telling minor stories to avoid a major one

Lists! 2008: Favorite Movies by Barbecue Bros
January 26, 2009, 12:11 pm
Filed under: lists | Tags: , ,

With this, the Lists! 2008 finally come to an end. Didn’t get a chance to see all the movies I wanted to but here’s my top ten based on what I saw.

10. Red Belt (dir. by David Mamet)
While maybe not at the top of his oeuvre, I really enjoyed this David Mamet film and was reminded how cool his dialogue can be. Chiwetel Ejiofor plays a jujitsu master with an unflinching moral code in a world of duplicity and corruption (kind of similar to the role Forest Whitaker played in Ghost Dog). Tim Allen even gives a nuanced performance.

9. Iron Man (dir. by Jon Favreau)
Robert Downey Jr. establishes himself as a bonafide action star and Jon Favreau establishes himself as a director. If not for Christopher Nolan Batman movies, this would probably be the best comic book movie I’ve ever seen. Definitely the most fun. 

8. Man On Wire (dir. by James Marsh)
A doc on the true story of french circus performer Phillipe Petit’s 
traverse across the World Trade Center towers in 1974. Setup as kind of a heist film, this was a fascinating documentary.

7. Pineapple Express (dir. by David Gordon Green)
A stoner buddy comedy from the Apatow gang and directed by the  indie director David Gordon Green. While it might seem like an odd combination at first, it works on film. And James Franco finally gets a chance to express his comedy acting chops.

6. Slumdog Millionaire (dir. by Danny Boyle)
A story of a boy and his destiny to reunite with his lifelong love through a series of questions he faces on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire that happen to correlate with several events in his life. Oh, what luck.

5. Forgetting Sarah Marshall (dir. by Nick Stoller)
 Yes, another Apatow comedy but FSM is just too funny and quotable for me to ignore. Great cast of some genuinely hilarious people. A nice first screenplay by star Jason Segel.

4. Synecdoche, New York (dir. by Charlie Kaufman)
As with his other scripts, there are a lot of layers to try and wrap your mind around with a Charlie Kaufman film. Synecdoche, New York is no different but also might be one of the hardest to get. Philip Seymour Hoffman uses a MacArthur Genuis Grant to fund a grand theater production of his life in NYC in which he builds a scale replica of the city and then casts doppelgangers of him and his family, who then in turn cast their own doppelgangers in the “production” and then those doppelgangers of doppelgangers cast their own doppelgangers, all in the spirit of the production and staying in character. Ultimately, this will warrant multiple viewings.

3. Rachel Getting Married (dir. by Jonathan Demme)
Anne Hathaway and Rosemarie Dewitt give great performances here. Parts of the movie were actually hard to watch due to the awkwardness, and that is a testament of Hathaway’s portrayal of the estranged black sheep/drug addict out of rehab for the weekend to attend her sister’s wedding at her childhood home. Besides the extended music video/jam session after the wedding itself,  I loved the music. And Tunde from TV on the Radio was in the movie!

2. The Dark Knight (dir. by Christopher Nolan)
There was no way that this film and Heath Ledger’s performance could live up to the monumental hype, right?  Actually, it could. And Heath Ledger’s performance was even better than billed. 

1. In Bruges (dir. by Martin McDonagh)
I tend to rank higher those films that I wasn’t expecting and then kick my butt. In Bruges has a great script (written by McDonagh himself) in which seemingly unimportant events throughout the film result in a satisfying and smart climax. I’m not normally a fan of Colin Farrell but he gives a nice performance along with Brendan Gleeson and Ralph Fiennes.

The other 2008 films I saw, ranked and after the jump: Continue reading