Saturday, February 7, 2009

Top and Bottom of 2008 - #10

So here we go with my best and worst picks from all 131 movies I saw in 2008. People are welcome to guess which film comes in at numbers 1 and 131 (who knows, there might even be a prize connected with it).

Rio Bravo (1959)
This western is the story of three men: John Wayne's sheriff who refuses almost all offers of help to bring down the town outlaw (in a direct contrast to the Gary Cooper role in High Noon), Dean Martin's deputy who is a recovering alcoholic, and Ricky Nelson's hotshot new gunman who worms his way into John Wayne's graces. What results is a highly entertaining western that focuses more on the interactions between characters than the shootouts. Also worth noting is Walter Brennan as a partially over-the-hill deputy with an injured leg who is assigned to guard the jail. His cranky old man performance adds some wonderful humor to the mix, keeping the film from getting too serious. The inevitable final shootout lacks dramatic gravity, but that is a minor complaint compared with the rest of this highly entertaining film.

Videodrome (1983)
If you like gross films with disturbing, sexual images, this is the film for you. The rest of us should probably stay away. The plot made very little sense, and with so many dream sequences and double-crosses, it was impossible to keep track of who was what, and the ending was anything but satisfactory. I do think it is interesting that James Woods' television producer tries to air a program that features a combination of pornography and torture. Did director David Cronenberg predict today's torture porn?

Coming up next: 2 movies about 2 men going on a road trip.

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