Year in consumables: 2008 movies

WALL-E posterI am still ahead of the curve from last year, so I don’t feel too badly about delaying this post a couple weeks from when I thought I’d get it out. It was my intention to watch a handful more movies released in 2008 to see if they’d make my top five for the year. I watched them, but they won’t make the list.

Also, I realized that I should do this list like I do the others, movies that I consumed during that year and not necessarily released. I’m still not sure about that as a criteria or not because as I Netflix stuff it can be pretty old — if you count 2-3 years ago as old — and may seem out of place. That said, I am going to start doing something like Ed’s Netflix Notes starting this year. That can cover anything I don’t catch the same year of its release and this will just cover 2008.

This first list is the movies that dropped in 2008 and I checked out in the theater or on Netflix (N) DVD and denoted with a (BD) if it was on Blu-ray Disc:

  • 27 Dresses
  • The Forbidden Kingdom (N)
  • Forgetting Sarah Marshall
  • Iron Man
  • Speed Racer (N)
  • Indiana Jones 4
  • Sex and the City (N)
  • The Incredible Hulk (N-BD)
  • Get Smart (N)
  • Wall-E (N-BD)
  • Wanted
  • The Dark Knight
  • Quantum of Solace

In evaluating the list of other stuff I checked out on Netflix DVD or streaming last year, it isn’t worth taking the space here. There were about 10 good-to-decent movies in the list. Not really worth clogging the tubes with it. You don’t need to know about all the bad comedies and chick flicks I checked out.

Therefore, here is my top five for 2008:

  1. WALL-E: This actually wins because I had a very tough time picking between Iron Man and The Dark Knight. Really, all three are awesome films, but having just watched WALL-E on Blu-ray (for my second time) I feel like it does deserve it. My first viewing was with Colin and Aria over Ed’s house after Christmas and I sat with the two of them engrossed in it. The characters are cute and the story is brilliant. The movie communicates a message of planetary conservation and responsibility thru a robot love story and is equally enjoyable by kids and adults alike (see previous sentence). I really wish I caught it in the theater, but the Blu-ray was just as good, if not better. Even the two bonus shorts, BURN-E and Presto had me laughing. Check them out too.
  2. The Dark Knight: So, what makes this short of number one? The length. It was too damned long. I know, I just checked it out again last weekend on Blu-ray and I had the same thoughts as when I saw it in the theater: “This movie is great, when is it going to be over? I have to pee. Stupid extra large Pepsi. Why don’t they sell Coke here?” Okay, not the stuff about the soft drinks. I think there should be a rule that states action movies cannot be more than 120 minutes and comedies cannot be more than 90 minutes. Those are the sweet spots if you ask me. Anyway, this one beats Iron Man because of Heath Ledger’s Joker. Amazing. Really. And not just because he’s dead. Aaron Eckhart was great as Harvey Dent too, but you almost forget about him completely because Ledger nailed his part. Nailed it. I completely didn’t give a crap about Batman or anything else, just wanted to know when Joker would show up again. I hate that we’ll never see this again. I really disliked Jake Gyllenhaal as the Katie Holmes replacement. Glad the Joker blew him up.
  3. Iron Man: I was super stoked for this when it was announced that Robert Downey Jr. was cast as Tony Stark. I didn’t think there had ever been a better casting of an actor as a character. That was until I saw Ledger as the Joker. Who knew that guy had demons like that? Anyway, we all knew that Downey did and his aligned a lot with Stark’s, not to mention he even looks almost exactly like the guy! This chapter did an excellent job setting up the franchise and I can’t wait for the next one now that this is out of the way. In fact, I can’t wait for Don Cheedle as Jim Rhodes (and War Machine) because Terrence Howard was just okay (and I thought a weird choice too). The best part about this movie was you didn’t need to be a comic book geek to follow along with what was happening. Jon Favreau did a great job with the story and the effects. For a long time after seeing this one I thought it would take the top spot. I am going to watch it on Blu-ray tonight, so hopefully I won’t change my mind about this.
  4. Quantum of Solace: I picked its predecessor — Casino Royale — as my number one in 2006 and this one was a very worthy follow-up. In fact it picks right up from the first one and keeps the action coming. If Knight was too long, then this one was too short. It could have been longer, but it isn’t detrimental to anything. Having gotten thru the origin of Bond and established a story in the first film, this one could just focus on all out action. One could definitely see more influence of the Bourne trilogy here than in Royale. In fact, I’d like to watch Royale and Solace back to back in Blu-ray sometime soon. I think it will come together nicely. Then maybe a Bourne marathon! Lastly, just to say it, both these movies have probably featured some of prettiest Bond girls ever.
  5. Wanted: Having read the original Mark Millar penned comic book mini-series, I had reservations about this film adaptation. There was no way they could really pull off a straight adaptation and I am glad they didn’t. Instead, they took the basics and massaged them a bit. Instead of supervillains running society, we have a league of assassins guiding society thru selective assassination. The characters are pretty much the same for the most part, just no overt super powers. Anyway, if looked upon as a work of its own, I’d buy it up, but because I know from where it came, it wasn’t as good as the original. Of course, in the original, you’d be looking at Eminem and Haley Berry as the leads and no one wants that. Actually, I didn’t want Angelina Jolie either, but James McAvoy was good. Check out the comic though. I will let you borrow the trade if you want.

I will offer up a few thoughts about the other movies in the list that didn’t make the top five, just because I feel like it:

  • Incredible Hulk was pretty good, but I wouldn’t say it was better than the Ang Lee version, just different. I’d rate them fairly equal, but I think because it is newer, this one’s effects were better.
  • Speed Racer wasn’t the seizure fest that I thought it would be. Almost all the actors in this were very good and I thought it deserved better reviews than what it got, but I’m not an old school Speed Racer guy or anything (not that that matters). Check it out if you want something kinda fun and fluffy to watch.
  • Sarah Marshall was pretty funny. In fact, it was better than Pineapple Express — not on this list because I saw it two weeks ago — so that was unexpected, but neither was a true Apatow flick anyway. I could have done without the dudity. It does make watching How I Met Your Mother a little weird now.
  • Indy 4 was disappointing, but didn’t totally suck. Just a couple parts did. Monkeys and nuked fridges will kill a good movie like that.
  • 27 Dresses wasn’t my idea necessarily, but not a total waste of time either. Just wanted to see a movie and that was about as good as it got last January. Worst part about it was a fire alarm in the theater about 20 minutes in and having to wait outside in a pouring rainstorm for about 20 minutes. If it were this year, it would have been snow and about 20 degrees out.
  • Sex and the City wasn’t my rental but I will say this, if I were a chick, I would have liked it. I think. Except for the dudity. Well, just bums, but not always on guys you girls probably want to see the bums of, know what I mean? Not Borat bad though. At least they threw in some boobies.

So, that’s another year in movies done. Last consumables post for last year will be music. Check out the games one if you are so inclined, otherwise watch out for my first Netflix post in two weeks. I figure I will get the first two months done at once and then see if it stays every two months or something else.

Feel free to leave your faves and comments below. Also, if you have suggestions for stuff to Netflix, leave them too.