Wednesday, December 31, 2008

My Quick and Dirty 2008 List

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.


Carl V. said...

No need to worry about the low-brow stuff, so many of us love it. I cannot wait to finally see Death Race. Love Jason Stathom.

So glad to see OMW on the list. Hope you get to and enjoy the rest of the books in this series. The Android's Dream is fantastic as well.

I added Clockwork Heart to my Amazon wishlist. Just the reason I love reading 'best of' lists, they always give me good ideas. I'm a big fan of steampunk and hope to do some reading in the genre soon. I have Alchemy of Stone and about half of The Adventures of Langdon St. Ives that I want to read soon.

I too really enjoyed reading Watchmen and am glad I did so before the film came out. I hope they do a passable job with the film. I'm not expecting greatness, but entertaining would be something.

Sorry you didn't enjoy Bond. I really liked it a lot. Not as good as Casino Royale but I still rated it pretty high. Daniel Craig is the Bond for me and I'm thrilled he has more movies in the works.

Have a wonderful new year SQT!!!

SQT said...


Thanks for forgiving my taste in films and books! ;) I sometimes think I'm so uncouth people will stop visiting.

I wouldn't go so far as to say I didn't like Bond, but I think my expectations were so high that anything less than another "Casino Royale" was going to disappoint. "Dark Knight" also set a really high standard in sequels. It's almost impossible to top that one.

I also hope you like Clockwork Heart. I think of it like I do "sleeper" movie. Something quieter but really enjoyable.

ediFanoB said...

To be honest I don't like either "Death Race" nor "Quantum Solace".

But I really like "THE DARK KNIGHT" and "HELLBOY II"

WATCHMEN is the best graphic novel I read so far and I really look forward to the movie which will be released in June 2009. Did you watch the trailers?

"Clockwork Heart" and "The Lies of Locke Camora" are on my shelf like a lot of other books.

To be honest steampunk is a real interesting subgenre. I like it very much. here are some steampunk links:

Wish you ALL THE BEST for 2009.

franki said...

Did not see Hellboy but loved the other 3 you mentioned. I'll have to go check it out. Statham has replaced Craig in my panties...I mean, my heart. Ahem.

Just saw Indiana Jones...yeah. It was okay for a pj days with the boys, but not much else.

As for books, I've only been reading about Taoism and Physics. I highly recommend Art & Physics by Leonard Schlain and The Tao of Physics by Frijtof Capra.

Don't watch much TV but have enjoying My Name is Earl on disc from Netflix and I LOVELOVELOVE The Planet Earth series from Discovery...yeah I'm way behind.

Happy New Year!

Shade53 said...

Didn't car much for the new Indi either - but boy did they set it up for the kid to do a spinoff. And you are the entire reason I even watched Casino Royale. I have to say - Craig is a giant improvement over Brosnan. I didn't like those bonds but Casino was good enough that I put down my writing! I too loved Dark Knight but you know hollywood will snub it because of its genre.

furiousBall said...

not a Sci-Fi movie, but I think Downfall was my favorite movie of the year

Cynnie said...

I HATED the indiana jones thing ..
it was terrible , all the characters were just too fucking old for an action movie..the scene where they're in the bottom of the hole and the water swirls up taking them up can see the acting ..see where they're all just standing there "acting' and the special effects does the rest. that pretty much sums up the whole movie .
shit with some special effects

Hellboy rocks ..
God ,I would so bone hellboy

Memory said...

Great list! THE LIES OF LOCKE LAMORA made my Top 5 last year, and a couple of the others you've listed are on my TBR.

Jeff S. said...

I'm a Jason Stathom fan as well. I haven't seen Death Race but I'm looking forward to renting it soon. I would also recommend another movie he did last year called "The Bank Job". It was great.

Also don't feel bad about not getting out to art house movies. I still haven't seen the big blockbuster "The Dark Knight". I hear they are going to rerelease it out at theatres on Jan. 23rd so I plan on catching then. I think I'm the last person I know of that hasn't seen it.

I really need to pick The Lies of Locke Lamora. I keep reading so many positive reviews of it.

Carl V. said...

I have a theory that everyone has their own low-brow loves in literature, film, television, etc, their own guilty pleasures, even those people who act like they don't have those likes.

We both have high brow stuff that we absolutely love, but we are kids at heart enough that we can enjoy the other stuff for what it is and revel in that enjoyment.

RD Williams said...

I finally saw Dark Knight...some friends of mine had tried to tell me that ppl were just playing up Ledger's role as the Joker because he's gone, so my expectations for the character were actually a little low(I usually like what these guys like and so on)... After seeing it...hits my list of some of the best character portrayals ever!! I LOVED it! I mean, I was a fan of the old Batman TV show, and the Joker there was cool and all, and I really enjoyed Nicholson's Joker several years back, but let's face it, Ledger's Joker left him in the dust! (and I'm a big Jack fan!)

I agree, some kind of posthumous award is in order.

I haven't seen the new Knight Rider show...sounds like I'm not missing much. I've heard that it's not very good from others too. Too bad really, I LOVED the old show back in the day.


SQT said...


Wow. Were these people who actually saw the movie? I thought Ledger was phenomenal. I went in with the expectation that Ledger's performance might have been over-hyped, but viewing the movie put that to rest. I'd be surprised if people saw it and still felt that way.