Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Best Films of 2008

Okay... So the Academy has just recently released their Oscar nominations for 2008, and as usual, they have selected a whole bunch of boring, depressing, and well, predictable Oscar fodder films in their lineup.

And sure, they're entitled to their own opinions, but heck, so am I, right? So here's the REAL list of best films that came out in 2008. And by best I mean my favorite.

...Or do I...?

But seriously, on with the list:
(btw - click on these images to attain full effect in Hi-Res)

10. CloverfieldWhat? This movie came out this year? Oh yeah, in JANUARY. It was awesome! Bringing the moster movie genre back from the dead! ROAR!

9. My Blueberry NightsNo words can describe this film. Just watch it and prepare to fall in love.

8. City of EmberGrossly underrated and no one saw this movie. But it is teh aw3s0m3.

7. The Curious Case of Benjamin ButtonA lot of people hate on this movie, but I find it oddly inspiring. And beautiful.

6. Burn After ReadingI don't know what's funnier, the movie or that moment after the movie when you realize this movie is about nothing actually happening. At all.

5. Slumdog MillionaireEver since ruining the zombie genre with 28 Days Later, Danny Boyle makes movies For The Win!!!

4. AustraliaBaz Luhrman making an epic romance tale... and with style!

3. HancockNobody saw this, but it is actually one of the most excellent Superhero stories of all time.

2. WALL-EI identified more with this robot than any other film character this year. WALL-E for Best Actor!

1. Speed RacerFast, fun, beautifully shot, and turbocharged by the Wachowsky brothers. It's escapism at it's best and it took me back to my childhood... and then blew me away with an awesome story. Go Speed Racer GO!!!

(Honorable Mentions: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Iron Man, Baghead, The Dark Knight, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Be Kind Rewind, Rambo, The Pineapple Express, and The Happening.)

Okay, I also feel like I should mention the worst films I saw this year. Just as a way of warning any of you who may be still thinking about watching them.

First of all, the Runner-Up Movie Fail award goes to...
The Quantum of Solace!!!
Yes. They replaced James Bond with Jason Bourne, and the result? it sucked!!!

3rd worst: Vantage Point
I think I gagged on this movie taking itself too seriously. And where did all this cheese come from?

2nd worst: Wanted
Everything about this movie screams angst and immaturity. Oh yeah, and they REALLY wanted to be as cool as Fight Club. Was this directed by a college student?

1st worst: The Spirit
'First worst' doesn't even begin to describe how bad this was. Try 'Worst movie ever made' and you will get close. Hopefully after this they won't allow Frank Miller to urinate all over the Buck Rogers franchise. (Gag)

There you go. Watch the movies on the first list. Avoid like the plague the ones on the second list. It's just that easy.


Friday, January 2, 2009

The New Year

I guess I'm learning, I must be warmer now
I'll soon be turning, round the corner now
Outside the dawn is breaking
But inside in the dark I'm aching to be free
The show must go on.


I'm not much one for new years resolutions.

I just never felt the need. In all the new years celebrations I've been to, even though everyone cheers at the extremely anti-climactic shiny ball dropping in Times Square, and toasts with their respective champagne and sparkling cider, I have never felt like anything new was really coming. I always felt the same mixture of hope, dread, and uncertainty that I always feel about the future. And since I always forget about the last New Year and everyone's resolutions after about a week into January, I see resolutions as being rather pointless exercises to make one feel better about oneself for the new year.

But this year has been different. Not dramatically, not even substantially, but I've felt something coherent about this new year nonetheless. Perhaps it's because since graduating college, my slightly less chaotic routine during the year has made it easier to have a more holistic view of the passing years. But I think mostly it's just a sense that I've been getting of where we are and where we've been as a culture.

I really can't express where this feeling has come from, but I just feel it in my gut that we are stagnating, that we are caught in some sort of downward spiral, that we really, really need something fresh to take us out of our current slump. Somehow, the never-ending grind of life is wearing on us, I've seen it in the people I know, the people I see around me, I see it in people through the online portal we call the internet, I see it in our music and movies, and worst of all is when I see it in myself.

I mean, obviously no one is perfect. And life IS hard, it's a fact that everyone has to deal with. our lives are full of challenges and hardships, and it can often feel unfair. But in the 1930s, when people's lives were exceptionally bad because of the great depression, entertainers and movies helped pick their lives back up again. People would go to adventure movies like King Kong, or comedies by the likes of Charlie Chaplain or the Marx Brothers.

But we don't seem to have a modern-day equivalent to those things. Instead we seek out dark and depressing films, we look for the morally ambiguous, and praise how well they reflect 'reality'. Now, these films can be good and artistic, and I am not knocking them in any way, but where are the films about fun, and goodness? Where are the films about the good things in life, about hope? Oh, that's right. We rated them the worst movies of the year. (see: Speed Racer. Honestly, it is a great film, yet everyone bashes on it, often before they've even seen it.) If we refuse to go to films, or bash them simply because they are fun, and don't reflect our ideas about 'reality', we are cheating ourselves from a good and healthy view of life, and we will merely continue to sink into a stagnation. I really hope that doesn't happen, but I fear that may be the path we're on.

I wish I could do something. I wish I could create something that would help us as a culture, as a people. But I suffer from the same problems as everyone else, I'm stuck in the same hamster wheel, and I seem to be powerless to do anything about it. But I will not give up. I am not going to make any new years resolutions, but I am going to try and live to the best of my ability. I am going to try to read more books, spread my horizons, I want to engage in creativity more, with drawing, filmmaking, music making, singing at the top of my lungs if I have to. I refuse to be dragged down and cower before the oblivion. I will strive against my shackles to be free until the day I die. The show must go on.

* * *

My soul is painted like the wings of butterflies
Fairytales of yesterday will grow but never die
I can fly - my friends
The show must go on
The show must go on
I'll face it with a grin
I'm never giving in
On - with the show -
I'll top the bill, I'll overkill
I have to find the will to carry on
On with the -
On with the show -
The show must go on...