Friday, January 23, 2009

Goodbye, 2008


I don't ever want to see another 2008 movie as long as I live.

Okay, at least until sometime next week.

It's been an unusually busy stretch run for me as I've worked to finalize my 2008 list of film rankings, which by tradition closes the morning the Oscar nominations are announced. (That happened about ten minutes ago.) Exactly a month ago today, I had seen 54 films released in 2008. This morning, it's 87. Not only does that best my previous highest pre-nominations total by five, but it means more than one a day during the last 30 days. That can take its toll even on a hardcore cinephile like me. My eyes need a serious vacation. Or maybe a good book.

(In case you're curious about the wild last few hours, after work yesterday I managed to see Zombie Strippers, Taxi to the Dark Side and Repo! The Genetic Opera -- how's that for a random assortment of titles -- and still somehow fit in the first two hours of the season of Lost. I don't expect it to be a very productive day at work.)

Before I reveal my list of titles below, let me give the standard disclaimer that this whole thing is somewhat imprecise. Why is film #56 better than #57? To what degree? It's hard to say. Some decisions are easier than others. I spent much of 2008 thinking it was a bad year for movies, but I've changed my tune just a bit. One thing I do want to emphasize: Just because I rank a film higher than another film, it doesn't necessarily mean that I think it is, objectively, a "better" film. (Especially since rankings like these are, by definition, subjective.) This is an especially hard argument to make when I rank extremely frivolous comedies (Sex Drive, The House Bunny) above extremely serious-minded best picture nominees (The Reader, about an illiterate Nazi war criminal who likes sleeping with teenagers). However, it does mean that in some essential way, I think Sex Drive and The House Bunny are slightly better at being the best version of themselves than The Reader was at being the best version of itself. That said, I liked all three movies quite a bit.

A fun game if you've never played it: Try to figure out the dividing line between which movie I gave a slight thumbs up and which one I gave a slight thumbs down. It's in there somewhere. And as usual, I'd love to hear any other comments you may have. In fact, tear me a new one if you feel like it.

Without any more ado than I've already caused ...

1. The Wrestler
2. 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days
3. Slumdog Millionaire
4. Let the Right One In
5. Towelhead
6. Man on Wire
7. Cloverfield
8. Step Brothers
9. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
10. In Bruges
11. Frost/Nixon
12. Taxi to the Dark Side
13. Teeth
14. The Band's Visit
15. The Dark Knight
16. Milk
17. Tropic Thunder
18. Forgetting Sarah Marshall
19. Hellboy II: The Golden Army
20. Doubt
21. Wall-E
22. Sex Drive
23. The House Bunny
24. Quarantine
25. Religulous
26. The Visitor
27. The Reader
28. When Did You Last See Your Father?
29. The Ruins
30. Chicago 10
31. Mamma Mia!
32. Wendy and Lucy
33. Paranoid Park
34. The Edge of Heaven
35. Australia
36. Definitely, Maybe
37. The Spiderwick Chronicles
38. The Fall
39. Kung Fu Panda
40. Bottle Shock
41. Changeling
42. Revolutionary Road
43. American Teen
44. Shine a Light
45. W.
46. Pineapple Express
47. Iron Man
48. Ghost Town
49. The Bank Job
50. The Incredible Hulk
51. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2
52. Repo! The Genetic Opera
53. Semi-Pro
54. Choke
55. Charlie Bartlett
56. Speed Racer
57. The Wackness
58. Diary of the Dead
59. Where in the World is Osama bin Laden?
60. Married Life
61. Midnight Movie
62. 21
63. Yes Man
64. Hamlet 2
65. Star Wars: The Clone Wars
66. Over Her Dead Body
67. Funny Games
68. Jumper
69. Journey to the Center of the Earth
70. The Promotion
71. Cassandra's Dream
72. Four Christmases
73. Hancock
74. Wanted
75. Run Fat Boy Run
76. Smart People
77. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
78. Be Kind Rewind
79. Baby Mama
80. Zombie Strippers
81. The Happening
82. Chapter 27
83. Get Smart
84. Burn After Reading
85. One Missed Call
86. 10,000 B.C.
87. An American Carol

Most regret not seeing before the cutoff: Rachel Getting Married, Happy Go Lucky, The Strangers, I've Loved You So Long, Gran Torino, Role Models

Okay. Today's my late morning, so if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go get another two hours of sleep.

1 comment:

Vancetastic said...

Ooops. I just discovered that Taxi to the Dark Side -- which I watched just last night, otherwise I might have realized this sooner -- won best documentary feature at the Oscars in 2007. However, it played only at film festivals in 2007, and did not receive a theatrical release until January of 2008. Because I've already published the list, I'm going to leave it, even though films that won Oscars in other years should, by definition, be excluded. I guess docs are similar to foreign films in that they may not actually get a theatrical release until they win an Oscar. D'oh!