Saturday, January 3, 2009

2008: Looking Back and Hanging My Head in Shame

Well, I’m running late on my 2008 year-end review as usual. Looking back, I’m embarrassed to discover that I’ve hardly been to the theater at all and just didn’t get around to most of the interesting new films that came out. There certainly were plenty, but it doesn’t seem close to the torrent of great cinema that came along in 2007.

I’ll be catching up with most of 2008 on DVD, but if I wait until I’ve seen them all it will be 2010. So rather than copping out completely I’ve put together ten films I really enjoyed from last year (alphabetic order) using the shamefully thin sliver of cinema that I did manage to watch.

4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days
Burn After Reading
Cloverfield
The Dark Knight
From Inside
Iron Man
Slumdog Millionaire
Timecrimes
WALL-E
The Wrestler

It’s mostly American and big-budget, but I just haven’t had time to get to all the indie, arthouse and foreign stuff with my recent retro-tours of Czech cinema and off-brand gialli. The list does accurately reflect the solid presence of SF this year, despite some bad apples in the genre. Maybe I’ll do a proper top 10 of 2008 once I’ve actually seen enough to justify it.

And now for the more illuminating list; some of the films I didn’t get to yet and still intend to:

American Teen, Appaloosa, The Changling, Choke, A Christmas Tale, The Class, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Doubt, Encounters at the End of the World, Frost/Nixon, Frozen River, Gomorrah, Happy Go Lucky, Hunger, JCVD, Jumper, Let the Right One In, Man on Wire, Milk, My Winnipeg, Rachel Getting Married, The Reader, Revolutionary Road, RocknRolla, Son of Rambow, Synecdoche New York, Taxi to the Dark Side, Valkyrie, Vicky Christina Barcelona, The Visitor, W., Waltz with Bashir, Where the Wild Things Are

Update, ~6 months later:
I've now got around to seeing Australia, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Doubt, Frost/Nixon, JCVD, Jumper, Let the Right One In, Man on Wire, Milk, My Winnipeg, Rachel Getting Married, Synecdoche New York, Vicky Christina Barcelona and Waltz with Bashir. Overall I feel much better about 2008 now that I've had a chance to catch up with it more. There are still many I'd like to see, but here is my revised list:

4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days
Cloverfield
From Inside
My Winnipeg
Slumdog Millionaire
Synecdoche New York
Timecrimes
WALL-E
Waltz with Bashir
The Wrestler

5 comments:

Mad Dog said...

Now that I'm out of a job, I'm gonna have to take some time out to get serious about the prestige crop of the past year. Planning on seeing Milk tonight. But man, I don't even know if I have seen enough movies I really liked enough to put them in a top 10. 2008 seemed to be "if it was good, it was really good, if it was bad, it was really bad."

Walrus said...

Yeah, I think a lot of that comes from my not having seen much of the middle ground, but 2008definitely wasn't no 2007.

But speaking of which, did you see the second X-Files movie? Why was that sooo bad?

Mad Dog said...

The second X-Files movie was so bad because there was no reason for it to exist. At all. It was all "BAWWWW I DON'T WANT TO WORK FOR THE FBI AND THIS KID IS DYING AND IT'S NOT FAIRRRRRRR" and Mulder generally having no expression whatsoever. And the squicky lovey-dovey-ness he had with Scully. And Billy Connolly as a pedophile ex-priest. And a plot that wouldn't have even deserved a two-parter in the series proper.

exactly why said...

I can't pretend my 2008 film viewing has been something to be proud of (The Spirit, Max Payne - need I go on?), but I did really like Milk, which I thought had a good blend of character development and issues/history. I also liked its extensive use of archive footage as a background for the action, in spite of the slightly squished 16mm.

Kathryn said...

@ Mad Dog:
...if it was bad, it was horrid.
(...anyway)

Blah blah whinecakes, walrus. We saw so many more movies than normal people EVER SHOULD, we just didn't pay $16 to go.

Also, what about all the stuff you saw at Webster?