towers what were the title of The Hobbits Part 2.

Thankfully, there are plenty of giant elephants and spiders about the screen so this plot-hole is covered over nicely. Well done Hobbits.

It’s also got a lovely homoerotic subplot with Frodo and Sam, and you just wish they would throw their inhibitions into the volcano along with that damn ring, and get naked on a tiny mattress. They don’t though, which is one of the few bad points about this here film.


Winner Of The “Raise The Age Of Birth Because Children Are Evil” Award

Gus Van Sant is a man of many crazy notions. One minute he wants to fill a film with Ben Damon and Matt Affleck, the next he’s deciding Hitchcock didn’t know shit, and then he’s making a film about the kids what shoot up the school.

This is a brilliant and powerful piece of the old cinema right here, and tense as fuckery into the bargain. Everyone bangs on about it’s like Larry Clarke, what did the Kids Who Fuck One Another Because They’re Evil Little Bastards, but this here has more humanity in ten minutes than Larry Clarke’s nihilistic sleaze-fests have in their entirety.

Well done, Gus Van Sant. Stay the fuck away from Vertigo.


Best Film About The Picture-Books What Doesn’t Have CGI

Sometimes films are all about “the reality”, and they feature stuff like interviews with “real” people. These are called “Documentaries”. Then there are other films what are “not real”. They have actors and stuff. These are called “Proper Films What Are Sensible”.

Whoever the hell gave these fellow’s the right to fuck with the law needs a good talking to. Is it a documentary? Well, it’s got interviews with the folks involved and stuff.
Is it a “proper film what is sensible”? Well, it’s also got actors playing those folks what were being interviewed ten minutes ago.

A bit like 999, except these reconstructions have better production values, and are funnier, and have nothing to do with ambulances falling off cliffs.


Best Film About The Picture-Books What Has CGI

A lot of folks complained when this came out in the picture-houses. “Fuck y’all”, they said, “If Ang Lee thinks I wanted two-hours of nonsense bullshit about Freud and then ten minutes of cartoon nonsense, he can fuck right off and take his Hidden Tiger with him.”

These fools are to be avoided.

The Duke, and others of his ilk, realised that Hulk was the best picture-book film of the year. Eric Banna was fantastic, even though he didn’t cut his ears off or get a fake willy out like he did in Chopper, and the cinematography was gorgeous. It was a big old lashing of fuck me’s, as far as The Duke was concerned, and I love it like I might love a lover, or a goat.

This was so good I half expected Bobby Ewing to step out of the shower and say it was all a dream.

He didn’t though. That motherfucker just walked on by like he didn’t even know me.


Outstanding Achievement In Eyebrow Shaving

I didn’t want to like this flick one little bit, being a fan of Nick Broomfield’s documentaries on Aileen Wuornos and not wanting to see a mentally ill woman be portrayed as some maniacal murderous motherfucker on the old silver screen, even if it did have the woman from Devils Advocate shaving her eyebrows off.

But it turns out this is beautiful, one of the most affecting love stories I’ve saw in years, and truly heartbreaking. And Theron is very good. And so is Christina Ricci, and her magic forehead.


Plagiarism Of The Year

The Duke thoroughly enjoyed this bout of idea-nabbing from old square-jaw himself, Quentin Rodriguez.

It was vacant as all hell, and it was offensively violent, and it was silly, and it was made up of bits from Ichi The Killer, and still some people didn’t like it. Just can’t please some folks. Fuck the duke with a bicycle, however, if it wasn’t a hell of a lot of fun.

Well done Uma Thurman. I liked your tracksuit.


Outstanding Performance By Japan

Things got off to a bad start. First, I misread the title so I thought it said Lost In Alsatians and assumed it to be a sequel to Inner Space what has a man inside the body of a canine.

Fuck me, if that idea didn’t get shat right out of there.

Then, I hear it’s a load of racist old cock, with folks getting offendified left and right about how all the Japanese characters are made to look stupid.

And I agree with them.

Thing is, about ten minutes in this here little film by Sofia Coppolla, daughter of the man who made Jack and The Godfather Part 3, starts getting all gorgeous. I mean heartbreaking. I mean the Duke might have cried if he wasn’t a stone-cold son of a bitch with a thirst for vengeance.

It was like Manhattan, only it was set in Tokyo, and there was no Woody Allen, but still some very funny jokes. And it made me yearn to be in that city.

Some folks also say it’s a cry against modernisation, and that “good” Japan is the bit with all the monasteries and temples and other remnants of feudal brutality, and that “bad” Japan is all the modern stuff, like health-care and karaoke.

All I know is that I was profoundly moved, and whilst some folks have been perplexed as to what was whispered in the final scene, if you put the subtitles on when watching it on DVD, you’ll see that Bill Murray says “Isn’t The Duke the funniest motherfucker what you ever did see? Check out Mondo Irlando. Honest to God, I shit myself laughing.”


Elvis Of The Year

This film here not only has mummies and geriatrics and JFK and jokes about willies, but also has the most believable Elvis ever seen on film, more so than Elvis The Movie with Kurt Russell or It Happened At The World’s Fair with Elvis Presley.

Bruce Campbell is the best physical comedian since Moses started throwing oceans about the place, and I hope he accepts this here award, on account of he is the best Elvis of this year.

I hail to you, King Bruce, you are the coolest motherfucker what I ever did see.

The Duke resides at Mondo Irlando

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About The Duke

  • Am I being weird here or did you use the word “what” in place of the word “that” in at least 5 different places?

  • Chris Kent

    Am I being weird here or did you use the word “what” in place of the word “that” in at least 5 different places?

    lol…..Welcome to the World of Duke, it’s a lovely land populated by dark-eyed Ian Holms where trees throw apples, zombies dance and Hulk is considered one of the best films of the year……though I do believe an Arachnid Hall of Fame is in order….

    An excellent list.

  • Sorry visual simplicity. I work hard on my grammar but still i screw up on occasion. Man, that grammar. It’s a harsh mistress but i love like what i love a fine zombie film by the Lucio Fulci’s.
    Thanks Visual Simplicity.
    Chris! Rising to the dukes defence! Good for you! Gosh, all these nice words (and so good with the grammar) and going to get me all blushified. Thank you!

  • Eric Olsen

    Indeed, what is the deal with “what”? Are we working idiomatically? I fear such usage is going to confuse the kiddies.

    Very interesting list, by the way. Thanks!

  • Arachnid hall of fame – Those 8 legged freaks would be in there. They were very good as far as the duke is concerned. Also, Arachnophobia had an abundance of the little bastards what have the eight legs. Tarantuals – The Deadly Cargo had plenty of the tarantulas, even though they cant really kill you unless your allergic, but hey, that didn’t stop Michael Caine getting stressed as fuck on account of the bees. “The bees have always been our friends”
    Harry Potter Part 2 – The Chamber Of The Secrets had great spiders.
    Did i mention i’m arachnophobic? And still these things draw me towards them. Filthy arachnids.
    Eric, thanks for the kind words and please don’t worry about the whats and the thats, its all language man, give peace a chance as john lennon said one time before they shot him.

  • Eric Olsen

    On a serious front, you are an excellent, prolific, and erudite contributor and I wouldn’t want anyone to take you less seriously – or be confused like our poor VisSim here – due to eccentric usage.

  • Point taken Eric, although i don’t know what i can do about it. It’s the style, y’see, but yes, this particular article had more of the what/that swinging than the others. possibly on account of the length. Who the hell knows. Maybe i’ll make an opening statement – “The Duke has read many novels, some of which were originally Russian, and he knows a thing or two about Thomas Middleton and the Shakespeares so don’t worry when he starts waxing anti-grammatically, it’s all part of his charm, and a fitting substitute for a disastourously inefficient manhood.”
    Eric, i don’t want to put no one off, but when you get into a style-type thing with the old writing and such, it’s hard to abandon it, even if it is one what makes folks think you’re thick.

  • Eric Olsen

    It’s up to you, but I assure you that you would be no less charming in standard English.

    I have written idiomatically in the past and was told by editors that a very little bit – like in dialogue – goes a very long way in conveying attitude and perspective without creating a jarring disconnect. I was told to “have faith in the appeal” of my writing on its own terms. In other words – why limit yourself?

  • Chris Kent

    I see El Senor Duke’s grammar simply for what it is. He grew up a Droog and he just can’t rid himself of the street slang.

    Very, very horrorshow….

  • Chris, once again you’ve nailed it. You may have seen the film what Stan Kubrick made about me, by the name of The Clockwork Oranges. I had a hard life growing up those many years ago in the future. Now my grammar is all messed up on account of the oranges. Plus, they leave your hands all smelly when you peel them. Damn them oranges.

  • JR

    I vote for jarring disconnect. A reader needs that once in a while.

  • sheri

    I think Duke’s grammar is charming!

    I see little pot bellied dudes with pipes, and big red noses, frolicking about in the four leaf clovers, beckoning me to come and spend my American tourist dollars to see the home of (some of them anyways) my ancestors.

    That way, everyone has an excuse to get drunk, and and make fun of me for being proud to be half breed Irish :0)

  • Chris Kent

    I see little pot bellied dudes with pipes, and big red noses, frolicking about in the four leaf clovers….

    Are we still talking about Duke’s horror film list here? I don’t know about ye guys, but this description has pretty much scared me shitless…..

    Anyway Duke, yet another convert….!

  • Thanks JR and Sherri and any others who thought the same stuff but didn’t comment on account of they feel insecure and all shy. It’s ok, guys, come on ahead and comment. I would be honoured as a motherfucker.
    Thanks hypothetical non-commentators.
    Thanks real commentators.
    Sheri, hehe. Yes, and also, if you visit The Duke, i do a great exchange wereby your fat american dollars can be turned into these really cool beans what grow into beanstalks. They’re great, and more than worth the price of that cow my mum sent me to get. I mean come on, mum, its a motherfucking beanstalk! To the sky? Hello?

  • Yes, and also, if you visit The Duke, i do a great exchange wereby your fat american dollars can be turned into these really cool beans what grow into beanstalks. They’re great, and more than worth the price of that cow my mum sent me to get. I mean come on, mum, its a motherfucking beanstalk! To the sky? Hello?

    Hey you alternated. Where’s the consistency? Just when I was getting used to the “what” you go and change on me.

  • Eric Olsen

    The ways of the Duke are mutable and mysterious, eh what?

  • Chris Kent


  • sheri

    Welll, Chris, I had to get it outta of ya somehow…just kidding just kidding !

    Duke, and I be climbing that beanstalk, all the way up to God’s office, God Himself that is, and I’d be asting Him WHAT’S up. I was tolt that He doesn’t get mad at me for gettin’ mad at Him, jus’ as long as I believe.;0)

  • Sheri, did Mel Gibson tell you that? I wudn’t trust him if i were you. Yeah, sure, he talks real nice and says his R’s correctly, but he also led a rebellion in scotland one time, and painted his face blue. Obviously folks liked listening to The Cure back then too.

  • duane

    Obviously, the Duke, who gets away with referring to himself in the third person, is effecting an idiomatic style for the sake of playing a very entertaining character. It’s perfectly fine to botch the grammar, as long as it’s intentional, and as long as it’s consistent. The Comment Police are watching you, Duke, and, so far, they like what they see.

  • sheri

    umm. Kind of, Duke. Only Mel Gibson, he says I get to God’s office by way of the Queen Mary Mother Of God’s office. Only Brandon Lee, he tells me that I just got to believe.And every night I burn every night the dreams the same.*sigh*

  • Nah, Sheri, like many of us, Mel Gibson lost his faith in Madonna after American Life. I mean come on, it was just embaressing. And after she married Cliff Richard, that was too much, and then that film about the sand. Hell the hell cares about sand? It’s course and it gets in your eyes. Its irritating. Not like you Padme.
    Who the hell’s Padme
    Sorry Madonna
    Thanks Sheri

  • Obviously, the Duke, who gets away with referring to himself in the third person, is effecting an idiomatic style for the sake of playing a very entertaining character. It’s perfectly fine to botch the grammar, as long as it’s intentional, and as long as it’s consistent.

    Ah but see, I’ve also been meaning to point out that The Duke seems to be inconsistent in referencing himself. It’s one of the only times where I’ve read someone refer to themselves in the third person in one sentence, then in the first person in the very next. It’s odd, but also entertaining.

  • JR

    Yes, and also, if you visit The Duke, i do a great exchange wereby your fat american dollars can be turned into these really cool beans what grow into beanstalks. They’re great, and more than worth the price of that cow my mum sent me to get. I mean come on, mum, its a motherfucking beanstalk! To the sky? Hello?

    Hey you alternated. Where’s the consistency? Just when I was getting used to the “what” you go and change on me.

    They are two different words.

    The first highlighted word is a conjunction or some kind of a pronoun or something; it could legitimately have been replaced by “which” (or in some cases “who” (actually, I’ve seen that idiomatic substitution too)). Since its function is mostly structural, you can get away with substituting something unusual without screwing up what you’re trying to say.

    The second word, however, is an adjective and has a specific meaning which would be lost otherwise. That one you can’t substitute.

    Hmmm, looks like whereby was misspelled.

  • sheri

    If you were to come visit me, I would be sure and speak in proper english, with as little of my southern accent as I could.

    However, stay around long enough, after we get kicked back and all comfy, I might slip into my natural way of speaking…accent, vernacular, the whole works, if I want you to get a true sense of who I am.I will even mix it up.And when I really get going people from others parts often can not understand me at all.

    I have found the same thing happens to me when I’m communicating on the interent.Aside from Duke’s misspelled words, or “incorrect” usage,(who hasn’t done that?) I feel it is the same with him, and because of that, he seems a much more real person to me.

  • awww thanks sherri. Man oh man, what a debate has sprung from this humble list what has the Dukes greatest films with (2003) next to the title. Personably speaking, i tihnk the Duke is a grammar-absuing malcontent.
    Sorry Duke, but that’s just the motherfucking way it is.
    (i was feeling left out is all.)