Posts Tagged ‘apatow’

mayor: best of 2008

Monday, January 26th, 2009

Everyone likes a list, so here are the top movies of 2008 as chosen by me.  There were many great movies, some of the best in years actually.  So after much thought and multiple viewings of some of the titles, I made as tight a list as I could.  Meanwhile Ebert made a top 20 this year…cheater.  Here is my favorite 15 of 2008.

This was an amazing film.  It felt so real and reminded me a lot of Beyond the Mat.  The story, one of the best in years takes you in right away.  Fine as the writing and direction are, it’s no insult to say that they are overshadowed by the performance of Mickey Rourke.  My heart just broke in a scene where a neighbor kid is asking him about Call of Duty 4, and Mickey plays it so well, he is lost and has no idea, just as your own father might if you tried to explain the difference between 1080p and 1080i.  Welcome back Mickey.

What can be said about The Dark Knight that already hasn’t been said about free candy?  It’s awesome in every way, a masterpiece.  We all know that Ledger as the Joker is something to see, but take in the entire film.  This was a crime thriller on the same scale as HEAT.  The story and execution make this stand out above every comic book movie ever made and that will ever be made.  A line has been drawn in the sand, and here we…go!

Sam Mendes of American Beauty fame makes this bitter, nerve-wracking, ugly and relentless drama done right, a mesmerizing look at desperate lives, wrong moves and spoiled dreams that hits hard right from the beginning and never lets up.  DeCaprio’s and Winslets best roles to date.

It may be slight, it may be derivative, but this comedy for adults is also deliriously funny.  Jane Lynch (40-Year-Old Virgin) steals each of her scenes as the charity project leader and reformed cokehead.  The predictable ending comes at a cost, constant laughter.  A price I will pay again and again.

When the smartest man on TV makes a documentary about the biggest lie in the world, you sit up and listen.  Again I have to plead a bias on this seeing how I am a “non-believer” and have been since I was old enough to think on my own. This movie is well put together, thought-provoking, and quite funny.  My girlfriend seemed to be bored during the movie, after I asked her what’s the deal seeing how her and I have had some great talks on the subject.  She said she wasn’t bored, rather she was angry that there are so many people out there with their head in the sand to the idea that it is possible to NOT KNOW SOMETHING!  God love her.

I need to see this one again.  Not because I am not sure it belongs on the list, because it does and would stay for another few years perhaps.  I need to see it again because it needs repeat viewings like Citizen Kane needs repeat viewings.  The set design alone is brilliant, large and something right out a tall tale.  A heartfelt and loving film that is meant to help you remember to not take life for granted and not to take these kind of movies for granted either.

I can only think of a few characters born from film that stand the test of time.  And Eastwood created a number of them.  Walt Kowalski, a disgruntled Korean War vet – and by that I mean a racist who hates his spoiled family and is old school in every way.  Who knew Eastwood could be this funny too, the theater was laughing most of the time, mostly out of shock at some of the obscenities.  It was predictable, but Eastwood doesn’t set out to make the next SIXTH SENSE “gotcha” ending, he tells a story on screen, and that’s all I ask for these days.

The film works first and foremost because of Segel, who knocks it out of the park in both his first starring role and first produced screenplay.   Sarah Marshall is a movie of hilarious moments and memorable scenes, lovingly crafted characters and smart one-liners.  Comedy was high this year, and it started with this one.  Don’t miss out.

Color me shocked.  The campaign for this movie had me so annoyed and turned off I didn’t see It until it was on DVD.  I wish I had seen it in theaters because this movie is gorgeous.  DreamWorks has had its share of disappointments like Shark Tale and Flushed Away; finally the studio has released an animated movie everyone can agree is a fantastic underdog story that has instantly become the studio’s best animated flick.  A movie has to be more than just visually beautiful, and Kung Fu Panda brings substance as well as beauty along with some of the best action scenes out of any movie of the year.

I know they are different movies in a sense, but Let the Right One In is a much scarier vampire movie than the hit Twilight, it’s also a much better love story.  I hear this is already getting the remake treatment for American audiences, I smell quick cuts and PG 13 rating.  The best vampire movie in the last ten years?  Oh I went there.

A stoner action movie, who knew?  That is why comedy is on the comeback, we didn’t know.  An original idea can go a long way Hollywood, take note.  Apatow does it again and Seth Rogen and James Franco make it memorable.  A buddy stoner action movie is more like it with these guys.   Pineapple Express descends from comedy to action send-up in the best way, through a solid script and direction.

Visually dazzling and emotionally resonant, Slumdog Millionaire is a film that’s both entertaining and powerful.  Danny Boyle’s finest since Trainspotting. In fact, it’s the best British/Indian/Gameshow/romance I have ever seen.  A lot will be said and many awards have been provided, but the proof is in the movie.  Find it and watch it.

A very dark comedy that gets sillier and bloodier and less funny as it nears its violent conclusion.  This was a surprising movie to me, Colin Farrell didn’t do much for me ever.  That was until In Bruges.  I can see it being missed and hitting the bottom shelf right away like Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.   Every once in awhile, a film will come out that just slaps you in the face, this one still hurts.

(si-nek-duh-kee)  Kaufman has succeeded in portraying an unflinchingly honest and deep examination of the soul of a person without jumping through traditional hoops of this happened here, this happened next by resisting description.  This film is dark and witty.  I have a feeling sadly that it won’t be remembered.

I should explain my bias on this movie.  I have been watching Ricky since The Office first aired on the BBC.  And then Extras, his podcasts, his standups, and I even visit his blog every other day.  This film with anyone else might have been lost, but Gervais brings his one sense of timing and quick wit to the script to pull off a great romantic comedy.  Ricky Gervais said, “Just what people want: a fat, British, middle-aged comedian trying to be a semi-romantic lead.”  Yes, yes we do.

For those of you who think this list is missing movies like Milk, Wall-E, Happy-Go-Lucky, Tropic Thunder (it bothers me that Tom Cruise has to do ridiculous dances for being crazy to get forgiveness) or any of the other films on most peoples’ lists, please don’t assume I just didn’t see those films. I did. I saw every film you’re saying “but what about…” to. They just didn’t make the list. But I liked a lot of them. Just not as much as you.  And for those wondering what I thought the worst movie of 2008 was, Jumper.  A concept so high in possibilities ended up being one disappointment after another.  I predict a TV series based on this, with awesome Stargate effects.