Wednesday, January 14, 2009

I Come Not To Praise 2008, But To Bury It

2008 is thankfully behind us now, but the specter of a "best-of" recap has been haunting me for the last few weeks. So I write this, not under duress, but with a sense of begrudging obligation. Hopefully, once I've gotten this out of my system, I can go back to not writing about other stuff.

Good Movies I Saw In Theatres
Forgetting Sarah Marshall
Iron Man
The Dark Knight
Tropic Thunder

2008 wasn't exactly a banner year for theatrical releases, but there were a few diamonds in the rough. The real winner of the year had to be The Dark Knight. Despite all the hype and the haters, it was easily the best movie I saw in theatres over the course of the year.

Crappy Movies I Saw In Theatres
Burn After Reading
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
Quantum of Solace
Righteous Kill

I think, if nothing else, I'll probably remember the year in movies that was 2008 for its disappointments rather than its triumphs. The Coen Brothers' Burn After Reading was especially disappointing, seeing as they made my favorite movie from 2007, No Country For Old Men. And the less said about Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and George Lucas' love for CGI monkeys, the better.

Albums I Bought
The Raconteurs - Consolers of the Lonely
Elvis Costello - Momofuku
Wolf Parade - At Mount Zoomer
Beck - Modern Guilt
Matthew Good - Live at Massey Hall

2008 wasn't a great year for music either. I try and keep up with new bands and new music from artists I already follow, but it just seemed that there wasn't much happening in music this past year.

Good Books I Read
"The Book of Other People" a short story collection edited by Zadie Smith
"The Watchmen" by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons
"Diary" by Chuck Palahniuk
"Life, the Universe and Everything" by Douglas Adams
"Ham on Rye" by Charles Bukowski
"Mastering the Universe: He-Man and the Rise and Fall of a Billion-Dollar Idea" by Roger Sweet and David Wecker

I would recommend any and all of the books listed above. I especially enjoyed Palahniuk's Diary and Bukowski's Ham on Rye.

Ahh, I feel a little bit better now. I certainly hope 2009 has more to offer than 2008 did.


John said...

Speaking of haters...

Burn after Reading might have been one of the worst movies I've ever seen, relative to its budget, hype, and cast. I wish I had that 2 hours of my life back.

I thought Tropic Thunder had too many headliners, all of whom wanted screen time and character development, too much joking movie industry self-reference, bad plotting (why would a drug cartel be taking orders from a little boy?), and general irrelevance. Tom Cruise and Matthew McWhatever didn't add anything to the movie at all. Basically, it was more of an Access Hollywood event than a movie.

It was a damn good year for comic book movies, though.

Quammy said...

I liked Tropic Thunder. The movie industry self-references didn't bother me. I thought the BluRay and "Full Retard" speeches were pretty funny. I agree that Tom Cruise and Matthew McConaughey didn't add much to the movie overall (did we really need the Tom Cruise dance number at the end?) But for me, it was all about Ben Stiller. People made a big deal about Robert Downey Jr. and the whole blackface aspect, but the movie really rides on Ben Stiller's character. Stiller can be very hit or miss, but every now and then he'll pull off a good character, usually when that character is very dumb and very full of himself (see also Dodgeball, The Royal Tenenbaums, and the "warm glass of shut-the-hell-up" guy in Happy Gilmore)

John said...

Jesus, Quammy. Surely you've found something to post about in 9 months.