2008 was a great year for movies. But you wouldn’t know that if you, like most people, judge the quality of a movie based on the standards of the Oscar committee which is good but susceptible to epic mistakes. (No Grand Torino nod for best movie. WTF?)
That’s where I come in. Unlike the politically driven Academy, I uses my eyes and ears to judge the quality of a movie. But more important than that, my spectrum of quality movies far exceeds the limited vision of Hollywood. So get your Netflix queues ready, because I’ve got 5 movies I’ve seen, and you need to see.
A movie about the 1981 hunger strike, Hunger tells the story of imprisoned IRA member Bobby Sands and his attempts to force concessions from the British government. Regardless of your politics, Hunger is a movie filled with subtly and painstakingly attentive attention to detail. Like most European movies, Hunger excels in its ability to convey the little things that make the simplest of struggles so significant. Unlike some movies that rely upon tell instead of show, Hunger makes you feel like you’re an actual Irish prisoner.
I know, I know, a good Van Damme movie? It was hard for me to believe too. But JCVD isn’t a typical Van Damme movie, or even a typical movie. Using JCVD’s true life struggles as a back drop, divorce, custody battles, inability to land good roles, JCVD uses the fictional backdrop of a bank robbery to highlight the dark side of Hollywood. At its core JCVD is a movie about what happens to someone after they fall out of the limelight of celebrity. If you liked The Wrestler, there’s a good chance you’ll enjoy the heart of this movie.
Let The Right One In
Dude, the movie got a 97 rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Just fucking watch it already. A movie that appeared on many 2008 top 10 lists, in the #1 spot for many prominent critics, Let The Right One in is a story about the love between two 12 year olds. Oh, and one of them happens to be a Vampire. Kind of an important detail. Add in subtle cinematography and a calm approach to bloody and gore and you’ve got yourself one damn good Swedish flick. This is what they’d call puppy love if it included murder, vampires, and a pale eerie Swedish boy.
A Complete History of My Sexual Failures
Boy meets girl. Girl dumps boy. Boy meets another girl. Other girl dumps boy. Again and again and again. But thankfully, that’s just the background for this great documentary which attempts to ask the simple question “Why did you dump me.” But don’t worry, “History” is by no means an emo flick about some Birkenstock wearing jackass. Its the opposite, a movie about a socially awkward loser who doesn’t realize how stupid he sounds when he talks. Sounds interesting huh? Oh, it gets so much better, because not only has our narrator been dumped several times, several of his girlfriend’s absolutely hate and despise him, all for very different, and personally embarrassing reasons.
WALTZ WITH BASHIR
The Academy finally got one right. Winner of the 2008 Academy Award for Best Foreign film, Waltz with Bashir tells the story of Ari Folman a former Israeli solider seeking to uncover his repressed memories from the Israeli-Lebanon war. An a pseudo-documentary, Waltz incorporates real interviews with an animated dramatization of the war. One of the most telling moments occurs when we hear former IDF soldiers retell their first hand experiences at the Sabra and Shatila massacre. The fact that Lebanon actually banned this movie should tell you all need to know about its quality.