Wars and Windmills

22 January 2009

2008 Favorites: Films

In both blockbuster and art house venues this has been a great year for film.

Despite what the Golden Globes and the Academy Awards think, I still hold that The Dark Knight is the best movie I saw this year.

You see most movies exist singularly, in a specific sphere and they stick to it. You don't go see, say Transformers for the amazing story, or superb acting; you go to gorge your eyes with special effects and action. Similarly, you don't go see No Country For Old Men or There Will Be Blood for the round house kicks or giant robots, but for the cinematography, the plot twists, character development, and the acting. This is why Nolan's snub for Best Director as well as the snub for Best Picture is so grossly unfortunate, because when you sit down to enjoy The Dark Knight you are able to get the story, cinematography, and acting of art house favorites like No Country for Old Men, as well as the 'biff bam boom' FX and action expected from multi-million dollar blockbusters. This has been done before (Star Wars comes to mind), but it is a rare occurrence, and while I had no delusions that the Caped Crusader's would win for Best Picture, I thought for sure it would have at least been nominated (just as Star Wars was), because FOR SURE it deserves it.

The more I think about it the more flames appear on the side of my face.

I have stepped down off my soap box; I could rant for hours over the brilliance of that film, but I won't.

I have been busy this year and haven't seen as many films as I usually do which I don't think will ever be possible again to see as many as I used to with by new goal of growing the hell up but I still manage to sneak in more than a fair amount. Here are the other films excited me this year in ranked order:

Man on Wire
(Easily the second best film of the year)

Iron Man (all comic book, nay action movies, take heed)

Slumdog Millionaire

The Incredible Hulk
Curious Case of Benjamin Button (though I preferred it when it was about a guy sitting on a bench and running a lot)
Hellboy 2: The Golden Army
The Fall

Many movies are released later over here so I haven't had the chance to see many of the major contenders in the Oscar race, but many are coming out this month so this list may grow soon. I will be seeing Frost/Nixon this week as well as The Wrestler, and Gran Torino.

I am very much wanting to see Synecdoche, New York, and Hunger.


  1. I agree with you on The Dark Knight. No movie surprised,thrilled, or giddied me like this gem.

    Man, I loved that movie. And it was the best sort of previews because I realized that I had seen nothing, seen not a whit of the good stuff until it started rolling.

    Movies I need to see still are Doubt and Slumdog Millionaire.

    I'm going to take your word on Man on a Wire. I should have listened to you on King of Kong and now I'm ever thankful.

  2. Don't kill me, but I think I enjoyed Hellboy II better than Batman. I only feel somewhat confident saying that because at least Hellboy II also made your list.

    Don't get me wrong--I loved Batman. And you are right...it was definitely the better of the two films and one of the best films to hit the theaters for a long time. But I ENJOYED Hellboy II more. For that matter, I enjoyed Ironman more. I need sunshine to counteract the darkness in my movies.

    Plus.......and I know, he's a different man now and a fantastic artsy actor, et cet, but truly...he will always be Newsies Christian Bale to me. Always. Or Laurie from Little Women. I'm sorry. It's just like how Drew Barrymore will always be the little sister off E.T. Just like how Andy Richter will always be Conan's lackey. Christian can make his voice sound deep, but he's just a cuddly newspaper boy in my heart of hearts. I'M SORRY!! FORGIVE ME!!

  3. Also, yes, No Country for Old Men had fabulous acting and I could never tire of listening to Tommy Lee Jones' voice, but I totally watched that movie for the compressed air tank action.

    And for that matter, Josh Brolin was AMAZING in that film, truly truly......but still.....Josh Brolin will always be the older brother from Goonies.

  4. Emily: we are still friends...just less so. However, if you continue down this path, the future is grim...grim grim.

    jk...bff. Your love for Iron-Man will ever be your saving grace.

    James, trust me...Man On Wire is the caper of the century. I am also glad to hear you enjoyed King of Kong.

    Slumdog is good....but not as good. I am thankful for your sympathies.

    I still need to see many many films...Doubt being high on that list, as well as The Reader, and Milk.

  5. I loved watching Dark Knight in the theater, and I did watch it at home including all bonus materials, but I am starting to have some issues with it. They may go away, and I don't need to sling 'em out here...

    Seconded and thirded and fourthded on Man on Wire. It was one of the greatest last year.

    Have you seen Defiance yet? I am counting the days for that bad boy, as well as The Road and, let's face it, Underworld: The Rise of the Lycans (jokes jokes....remove Lycans and insert T E R M I N A T O R 3 and then...yes, i meant that).

    But really..Terminator 3. Can i testify?

  6. issues with TDK??? bah.

    I have seen Defiance. We can talk about that once you have seen it.

    man, I can't wait for The Road either. I have only seen on picture from it and it is haunting.

  7. Do we have any updates on The Road? It was originally set for November, then I heard February.....do we know for sure yet? I'm getting antsy.

  8. Yeah, The Road movie debacle and all the movie pushing backedness of this past year is pissing me off.

    Gillz and Darren,

    I have to agree on Hellboy II. I was mad about that movie. (the good mad not the bad) Ron Pearlman makes Hellboy one of the most enjoyable and underrated superheroes of all time. Just wows me. And visually gorgeous, wonderful. I can't wait for The Hobbit. It's going to be beautiful.

    Man on a Wire. I'm watching tomorrow.

    Ok, Joe, I'm with you. Terminator Salvation is going to be a big geek out for me. I'm excited for some acting muscle like Bale in it.

  9. When describing Forrest Gump I noticed that you didn't use the word "Retarded". Could this be because you have no familial relations to any such individuals and using said word would be, therefore, taboo? If so, my friend, feel free to use the retardation of my dear sibling as a pass for you to brandish that word to your heart's content. After all me retard es su retard.

  10. So, on your recommendation we watched Man on Wire. Well played, Darren. It was great, powerful and touching, and totally terrifying. I mean, the guy is talking about it, so I know he survived, but still, my palms sweated the whole time. The structure of the documentary was so well executed...I could go on all day about why this was so good. Thanks for the tip.
    p.s. Andy, have fun in hell.

  11. Z

    I watched The Dark Knight on New Years Eve. I waited and waited for the perfect time.

    I didn't like it as much as the 1989 Batman. I'm so sorry.

    p.s. I have Man on a Wire in my Ipod, I shall endeavor to watch it soon. That's right... I have an Ipod now.