Monday, December 22, 2008

Julie’s TOP TEN of the year, 2008 (in alphabetical order):

1. Burn After Reading (DVD available at the library)
2. Counterfeiters (DVD available at the library)
3. The Fall (DVD available at the library)
4. In Bruges (DVD available at the library)
5. I've Loved You So Much (currently in theaters) (added 12/26/08)
6. Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day (DVD available at the library)
7. Tell No One (not available in DVD format yet)
8. The Visitor (DVD available at the library)
9. Young @ Heart (DVD available at the library)
10. ?

Roger Ebert has come out with his Top Twenty list: I found the article and his choices to be perplexing. I wholeheartedly agree with Mr. Ebert in his statement that “A best films list should be a celebration of wonderful films, not a chopping process.” And I applaud his use of alphabetical order rather than “favorite” order. However, I disagree that it was a great year for films. I had difficulty coming up with even 8 films for my list. Of course, I don’t get paid to go to movies (all those who think I should please tell my director!) and therefore I miss a lot of the films that come out. I am frustrated annually by the fact that studios release their best films during Christmas week or after so that they make the deadline for the academy awards. I think that’s cheating. If a film isn’t widely released until January it shouldn’t be counted in this year’s choices. I look at Roger Ebert’s list and many of his films have been released recently or are being released soon. I can’t agree or disagree with them because I haven’t had the opportunity to see them yet. It’s a constant frustration. So, if you’re like me and just can’t get to every movie that comes out but want to see the best, compare Roger’s list and mine, then check the library DVD shelves and the movie listings in your local newspaper and take your pick.

Roger’s list includes several titles that I saw but didn’t put on my list, including The Dark Knight (see blog—8/12), Happy-Go-Lucky (blog—Dec. 3), The Band’s Visit (blog—8/29) and Iron Man (blog—10/30). The two comic book films are great if you are fans of comic book films. The other two are very quiet, thoughtful films—not a lot of action, big emotions, or snappy dialogue. They are good choices if that’s what you are looking for. Mr. Ebert also included one title that was on my list: The Fall (blog—10/25) which was an indescribably unique, amazing and truly wonderful film. This is a film for all ages. Watch it—it’s fantastic! All of the other films on his list I haven’t seen and some of them I haven’t even heard of. Mr. Ebert omitted some great titles from his list. How he could have forgotten The Visitor (blog—5/7) is beyond me! This was a tremendous film about a professor and the illegal aliens he befriends. A great adult film! And Young @ Heart (blog—5/19) should definitely have been on his documentary list. How can you not be uplifted by a group of seniors singing their way through the years! All I can think is that he must have seen them in 2007, before their general release date. Another of my favorites, In Bruges (blog—7/23), I have to admit that it might not be for everyone. It is a crime comedy and I have a particular fondness for dark comedy. The dialogue in this film kept me in stitches. The Counterfeiters (blog—8/6) and Tell No One (blog—8/12) are foreign films (the first German, the second French) and again, many people avoid subtitles although you’re really missing some first class films by limiting yourself that way. The Counterfeiters is a WWII true story about a counterfeiting outfit set up by the Nazis while Tell No One is a thriller based on a novel by Harlan Coben. That leaves Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day (blog—8/26), an endearingly funny film, good for all audiences.

Now let’s start watching out for the other critics’ Top Ten lists plus the Golden Globe and Oscar nominees. Oh, aren’t lists fun!

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