Monday, December 29, 2008

Best Films of 2008

These are the best movies that were not necessarily made in 2008, but that I watched for the first time in 2008.

Kill Bill, v.1,2. (2003, 2004) For much of the year, I was, shall we say, in the mood for Quentin Tarantino's epic tale of revenge. Tarantino is such a great film maker because he feels no obligations to comply with the conventions of modern cinema. He executes his vision exactly as he envisions it in exacting detail. True art begins when you don't care what other people think. Another fantastic Tarantino film: Death Proof.

Sin City. (2005) A translation of Frank Miller's saga of the very depths and the very heights of human morality and experience. Sin City shows humanity at is very best and very worst -- and everything in between. Rewatching it recently, I was struck by this line by the corrupt Senator Roarke, which reminded me of my District Superintendent: "Power don't come from a badge or a gun. Power comes from lying. Lying big and gettin' the whole damn world to play along with you. Once you've got everybody agreeing with what they know in their hearts ain't true, you've got 'em by the balls. Everyone would lie for me. Everyone who counts. Otherwise, their own lies — everything that runs Sin City — it all comes tumbling down like a pack of cards." The DCOM didn't just end my candidacy. Four members in particular were actually enraged by my truth-telling. Senator Roarke's explanation is precisely why.

Annie Hall. (1977) I love Woody Allen, and finally got around to seeing what is thought to be his best film. I'm not convinced that it's better than Sleeper, but it's very good. Like Tarantino, Allen's work is punctuated by long conversations between characters about ordinary topics that are somehow profoundly interesting. Annie Hall is the tale of a minor comedian who forms a great relationship with a girlfriend, and then wrecks it because the relationship is not absolutely perfect. Besides, the entire movie was worth it just for the single line "Sex with you is a very Kafka-esque experience."

What was your favorite movie from 2008?


The Progressive Deist said...

I definitely agree with your views of Sin City (and you are right as that is a great line delivered perfectly) and Kill Bill. I don't particular love Woody Allen but Annie Hall is a good movie.

I guess my choices for 2008 movies in no particular order or necessarily released in 2008 are:

1) Dark Knight

2) Iron Man

3) Hancock

4) No Country For Old Men

5) I Am Legend

6) Tropic Thunder

7) Wall-E

8) Indiana Jones

There are others but that is all I can think of right now.

My most anticipated movie for 2009 is none other than the Watchmen.

John Wilks said...

I thought that Wall-E was simply wonderful. For a pre-'08 release I just got around to watching, I really enjoyed Goodnight and Good Luck.

Though I saw it several years ago, I agree with you about the genius of Kill Bill. It was like Ballet with blood and guts.

Matt said...


I also posted briefly about in in my post on Messiah figures in science fiction :

Capa from Danny Boyle's Sunshine, because it was my favorite movie this year, and because Danny Boyle (director), Alex Garland (writer), and Cillian Murphy are all raging atheists, but they made a beautiful sci-fi movie with Christ symbols and it hasn't decreased my faith one bit.

Michael said...

All the movies I saw in 2008 were probably made in 2006 or sooner. So I'll have to get back to you in a couple of years.

Dan Trabue said...

I enjoyed Iron Man and Dark Knight greatly. Didn't see that many movies this year and most of them don't stand out.

I recently re-watched A Prairie Home Companion and still think it's the cat's meow.

I'm looking forward to seeing Eastwood's Gran Torino...

Dan Trabue said...

And, although it's probably not a Best movie, simply because Reepicheep is one of my favorite characters in all of literature, I'd have to say I truly enjoyed, Prince Caspian, the second in the Narnia series.

I can't wait for The Voyage of the Dawn Treader which has Reepicheep back in a slightly larger role (or at least the book does) and introduces us to a new protagonist - here is how the book does the introduction:

"There was a boy named Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it."


John said...

I enjoyed Hancock, but didn't see most of the others.

I had no idea that there was A Prairie Home Companion movie. Before 9/11 and Keillor got really political, I used to really enjoy that show.

Dan Trabue said...

You ought to see Prairie Home Companion. I don't think there's anything political in the movie itself. Starring GK as himself. Kevin Klein as Guy Noir. Woody Harrelson and John C. Reilly as the two cowpokes - Lefty and Dusty.

Many of the regulars (the musicians and sound effects guy) are on there acting as themselves and doing a great job.

There's a rather stupid subplot that the story is built around and I didn't care for that, but otherwise, it's like watching the radio show with some extra stuff thrown in. Lotsa fun!

jockeystreet said...

Woody Allen is my favorite director, and "Annie Hall" is one of his best ("Manhattan," though, is my personal favorite).

"Kill Bill" and "Sin City" are good picks as well.

My own 2008 movies... "Dark Knight," definitely. And maybe "Hot Fuzz" (or did I see that in late 2007?). I finally saw "Casablanca," and what do you know, there's a reason that movie is legendary. And they're certainly tacky, but I like the Judd Apatow movies. "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" and "Pineapple Express" were good.

JD said...

Dark Knight was classic.

Seven Pounds is ripe for a theological debate.

Prince Caspian was a little lacking. I didn't like the injection of the White Witch, although, overall, it made sense, the subtleness that CS Lewis took with the same subject was better received from the book. Just as Dan is, I am looking forward to Voyage of the Dawn Treader, but it will be interesting to see if it goes adrift like Hell Boy II did when it switched studios. (Disney is no longer doing it, Fox is picking it up)

Hancock was a wonderfully different take on superheroes. I hope that they have a prequel or delve further into the back story.

I am Legend, best take on Matheson's book I have seen so far, although the book is still more frightening. "Robert...Robert"

Though not a very Christian movie, Role Models was absolutely HILARIOUS!