ed. note... This is Steven Tsapelas here. Prepare for handsome actor Patrick Cohen's Top List...
All right. So this is my first blog for Ragtag Productions, and I feel like I should start out by saying something. Something important. Brian is a crazy person. “A weak year for films?” Are you kidding me? This was an amazing year for films... with movies like “Hamlet 2” and Uwe Boll’s now-classic “In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale”… wait.
Well, it was an amazing summer at least. To see the master M. Night Shyamalan at work in his masterpiece “The Happening,” and to finally see the return of my childhood idol Indiana Jones… damn.
Well at least it was an amazing year for superhero films. I mean this year we got movies like “The Spirit” and “Punisher: War Zone”... hold on…
Maybe Brian was right…
Okay, here we go.
First, the unquestionable
Worst Movie of the year:
I’m sure most of you haven’t seen this movie. That’s a blessing. One day in December, my brother and I were bored and decided to see a movie. Why not? Movies are fun when you’re bored, right? Yea… do yourself a favor. When this is on TV check it out. No more than 10 minutes or so at a time, mind you, but give it a watch. And ask yourself: What the hell is Sam Jackson doing in this movie?” This isn’t like “Jumper” where it’s so bad it’s funny. This is like when a handicapped kid falls and starts crying. It’s just too embarrassing and painful to laugh at. This was easily the most painful cinematic experience of my life. And I’ve seen two Uwe Boll movies and “Ultraviolet” on opening night.
Movie I hated the most this year:
INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL-
Okay, so this movie is 100 times better than “The Spirit,” but there’s a big difference. I didn’t grow up watching the Spirit and thinking he was the coolest hero ever. I didn’t run around my backyard dressed like the Spirit. But Indy? Come on, I had the hat, the whip, a toy gun, and I’d run around fighting imaginary Nazis. I must have been Indy for Halloween at least 8 times (most recently in ’07). So to watch this movie was heartbreaking.
Now I’m not one of those people who’ll tell you that aliens don’t belong in an Indiana Jones movie. I get it. It’s the 50s now. The occult and WW2 has been replaced by UFO sightings and the cold war. I get it. That’s fine. I also don’t mind Harrison Ford in this. Is he amazing? No. Is he too old? Yes. But he works for me. I felt like he was Indy. The problem with this movie is not Shia LeBouf, Karen Allen or Ray Winstone. The problem with this movie is Lucas. The Beard. This was Episode 1. Stupid freaking CGI monkeys, ridiculously fake looking fire ants, surviving an atomic bomb in a refrigerator. A refrigerator people. And don’t even get me started on the gophers. My God the gophers. I know it was you George. You broke my heart. Again.
Okay, now here’s my top ten. Bear in mind, these are my favorite movies of the year, not necessarily what I think the “best” 10 movies of the year were. Also, it should be noted that I’ve had a busy few months getting set up in a new town, pursuing a career, etc, and haven’t seen quite a few movies. My blatant omissions are “Slumdog Millionare,” “Milk,” and “The Reader.” I have every reason to believe that I’d love two of those movies (guess which two), and who knows where they’d fit in my list. But here’s the best I can do with what I’ve seen.
I know, I know. This one’s controversial. Brian will probably think I’m an idiot. But you know what? This movie totally works for me. I got exactly what I paid for. I wanted to see Rambo get really pissed off, and blow up a whole shitload of people, preferably in or around Vietnam. That’s what I wanted the second I read that they were making this movie, that’s what I wanted when I bought my ticket, and that’s what I got. I love it.
9.) Forgetting Sarah Marshall-
If it hadn’t been the year of Pineapple and Tropic, this would have been my favorite comedy of the year. I loved Segel in this. He killed me, especially when he starts singing the Dracula music that first time. When you don’t expect that accent, it’s freaking hilarious. And let’s just call it like it is: Mila Kunis is both ridiculously hot, and ridiculously good in this movie. Throw in a little cameo by Bateman and it’s no wonder my broke ass bought this on Blue Ray.
8.) The Visitor-
After years of being a nameless “that guy,” it’s good to see Richard Jenkins working so much. He’s hilarious in “Step Brothers,” and one of the better parts of the disappointing (sorry, Steve) “Burn After Reading,” but it’s in “The Visitor,” that Jenkins really shows what he can do. He is so good in this movie. I believe him every second that he’s on that screen.
7.) Pineapple Express-
Hilarious. This movie totally redeems Franco. Because, let’s face it, he’s pretty friggin bad in the Spiderman films. But in this? Amazing. Even with the useless and decidedly unfunny opening scene, this movie rocks. And Danny McBride in that final diner scene made me laugh harder than almost any other moment in film this year.
6.) Tropic Thunder*-
Okay, so a second ago? When I said Danny McBride’s diner scene made me laugh harder than almost any other film? Yea, that exception would be this film. Every moment worked for me. Loved the trailers in the beginning (particularly the “MTV best kiss award winner Tobey Maguire” moment), the “full retard” speech and virtually every moment of this film.
So why the asterisk you ask? Well, unfortunately, we live in a world where it’s apparently acceptable for a director to release a dvd of a film as an “extended” or “director’s” cut, without including the original theatrical release. This always drives me crazy. With the exceptions of the Lord of the Rings, Bladerunner, and possibly “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” (which wisely included the theatrical cut on the Blue Ray), the theatrical cut is always better. This lengthened, slowed down, and overall less entertaining version of the film is just not great. I really hate that I can’t own the movie I saw in theaters.
5.) Iron Man-
Not much to say about this that you don’t already know. A great, fun, and action-packed ride. Downey Jr. is so watchable in this role that I wish they could’ve made it 10 years ago so we could have more sequels. The Rocketeer meets Robocop with a little taste of Batman. Awesomeness.
4.) The Wrestler-
I am angry at the academy. This movie deserves a best picture nomination (and in my humble opinion, probably a win). It is beyond good. Rourke is so good here that it seems like it is practically a documentary. A perfect film. I wouldn’t change a frame, and that final moment is amazing. How Springsteen can win the Golden Globe and not even get a nomination for what is clearly the best song in any movie this year is mind-boggling. In my opinion the best film of the year.
3.) The Curious Case of Benjamin Button-
God I loved this movie. I understand why not everyone did. It is very long, has some serious pacing problems (do we really need to spend so much time in the hospital room? We get it, we get it, get back to the story…), and can feel a little heavy-handed at times. But it really worked for me. Aside from what is obviously a stunning breakthrough in makeup and visual effects, this is just a beautiful movie. I loved every actor in this film, I loved Brad’s voice-over, and I loved what has become one of my favorite lines ever. “We have to lose people. How else would we know how much they meant to us?” I’ll be honest. I teared up a bit at the end. A beautiful and touching film. Absolutely loved it.
My God this movie is awesome. I love sci-fi, I love animation, and I love Fred Willard. All in one? Brilliant. This movie is astonishing. The entire first act is basically a silent film. No dialogue (except for a bit of “Hello, Dolly”), and yet the story couldn’t be clearer. We easily follow and understand Wall-E’s needs, desires, and emotions. And of course, I love what happens to humanity in the future, and the captain’s epiphany as he realizes that it’s our job to take care of Earth. Brilliant film. My new favorite pixar movie (although I’m eagerly awaiting UP, so we’ll see how long that title lasts!)
1.) The Dark Knight-
Obviously. Come on, I’m a huge superhero and comic book fan. How could this not have been my favorite movie of the year? I am ridiculously pissed at the academy for this one. Should have been up for best picture. Should have been up for best director, best score, and best adapted screenplay too. This was not the second biggest movie of all time for no reason. There’s so much here to love.
Ledger’s performance is perfect. I love Bale in this role even more now than in the first one (the Batman voice totally works for me), and I love that this has become an ensemble piece. It’s not just Batman’s journey now, we follow, and care about Gordon and Dent, because of the wonderful script and performances. And that truck flip? Hopefully this film can convince filmmakers that sometimes CGI won’t cut it. Sometimes you have to go back to basics, and get some practical effects. Hire some stuntmen. It looks so much better.
Now I’m not Steve, I’m not scouring the internet for Batman 3 rumors, and I don’t think this was a perfect film (I hated the sonar eyes for instance), but it is easily one of my favorite movies of all time. Take your time Nolan, if you can’t give us another masterpiece, don’t make a third. One Spiderman 3 was enough.
There’s my list, Steve. Let the arguments begin!