Sunday, March 22, 2009


Up until now I have hesitated putting my favorite films of 2008 in order. They change depending what mood I'm in. But this is the best I could do.

1. Wall-E
I have been on the Pixar bandwagon since Finding Nemo. The Incredibles and Ratatouille reinforced that. But Wall-E is something different. Because the first half of the film has really no humans in it. Sure, there's Fred Willard bein' all "Buy-N-Large" but when your hero and heroine talk in robotic beeps and you still care more about them than any human or human-speaking possibly EVER than you know you've done something right. Andrew Stanton is one of my favorite directors. And want my personal opinion on the Oscars? There's guaranteed one biopic in the Best Picture category every year... they might as well guarantee one Pixar film a year, because they are consistently better than a lot of the "Oscar drivel" that makes it in every year.

2. Revolutionary Road
This isn't my number one for two reasons. One, because I am more emotionally attached to Wall-E, and two, because I read the novel before I saw the movie and while it was a faithful and the best adaptation this year, it left one single, critical part out of the ending. But other than that, a perfect movie. Kate Winslet, I love you. Leo, I'm sorry for ever doubting you couldn't act. Michael Shannon, you are amazing. Kathy Bates, I love you. Milly and Shep, I hate your characters but you guys did awesome. Zoe Kazan, I HATE YOU. Sam Mendes, I love you. Justin Haythe, I love you. And Roger Deakins... you can do no wrong in my book. Needless to say, I want Kate to win this year because I'm pretending that she was nominated for Rev Road.

3. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
I loved this movie before it came out. F. Scott Fitzgerald + David Fincher + Brad Pitt + Cate Blanchett + Eric Roth = already amazing. And then the score and cinematography and Taraji P. Henson rocked too. So. This is sort of a no-brainer. I also love the theme.

4. Slumdog Millionaire
I enjoyed this movie because it had a very nice story, it reminded me of The Constant Gardener, and LITTLE JAMAL, LITTLE SALIM, AND LITTLE LATIKA. Dev Patel ain't got nothin' on Ayush Mahesh Khedekar! Danny Boyle deserves the accolades he's getting. The writing was worthy of recognition [though far from my favorite adapted screenplay]. And haters, who think that they exploited these young Indian children? GUESS WHO IS GOIN' TO THE OSCARS TONIGHT. Little Jamal and Co.!

5. Wendy and Lucy
The reason I love this film so much, apart from Michelle Williams giving a beautifully restrained performance, is because the story is so simple and the cinematography so simple and everything seems so simple, but at the same time, it wasn't simple. This movie was way too quiet to ever be really popular. And the ending was so powerful... I cried.

5. Happy Go Lucky
I saw the trailer to this and I was like, okay, I bet it will take me ten minutes to get annoyed by Sally Hawkins. I mean really. How is being optimistic a plot? And then I saw the movie. And I loved every second of Sally Hawkins. This movie was so awesomely optimistic, and it was so genuine and FUNNY. I've never laughed so hard in a movie theater.

5. The Fall
Even if the story hadn't have been so good and the acting sucked, this still would have made my top ten because it was SO DARN NICE TO LOOK AT. Seriously. I thought Australia's epic and colorful cinematography couldn't be topped. I was wrong. So wrong. Oh, and the little girl... so adorable.

5. Let the Right One In
Dear world, this is the best vampire movie I have ever seen. This is the best Swedish movie I have ever seen. Snow is very pretty to look at. Horror should be more about tension and less about surprise. And every little boy in the world should have hair like Oskar. The end.

9. Speed Racer
This is the movie that I have seen the most this year and I'm not at all ashamed to say it. I'm sorry, Dark Knight, Iron Man, and Ben Button - Speed Racer's visual effects KILLED YOU. I loved the performances too - everyone seemed to be having a darn good time. Emile Hirsch: you will be a superstar some day. And if NASCAR was like this, nobody would do anything else. So. Speed Racer accomplished its purpose. Deal with it.

10. Australia / Doubt / Vicky Cristina Barcelona / Frozen River
I couldn't decide which of these I liked better than the others. Australia was epic [sometimes good, sometimes bad], and had two of my favorite actors and this little boy whose name I never remember but his character name was Nullah and HE WAS THE BEST. Also, the cinematography was beautiful. breathtaking. epic. people who want to go to Australia... watch this movie. And who knew Nicole Kidman did humor so well? Doubt, to me, was a bit unsubtle, maybe better suited for the stage, and less than the sum of its parts. [However, when your parts are MERYL STREEP BEING A BITCH, Phillip Seymour Hoffman playing moral ambiguity, Viola Davis STEALING SCENES FROM MERYL STREEP [!!! that is a big deal. such a big deal.], and Amy Adams being adorable and innocent and I LOVE FROSTY, and cinematography by LIVING LEGEND ROGER DEAKINS, then you will have a hard time living up to your parts.] VCB was good, but it was basically the Penelope Cruz show [although I do love Rebecca Hall in this movie]... and Woody Allen is always good. Frozen River was the Melissa Leo show. With some side bits by Misty Upham. I loved the way this movie was shot [it was like Wendy and Lucy but less personal] but sometimes the screenplay jumped the shark... especially the ending. I hated the ending.

I also loved or liked: The Dark Knight, Baby Mama, Iron Man, Quantum of Solace, The Duchess, Kung Fu Panda.
I have not seen: The Reader, The Wrestler, Frost/Nixon, Milk, or The Visitor.

My top three favorites this year [in select categories]:
Actor: Leonardo diCaprio for Revolutionary Road, Brad Pitt for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,
Actress: Kate Winslet for Revolutionary Road, Sally Hawkins for Happy Go Lucky, Michelle Williams for Wendy and Lucy
Supp. Actor: Michael Shannon for Revolutionary Road, Heath Ledger for TDK, RDJ for Tropic Thunder
Supp. Actress: Taraji P. Henson for Ben Button, Viola Davis for Doubt, Penelope Cruz for VCB
Director: David Fincher for Ben Button, Andrew Stanton for Wall-E, Kelly Reichardt for Wendy and Lucy
Original Screenplay: Wall-E, Happy Go Lucy, Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Adapted Screenplay: Revolutionary Road, Ben Button, Let the Right One In
Cinematography: Roger Deakins for Revolutionary Road, The Fall, Mandy Walker for Australia
Score: Wall-E, Slumdog Millionaire, Ben Button
Song: Down to Earth, O...Saya, Little Person

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