best of year lists – film (part two)

It’s 9.30 on NYE, I still have a couple hours to get the last part of this blog post written so as I don’t feel like a complete slacker. Here goes:

Twilight – Catherine Hardwicke

I am well aware that this wasn’t the greatest movie made all year, and the schmaltz factor was pretty fucking high, but it can’t be ignored as a cultural phenomenon, and if you’ve been reading this blog for longer than 5 minutes, you’ll be well aware of my long time (guilty, guilty) love of the book series. Points to note about Twilight. 1)It could have been SO SO much worse 2)fuck me Robert Pattinson is hot, and born to play Ed Cullen 3) It’s hard to make a credible teen romance, and 4) If you watch the movie alone it’s a totally different story.

Snow Angels – David Gordon Green

This was at Sundance in 2007 but somehow took until this year to surface on DVD. I’m a giant geek for DGG, (see many, many previous posts) and I’d been eagerly awaiting this for what seemed like ever. It was in no way a disappoinment. It had all of the qualities that I loved in All the Real Girls – small town movie, beautiful camera work, sparse script and add to that tragedy, snow and high school and I’m in indiemovieheaven. The casting really couldn’t be any better, and this movie made me fall a little bit more in love with Olivia Thirlby.

Choke – Clark Gregg

I was stoked when I heard that this had made the Sundance 08 line up and super happy when I got to attend a screening later in the year, Choke is one of my favourite Panahniuk novels and was my suprise life- affirming- restoring-my-faith-in-first-time-directors movie of the year. Sam Rockwell shines (and everyone else does a pretty fucking good job too)  sure the movie is a little clunky along the way, but somehow at the end you feel like maybe your life has changed a little. Oh, and it’s laugh out loud funny too.

American Teen – Nanette Burnstein

I wrote about this two weeks ago here – well, mostly I gushed about it. American Teen is my documentary of the year, and definitely not because it’s not about global warming, the recession or water. It’s awesome. Please please watch it.

The Wackness – Jonathan Levine

This year Jonathon Levine became my new favourite director, I loved All the Boys Love Mandy Lane but I fell head over heels for the Wackness, hell I even listened to hip hop for two weeks after. The Wackness was a perfect movie about the 90s, about high school, about the heat of NYC and about that moment as a kid when you realise adult have no fucking clue what they’re doing either. It reminded me a little of All Over Me, although there’s nothing queercore about this movie it is a lot about young fucked up love in the city.

Well, that’s it. My top 10 of 2008 done and dusted. It must’ve been somewhat of a relief to read one movie list this year without Dark Knight on it, huh?

Right, I’m gonna watch the Wrestler and fall asleep sober, Happy New Year Y’all. x

And these children, that you spit upon…

I’ve wanted to see this movie for a while, the poster had me all smitten before everyone in the world that I respect fell in love with it themselves. It’s interesting then that after I got hold of a copy I couldn’t bring myself to watch it at first, in case it wasn’t the kind of awesome I needed it to be.

Luckily I put it on this evening and it made everything better.

The midwestern high school setting and thus the sports obsession was reminiscent of Klosterman’s novel, Downtown Owl. But that was where similarities ended, none of the snippy snarkiness that usually inhabits anything created in the last 15 years was here.  Instead there was an honesty and sincerity that you can only get away with using when you’re a teen and all everything feels more than it ever will again.

American Teen makes you remember what it was like to be that age –  with your whole life laid out ahead of you –  in the way that certain 3 minute pop songs can, but movies rarely do. Director Nannette Burnstein deftly handles the 5 protagonists and explores the very typecasts John Hughes forever set in our brain. Here we get a taste of what would have happened if Alison and Andy had dated after detention, if your heart really does die when you grow up, and how being a geek doesn’t really change decade to decade.

If you’re ever feeling confused as an adult, watch this movie and remember how daunting life once seemed. The downside of all of this, is obviously, that life once seemed epic and full of promise and a place where dreams could come true. This movie will help you remember that part as well.