In 2007, I went to the movies–drive to the theater, buy a ticket, sit in the auditorium, not watch at home on TV–141 times.
141 times. That’s once every two to three days, year round. (That’s down from 2007, when I saw 159 movies. Really.) Movies are my thing. So here’s my list of what “worked” for me this year, and what might “work” for you.
But first, a modest warning: This is not a list of movies you should rent and watch with your whole family. Of the movies on this list, only “Iron Man” is true family fare, and I know many folks who would hesitate to let any kids younger than high school age see even that. Which is fine. I’m just sayin’, this list is based on what I find entertaining, valuable, edifying, interesting–not what fits some definition of what is politically or morally conservative.
I haven’t seen “The Wrestler,” “The Reader,” or “Nixon/Frost,” so I may update this list (maybe not here, but I’m just puttin’ that out there). But beyond that, here are my Top Ten movies for 2008:
10. An American Carol. This is David Zucker’s comedy that makes fun of libs for a change. It belongs in the Top Ten for that reason alone–but I wouldn’t list it here if it weren’t funny… and it is funny. Very funny.
9. Sex Drive. Hilarious, under-seen, low-budget comedy starring the creative partner of the funny Michael Cera. A few show-stopping scenes with Seth Green. And a live-action pair of Beavis-and-Butthead types that steal the whole thing. This’ll do great on DVD.
8. Appaloosa. Another under-seen gem, this time a Western. Ed Harris directs.
7. Roman de Gare. From France–a great thriller filled with misdirection. The other French film that did well in America this year was “Tell No One.” This is the better of the two–much better.
6. Forgetting Sarah Marshall. A hilarious romantic comedy from the Judd Apatow mafia.
5. Burn After Reading. A Coen Brothers comedy. Funny, tight, message-free.
4. Iron Man. What a treat: action, humor, suspense, splendid special effects. Excitement for everybody, and Robert Downey, Jr. sure is entertaining to watch. (Plus he’s been hinting around that he’s a conservative. He’s great and so’s the movie, regardless of that, but it’s nice to be able to support him.)
3. Zack and Miri Make a Porno. Best picture Kevin Smith’s ever made. Best comedy of the year.
2. Wanted. Biggest surprise of the year: an actioner that pulls you along every second without a pause to catch your breath. Special effects built around a supernatural kind of physics. Directed by the Russian Timur Bekmambetov, who made the equally wonderful Night Watch, another bizarre action picture that was at one time (might still be) the highest-grossing picture in Russian history.
1. The Dark Knight. For the first time, the superhero story as allegory carries all the heft of real literature. Plus–and this is what matters in movies–the thing is wildly entertaining and completely engaging at every turn. Among the best pictures I’ve seen in the past several years.
Honorable Mention: Married Life, Cloverfield, Choke, The Fall, Ghost Town, and Nobel Son.
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