Monday, January 5, 2009

Top Ten 2008 (so far)

In 2008, I saw 34 films that qualify as 2008 releases. I spent more time catching up on Godard, Hitchcock, various samurai pictures, bargain bin finds, Heroes and Sarah Connor Chronicles, TCM DVD-Rs from my mother, and classic silents than I did seeing what was new and shiny. Also, movie club with Brandon for nearly half of the year contributed more than a dozen films I otherwise wouldn't have watched. In total, I watched 185 films (counting a few repeated viewings of features, but not counting television episodes or shorts) last year. That's a lot of moving pictures to chase.

For 2008, 34/185=18%

So, it feels a bit silly making a list of 10 out of 34 when many professional critics are making lists based on seeing 100+ films from the year in question. I'm not a professional critic. I'm hardly an amateur. But, I think I've seen some good movies and I feel confident saying that a certain 10 films were better than the other 24.

Obviously, I may revise this list heavily as I catch up on the numerous critically acclaimed titles that I've missed, but here's where things stand as of the very end of 2008, ranked very loosely in the following order.

2. A Christmas Tale
3. La France
4. Gran Torino
5. The Flight of the Red Balloon
6. Happy-Go-Lucky
7. The Fall
8. Appaloosa
9. Tell No One
10. Redbelt

And the best non-2008 releases that I caught for the first time on DVD this year...

1. Samurai Rebellion (Kobayashi, 1967)
2. Andrei Rublev (Tarkovsky, 1966)
3. Les Carabiniers (Godard, 1963)
4. Cleo from 5 to 7 (Varda, 1962)
5. The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters (Gordon, 2007)
6. The Narrow Margin (Fleischer, 1952)
7. The Lady Vanishes (Hitchcock, 1938)
8. Damnation (Tarr, 1988)
9. Pierrot le Fou (Godard, 1965)
10. Faces (Cassavetes, 1968)

Finally, Mildred's award for greatest movie of all time goes to.....


Anonymous said...

My list of films is depressingly small. I spent the first half of the year working seven days a week to keep from being fired, and the second half of the year unemployed, so I have had neither time nor money to see films in the quantity that I used to.

That being said, I do not feel that this has been a good year for film, and my favorites so far are "Burn After Reading", and "The X-Files: I Want to Believe". I hated "Wall-E", but generally agree with you on "Slumdog", an enjoyable but not great film.

Matt said...

You've got a lot of explaining to do if La France is #3 and Gran Torino is #4.
I don't too much about either, but your rating is simply unpatriotic! Death to the NWO!

trawlerman said...

Justin, I'm glad to hear that you enjoyed X-Files: I Want to Believe. I also really enjoyed it and I was thinking of you before and after I watched it. I had a really mixed response to Burn After Reading. You can read my quick gut response to it here on the blog, but, basically, I didn't find it nearly as funny as others, but I found it to be one of the most deeply moral works of the year in spite of its surface vulgarity. Go figure. What specific problems did you have with WALL-E?

Matt, I've already reported your comment to the Council on Foreign Relations. You can begin hiding immediately.

Anyone keeping track will notice that I have 4 French films (plus 1 British) in my 2008 list and 3 French films (plus 1 Russian, 1 Hungarian, 1 British, and 1 Japanese) in my non-2008 list. I'm a sucker for French fries and French films.

trawlerman said...

Matt, I'll also add, in case you don't remember, that La France is the film I saw (and had invited you to see) at Cornell after spending time at the bar with you and then liberally gulping from Nate's Cider bottle out in the street before driving up the hill. It's a strange film and I wish you had made it, if only to be the voice telling me how stupid and pointless it all was. I need to see it again. After leaving the theatre, I was unconvinced that it was anything more than someone's hastily thrown together threadbare music video plot. But, week after week, after seeing it, I've thought about that one film more than almost anything else I've seen this year.

Matt said...

I remember well the events leading up to LaFrance.
I also remember talking to you about it later; that's why I find it so odd that it's #3.
But I suppose if it can't leave your mind, must be there's something to it. Maybe akin to a silly jingle from tv.

abigail said...

You're at work.
The time: The girls' bedtime.

Midred (just now): Audibly sighs..."Mom, Nausicaa is just TOO good not to ask you this. I know it's late, but it's just SO good. TOO good. It's just TOO good. If not tonight, then maybe tomorrow night, or the next night, or a night close to this...?"

For the record, I said no.
('Cause I'm a big, MEAN mama.)