2008 Favorites — Movies

I think we probably watch about 90% of our movies via Netflix.  It’s a great thing.  Though it’s a little strange because we both like going out to the movies – I guess we just rarely prioritize it above other things that we have going on.  Either way, a couple of my favorite movies this year we actually did see in the theater.

The Dark Knight.  More focused on the late Heath Ledger’s Joker character than on Christian Bale’s Batman, this dark and twisty movie was both a fun summer action flick and somewhat disturbing social commentary.  In the movie, the Joker wasn’t out for money or power, but simply to create anarchy.  And while the events in the beleaguered Gotham City were appropriately over-the-top, the underlying fear of bombs on ferries and hostage taking is real enough in our society and made this movie pretty disturbing at a personal level.  I could have done without Bale's ultra-husky Batman-voice though — that was really distracting.

Wall-E.  I really loved this movie about a quirky little robot that could – toiling away on a depopulated Earth a millennium or so from now.  Pixar took a huge gamble early on – essentially telling the first 30 minutes of the story only visually – no dialog.  I think those 30 minutes are probably my favorite of the year.  The film retreats to more standard ground in its second part, though it is still done exceptionally well – full of fun for kids and inside jokes for adults.  I only wish that Pixar would have had the courage to have a different ending – I understand their choice given their main audience – but it was one that I could have elevated the story beyond anything in “children’s” movies to date.

Cloverfield.  That’s right.  I like monster movies – always have from the first time I saw some poor slob in a Godzilla suit stomping around a model of Tokyo.  This movie from Matt Reeves and JJ Abrams was a modern take on the genre.  But instead of focusing on the traditional “monster appears, focus on government, military and scientists that try to solve the problem” formula, this movie tells the story from a few (mostly clueless) twentysomethings that are thrust into the chaotic environment of a monster attacking New York.  Like “The Dark Knight”, the post-9/11 allegory is there, but with less social commentary.  I know the confusion and jittery camera work got to a lot of people, but I thoroughly enjoyed this romp.

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11 thoughts on “2008 Favorites — Movies

  1. J saw 1 and 3 on video while I was asleep (I go to bed early LOL) he compared cloverfield to Blair Witch because of the camera work. He said that Ledger was absolutely, completely distrubing in Batman. I'm hearing that from lots of people.
    I'm always torn – I love old theatres to death. But I'm really fussy about people being quiet, it's almost better to see stuff at home where we're guaranteed the environment we want, but we lose a lot too. Seeing unpopular cult or indie films is a good solution because so few people go and they're usually well behaved.

  2. Loved Wall-E. Liked Batman a lot, perhaps not as much as some did, but it was up there in the pantheon of good movies. Never watched Cloverfield. Slumdog Millionaire and Wall-E would be my picks for the movies of the year. Best Superhero movie of the year. Dark Knight was a great movie, but Iron Man was a ton of fun.

  3. Perhaps the best thing about The Dark Knight is that so many of the situations that the Joker set up were similar to ones used in psychology experiments. Sadly, as recent and historical experience has shown, we are more likely to act as Dent did than as the people on the boats.John

  4. We haven't seen Slumdog Millionaire yet– though we plan to. I really enjoyed "Iron Man" too — I loved the banter for RD-Jr as Tony Stark. Batman just got under my skin more.

  5. John — I hadn't thought about the Joker's acts as a psychological experiment, but they were in lot of ways. Maybe that's what made them so creepy — putting ourselves in that same situation. Thanks for the links.

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