Thursday, January 01, 2009
The Good, Bad, Irritating, and Just plain dumb of movies: 2008 edition.
Everyone compiles their best of the year lists at this time. And to be honest, I'm no different. I think it's because I lack imagination, and vision. Especially in the "blog-o-sphere". I'm sort of ashamed of myself for writing that word. Like, a lot.
Anyway, I've compiled a list of the movies I liked and didn't like, and all the ones in between. There is sort of an order to it, but mainly in the "Best" part. It's also noted that of the myriad of films I missed this year, they will be most certainly find placement in one of my convenient categories, so it could change as I see more movies.
(It should be noted that had I seen it last year, I would definitely put The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford in my top ten).
But one thing is for certain:
THE GREATEST MOVIE OF THE YEAR, POSSIBLY OF ALL TIME: RAMBO
Seriously. there's no denying it. Just accept it, and life will be grand for all.
WITH THAT IN MIND, THESE MOVIES COME CLOSE TO THAT LEVEL OF AWESOME (18):
If Rambo didn't exist, this movie would be the best. This is a close second, though, as no other movie made me think, laugh, cry, be afraid, and re-ignite my passion to make movies as much as this movie did. All around excellent, but well aware that it's not for everybody.
I love this goofy little robotic bastard.
Unbelievably solid storytelling, with no hint of pretension or Oscar dreams in it's eyes. On top of which, it's gorgeously shot, and shows a world we rarely see. Of all the movies with awards buzz this year, this is the film that deserves whatever comes its' way.
It's like a Bruce Springsteen song come to life. Sure, the movie is an expanded version of Bill Bradley's senior film (starring yours' truly as the One Many Army, as he wrestles inside and outside of the ring). But it's a really good expanded version, anchored with two outstanding performances from Mickey Rourke and Marisa Tomei. And an awesome use of Quiet Riot. It's totally Jersey, and I loved it.
SON OF RAMBOW / BE KIND, REWIND
alright, so maybe these two movies did remind me of how fun it is to make movies. I find them to be spiritual kinfolk. Son Of Rambow is sweeter, and makes more sense by being set in the 80s, but Be Kind Rewind has a certain charm about itself. But both put a big smile on my face.
IRON MAN/THE DARK KNIGHT
They're both awesome movies. And I feel that if there are follow-up films, they won't be able to capture what these accomplished this year. But if they do, those movies will be amazing.
It's grizzled, racist Clint Eastwood. It's not sentimental at all. Like a better version of Crash that earns your respect. Plus Clint throws around a lot of racial slurs. Like watching a movie about your grandfather, but more badass.
It has the Dreadnaught. That is all.
Kate Beckinsale finally made a movie I like. But I've become a David Gordon Green fan, and even though Pineapple Express was his big hit of the year, this movie haunted me for days. Very chilling performances from Beckinsale and Sam Rockwell. Well worth seeing.
Because Colin Farell acting like a bored 10-year old, and midgets, make a brilliant motion picture.
FORGETTING SARAH MARSHALL
Of the Apatow cannon this year, I find this to be the sweetest and the best made. It uses the stable of actors to good use, and thankfully doesn't overuse them, while welcoming new people to the fold. And it ends with a puppet musical. That can't be beat.
While Sarah Marshall was the better made, Step Brothers makes me laugh harder than anything. Especially on repeat viewings. I've quoted this movie so many times since it's release, it's scary. If you don't piss your pants at that sleepwalking stuff, then you need to consult a urologist. Not a great film by any means, but one that I can't stop watching and laughing at.
RACHEL GETTING MARRIED
I was surprised I liked this movie as much as I did. I wanted to attend the wedding. And at times, I wanted to throttle Anne Hathaway and make her realize not everything is about her, no matter what traumas you may have gone through. But she nails the character far too well, but not in an obnoxious way. A treat of a movie.
Van Damme can act! And he can appear in a good movie! And this is exactly the movie that he deserves. A loving tribute to the action heroes of my youth.
A great little Spanish time travel/paradox movie that grounds itself in a believable reality. It's worth checking out, even if you can figure out what's going to happen before the lead character does. It plays very well, though, and it plays fair.
4 MONTHS, 3 WEEKS, 2 DAYS
I saw other people put this on their best of lists, so I figured I would put it on mine. It's not a movie I ever want to see again. It's disturbing, and frightening, and very upsetting. But it's a damn fine film that's worth seeing once. But make sure you know what it's about before deciding to watch it, because otherwise it could ruin Christmas dinner.
DAMN SOLID FLICKS: THE SIGNAL, CHICAGO 10, THE BANK JOB, THE HAMMER, THE RUINS. SMART PEOPLE, KUNG FU PANDA, THE PROMOTION, HELLBOY II THE GOLDEN ARMY, PINEAPPLE EXPRESS, ROLE MODELS (11)
FUCK YOU, I KINDA LIKE THESE: VANTAGE POINT, SEMI-PRO, DRILLBIT TAYLOR, SUPERHERO MOVIE, STREET KINGS, BABY MAMA, HAROLD AND KUMAR 2, THE FOOT FIST WAY, YOU DON'T MESS WITH THE ZOHAN, THE INCREDIBLE HULK, GET SMART, THE HOUSE BUNNY, ZACK AND MIRI MAKE A PORNO (13)
STILL UNDECIDED (4):
I did laugh my balls off at this movie. I even saw it twice in the theaters. It has scenes between Danny McBride and Nick Nolte, which is fantastic. But there isn't that much to it, and what is there is Hollywood satire that's been done countless times before. (Except for Downey, who is brilliant). It has many moments, but the Tom Cruise thing grows tiresome. (And Matty McC doesn't get the credit he deserves for it). This movie confuses me.
SUKIYAKI WESTERN DJANGO
Another movie I can't make heads or tails out of. It has some powerful imagery, and it also has batshit crazy nonsense. And Quentin Tarantino acting, which is never a good thing. But I certainly didn't hate this movie.
It's a Guy Ritchie movie, but made by a more mature Guy Ritchie. And the second robbery sequence is the best thing Guy Ritchie has ever filmed. But I sort of wanted a retarded Guy Ritchie movie, not a restrained one. I have to see this again, as I think I may have a better appreciation for it now knowing I'm not in for Snatch 2.
THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON.
A powerful film that's about dying. I thought individual scenes worked fantastically (the lightning guy scenes were great, the scene with Julia Ormond reading the postcards made me cry like a bitch), and it's certainly a technically astounding movie, filled with great images and seamless effects work. But I didn't think that the lead character was compelling enough (he just lived an ordinary life, not an extraordinary one), and it had too many moments of Gump. And the Katrina stuff was off-putting. On top of all this, I was forced to sit in the front row of the theater, and couldn't really enjoy the film. I need to check this one out again.
MEH: CHARLIE BARTLETT, PARANOID PARK, RUN FATBOY RUN, LEATHERHEADS. THE FALL, HANCOCK, JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH 3-D. BURN AFTER READING, CHOKE (9)
TERRIBLE, BUT AWESOMELY SO:
Escape From New York + Road Warrior + Excaliber + Aliens + hot chick in tight leather = I will like this movie no matter what.
That MacAvoy guy is terrible in this movie. But Morgan Freeman swears. And it has more headshots than any other movie this year. But I can't tell you a damn thing that happens in the movie.
It's a Transporter movie. It's not trying for Oscars.
PUNISHER: WARZONE (4)
Ouch. This movie is astounding. A face melter of a motion picture. And almost as violent as Rambo!
BAD/INSULTING/JUST PLAIN STUPID:
IN THE NAME OF THE KING: A DUNGEON SIEGE TALE
I'll relate this series of text messages from my friend Dave Hyde to accentuate the point. 1) dude, Burt Reynolds plays a king. 2) Ya, this is horrible and it's not like it's devoid of acting talent. Shitload of people I have heard of are in this thing. 3) the bad guy or thing getting lit on fire and getting in the catapult was interesting. 4) not sure if it is so bad I want to watch or so bad that I don't. 5) OMG Lillard is beyond bad.
And that makes more narrative sense than the actual movie does.
She gave me her fries, I gave her 90 minutes of my life. And both things were never meant to be...
There's so much bad going on in this movie that it's almost entertaining. But it's just so lazy, and terribly acted, that it's not even entertaining. Watch the creepy scene in the bar where the extra can't stop looking at the camera. It's the best bit of acting in the whole thing.
DIARY OF THE DEAD
This movie was just plain bad. Very stupid. almost angering, but not quite. But it's filled with horrible performances, and a horrible understanding of the internet and technology. And it has characters checking their MySpace page in the middle of a zombie outbreak. RiCOCKulous.
If you saw the preview for this movie, then you don't need to waste two hours of your life watching this stupid movie. I'm still astounded that the audience I saw it with (including my companion of the evening) ate it up. Although, in her defense, she really just wanted to see the cute guy from Across The Universe. And that put a smile on her face. I wasn't as lucky.
(This picture is more entertaining than all of 21)
JACK AND JILL VS. THE WORLD
You've probably never heard of this movie, and that's ok. My friend worked on it, and it was released for a week, and we decided to go check it out, and we were the only ones in theater. I did have an awesome running commentary about the film, and explanations as to how the movie could be even dumber, but was saved through editing. But it stars Freddie Prinze Jr, and is a pretty terrible movie, filled with some awful cliches. Just a bad movie.
THE FORBIDDEN KINGDOM
Jackie Chan and Jet Li fighting should be an awesome movie. I made one up in my mind as I was watching this one. It starts with them in a giant house/factory and in each room are new obstacles for them to fight each other with. Then about halfway through, they stop for a cookie break, when robotic ninjas suddenly interrupt, and they have to team and fight them. That was an awesome movie. This Forbidden Kingdom, though? nowhere near as awesome as my movie.
I forgot this movie existed until I scanned the release schedule. It has Hugh Jackman and Ewan McGregor, in a movie about people who have never seen a movie. I think there's a con game involved, and there's a weird sex phone service thing, which allows Ewan to have sex with whoever he wants. And yet, the movie is stupid as hell.
INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL
It was nice to see Indiana Jones in a movie again. I just wish this wasn't the movie. I had the same sinking feeling as I watched Attack of the Clones, when halfway through I realized that something beloved wasn't going to turn out very good at all. But in this movie, it didn't feel like anyone was trying at all. And it has Shia LeBouf swinging with his monkey friends. But it did coin the phrase "Nuke The Fridge", which is a pretty wonderful contribution to the pop culture lexicon.
MOVIES THAT ANGER ME:
High hopes, dashed by stupidity on many levels. So many levels.
This movie... I'm not gonna go back there.
QUANTUM OF SOLACE
Same goes for this one. I'll check it out someday again, once my rage has subsided. But I'm still convinced the movie couldn't be more retarded if they inserted Special Olympics footage intercut with the action sequences.
THE TRAILER FOR THE SOLOIST
It needs to end with Jamie Foxx just jerking off an Oscar. Because that's the message this movie is sending to me.
FUCKIN RETARDED, THE GOOD KIND:
When I approached the box office to purchase my ticket, I looked the ticket kid in the eye and plainly said "I need to see that piece of shit about the wooly mammoths." And it certainly was that.
Pacino's hair needs an Oscar nomination. And if there's a "dumbest scene" award, it has to go to Pacino outside his apartment building holding a gun, evading police bu walking behind a fire truck.
Imagine if they made a movie about Rainbow Road from Mario Kart. Imagine that movie had some obscenely amazing racing sequences. But they also overload it with a plot that makes The Phantom Menace's seem like Mr. Tickle by comparison. then remember that the guys who made the Matrix made this movie. But then there's an awesome scene involving racing cars. And the lights burrow into your brain. And that, is Speed Racer.
Best Shyamalan movie in years. for all the wrong reasons. But it's stripped of the pretension of Lady In the Water, and for that alone, I respect this movie. This terrible, terrible movie.
FUCKIN RETARDED, THE BAD KIND:
THE LOVE GURU
You ever go to see a friend do open mike night at a comedy club? You know how you have to sit through unfunny comic after unfunny comic go on about how living in LA is so weird? Then your friend goes up, and you feel like you should laugh, but they're just recycling the same shit you've just heard? And you laugh out of pity? Yeah, this movie didn't even get those pity laughs.
I missed the first half hour of this movie, and thought it made no sense at all. Then my friend told me I didn't miss anything, except more boobs being shaken in front of dirty men's faces. And motorcycle riding. And atrocious dialog, that feels like a terrible rip off of a rip off of Tarantino. But any movie with this much sex and violence can't be all bad, right? Apparently it can.
Man, this movie should have melted my face right off. Instead, it just laid there. I've heard the international cut actually makes sense, and turns it from an awful movie into a just plain bad one. But I don't think I need to sit through this movie again.
There was one point where I fell asleep for a half a second. And in that half a second, all the mysteries of the universe were suddenly presented to me in a giant flash of knowledge, wisdom, and energy. I felt fulfilled, and ready to take on the challenges that will be presented before me in this life, and the next. Then I woke up, and they were speaking Thai, and I forgot where I was. Then I remembered I was watching a crappy Nicolas Cage movie, and all that wisdom I had ascertained was gone. I cried. then Cage went on a date with a deaf Thai girl, and killed two people without her hearing it. then I thought about how bossome Ong Bak II is gonna be when it comes out this year. And that put a smile on my face.
MOVIES SO BAD OTHERS HAVE TOLD ME I'D HATE THEM INSTANTLY AND I SHOULDN'T EVEN WASTE MY TIME:
My roommate Dan saw this. He said he enjoyed it, but immediately realized that I would hate this movie to no end. That was reason enough for me to save my money. Besides, no swinging monkey friends.
REPO: THE GENETIC OPERA
My boss went and saw this movie. He was super excited, thinking about how awful a movie it could be. He immediately texted me that he doesn't want me to see this movie, so that I can still reclaim my soul. He's tried to wish the movie out of existence. It almost made him cry, and give up on movies altogether. Of course, now we edit a DTV sex comedy that isn't funny. but is better than Repo, at least. (In his words).
DIDN'T SEE YET BUT DO WANT TO SEE (FOR BETTER OR WORSE): UNTRACEABLE. FOOL'S GOLD, WELCOME HOME ROSCOE JENKINS, DEFINITELY, MAYBE, CJ7, FUNNY GAMES, NEVER BACK DOWN, THE VISITOR, REDBELT, NARNIA, THE STRANGERS, MAN ON WIRE, TELL NO ONE, THE WACKNESS, MAMMA MIA, SPACE CHIMPS, AMERICAN TEEN, THE X FILES (I FELL ASLEEP HALFWAY THROUGH), THE MUMMY 3, VICKY CHRISTINA BARCELONA, FROZEN RIVER, STAR WARS CLONE WARS, THE ROCKER, HAMLET 2, SURFER, DUDE, RIGHTEOUS KILL, GHOST TOWN, LAKEVIEW TERRACE, APPALOOSA, THE DUCHESS, AN AMERICAN CAROL, BEVERLY HILLS CHIHUAHUA, BLINDNESS. FLASH OF GENIUS, HOW TO LOSE FRIENDS AND ALIENATE PEOPLE, NICK AND NORAH'S INFINITE PLAYLIST, RELIGULOUS, CITY OF EMBER, QUARANTINE, SEX DRIVE, MAX PAYNE, W. , WHAT JUST HAPPENED, PRIDE AND GLORY, SAW V, BEN X, LET THE RIGHT ONE IN, MY NAME IS BRUCE, SOUL MEN, BOLT, FOUR CHRISTMASES, AUSTRALIA, MILK, FROST/NIXON, THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL, THE READER, WENDY AND LUCY, SEVEN POUNDS, YES MAN, DOUBT, BEDTIME STORIES, THE SPIRIT, VALKYRIE, LAST CHANCE HARVEY, REVOLUTIONARY ROAD, WALTZ WITH BASHIR, DEFIANCE, CHE. HAPPY-GO-LUCKY (65)
DIDN'T SEE YET, DON'T PLAN ON SEEING: 27 DRESSES, MAD MONEY, MEET THE SPARTANS, HANNAH MONTANA/ MILEY CYRUS BEST OF..., THE HOTTIE AND THE NOTTIE, STEP UP 2 THE STREETS, WITLESS PROTECTION, MADE OF HONOR, SEX AND THE CITY, MEET DAVE, SWING VOTE, COLLEGE, DISASTER MOVIE, THE WOMEN, MY BEST FRIEND'S GIRL, FIREPROOF, HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL 3, MADAGASCAR ESCAPE 2 AFRICA, TWILIGHT, MARLEY AND ME (20)
Next year, we get Watchmen, and Wolverine, and a few other movies. I hope it will be a good year. This year was a good one, actually. At least it was good for terrible movies.