Unlike Jordan, I decided to stay traditional and put down the 20 best films of the year. Because if I did put down my faves something silly like Role Models might find its way in there (go see that by the way if you have yet to).
So here it goes:
20. Tropic Thunder
Downey Jr.’s black, Stiller’s Stiller, McConaghey plays a deutsche-bag and Tom Cruise looks ugly and dances to club rap while making fun of Hollywood. Yes…please!
19. In Bruges
A cold hitman British gangster flick with a heart? Yes sir. And Colin Farrell at the top of his game, once again proving he’s one of the most underrated actors around
18. Before Tomorrow
You may never see this film about the Inuit struggle in theaters, but when it comes out on DVD (probably have to get it on Netflix) just learn some patience and watch it. It’s worth it.
The SAG best ensemble acting of the year should go here. Everyone in this movie are the real-life people they are portraying. And watching Penn act as a genuinely happy person is refreshing.
If you were lucky enough to be in the theaters the opening weekend of it’s release, you know why I love this film. A roller coaster of a monster movie with a clever story, clever dialogue, clever camerawork, and clever comic relief. A film borne and bred out of our techno-culture, and something to be remembered.
15. Snow Angels
The fact that Kate Beckinsale will not get nominated for her performance is almost unforgivable. As a matter of fact, the fact that NOBODY will get nominated IS unforgivable. Academy, consider yourself unforgiven, and I’m not talking about the overrated Clint Eastwood western.
Mike Leigh (director) and Sally Hawkins (plays Poppy, the happy one in the picture) deliver a comedy that induces real laughs while observing the difficulty most people have in being happy with their lives. Cue Eddie Marsan in a slightly heart-breaking performance. You’ll laugh, but you’ll want to cry a little bit.
13. Forgetting Sarah Marshall
If the most perfect Judd Apatow comedy had sex with the most perfect classic romance story, the result would look dangerously similar to this movie.
12. Rachel Getting Married
Academy, if you give Anne Hathaway the Oscar she rightly deserves for this performance (Winslet can wait another year), you will be forgiven.
A boxing match of an interview, and an important moment in history told by Ron Howard (who should stick to history and leave Holy Grail-related action alone) and acted to perfection by Michael Sheen and Frank Langella. Also tensely written by Peter Morgan.
10. Synecdoche, New York
Thought-provoking film by Charlie Kaufman. Every line and mannerism is a reflection on the idea that “life is art” and vice versa. How one embraces (or escapes) this paradox is the ultimate struggle, resulting in a film to be studied for years to come.
Similar to Synecdoche in its observation of life and art, throughout the film two young authors and best friends struggle with the narrative of their own lives.
8. The Wrestler
Far and away the best performance of the year, courtesy of Mickey Rourke. And the directing aint bad either. And neither is Marisa Tomei, but then she’s always good.
7. The Dark Knight
[Insert own praise here]
6. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Groundbreaking special effects, spot-on chemistry between Pitt and Blanchett (see above picture for further proof) and a keen visual eye by director David Fincher. A classic, whether you like it or not.
Look at those two! Look at em! And then add the landscape of the Land Down Under and a grandiose epic tale including war, romance, and a shitload of comedy. Why this thing was not a mind-blowing success, critically at least, I fail to see. Critics, please remove bug out of ass.
4. Let the Right One In
The best vampire film ever made. And I AM including the classics you assume I have not seen.
Featuring long, unflinching shots and a powerful scene of dialogue that runs nearly 30 minutes with less than 10 cuts throughout, this film parades a sort of visual ambition absent in today’s cinema. Not to mention the subject matter (the 1981 Hunger Strike of Irish revolutionary Bobby Sands and those who followed him), which rookie director Steve McQueen observes (from both sides mind you, IRA included) with brutal honesty.
A Best Picture nom deserved here for sure. And a Best Director nom, and everything else for that matter. This is the movie that Pixar has been trying to make every since it began.
1. Slumdog Millionaire
This Dickensian tale, set in Mumbay, India, is near-perfect. A fun, powerful, authentic film put together by quite possibly the best director of his generation, Danny Boyle.
What were your favorite films of the year? Do you agree with mine?