“I don’t love her, she kicked me in the face!” – Val Kilmer as Madmartigan in Ron Howard’s Willow (1988).
There is no excuse as to why my absence here (and pretty much every website I’ve written for) has been so long without any word of return. So I will come back the only way I know how… by doing my favorite thing.
The Next One Will Be Better… (1/2009)
Summing up the year in cinema for the six people in my life (both in real life and internet life) that still know I exist, and even care about what I have to say about cinema. Especially now that the Oscar nominations are out. This goes out to you… even though we are so far into January now that no one will care.
“Willow, this is war, not agriculture.” – Val Kilmer as Madmartigan in Ron Howard’s Willow (1988)
I find myself putting together this list during a voluntary viewing of Willow on DVD. Not a good movie by any stretch but what humorless bastard out there doesn’t get a kick out of hearing Val Kilmer calling Warwick Davis (a fellow little person) a ‘peck’? Makes me smile every time.
Without further ado, and blabbering, I bring you this list. This list consists of my personal favorites of the year and to those of you who know me best, you may find it somewhat surprising.
Top Ten Best Films of 2008
1. The Dark Knight (Christopher Nolan) – Finally, a pissed off Batman movie. Thanks to Ledger’s amazing performance, I will no longer be able to revisit Jack Nicholson’s attempt. And all the problems of Batman Begins (and there were many) have been completely erradicated.
2. The Wrestler (Darren Aronofsky) – Mickey Rourke’s performance as an aging wrestler trying to see the point of life after his career is tragically poignant. This is the first film Aronofsky (Requiem for a Dream, The Fountain) has made that he didn’t write but you wouldn’t have guessed that by watching this amazing film.
3. Man on Wire (James Marsh) tied with Dear Zachary (Kurt Kuenne) – These two documentaries are completely different in subject matter but both stuck with me long after viewing. The first has us watching a French man walk between the World Trade Center buildings on nothing but a wire. It’s nothing short of breathtaking, yet ultimately becomes tragic as the images of these two towers bring nothing but 9/11 horrors to mind. Dear Zachary follows the filmmaker as he makes tribute to his murdered friend while an even worse tragedy unfolds before him. Bring a tissue.
4. Milk (Gus Van Sant) – In these troubling times of Prop 8 nightmares, why not take a trip to the man who lit a fire under the ass of gay rights? Harvey Milk’s life is relevant to our current political climate in more ways than one and this film is a perfect reminder and tribute.
5. Wall*E (Andrew Stanton) – What’s not to love about this Short Circuit-looking robot? I just want him to put me in his garbage hole and turn me into a sqaure. Wait, that sounded naughty.
6. Let the Right One In (Tomas Alfredson) – Every one who has seen this can’t stop talking about it and yet the Academy shafted it completely. Do yourself and see this original version before we honkies (Americans) ruin it with our own remake. Easily the best vampire movie of sometime, unless you’re 13 and love Twilight.
7. Timecrimes (Nacho Vigalondo) – I don’t know how you’ll do it but you owe it to yourself to find this movie. I can’t stop thinking about it… it’s about a guy hiding from a killer who accidentally ends up climbing in a time machine. The rest is magic.
8. In Bruges (Martin McDonagh) – What’s this you say? Colin Farrell in a good movie? You bet your hitman ass.
9. Gran Torino (Clint Eastwood) – Heavy handed? Check. Predictable? Check. All of this and more can’t sway the greatness that is Eastwood’s performance (with its crazed anger and subtle humor) and direction with a cast of mostly unknowns. It’s like this year’s Borat but less funny.
10. Tropic Thunder (Ben Stiller) – I haven’t even seen this one since the theater days but I still quote it on a daily basis. One of the funniest film satires ever.
Most Overrated of 2008
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (David Fincher) – I love David Fincher movies. In fact, I own them all on DVD. But this? Why so long? Why so Gump-y? Why so many Oscar nominations? Definitely not a movie I’ll ever watch again.
Slumdog Millionaire (Danny Boyle) – Let’s get this straight right now… I actually really like this movie. But 10 Academy Award nominations, seriously? Okay. I’ll let it slide and hopes it chumps Button.
My worst-of list will come soon. So calm it down. Also coming next week: a captivating tale about how I shit blood and lived to fight another day.