Seeing as Ana and I met through LOST boards (we are ridiculous geeks), it should come as no shocker that both of us are huge couch potatoes. Television, movies, sports, you name it. So, given our advance stage of couch potato-ness, we have decided to enumerate our favorites of 2008!
We invite you to sit back, pop open a cold one, and enjoy. Here are my picks for The Best of the Rest 2008 (check out Ana’s HERE).
The Best of the Rest: TELEVISION
**A warning–if you’re currently catching up or haven’t seen a show, be prepared to be spoiled. We’re only talking about episodes that have already aired, but if you don’t wanna know, you’d best look away!**
I’m much more of a moviegoer than a TV show watcher (Ana and I always balance each other!), but I am completely obsessive over the shows I DO watch.
5. “Goodbye, Toby!” – The Office, 4×14 (April 2008)
(Yeah, I know it’s from last season, but it aired in April, so it counts!) I think this just might be one of my favorite episodes of The Office, ever. Jan preggers? Michael’s song? Toby freaking out over needing a camera for a picture of Pam? Pam saying she always thought Toby was cute? The introduction of Holly!? (Who I adore, by the way)
And then there’s the whipped cream on top–‘Special’ Kevin. This finale equals win. So far, the new season has been pretty solid (the return of Toby–Michael: NO! NOOOOOOOO! NOOOOOOO!!!!!!!) (the drunken phone call from Andy & Oscar to Angela), but Goodbye Toby takes the cake.
(Toby’s return is hilarious though, check out the clip)
4. “Maybe you shouldn’t dress like a bumblebee, bitch.” – It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, 5×10
This is, without a doubt, the funniest show on TV (in my opinion). It is so WRONG. Following a group of four friends who own and run the shittiest bar in Philadelphia (with father Danny DeVito), this show is about these horrible people living their lives. It’s been compared to Seinfeld in that it is a show about nothing really in particular other than the characters getting into ridiculous shenanigans–and this is a pretty apt assessment. Except imagine if the folks from Seinfeld were, for lack of a better phrase, ignorant crass asshole bastards. Sunny, you make my heart sing.
My favorite episode of the season *might* be “Sweet Dee Has A Heart Attack”. Here are two clips from the episode. This one with two members of the gang (bro and sis, Dennis and Dee) trying to get in shape after Dee’s heart attack:
…Meanwhile Charlie and Mac decide to get a job in a mailroom so that they will have medical insurance:
This episode also features a shoutout to One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest…brilliant.
3. Jeremy Bentham… – LOST, There’s No Place Like Home 4×16
I have to agree with Ana that overall, season 4 was pretty weak for LOST (no matter how dear to my heart the show is). There were some flashes of brilliance that give me hope–and I still think that despite some of its mediocre episodes and writing lapses, this is one of the best TV shows on the air. Season 4 gave us a few whoppers of revelations: Widmore indeed is behind the ‘assault’ on the island! The island can move (either spatially or temporally, if we are to believe Darlton–that’s creators Damon Lindleloff and Carlton Cuse)! There’s a freaky time warp around the island (as seen with the unfortunate doctor who had his through slit on the frieghter)!
But the best revelations all came in the finale–including the final reveal of who was in the coffin. Jeremy Bentham, ladies and gentlemen, is none other than Locke himself. Yeaaaah, baby.
2. The Constant, 4×07
Of course I’m putting up two favorite LOST moments, because “The Constant” has to be one of my all time favorite episodes. We have Desmond (played by the delicious Henry Ian Cusak) flashing backwards in time, desperate to find his ‘constant’, so that he doesn’t end up fried like poor Minkowski on the freighter. The appeal of this episode is twofold: First, there’s the coolness and fanboy awesomeness of trying to make sense of the whole time travel aspect (including hypotheses concerning electromagnetism, causality, etc). Secondly, there’s the profound emotional impact of this episode, when Penny picks up the phone, and saves Desmond’s life.
The scene is shot beautifully, the editing, the acting, it’s all perfect.
1. Cylon Hostage Crisis/Holy Sh*t, We’ve Made It To Earth! – BSG, 4×19 “Revelations”
As much as I love LOST, there is no doubt in my mind that Battlestar Galactica is hands down THE BEST SHOW ON TELEVISION. Snubbed year after year after year by the Emmys and Golden Globes, anyone who watches this incredibly intelligent, beautiful show knows that BSG is where it’s at.
This is the fourth and final season, and I have to take my hat off to Ron D. Moore for knowing when to stop because the story is nearly over (instead of prolonging the show into a bloated network death…I’m looking at you, my poor dear X-Files). With that in mind, the mid-season finale is my favorite TV moment of 2008. Finally, after years of running, of torment and heartache, with the help of the rebel cylons and the final four, Starbuck leads humanity to Earth…
Only Earth isn’t the paradise they expected. (I’m talking Army of Darkness “I SLEPT TOO LONG!” or Planet of the Apes despair here) What happens next? Has Starbuck led them all to destruction, just as that hybrid predicted in Razor? Who is the Final Cylon? AAAAA!
Here’s the link to the final scene. (No embedding allowed, sorry!)
Best Sports Moment: It’s a tie!
1. Lakers beat the Celtics on 12/25/2008 – SWEET REDEMPTION! As short lived as it may be, and despite the fact I still don’t think we can beat Boston 4 times in a series, WE STILL DID IT. (And then Boston loses to Golden State the next day? SUCK IT BOSTON! SUCK IT!)
2. Giants trounce Pats in Superbowl XLII – That hustle! That heart! That CATCH! Basically it all comes down to the same thing: SUCK IT BOSTON! SUCK IT!
The Best of the Rest 2008: MOVIES
Here’s where the good stuff happens! I love movies. Here are my top 10 films of 2008, in ascending order!
10. Kung Fu Panda
I haven’t laughed so hard, so continuously in the theater since I saw The 40 Year Old Virgin! This is a gem of a film with its superb animation, great voice cast, and touching ‘believe in yourself’ message.
9. The Ruins
Review of Book and Film HERE
Although I have to say the theatrical ending is far better than the unrated cut on the dvd (in my opinion, even though it deviates significantly from the novel), this is one of the most poetically gruesome films I have had the pleasure of watching in a very long time. I did a ‘Page to Screen’ after The Ruins first came out, and my opinion has not changed with multiple viewings. I love that this is a thriller not so much about killer plants, but about flawed humans under incredible stress, forced to make terrifying decisions. While the novel is good, the movie does it better. What’s even cooler is the fact that the filmmakers wisely decided to use prosthetics and good old fashioned corn syrup, with less reliance on that shitty CGI every horror film is apt to use these days.
8. Iron Man
The first comic book hero blockbuster this year that had everyone’s panties in a twist! I really did like Iron Man, and I’m glad to see Robert Downey Jr. making a huge comeback–he plays Tony Stark to perfection. This film had it all in terms of visuals, and is the quintessential summer blockbuster. Now, I disagree with the folks that laud this as “the BEST comic book movie ever made!!!!!”–let’s not get carried away. But for what it is, it’s perfect: fun, lots of explosions, cool scenes with Stark zipping around in that sweet candy apple red exosuit. Heck, even Gwyneth Paltrow wasn’t annoying in this film (even though I resent the loathsome support character that is Pepper Potts)! I just gotta say, I’m a DC girl at heart, and two other comic book boys easily beat out Stark. Sorry!
7. The Wrestler
Powerful. Intense. This is how I would describe Mickey Rourke’s performance as (Robin) Randy “the Ram” Robinson in The Wrestler. Rourke plays a washed up 1980s wrestler (as in WWE not NCAA) who still performs, looking for that one chance at a comeback. What’s so powerful about this film is Rourke’s own history as an actor–a washed up, painfully beat-up version of the 1980s heartthrob he once was. This is not to say that Rourke plays himself–rather, his own personal history adds a depth, a brutal honesty to the Randy that I don’t think any other actor could have pulled off. His Golden Globe nomination–and hopefully an upcoming Oscar nod as well–is completely and wholly deserved.
6. Pineapple Express
This movie is ridiculous, over the top wonderful hilarious. Pineapple Express is easily my favorite Judd Apatow entry since The 40 Year Old Virgin. Together, Seth Rogan and James Franco make a hilarious duo, but it’s Franco that really holds this film together. Brilliant!
5. Hellboy II: The Golden Army
Oh Hellboy, how I love thee. Guillermo del Toro + Mike Mignola = WIN. I loved the first film, and I’m happy to say that the second film is every bit as good–and takes a far grander scale. del Toro was given more free reign in this one, and all his lovely puppets and creatures–so effective in Pan’s Labyrinth–really came to life here. Ron Perlman is perfection as Hellboy, with his smartmouth swagger and devil-may-care (terrible pun intended) attitude. And who doesn’t love that Tecate scene?
4. The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters
(Ok, I’m totally cheating with this one–it was released in limited theaters in the US in 2007, but to the rest of the world and on dvd in 2008. Since I did not see it in theaters, I’m calling it as a 2008 film. Sue me.) This is an amazing documentary–what kills me is the fact that it actually IS a documentary! It plays like a sports movie, complete with the asinine villain Billy Mitchell (and all his cronies) and the brilliant underdog Steve Wiebe. Billy Mitchell has held the Donkey Kong world record since the 1980s, and has made a prosperous living off of his title (he has his own brand of hot sauce and chain of restaurants)–but in steps Steve Wiebe, science teacher who manages to demolish Billy’s high score in 2007. Of course, things are never that simple, and Billy pulls all kinds of dastardly shenanigans to keep his crown. This movie will make you outraged, it will make you cheer, it will have you pulling for Wiebe all the way. It’s like The Karate Kid or Rocky of arcade gaming. (It even has that song from The Karate Kid–you know, the one during the tournament: “You’re the best– *cymbals crash* –around! Nothing’s ever gonna keep you down!”) Go forth and rent it immediately.
Pixar does it again–and in fact manages to beat the increasingly high bar they keep setting. Wall-E is the Los Angeles Critics’ choice for Best Movie of 2008, and for good reason. This is a beautiful film, both in terms of its outstanding visuals, and in terms of its somber–yet hopeful–message. I cannot stress enough how outstanding a job the animators did with this film; the majority of the film is without dialogue, and relies heavily on the artistic interpretation in bringing robots to life, and making the audience first understand the story without words, and then genuinely care for them. This film might go over the little ones’ heads and might not be as kid-accessible as Kung Fu Panda, but Wall-E is a beauty of a movie. I gotta side with Stephen King on this one: it should certainly be nominated for Best Picture (not just Best Animated Film). (Also, for what it’s worth, Wall-E and Eve are totally my pick for best on-screen romance of the year!)
I seriously thought this would be #2 on my list, but that was until I saw…
2. Gran Torino
It’s no secret that both Ana and I love Clint Eastwood. He is the ultimate badass–and this comes across loud and clear in Gran Torino. Walt Kowalski is a crotchety old Korean War vet who pounds PBR, totes a shotgun, chain smokes, and has the most impressive racial slur vocabulary in the universe. He also unexpectedly learns to care for his next door Hmong neighbors. This is an alternately hilarious and serious film, both heartwarming and tear-jerking. It’s a deceptively simple story, but those are always the ones that seem to resonate so profoundy.
One of the finest performances of Clint Eastwood’s long and star-studded career.
1. The Dark Knight
Could my favorite movie of 2008 have been anything else (especially given our Batman Long Weekend)? Gone are the comically weak scripts, the closeups of batnipples–Christopher Nolan has managed to give the Caped Crusader back his dignity. This movie is powerful for so many reasons–from the strength of the performances (not only is Heath Ledger’s Joker superb, but who can deny the forceful addition of Aaron Eckhart as Harvey Dent? And let’s not forget Christian Bale’s brooding Dark Knight!) to the thrilling script and flawless directing. A perfect 10 for me!
That whole “Best Comic Book Movie Ever!!!!!!!!!” award? Yeah. It belongs here.
Be Kind Rewind – I want Sweded films!
The Incredible Hulk – The movie wasn’t fantastic, but that last Blonsky-Hulk fight gives me goosebumps (come on, “HULK SMASH!!!!” Squeeeeee!)
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull – Unlike Ana, I loved this crazy addition to the Indy cannon.
The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian – Silly accents aside, this is a delightful film. I really liked it.
The X-Files: I Want to Believe – Ok so technically this was the equivalent of a B- grade monster of the week episode…but to the ‘shippers out there, it’s golden. GOLDEN!
Tropic Thunder – Hilarious. Especially these fake trailers. (The Satan’s Alley one kills me!!!)
And that’s all folks! What about some of your favorite movie and/or TV moments?
HAPPY NEW YEAR!