Thursday, January 22, 2009

Top 10 Movies of 2008

From Ann Abeyta, AKA Gariana, AKA Gets On My Nerves:

Well, it’s that time again. It’s been an incredible year for me as I started a podcast called The Popcorn Mafia. We have met with enormous yet humbling success, the pinnacle of which was being nominated for two podcasting awards and being invited this week to cover The Sundance Film Festival as press.

We couldn't have done any of it without the support of our friends. Especially ones like Suzy who have loaned their considerable talent to come on the show and chat with us about films. When it came time to post my Top Ten of the Year I took some heat because I told people they would have to come to Suzy’s site to read it. In fact I knew the only one that wouldn’t give me shit about it would be my co-host Grae Drake. That’s because she gets it. She does the show with me every week and she gets that it’s a huge honor and a large part of our success that somebody like Suzy would even agree to do our show. The reason I wouldn’t consider posting it on our site is simple, Suzy believed in me doing this before anybody else did.

So, set your Netflix to stun. Thanks for having me back, Suzy.

(This is some serious sucking up, Abeyta. What do you want?)

1. Synecdoche, New York – Man! What an absolute mind fuck this one was. It’s like the dollar menu at Taco Bell, beautiful and sad and filled with so much mystery. Pure unfiltered Charlie Kaufman.

2. The Dark Knight – This was a smaller independent film that you may not have heard of yet. I know it’s pretentious to put this kind of stuff on your top ten list, but as I get older being a film geek gets harder & harder. You have seen it all and generally you are never going to be affected by it as powerfully as that first time you saw it. You become like a junkie and end up having to go farther and farther just to get the same high. The next thing you know you are arguing with a guy in un-ironic horn rim glasses about Fellini’s real masterpiece being La Strada. So, I had always promised myself when I started doing this I would try to keep the smaller films that weren’t accessible to everybody off my top ten unless they really blew me away. It’s dark & moody, but don’t let that keep you from it because the acting is incredible. You might have to dig a little, but this one is worth it.

3. The Fall – Gorgeous. That’s the only word I can think of to describe this film. Strangely, it’s also the only word that describes Lee Pace, (Pushing Daisies star) who is beyond brilliant in this movie and I would stand in the freezing rain for hours just to have him lick my baby… and I don’t even know what that means. I also don’t have a baby, which would make the whole thing even more tragic and awkward than you are imagining. Standing in the rain holding up a stolen baby for him to lick. p.s - Our review of this film was one of my favorite shows that we did this year. Go to our website and listen to Guys in Hammer Pants vs Guys in Leather Fedoras (6-2-2008)

4. Happy Go Lucky – I saw this way late in its run. I caught a late show and I have never been in a theater where that few people (5) were laughing that hard. Ever. All of us were wiping tears away and were all absolutely enraptured by Sally Hawkins (Golden Globe bitches!) and Eddie Marson. Side note: that Eddie didn’t get nominated for a Golden Globe I consider proof that God does not exist. See how easy that was, Bill Maher?

5. The Reader - This is the film that Kate Winslet was in this year that everybody should be talking about. Here’s the strange part. Last year I had the movie Once on my top ten list. A beautiful film that sparked a huge debate between the lovely comedian Suzy Soro and myself about pedophilia. (I have no memory of this conversation and fear she made it up) I made a comment about having to ignore pedophilia laws in order to truly and completely enjoy the film. Suzy, being an expert on pedophilia, (This part is true) patiently informed me that Oncewas a May/December romance and that I should quit getting people’s hopes up. So, after seeing The Reader I got all excited because I would get to use those jokes again this year! All I would have to do was change Ireland to Germany and presto! Get your pick-axe out kids because today we are mining comedy gold! Then halfway through writing it, it dawns on me… it’s a damn May/December romance again! Foiled once (no pun intended) more! I guess I will never get to use these jokes unless Larry Clark does another film. Do not miss this film it’s incredible.

6. The Wrestler – Welcome home Mickey. (I think he and Madonna changed faces).

7. Wall*e – Wow! Pixar just crushes it yet again. The first 45 minutes is some of the best film making I have ever seen. I don’t know how they got the brutally accurate comment on Americans and American society past the studio heads. I do however know this, I am glad they did and it was overdue. It had none of the lacerating wit of Idiocracy, but managed to pack all of the same punch while being ham-stringed by being a children’s film with the rating to match. This film would be a remarkable achievement under any circumstances, but to think they pulled all that off just makes me shake my head with wonder. (I hated this movie so much there are no words).

8. Slumdog Millionaire – The kind of film that makes you wish you had one of those MIB mind blank thingies just so you could watch it again for the first time. Who would have thought blinding children and watching them sleep in trash could be so uplifting!

9. Let The Right One In“It’s the greatest Swedish vampire film I have ever seen! - Mike C.” On our Halloween special Marc Heuck called this shot like he was the Babe Ruth of Film Geeks. We had a bunch of e-mail questions for him and one of my favorite’s was the simplest, “What’s your favorite modern/newer horror film.” Marc just quietly hung his head down and pointed towards Sweden.

10. Waltz With Bashir – Here’s an easy sell, “An animated documentary into the horrors of the 1982 Lebanon war.” Why don’t you just take a flying/running/jumping kick directly into my uterus? I would rather do math recreationally than sit through an hour and a half of that. What’s the poster tagline? “Finally a film for everybody that doesn’t have to re-new their driver’s license!” “Already had your teeth cleaned? Then Waltz With Bashir is for you!” The distance and artistic freedom caused by choosing to animate this allows director Ari Folman to go to places few directors have been. I have never seen anything like it and the only thing that I have even seen come close to matching the power of it is Graveyard of the Fireflies.

Honorable Mention:
Iron Man
Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Man On Wire
The Wackness
Burn After Reading
American Teen
Young At Heart


  1. Oh yes you mentioned Burn After Reading. Just as well.


  2. With the exception of Wall-E, which I have seen eleventy million times thanks to my son, I have seen none of these movies. I think Wall-E might've had a buyable message about conspicuous consumerism if only Disney wasn't the one selling it. I'm most excited about Happy Go Lucky and Slumdog Millionaire.

    PS: Can't Mickey Rourke do something about his teeth?!

  3. I'm so glad to see Gran Torino is NOT on that list. What a piece of crap movie. Why is it that everything Clint Eastwood touches is suddenly god-like?

  4. I've always said nothing says "I adore you" like asking the object of your adoration to lick the infant you've just stolen.

  5. Alas, I did not get out to the movies last year...but the Evil Genius DID get Wall*E for Xmas, so I have seen that one...and got a kick out of the social commentary hidden in plain sight.

    Hey, Mizz Suzy - I dig your blog and the contributions you make to Blogopolis, so I gave you an award over at my blog - come and get it!

    Shade and Sweetwater,

  6. Anonymous8:04 AM

    Best Swedish vampire movie???

    LTROI is one of the best ever made.

  7. Wow, that first paragraph nearly brought tears to my eyes.
    Out of this list I have seen The Dark Knight, loved it, Wall*e, hated it. The kids loved Wall*e though.
    I also watched honorable mention Iron Man, and well, the males in the house loved it. I usually like superhero movies so I did expect to like it.
    I must see number 9, Vampires, yay!

  8. Awesome list. Sally! I haven't seen The Fall or Synecdoche, New York yet, so I'm off to make sure they are in my queue.

  9. I have only seen one movie on that list, Burn After Reading and that was a good movie.

    I guess I'm a little behind on my movie watching.

  10. Boss, the day your comments make sense to me I will consider myself officially dead

    SURCIE! God, tell me you're back for good.

    Candy, my sister said it stunk.

    Kyddryn, the social message was a little too on the nose for me but I was glad it was there none the less. I'll be by to look at the mink coat you probably got me! (IS none the less 1 word or 3?)

    Anonymous, sorry to be so dense, but what do those initials stand for?

    gm, don't let the first paragrph fool you. She wants my red chair so she can send to Boss of Everything.

    Deb, you and Abeyta in one room. You would ignore me totally and chat about movies all day. And lube.

    Bobbi, see them on rentals or On Demand. Easier.

  11. Boss Of Everything - It was close, but no cigar for Burn After Reading. Aren't you pregnant? Ha! Ha! You are knocked up! Knocked up was a movie! Get it! Cough.

    Surcie - I always look forward to your comments on Suzy's site. Both those movies are incredible and I am actually jealous of people that haven't seen them. I have no thoughts on Mickey Rourke's teeth.

    Candy - Not only did I not like Gran Torino I thought it was one of the worst movies I had seen in a long time. If you wanna laugh check out the episode we did with comedian Wayne Federman about it.

    Sher - Amen.

    Kyddryn - I humbly accept this award on Suzy's behalf. She would like to thank me and me only.

    Anonymous - It is an awesome movie and I hope more people see it.

    gmcountrymama - See them all. It was a great year for films.

    Deb On The Rocks - Who is Sally? Is she taking credit for my work? I will punch her! I will fight her like she is crime and I am Batman!


  12. Anonymous1:16 PM

    You warned me that we wouldn't get the number of DVDs we got last year. But did I listen? No. So all I've seen is "The Dark Knight." SAG sent us these online "scrip" things to go to a movie theatre to see the nominated films, yet they're not valid in Hawaii. (Hello, why waste the postage just to piss us off?) Okay, I live in Hawaii, so I won't watch movies, I'll just go swimming in the ocean...yes, life sucks (tee hee hee)....
    P.S. One of the "scrip" mailings said they weren't sending DVDs due to "pirating problems." Hello, my friend who went to Thailand a month ago already was able to buy almost all the nominated movies for $1 on the street...blah blah blah...

  13. I suffered through Wall-E too .. kids kept saying it's too loud. I kept thinking is almost over and it is too much over the top. Sucked the big Wiennie if you ask me!

  14. I feel exactly the way you do about Slumdog Millionare. I also loved Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Burn After Reading, Milk and Iron Man so I'm guessing the rest of your list will be a great guide for me as well. Thanks!

  15. Jen @ juggling life,

    Pay special attention to #9. It should be out on dvd soon. Best movie ever for a night of cuddling up with the one you love.


  16. Slumdog really rocked.