Monday, February 9, 2009

Hello, 2009

At last, I have something to rank again.

Even though it's been just 17 days since I finished my 2008 year-end rankings, that's an eternity for a list addict like me. And so it was that yesterday and today, I finally broke the seal on my 2009 rankings. And it was only today that I had to make an actual ranking decision, since the movie I saw yesterday, Taken, was both the best and worst movie I'd seen to that point. Today, it became the worst -- a ranking that is actually somewhat justified given the broad dialogue and the film's essential xenophobia. But hey, it was entertaining at least.

In case you're interested, here is how my list looks so far:

1. Coraline
2. Taken

Astonishing, my process, isn't it?

Jokes aside, the first movie I see in a given year is actually a subject of interest to me. As indicated above, I don't like to go too long without getting my rankings going again. And so each year I ask myself: "Am I going to start this year's list organically, or inorganically?" In other words, am I going to make the first film I see something I'd see anyway, or am I going to force it just to get the list going?

I've taken different approaches in the past. Two years ago, for example, I severely regret my decision to jump-start the list. I remember feeling an actual agitation to get started on 2007, and that's what led me to fork out movie theater prices for Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer's Epic Movie on January 28, 2007. I went to this film with full knowledge of how much I hated their previous effort, Date Movie, and yet I went anyway. It helped that I had approval to review it, and to this date I don't know which review of mine is more vitriolic, Date Movie or Epic Movie. Let's just say that Friedberg and Seltzer are two of the men I respect least in Hollywood.

Last year, I didn't have to worry about it, as one of my most anticipated films of the year was released on January 18th. I actually saw Cloverfield twice in the theater before I'd seen any other film once. Yeah, I know I like that movie more than most people do, but come on -- it was good.

Three years ago, I got my 2006 list started before 2006 itself even started. I went to an advanced screening of Eli Roth's Hostel in December of 2005, and at the time, I loved it. I haven't seen it again since then, but I'm thinking it probably doesn't hold up. The year before that, I was big-time organic, waiting all the way until February 21st to finally find a film worthy of my attentions: Constantine.

So how about this year? I'd say it was semi-organic. I hadn't been expecting to see Taken, but I saw it under circumstances that kind of render that question moot: I saw it with a friend. Some of our great viewing compromises come when seeing a movie with a friend, and that's actually part of the fun -- you get exposed to things you wouldn't otherwise see that way. We were actually close to seeing Fanboys, another inorganic choice, but decided to push our evening back a half-hour and catch the 10 o'clock showing of Taken. (Push had also been briefly considered and rejected, and if you saw this post, you know that viewing would have been quite inorganic for me indeed). I was actually tempted to accompany him to The Wrestler, my favorite film of last year, but hey, I already closed that list.

As it turns out, if I did jump-start things, I only jump-started them by a day, since the wife and I went to see Coraline (in 3-D!) today. Quite a feast for the eyes, though I ultimately felt a similar emotional disconnect as I feel when watching The Nightmare Before Christmas and James and the Giant Peach. The Tim Burton-Henry Selick combo can sure create alternate-universe odyssesies, but I guess I don't have a special place in my heart for them. Still, since I'd guess some of you actually come to this site to see what I think about the movies I see -- not just my pontifications on the process of seeing them -- I'll give Coraline an enthusiastic recommendation.

It feels good to be back in the saddle again.

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