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Yearly Roundup – 2008

Posted by martinteller on August 28, 2012

The Cream of the Crop

Nina Paley’s only feature to date, Sita Sings the Blues, is not just my top animated film, but also the only animated movie to crack my top 100.  An utterly original and really invigorating, beautiful blend of musical, documentary, and autobiography.  And Sparrow is one of my top discoveries of 2012 to date, and my favorite by Johnnie To so far.  It’s another genre-buster that isn’t easy to classify but is easy to love.


Slightly Less Creamy, But Still Tasty

It’s a good year for small-scale dramas.  The Class, Goodbye Solo and Wendy and Lucy all fit that mold, providing grand insight and emotional content from a very intimate perspective.  On the opposite end of the spectrum, Love Exposure is a sprawling, insane, heavily stylized epic, with cinematic delights all over the place.  In terms of higher-profile films, WALL-E remains my favorite Pixar and the only one I really have affection for.  And to hell with Midnight in Paris… if you ask me, Vicky Cristina Barcelona is the best Woody Allen film of the 21st century.  In documentaries, we have the intensely political Burma VJ and the deeply personal The Beaches of Agnes.

Update 3/18/2014: The Rock-afire Explosion is another very good doc.


Varying Degrees of Like

24 City
At the Death House Door
The Dark Knight

Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog
Encounters at the End of the World
Everlasting Moments

Flight of the Red Balloon
The Headless Woman
I’m Gonna Explode
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
Let the Right One In
Man on Wire
Night and Day
Rachel Getting Married
Slumdog Millionaire
The Song of Sparrows
Still Walking
Summer Hours
Synecdoche, New York
Tokyo Sonata
The Visitor
Wallace & Gromit in “A Matter of Loaf and Death”
Waltz With Bashir


Varying Degrees of Hate

I Come With the Rain
Iron Man


Some Notable Films In The Middle

35 Shots of Rum
Burn After Reading
The Chaser
Dear Zachary
The Fall
Food, Inc.
Forgetting Sarah Marshall
The Good, the Bad, the Weird
In Bruges
Lorna’s Silence
La maison Nucingen
My Blueberry Nights
Of Time and the City
Paranoid Park
Pineapple Express
Role Models
Tell No One
Three Monkeys
The Wrestler


Uncharted Territory

10 Promises to My Dog, All Around Us, Be Kind Rewind, Boy A, Che, Cloverfield, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Frost/Nixon, Funny Games (US), Generation Kill, Gran Torino, Gu Gu the Cat, Hancock, Histeria, It Might Get Loud, JCVD, Kung Fu Panda, Un lac, Marley & Me, Miracle at St. Anna, , Oru Pennum Randaanum, Pontypool, Quantum of Solace, Redbelt, Rocknrolla, Sell Out!, Semi-Pro, The Shaft, Shotgun Stories, Step Brothers, Tropic Thunder, Twilight, Wanted, The Way We Are


11 Responses to “Yearly Roundup – 2008”

  1. Jessica said

    Haven’t seen most of the movies in your top categories. But like you I prefer Vicky Cristina Barcelona to Midnight in Paris. It seems as if I’m more enthusiastic about Paranoid Park than you are. Apart from the very beginning, with the endless skateboard running and whispering voices. That was a bit offputting. But once the movie started it was excellent.

    • Yeah I’m thinking I need to really set some parameters for my categories in these posts. PARANOID PARK is probably more a “Varying Degrees of Like” than a “In the Middle” movie for me, because I did like it. Maybe “Varying Degrees of Love” would be more appropriate.

  2. Bondo said

    Must be a modern year because unlike most of the years you’ve done, I’ve seen most of the stuff listed. I’m a big fan of The Class (on my top-100 I believe) and have a soft spot for Love Exposure. Be Kind Rewind is probably my favorites among those you haven’t seen.

    • Your recommendation was one of the reasons I saw Love Exposure! I want to get the Blu-Ray, but it’s going for $30 on Amazon. I’ll have to see if I can find it cheaper.

  3. JamDenTel said

    LOVE EXPOSURE is one I really, really want to see (same for SITA, but that’s easier to get ahold of). And while I haven’t seen VCB, I can totally get behind saying to hell with MiP.

    -BENJAMIN BUTTON I’ve only seen once, but I remember liking it. Overlong, maybe, but a compelling and very well-made fantasy.
    -FROST/NIXON is really good, too, much better than I expected, actually; Frank Langella is excellent, although Michael Sheen is a bit one-note (and really, fuck Sam Rockwell).
    -GRAN TORINO has a great Eastwood performance, the rest of it is okay. It’s worth a watch for Eastwood, because he really does do some of his best work in it.
    -HANCOCK is…okay, at least for the first half. The second half kind of falls apart. Will Smith and Jason Bateman are good, though.
    -I actually thought KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL was good fun; certainly not on the level of RAIDERS, but (I’d say) about on a par with THE LAST CRUSADE. And honestly, the “nuking the fridge” scene is not that bad. Certainly no more outlandish than the other films.
    -KUNG FU PANDA is good fun. No masterpiece, but fun.
    -QUANTUM OF SOLACE, I think, is highly underrated; I’m a big Bond fan, though, so your mileage may vary.
    -STEP BROTHERS is funny; TROPIC THUNDER is also funny. I slightly prefer the latter, but both are worth a look.
    -WANTED impressed me in 2008. Now, I’m not so sure.

    • Keep in mind the “Uncharted Territory” is a mix of stuff I actually want to see, and stuff that’s just popular and/or highly-regarded. Most of the ones you listed I’m not too interested in seeing. I’ll see CRYSTAL SKULL when the Indiana Jones Blu-Ray set arrives, and sooner or later I may get around to STEP BROTHERS or TROPIC THUNDER. The others I’m not terribly intrigued by, but I may have some reason to see them eventually.

      • JamDenTel said

        That’s fair. Sorry if I went a little overboard, this was just one of the few years you’ve done thus far were I’d actually seen a lot of the major films. But yeah, 2008 wasn’t that great a year for film (2009, however, I’d argue is the best year of the last decade).

      • You didn’t go overboard, I appreciate the feedback!

  4. Anonymous said

    It is great how you give such love to Sita. It is a truly unique film. It didn’t hold up as much for me the second time I watched it, but in a couple years I’ll try again. It’s so much fun.

    I hope you watch Rachel Getting Married. I found it to be an amazing acting showcase. The subject matter is a little more personal to me, but still, it’s a great film.

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