Top 10 Films I Saw in 2008:
(in no alphabetical order)
1. The Dark Knight - Sure, Heath Ledger was great, but let's not overlook the ridiculous undertaking of using mostly practical effects! and filming in IMAX!? Christopher Nolan is a genius. This is how Batman is supposed to be. Christian Bale is great too.
2. Step Brothers - This film was a test to see how long you can run with a pretty stupid premise before it becomes boring or played out. Will Farrell and John C. Reilly pass this test with flying colors!
3. Burn After Reading - A fun romp of a dark comedy with great characters, as usual. The Coen Brothers are a team that I'd like to be a part of, somehow. Can we make this happen?
4. Cloverfield - I thought this film was really cleverly written. The "found video camera" storytelling format is probably one of the hardest formats to write for that I can think of right now. Perhaps writing an upbeat animated adventure about genocide would be harder.
5. Son of Rambow - This film reminds me of myself when I was younger. I was always making epic movies with my parents' video camera.
6. The Fall - The visuals are STUNNING, and the little girl is so cute.
7. Flash of Genius - Greg Kinnear is really good in this one. It's such a frustrating story...even now, thinking back, it's mildly upsetting.
8. Milk - Destined to be a classic film. Certainly one of the best of the best of the best. If you haven't seen it, go see it right now!
9. Synecdoche, New York - This film was a real mindf*ck. I love movies that challenge the way we watch movies. Thoughts of this film seep into my life everyday.
10. Role Models - I thought this film was going to suck in a "cream of the crap" kind of way, but it ended up being legitimately good. Who knew?!
11. The Wrestler - Mickey Rourke was born to play this part...well maybe he was born to be a baby, and then many many years later play this part. What brilliant gem will Darren Aronofsky throw at us next? A remake of Robocop??
12. Foot Fist Way - I thought the book was so good, that there was no way the film could deliver the goods. I was wrong.
Special Mention: Baghead - If you're a fan of the Duplass Brothers' The Puffy Chair, you should check out Baghead. I'm not certain that this film hit that many theatres, but it was a real treat to see it with the Brothers Duplass hosting a Q&A afterwards.
Top 10 Colors in 2008:
(in order to plan your wardrobe for the next 2008)
1. White - White was the new black in 2008. I can't explain it. It just happened, and suddenly I had to go out and buy bleach.
2. Black - Black was still black in 2008, just not the new black. You can't get very far without black, so it will undoubtedly remain in the top five for years to come.
3. Light Blue and Dark Blue (tie) - To paraphrase an Elton John song, "I guess they call it the blues for a reason, don't they?" The Blues Brothers tied for third place for the third straight year.
4. Green - Green struck late in '08. So late, in fact, that many people didn't see it coming.
5. Light Black - Some say grey, while others say gray. I'm talking about neither. Light black is the new grey.
6. Walnut - Sure, it's a nut, but it's also a wood grain. Walnut is strong enough to easily muscle into 2009 like it ain't no thang.
7. G-in-the-D - I know what you're thinking- "oh Hunter, glow in the dark is so 1997!" This might be true, but during a few short weeks in 2008, there was a very "retro '97" thing going on.
8. Clear - Clear may never hold the top spot like it did in the 1860s, but it remains a tough player, year after year.
9. Dark Red - What a surprise! Dark red was certainly the wildcard in 2008. I started the year literally hating dark red. It's funny to see how my opinion changed over the twelve months.
Special Mention: Yellow - Keep trying, yellow. Keep trying.
Top 10 Books I Read (or thought about reading) in 2008:
1. Labyrinths by Jorge Luis Borges - This stories were written for the way my brain works.
2. Born Standing Up by Steve Martin - A truly revealing book by my favorite comedian of all time.
3. Comedy by the Numbers by Eric Hoffman and Gary Rudoren - This book has every joke ever written!
4. A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams - Classic.
5. A Severed Head by Iris Murdoch - Who can resist a severed head!?
6. The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins - The audio book version is read by the author in a pleasing accent.
7. Stalking the Riemann Hypothesis by Dan Rockmore - You have to love math like I do.
8. Catching the Big Fish by David Lynch - Only begins to explain the genius of David Lynch.
9. Wall and Piece by Banksy - Only begins to show off the genius of Banksy.
Special Mention: Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero - "It's a cookbook!"
In an attempt to keep this at a reasonable length, I've omitted my personal comments from the final two "Top 10 of 2008" lists. If you're curious why I picked some of these, feel free to come up to me on the street and ask me. You have a whole year to do this, as I will be standing in the street for exactly one year.
Top 10 Things To Put On A Sandwich (and by "on" I mean "in") in 2008:
(in order to make a sandwich, you will also need bread)
1. Tempeh Bacon
5. Almond Butter
6. Marmalade (preferably orange)
7. Alfalfa Sprouts
8. Tofu Salad
9. Follow Your Heart "Cheese"
10. Tortilla Chips (preferably blue)
Special Mention: Lettuce
Top 10 Albums Released in 2008:
(order in the court!)
1. She & Him - Volume One
2. Black Kids - Partie Traumatic
3. Raphael Saadiq - The Way I See It
4. Santogold - Santogold
5. Beck - Modern Guilt
6. Duffy - Rockferry
7. The Knux - Remind Me In 3 Days...
8. Darker My Love - 2
9. Elvis Costello - Momofuku
10. Kings Of Leon - Only By The Night
11. Ra Ra Riot - The Rhumb Line
12. Dan & Hunter - Dan & Hunter's Holiday EP Volume One
Special Mention: New Kids On The Block and Vanilla Ice - For attempting comebacks, against all odds.
So there you have it. 2008 is over. It's anyone's guess what will come to replace it. Check back soon for my 2009 New Year's Resolutions blog! HAPPY NEW YEAR!