As we did with music last week, we sent out queries to some of The A.V. Club’s famous or semi-famous acquaintances asking them to name their favorite film of 2008. Here’s what we found out.
(director and co-writer of Shaun Of The Dead and Hot Fuzz)
Let The Right One In. It's been a very good year for international genre films, with [Rec], JCVD, and Timecrimes being three recent low-budget films that really got me excited. Standing atop my highly subjective, published-way-too-early end-of-year list, however, is Let The Right One In.
In recent years, the endless cycle of U.S. horror remakes with nothing to say has become so profoundly depressing to me that any new genre film is to be cheered from the rooftops. That Let The Right One In also happens to be one of the best films of the year, of any kind, is even more cause for celebration. Playing something like Krzysztof Kieslowski's Twilight, this Swedish wonder is a true gem that finds new beauty and fresh chills in the tired vampire genre.
I have long had recurring shivers about a scene in the cult Hammer oddity Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter where a young virgin wench is drained of her blood and transforms into a 90-year-old actress. It's cheesily done and deeply incorrect, but still gave me the lasting creeps. Imagine my horror (excitement) at seeing a brilliantly executed spin on the same premise, just for a subliminal flash, in Tomas Alfredson's film. It was one of my high points of cinemagoing in 2008. I think the Junior Mints, arctic New York weather, and subway passing under the Angelika all added to the experience. Please go see this on the big screen and support original genre films, before the proposed remake fucks it all up, waters it down, or worse, does a rank Xerox.
(writer, producer, and actor of The Office)
I like Bond movies or superhero movies because there are high-production-value romance scenes, like zero-gravity sex (Moonraker) or upside-down kissing (Spider-Man). So I was a little sad watching Quantum Of Solace and The Dark Knight. That's why Iron Man rocked. Sure, Iron Man has to stop terrorists, but he also beds blondes and flirts constantly.
(writer of the comic-book series Captain America, Daredevil, Criminal, and the forthcoming Incognito)
In Bruges, Martin McDonagh's debut feature, had a trailer that made it look like a silly comedy, when it’s anything but. Yeah, like all McDonagh's work, it's funnier than it has any right to be, but it also has more heart and depth than any other movie I saw this year. A nearly perfect film that I've seen 10 or 15 times by now, because every time someone comes over who hasn't seen it, I put it on, and they're always shocked they hadn't seen it already.
(host and producer of the radio show The Sound Of Young America and co-host of the podcast Jordan, Jesse, Go! )
The mainstream comedy is a very difficult beast to tame, and this year, David Wain did it with Role Models. It wasn't a perfect film, but it was sincerely funny, heartfelt, and affecting. It's nice to know that Judd Apatow doesn't have an exclusive franchise on funny films that also have some real structure and feelings. Jane Lynch's amazing performance as an insane Big Brother program director was typical of the film—it was outrageous and hilarious, but she also managed the noteworthy trick of conveying real love for kids while talking about eating cocaine for breakfast. Even folks with small parts, like Ken Marino and Kerri Kenney-Silver, knocked them out of the ballpark. Most remarkable about the film was a satisfying, hilarious third act—it's pretty rare for a comedy's conclusion to have both of those qualities these days. Or even one of them.
(lead singer of Death Cab For Cutie and The Postal Service)
Man On Wire. I love the story of Philippe Petit’s infamous tightrope walk of the Twin Towers, and this documentary is an amazing portrait of him and his various exploits.
Brian K. Vaughan
(writer and co-creator of the comic series Y: The Last Man, Ex Machina, and Runaways, and writer and producer of the TV series Lost)
Funny Games was the best-made (remade?) film I saw this year, but Burn After Reading was my favorite. I loved No Country For Old Men, but I actually think this is a better Coen movie, one that improves at a Hudsucker-like rate after repeat views. Special notice for the 2008 film with the most badass final 10 minutes: Let The Right One In.
(controversial A.V. Club comments-section regular)
IT WAS A MISERABLE FUCKING YEAR FOR MOVIES ESPECIALLY WITH ALL THESE LIMPDICK OSCAR MOVIES I COULDNT GIVE FIRST FUCK ABOUT BUT THE DARK KNIGHTTOWERED ABOVE ALL THE BULLSHIT LIKE A FUCKING OBALISK OF OWNAGE AND EVERYBODYS BASICALLY SAID EVERYTHING THERE IS TO SAY ABOUT IT BUT I WANNA MAKE SPECIAL NOTE TO ALL THE AWESOME CRIME SHIT WITH THE JOKER BLOWING SHIT UP AND ROLLING WITH THE MOB AND SETTING SHIT ON FIRE AND STABBING MOTHERFUCKERS IN THE FACE AND ROBBING BANKS AND KILLING COPS AND MAKING TORTURE VIDEOS AND BUSTING INTO THAT HIGH CLASS TIGHTASS PARTY AND EATING OTHER PEOPLES FOOD. PLUS HARVEY DENTS TORCHED FACE AND THAT FAT FUCK WITH THE BOMB IN HIS STOMACH WAS SOME HARDCORE SAW LOOKING SHIT. ONLY PART I DIDNT LIKE WAS HARVEY DENTS DEPUTY DAWG ASS GIRLFRIEND ITS LIKE FUCK NOLAN I CAN FIND A HOTTER CHICK THAN THAT DOWN AT THE ALDI BUT FUCK IT BECAUSE EVEN HER RANCID MELTED CANDLE LOOKING ASS WASNT ENOUGH TO DIFUSE ALL THE AWESOMENESS ON DISPLAY. KNIGHT BITCH. ONE OF THE GREATEST FUCKING MOVIES EVER MADE
(co-creator of Aqua Teen Hunger Force and Squidbillies)
Synecdoche, New York. Incredible. My wife was in tears, and I came home and hugged my kids for an hour. I would understand more of it with a second viewing, but I’m not sure I have the courage to face it again. As I was writing this, I received a robo-call. A cheery woman announced, “The following is a message for seniors regarding the high cost of burials!” How appropriate. Look, it’s a great movie—but if you want to have a merry Christmas, you should probably just go see Bolt.