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Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Top Ten Films of 2008

The annual movie rankings are due... perhaps past due. So here you go: Stave It Off's guaranteed winners, the slamdunk ten best films released in 2008 (presented in dramatic countdown-style format.)

10. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
I can't say too much about this movie without giving away spoilers. Oh what the heck, it appears that Brad Pitt actually ages backwards! So when he's a child he looks like an old man, and when he's an old man he looks like a child. How crazy is that?! When he meets his lover "in the middle" they are both sexy as hell 40 year olds... but you can't help but think there's a tragic doom impending as he turns into a young boy and she turns into a vamping cougar. I can't comment more than that though because I haven't actually seen the movie.

9. Gran Torino
By most accounts this is a tour de force. Clint Eastwood continues to pummel us all senseless with his gritty performances and redeem himself for making countless crappy movies during the 80's. In one trailer, Clint Eastwood actually snarls, "Get out of my yard, you damn kids" while shaking a .44 magnum most crankily. Well, I got out of Clint Eastwood's yard a long time ago, so I passed on this instant classic. Hope the rest of you enjoyed it though... and I'm absolutely positive it warrants its slot on the top ten list.

8. Taken
How much ass does Liam Neeson kick? Well I guess we'd actually have to watch the movie to find out! But I can tell you for certain that the trailer looks absolutely kick ass. Liam is all mean and serious and you can tell that the men who abducted his child are in for a brutal beat down. He looks like he's got Matt Damon (Jason Bourne) meets Daniel Craig (James Bond) written all over him.

7. Revolutionary Road
This film reminds me so much of all those Neil Simon plays... where there's always a bar in the living room... and most of the characters are downing four fingers of whiskey in every scene. Back in my acting days, I was all about those scenes. That apple juice tasted good. And we couldn't really afford apple juice at home, so it was a real treat. My guess is that Kate Winslet and "old man" DiCaprio probably muffed a few scenes on purpose, just so they could get another glass of "whiskey". My educated guess is that this film is totally worth seeing. I'm hoping to get to it myself.

6. Rachel Getting Married
Indie dramas always rock. Especially ones about getting hitched. Remember how good Margot at the Wedding was?! Well, this one got an 86% on Rotten Tomatoes, so I'm pretty sure it was good. And, quite frankly, it's important to sneak a few "small" movies into your top ten list so you don't come off as too Hollywood! I wouldn't want to lose my credibility as an ace movie-reviewer guy!

5. Vicki Christina Barcelona
Woody Allen is still alive, and still working through his sexual neuroses. This is a sure bet formula for a great movie. And now that he's quit casting himself as the male lead, you no longer get that creepy feeling as a scrawny old man gets it on with hot young stars. And the cast doesn't get much hotter than this! My sources tell me that there's even a hot threesome featuring Stave It Off 20 Sexiest Men poster boy Javier Bardem. And who are the buns for this man-mean sandwich? None other than Penelope Cruz and Scarlett Johanssen! Va-va-va-voom!!!

4. Waltz with Bashir
Some of you are probably thinking that this is just a rip off of Persepolis... another animated middle-eastern autobiography. But I say, anything a woman can do, a man can do better! What's wrong with a little healthy competition anyway? If Munich taught me anything, it's that Steven Spielberg is the greatest film maker in history... and that it takes a man's perspective (someone that's really been there) to understand why war is bad. It was obvious while watching Munich that Spielberg and screen writer Tony Kushner knew a thing or two about war first hand. I'm betting this film wins the best foreign film Oscar and might even help create peace in the middle east.

3. Doubt
This is probably one of those did-he-or-didn't-he kinds of movies. Lots of shots of the mega-talented Phillip Seymour Hoffman looking either pious or guilty... it's hard to tell (because he's THAT good!) Now I'm categorically against the raping of altar boys, and I'm guessing this film probes that sensitive material... I'm not sure though since I haven't seen it yet. But if this film can get me to "doubt" my stance on Catholic priest sexual abuse, then it must be one hell of a picture. Let it never be said that Stave It Off doesn't seek out challenging films!

2. The Wrestler
I didn't need to see this film to know it deserved the #2 slot. The trailer ALONE made me cry. There's that scene when Mickey Rourke is all, "I'm just a broken old piece of meat, and I don't deserve your love... I just don't want you to hate me" and then tears roll down his face! OMG, that is acting gentlemen! (Too bad the academy won't recognize him with a deserved best actor Oscar.) And with that Bruce Springsteen song in the background... I was bawling halfway into the credits of the film I had gone to see.

1. Synecdoche, NY
Let me start off with a modest confession. I haven't actually seen this film either. However, let me follow it up with an even more modest confession. Writer/Director Charlie Kauffman is WAY smarter than me. He's maybe one of the smartest people alive. I don't really get what he's doing 78% of the time. That's how smart he is. So I can tell you unequivocally that this is the best film of 2008, never even having seen a trailer for it. Because if I saw it and didn't like it, I would know that the reason is that I'm just not smart enough to understand it. And neither are you (haha) so go see it right now folks!

Lastly, I want to put out an honorable mention to Let the Right One In. I couldn't actually include it in the top ten list because I haven't seen it yet... but my friend Dan says it's dynamite.

There you go loyal readers. I may not have seen a lot of movies this year, but that never stopped me from sharing my opinions on them anyway! Stave If Off wishes you a happy 2009 and hopes that we'll keep getting this kind of quality entertainment out of Hollywood for another year.

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At 2/04/2009 01:56:00 PM, Blogger Scotty said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 2/04/2009 02:13:00 PM, Blogger Scotty said...

I removed my above comment because of an unfortunate spelling error, that I hope nobody saw... reposting now.

I'm sure that you also would have really liked The Dark Knight. I'm surprised it's not on your list.

BTW-- I read your post on Daredevil and the judicial system some time back and it was really really good.


At 2/04/2009 02:34:00 PM, Blogger John said...


I cross posted this list on another blog and realized that I may have been a bit too convincing. This entire post is meant to be ironic. Careful reading will reveal that I haven't actually seen a single movie on this list. Most people though just read the titles of the movies and skip over all the rich sugary goodness of sarcasm.

I loved Dark Knight btw. If I was making a real list of my 10 favorite films, it would be in the top 3.

Thanks for the props on the Daredevil article too! Always good to know that someone is reading!

At 2/04/2009 02:35:00 PM, Blogger John said...

I was trying to mimic the lame hollywood style reviewing voice that you see on E television.

At 2/04/2009 03:16:00 PM, Blogger Jimmimoose said...

Dude, where's WALL-E?!! And no In Bruges?!

Mickey Rourke is gay!

At 2/04/2009 05:28:00 PM, Blogger lowcoolant said...

"Taken" kind of sucked. Don't bother seeing it if the "Bourne" movies appealed to you.

The only other one I've seen on your pseudo-list was "The Wrestler." Sobering and sad on one hand. Just plain boring on the other.

At 2/04/2009 08:28:00 PM, Blogger Walaka said...

John: this was hilarious. I got it. I even got your faux-ET tone. Well played.

/golf clap

At 2/05/2009 12:33:00 AM, Blogger Scotty said...

I got the faux ET tone, and the sarcasm and irony. But I thought you were poking fun at people who judge things without having seen them. Which, of course, didn't jive with my judgment of you as a guy who, well, has seen every movie ever.

In all of 2008, I saw 10 movies exactly (having a baby slowed me down): Hancock, Mummy 3, Kung Fu Panda, Get Smart, Dark Knight, Indiana Jones, Quantum of Solace, Hamlet 2, and that one where the Wilson guy sees the Jesus on his house. (sad list, no??

In summary. I got the irony, I just didn't "get" it. That's all.

At 2/06/2009 12:13:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

you are all nazis!!!

At 2/06/2009 12:29:00 PM, Blogger Diane said...

Thanks for making me laugh at work.

My favorite movie of '08 was "The Visitor": see that one first.

At 2/06/2009 05:01:00 PM, Anonymous a-mon said...

Run, dont' walk to see Slumdog. It should be on your list. Was surprised that Revolutionary Road and Gran Torino both got snubbed by the Oscars. They folks love Eastwood.

At 2/08/2009 09:17:00 PM, Blogger Jimmimoose said...

The Visitor was awesome, good call Diane!

At 2/17/2009 10:12:00 PM, Blogger lowcoolant said...

I've directed two people to this blog post over the last week. Neither one got the joke. Just a bunch of Where's Heath Ledger Blah Blah Blah.

At 4/13/2009 05:05:00 PM, Blogger John said...

I've actually seen a couple of these movies since writing this article. Part of what inspired this post originally was the fact that there were 10 "buzz-worthy" films that I hadn't seen this year... and that's unusual for a movie-consumer like myself. But, sure enough, I wound up seeing a few of them.

The Wrestler: very disappointing. And the soundtrack sucked. Mickey Rourke was better in Domino than this.

Waltz with Bashir: interesting and a little bit haunting, but fell short on the emotional impact. Maybe because it takes a tragedy like the genocide depicted in Hotel Rawanda to move me... I'm so jaded nowadays.

Taken: OMG, this is the worst movie I've sat through in a long time. The only thing that saved it was that Olaiya and I started cracking jokes to each other half way through. No one seemed to care, because the theater was empty.


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