Tuesday, December 30, 2008

best of 2008 lists

Kristin over at E! has posted polls concerning the best TV of 2008 and the worst TV of 2008 (so go vote!). Below, I've listed some of the categories for "Best of...", with my picks in bold.

Best Chemistry
Jack & Liz, 30 Rock
Chuck & Sarah, Chuck*
Blair & Chuck, Gossip Girl
Pam & Jim, The Office
Ned & Chuck, Pushing Daisies

Best Baddie
Benjamin Linus, Lost
(he allowed his daughter to die!)
Dave Williams, Desperate Housewives
The Devil, Reaper
Sylar, Heroes
Dexter Morgan, Dexter

Best "OMG!" Moment
Phyllis walks in on Dwangela, The Office
Ben moves the Island, Lost
Rita is pregnant, Dexter
Sookie and Bill do the deed, True Blood
Lily is Chuck's mom, Pushing Daisies

Best Foreign Import
Simon Brenner, ER
Bret & Jermaine, Flight of the Conchords
Sadie Harris, Grey's Anatomy
Desmond Hume, Lost
Belle, Secret Diary of a Call Girl

Best Drama of 2008
Gossip Girl
Friday Night Lights
True Blood
One Tree Hill
Mad Men (of course)

Best Comedy of 2008
The Office
30 Rock
Pushing Daisies
Flight of the Conchords
It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia
How I Met Your Mother
The Big Bang Theory

* Let's be honest, Jim and Pam haven't had the same opportunities this season to show us their adorableness, whereas the consistent they-should-but-can't B-storyline for Chuck and Sarah has been a wonderful showcase for a plethora of emotions. So although I love Jam, I have to go with Charah... or Suck... hmm, that doesn't work.
** Again, I should defend my love for Chuck. While 30 Rock, The Office, and How I Met Your Mother are all really fantastic shows, Chuck has delivered the most laughs, surprises, and heartfelt honesty (which is ironic considering it's parodic comedy) of all the shows. And as a side note, I don't think I would classify Weeds or Californication as comedies...

Film School Rejects offers the Ten Best Foreign Films of 2008, and I think it's a good, albeit predictable, list. The important thing is who's in the number one spot.

10. Son of Rambow (UK)
9. JCVD (Belgium)
8. The Fall (Earth -- the film was shot in something like 18 countries)
7. Boy A (UK)
6. The Chaser (South Korea)
5. Tokyo Gore Police (Japan)
4. Tell No One (France)
3. The Good, The Bad, and the Weird (South Korea)
2. Let the Right One In
1. In Bruges
Film Junk had a poll recently asking its viewers what was the best of 2008. The results are found in their Reader's Choice Awards.

Best Comedy - Forgetting Sarah Marshall
Best Horror - Cloverfield (obviously high school males were the predominant pollers, though, to be fair, the nominees selection wasn't that great)
Best Thriller - Transsiberian
Best Action - Rambo
Best Animated - WALL-E
Best Comic Book - The Dark Knight
Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy - Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (umm, what?? do people not remember the god-awful ending or the "nuke the fridge" disaster?? but again, the nominees were not so great. and as a detour, would you really even call the civilization a kingdom?)
Best Documentary - Man on Wire (Religulous got the runner-up position)
Best Indie - Synecdoche, New York (whoo!)
Best Foreign - Let the Right One In
Best Drama - Milk
Best Film of the Year - The Dark Knight
Biggest Disappointment - Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (that's right - explain this paradox to me...)
And, of course, we have a few lists from Cinematical, one of my favorite (and most updated) websites on film. Here're their Cinematical Seven lists for Best Ensemble Casts, Worst MPAA Ratings, and, though it's not 2008-themed it's still a clever and funny list, Christmas Movies that Demand an R-Rated Remake.

Best Ensemble Casts
7. Valkyrie - Tom Cruise, Tom Wilkinson, Kenneth Branagh, Bill Nighy, Terence Stamp, and Eddie Izzard
6. W. - Josh Brolin, Ioan Gruffold, Elizabeth Banks, Thandie Newton, James Cromwell, Richard Dreyfuss
5. RochnRolla - Gerard Butler, Idris Elba, Jeremy Piven, Thandie Newton, Tom Wilkinson
4. Appapaloosa - Ed Harris, Viggo Mortensen, Jeremy Irons and Renee Zellweger
3. Burn After Reading - Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Frances McDormand, John Malkovich, Tilda Swinton, Richard Jenkins
2. Iron Man - Robert Downey Jr., Gwenyth Paltrow, Terrence Howard, Jeff Bridges, Jon Favreau
1. Tropic Thunder - Ben Stiller, Jack Black, Robert Downey Jr., Tom Cruise, Matthew McConaughey, Nick Nolte, Jay Baruchel, Steve Coogan, Brandon T. Jackson, Bill Hader, Christine Taylor... and let's not forget the best part of the WHOLE movie, Tobey Maguire's cameo
Worst MPAA Ratings
7. The Love Guru (rated PG-13 for "crude and sexual content throughout, language, some comic violence and drug references").
6. Frozen River (rated R for "some language").
5. 5. Frost/Nixon (rated R for "some language"). Two mother-f***ers and two other f-bombs.
4. Slumdog Millionaire (rated R for "some violence, disturbing images and language"). Suggestions of rape, murder, and maiming, and yet The Dark Knight got a PG-13 rating.
3. The Fall (rated R for "some violent images").
2. Son of Rambow (rated PG-13 for "some violence and reckless behavior"). Because kids making homemade bombs is "suggestive."
1. The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (rated PG for "epic battle action and violence"). The MPAA says, "The ratings are intended to provide parents with advance information so they can decide for themselves which films are appropriate for viewing by their own children." It's all about parents looking out for their kids. So how in the name of C.S. Lewis did this film -- rife with stabbing, throat-slitting, decapitating, and large-scale slaughter, much of it perpetrated by teenage characters -- get a PG? Does the fact that most of the violence is bloodless (and therefore not realistic) somehow make it family-friendly? Had there been even one sexual reference, it would have gotten a PG-13. Thank goodness Disney only packed the film with killing instead!
Christmas Movies that Demand an R-Rated Remake

Judd Apatow's Elf
40 year-old Buddy (Will Ferrell) learns that he is in fact a human, not an elf, and he has been kept from human experiences for his entire life. Buddy returns to Earth eager to make up for lost time, with the help of some wisecracking friends, played by Seth Rogen and Paul Rudd ("You know how I know you're gay? You're wearing yellow tights!"). They are more than willing to help him out, and so begins an epic quest to get Buddy laid -- though what Buddy really wants is love. He eventually finds it with the kind of girl who would totally go for an average-looking man/child in the Apatow universe -- Jessica Alba.

Michael Moore's A Christmas Carol
In Michael Moore's return to narrative filmmaking, George W. Bush plays with his shiny new train set, sets out cookies for Santa Claus, and falls asleep in his footie pajamas while watching Power Rangers. He is awoken in the middle of the night by The Ghost of Christmas Past, who takes Georgie through his days of frat parties, draft dodging, drunk driving, and cocaine abuse. Even faced with hard evidence, Bush denies any involvement. The Ghost of Christmas Present takes Bush deep into a post-Katrina New Orleans, where Bush cracks jokes and enjoys some caramel corn. Stunned by Bush's lack of feeling, the ghost takes him to Iraq, where he sees what Christmas is like for U.S. soldiers. Bush yawns. He is sleepy. The Ghost of Christmas Future shows Bush a world ravaged by the effects of global warming and America hated by countries all across the globe. "Not real concerned about my legacy, Future Dude" chuckles Bush, and he falls asleep safe in his bed. Bush wakes up twelve hours later, having learned absolutely nothing. As the movie ends, he runs over a homosexual couple with his truck and kicks a sick orphan in the face.

Mel Gibson's How the Jews Stole Christmas
Mel Gibson's take on the beloved holiday classic loses the Grinch angle and finds Christmas being stolen by a legion of angry Jews. "Resistance is futile! Don't you know we're responsible for all the wars in the world?!" yells their leader (played by Jerry Seinfeld) as he sets fire to Christmas trees and manger scenes, replacing them with menorahs and dradels. The film concludes with an astoundingly graphic and lengthy scene of the Jewish people crucifying Santa Claus.

It's a Wonderful Life
This is about as close to perfection as movies get, and I pray they never remake it. But if they do, adding this scene [link no longer works, but it's of SNL's Dana Carvey as George Bailey beating up Mr. Potter] is a great idea. Enjoy.

John Woo's A Christmas Story
All Ralphie wants for Christmas is a Red Ryder BB gun, but his parents are worried he'll shoot his eye out. Everyone agrees, and Ralphie's frustrations build. Come Christmas morning, Ralphie does not receive the gift he asked for. He is pissed, and unleashes a foul-mouthed tirade on his family. Ralphie's mother reaches for a bar of soap to wash his mouth out, but Ralphie gives her a roundhouse kick to the stomach. Ralphie pulls two Red Ryders from behind the couch. "Who's shooting eyes out now, bitches?" yells Ralphie as he leaps over the sofa whilst firing both weapons simultaneously. His parents wounded, Ralphie takes to the streets and wreaks bloody vengeance on the town as BBs and white doves fly through the air in extreme slow-motion. Hours later, the entire town hospitalized with infections from BB wounds, Ralphie finds himself alone in the house and feeling randy. He chugs a huge glass of spiked Ovaltine and makes love to his father's sexy leg lamp as the credits roll.

Darren Lynn Bousman's Home Alone
Professional burglars Harry (Joe Pesci) and Marv (Daniel Stern) break into the house of little Kevin McCallister, unaware that Kevin is totally prepared to make them pay for their life of crime. Harry and Marv slip on some Micro Machines in the hallway and hit their heads. When they regain consciousness an hour later, Harry is ball gagged and suspended over a pit of razor blades by a padlocked chain. Marv has the only key to the padlock surgically implanted behind his right eye. Home Alone enters the age of Saw and Hostel, and oh yes...there will be blood.

Martin Scorsese's Home Alone 2: Lost in New York
In its original version, Home Alone 2 found young Kevin alone in Manhattan -- enjoying a fantasy world of luxurious hotels and fancy toy stores. In the remake, directed by Martin Scorsese, Kevin is shown what life is really like in New York City. That homeless lady with all the pigeons gives Kevin a scorching case of bird flu, an elderly man exposes his genitals to Kevin on the subway, and things go really wrong when Kevin befriends a young prostitute, shaves his head, and faces off with a terrifying pimp played by Harvey Keitel. Joe Pesci returns as a heavily mobbed up Harry, and the only thing on his Christmas list this year is Kevin's head in a box. Kevin is literally lost in New York, but Paul Schrader's script uses that setup to explore the ways in which we are all "lost" -- spiritually, emotionally, and sexually.

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