The Long-Belated Movie Post

It just occurred to me that I never went back over the 2007 or 2008 movies, like I did with 2006. Part of this is that between daughter, move and work, Sue and I are watching far fewer movies than we used to.

But part of it, I think, is that I deliberately spaced on 2007, since it wasn’t exactly a horrid year for movies, but it wasn’t a good year and it was a depressing year. The top ten movies with 25,000 votes on IMDB were No Country For Old Men, Sicko, the Bourne Ultimatum, Ratatouille, There Will Be Blood, Into the Wild, the Man From Earth, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Hot Fuzz and American Gangster. No Country for Old Men was well made but I find Comac McCarthy’s ugly view of humanity off-putting. Sicko, as fiction, was probably OK. As a “documentary”, it was a sick joke, as I frequently blogged. Into the Wild was quite good as was There Will Be Blood and Diving Bell. But again, all three were downer movies.

There are still a couple of films I want to see from 2007. But it’s significant than I look back at 2007, the only movies I have on DVD are The Simpsons and Potter 5 (both of which were “fan” purchases). If I had unlimited funds, I might buy several other films. But there were no films, none, that made me say You Must Buy This. If I had to list my favorite movies of 2007, they would probably be, in no particular order, with my IMDB rating listed:

No Country For Old Men: 8
There Will Be Blood: 8
Hot Fuzz: 7
Atonement: 8
Lust, Caution: 8
The Great Debaters: 7
Knocked Up: 7
Harry Potter 5: 8
Charlie Wilson’s War: 8
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly : 8
Into the Wild: 8

with the caveat that I have yet to see 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days or Sweeney Todd. Lots of depressing titles in that list. None of them rated the 9 or 10 that usually indicated greatness. And I don’t see that I would raise any of them after further reflection.

Anyway, the main reason I’m writing this is that I recently had a burst of movie watching to catch up on 2008 (yes, I know, it’s almost 2010 — you try watching movies with a 2-year-old). But looking back, I now think that 2008 was an exceptional year for movies

The top ten IMDB movies of 2008 were The Dark Knight, WALL-E, Slumdog Millionaire, Gran Torino, The Wrestler, In Bruges, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Let the Right One In, Iron Man and Changeling. I have seen all except Torino and Right One. I have the top three on blu-ray. All eight of the ones I have seen are very good and better than almost anything I saw in 2007.

Going further down the list reveals things like Frost/Nixon, Doubt and Pineapple Express — all good movies. Hell even fluff like Definitely, Maybe and Vicky Christian Barcelona wasn’t too bad. When a Ryan Reynolds movie doesn’t completely suck, it must be a good year.

In fact, what stimulated this post was a recent buying/renting spree that reminded me of just how good 2008 was.

Here are my top movies of 2008. All are rated at least an 8, except Dark Knight, which I rated a 9.

The Dark Knight – I blogged about this before.

WALL-E – Pixar has yet to make a bad movie. Spectacular on blu-ray.

Slumdog Millionaire – Wonderfully directed and acted. Even my uncle liked it. Also spectacular on blu-ray. IMDB rating: 8.

The Wrestler – A downer movie, but one worth watching just for Mickey Rourke’s exceptional performance.

Frost/Nixon – I was on the edge of my seat for this one. A movie carried by its actors. I would have rated it higher except that Ron Howard performed his usual historical revisionism.

Doubt – Another acting tour de force. Watching Hoffman and Streep go at it is like watching two prize-fighters go into the 15th round.

Still need to see: Gran Torino, The Reader, Burn After Reading, Defiance, Valkyrie, Milk.

Hopefully, my 2009 review will be up before 2011. Now that I’m settled into State College, I’m getting a little more movie-watching done.