Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Derek's Year in Movies 2008

Here's a list of all the movies released this year that I saw (there are 35), along with my rating:

* "Appaloosa" (B+)
* "The Bank Job" (B)
* "Burn After Reading" (B)
* "Cloverfield" (A-)
* "The Dark Knight" (C+)
* "Doubt" (B+)
* "Eagle Eye" (C)
* "Expelled" (F)
* "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" (C+)
* "Get Smart" (C+)
* "Hancock" (D)
* "Hellboy 2" (B)
* "Horton Hears A Who" (B)
* "In Bruges" (C+)
* "Incredible Hulk" (C+)
* "Indiana Jones 4" (B+)
* "Iron Man" (A)
* "Jumper" (C)
* "Kung Fu Panda" (A-)
* "Mirrors" (C)
* "Rambo 4" (C)
* "Redbelt" (B-)
* "Religulous" (A-)
* "The Ruins" (B-)
* "Slumdog Millionaire" (B)
* "The Spirit" (F)
* "Star Wars: Clone Wars" (C)
* "Step Brothers" (B)
* "The Strangers" (C+)
* "Sukiyaki Western Django" (???)
* "Teeth" (B+)
* "Tropic Thunder" (D)
* "Valkyrie" (A-)
* "WALL*E" (C)
* "Wanted" (B+)

No doubt you'll disagree with me on some of these, but that's the way it goes, right? If you want, go make your own list.

I was going to do a Best and Worst 10, and then realized I didn't like enough films to do a Top 10. It was hard even coming up with a Top 3. Instead I'll just designate some special awards:

Best Superhero Movie of the Year: Iron Man

Most people will probably think The Dark Knight was the best superhero film of the year. They'd be wrong. True, Heath Ledger was incredibly good as The Joker, but just about everything else about the movie sucked balls, from Batman's ludicrous gravelly voice, to the silly boat dilemma, to the preachiness about civil liberties, to handling Two-Face's origin, career, and death in half an hour, to the absurdly moronic final lines. No, Iron Man was what a superhero movie should be: fun, slick, and action-packed. Bonus points for having an engineer as the hero.

Worst Piece of Propagandizing Swill: Expelled

Ben Stein and the producers of this film set out with deceit and a room full of shitty vintage stock footage and managed to make the most intellectually dishonest celluloid turd I've ever seen put to film. This film wasn't just anti-evolution; it was anti-anything-close-to-rational-thought. And to boot, it was just utterly shitty film-making.

So Bad It Was Good: Redbelt

This was a tough one. There were other strong candidates in Eagle Eye and Wanted, both with plots so silly you just had to laugh (or you'd cry). Wanted was probably the better of those two, for the simple fact that it had people shooting guns and slinging them to alter their trajectory, and they practiced on dead pigs! It also had an army of bomb-wielding rats. In short, it out-sillied Eagle Eye, and that's saying something. But David Mamet's philosophical mixed martial arts movie took the prize, mostly because it took itself so mother-fucking seriously. I think Mamet actually thought he was penning something profound, and not some silly little movie about grift and guys wrestling and kicking each other. And the ending was so very, very silly. But it made me smile.

WTF: Sukiyaki Western Django

Unlike the last category, this one was clear-cut. This bizarre Western with Japanese actors speaking mangled, Southern-US-affected dialect while dressed in outlandish costumes, wielding guns and swords while Quentin Tarantino was some kind of goofy Greek chorus...it was supposed to be cool, but it made my brain hurt.

Overall it just wasn't a very good year. Here's hoping things are better in 2009.


Matthew McKibben said...

Why a B+ for Indiana Jones?

Derek James said...

As opposed to...? Did you like it better or worse than I did?

It was better than I thought it was going to be. There were very silly parts, e.g. Shia LeBeouf swinging through the jungle on vines. But I thought it was solid, if not quite as good as some of the earlier Indiana Jones movies, hence the B+.

Matthew McKibben said...

Sorry. I really disliked the movie. Would give it a C/C+. I just thought there was way too much silliness. The action was quite unbelievable and the story wasn't all that interesting. Raiders gets an A+, Temple gets a B, Crusade gets an B+, and this one gets a C or a C+ if I'm feeling generous.

mark said...

I have to disagree on the Raiders. It was the worst movie of the year!

It was so bad, I wanted to cry.


I look at whats coming up this year and it all looks like crap. except maybe the star trek movie.