Here comes my final Top 10 list of 2008. In no particular order, these are the ten best movies that I saw in the theater during 2008 (a handful of them came out at the end of 2007, but were still playing well into 2008, so I think that counts). I feel like I’ve seen less movies in the theaters this year, although it’s possible that I just saw less-than-stellar movies in the theaters.
Disclaimer: The Dark Knight is not on this list. Why? Well, to be honest, I didn’t think it was all that good. Yes, Ledger was awesome–his Joker is the only non-animated version of Mr. J that captured the character’s chaotic nihilism. But, other than the Joker, I found the movie horribly dull.
There is absolutely no reason why I should have liked this movie. It is nothing like the kind of movie I like. There wasn’t a single giant robot, car chase, or zombie. But, in spite of myself, I loved this movie. I’m well aware that it has all to do with Michael Cera, J.K. Simmons and Ellen Page (mostly her, I think, since she pretty much looks like every girl I ever asked out in college).
2. Sweeney Todd
There are certain things that just work well together: Peanut butter and jelly, Jack and Coke, Riggs and Murtaugh. Add to that list Johnny Depp and Tim Burton. It really doesn’t take much to get Depp to throw on a silly costume and prance his pasty-faced ass around, talking in a funny accent. Apparently, it does take some doing to get the guy to sing, though. He does a pretty good job in this flick that blends another pair of things that go well together: revenge and cannibalism.
3. Iron Man
Yeah, I’m gonna say it: Iron Man was the best movie I saw last year. It finally showed that making a good superhero movie is not rocket science, even when it happens to be about a guy who is (more or less) a rocket scientist. Would it have been as good without Robert Downey, Jr. (in a role he was born to play)? I’m not sure. Thankfully, I won’t have to find out just yet.
4. Hellboy II: The Golden Army
Hellboy is probably my favorite comic book character. Ever. So, imagine how stoked I was when the first Hellboy came out and it starred Ron Perlman and was directed by Guillermo del Toro (the only guy who play HB and the only guy who could direct HB)? Then, it kicked so much ass that it warranted a sequel. Granted, the sequel is a little more del Toro-esque and less Mignola-y, but it’s still pretty sweet.
5. No Country for Old Men
I can’t imagine many people would fight me on putting No Country for Old Menon this list. Movies rarely have a physical effect on me, but watching this actually made me tense, which is probably what the Coens were going for. I would have preferred a little more of Tommy Lee Jones and his mildly retarded sidekick, Garret Dillahunt, but Josh Brolin’s mustache and Javier Bardem’s Michael Meyers-like Anton Chigurh more than make up for it.
6. Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead
Okay, so there’s this Indian burial ground, right? And someone decides to build a fast food chicken restaurant on it, you with me? Naturally the spirits of the dead Indians are going to raise up, infest the food, and turn everyone who eats it into chicken-zombies (not zombie-chickens…trust me, there’s a difference). If you’ve never seen a Troma movie than this might not be for you. But, if you like blood, violence, sex, harmless nudity, and lines like “I’ll believe in the supernatural when I see it, talking sandwich” and “The ninja is right”, Poultrygeist is probably right up your alley.
7. Tropic Thunder
I must have been a very, very good boy in 2007, because the gods saw fit to give me two movies starring RoDoJu. And, to be honest, the only thing powerful enough to counteract my burning hatred of Ben Stiller and Tom Cruise is my love of how awesome Robert Downey, Jr. is.
8. Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog
Most end-of-year talk about Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog refer to it in terms of television. Personally, I think this little internet phenomenon has got “feature” written all over it. Besides, Horrible is head and shoulders above most of the crap that the studios cranked out this past year.
9. The Incredible Hulk
Sure, Incredible Hulk is nowhere near as good as Iron Man. But, it is way better than the first Hulk movie, and it’s even better than this year’s comic movie darling, The Dark Knight. Norton made a pretty convincing Bruce Banner and the writers borrowed liberally from both the comic and the classic Bixby/Ferrigno TV series. It almost makes me feel bad that Robert Downey, Jr. walks away with the movie with his ten second cameo (wait, that means this year had three RoDoJu movies!).
10. Cassandra’s Dream
Normally, I’m not a fan of Woody Allen movies. They just never really did anything for me…most likely because the New York in Allen movies is not the New York I grew up in. Mad Max is more like the New York I grew up in. Anyway…I find that I enjoy Allen’s recent UK movies much more, and this one actually made me like Colin Farrell.