Tuesday, December 30, 2008

2008: A Year to Repress from Our Memories

Favorite to Least Favorite Movies I Saw That Were Released in 2008

Sure to be updated soon with all the movies I’d forgotten. So aside from the big blockbusters, why didn’t I go out to see cerebral movies that looked good, like Frost/Nixon and Slumdog Millionaire? Because I had to watch a lot of crappy ones for this blog.

The Dark Knight: There’s not enough space to discuss all the ways this movie is great. But I’ll just settle on this one statement, sure to be argued: To all those who think George W. Bush is a war criminal, yet loved this movie, you might want to watch this glorious epic of a movie again. You might be horrified at what kind of a subversive message just made a billion dollars worldwide. Political mode off.

Wall-E: As cynical as I can be, I’ll never outgrow the Pixar movies.

Iron Man: They’re running so low on comic book characters that Hollywood’s soon going to give us Thor. At least they saved one of the best for last.

Cloverfield: If The Dark Knight was the movie that lived up to 100% of my expectations, this was the movie that lived up to 80% of them. Whoever thought of making a first-person perspective giant monster movie deserves the Congressional Medal of Freedom. Although considering what I think of Congress, maybe it should be the Christopher Nolan Medal of Freedom instead.

Tropic Thunder: Only a few really BIG laughs, in my opinion, but very entertaining throughout. Never would have thought back in 2007 that two of the best comic performances (that I’ve seen) in 2008 would come from an ex-junkie and a madman. Well, actually that was always extremely believable.

Valkyrie: Apparently, Stauffenberg was the only Nazi in all of Germany without an English accent. Still, a fine effort.

The Incredible Hulk: You should be happy you got a real Hulk movie at all.

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian: I prefer my fantasy movies to have elves casting spells like Greater Meteor Shower V, than to have talking messianic lions. Still, despite the tedious beginning and the failure to make the Christian themes make sense in the actual storyline, not bad.

Rambo (4): I’m not sure they should have spent a full 40 minutes with Rambo standing stationary and firing the minigun, but otherwise, not bad.

Vantage Point: If Cloverfield lived up to 80% of my expectations, this movie managed a full 30% of them. Not all that bad, and moderately entertaining throughout, but a poor follow-up to the BEST TRAILER EVER.

Quantum of Solace: At one time, Bond’s mission was to save the world. Now his job is to save the Bolivian government and save Bolivians from spending too much for fresh water. As a former Illinois resident, I can sympathize with paying too much for utilities, but if we don’t want the CIA messing with South American politics, why do we want MI-6 messing with Bolivian tap water? Thank you very much, environmental movement: you’ve made James Bond boring.

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull: Temple of Doom’s off the hook.

The Strangers: Nice. It makes for great drama when things start bad for the characters, get worse, and never change trajectory until they’re dead. This would be a contender for future consideration on this blog, but it’s hard to write 3,000 words about a movie where nothing interesting ever happens. Speaking of which...

The Happening: Cheer up, Night. The trees really liked it.

Other Worsts:

Worst Performance by a Public Official from a State I Once Lived In

Rod Blagojevich: They’ve arrested an Illinois governor for corruption. Now it’s time to arrest the sky for causing tornadoes.

Runner-Up -- Joe Biden: Thanks for making the election sporting.

Worst Lost Disappointment of the Year

The Freighter Bad Guys: So Season 3 ends with the promise of a huge battle for the Island, and the bad guys turn out to be six idiots with machine guns, who wind up getting their asses kicked by Season 2’s bad guys? Sorry, but as entertaining a villain as Mr. Hoarse-Voice Baby-Face was, I was expecting something a bit more spectacular this season.

Runner-Up -- The Women (Kate, Sun, Juliet, and Jack): Way to go, ladies. Your character-centric episodes were the three most awful episodes of the season. Although honorary member Jack’s episode might have bested you all. For a brief moment, during the absolute nadir of Season 4's worst episode, the one where Jack randomly needs his appendix replaced, Lost temporarily sank below the best episode of Heroes, Season 3 in terms of quality. That's sad.

Worst Airport

Chicago-O’Hare: There are basically two places I can make a connection for about 90% of my plane trips, which were quite numerous this year: Chicago or Detroit. Congratulations to Chicago for making me say in a public medium that I wish I had spent more time in Detroit.

Runner-Up -- Philadelphia International: Welcome to Philadelphia, where every gate, ticketing counter, and security checkpoint looks like the evacuation scenes from I am Legend.

Happy New Year and a belated Merry Christmas to everyone!

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