Top Ten Movies for 2008


I didn’t get to see Milk, Doubt, Wrestler and Frost/Nixon, as well as many others I didn’t know about until I read all the other Top Ten Movies for 2008 posts. My Netflix cue overfloweth.

Here are my picks:

10. Tropic Thunder:I didn’t realize it was Tom Cruise in a fat pad and bald wig at first. But then he makes some gesture and I was like, I know him… I don’t really care for Ben Stiler movies, but this one made me laugh and I thoroughly enjoyed Tom Cruise.

“You? You! Hit that director in the face, really fucking hard!”

9. Kung Fu Panda: By the numbers parody of karate movies, but with a message for the kids about enjoying your own talents. I enjoyed Jack Black more here than I did in Tropic Thunder.

“I just ate so my Kung Fu might not be that good.”

8. Man On Wire: This movie is billed as a documentary shot like a heist picture, but watching him pull off this unlikely coup, felt more like watching the fate story from Slumdog Millionaire unfold.

“The fact that I could not speak French, and didn’t know what the sound was or what had happened with the wire… was probably just as well.”

7. Incredible Hulk: I wasn’t a big fan of the Bill Bixby TV series, but I loved the way the movie riffed off that series, using nostalgia to play with my expectations. Hulk has been done to death, but this one seemed better than the rest. Norton makes a tortured Bruce Banner.

“Don’t make me hungry. You wouldn’t like me when I’m hungry”

6. Get Smart: Steve Carell did a great job. Nostalgia for the old TV show really drove my expectations here, and I wasn’t let down. Carell channeled enough of Don Adams to satisfy me, but also seemed to bring a little something to Smart that surprised me. Particularly great was his tango with the obese woman.

“Sorry about that Chief”

5. Iron Man: Robert Downey was a great pick for Tony Stark. This comes in a little higher than Hulk because I am not as familiar with the Iron Man story and was pleasantly surprised Downey’s playboy turned politically aware crime fighter.

“Give me a scotch. I’m starving.”

4. Burn After Reading: The whole picture seemed like a big setup for the last scene in the CIA director’s office, but it was more than worth it.

“God no. Burn the body. Get rid of it.”

3. Slumdog Millionaire: Juxtaposing his touching boyhood story with the tawdry game show is just a brilliant idea. It really works for me

“Are you nervous?”

2. Appaloosa: I love how damaged and needy the three leads are. You could take all three and dump them in an urban setting with drugs to make some sort of action romance hybrid movie. But if you did it would be a shame. Appaloosa is at its best when it’s toying with your expectations about Westerns.

“Everybody could shoot.”

1. Rachel Getting Married: Shows a real family struggling with the burden of a daughter addicted to drugs. Really illustrates the nuance and complexity involved in family dynamics when it comes to addiction.

“That is so unfair!”

Honorable mention to Valkyrie for keeping me on the edge of my seat, despite my being familiar with the history. Also an honorable nod to The Tale of Despereaux for being a subversive little story about being different. I am too familiar with caped crusader and somehow that contributed to my dislike for Dark Knight (although Ledger did a great job, I couldn’t get past the Batman voice, the stupid “eye in the sky” technology, or the undecipherable action sequences). A victim of nostalgia, my most disappointing movie — by far — was the new Indiana Jones.

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