Wednesday, December 31, 2008
I know everyone has their "Best of 2008" out right about now, and I don't normally try to follow the herd-- too much. But I have to admit, I'd really like to know what everyone else found this last year that appealed to them. The reason I say "found" is because my list of the "best" things of '08 doesn't only include stuff that was released this last year. So, since I only have one more day before the beginning of 2009, I'm going to give you a quick list of what I liked in '08, and encourage you to list your favorites so I can make up a list of movies, books-- and everything else, to check out in '09. Movies I don't get a chance to watch small, artsy kinds of films. There are a lot of reasons for that-- which I won't bore you with-- so my list is pretty much made up of what I was able to get out and see this year. "Dark Knight": I know I won't be alone in saying this was the best thing to come along all year. I have seen it three times so far and I'm not even close to being sick of it. I really, really hope Heath Ledger gets a posthumous nomination for best actor. I honestly can't comprehend that I have heard people say they didn't really like this because it was "too dark." I can only shake my head in bafflement. "Iron Man": Another great comic book movie. More humorous than "Dark Knight" but seriously great. I can't wait for a sequel (Downey has already signed on. Yaaaa!) "Hellboy II: The Golden Army": This didn't make as big of a splash as "Dark Knight" or "Iron Man" but I really enjoyed it. I've read a few reviews that were less than favorable but I just loved the visual effects. "Death Race": This is where I expose myself as the low-brow heathen that I am. I can't help myself. Mindless action and Jason Statham. I'm in. ***Biggest Flop: Movies*** "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" I'm so glad I didn't see this on the big screen. Huge disappointment. I felt like the whole thing was forced. Oh look, his son has a nickname after a dog (Mutt) like Indy ("We named the dog Indiana"); The love of his life just happens to be the woman from the first Indiana movie-- never mind that it never seems realistic-- it's nostalgic darnit! And aliens! Are you kidding me? Why oh why couldn't we have stuck with the religious theme? It was so much more interesting. ***Biggest Disappointment: Movies*** "Quantum of Solace": I wanted to love this but it just wasn't "Casino Royale." Love Daniel Craig and I will definitely give Bond another chance. I just hope the script is better next time. Books Old Man's War by John Scalzi: This book was originally published in 2005, but I didn't discover it until this year. Hands down the best book I read this year. I can't say enough good things about it. If you are even vaguely inclined to read sci-fi you would probably like this book. The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch: This is another book that is not actually an '08 release but it makes my list of favorites for this year. Very original fantasy. Often described as a fantasy version of "Oceans Eleven;" I describe it as one hell of a fantasy debut. Clockwork Heart by Dru Pagliassotti: This is the book that made me realize that steampunk is a genre that has a lot to offer. Not a book that makes any big statements about politics, religion or is in-your-face in any way. Just a good book with a nice romantic element. Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons: This is the first graphic novel I've picked up in years and it is captivating. Very mature look at what motivates a man (or woman) to don a costume and attempt to fight crime. Can't wait for the movie. ****Biggest Flop: Books**** The Iron Hunt by Marjorie Liu: This is the first book I have ever savaged in a review. This was chuck-across-the-room material. Ugh! TV "True Blood" (Based on the "Southern Vampire Mysteries" by Charlaine Harris): Some call it "vampire porn" and I suppose it's true. But Anna Paquin is great at Sookie Stackhouse and so much of the show is exactly as I pictured it in my head. ****Biggest Flop: TV**** "Knight Rider": Horrible, horrible, horrible. The fact that this atrocity can still be on the air while "Pushing Daisies" gets cancelled makes me want to cry. Honorable Mentions Happy Hour of the Damned by Mark Henry: I have to mention this one simply because it was so cringe worthy and irreverent. Only for people who like snarky, gross-out humor. I laughed out loud and winced repeatedly. Before They are Hanged by Joe Abercrombie: This almost made my 'best-of' list. I like this book a lot but it fell slightly short of it's predecessor because every character had some sharp edges in common. But it's still original and fun to read. I really, really need to read the conclusion to the trilogy soon. "Kung Fu Panda": Cute movie but I don't think it will go down as a classic. "Wall-E": My son loves this one but it was slightly too preachy for me. Likable characters though. That's my quick-and-dirty list. I know it's not high-brow, but hey, I am a mass-market kind of gal. Plus, I'm lucky if I can drag my husband to any of the movies I want to see (Hellboy was viewed solo). So, what did I miss this year? What did you love? What did you hate? Give me your quick-and-dirty list.