Cinemuck, 2008

At least according to me. But, I don’t know, everywhere I click, people are pasting their best-of lists on-line. Feel all remiss if I don’t play along just a little. However, realizing that, now that I actually live close to a theatre, and to all kinds of opportunities in Denver, I’ve been somehow going to the movies less. Or, less compulsively. Not at all a statement on quality or anything. Maybe more that I’ve just feeling very guilty about how many unwatched DVDs I have, I suppose. Been playing catch-up lately, I mean. Like, just/finally seeing THE SEVEN SAMURAI. Finally about to (maybe) hit FITZCARRALDO. Not that I’ve been a slacker so much as I’ve been an over-achiever in select genres. And of course I proudly and persistently continue that. Horror-comedy’s forever where it’s at for me. Or just horror in general. Maybe specifically anything slashery. Which is to say I wish I could slip ALL THE BOYS LOVE MANDY LANE up here, but alas, it’s already old, even though I only got to see it a few months ago. Same with [REC], and THE ORPHANAGE.

Anyway, bam:

The Dark Knight
. This year’s City of God? Big statement, yeah, but an amazing movie, too. And here I thought Spider-Man 2 and Iron Man and Hulk 2 were as good as comic book movies could get. Though, yeah, hopefully The Watchmen‘ll bump that bar even a little bit higher.

Cloverfield. I couldn’t have possibly liked this more, I don’t think. Even if it had somehow had Bruce Campbell in it, or if Lee Majors had found occasion to, say, jump a shortbed Chevy truck over something unlikely. It had gigantoid creatures (well, singular), sure, but so did The Mist (also: loved it), but it had heart, too. An actual love story that mattered.

Midnight Meat Train. Like I wasn’t scared enough of subways. Now [ spoiler . . . ] there’s guys with stylized chrome hammers waiting to feed me to these elder god types. This movie worked so well, did such a good job tracking the protagonist’s descent.

Lakeview Terrace. I’m still not over this movie. Really, of everything I saw this year, it’s the one sticking with me the most — the one I’m most eager to get on DVD, watch over and over and over again. Because I’m pretty sure it’s doing something so important for/to the slasher genre. Just as Fatal Attraction once upon a time ported the slasher conventions over to non-monsterland, so does Lakeview Terrace. It’s a way to collapse the genre, simply by making it suddenly ‘legitimate,’ not supernatural-dependent. And collapses like that are so important. It’s from those ashes the new-stuff’s born. We never could have had Scream without the slasher blowing up once before, I mean. Excited.

Tropic Thunder. Downey of course Heath Ledgers the show. Which is me trying to say ‘steal.’ But I’m saying nothing new there. Anyway, this was just pure and ridiculous fun. Especially the Tom Cruise dance. Who knew.

Bolt. Man, [ spoiler . . . ] when the cat comes back, when she decides what’s important, I don’t know. Was glad it was dark in that theatre.

Forgetting Sarah Marshall. And I guess this is a romantic comedy, yeah? But then so was Moonstruck, and Forget Paris, and all those other ones that are actually good and not stupid. Or, this was stupid, but in all the good ways. And Veronica Mars is supercool in it, as is/was Jackie (whom, until I was dissuaded, I was sure was also that daughter in Broken Flowers. But evidently I’m stupid)

Donkey Punch. Such a simple premise, and then executed so well. It’s like — like when you get Wes Craven directing in a tight hall, some chase sequence. Nobody does that kind of stuff better than him, I don’t think. And, Donkey Punch, it’s that hall, and it just keeps longer, and deeper, and darker. Loved it.

High School Musical 3. This is so there’s no danger of anybody else’s list lining up with mine, right? Hopefully not to undermine the rest of my choices, anyway. But, this worked, for me. It aimed for a certain audience, and it shot them right through the heart. That’s success, to me. And I’m that audience, too.


However, there’s a lot of no-shows on my list, yeah? Technically, really, ‘no-sees.’ I just didn’t catch these. Haven’t yet, anyway. Some by accident, some with purpose:

Let the Right One In. This was in town for approximately seventeen minutes. Not even sure how they managed to get it screened in that time. Anyway, bought the book yesterday, as a present to someone, and was so, so sad to be dropping it in the mail. Want it for myself, I mean (did the same with Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book as well, and would have done wit with Lansdale’s Leather Maiden, but the store was out of them).

Slumdog Millionaire. This just opened here, so I don’t feel so bad about not having seen it. Still a little while. From the trailer, though, I can already tell that it’s my favorite movie ever. It’s a gift I have.

Death Race. This trailer, I just wanted to watch it over and over. Yet I didn’t make it to the theatre. Maybe I was moving, unpacking, I don’t know. No excuse, really, but soon to be corrected.

Jar City. Only found this on somebody else’s best-of list. Looks like exactly what I go to the movies for, though.

Red. No excuse here. I mean, this is Ketchum. Oh, yeah, one excuse: it never played here. Or, I didn’t know it did if it did.

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. I’ve not seen this one on purpose. Fairly certain it’ll destroy me, make me paranoid, all that. It happens.

In Bruges. From the trailers, I had zero-minus-twelve desire to see this. But a lot of people I really trust about movies are hyping this one. And they haven’t led me wrong before . . . (however, I have been misled — Cache, say, or I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead, neither of which I tolerated well at all [ now I’m starting to lose some credit, right? ] ).

Hellboy II. I never read the Hellboy stuff. Caught the first movie, thought it was cool until the over-the-top end, but this second one, from del Toro, it looks like a completely different beast. One I shouldn’t have missed on the big screen.

Rocknrolla. I love stylized, implausible stuff. Wanted, say. Nobel Son. And who knows, maybe this was a return to form for Ritchie. Just not in the theatre long enough for me to schedule it.

The Bank Job. I figured this was just another Inside Man/The Italian Job/etc — and I liked those enough, but didn’t necessarily want to see them retranslated yet again. But, word is this is a step above. I’ll be looking for it.


Talking stuff I haven’t seen, too, I mean, there’s P2, from forever ago. And it looks kind of perfect. But then too, I mean: There Will Be Blood. Haven’t got past the first few minutes yet. And I’ve had the DVD forever now, just on acclaim. But I’m just having the most difficult time getting interested enough to keep from pushing the stop button, switching over to some Futurama I know by heart. My loss, I’m sure. I mean, that’s kind of the same reason I’ve never yet read Midnight’s Children, though I’ve read a lot of other Rushdie: it doesn’t hook me fast enough. City of Glass either. Too, I didn’t hit the Funny Games remake, but that was just because I caught the original on bootleg VHS forever and a day ago, and liked it enough, but couldn’t imagine what would be that different or better in the theatre.

Too, just in case I have any credit left with anybody: No Country For Old Men. It’s a year old already, and has no place on this list either, but, like with The Departed, like with Capote, it just didn’t work for me. Wonderful performances and directing, all that, but — talking Old Men here — I just never much went for the novel. And then the movie was too faithful to it. However, The Road, yeah. Looking forward to being not quite as devastated by the adaptation I was by the novel, anyway. But who am I kidding.

Author: SGJ