Movies Part II

It’s Movies: The Sequel!

My favorite movies of the past decade. Up next, 2006-2010.

And now, your feature presentation.


    The Prestige
    Touchstone Pictures/Warner Bros., PG-13
    Hugh Jackman, Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Scarlett Johansson

    This movie was just plain cool. I love puzzling stories.

    And I’ve got great memories attached to this film. My friend Jamal told me and my family that we had to go see it. We went with him to this old theater in Richmond called the Byrd.

    As a child, whenever I would go to the Byrd, I would wonder what it would be like if the chandelier crashed on top of us like in The Phantom of the Opera, of which I was obsessed with thanks to my grandparents' admiration of Sarah Brightman.

    It’s gorgeous, albeit decrepit, and it was the perfect theater to watch a movie like The Prestige. Afterwards, we all discussed what the movie was about, and Jamal, who had seen it before, was so excited, I just couldn’t stop laughing at his behavior.

    Now you’re looking for the secret, but you won’t find it because of course you’re not really looking. You don’t really want to know. You want to be

    Why is it that in every movie I see with Scarlett Johansson, I hate her? At least the movie was cool, not like The Other Boleyn Girl. Grrr.

    (Huh. Learned something new. This was first a book. Cool.)

Honorable Mentions

    Stranger Than Fiction
    Will Ferrell, Dustin Hoffman, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Emma Thompson
    In which I, as a literature nerd, was in heaven.

    Penny Escher: Sitting in the rain isn’t going to write a book.
    Karen Eiffel: That illustrates exactly how much you know about writing books.

    Little Miss Sunshine
    Greg Kinnear, Toni Collette, Abigail Breslin, Steve Carell, Paul Dano, Alan Arkin
    In which my favorite character doesn’t speak for more than half the movie.

    Olive: I’d like to dedicate this to my grandpa, who showed me these moves.
    Pageant MC: Aww, that is so sweet. Is he here? Where’s your grandpa right now?
    Olive: In the trunk of our car.

    The Holiday
    Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet, Jude Law, Jack Black
    In which Jack Black is more my type than Jude Law.

    And after all that, however long all that may be, you’ll go somewhere new, and you’ll meet people who make you feel worthwhile again. And little pieces of your soul will finally come back. And all that fuzzy stuff, those years of your life that you wasted, that will eventually begin to fade. Then you go somewhere new, and surround yourself with people who make you feel worth while, and pieces of your soul begin to come back.


    Focus Features, R
    James McAvoy, Keira Knightley, Saoirse Ronan (Briony, age 13), Ramola Garai (Briony, age 18), Venessa Redgrave (Briony, age 77), Benedict Cumberbatch, Juno Temple

    I think I can safely say that this is my second favorite movie of all time. (My first would be The Philadelphia Story.)

    When I realized this movie was based on a book, I made a deal with myself to read it first. Because of that deal (and such things as midterms and the fact that it was my senior year at uni), I didn’t actually get to see the movie until the day it was released on DVD, but by that time I was so absolutely certain that I was going to love it I didn’t hesitate in buying it on the spot.

    I watched it so much that year I’m sure my BFF/roomie wanted to kill me.

    I’ve read the book, which I love even more than the movie, more times than I can count.

    And I own the soundtrack.

    And yes, I want to be an author, and that probably has something to do with my fascination with this story.

    I know a lot of people don’t like it because of the ending, but the ending is actually one of my favorite parts. (I know, I’m weird.)

    So, why should you watch it? (And read it.)

    1) It’s a very beautiful romance.

    2) It has incredible characters and superb acting.

    3) The music is mind-blowing.

    4) The director is Joe Wright, who also directed Pride & Prejudice
    (2005) and The Soloist (2009).

    5) It is perhaps the only movie I’ve ever seen that’s so dedicated to it’s original source that it gets every little detail right (down to even the image of a bee buzzing at the window). I’m not much of a fan of Keira Knightley, but when you read the book, it almost sounds like the author had her in mind when he wrote it.

    6) The story is a wonderful study of guilt and forgiveness, and the motivations behind the actions that lead to both; it also explores the power of the imagination and its effects on people’s reality. (Okay, my nerd alarm is beeping.)

    7) Did I mention the acting?

    I could talk about this movie for hours. I’ll shut up now so that you’ll still like me.

    I wouldn’t necessarily believe everything Briony tells you. She’s rather fanciful.

Honorable Mentions

    Ellen Page, Michael Cera, Jennifer Garner
    In which we realized the awesomeness that is Ellen Page.

    Juno: You should try Adderall.
    Su-Chin: No thanks. I’m off pills.
    Juno: Wise move. I know this girl who had a huge crazy freakout because she took too many behavioral meds at once. She ripped off all her clothes and jumped into the fountain at Ridgedale Mall and she was like, “Blaaaaah! I’m a kraken from the sea!”
    Su-Chin: I heard that was you.
    Juno: Well, it was nice seeing you, Su-Chin.

    Across the Universe
    Jim Sturgess, Evan Rachel Wood, Joe Anderson
    You know, all you need is love. 🙂

    Jude: My god you – you have perfect teeth. No, no. You do – they’re perfect. You know, people in Liverpool only seldom do. They stick out in all different directions. It’s horrible.
    Lucy: Haven’t you ever heard of braces?
    Jude: Yes I have, thank you very much. We use them to keep our trousers up.


    The Dark Knight
    Legendary Pictures/Syncopy Films, PG-13
    Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Heath Ledger
    Thank God this movie came out when it did. There were some truly atrocious movies released in 2008.

    Of course, this movie is famous because it was one of Heath Ledger’s final movies, and he deserved every award he got. I mean, he was a great actor, but sometimes people – especially Hollywood people – just get so sappy when a celebrity dies. So it was with some trepidation that I watched The Dark Knight (with a friend who had not seen Batman Begins and whose sole reason for watching the film was because of Ledger).

    I shouldn’t have doubted. He was the Joker and by far the most terrifying villain I have ever seen on screen.

    Alfred: I suppose they’ll want to lock me up, too, as your accomplice.
    Bruce Wayne: Accomplice? I’m gonna tell them the whole thing was your idea.

And, like I said, 2008 had some really terrible movies. Instead of a list of “honorable mentions,” I give you

The Worst Movies of 2008

    The Other Boleyn Girl
    Natalie Portman, Eric Bana, Jim Sturgess, Scarlett Johansson

    (And yes, I did go see this movie for the sole reason that Jim Sturgess was in it. I had already read the book, and it was horrible, but since Sturgess was playing the only character I could allow myself to like just the tiniest bit, I thought that maybe – just maybe – it would be okay.

    I was so wrong.)

    Mama Mia!
    Meryl Streep, Amanda Seyfried, Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth
    I couldn’t finish this one.

    (Colin Firth, what hateful ABBA-demon possessed you?)

    George Clooney, John Krasinski, Renee Zellweger
    I couldn’t finish this one, either, but it wasn’t nearly as bad as the first two. Just boring.


    Columbia Pictures, R
    Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, Abigail Breslin

    I watched this after the urging of my dad, my brother, and a friend. I’m really glad I did. It’s hilarious.

    Little Rock: Who’s Bill Murray?
    Tallahassee: Alright, I’ve never hit a kid before. I mean that’s like asking who Gandhi is.

    Little Rock: Who’s Gandhi?

Honorable Mentions

    (500) Days of Summer
    Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Zooey Deschanel
    In which love and life suck.

    This is a story of boy meets girl, but you should know upfront, this is not a love story.

    This is adorable. All fans of this movie and/or these two actors will love this.

    The Last Station
    Helen Mirren, Christopher Plummer, Paul Giamatti, James McAvoy
    I love movies about authors, if you haven’t noticed. I also love movies about Russians.

    Leo Tolstoy: Despite good cause for it, I have never stopped loving you.
    Sofya Tolstaya: Of course.
    Leo Tolstoy: But God knows you don’t make it easy!
    Sofya Tolstaya: Why should it be easy? I am the work of your life, you are the work of mine. That’s what love is!

    Star Trek
    Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban
    In which I found a film in the Star Trek franchise that I actually liked.

    Bones: Permission to speak freely, sir?
    Spock: I welcome it.
    Bones: Do you? OK, then. Are you out of your Vulcan mind?

Aaaand finally, we’re at 2010. Have I lost you yet?

I’m still not sure what my favorite movie of this year is, mostly because I haven’t seen much. (That’s what I get for living overseas and not having access to an English theater.)

Thus, you’re getting three films for 2010.

    Legendary Pictures/Syncopy Films, PG-13
    Leonardo DiCaprio, Ken Watanabe, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tom Hardy

    I’ve been thinking about this movie a lot this week, mainly because I shared Edgar Allan Poe’s “A Dream Within a Dream” with my students this week.

    Dreams feel real while we’re in them. It’s only when we wake up that we realize something was actually strange.

    The King’s Speech
    The Weinstein Company, R
    Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, Helena Bonham Carter

    This movie is just powerful.

    Lionel: I believe sucking smoke into your lungs will kill you.
    George VI: My physicians say it relaxes the throat.
    Lionel: They’re idiots.
    George VI: Many of them have been knighted.
    Lionel: Makes it official then.

    The Social Network
    Columbia Pictures, PG-13
    Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Justin Timberlake

    After several missed chances and failed attempts to watch this movie (including a flight from Turkey a week ago during which the sound cut out from my console), I finally saw it on Monday.

    It was excellent.

    Marylin Delpy: What are you doing?
    Mark Zuckerberg: Checking in to see how it’s going in Bosnia.
    Marylin Delpy: Bosnia. They don’t have roads, but they have Facebook.

Well. What do ya’ll think? Anyone agree? Disagree?

What are your favorite movies?

Got any good suggestions for me?


One thought on “Movies Part II

  1. Pingback: You and You and Anna Karenina « WanderLust

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