So unlike Mark, I will readily admit to being a "film geek", not to mention probably a bit of a film snob, if you must. I picked the movies that I loved seeing the most this year. I would whole-heartedly reccomend any movie on this list to any person that I know. Let the listing commence!
Also, I didn't have a chance to view a couple movies that were supposed to be pretty good. Revolutionary Road, The Wrestler, The Reader, Slumdog Millionaire, and Frost/Nixon are among some of the gems I was unable to see before the year was out, but I will most definitely be remedying that situation in the near future!
Kenz's Top 10 Movies of 2008:
This movie made my top 10 list four a couple of reasons. First, it was a really good surprise. The advertising campaign for this movie completely blew, making it out to be just another fleeting summer action flick. It most certainly did not do it justice. Secondly, it was creative. There just aren’t a whole lot of movies out there like it. And thirdly, the ending was unexpected, which made it great.
9. The Wackness
I really liked this movie. The writing was witty, the plot was endearing, and the ending wasn’t cliché. The acting was very good, considering I really didn’t think Josh Peck could act. His character Luke Shapiro isn’t popular and in all honesty isn’t really all that likeable, but the mark of a good movie is how it can still make us care about an unlikable person.
8. Burn After Reading
I had to see this movie a couple of times for it to really make a strong impression on me, but it did. I just fucking love everything the Coen Brothers do. They have this way of turning 5 completely different plots into one really complex and engaging story. The cast is 5 star and their acting proves it. This movie dares to take risks, and is heavily rewarded for it.
7. Tropic Thunder
I’m not usually one for this kind of comedy but I have a serious soft spot for Robert Downey Jr. Sure Ben Stiller plays the same old character, as does Jack Black, but who says their same-old characters aren’t funny? They lend a superb backdrop to Robert Downey Jr.’s super cool Kirk Lazarus. The premise is relatively unique and the writing is edgy. Unless your unbearably uptight, you probably enjoyed Tropic Thunder just as much as the rest of us.
6. Let the Right One In
This movie proves just how awesome horror movies can still be, and it makes sense that it’s not American. I am so tired of our definition of horror movie, i.e. Saw I (II, II, IV, V…). This is a fresh, but not too fresh take on the myth of vampires, and it’s from Sweden! An American movie would never have a 12-year-old murderous vampire. An American movie would never ever dare to murder a child, let alone multiple children, in fear of turning off the audience. In short, this movie goes there, and it does it well.
5. The Dark Knight
I know, shoot me for not putting TDK higher. I know it’s effects were close to flawless, I know Heath Ledger was pure gold, I know the plot was full of not your average superhero flick nonsense but real issues and thoughts which relate to our world today. I do not dispute any of that. The only reason that this movie isn’t higher up on my list is that Superhero movies, no matter how great, just are not my favorite genre. I loved The Dark Knight, I loved it. But, that being said, I loved a few movies more if only because they are the kind of films that I prefer in general. Truth be told, all the movies in my top 5 are within millimeters of each other in my book. That being said, Heath Ledger really, really was gold in this movie.
4. In Bruges
I think this is one of the funniest movies I’ve seen ever. I loved the cast, I loved, loved, loved the writing, and really enjoyed the cinematography and directing. Lines from this movie still float around in my head at inopportune moments, causing me to snort or laugh at inappropriate times. It’s another one that dares to insult the general public in subtle, and not to subtle, ways. It’s shocking and it’s beautiful and it’s fucking hilarious. And since I’m a sucker for cool endings, this movie definitely makes it into my top 5.
Clint Eastwood is a genius. He’s an acting genius, and he’s most definitely a directing genius. This movie is dark, but it’s so well done. Angelina Jolie proves once again that she’s not all Mrs. Smith and Lara Croft and she can truly be a serious actress. The real reason I love this movie is its look. Every single thing, down to her stockings, is fitting with the period. The movie has beautiful shots mixed in with gruesome ones. The storyline is not only true, but interesting.
2. Snow Angels
This movie may have its flaws, but the reason it’s so high up on my list is my inability to get it out of my head. For months after I saw this film all I could think about was seeing it again. I searched for it endlessly online trying to find a pirated version to watch. I went out and bought the book it was based on and read it twice. This story may not be the most original, but the acting is so good and the story is so heartbreaking that all you can do is watch dumbfounded while almost every character sabotages their life beyond repair. It’s a juxtaposition between young and old, new love and fading love, life and death.
If you know me, you’ve heard me spouting off praise for this movie on almost a daily basis. Sean Penn is mind-blowing in this movie, and it really cements his place as one of the best actors of our generation. His ability to capture the warmth, determination, strength, and softness of Harvey Milk without it seeming forced is a sight to behold. The script is fantastic, the supporting cast is fantastic, the directing is fantastic, the film editing is fantastic, and the soundtrack is fantastic. This film is simply fantastic. Coming at the time that it did, after the win of Prop. 8 last November, this movie is sure to make itself a little home in your heart, and it won’t be moving out anytime soon.
So those are my top movies, go watch all of them!