So I'd have to say that 2008 was a really good year for film. It was a year of superheroes and comedies and as the year was coming to a close, the big dramatic films are coming out just in time for award season. I've seen a lot of movies this year (like every year) and pretty much with the exception of one or two choices, I have seen each movie multiple times whether it be on screen or at the comfort of my home. Without further ado, here's my Top 10 favorite films of 2008.
10. My Blueberry Nights: This small film by the great Wong Kar Wai, came and went. When I finally got a chance to watch it, I was swept off my feet. I'll admit having Norah Jones as the lead pretty much sold me since I'm a fan of her music. And I guess I really like those movies that take the characters (and the audience) on a journey of self discovery. It makes you a part of the story and you get emotionally invested. It got mixed reviews but I enjoyed it. It was romantic, charming, and really sweet...like a slice of really good blueberry pie.
9. Hamlet 2: Steve Coogan is really funny. I haven't seen any of his Alan Partridge show. But this movie was very funny and had the whole theater laughing (all 3 of us) when it had its theatre run in August. It's kind of a spoof of all those movies where a teacher helps troubled youths like a Dangerous Minds or a Dead Poets Society. But its more of a movie then a movie-spoof. Really well written and filled with a lot of great comedy talent. (Even the "awesome" David Arquette!) I think it's song is up for a Golden Globe with Best Original Song:
8. Zack and Miri Make A Porno: I really wish this movie did more business. I have no idea what happened but it had great reviews and a lot of positive feedback from screenings yet it somehow didn't bust a nut at the box office like Mr. Smith would've liked. This is probably one of Kevin Smith's finest and funniest movies. I won't go in too much detail because the title says it all. Admist the dick and fart jokes there is a really sweet story about two best friends, Zack (comedic genius, Seth Rogen) and Miri (the very sweet and foul mouthed Elizabeth Banks) who realize they love each other...through the process of making a porno because they are broke and can't keep the lights on in their crappy apartment. Everyone say it with me, "awwwwwwwww".
The great Craig Robinson steals the show:
7. Tropic Thunder: I actually have to pick Robert Downey Jr.'s performance as Kirk Lazarus over his Tony Stark in Iron Man. He's had a good year and proved his amazing acting ability playing the 5 time Academy Award winning Australian actor playing the movie within a movie's African American lead. If you don't believe me, Robert even does the commentary to the film's dvd IN CHARACTER...THAT'S acting for ya. Backed by some ridiculous over the top performances by Tom Cruise and Jack Black and an all star cast ranging from Nick Nolte to Danny McBride, Ben Stiller really made this one hell of a comedy juggernaut.
6. Forgetting Sarah Marshall: I'll be honest, this movie did NOT look that funny to me. It looked kind of blah BUT coming out of the theater I was really impressed and had to take my foot out of my mouth. It proved me wrong in a lot of ways. Very excellent performances and sharply written, it had the right blend of humor and heart. The one thing that I liked so much was that it was very honest in handling its characters and story which made it so real to life. I can't think of any other movie that displayed heartbreak on the big screen this year and made it feel real and most of all very funny.
5. JCVD: I'm not gonna lie, this ranks high on my list because I'm a Van Damme fan for life. He was THE action star that I followed growing up as a kid. He's taken some pretty big leaps as an actor the past two to three years. Movies like In Hell, Until Death, Wake of Death has shown that he CAN act. Here's the thing with JCVD, its really good and it really is his best film to date. It's not really an action movie but a comedy bio pic that takes you inside the life of a "failed" movie star. It's like his Being John Malkovich. Its highly entertaining, funny, emotional, and all around bad ass. He's still the man.
4. Kung Fu Panda: If I had to pick one animated movie this year to be on my list. It'd be Kung Fu Panda. It has this great message that anyone can do anything. And here, Po, the kung fu loving panda (voice brilliantly by Jack Black) becomes the films hero because he finds the secret ingredient to being great, is being you. There's this amazing 2D animated sequence in the beginning that reminds me of one my favorite cartoons, Samurai Jack. Really well animated and great voice casting (Ian McShane!) makes this my favorite animated movie of the year.
3. The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button: An engaging story. Wonderful performances. You don't really get reasons on WHY Benjamin Button IS. More then anything, the curious case is that you can find love in anyone. No matter who, it's timeless whether you're going backward or forward. Clocking in at 2 hours and 45 minutes, it's worth the time. The pacing is excellent. Go see it.
2. The Dark Knight: I don't think I really have to say how amazing this movie is. I just hope its gets some well deserved nominations and wins come Oscar season. The best comic book movie...ever.
My favorite scene in the movie:
1. Slumdog Millionaire: I didn't think any movie I'd see would top Dark Knight on my list but then I saw Slumdog Millionaire...and was completely wowed. If you've been hearing of this movie and all the good things about it, go find it and see it. It lives up to all the hype. I can't stop thinking about it. It's intense, passionate, and overall just remarkable. A well written story where you feel something for every character. Whether it's love or hate, it takes you through an emotional ride. Danny Boyle continues to make great films no matter the genre. If you love movies, go see this.