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Saturday, January 03, 2009  

My Year in Movies (2008)

Time to go through the movies I saw last year. Again, this covers only films I saw in the theaters, because otherwise these get too long to fit into one entry. Except that this year, Trash pushed me to go a lot more often. Plus I didn't have a book to write, and while I churned out plenty of weecaps for TWoP, I didn't write a full-length recap until July, at which point I had almost forgotten how.

So that ended up resulting in a lot more movies. Hence this is going to take more than one entry.

I Am Legend
In keeping with the first two installments of this annual feature, the first movie I saw this year was actually released late the previous year. I do seem to be drawn to these apocalyptic pieces, don't I? But the thing that stuck with me isn't the scary super-zombies or how cool it would be to have all of Manhattan to yourself, all day, every day. It was signage. In an early scene set in the waist-high grass of Times Square, there was a shot of a billboard that simply featured the Superman logo superimposed over the Batman logo. I want to see that movie.

The other thing that jumped out at me was the scene at the gas station, where we learned that as of the end of civilization, gas was nearly seven bucks a gallon. Sure it was a mutated measles virus that brought about the end of the world.

Sundry pointed out that between this movie and the previous one, it's clear that people who live in Manhattan need to have some kind of emergency escape plan, and it's obvious that a helicopter isn't going to cut it. I expected that by the end of this year, affluent-yet-paranoid New Yorkers would be investing in home and office escape pods, which upon the first sign of freakazoid epidemic or giant-beastie attack would launch you directly into the stratosphere before parachuting to a soft landing in southern Ohio. But maybe there needs to be a reissue of Deep Impact or something before anyone gets around to inventing one.

Anyway, I can buy a group of yuppie pukes venturing through dark subway tunnels in order to get to the not-exactly-girlfriend of one of them. I can buy jumping to the roof of a tipped-over skyscraper from the window of an intact one. I can even buy the invasion of New York City by a gigundous, multi-tentacled beastie that sprinkles somersaulting, man-eating, parasite-injecting spiders the size of a dishwasher everywhere it goes. What I can not and will not buy is the idea that an amateur-shot videotape could ever present a coherent narrative without the person who filmed it sitting next to you explaining the context of everything.

Be Kind Rewind
It's probably not fair to compare this movie to Crazy People, the 1990 Dudley Moore/Darryl Hannah clunker about an adman who goes a little nuts. But I'm going to anyway. I hated Crazy People, but loved the ads in it. I didn't hate Be Kind Rewind, but without all the "sweding," I probably would have. Jack Black wasn't as exhausting as usual, and Mos Def's underacting serves him much better here than in Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, but there was too much "behind the nonexistent scenes" story and not enough fucking around with cheap remakes of famous movies. Gondry was wise to turn down the volume for the hokey ending, even if the decision did leave some questions unanswered. Top of my list: community support or no, how is Mr. Fletcher going to cover the multibillion-dollar copyright fines he owes when he's serving 63,000 years in prison?

Plus Linda totally busted on me for being amused by the Get Smart trailer. What can I say, I'm conditioned to laugh at Steve Carrell without even thinking now.

More in a few days, when things will take a decidedly parental turn.

posted by M. Giant 8:10 PM 1 comments


It feels like Be Kind, Rewind came out 3 years ago, not just last year. I watched it on an airplane this summer and I had the same exact opinion of it as you do - "Meh, Mos Def was ok; I don't get how that old man is off the hook now; at least I didn't want to kick Jack Black in the junk."

By Blogger DuchessKitty, at January 8, 2009 at 11:45 AM  

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