Stalker's Top Ten 2008: Firebug Productions
Firebug is a Filmstalker regular who has been following the site for some time now. He's what I would call an online friend, of which I am happy to say I have made quite a few through Filmstalker, and he shares a passion for films, except his is somewhat more approaching an obsession.
He opens his Stalker's Top Ten list with a quote which I once said about him, and I hold by it. This is his first list for his top ten films of 2008, and we have a couple more lists to come from him. I suspect this series may well run into the first few weeks of next year, which is just fine.
If you want to contribute yours, there's still time, just head to the end of this article to find out how.
"The most amazing passion for film I've ever witnessed"
When Richard says that I have a passion for watching movies he isn't kidding. I have yet to meet anyone who watches movies on the scale that I do.
My passion for movies really started at the end of 2003. I have no clue how many movies I watched that year but it must have been quite a few because I decided that in 2004 I was going to watch 365 movies, that is one movie for every day of the year. However 365 wasn't a round enough number for me so I decided that I would watch 400 movies. Now obviously keeping track of that many movies just in my head would be impossible so I kept a list. In the end I watched 417 movies in 2004. Unfortunately since then my movie viewing has taken a rather drastic fall ending in a pathetic 192 movies watched in 2007. Until 2008 that is.
This year has seen several big changes in my viewings. The first would have to be the purchasing of my very first large screen TV. My choice was the Sony X-Series 46" Full 1080p HD LCD TV. It cost me a small fortune but it's been well worth every last cent. Coupled with my Playstation 3 and the best HDMI cable on the market watching movies at home has never looked so good. The second big change has been my foray it Blu-ray. So far I only have 6 titles but the picture quality really has to be seen to be believed. In the coming years I am hoping to upgrade as much of my collection of over 400 DVDs to Blu-ray as I can. The third change came just this month when I got MySkyHDi installed in my flat. For those of you who don't know what that is it allows me to record up to 2 movies on different Sky channels while watching a third channel. This has effectively quadrupled the number of movies I can watch at home. Just last week alone I watched 20 movies, only one of which was at the cinema, the rest on Sky.
At the time of typing this article I have watched 372 movies so far in 2008. With only 5 days of work left for this year for me that leaves a lot of spare time to watch many more movies and I'm certain that I can not only break 400 movies for this year but that I can better the 417 I watched back in 2004. I just had a quick count and of those 372, 189 of them I saw at the cinema. That equates to around $2,200 I've spent at the cinema this year. But enough of that, here are my top ten movies for 2008.
1 - Gone Baby Gone
I can't say I've ever really been a big fan of Ben Affleck acting of course on the other I've also never really disliked him. But with Gone Baby Gone he isn't acting, he's directing and what a change that is. If you don't mind the subject matter then this movie is absolutely magnificent. It's both thrilling and emotional at the same time and is completely driven by the plot and characters. No need for showy special effects here. Last year I saw Ben's younger brother Casey Affleck in The Assassination Of Jesse James which he was excellent in. In Gone Baby Gone Casey has the lead role and he does a fine job of it. Casey isn't exactly an imposing person but he does a great job of holding his own against other characters even when the odds are stacked against. I'm certainly not one to cry in movies but Gone Baby Gone was a very emotional movie especially towards the end and it had tears welling up in my eyes. Ben Affleck has done a fantastic job behind the camera and I hope that he continues this way.
2 - The Dark Knight (Filmstalker review)
The Dark Knight was easily the most highly anticipated movie of 2008 and did it live up to they hype? Most definitely. From the first time I saw the trailer for TDK I was hugely excited to see it. Having seen Batman Begins in 2006 and seeing the life that had been breathed into it with Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale I could barely hold my excitement in leading up the TDKs release. After my initial viewing of it I felt a little bit deflated. I had hyped myself up that much that it wasn't as great as I had lead myself to believe it was going to be. However in the weeks and months following that day the more I thought about it the better it was in my mind. Last night I watched it again but this time at home on Blu-ray and it was quite honestly the single greatest viewing pleasure I've ever had. The picture quality was utterly incredible and what I wouldn't have given to have surround sound. Watching it the 2nd time was even better than the first time. Heath Ledgers turn as The Joker is truly amazing. As I was watching it I had to keep reminding myself that it was him under all that make up. There has been a lot of talk about Ledger and whether he deserves an Oscar for his role and I wont say here whether I think he does or not but the fact that (for me personally anyway) you aren't keenly aware that it is actually him in that role speaks volumes about how well he played that role.
Before TDK Batman Begins was my choice for the greatest comic book movie ever made but now there is a new winner. Christopher Nolan has crafted not just the greatest comic book ever but also a truly epic movie worthy of all the praise it has received.
3 - No Country For Old Men (Filmstalker review)
The 2008 Best Picture Oscar winner. Over the years they have been working together, the Coen Brothers have made some unforgettable and classic movies. No Country will surely go down as one of their best. The best part of this movie is in the casting. Before No Country I had only seen Josh Brolin in lesser roles but in No Country he takes the lead and does a fine job it. Tommy Lee Jones is perfectly suited to his role as weary old timer sheriff. Javier Bardem also does a great job as a remorseless psychopathic killer. Many people have criticised the ending of the movie but I for one thought it was appropriate and a good way to end the movie.
4 - There Will Be Blood
If you have seen this movie then surely the one thing that will stick in your mind is that of Daniel Day Lewis' powerhouse role in it. He hasn't been in many movies in the last decade; in fact Blood is only the third movie he's been in over the last decade but what a job he does. There is no doubt in my mind that he deserved the Oscar for Best Actor. Blood is one of the 6 titles I have on Blu-ray and once again the quality is terrific; since watching this movie all DVDs I have watched look pretty poor in comparison.
5 - Juno
What a wonderfully charming movie this was. Ellen Page does a great job as Juno in the movie and I couldn't help but like her. In fact every actor in this movie does a great job. While this movie has its detractors going on about the issues of teen pregnancy it is still just a movie and doesn't necessarily represent what goes on in the real world, it really is a lovely and lovable film.
6 - In The Valley Of Elah
This is another great and emotional movie that stars Tommy Lee Jones as a former MP searching for the people who murdered his son. Jones is again perfectly suited to this role as in No Country.
7 - Happy Go Lucky
Talk about a happy feel good movie. Sally Hawkins plays a primary school teacher that is constantly happy and I do mean constantly. I found myself smiling and laughing through the entire movie especially the scenes when she tries to cheer up her driving instructor played by Eddie Marsan. The scenes between these two were a real pleasure to watch, on the one hand you have Poppy (Sally Hawkins) who just cannot for the life of her be bought down from her cheerfulness and on the other hand you have Scott (Eddie Marsan) who is a particularly angry and sometimes racist man. The two are basically complete opposites of each other and when they get together for driving lessons it makes for some very memorable scenes.
8 - Before The Devil Knows You're Dead
Right from the opening scene this movie packs a punch and for those of you that have seen it you'll know what I'm talking about. It is about a robbery that is supposed to get a couple of guys some quick money but in the end goes horribly wrong. We follow the lives of all the characters involved over several days and the movie flips between not jut the characters but also the timeline of their involvement. I have always liked Philip Seymour Hoffman and have enjoyed watching him in all the movies I have seen him in. Ethan Hawke also does a good job in this movie.
9 - Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story
Judd Apatow has been on a pretty big role with comedies since the release of The 40 Year Old Virgin and Walk Hard is no different. Walk Hard is a spoof on such movies as Walk The Line and Ray and while you don't need to have seen either of those movies to like Walk Hard it does help. On the day that I saw Walk Hard I was in a particularly bad mood but 5 minutes into this movie I was in tears of laughter. John C Reilly's roles in comedies over that last few years have been great to watch, he certainly does it well (especially when teamed up with Will Ferrell). Walk Hard has some great one liners and some great scenes spoofing other well known movies and is easily one of the funniest of the year.
10 - After The Wedding (Efter brylluppet)
After The Wedding is a Danish drama that stars Mads Mikkelsen as a man who discovers a life altering family secret. This is the sort of movie I truly love, one that is propelled along solely by the storyline and the actors. The acting is top notch and the story is relatively simple yet allows the characters many different emotions and puts them in a lot of different situations.
Wow, that's a good list with some unusual choices in there. I love the fact that Before The Devil Knows You're Dead is in there and Gone Baby Gone is number one, but No Country For Old Men seems a bit high for me, and Walk Hard? Well how can you argue with a man who has perhaps seen more films than anyone else this year?
Have you seen more? Disagree or agree with the list? Let Firebug know in the comments. In the meantime, if you want to look at the other lists that have been sent in, then just head to the Stalker's Top Ten section.
Or maybe you want to submit your own list? Well that's easy too. Write about any film related list you like from your favourite to your worst, from the actors to the characters, anything to do with film in 2008. Have a think and send your list to Stalker's Top Tens as soon as you can.