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Babylon A.D

Vin Diesel is one of those guys that wants to be a more prestigious actor than he has the ability to be, but while an Oscar will probably forever remain out his grasp, he’s still one helluva action star, and it’s in fare like “Babylon A.D.” where he shines the brightest. Taking place in a not-too-distant future, the film stars Diesel as Toorop, a mercenary who accepts a job escorting a young woman (a less-than-impressive Melanie Thierry) from Russia to America with the promise of his freedom in exchange. What Toorop doesn’t realize is that the girl in question is a little special, and in order to protect her from those looking to exploit her abilities, he must safely transport the girl to New York City before anyone gets in the way.

Babylon A.D.

For all of the noise surrounding the release of “Babylon A.D.” – which was fueled by director Matheiu Kassovitz’s public disownment of the film after 20th Century Fox went all Harvey Scissorhands on it – it’s really not as terrible as you’d expect. Still, nearly 50 minutes of footage was excised from Kassovitz’s cut, and from the looks of things, a lot of it came from the final act. The ending is one of the worst I’ve seen in a long time, and apart from the fact that it doesn’t really make any sense, it feels incredibly rushed, as if the cast and crew had more important places to be. There’s really no telling how much better the film might have been had the studio let the director make the film he wanted to make, but it couldn’t have been any worse. As it stands, “Babylon A.D.” is still a mediocre sci-fi actioneer with similarities to recent entries in the genre like “Children of Men” and “Serenity.” Unfortunately, you’d be better off just watching those instead.

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My Most Memorable Interviews of 2008

I recently went back and counted up how many interviews I’ve done for Bullz-Eye since I first came aboard the site, and I was astounded to find that – counting both one-on-one conversations as well as teleconferences – the number tops 200. Wow. Anyone who thinks that I don’t work hard for my money, I say to you that the figures speak for themselves. Looking back at the list of folks with whom I’ve chatted during the course of the past year, I find myself thinking the same thing I think every day of every year: it might’ve sucked to do all of that unpaid freelance writing for all those years, but it was totally fucking worth it. And with that bold statement, allow me to present a list of the interviews from 2008 that still remain fresh in my mind…for a variety of reasons.

* Best-received interview of the year:

Tom Smothers. I’m used to hearing from my friends when I do an interview that they enjoy, but I heard from several complete strangers that really loved the conversation Tom and I had about everything from the censorship of “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour” to the night John Lennon and Harry Nilsson were thrown out of the Brothers’ show at the Troubadour.

“Harry comes in with John Lennon. Well, he told John Lennon, ‘Tom likes hecklers. It helps him. It gets him through his show.’ And every time there was a silence, they were hollering out things like, ‘God fucks pigs!’ I mean, it was really filthy! Blows were thrown, and it just got wild. The next day, I got flowers and all kinds of apologies from Lennon and from Harry Nilsson.”

* Most politically-incorrect interview of the year:

Tony Clifton, the former alter ego of Andy Kaufman that’s now being performed by Bob Zmuda. To say that Clifton works a little blue is the understatement of the century, but it’s more than just dirty jokes; his whole act is one where he unabashedly says things that he knows will piss people off…and if you don’t know it’s an act, then it’s really gonna piss you off.

“Some people say that, with the repertoire I’ve got and with the rapport between the band and me, a few people have quoted it as being like Buddy Rich. I call ‘em like I see ‘em, just like Buddy. But Buddy was coked up most of the time, and I don’t do that. I prefer the Jack Daniel’s. I’m fucked up most of the time during the show. I have fun with the band. I call ‘em niggers. And I got a few Japs in there, I call ‘em Nips. I got everything mixed up in that band, like I say. I call ‘em the way I see ‘em. Listen, lemme tell ya this: you know why I get away with it? ‘Cause I got black people in my family. Yeah. And I’ve got the rope to prove it. Look, the blackies are good. They’re good for the sports and for the music. See, the Jews are good at making the money…or at taking the money from you.”

Read the rest of this entry »

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Nip/Tuck: Season Five, Part One

At the conclusion of Season Four, plastic surgeons Drs. McNamara (Dylan Walsh) and Troy (Julian McMahon) had packed up their scalpels and headed for sunny Beverly Hills – after all, what better place for two amoral surgeons than Hollywood – so Season Five is something of a new start for the offices of McNamara/Troy. At season’s start, however, business isn’t so hot, so they agree to join a crappy TV series called “Hearts ‘N Scalpels” as technical advisors who will also briefly appear onscreen during the surgery sequences. At first, Christian is certain that this is his ticket to fame, while Sean is reluctant about the entire affair, but the tables quickly turn when the camera favors Sean, and Christian sulks away to soothe his bruised ego in all manner of seedy ways. Sean becomes the toast of the town, begins dating the show’s leading lady, Kate (Paula Marshall), and becomes party buds with the vacuous leading man, Aidan (Bradley Cooper). Then Sean’s ex Julia (Joely Richardson) shows up with kids Annie and Connor in tow, and mama’s got a new brand new bag: a girlfriend, Olivia, played by none other than Portia de Rossi! Olivia’s got a kid, too: Eden (Annalynne McCord, “90210”), a twisted little lolita who sets her sights on destroying everything in her path. But an even greater evil lurks in the shadows, waiting to pounce, and perhaps there are worse things waiting in Hollywood than an attention-starved teenager.

Oddly, when this batch of episodes played on FX, I really didn’t care for them and saw a show struggling for air. If you felt at all the same, I urge you to give this set a spin, because I saw the season in a whole new light this time around and actually found myself having a lot of fun with the series, something I hadn’t really done in a couple years. As far as the whole “Season Five, Part One” thing goes, the series is gearing up another round of eight episodes which technically will finish up Season Five, although creator Ryan Murphy has said that the labeling is more of an internal thing, and that the new episodes probably won’t have much to do with what’s on this set. In other words, just think of this as Season Five and be done with it.

Click to buy “Nip/Tuck: Season Five, Part One”

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Bullz-Eye’s Best and Worst Movies of 2008: Associate Editor Jason Zingale

It’s never easy coming up with a Top 10 list – both for the best movies and the worst. On one hand, some films are just technically better than others, and on the other hand, some are just more enjoyable. I kept this in mind when compiling my year-end lists for 2008, and so while an Oscar contender like “The Wrestler” may seem like it ranks low in comparison to guiltier pleasures like “RocknRolla” and “Tropic Thunder,” I would rather see both of those movies over the former almost any day of the week.

Another problem is that the studios tend to delay the release of their prestige films until the end of the year in fear of being overshadowed by other Oscar bait, and this time around, not a single Best Picture candidate (save for “The Dark Knight”) was released before December. That makes things difficult when you’re a film critic living in Ohio (you see, just because something opens in New York or LA doesn’t mean it opens everywhere else in the country), and when the rest of the year is so exceptionally average, you depend on those types of movies to help fill out your list.

Thankfully, I managed to catch just about everything a respectable film critic should see before year’s end (except for Steven Soderbergh’s “Che”), and though my list may feature a few surprise entries, I’m willing to stand by each and every one. The same goes for my worst-of list, though I doubt anyone will be surprised by what they find there.

THE BEST MOVIES of 2008:

1. “The Dark Knight

Christopher Nolan’s follow-up to “Batman Begins” will likely get the shaft when it comes to Best Picture nominations, but ask anyone you come across and I guarantee that four out of every five people will not only list “The Dark Knight” as their favorite movie of the year, but the best as well. The late Heath Ledger’s knockout performance as the Joker certainly helped in this respect, but despite a villainous turn so good that the actor himself couldn’t stop licking his lips onscreen, the film was far from a one-man show. Everyone from Christian Bale to Aaron Eckhart and Gary Oldman made this movie what it is, and if you thought “Batman Begins” was dark and gritty, you ain’t seen nothing yet. “The Dark Knight” is the “Empire Strikes Back” of comic book sequels, and just like George Lucas’ own space trilogy, it’s hard to imagine Nolan topping this one.

The Dark Knight

2. “Frost/Nixon

I had a feeling that Ron Howard’s big-screen adaptation of the award-winning stage play would be good, but not this good. Staged like a no-holds-barred boxing match between its two stars, “Frost/Nixon” blazes through its tension-filled two hours so fast that you almost forget to breathe. Credit goes to Peter Morgan for writing such captivating material and making it work in movie form, but without its two stars – Frank Langella and Michael Sheen – the drama just wouldn’t work nearly as well as it does. Langella, in particular, captures the spirit of Nixon without even trying to look like him, and it works surprisingly well. So well, in fact, that if Sean Penn wins Best Actor for his work in the incredibly mediocre “Milk,” the Academy might as well just close down shop and stop giving out awards. The same goes for the movie itself, because “Frost/Nixon” is so good that you’ll want to watch it unfold all over again the minute it ends. And mind you, that’s coming from a 26-year-old with absolutely no interest in politics.

3. “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Those who thought David Fincher’s “Zodiac” was too long probably won’t like “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” because it’s even longer. Still, there’s an argument to be made as to why both movies needed to be so long, and in the case of the latter, it’s that because the story is about the entire life of one man. That he’s living his life in complete reverse is what makes the film so appealing, and the visual effects that Fincher employs in order to accomplish such a feat (aging and de-aging star Brad Pitt) makes the whole experience nothing short of magical. Based on the short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald, “Benjamin Button” has to be one of the most peculiar love stories ever captured on film. The two lead performances may not be extraordinary, but considering the source material, they’re still quite an achievement. Women may swoon at the thought of seeing Pitt in his 20s again, but it’s his time as an old man that proves the most memorable.

4. “Slumdog Millionaire

“Slumdog Millionaire” is supposed to be this year’s “Juno,” but apart from the fact that they’re both indies being distributed by Fox Searchlight, there’s not a single thing about either film that bears resemblance to the other. This isn’t a knock against “Juno” (it was, after all, my second favorite movie of 2007), but Danny Boyle’s “Slumdog Millionaire” is just a far more complex film; and one that, despite its eventual happy ending, doesn’t have too many feel-good moments scattered throughout. This is a movie that doesn’t go easy on its characters – from torture and violence to rape and drugs – and yet to call it anything other than a fairy tale would be to seriously downplay the spectacle that Boyle has created. Dev Patel is clearly a star in the making, but while he’s the one getting all of the credit, it’s the entire cast (including phenomenal performances from the six Indian kids playing the younger versions of the main trio) that makes “Slumdog Millionaire” so amazing.

5. “WALL·E

I’ll admit it: I had my hesitations going in to “WALL·E.” Though Pixar has proven in the past that they can do just about anything, the fact that there would be virtually no dialogue had me worried that they could pull it off again. Based on it’s placement on my list, however, you can probably deduce that, well, yes, they did do it again, and it’s one of the best movies they’ve ever made. Though the first act is unquestionably the most enjoyable part of “WALL·E,” as the junk-compacting robot embraces his inner Buster Keaton, the movie offers plenty of laughs throughout. Some have complained that the film is little more than a two-hour lecture about the environment, to which I say, so what? Pixar has always prided itself on telling stories that appeal to people of all ages, and what better way to learn something than to watch a movie starring one of the coolest robots ever?

6. “Gran Torino

Clint Eastwood is a legend. There’s no question about it. And if this truly is his final onscreen role, then at least he made it a good one. “Gran Torino” is one of the funniest movies of the year, and it’s all thanks to Eastwood’s performance as a grizzled Korean War vet who spends his days growling at the insensitivity of his kids (they buy him a Gopher and a phone with giant buttons for his birthday) and muttering racist comments at his Asian neighbors. Though it’s easy for a character like this to come off as extremely unlikable, Eastwood somehow manages to turn him into a charming old man who doesn’t take shit from anybody. This is a role that, in any other year, Eastwood would be a lock for a Best Actor nod. The same could be said of the film as well. The screen veteran has a tendency to under-direct his movies, but it’s exactly this simplicity that makes “Gran Torino” so good. It’s original, heartfelt, and above all else, the most intentionally funny dramatic thriller you’ll ever see.

Gran Torino

7. “Iron Man

Those who were lucky enough to attend the “Iron Man” panel at last year’s San Diego Comic-Con already had a pretty good idea nearly a year in advance of how much the movie was going to rock, but I don’t think anyone thought it would be as cool as what Jon Favreau delivered this past May. As the first blockbuster of the summer season, “Iron Man” didn’t just exceed expectations at the box office – it demolished them, all while assuring Marvel fanboys that life after Spider-Man wouldn’t be so bad after all. Robert Downey Jr. is flawless as Tony Stark, and his supporting cast is just as great, but what ultimately makes “Iron Man” such a fun ride is that it took everything great about film (comedy, drama and action) and made it work in the context of a comic book movie. Granted, “The Dark Knight” did it even better just a few months later, but that doesn’t make “Iron Man” any less of a success.

8. “RocknRolla

Say what you will about Guy Ritchie, but the dude makes entertaining movies. Unfortunately, it looked like the crime caper specialist was all but done after marrying Madonna. Ritchie wasted ten years of his life into with the music superstar, and with the exception of his son Rocco, the only other things he had to show for it was a BMW short film, the atrocious “Swept Away,” and the clusterfuck “Revolver.” Thank God for “RocknRolla,” then, the director’s long-awaited return to the world of the London underground and arguably his best and most mature film to date. Sure, Ritchie still seems to favor style over substance, but film’s eccentric cast of characters more than makes up for it. Gerard Butler and Tom Wilkinson, in particular, are both fantastic in their respective roles, and Thandie Newton takes part in one of the funniest dance scenes ever recorded on film. Word is Ritchie is just itching to make a sequel, and if it’s even a fraction as good as the original, then it’ll likely wind up on whatever year-end list it’s eligible for.

9. “American Teen

Nanette Burstein’s film about high school life in the “mostly while, mostly Christian, and red state all the way” town of Warsaw, Indiana is about as close to home as any movie is ever going to get for me (I grew up about 200 miles away), which is probably why I’m so willing to look past the obvious favoritism that was shown to certain subjects during filming. Then again, it’s hard not to fall in love with Hannah Bailey, the unofficial star of the movie. Whether it’s her unconventional beauty, her free-spirited lifestyle, or the fact that she just doesn’t seem to belong, the audience gets behind Hannah from the moment she’s introduced. “American Teen” is smart, funny and downright entertaining, and whether you’ve just graduated from high school or are about to attend your 20-year reunion, you could only be so lucky to have a video yearbook as impressive as this.

10. “Son of Rambow

Movies like “Son of Rambow” don’t get nearly as big of an audience as they deserve, which is a shame, since it’s one of the best and most wildy inventive family films that I’ve seen in a long time. And who better to make a movie that incorporates animated doodles into its character’s imagination than the director-producer duo that created the wacky, stop-motion music video for Blur’s “Coffee and TV”? It’s a match made in heaven, though much of the film’s success is thanks to newcomers Bill Milner and Will Poulter, who give child actors a good name. Anyone with a young son needs to watch this right away – just don’t forget to let them watch it with you. Animated movies shouldn’t be the only source of entertainment for parents looking to teach life lessons, and though it does feature its share of smoking, “Son of Rambow” does more good than harm.

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

Tropic Thunder
In Bruges
Let the Right One In
Religulous
The Wrestler

THE WORST FILMS of 2008:

1. “Strange Wilderness

In all my time as a film critic, I’ve never given a zero-star rating. That is, until this giant piece of turd marked with Adam Sandler’s stamp of approval crawled into theaters nearly three years after it was made. From recurring gags about joke-shop hand buzzers to dreadfully unfunny set pieces involving gay turkeys and guys named Dick, there’s not a single redeemable moment in the entire film. The script is so lazy that the two main characters are actually named after the writers, and though it technically qualifies as a comedy, there’s nothing about “Strange Wilderness” that will actually make you laugh. Even those terrible parody movies usually have a good joke or two hiding within them, but this is a new low. Speaking of parody movies…

Strange Wilderness

2. “Meet the Spartans

Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer are surely Angels of Death sent from Hell to destroy Hollywood. Their latest parody film, “Meet the Spartans,” is so lazily constructed that Fox should be fined the entire box office gross for releasing it in theaters. This a movie that attempts to take all of those gay jokes about “300” and turn it into a 67-minute movie whose biggest highlight is the end credits. I always wondered how these kinds of films even got greenlit, and now I know the answer: in-movie advertising. “Meet the Spartans” is jam-packed with shameless plug after shameless plug, including not-so-subtle commercials for Subway, Gatorade, Krispy Kreme, Budweiser, Dentyne Ice, Red Bull, and, well, you get the point. The people running Fox are clearly greedy idiots, but even they must see the errors of their ways by now.

3. “Disaster Movie

Unfortunately, Lionsgate has not. Just when you thought one Friedberg/Seltzer parody movie was too much, they went and made another one… in the same year. What makes “Disaster Movie” worse than “Meet the Spartans,” however, is that half of the jokes are based on references to films that weren’t even in theaters when the movie was being shot. Guys dressed in Wal-Mart-quality Iron Man, Hellboy and Incredible Hulk costumes are hit with plastic cows for three straight minutes, Carrie Bradshaw is played by a dude, and Beowulf pops up to continue the tirade of gay jokes started in the last film. So why the slightly better ranking? Frankly, because “Disaster Movie” has brief moments of hilarity. Namely, a bit involving Alvin and the Chipmunks singing death metal that will have you rolling on the ground in laughter. Granted, it’s one of the only times you’ll actually be laughing with the movie, but at least there are no commercials in this one.

4. “Over Her Dead Body

It’s a pretty clear indication that your movie sucks when the funniest bit involves a talking parrot. One could even argue that it’s the only funny bit of the movie, but that wouldn’t change the fact that “Over Her Dead Body” is one the worst romantic comedies ever made. It’s not that ghost stories can’t work in that context, either. The Ricky Gervais vehicle “Ghost Town” is the exact same movie, and though much of that film’s success is thanks to the comedian’s unique brand of humor, he receives great support from screen vets like Greg Kinnear and Téa Leoni. Paul Rudd, on the other hand, is partnered up with Lake Bell (she’s been better) and Eva Longoria, who is not only a major reason why the movie sucks, but also gets top billing for what is essentially the third lead. Sorry honey, but appearing in every rag in town does not a star make.

5. “Meet Dave

After Eddie Murphy’s fantastic performance in “Dreamgirls,” it looked like the comedian might actually begin taking his career seriously. Who knows, he could have even strung together a comeback so good that everyone would finally forget about “The Adventures of Pluto Nash.” Unfortunately, Murphy went the other route by making “Norbit,” and one year later, he re-teamed with director Brian Robbins for a movie just as bad. “Meet Dave” was supposed to be big summer comedy for the family, but all it proved is that Murphy isn’t funny and Robbins is a shit director. Lame jokes about printing money out of the ass aside, “Meet Dave” has got to have some of the worst special effects work I’ve ever seen. True, that’s not the reason the movie flopped, but if you’re going to make a film as painful to watch as this, at least make it look good.

6. “Untraceable

If there’s one studio that just doesn’t seem to understand the inner workings of the film industry, it’s Screen Gems, who continues to put out direct-to-video-quality movies every year. Their techno thriller, “Untraceable,” is a sloppy genre flick that’s equal parts good (“Se7en”), bad (“Saw 3″) and ugly (“Feardotcom”). What it lacks in originality, however, it more than makes up for with gaping plot holes, silly clichés, and enough product placement to make you sick (though not as sick as “Meet the Spartans”). How typically good actors like Diane Lane and Colin Hanks managed to get roped into this movie is beyond me, but they must have thought that they were making something a little less trashy than this. When the “Saw” series features a stronger moral code than the one that appears in your film, however, there’s something horribly wrong.

Untraceable

7. “Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins

Contrary to what you might have read in fellow BE editor Will Harris’ review of the film, “Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins” is not an average comedy. Nevertheless, there are a few things that you can learn from watching a movie like this. For starters, Martin Lawrence is just as annoying as you remember. I can’t think of another high-profile actor who is as consistently unfunny as Lawrence is in every one of his headlining roles, and yet somehow, he continues to get work. Secondly, while Lawrence may have stopped trying to mimic Eddie Murphy’s career, he’s chosen a less superior replacement (if that’s even possible) in Tyler Perry. And finally, Michael Clarke Duncan is one funny dude. It’s certainly been hinted at in past projects, but the hulking actor is one of the only genuinely funny things about the film. Pity he wasn’t in it more, because then maybe the film would have been ranked eighth instead of seventh.

8. “Nim’s Island

The makers of “Nim’s Island” clearly don’t believe that a movie has to make sense for kids to understand and enjoy it, and when those kinds of films make $100 million while far superior ones like “City of Ember” tank, well, it really grinds my gears. This has got to be the worst movie Jodie Foster and Gerard Butler have ever made, and they should know better. Butler’s crimes aren’t nearly as bad as Foster’s, however, who should never step foot near anything even remotely resembling a comedy for the remainder of her career. Abigail Breslin isn’t as much to blame as her adult costars, but it still sucks to see such a talented young actress wasted in kiddie fodder like this.

9. “The Love Guru

Some people will surely have my head for not placing Mike Myers’ latest costumed comedy higher up on the list, but while “The Love Guru” really is as terrible as everyone says it is, there’s something strangely entertaining about watching the former “SNL” star bomb for 88 embarrassing minutes. Not to give Myers more credit than he deserves, but “The Love Guru” simply shouldn’t have been this bad. The inspired casting of Justin Timberlake as the film’s villain, Jacques “Le Coq” Grande, proved once again why the musician should quit his day job and become a full-time cast member on “SNL,” while the commentator team-up of Stephen Colbert and Jim Gaffigan had the potential to be so much better. Unfortunately, their limited screen time falls just as flat as all the dick and fart jokes that Myers hurls nonstop at the audience. And did we really need to see two elephants fucking on screen? Yeah, didn’t think so.

10. “One Missed Call

“One Missed Call” isn’t a particularly scary movie, which is kind of like making a comedy that isn’t funny (see above). It is pretty creepy, however, and it’s a shame that director Eric Valette didn’t have a better story to work with. I mean, really, cell phones? Didn’t Jason Segel and Russell Brand make fun of a similar movie in “Forgetting Sarah Marshall? It was no doubt inspired by this one, because I can’t imagine an idea that stupid could be thought of more than once. And what the hell is Ed Burns doing in a horror movie anyway? He’s not the greatest actor of his generation, but I thought he had a more taste than this. Even Margaret Cho was smart enough to get in and get out before anyone recognized it was her, and she probably bought a new house with the paycheck.

DISHONORABLE MENTIONS:

The Spirit
In the Name of the King
Fool’s Gold
The Other Boleyn Girl
Made of Honor

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Bullz-Eye’s Best and Worst Movies of 2008: Senior Editor David Medsker’s picks

With mere weeks to go, I had no idea what my list for favorite movies of 2008 was going to look like. More accurately, my list contained several movies that my inner critic told me had no business whatsoever in a year-end top ten list. There were a lot of movies that I liked (as you’ll soon discover), but not a whole lot that I loved. Starting about December 1, though, that changed dramatically. Whew.

Oh, and if you just read fellow BE critic Jason Zingale’s list before checking out mine, your eyes do not deceive you. Unlike, say, EW’s Owen Glieberman and Lisa Schwartzman, who seem to go out of their way to run lists as dissimilar as possible, JZ and I are pretty much on the exact same page this year. A meeting of the minds, or a lack of options? A little of both, I suppose.

Best movies of 2008

1. The Dark Knight
I’m not sure how Christopher Nolan is going to top this. This is so much bigger, smarter, darker and bleaker than any other superhero movie ever made that it’s insulting to lump it into the superhero category.

2. WALL·E
Repeated viewings of this since its release on DVD have elevated it towards not just the top of my list of 2008, but on the list of Pixar’s finest work. The dancing-in-space sequence is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen.

3. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
As a longtime David Fincher fan (his video for Madonna’s “Oh Father” still gives me chills), I’ll be the first to admit that his reputation has loomed larger than the quality of his work. He puts his money where his mouth is here. The last ten minutes are devastating.

4. Frost/Nixon
The only man who can give Samuel L. Jackson a run for his money at saying the word “motherfucker”: Richard Milhous Nixon.

5. Iron Man
Let that be a lesson to you: always take the Humdrum-vee over the Fun-vee.

6. RocknRolla
My pet theory: the name of Gerard Butler’s character One Two is a reference to the Specials’ song “Little Bitch.” Can anyone confirm this?

7. Slumdog Millionaire
Do you think that guy that won all those “Jeopardy” episodes was tortured like this movie’s hero was?

8. Let the Right One In
If you see one vampire movie this year…it ain’t “Twilight.” This Swedish import combines the lure of the undead with the hell that is junior high school. The ending to this movie is sadder than any I’ve seen all year, even the one with the dead dog.

9. Revolutionary Road
Only Leo and Kate could make a movie about two miserable suburbanites so watchable.

10. Tropic Thunder
“Now let’s make a movie!” *Clank* “Oh.” *BOOM* Nothing all year made me laugh harder.

Honorable mentions:
The Wrestler
Choke
The Wackness
Burn after Reading

I Was a Middle-Aged Teenager, Part Deux

I’m 40 years old, but some of my favorite movies – or scenes – came from movies that were aimed squarely at my inner 20-year-old.

Step Brothers
If we were to update our Movie Tunes piece, the “Sweet Child o’ Mine” scene would easily be in our Top 20.

Forgetting Sarah Marshall
It had what most Apatow-related movies sorely lack: balance. And hot damn, how awesome is Mila Kunis?

Sex Drive
Rumspringa! WOOOOOO!

Zack and Miri Make a Porno
If anyone is thinking about seeing if this will work in real life, we beg you, STOP. The world has enough bad amateur porn as it is, and your friend isn’t a tenth as hot as Elizabeth Banks.

Wanted
I’d debate whether Morgan Freeman’s character was telling the truth in the movie’s final bloodbath, but does it really matter? This was big, dumb, silly, and an absolute blast.

Pineapple Express
Between this and “Choke,” I’ll never think of anal beads the same way again.

Role Models
Finally, a Seann William Scott movie that didn’t make me want to drown kittens.

Docs that rock

Man on Wire
Bigger, Stronger, Faster*

The Kids Movies Are Alright

Kung Fu Panda
The Spiderwick Chronicles
Horton Hears a Who

Appealing to a man, but made for a woman

What Happens in Vegas…
Definitely, Maybe
Baby Mama
27 Dresses

Worst movies of 2008 (that I saw)

1. The Love Guru
Not even Justin Timberlake could save this from being the unfunniest movie of the year, if not all time. It’s like a bunch of teenagers came up with dick joke punch lines, then worked their way backwards for setups. Painfully bad.

2. Meet Dave
It’s over, Eddie. The next time you have a thought about a family movie comeback vehicle, let it go.

3. Over Her Dead Body
The only Eva worth watching this year is the one in “WALL·E.”

4. Untraceable
Screen Gems makes “Saw Lite,” tries to equate gawker’s block on the highway with willingly contributing to the death of another human being. Uh, sure.

5. Mad Money
Note to self: get job at Federal Reserve. If Diane Keaton can steal from them, so can I.

6. Deception
Hearing Michelle Williams say “fuck and suck” might be the funniest thing I heard in a movie all year.

7. Nim’s Island
Someone once asked Elijah Wood why he did the movie “Flipper.” His answer: to swim with dolphins for six months. Now we know why Abigail Breslin did “Nim’s Island”: to play with sea lions. We forgive you, sweetie. Jodie Foster and Gerard Butler, on the other hand, have some ‘splaining to do.

8. Made of Honor
Made all the more sickening by the fact that this will stand as Sydney Pollack’s final performance. He steals the movie, but the movie he’s stealing isn’t worthy of his presence.

9. Married Life
A black romantic dramedy that’s neither dark, nor funny, nor romantic.

10. The Spirit
“NO EGG ON MY FACE!” Um, I don’t know how to tell you this, Sam, but this movie is one giant piece o’ egg on your face.

Well made, but repulsive in every other regard

Funny Games
Few movies will make you angrier than this self-serving cheat of a film. It’s basically two hours of director Michael Haneke saying, “Fuck you America, you violent, brutish thugs.” America responded by (rightly) ignoring his film. I guess we’re not as brutish as you thought, Michael, and what does it say about you that you tried to profit from our supposed misery? Douchebag.

My co-workers saw them so I didn’t have to

Meet the Spartans
Strange Wilderness
Disaster Movie
88 Minutes
Welcome Home, Roscoe Jenkins

Bonus points to that last movie when cast member Mike Epps gave us quite possibly the worst interview ever.

“Snakes on a Plane” award for Movie Title of the Year

“The Midnight Meat Train.” And surprise, it actually wasn’t that bad.

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