Monday, January 05, 2009

2008 Movie List

Inspired by various friends who have been doing this for years, I am starting out the new blog year by listing all the movies I watched last year. Or most of them. I don't always remember to write them down.

After looking them over, I am a little ashamed of all the crap that I apparently watch. However, my time-honored defense is this: It is the fault of other people. Starting with my lovely wife.

She's in grad school, and by the end of a long, hard day studying academic papers on child abuse and women in prison, she's not terribly in the mood to watch a documentary about how George Bush has screwed us all, or some fictionalized recounting of some atrocity or genocide. All she wants to do is watch romantic comedies.

The problem, of course, is that there are only about two good romantic comedies a year, so we end up watching a lot of bad movies, even though we both know ahead of time that they are likely going to suck. She doesn't even like period pieces, which at least provide some window dressing and (often) a glimpse into history.

Not content to merely blame my wife, I'll also add my kids to the heap. We do family movie nights pretty regularly, and by the time we settle on one that everyone will actually sit through, the quality of the movie is secondary. I actually don't mind this as much, since it's something the whole family can do together, even if the movie is not objectively good.

The good news is that my son has become a major Will Smith fan. I like Will Smith, so sitting through every PG-13 movie he has ever made is not too bad.

Alright, I know, too many words already. Here they are:


Ratatouille (merely OK)
28 Days Later (Very good)
Amazing Grace (Disappointed - wanted it to be great)
Fog of War (fascinating)
National Treasure Book of Secrets (retread)
28 Weeks Later (both better and worse than original)
Waitress (Nice movie about adultery)
Tristram Shandy: A cock and bull story (Certainly original)
We don’t live here anymore (more adultery, not as nice)
Pan’s Labyrinth (good for a fairy tale)
Atonement (good, but not great)
SuperBad (saved by McLovin)
Vanity Fair (good, but not the Victorian romance I was expecting)
Juno (Excellent)
Gone Baby Gone (Superb)
Michael Clayton (Excellent)
3:10 To Yuma (Excellent – Haven’t seen a good western in a long time)
The Simpsons (Lived just up to expectations)
Fever Pitch (British version – better than American one)
The Band’s Visit (fun characters. Kind of boring)
Horton Hears a Who (OK)
Dan in Real Life (fun, but dumb message to tell teenagers)
I am Legend (Best zombie movie I’ve seen)
Pursuit of Happyness (slow, ok)
Coupling, Seasons 2-4 (Excellent)
The Darjeeling Limited (very Wes Anderson-y)
The Yes Men (Hurray for WTO impersonators)
The Bee Movie (terrible plot, funny in parts)
The Bourne Ultimatum (go, Jason, go)
Death at a Funeral (funny, but probably overrated)
Hamlet (long)
Delirious (good)
Canvas (good)
Shotgun Stories (My favorite small movie of the year)
The Real Dirt on Farmer John (second favorite)
Hulk (as boring as the first time around)
Housekeeping (fine)
The Cell (Rube Goldberg machine of a movie)
Romance and Cigarettes (very good)
Alvin and the Chipmunks (bad even by kid movie standards)
Rendition (Excellent)
Across the Universe (Great if you were ever a Beatles fan)
Arrested Development, Seasons 1-4 (Best sitcom of my year)
The Savages (overrated)
The Lives of Others (Excellent)
In the Valley of Elah (Excellent – man, why didn’t these good Iraq war movies do better?)
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (fun & dumb)
Good Luck Chuck (Icky, Soulless)
27 Dresses (succeeded in washing the stink of Good Luck Chuck away)
Memento (exactly as good on 2nd viewing, but I thought it would be better)
IronMan (Best comic book movie I had seen)
La Vie En Rose (gave up after 45 minutes)
Independence Day (Much worse the 2nd time through, which is saying something)
Brewster’s Millions (the kid’s liked it)
In the Heat of Night (pretty good, but reminded me of too many 70's TV dramas)
The Graduate (still excellent)
Raising Arizona (still a great movie)
Get Smart (Terrible, very bad movie)
Bonnie and Clyde (not as good as I was expecting)
The Happening (someone needs to take the car keys away from M. Night Shyamalan).
Vacation (nostalgic value only – don’t watch with children)
The Nanny Diaries (crapola)
Batman – The Dark Knight (New best comic book movie ever)
Tully (best EbertFest movie I’ve seen outside Ebertfest)
Harold and Kumar escape from Gitmo (OK, disappointed)
The Office, seasons 1-3 (excellent)
Various episodes of The Cosby Show and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (better than I thought, and excellent family viewing choices)
Reel Paradise (Somewhat ugly Americans in Fiji)
My Best Friend (A good version of one of these kinds of movies)
History of the World Part 1 (does not hold up well)
Cashback (OK – probably should have stayed a short)
No Reservations (decent as family movie)
Lars and the Real Girl (Excellent. Nice themes about community and mental illness)
Raiders of the Last Ark (Still fun, but I now think National Treasure is better)
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (too clever by half)
Leatherheads (disappointing)
Run Fatboy Run (disappointing)
Religulous (funny but one-sided)
Millions (still my favorite small movie)
W (OK, but too sympathetic)
Dial M for Murder (excellent)
Forgetting Sarah Marshall (forget this movie)
Harry Potter The Goblet of Fire (still fun)
The Chocolate War (still very good, but dated)
Ms.Pettigrew Lives for a Day (fine)
God Grew Tired of Us (very good, and not as depressing as you’d think).
Forgiving the Franklins (terrible - only made it 20 minutes in)
Flight of the Conchords season 1 (I wanted it to be better)
Sunshine (very good Sci-Fi)
Monster House (quite good for a family movie)
The Spiderwick Chronicles (OK)
30 Rock, Seasons 1-2 (Alec Baldwin’s acting is a treasure)
Annie Hall (Holds up very well – many iconic lines still resonate)
Christmas with the Kranks (decent by family Christmas movie standards)
The Holiday (blech)
Jumper (would have been good if it had made sense)
Hancock (enjoyed it)
Wall-E (Both excellent and important, for both adults and kids)
Little Women (a good way to end the year)

13 comments:

PG said...

Nice list. It has inspired me to go back and write comments on my own list, when I find some time.

Dan S said...

I just went back and read yours (it scrolled by during the holidays). 320 films! Yes, you should definitely put in a little review next to them, so I can benefit from your wisdom. Others can see it here.

Also, I noticed two more films on your list that I saw, but didn't mark down, so thanks for jogging my memory.

Robert Sievers said...

Knowing that remakes are typically not as good as the originals (unless you like special effects more than plot), I watched the original 3:10 to Yuma. I was underwhelmed.

PG said...

Both are really quite good. You should definitely check out the new version, Robert. Both movies deal with moral issues relevant to many things discussed on this blog: justice, violence, and retribution.

Leer said...

You should've given FORGIVING THE FRANKLINS a whole viewing before deciding you hated it. It's a actually kind of great, but not in the first twenty minutes.

Pastor Mike said...

I think I saw the Chipmunks movie...and that's been about it. I'm more of a "heroes" and news junkie. But, nice list.

Lazy Gal Tonya said...

I Am Legend - best zombie movie ever? noooo way. There were parts of it I loved and I haven't cried like that in years, but the last quarter? Completely sucky. And God saves everything. bleah. have you seen Shaun of the Dead? My current favorite zombie movie.

Definitely with you on Arrested Development and 30 Rock. excellent shows. Have you tried the series Chuck? It's a hoot and the former geek in you will get a laugh.

Dan S said...

I did see Shaun of the Dead, and loved it, but it seemed more like a parody of a zombie movie, which disqualifies it for me. And yea, the God bit at the end of Legend was totally tacked on. I liked 28 Days/Weeks a lot too, but it suffered from the fatal flaw of why the zombies didn't just attack each other, if they were so crazed out.

We are almost out of sitcoms to watch (Spaced is next, but it didn't run for very long), so I am now adding Chuck to the list.

And for Forgiving the Franklins, I had heard great things about it and maybe should have given it more time, but the acting and the dialogue was just so bad that I didn't expect it to get any better. Oh well.

PG said...

Lee and I loved "Slings and Arrows," a Canadian sitcom about a theater group.

PG said...

I almost feel compelled to comment on all your comments, most of which are pithy and true. I rewatched Forgiving the Franklins yesterday (because for me it was Forgetting the Franklins) and it really is a sketch stretched out too far. I wouldn't call it terrible, though, and the sexual liberation premise has been done before. When I get done revising my comments, I'll revisit your list and comment some more.

Dan S said...

Dang. I just noticed Wall-E on your list, and I saw that at the theater too. Time to update.

Slings and Arrows is now on my Netflix list too.

It looks like you are making good progress on your comments. Lots of good netflix additions there as well.

brownie said...

Pan's Labyrinth...technically, a fantasy (LOTR, Harry Potter are fairy tales). Still excellent.

Jenna said...

Thanks for reminding of all the movies I wanted to see for did and then forgot about them...I added a lot to my library list. We watched Iron Man last night.