2008: Viva la revolución!

As a movie geek first and film critic second, there are many trends amongst critics circles that bother me. Namely, the Bleakness Factor, the Tyranny of the Theme, the Hierarchy of Genres, Anti-Hollywoodism and the Auteur Theory, to a degree…

…because in that last regard, I’m actually quite the auteur queen, except that “my” auteurs are not necessarily the Cannes Film Festival crowd, but guys like Danny Boyle and Darren Aronofsky. And even then, I’m able to admit that my favorites can sometimes stumble, as illustrated by the fact that neither Kevin Smith or M. Night Shyamalan’s sub-par latest flicks show up in my Top Ten.

Moving on to why I can’t stand how so many critics hate on Hollywood, you just have to look at a summer like 2008’s, where we got to enjoy such masterworks of blockbuster filmmaking as “WALL•E”, to name but one. A pure Hollywood, mainstream production, but pure genius nonetheless.

Which leads us to genre snobbery – why do so many people believe that only period dramas, biopics and literary adaptations deserve accolades? One of the best pictures of the last year, by any standard, was a superhero flick, of all things!

Going back to the illusion that some movies are more thematically “important” than others, I just don’t think you have to tackle genocide, rape, abortion, regicide or deadly diseases to achieve cinematic greatness. Potheads fighting for their lives can do just that, too!

Finally, in a more general sense, I’m utterly annoyed by how for so many critics, bitter and unhappy people that they seemingly are, a movie that’s bleak and most concerned with the many ways in which mankind is doomed will always be more praise-worthy than a film that has the audacity to be about freedom, beauty, truth and love.

Then again, I’m not all about being a contrarian geek. After all, an Auteur’s Important, Bleak Epic in Spanish does sit at #1 on my list of the…

TOP TEN MOVIES OF THE YEAR

1. Steven Soderbergh’s Che

2. Baz Luhrmann’s Australia

3. David Gordon Green’s Pineapple Express

4. Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight

5. Andrew Stanton’s WALL•E

6. Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire

7. Antonio Campos’ Afterschool

8. Carlos Reygadas’ Stellet Licht

9. Darren Aronofsky’s The Wrestler

10. Vincent Morisset’s Miroir Noir

NEXT PAGE: Every 2008 film I’ve seen, ranked and graded.
THEN: Jean-François Tremblay’s Best & Worst of 2008
PLUS: Joseph Bélanger’s 2008 Top 10
AND: Ralph Arida’s Best & Worst of 2008