2008 Year End Review, Foreword

This is much a placeholder for myself here as anything….

I’m going to set up a “Chasing the Golden Idol” article on Loaded Shelf. I’ll cross-post the meatier stuff.

Looking at the IMDB top movies of the year, I see Taare Zameem Par comes in first. And, truly, that film has been playing locally for months, it seems. Unfortunately, my Hindi is “rusty”.

Makes me wonder where the foreign films were this year. Probably still in their home countries. The last 2-3 years has seen some marvelous work get to us in a timely fashion; not so much this year. The Boy’s favorite was Amazing Grace; I haven’t got the heart to tell him it was last year’s movie and didn’t get a single major award nomination, much less actual win. It’s given a mildly warm 7.7 on IMDB.

There was a time when Godfather, consistently in the top three movies on IMDB since I first saw in the mid ‘90s, scored a 7.9. But with score inflation, 7.7 is just “solid”. IMDB also seems overrun with fanboys, bestowing blessings on anything Tarantino or Jackson.

I’m already feeling curmudgeonly.

Movies I haven’t seen because they aren’t going anywhere for a while: Sweeny Todd, The Bucket List.

Movies I haven’t seen because they haven’t shown up in the local theater: There Will Be Blood, 4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days, Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.

Have to be seen in the next week because all these things get released at the end of the year, despite weeks of being desperate for anything worth seeing: Juno, Kite Runner, Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Persepolis, Away From Her, Atonement, Charlie Wilson’s War. (Greyed out items represent movies seen last week because they were previously unavailable.)

Movies by people who have done better and whose current acclaim may be based on said previous better work1: No Country For Old Men, Atonement, Charlie Wilson’s War, Sweeney Todd, Sicko, The Bourne Ultimatum, Grindhouse (Planet Terror/Death Proof), The Mist, Zodiac, Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead.

Underrated Gems/Surprisingly Good2: Eastern Promises, The Darjeeling Limited, Gone, Baby, Gone, Reign Over Me, Lars and the Real Girl, Waitress, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Death at a Funeral, Breach, The Kingdom, Disturbia, Becoming Jane

Solids: The King of Kong, Lars and the Real Girl, Ratatouille, Hot Fuzz, Stardust, The Darjeeling Limited, Superbad, Zodiac, 1408

Flawed, but Watchable3: The Mist, Live Free or Die Hard, The Simpsons Movie, Becoming Jane

Likely to be overlooked: The King of Kong, Lars and the Real Girl, Ratatouille, Stardust, Superbad, Reign Over Me, Death at a Funeral, Breach

WTF?4: I’m Not There, La Mome (aka La Vie En Rose; aka, The Life of Edith Piaf), 28 Weeks Later, Atonement

I notice that a lot of the critically acclaimed flicks this year (No Country and Atonement, e.g.) eschew traditionally satisfying narratives for–well, for what, exactly? Communicating despair, it would seem. I’m a huge Coen Brothers fan, but I can see myself rewatching Ladykillers and Intolerable Cruelty (their attempt to get more mainstream and work with a studio) over and over again rather than watching Country again.

Hell, I probably will rewatch it to see if I can figure out if I’m missing some over-arching point. Wouldn’t be the first time that I had to see a Coen movie 2-3 times just to get it.

1. I haven’t seen all these movies, so I’m not saying “overrated”. Maybe Sweeney Todd is Burton’s masterpiece. With these guys, it’s hard to get a straight review of just the current film, not their catalogue.

2. Gems, or just watchable in situations where I didn’t expect it. Disturbia is a very watchable cross between Rear Window and a John Hughes Teen Pic.

3. Most movies fall into this category, really. The flaws in these sort of jumped out but still were salvageable.

4. Movies that made me go “Whaaa—-?”

More later.

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