Welcome to “Another Movie Guy?”! Normally I review recent new releases, and then mention similar movies worth checking out. But it’s nearing the end of the year, which can only mean one thing: I churn out my annual “Another Movie Guy?’s Top 10 Movie Superlatives!” It was a great year for movies, and I saw a ton (250+, I think). It’s therefore hard to pick, let alone rank, ten superlatives. So rest assured that spots 6-10 are slightly more arbitrary than spots 3-1. Actually, who am I kidding? They’re all arbitrary. Let’s get to it:
10. Best Musical Number in a French Farce: OSS 117: Cairo Nest of Spies
Far more than a truly excellent title, OSS 117: Cairo Nest of Spies has a truly catchy musical number. In this scene, our hero uses the cover of a musician to spy on his target. When he discovers that the audience requires more than a fez, he rises to the occasion with something that’s both catchy and hilarious. Watch below:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FYxPpx1yCY4
9. Best Movie That Indirectly Inspired a European Vacation: In Bruges
Far more than the best comedy of 2008, In Bruges partially inspired me and some friends to visit Belgium this year. Bruges was pretty but a little boring. I reacted better than Colin Farrell’s character did to the city, but Gent was a far more memorable town. Below you can find a picture yours truly took from the top of the famous Bruges tower:
8. Best Movie I Saw With My Dad: The Bank Job
Far more than a parent, my dad was my most consistent movie companion until I figured how to sneak into R-rated pictures. We still see stuff for old time’s sake, and we were both pleasantly surprised by The Bank Job. It’s a densely layered heist story with believable characters and an intelligent script. There are at least four major plot lines, and they are wrapped together nicely. Me and my Pops highly recommend this one for a rainy afternoon.
7. Best Movie I Illegally Downloaded: Transsiberian
Far more than a Hitchcockian Thriller, Transsiberian was all the better because I enjoyed it (for free) from the comfort of my living room. When I said that I was on the edge of my seat, I was lying. I was laying down on the couch.
6. Best Movie I Saw While Playing Hookie: Shine a Light
Far more than a Rolling Stones concert film, Shine a Light was enhanced by the fact that while I was watching it, I should have been at work. There were maybe 4 people in the audience when I saw it at the Uptown, and I’m sure they had a similar inkling. For no particular reason, here’s the opening number:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ptTTho6A7LY
5. Best Intentionally Funny Performance: Tom Cruise, Tropic Thunder
4. Best Unintentionally Funny Performance: Tom Cruise, Valkyrie
Far more than a universally reviled scientologist, Tom Cruise is an actor who undeniably gives his best effort with every performance. He didn’t take him himself seriously in Tropic Thunder, so when his character busted the proverbial move, it was hilarious. He took himself too seriously in Valkyrie, so when his character delivered a handless Nazi salute with an American accent, it was fucking hilarious.
3. Best Unexpectedly Moving Scene Involving Ubiquitous Music and a Large Dog: Tell No One
Far more than my favorite French movie of the year, Tell No One had a scene that seemed silly but quickly lost (most) of its silliness. Our hero needed to check his e-mail, and tied up his shaggy dog while stopping at an internet cafe. All the while “With or Without You” by U2 was playing. At first I was all, “Dude, why are they using this corny song for this dramatic scene?” But when the song reaches its big finish, our hero saw that his supposedly dead wife had been trying to contact him, and I was won over. What can I say? I’m a romantic. Oh, and the dog was cute.
2. Best Ego Trip Featuring Dialog in a Foreign Language I Could (Mostly) Understand: The Fall
Far more than an extravagant visual orgy, The Fall features an adorable young Romanian actress who seemed to pull her dialog out of thin air. To make a long story short, my parents are both Romanian, and out of spite, never taught me the language. Nevertheless, I retain a some basic understanding. So when the cute girl speaks to her mother in my parents’ native tongue, I got excited because I knew (mostly) what she was saying . I must say for a movie with one-of-a-kind visuals, it’s a little embarrassing that this minor detail is what I most vividly remember.
1. No, Seriously, Best Movie I Saw This Year: The Dark Knight
Far more than the best superhero movie EVAR, The Dark Knight is exquisitely plotted with sharp dialog and fantastic action. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like it, and I doubt I will for years to come. The movie succeeds on every level, and is among the best I’ve seen in tears. Full disclosure: I am a huge Batman nerd, going so far as to possess Batman sweatpants as a child.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1pMT2t00GO0
So there you have it, folks! There are other superlatives that fell by the wayside, but surely you have your own. Let me know what I missed.