My Favorite Movies of 2008

| 12/31/2008 4:41:18 PM

Everywhere you turn this time of year you find a Top 10 list or a Best of ... list or some such ranking of someone’s favorite this or that. Guess what? Here’s mine!

My at-a-glance calendar is filled with work deadlines, personal appointments, trip plans and notations for this and that. I also try to write down the movies I see in the theater or those I rent. This year, I’m sad to say, I did not see as many movies as I have in the past. (Or maybe I just forgot to write a bunch down?) Anyway, here are my favorites, in the order they appeared in my calendar:

 Independent darling Juno isn't for children.

Juno : Starring Ellen Page and Michael Cera, this bittersweet comedy was nominated for four Oscars, and won for Best Writing/Original Screenplay. While it’s rated PG-13, the movie carries some strong, adult themes and a heavy message. I liked the performances, and the writing is excellent. I’m just not sure I could watch it again.

 The ending of Vantage Point, starring Dennis Quaid and Matthew Fox, is worth the wait.Vantage Point : Using one of the most unique methods of storytelling I’ve seen in a long time, this movie carries a tag line that says it all: “8 Strangers. 8 Points of View. 1 Truth.” The same 15 minutes or so are repeated six times from different people’s perspectives. Your patience will be rewarded, trust me. I found Vantage Point to be innovative, refreshing, thrilling and a joy to watch. Some great performances by Dennis Quaid, Saïd Taghmaoui, Sigourney Weaver, Eduardo Noriega and Matthew Fox. This one has already been added to the DVD collection.

Young@Heart : What a wonderful movie! A documentary, Young@Heart follows the Northampton, Massachusetts, chorus of the same name. It’s an unusual music group, comprised of singers whose average age is 81, and they cover rock music, such as the Ramones’ “I Wanna Be Sedated,” Sonic Youth’s “Schizophrenia” and “James Brown’s “I Got You (I Feel Good).” Some heartbreaking turns happen in the life of this chorus (it’s been in existence for 25 years), so have a tissue box handy. I’ll probably add this to the collection one of these days.   Check out the chorus's website.

Cindy Murphy
1/2/2009 2:11:50 PM

Iron Man...thanks for the tip, Jean; I'll have to keep that in mind. If you noticed, most of the movies I mentioned are action movies - "Wanted", "Hancock", "I Am Legend", and "Death Proof", (You'll have to rent that one for the "just because" reason. It's one of those bizarre films with a cult following that you watch, and think "why?" Why was such a movie made? Why did I watch the entire thing? And why did I find it entertaining). It's not particularly that I adore action movies....I don't need shoot 'em up scenes, car chases, and accompanying general mayhem and destruction. Blame it on Hubs - if I want to watch a movie and have him stay awake through the entire thing, it's got to have some action. So I pick movies with the above criteria in mind, and hopefully it'll have some mystery and a bit of romance to suit my tastes also. If I left it entirely up to him, we'd be watching nothing but westerns and old war movies! The Jane Austen Book Club is one I've wanted to see, but for the above reason, haven't yet - I'd rather watch something together, than have Keith snoring halfway through a movie. Neither of us would enjoy it that way! I'll have to rent it some weekday when he's got work the next morning, and I can stay up late by myself. Oh, and I forgot to comment on "Juno". I didn't care for it. Smart dialogue, funny and sweetly sad at the same time, but by the time I watched it, I had heard so much raving that my expectations were probably too high and I felt let down. That, and the fact that my co-worker played the soundtrack endlessly at work for about two weeks, and after hearing it all day, came home to my daughter playing the same. In my alternative metal world, this particular kind of music drove me nuts.

Jean Teller
1/2/2009 9:50:29 AM

Hi, Cindy! I enjoyed Becoming Jane, I Am Legend and Hancock as well. (The Jane Austen Book Club is another good one from 2007.) Didn't see Horton or Death Proof, and while I rented Wanted just recently, I didn't enjoy that one as much as I thought I might. Oh, and yes, Johnny Depp in Sweeney Todd - fantastic! I missed The Women - will add that to my to-rent list! Thanks! Another good one I failed to mention was Iron Man - excellent casting with Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark. Oh, and watch through the end of the credits - a cameo appearance you don't want to miss! Obviously, my calendar movie listings were incomplete!

Cindy Murphy
1/1/2009 8:27:58 AM

Oops, I did it again - got too long-winded for the comment section, and got cut off. Last paragraph... "The Women" I saw in the theater with a bunch of my girlfriends. My old-movie buff friend saw it first; he said it followed the 1939 version starring Joan Crawford, Rosalind Russell, and Norma Shearer pretty closely. He liked the original, but didn't care for this one starring Meg Ryan, Annette Bening, Eva Mender, Chloris Leachman, Candice Bergen and Bette Midler. I've heard comments that it was a waste of time. It's definitely a chick-flick - not a single male actor; not even a taxi-driver, doorman or even a guy walking down New York's streets was seen. The theater was full of only women. Not thought-provoking, didn't contain a moment of having some kind of hidden-below-the-surface deeper meaning, but I liked it. It was enjoyable to just sit back and watch without thinking, and have a few good laughs....even made more enjoyable by sharing them with a room full of women.

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