Wednesday, March 4, 2009

My Year in Film & Music: 2008 (Volume One, Issue One)

Top 10 Films of 2008

1. The Dark Knight - Yeah, yeah.
2. The Good, the Bad, the Weird - A Korean gem I was fortunately able to catch at the 2008 Telluride Film Festival. It's a film that knows how to be silly without being stupid, which a lot of mainstream American comedies seem to be incapable of. Since you're all probably tired of seeing pictures of The Dark Knight, I chose the poster for this movie to headline my list.
3. The Wrestler - The ambiguity as to whether Rourke's pain is real or not during the wrestling scenes adds so much to the emotional weight of this movie. Heartbreaking and inspiring.
4. Forgetting Sarah Marshall - Probably the best film to come out of the Apatow factory, if you ask me.
5. WALL-E - While it does seem to get a little too caught up in its almost-heavy-handed environmental message near the end, it's hard not to completely fall in love with it.
6. Bolt - This movie is so unloved, and I don't get it. Sure, it borrows from The Truman Show and Toy Story, among other things, but it has heart and sincerity, something many CGI films lack these days. It also doesn't depend on pop culture references for laughs.
7. Pineapple Express - Another one that everyone seemed disappointed in. I laughed all the way through, and was impressed at how different of an action movie it was, clumsy, paranoid, infantile (in an entertaining way).
8. Happy-Go-Lucky - Despite being a comedy, this film is incredible at building tension and discomfort.
9. Speed Racer - It is simply misunderstood.
10. Slumdog Millionaire - I may not love it as much as others, but it warms the heart and Danny Boyle deserves the recognition he has received.

Unfortunately Unseen (in alphabetical order)
Gran Torino

Paranoid Park
Rachel Getting Married
Revolutionary Road

Male Performances of the Year

1. Heath Ledger - The Dark Knight
2. Mickey Rourke - The Wrestler
3. Robert Downey Jr.Tropic Thunder
4. Song Kang-ho - The Good, the Bad, the Weird
5. Robert Downey Jr. Iron Man

Female Performances of the Year

1. Sally Hawkins - Happy-Go-Lucky
2. Penelope Cruz - Vicky Cristina Barcelona
3. Melissa Leo - Frozen River
4. Anjelica Huston - Choke
5. Samantha Morton - Synecdoche, New York

Top 3 Albums of 2008

1. The Mars Volta - The Bedlam in Goliath - The first half of the album perfectly captures the band's explosive stage presence, something they've gotten progressively better at doing with each album, while the latter half contains a weirder, more emotional and "cinematic" collection of songs, the kind that makes this band special to me.
2. Portugal. The Man - Censored Colors - Catchy, emotional tunes that easily get stuck in your head and heart.
3. Blitzen Trapper - Furr - My favorite musical discovery of 2008. They sound right out the 60s or 70s, as if they could have been playing on the same stage as the Grateful Dead. They also win for best band name.

Top 10 Most Anticipated Films of 2009

1. Where the Wild Things Are (Spike Jonze)
2. Public Enemies (Michael Mann)
3. The Fantastic Mr. Fox (Wes Anderson)
4. Tree of Life (Terrence Malick)
5. Cold Souls (Sophie Barthes)
6. The Road (John Hillcoat)
7. Funny People (Judd Apatow)
8. Inglourious Basterds (Quentin Tarantino)
9. Moon (Duncan Jones)
10. Dragonball Evolution (James Wong)


  1. Cam, let me first compliment you on your willingness to support "TDK" even with all us nay-sayers in the annals. And by nay-sayers I suppose I only mean Eric and me.

    You've made me interested in "Forgetting Sarah Marshall." When it came out I had absolutely NO interest in seeing it, but you're not the first to hold the film in high regard. I'll check it out.

    I hope you see "JCVD" soon. I'd like to hear your thoughts on how it compares with "The Wrestler."

    I'm glad to see the love for "Pineapple Express" up there as well. James Franco and Seth Rogan made a great comedy duo in my opinion.

    I completely agree with your "most anticipated" list. I can't fucking WAIT to see "Tree of Life," "The Road," and "Where the Wild Things Are."

  2. I feel like I should mention that although James Wong is directing the Dragonball film, I think (I HOPE) that Stephen Chow will be the true auteur behind it (he is producing the film). I still can't help feeling though that Chow made a mistake by not playing Goku himself, which is nothing if not the role he was fucking born for.

    "Tree of Life" would probably be my number one for 2009 (seeing as how "The Expendables" is achingly delayed until 2010).

    Let me also congratulate you on a great list with a lot of unusual choices (I liked "Bolt" as well) and the relative courage to stand-up for TDK (on this blog, anyway).

    Can't wait to see your pieces on postmodernism and comic book films.