Part 3 of my Top Movies of 2008 series is written by Brad Moist. Brad lives in Nashville where he works at Gotee Records in A&R. As big a fan of movies as he is, he’s probably an even bigger music fan, and releases a great music top 10 list each year.
It’s that time of year to reflect on what Hollywood had to offer us in the past 12 months and give a little bit of feedback. Who am I to say what was good and what wasn’t? What qualifications do I have? Well, none, actually. I’m just some guy in Pennsylvania with a blog.
But that hasn’t stopped me yet. Nor has it stopped me from asking my esteemed panel of friends to give their feedback as well. This year, though, instead of including everyone’s top ten in one long blog, I will be breaking them up into easier-to-digest episodes. This year I’ve asked a number of different people from across the nation and in a variety of industries to rank their tops (and their flops).
Feel free to leave your comments and let us know where we went right…or wrong.
I suppose I’ll get this party started.
ED’S TOP 10 MOVIES OF 2008
10. Get Smart
I know, I know. I didn’t expect it to make my top 10, either. But when I looked back on the year I realized there weren’t a ton of movies that jumped out at me. And as I began listing the movies that I responded to, it was a surprisingly short list. Granted, I tend to lean toward comedies more than any other genre (as you’ll see), and if you get me to laugh out loud then I’m hooked. The #10 slot was a toss-up between Get Smart and Indiana Jones IV but at the end of the day, this one had less weird aliens and monkeys on vines.
9. Tropic Thunder
Seriously, how did these guys get away with everything they did? My buddy and co-reviewer John Allen disagrees with me on this one (see the next entry in this series) but I guess you’ll have that. I thought this movie was a brilliant snipe at the Hollywood Machine and those involved. Ben Stiller always manages to capture the essence of naive know-it-all-ness and the rest of the cast brought their A-game. I thought Tom Cruise’s performance was hyped up a little too much. I’m not quite sure why everyone thought it was the Second Coming of the Scientology God. So he put on a wig and jumped around like an idiot. Big deal, good for Tom. He did the same thing on Oprah.
8. The Dark Knight
What can I say about this you don’t already know and/or hasn’t already been said? Not much probably. Heath Ledger rocked. Christian Bale’s raspy voice was hilarious. Two-Face came and went really quickly.
7. Vantage Point
I didn’t hear much about this film after it came out but I thought it was pretty darn nifty. I loved how they centered around one event and, as they showed each person’s point-of-view, it revealed a different piece of a much larger puzzle. When I added it to my Top 10 Chase Scenes of all time and hailed the return of Dennis Quaid, it garnered a profane response from a genius named Chris who informed me Dennis Quaid wasn’t in Vantage Point. Even though he was the star. So that was funny.
6. Forgetting Sarah Marshall
Seriously. How do I get in with Judd Apatow? Someone give me an email or a phone number or something. He’s got one of the tightest, funniest circle of go-to friends working today and they never fail to disappoint. So hook me up, OK?
Wow. This movie is just beautiful to watch. Those guys are artists in every sense of the word.
4. Ghost Town
Maybe I’m prejudiced because I’m a huge fan of Ricky Gervais, but this movie should have done much better than it did. It may have come across as just another dead-guy-needs-help romantic comedy, but this movie proved that romantic comedies are allowed to be more comedy than romantic. Put this one in your Netflix queue and shame on you for not seeing it the first time around.
3. Kung Fu Panda
And this is how you make an animated film about a bear doing martial arts. Of course it helps that you’ve got the likes of Jack Black and David Cross making smarmy remarks the whole time, not to mention a team of animators that accentuates the action with cool slo-mo shots. Nicely done indeed.
2. Step Brothers
Part of me feels a little guilty and juvenile for putting this movie at #2, but I’m sorry. I laughed like an idiot the entire time. Director Adam McKay said his favorite part of working with Will Ferrell and John C Reilly on Talladega Nights were the moments where they just talked (i.e. the dinner table scene) and he wanted to make a movie that was just that: No car racing, just Will and John acting like morons, riffing and improvising at their hilarious best. The result is Step Brothers, and mission accomplished.
Because this one came out at the beginning of the year, I almost forgot it came out in ’08. But good night, this is how you make a thrill ride of a movie. If you saw it, you probably know what I’m talking about. I love movies that bring me in, shake me up, and don’t let go. I’m still shaking from the subway scene.
Regretfully, 2008 also came with its share of stinkers. Like these 5 WORST FILMS OF 2008
Will someone please dig a hole that Matthew McConaughey can fall into?
Sorry, Eddie. You’re done being funny. Step aside.
Journey to the Center of the Earth
I don’t care what you and your co-7th graders think. This was a train wreck. And now bring on the hate mail.
If you enjoy seeing good actors acting badly, then this is for you. And if you enjoy seeing good actors singing even worse, then this is definitely for you.
Let’s face it, top 10 lists are fun. Especially when I get to decide what does and doesn’t make the list.
This time around: The best chase scenes ever captured on film. And before we get started, I know Bullitt
and The French Connection
always get mentioned when people talk about chase scenes. Well guess what? I’ve never seen either one and when I watched the chase scenes on YouTube I wasn’t impressed. True, I didn’t see them in the context of the film and they were innovative at the time but I’m not grading on innovation. I’m grading on what I think was cool. And at the end of the day, that’s all that really matters. I mean for real.
ED’S TOP 10 CHASE SCENES OF ALL TIME
10. Running Scared (1986)
I was 16 when I saw this Billy Crystal/Gregory Hines buddy-cop flick (yes, you heard me right. Billy Crystal and Gregory Hines played Chicago cops). As a whole the film itself is pretty mediocre, but when Billy and Gregory’s high-speed chase leads them onto the rails of the Chicago El system – the cars racing along the tracks – it was something else. It was that scene that first made me say to myself One day I’m going to make a compilation of the best chase scenes, and this one is going to be on it.
9. Vantage Point (2008)
Forget the fact that I thought this movie was pretty freakin’ cool. Any movie that has me shouting “Get ’em, Dennis Quaid!! Go, Dennis Quaid!! Drive faster, Denis Quaid!!!” at the top of my lungs…yea it had a pretty cool chase scene.
8. Children of Men (2006)
How do you know a chase scene is a good one? When they are moving at like 2 miles per hour and it’s STILL exciting. Clive Owen sabotages the bad guys’ cars before he sneaks away from their hideout in a countryside cottage. But, of course, the car he’s in doesn’t always start when it’s supposed to, so he has to get out and push while Julianne Moore is in the car trying to pop the clutch and get it going. The baddies are soon after them, pushing their cars and in the same situation. OK, I admit it sounds pretty ridiculous in this context but trust me, it was pretty intense.
7. The Matrix Reloaded (2003)
The only redeeming quality about either of the sequels to the Matrix series was the freeway chase scene. I don’t know how much of it was CGI, how much was shot on location, or how much was shot on a soundstage – I suspect it was a combination of all three – but this sequence was so manic and crazy it made me forget for a few minutes that I was watching a really crappy movie.
6. Casino Royale\ (2006)
James Bond movies are supposed to have really cool chase scenes, but it wasn’t until the latest incarnation that I realized just how cool they could be. It opens with Daniel Craig chasing some dude who jumps around like a human Frogger through a construction site. Freakin’ awesome.
5. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)
Most people choose Raiders of the Lost Ark when they choose their favorite Indy chase scene, and I can’t really argue with them. But for me, it’s hard to beat the mine car chase. True, when you watch it now it’s almost painfully obvious that most of the sequence is actually shot in miniature, but let’s be honest. When you saw the trailer for Journey to the Center of the Earth with Brendan Fraser and you saw the clip of the mine car sequence, you thought of Indy II. And odds are you think of our favorite fedora-wearing hero every time you see a mine car in a movie traveling quickly. That, my friends, is what you call influence.
4. The Bourne Trilogy (2002, 2004, 2007)
Yes, I cheated a little on this one, but since it’s my list, I can make the rules. And break them. But I couldn’t single out one chase scene in the series of films that are pretty much one long chase scene (not unlike the surprisingly-forgotton Run with Patrick Dempsey….and don’t think that one didn’t almost make the list). So instead of trying to single out one of them, I’m just lumping the whole series together into one big chase scene chunk. MMMM. Tasty, huh?
3. The Italian Job (2003)
I’m not too proud to admit that this is the film that made me want to buy a Mini Cooper. I haven’t wanted a car this badly since I was a kid and was wayyyy too into the Herbie films (a pox upon thee, Lindsay Lohan! I miss you, Dean Jones). Watching these little cars zip around, eluding the bad guys, and custom-built to carry hijacked loot…wow…nothing could make me not want one of these cars. And then my boss got one and beat me to the punch. I guess I could still buy a VW bug and paint a ’53’ on the side.
2. Jurassic Park (1993)
Are you kidding me? I don’t know what freaked me out more, the T-Rex thumping after the jeep or the two raptors chasing our heroes through the grounds. Freak. Me. Out. I’m still against dinosaur DNA testing to this day.
1. Cloverfield (2008)
There’s a scene where the stars of the film find themselves in the dark maze of New York subway tunnels with no light. And when they DO manage to get some light what they see following them in the dark…well…sometimes it’s better to not see what it is that’s stalking you. The chase is on and it’s a hell of a chase. By the time the sequence was over, I could feel my heart trying to push through my ribcage. I turned to Sarah sitting beside me and could only utter these three words: “That was fun.”
So there ya go. My favorite chase scenes. What about you? What movies got your heart racing and your feet tapping overtime? Leave your favorites in a comment below.