The Top Ten Movies of October 2008 (and the five worst)
In the month of October, I watched 24 films. Not bad. In a sense, I didn’t randomly choose to watch any of them. All of the films were either part of marathons (Paul Newman and J.M./Chazz) or they were films from 2007 that I thought were worthy of a viewing. I’ll be honest and say that I only LOVED the top six films on the list. Interestingly, not one film I watched in October received a four and a half star rating. All of the films on this top ten list received either five or four stars.
10. American History X- If you can get past the conversations around the dinner table that come off completely false, then you will embrace a film with some of the most powerful moments I’ve seen all year. Few films use violence more effectively. Teeth and curb—that’s all I’ve got to say about that!
9. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof- The story about Brick and Big Daddy is absolutely mesmerizing! This has to be one of the best scripts ever written, but as I said in my review, it most likely works better as a stage play than a film. Still, you don’t get dialogue better than this very often, and you rarely experience a better performance than Burt Ives as Big Daddy.
8. Sicko- After writing my review, I heard more than one film critic describe the scenes in
7. Memento- This one’s all about how well Nolan executes an uninspired narrative shtick. Guy Pierce and Nolan use their talents perfectly in order to deliver an impressive, utterly entertaining thriller.
6. The Namesake- Okay, I’ll admit that it’s melodramatic and sentimental, but I guess I just allowed this film to really move me. For the first time in a long while, I feel like I got to experience the inner workings of an American family different than my own. This is a gloriously patriotic film, and it made me proud to live in a country often described as a cultural melting pot.
5. This Is
4. Taxi to the Dark Side- This near perfect documentary finalized my condemnation of torture as an acceptable tool to interrogate prisoners of war. I’ve never seen such a convincing documentary before in my life. Unlike The Namesake, this movie made me ashamed of the sins committed and condoned by my country.
3. Mister Lonely- Celebrity impersonators, meditations on fulfillment, parachuting nuns and the voice of Werner Herzog… who could ask for anything more?
2. Rachel, Rachel- So great and yet sadly so rarely seen, Rachel, Rachel absolutely blew my mind. Paul Newman directed a bonifide treasure. I’d love to sit through a double feature showing Rachel, Rachel and Mister Lonely. Both films made me think very hard about what it means to be truly alone.
1. Hud- Paul Newman gives the best performance I’ve seen him give up to this point. Hud is one of the best movies I’ve ever seen about innocence lost while deep-seated cynicism stands always close by. Hud is such a brilliant, monstrous character. There’s not one moment of shallowness in this great Western drama.
And the bottom five:
5. Dan in Real Life
4. Terror’s Advocate
3. The Darjeeling Limited
2. The Hoax
1. Margot at the Wedding