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Lance Carmichael’s Top 10 Movies of 2008

Written by: Lance Carmichael, CC2K Staff Writer

Best Summer Movie:
Iron Man

Guys, I watched The Dark Knight again on Blu Ray, hoping my initial disappointment in the movie was backlash against the hype. Sadly, my impeccable taste was only confirmed. Actually, it’s even worse than I thought. Good God that movie lasts forever. I did spend the extra time I was bored during it studying Maggie Gyllenhaal’s face, and there’s something seriously weird happening between her nose and mouth.

Iron Man, however, only improved on second viewing. All because of Robert Downey Jr., of course. He is to Iron Man what Tom Brady is to the New England Patriots—take him away and the whole thing falls into mediocrity. A hammy Jeff Bridges doesn’t hurt things, either, or getting Gwyneth Paltrow for 40 cents on the dollar for a supporting role.

In conclusion, Iron Man could kick Batman’s ass.

ImageThe Vincent Hanna “Don’t Waste My MOTHERFUCKING TIME!!!” Award
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Uggggggh. You do realize that because of advances in medicine during the last century, we’re going to have to keep eating the shit the increasingly mush-minded baby boomers shovel down our throats for the foreseeable future, right?

Best Worst Movie I Didn’t See
Speed Racer
M. Night Shyamalan’s The Happening

Both of these movies provided me far more entertainment than most films I actually saw in 2008—I took an inordinate amount of pleasure in seeing both these films fall on their collective asses. Though I don’t really know what exactly it was that the Wachowskis and Night did to me to deserve such scorn, I suspect that it has something to do with the fact that they made Speed Racer and The Happening exist.


Worst Baby Boomer Movie Critic Masturbating Over Clint Eastwood as a Director
Peter Travers, Rolling Stone, on The Changeling

This was the most difficult category in which to pick a winner. Like every year since 2004, there were so many richly deserving candidates. But in the end, the cream always rises to the top, and no critic is more ready to praise whatever pablum the major studios decide to spend lavish amounts of marketing dollars on than Peter Travers. Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr. Peter Travers on The Changeling!

“Talk about creative mojo. In the past five years, Clint Eastwood has delivered an unbroken string of triumphs: Mystic River, Million Dollar Baby, Flags of Our Fathers, Letters From Iwo Jima. Eastwood's eye for shaping story and character has grown keener over the years (he's 78). The proof of his sure touch and emotional acuity as a director is on powerful display in Changeling, a riveting true crime story set in Los Angeles in 1928, around the time Eastwood was born.”

Biggest Beneficiary of our Culture’s Abysmally Low Standards for Comedy Award
Tropic Thunder

Did they seriously spend ten years developing this script, or whatever absurd amount Ben Stiller claimed on Charlie Rose? What were doing? And what was Ben Stiller doing on Charlie Rose for this turd? This movie’s creativity seems to be inversely proportional to the gobs of money tossed at it like monkeys pelting slackjawed moviegoers with their cinematic feces. Some douchebag once said that the way you measure whether an All Star Cast movie works is to ask whether it would be more interesting to make a documentary of all the stars eating together during breaks from filming the real movie. That douchebag must have been anticipating the release of Tropic Thunder, or, as I call it, “Ben Stiller’s Long, Slow Descent Into Middle Aged Irrelevancy.”

Best Movie Whose Trailer Makes You Say, “Good God, Who Did they Actually Think Would want to see this movie?!”
Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day

Funniest Moment
George Clooney Destroying His Dildo Machine, Burn After Reading

Best Forest Gump Impression
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

The only thing missing was a Vietnam sequence complete with Credence cues. The thing that sustained me during the first viewing was anticipation over how the CGI aging would look on Brad Pitt. I’m predicting the second viewing will reveal this movie’s true purpose: an Over the Counter sleeping aid. This movie did, however, disprove my theory that if Cate Blanchett and Tilda Swinton appeared in the same movie the universe would be destroyed.

Biggest Guilty Pleasure
Street Kings

(Co-)written by the demon dog of literature himself, James Ellroy, and directed by the writer of Training Day and the writer/director of the underrated, underseen Harsh Times…this movie had a lot going for it. Unfortunately, it also had charisma black hole Keanu Reeves at its center. So…things played out pretty much exactly as you’d expect. Put Russell Crowe or Denzel Washington in Keanu’s part, and you’d instantly have a movie twice as good as this. And Ellroy kind of repeats the same storyline here he’s had in three or four other novels. But even with all that, this movie’s not that bad. Seriously. I mean, definitely make sure you see other stuff you’ve been meaning to watch before you check this out, but you could do a lot worse.

Best Concept You Can’t Believe You Didn’t Come Up With Yourself

Biggest Waste of Talent
Body of Lies

ImageWilliam Monahan (the guy who wrote The Departed), Russell Crowe, and Leonardo DiCaprio make a movie where the studio apparently doesn’t give a shit whether it’s marketable or not, a chance to deliver a movie actually aimed at thinking adults…and THIS is what we get? It’s even directed by Ridley Scott—sure, the Ridley Scott impersonator who killed Ridley Scott after the release of Blade Runner—but still! The impersonator made Black Hawk Down, so he’s not a TOTAL hack, right? Right?
The dude who directed City of God, a Nobel Prize winning author who’s supposed to actually not totally suck, um…Mark Ruffalo…Okay, so as that sentence goes on it becomes fairly obvious why Blindness was runner-up for this award, but still.

Best Movie that Came Closest to Convincing Me to Actually Pay to See it Without Actually Convincing Me to Pay to See it

Most Improbably Hot Chick Going for a Pasty, Slackery White Guy
Mila Kunis, Jason Segal, Forgetting Sarah Marshall


Restrain yourselves, ladies.

We live in a nation of doughy Nintendo champs too mesmerized by their computers to make eye contact with a girl. Mass market movies are about escape and wish fulfillment. You can hire as hot a girl as you want for a movie. Folks, Judd Apatow is not a genius. Everybody else is just retarded for not coming up with this formula first.

Worst Title
Bangkok Dangerous

This also wins the award for “Best Title,” although that award is always given ironically.

Best Proof that Wong Kar Wai Gets a Pass Because He Makes Foreign Films
Blueberry Nights

Folks, once these “characters” are speaking English, the whole house of cards collapses.

Most Depressing Reminder of what Hollywood Thinks All Men are Like
Zach and Miri Make a Porno

At least this movie and its nonstop marketing campaign were met with almost complete indifference by every human on earth.
Like Zach and Miri, I’m judging this based solely on its marketing campaign, since neither I nor any human being I’ve met expressed any interest in actually watching this, but you know what this movie looked like? Take the cynicism of Fight Club, remove everything cool about it, have it directed by an actor rather than David fucking Fincher, cut the budget in 1/10th, replace both Brad Pitt AND a pre-male diva Ed Norton with Sam Rockwell, voila! You’ve got Choke.

The Mike Judge Award for Underrated Satire of the Year

War, Inc.


Worst Movie Made by a Director Who’s Vital Life Juices Were Greedily Drunk by Madonna to Preserve Her Unnatural Youth

Guy Ritchie…I don’t know what to say, my man.

Most Pointless Robert De Niro in Raging Bull Impression
Russell Crowe in Body of Lies
Jared Leto in Chapter 27


Restrain yourselves, ladies.

I can’t imagine what a horrible pain in the ass it must be to purposely put on 50 pounds that you’re going to have to quickly lose in order to continue your career, so imagine if you did this and the result wasn’t a masterpiece like Raging Bull but a mediocrity like Body of Lies? The saddest thing about Russell Crowe putting that weight on (apparently at the Ridley Scott impersonator’s request) is that it seems so totally unnecessary for the role. All Crowe’s character does during the movie is talk heatedly into a cell phone—is it really necessary that he endanger his long-term health for that? And poor Jared Leto. The only thing that guy’s got going for him is his looks, and for him to destroy them for a movie no one saw (including me) and that is apparently awful—and not to mention is about John Lennon’s assassin, Mark David Chapman, a guy we’d all feel better about if we could forget was ever born—whew, what a waste. I feel sorry for both these guys, even though they’re both super rich, super good looking, and Russell Crowe throws phones at service workers.

Best Noble Failure
Synecdoche, NY

Sorry, Charlie. We appreciate the effort, but try outlining first next time.



Author: Lance Carmichael, CC2K Staff Writer

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