First off—merry post-Christmas, everyone, and an early “happy New Year”—2008 is almost dead! I had a great Christmas in Dartmouth. Mia, le chat, was having such a good time at my parents’ place that I left her there for a few extra days, much to the dismay of their cats that she tortures. She is small, but insolent.
The few days I had off were spent eating massive amounts of peanut brittle, watching SPACED and the Office (UK) Christmas special, and re-hashing old laughs with friends. When I got out of the house, it was to sneak in a few extra movies before the end of the year. I’m not sure if anyone paid attention to the top left corner of mein blog, but I’ve been keeping track of all of the movies I’ve seen this year (the book list was a failure, sadly).
All together, I recorded 140 titles. I think that accounts for 75% of what I watched (I remembered four as I wrote this blog entry). It’s a pretty hilarious list. I only counted movies that I was seeing for the first time, so as to not bear the shame of highlighting multiple viewings of Iron Man (3), Sex in the City: The Movie (2), and Scrooged (3).
In the grand tradition of High Fidelity (3), here’s a smattering of film top-fives and other ponderings to get you through to January.
- My top five movies released in the past year would be something like: Iron Man, The Band’s Visit, Man on Wire, Synecdoche, New York and a tie between Let The Right One In and that movie about a guy dressed as a bat. My taste in 2008 was a conflict between comic-book nerd and a keffiyeh-clad NSCAD student (but perhaps these things are one and the same).
- The top ten (I couldn’t pick five…) that I saw this year, but were not released in 2008, would be: Fur, Good Bye Lenin!, Jacob’s Ladder, Less Than Zero, Withnail and I, Grizzly Man, Psycho, American Movie, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (’74, not the one with Seventh Heaven), and The Tenant.
- My top five of shame (as in I can’t believe I watched these): Fool’s Gold (Josh and I went to see John Rambo, but were late and settled for this. THEN I had to see it AGAIN on the flight back from Germany), Shall We Dance (It was on TV and I was too tired to shield myself), Definitely, Maybe (saw it in-flight), PS. I Love You, (Ditto—plane movie), and Cloverfield (Excuse me whilst I hurl).
- My top five of “I thought these would be great, but didn’t really like them”: AUSTRALIA (Capital letters for an EPIC fail), Across the Universe, Mother of Tears (A big let-down), From Dusk Till Dawn, and Surveillance (An even bigger let-down—check out the trailer, it looks amazing, doesn’t it? It wasn’t).
- I feel like this year the biggest thing that happened to me in terms of movies was seeing Encounters at the End of the World as it turned me on to Herzog. I’d long been interested in the guy, as he is my best homie Crispin’s biggest inspiration as a filmmaker and, bonus, he is known as the guy who “tamed” Klaus Kinski, who gives me bad dreams. Herzog is now a definite favourite, up there with whomever else is in my top five favourite directors (I am too wary to define this. David Lynch is one. And maybe Steven Shainberg).
- The second-biggest movie-thing would be my new found love for the entity known as Robert Downey Jr. Watching Iron Man led me on a weird quest to see a lot of his movies. There are some pretty bad ones, but a lot of great ones, too. This year I saw Chaplin, Less Than Zero, Wonder Boys, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Zodiac, and Tropic Thunder partly because I think this guy is an insanely good actor. And, yes, handsome for a middle-aged reformed junkie.
As a fitting end to a year where I watched too many movies, I think I’m going to stay in for New Year’s and cram in three or four more films before the end of the year. Not sure what movies yet… there must be a weird balance of 1970s schlock, John Hughes, Todd Solondz, and some kind of new release. Fun party.
INTERNET—what were your favourite/least favourite movies of the year? Do you approve of my choices (no ill will towards RDJ will be tolerated)?