I would like to make a list of the best movies I have seen this year, but the way I see movies in Japan makes that almost impossible. The movie that I watched last March might have been your favorite Summer movie of 2008. A late night showing here starts at 8pm and costs $20. Most new movies I watch were recorder on a lopsided camcorder and come through my girlfriend's laptop computer. It isn't the same thing. I looked forward to Star Trek for a year and then never got home from work in time to see it. All of this being said, here are my favorite movies I saw this year.
1. Inglourious Basterds: Seeing Pulp Fiction on the day it came out in the theatre was one of the most remarkable experiences of my life. The audience was electric. I saw this in Namba Parks amongst a group of people whose disinterest in what was happening on the screen hung down like rain clouds. Natsuki alternated between horror, boredom and sleep. I was captivated. I have rarely liked a movie so much. Christoph Waltz should have the Oscar delivered to his house immediately. Not only was his performance remarkable it spanned at least four languages. He was off the charts amazing. I found myself trying to explain afterwards that it wasn't just killing that was going on, it was killing Nazis. Maybe that is hard to understand in Japan. I don't want to give too much away about the movie but the entire scene in the basement bar is so incredible, not in that it is something we have never seen, but that it is so very well done. Til Schweiger is also notable as Hugo Stiglitz. This is a movie I see myself going to again in the near future.
2. Up: I saw this less then a week after Inglourious Basterds in an attempt to make the previous experience up to Natsuki. I was taken aback by what I saw. It has been talked about a lot already but the roughly 20 minute montage near the beginning of the movie depicting the course of a marriage is one of the most moving sequences on film. If that was the entire movie I would have been satisfied. The rest of the movie is excellent as well. I don't know if I have seen a film that deals so well with sadness and death in an adult way that kids can also understand. It is also notable in the the secondary character is Japanese American.
3. The Hangover: I never new they were making a documentary about my life in Miyazaki, but... Apparently a lot of people felt that way about this movie as it blew up all over America. Summer drug me to see it when I was home this ...well...Summer and I laughed almost as much at her laughing as I did at the jokes. The movie had me at "Paging Dr. Faggot." See it. Laugh at it. Good stuff.
4. I Love You, Man: I was surprised to see this on other people's lists because I felt kind of silly about thinking it was good. It is nothing that original and it didn't rearrange my thoughts on the universe. This was just a formula movie that executed the formula very well. I don't think everyone will love it but it is a solid little comedy about guys being friends which features a little too much Rush for one to be comfortable.
Best Movie Experience of the Year: Going to the drive in in Rockford with David and Jayden. Watching Harry Potter and eating nachos. It renewed my faith in the goodness of small-town America.