2008 in Review

2008 was an interesting year, I graduated from Cegep and subsequently failed to register on time for University. Emotions rang high throughout, and I’d probably say, there were moments where I was never more happy, and some where I was never more unhappy. I watched a lot of new movies, more than last year I think. I fell short of my goal to see 300 films, but I think I did well for myself. Most of the films I saw this year I’d call great were relatively early, though I was watching more films back then. I also discovered some new television shows like Freaks and Geeks and Mad Men, both of which stand very highly among the very best television series I’ve ever seen. I don’t really have any resoluations for 2009, except to be happy, whatever that means or might entail. The breakdown of my “best of”, only includes first time viewings. I rarely rewatch filmsl though, so almost all the films I saw this year were for the first time.

Number of films seen in 2008: 273

20 Best Films
Agnes of God (1985)

agnes-of-god

Ballad of a Soldier (1959)

ballad-of-a-soldier

Black Christmas (1974)

black-christmas

Catch-22 (1970)

catch22

Chungking Express (1994)

chungking-express

Cleo 5 a 7 (1962)

cleo-5-a-7

Cries and Whispers (1972)

cries-and-whispers

Dawn of the Dead (1978)

dawn-of-the-dead

Exotica (1994)

exotica

Hiroshima, mon amour (1959)

hiroshima-mon-amour

Let the Right One In (2008)

let-the-right-one-in

Little Women (1933)

little-women

Odd Man Out (1947)

odd-man-out

State Fair (1945)

state-fair

Stella Dallas (1937)

stella-dallas

The Double Life of Veronique (1991)

vlcsnap-00018

The Limey (1999)

the-limey

The Set-Up (1949)

the-set-up

Un Conte de Noel (2008)

un-conte-de-noel

Window Water Moving Baby(1962)

window-water-moving-baby

Best Performances by Actress

Anne Hathaway, Rachel Getting Married
Barbara Stanwyck, Stella Dallas
Barbara Stanwyck, Baby Face
Irene Jacob, The Double Life of Veronique
Isabelle Adjani, Possession
Janet Gaynor, Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans
Joan Bennett, The Reckless Moment
Joan Crawford, Johnny Guitar
Mia Kirschner, Exotica
Monica Vitti, L’Avventura

Best Performance by Actor
Alan Arkin, Catch-22
Fredric March, Les Miserables
Gunnar Björnstrand, Winter Light
Henry Fonda, My Darling Clementine
James Mason, Bigger than Life
Robert Ryan, The Set-Up
Robert Ryan, The Naked Spur
Roy Scheider, All that Jazz
Terrence Stamp, The Limey
Tony Leung, Chungking Express

Best Cinematograpahy
Ballad of a Soldier (1959)
Bigger than Life (1956)
Catch-22 (1970)
Chungking Express (1994)
Cleo 5 a 7 (1962)
Cries and Whispers (1972)
Exotica (1994)
Hiroshima, Mon Amour (1959)
How Green was my Valley (1941)
Kill, Baby, Kill (1966)
My Darling Clementine (1946)
Odd Man Out (1947)
Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid (1973)
Pierrot le fou (1965)
Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1927)
Suspiria (1977)
The Bitter Tea of General Yen (1933)
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (2007)
The Double Life of Veronique (1991)
The Limey (1999)

Ten best of 2008 (Tentative, I’ll unveil a more complete list in February or March)
Un conte de Noël
Let the Right One In
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Vicky Christina Barcelona
Happy-Go-Lucky
Rachel Getting Married
Wall-E
The Duchess
In Bruges
Boogie Man: The Lee Atwater Story

10 Worst Films
Bangkok Dangerous
Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian
Dune
Journey to the Centre of the Earth
Rambo
Scream 3
The Five Obstructions
The Other Boleyn Girl
The Stepfather (1987)
The World of Henry Orient

What I’d like to explore in 2009
Andrzej Zulawski

zulawski

Budd Boetticher

budd-boetticher

French Cinema

renoir

John Cassavetes

cass

John Ford

john-ford

Luis Bunuel

bunuel

Rainer Werner Fassbinder

fassbinder

Taiwanese New Wave

hou

The Films of Jane Fonda

jane-fonda

Yasujiro Ozu

ozu

Some friends make their end lists;

Spengo

Tongue-Tied Lightning

Eternal Sunshine of the Logical Mind

My Life in Movies

24 responses to “2008 in Review

  1. there are only 19 films there… i love dawn of the dead, chungking express and hiroshima mon amour. i will add the rest to me to see list. and ignore the limey :p

    i’m a little bit sad vicky cristina has moved down your list but at least you still have the number one pick right 🙂

  2. Is Chungking Express a recent find for you? I don’t think I’ve ever seen you mention it until today (I first saw it as your banner earlier before you made this post).

    Will you be off to a university soon?

  3. I must have lost #20 along the way, no idea what it is or was. It’ll be a 19.

    I might have to rewatch it, but I think it’s more of my opinion of Let the Right One In improving, than my opinion of Vicky Christin decreasing.

    Mango: Yes, I saw it a week or two ago, and loved it.

    No, next fall only. Assuming they accept me.

  4. Which CEGEP? I was a Marianopolis grad myself and then squeaked into McGill.

    I loved your list – a mix of agreements, surprises and stuff I haven’t seen. Too bad you didn’t like “The Five Obstructions” – I think it’s a great look at not just these two men, but the artistic process itself. Von Trier is a bit of a dick at times though.

  5. I had no idea you were a fellow Montrealer, or at least lived here at some point. I went to Dawson, and am planning on going to Concordia. I actually visited the McGill campus very recently though, such a beautiful school.

    I have a hatred of all things Trier, it’s certainly the most interesting film he’s made, doesn’t make me like him any more. It’s not as bad as my list suggests, but I have a gut reaction to any of his work I’ve tried to watch to date.

  6. I approve of the following things in this post:

    – the moments you were never more happy
    – Mad Men
    – Dawn of the Dead
    – Let the Right One In
    – Irene Jacob in Veronique
    – Pierrot le fou’s cinematography
    – Suspiria’s cinematography
    – Veronique’s cinematography
    – WALL-E and In Bruges making your top 10 list
    – Scream 3 making your shit list
    – Your interest in exploring Cassavetes and Buñuel
    – your hatred of all things von Trier

    productive year, Justine. Once again you don’t disappoint 🙂

  7. Thank you 😀 I watched another episode of Mad Men last night, it’s just soooo gooood. Ever watch Battlestar Galactica? I picked up the first season for $15 yesterday. Will get on it once I finish Mad Men season 1.

  8. you mean you haven’t even finished the first season yet? I envy you for what you’ve yet to discover. IMO Mad Men’s second season is even better than the first.

    No, never seen Battlestar Galactica. I don’t really want to end up like Dwight Schrute 😛

    I’m too busy watching The Wire to care about, like, anything else. I just ordered the entire series for…much more than $15 yesterday 😦 But it’ll be worth it in 3-8 business days 😀

  9. I just got it for Christmas, I’ve been slowly making my way through it, savouring every moment. Almost everyone tells me it gets better as it progresses, which is great news.

    I will be an uber nerd :p

    I’ve been meaning to see the Wire, I’ll get around to it sometime

  10. Really great list(s) from what I’ve seen. What film is that John Ford screencap from? I totally love it.

  11. Yep, lived on the South Shore for my first 23 years and moved to Toronto once I graduated from McGill. I’ve ended up being very attached to both cities…Though The Habs will always be number One (even though I don’t follow Sports much these days, I’ll always root for them).

    I understand the Von Trier aversion. I actually quite like “Dancer In The Dark”, but I know several people who HATE it. Major hate. And though I totally see where they are coming from, that whole spiraling down thing and the music worked for me.

  12. just to show you how odd, and great, Mad Men Season 2 is, just look at this pic:

    This isn’t some publicity photo for the show or something, this actually happened in one really weird, and surreal, and darkly comic moment in one of the earlier episodes – one of the season’s big turning points, actually. Such an odd show, but so addictive…can’t wait ’til season 3 🙂

  13. Also recently discovered early Budd Boetticher.
    Behind Locked Doors is an interesting low-budget gem with Tor Johnson and Kim Fowley’s father.

  14. I haven’t seen most of the films in your list, so I haven’t much to say.
    Dawn of the Dead is great. What do you think of the recent remake?
    The Set-Up is a solid film, though not really among my favorite noirs. What is most interesting is how it takes place in more or less real time, which is not something you often see, much less in a film of that age.
    I’m going to see Let The Right One in next week. It hasn’t come through this area until just now.
    And Suspiria does have some great cinematography! It’s without a doubt my favorite horror movie for this reason. The way the scenes are set and color is used is brilliant. Disturbing because the death scenes are so beautiful.

  15. Orpheline: A film called Tobacco Road, the beautiful actress is the one and only Gene Tierney.

    Bob: The South Shore? Quite a journey into the city, I’m an NDG girl myself. I’d always get lost when I visited friends in Brossard or Chateaugay, it’s an elusive and frghtening part of the island for me :p

    I used to be a huge hockey fan myself, my passion has since dwindled but I still enjoy watching the games now and then and the playoffs.

    I haven’t given Dancer in the Dark a good shot yet, most of my hate stems from Breaking the Waves, a film I really hated.

    Simon: That does look very strange and very enticing, I can’t wait!

    Luis alberni: I’ll keep an eye open for that one, I’ll probably end upt starting with one of his Randolph Scott westerns.

    AR: I really didn’t like the Dawn of the Dead remake, the opening scene is very visceral but it’s downhill from there. Ironically, I saw it before Romero’s and stil disliked it.

    The real time works beautifully in this case, and the boxing scenes are just incredible. The fact that Ryan was able to do those scenes without a double really helped too.

    I hope you enjoy Let the Right One In.

    It’s not really my favourite horror, but it’s certainly among the most beautiful. The Italians really had a unique sense of aesthetics, and the color really does make it even more disturbing. Even Bava’s Kill Baby Kill is beautiful, though in a more traditionally “horrific” way.

  16. I wasn’t overly fond of the remake either. It wasn’t as bad as I expected, but I was still perplexed by Snyder’s obsession with artillery (for no reason that I could surmise) and the lack of subtext much of Romero’s work is noted for.

    I need to see more Italian horror, particularly Bava. The little I have seen is usually pretty to look at, even when a bit thin on plot.

  17. I think Snyder is just obsessed with overt masculinity, and guns are a part of that. He doesn’t have any subtext, even a lack of self-awareness about his themes/motifs surrounding the virile male.

    I don’t mind that they’re thin on plot, I think horror at it’s best, usually evokes a dream-like atmosphere. The Italians are best at it, though Lewton is not to scoff at, he tends to work within the concrete and supernatural all at once.

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