Tuesday, February 17, 2009

My fave five

Well, we have made it to the top five. Do you think you have guessed my number one flick of 2008?

5. Stop Loss
Thoughtful film that exquisitely captures "the rest" of the United States, i.e. not New York and L.A. The performances are spot on and it touches on many issues of who joins the military and what happens to them, in addition to the main egregious issue of what is happening to the boys fighting in Iraq, all depicted through their arrival back home in Texas and a road trip and one soldier's struggle to not be re-enlisted against his will. It really bothered me throughout the year that people kept dismissing any Iraq-war-themed film. Mostly it bothered me because the people who shamefully, criminally overlooked these issues are the very ones who needed to hear the message, the very people who spent eight years saying there was nothing they could do to stop or prevent such horrors.

4. Burn After Reading
Oh, the twisted humor! Oh, the unstoppable performances! Oh, the madness! Dark, dark, dark but more laughs than any other film of the year, each one smart and earned. And Brad Pitt should have been nominated for this role instead.

(Have you guessed my number one yet? It's an Oscar nominee...have you got it...?)

3. The Wrestler
Not quite number one, although Mickey Rourke's triumphant return is probably my number one performance of the year. This film is heartbreaking and wonderful. When I try to think of something else to say about it, I just feel compelled to tell you again that it is heartbreaking and wonderful.

2. In Bruges
What a surprise, a fine fine film! Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson together are just all kinds of fun, but there is certainly some heartbreaking-wonderful strewn throughout here as well. I adored the script, and I will do back flips if it wins this Sunday. (It would have to triumph over not just my beloved Frozen River, although I'd be OK with that, but also Happy-Go-Lucky and here's the real competition Wall-E and Milk.) In fact it is one of the greatest screenplays ever, matched with pitch-perfect performances. There are moments of that film that stay with me still, and even though the running joke is that Bruges is this random city that might be boring and suck, god does it make me want to go there!

Speaking of movies I want to win for Best Screenplay, only this time Adapted, here it is, are you ready, my number one film of 2008!

1. Frost/Nixon
Ta-da! SO unbelievably good! It's just a slew of amazing performances, not stopping at Best Actor nominee Frank Langella, but Michael Sheen! Sam Rockwell! Kevin Bacon is stupendous! Oliver Platt, my hero! And how nice is it by the way to see Kevin and Oliver together again. All of these guys are magnificent and the film is smart, funny, dramatic, political, vibrant, entertaining. It also does the near impossible: it successfully translates a play to the screen. Triumphant!

Well, those are my favorites. Granted, there are a bunch of 2008 films I have not had the chance to see yet and no list is perfect. But that's my report for now. Enjoy the Oscars this weekend, and don't forget that on Saturday you can see all five Best Picture nominees at an AMC theater for just $30 total, including free popcorn! What better way to spend the day before the Oscars!

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