12/31/2008

Top Seven Movies of 2008...

I've always loved watching movies. I love talking (and writing) about movies almost as much. Editor's Note: Which is sweet, considering that I now get to review movies for a website...

What follows is my list of the top 7 movies of the year. Now, I know that some of my choices could be controversial. But, in the end, every year end list you see on the internet is subjective by nature. It just so happens that mine is the most awesome. So, without further adieu...


7) Man On Wire (certified 4 Yarmulke™ rating)- Jaime turned me on to this movie about Philippe Petit's 1974 tightrope walk between the World Trade Center towers. While I wouldn't normally rank a documentary this high, this movie had me completely mesmerized. It's practically an interview with Petit and his co-conspirators about why they pulled off this incredible stunt and, more importantly, how. And on top of that, they have so much footage of the actual event! But here's what hooked me; the way that Petit tells his story is totally captivating. Here's someone who is completely passionate about tightrope walking, and that passion is infectious. He makes you feel as if you were a part of the caper...

6) Forgetting Sarah Marshall (certified 3.5 Yarmulke™ rating)- I LOVE this movie! Written by How I Met Your Mother's Jason Segal and produced by Judd Apatow, it contains plenty of heart and, you guessed it, plenty of crudeness. (Is that a word?) When I worte my facebook mini-review of it, I wondered if I loved it so much because I was going through a breakup when I saw it. And that could be why... I think the reason why we can be so affected by movies is because we identify with them. We see ourselves (or who we want to be) in them. And for me, I thought this was a great depiction (and one of the most realistic) of what a bad breakup can be. My favorite part was how they showed the main character reliving his memories of the relationship...

5) Iron Man (certified 4.5 Yarmulke™ rating)- I saw this movie 3 times in the theater. Besides being the screen debut of one of Marvel's most underrated characters, it was also the much-lauded comeback of Robert Downey Jr. And boy did he knock it out of the park! But this movie doesn't just feature one good actor. Oh no. It's got four! This was a movie that proved that summer blockbusters don't have to be mindless to be entertaining. Up until this point, I said that Richard Donner's Superman was the model of what a superhero movie should be. But after seeing Iron Man, I think this is the new model. Well, at least it was for a month or two...

4) WALL·E (certified 5 Yarmulke™ rating)- I first learned about this movie at ComicCon 07 when I sat in on a panel with its sound designer. The director, Andrew Stanton said that the first 30 or so minutes of the movie would contain almost no dialogue. I worried that this wouldn't translate well into a kids' movie. But boy was I wrong. This movie is such a shining example of what a powerful story can do when combined with incredible imagery. And the first 30 or so minutes is like watching the most beautiful silent movie ever...

3) Doubt (certified 4.5 Yarmulke™ rating)- What do you get when you mix two oscar winning actors, one oscar nominated actor, and a script based on a play that won the pulitzer? You get an incredibly thought provoking film. I saw this movie a few days ago and it's still stuck in my head! Not only do you get to see acting at its finest, but you're not given every part of the information of the actual event that is the catalyst for the story, so that you're put in the place of the characters. I walked out thinking that one thing happened, and after talking with a friend, realized he walked away with something completely different. And any movie that is so powerful, and that can incite such different experiences, is truly awesome...

2) The Dark Knight (certified 5 Yarmulke™ rating)- Remember when I said that Iron Man was the new model for superhero movies? That was until The Dark Knight was released. Rising on the solid performances of Christian Bale, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, and Aaron Eckhardt the movie was already more than capable of being great. But when you add in the volatile performance of Heath Ledger, you kick things over the top of any expectation that could have possibly been in place. And, it's the only superhero movie that is a legitimate contender come oscar time...

1) The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (certified 5 Yarmulke™ rating)- Had I written this list a mere 24 hours ago, I would have listed The Dark Knight as my number one film. But I didn't. I saw Ben Button last night and completely fell in love with it. It's magical. It's epic. It's a movie that's bigger than its actors. It's bigger than its sets. It's bigger than its story. It's a melding of all of those things into a movie that is one of (if not the) most beautiful movie(s) I've ever seen. I am completely in awe of it. It's a movie that makes me want to live. And I can't wait to see it a 2nd, 3rd, and (possibly) 4th time...

Honorable mentions- Kung Fu Panda (certified 4.5 Yarmulke™ rating), Run Fatboy Run (certified 4.5 Yarmulke™ rating)...

And now, for a new edition to the list...

Worst Movie of the Year) The Happening (certified 1.5 Yarmulke™ rating)- I struggled with focusing on just one movie to declare the worst. Some other contenders were Strange Wilderness, Doomsday, and You Don't Mess With the Zohan. But then I remembered that none of those movies ever declared anything about themselves. They just... were. But M. Night Shyamalan declared that this movie was so good, that naturally, people wouldn't like it. Just look at the poster. He even tries to draw a comparison to Sixth Sense and Signs. I mean, this movie is so bad it's literally offensive. And you have no idea how sad that is for me to say. Shyamalan was, at one time, one of my heroes. A writer/director that was being heralded as the second coming of Hitchcock. Signs is one of my favorite movies of all time, but this is no Signs. It's terribly acted, horribly written, and sloppily (and lazily) directed. I'll be very surprised if Shyamalan's career continues much past this turd...

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