Reviewer John Price may have gotten his submission in a little late, but that doesn’t make it any less important then any of the others. But he will only be assigned to review foreign films with no subtitles from here on out.
Anyone still reading 2008 Top 10 lists? If so, I have one more for you. I think you will find the top of the list quite familiar; the rest may surprise you. I was surprised myself to see I forgot to put Indiana Jones somewhere on the list. It was probably a bit of residual sub-conscious resentment toward that particular film, and the year in movies as a whole. Below are the movies from 2008 that I hold no grudge against and some that I downright love.
10. Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist
Blame it on a dearth of truly great films this year, but this modest little comedy deserves some mention for being almost unbearably cute. It’s pretty decent too and if you haven’t experienced a romantic night like the one shared between Michael Cera and Kat
Dennings, I bet you wish to. Cera’s gaggle of gay sidekicks (especially Aaron Yoo) gives the movie good momentum and a touch of, dare I say, class. Sure, it is overly simple and
the music (obviously a huge aspect of the movie) may not be to everyone’s liking, but Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist is infectious and in 2008 that is enough for a spot in the Top 10.
9. Sex and the City
This movie falls so low because it had a pretty easy shot at being good. I’ll come out and say it: the Sex and the City series is a masterpiece and a modern classic. With that said, the movie has every reason to be at least entertaining if not outright
incredible. It is, in fact, better than every pretender to the throne, but I can name a number of particular episodes off the top of my head that were more gripping. Is it fair to judge this movie that way? Perhaps not. But the series set expectations high and the
film meets them for the most part.
8. Speed Racer
Most moviegoers have probably already forgotten about this one, which I think is unfair. Admittedly, the plot and acting are quite bad, but how can those visuals be ignored. It is difficult to know for sure if the Wachowski Brothers have done something truly
revolutionary with cinema, and if so, how exactly it will affect future releases. But for two and a half hours anyway, they showed us something we actually haven’t seen before. That may not be enough for critics or fickle audiences, but I appreciate their efforts.
Other movies should have the courage to be what they are the way Speed Racer did.
Finding out that Quarantine was a remake of a Spanish horror movie ([Rec]) dampened my spirits a bit, but it did not mar my enjoyment of this movie in the least. Since I am not from Spain, I had not seen the source material and thus went into the theater thinking the concept was incredibly fresh, not to mention pretty darn scary. Within a year I probably won’t even remember it off hand, but while I was watching the horror unfold I was half convinced that I was there and could very well be the next to die.
I’m almost positive my credibility (what little I had left) went out the window with my previous four picks, so I’m not ashamed to admit that I thoroughly enjoyed Twilight. It’s no classic and honestly does little to differentiate itself from other tween material, but it hit all the right notes and has a likeable cast. 2008 did a lot
to establish women as an audience worth marketing toward and Twilight deserves much of the credit. Get used to it because it doesn’t look to be going anywhere in the near future. Maybe someday it will even be okay to admit I like this stuff.
5. Pineapple Express
I think I will tentatively mark Pineapple Express as the last time that Seth Rogen was funny and the first time we all found out that James Franco could be a star. The movie is hilarious even if you have never been high and funnier still if you have been
(which I haven’t Mom, if you’re reading this). What makes it good though is, while the film revolves around it, it is not necessary to indulge in smoking for one to fully appreciate it. Chalk another one up for Judd Apatow’s crew and watch for falling Rogens.
4. Tropic Thunder
When I first saw Tropic Thunder I missed the last 15 minutes and thought “eh, it’s funny but nothing special”. But after a repeat viewing of the entire movie and seeing Ben Stiller wing a child off a bridge I came to realize how wonderful it is seeing a
number of top talents trying to upstage each other in the same film. All of them do their trademark shtick with complete indifference to what everyone else is doing, much like the self-centered actors they are skewering. What makes Tropic Thunder subversive is that it is more than likely it isn’t at all a parody.
3. Iron Man
At first blush Iron man looks to be about as unlikely a megahit as a comic book movie could be: relatively unknown superhero, has-been actor (Robert Downey Jr.), unproven comedy director (Jon Favreau). But all those things are exactly what made
Iron Man awesome. Everyone involved approached the film as his or her only opportunity to do such a film (sadly for Terrance Howard it was his only chance) and because they treated it like an individual film and not a franchise the results were exceptionally
rewarding for those involved as well as the audience. So much for first impressions.
Speaking of unlikely success stories: How about an animated movie about a dystopian future starring a robot who loves show tunes and can say little more than his name. Yes, Wall-E would likely have been a miscalculation if it had been in the hands of any other filmmakers besides the ever-capable Pixar crew. The movie looks great, as is to be expected, and there has even been some talk of a possible Best Picture nomination. On top of all that it remains the best love story I have seen in the last few years. Pixar is more reliable than the postman.
1. The Dark Knight
No surprise here. The Dark Knight comes closest to being a unanimous favorite of any movie perhaps ever. The story surrounding it has been told ad nauseam and the praise has been heaped so high it may soon become overrated. But for the time being it is hands down the best comic book movie, best action movie, best drama, best crime thriller, and outright best movie of 2008. Not so bad for a “mindless” summer blockbuster. As Gotham deserved a better class of criminal, so too did audiences deserve a better class of movie and the Joker gave it to us.