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Movies We Enjoyed in 2008 – Edit 2

8 January 2009

We like to watch movies as a family, and it’s gotten both easier and harder as the girls have gotten older. Easier because we don’t have to watch animated movies (unless we want to — like Kung Fu Panda), but harder because it’s difficult to find a movie that we all like. I prefer hard-core action/adventures or science fiction, Trixie prefers chick flicks and romances, Impera always votes for comedies, and the Consort suggests old non-classics like Robocop (“I seem to remember it with more of a philosophical message” — Huh.)

And then there is the sex, which I prefer to keep to a minimum with the girls, since they gross out easily (although I’m not very successful at picking appropriate movies sometimes).

This means that we often end up watching non-blockbuster indie films, for the most part.

Here are a few of the oddball movies we enjoyed last year, in case you haven’t heard of them or chosen to watch them yet. As I was writing the descriptions, I realized one word could be used for all of them, to one degree or another: Poignant. I suppose that’s a fine thing to enjoy in movies, isn’t it?

I hope that I can add a few more later today as the others see this post and remind me of other good films. Edit 1: Trixie reminded me of one, so I’ve added it at the end! Edit 2: I remembered another one, again tacked at the end.

Where in the World is Osama bin Laden? The newest Morgan Spurlock documentary (‘Nuf said). Not as perfect as Supersize Me, but still pretty dang funny. But OK, this one? Not poignant.

Pieces of April. The black sheep of the family invites her parents and siblings to her NY tenement for Thanksgiving. (And Katie Holmes before she was Cruise-ified!)

Son of Rambow. It was tricky for me to accept religious fanatics in England, but once you get beyond that, then this story of two boys recreating the Rambo movie, and the French exchange student who gets involved, really gets you chuckling.

Lars and the Real Girl. A seriously antisocial young man tries to fit in by ordering a girlfriend off the Internet. His family, and eventually the Canadian town he lives in, become involved.

King of California. Michael Douglas as a dad just released from a mental institution trying to convince his daughter that he’s figured out where a Spanish treasure has been buried — in the megalopolis which is southern California. Some great social commentary in it, too.

Eagle vs. Shark. About two misfits in New Zealand. Once you figure out the accent, there are some killer lines in this movie. The male protagonist never really becomes someone you’d like, though. But in this movie I learned that in NZ they don’t say Samoa like we say Samoa up here.

The Savages. Two adult children need to face the facts of their father’s dementia. This is complicated by their own problems, as well as the fact that their dad abandoned them when they were kids.

Our “To Rent” list is empty. Any suggestions?

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14 Comments leave one →
  1. simonk permalink
    8 January 2009 6:31 pm

    You’ve got good taste in movies. I watched Son of Rambow last week, and its definitely one of my favourites from 2008. Keep meaning to watch “Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden” and “Eagle vs. Shark” so they’re going on my rental list, thanks for the reminder

  2. 9 January 2009 8:23 am

    I loved “Lars” and “April”.

    I recently saw and loved “The Sea Within” from Spain. And really loved “The Squid and the Whale”. How about “Juno”? Or, wait, *run* out and get “Junebug”.

    But wait, I don’t know how old your girls are, or if *any* of these are appropriate-for-the-whole-family.

    Anyway. I love the movies.

  3. Peaceable Imperatrix permalink*
    9 January 2009 8:36 am

    Simon: you’re welcome!

    Eliie: The Consort and I saw Squid and Whale when it came out. I liked it a lot, but I worry that its message of relationships might be too dark for the girls. Juno was a family favorite! Impera and I went to see it when it came out. So good! I will check out Junebug, thanks!

  4. 9 January 2009 11:24 am

    Hi, I recently discovered your blog via meli-mello. My wife and I love movies! Here are a few of our favorite rentals from 2008:

    The Diving Bell and the Butterfly – beautiful movie!

    Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day – whirling society comedy set in the 1940’s

    The TV Set – comedy, David Duchovny plays an idealistic TV writer having to deal with demanding TV executives and awful acting

    Flawless – Michael Caine, Demi Moore, heist movie set in the 1960’s

    Into the Wild – true story of a young man finding himself, he drops out of college, gives away his money, travels across America, eventually heading into the Alaskan wilderness

    Apocalypto – whether or not you like Mel Gibson, this is a really well done movie

  5. cowgirl permalink
    9 January 2009 1:09 pm

    you and the Consort need to watch “In Bruges” – it is VERY dark and not good for the girls (AT ALL), but its got great scenery, and while it at times bags on Belgians, it has some good parts. (not all- there were a few time i asked myself what the hell i was doing watching this movie, but on a whole, i am glad i saw it)

  6. 9 January 2009 2:28 pm

    Wait, aren’t the parts where they bag on Belgians some of the good parts?

  7. cowgirl permalink
    9 January 2009 3:24 pm

    actually- some are mr. smarty pants!

  8. Cateling permalink
    9 January 2009 5:29 pm

    I second the recommendations for The Diving Bell and the Butterfly and In Bruges.

    I would also recommend the following movies, although I’m not sure how many your teen daughters would actually appreciate.

    Arranged A Jewish and an Arab woman forge a fast friendship as each comes to terms with her society’s requirement of arranged marriage.
    The Curiosity of Chance The Rob Reiner genre 20 years on. Title character Chance explores his desire to become a drag queen.
    Happy, Tx 2 escaped cons are mistaken for (gay) little-girl beauty/talent pagent coordinators. William H Macy is the (gay) town sherrif. Hilarity ensues.
    Hot Fuzz A hilarious British send-up of the buddy copy genre. Over-the-top gratuitous violence at the end.
    Mamma Mia I read a review that called it “cotton candy with edible glitter.” So true.
    Romancing the Stone Kathleen Turner and Kirk Russell in a South American jungle. Tons of fun.
    Stranger Than Fiction Will Farrell hears Emma Thompson’s narration in his head and realizes he is a character in her novel, and she is trying to figure out how to finish him off. Great performances from both.

  9. 9 January 2009 11:04 pm

    I’m see some titles here that I’ll check out while I wait impatiently for In Bruges to be released. Meanwhile some of the films I enjoyed this year: The Bank Job, Tell No One, Man On A Wire, Happy-Go-Lucky, The Visitor, A Christmas Tale, Slumdog Millionaire, Jab We Met, Hop, Appaloosa, The Edge of Heaven, The Counterfeiters, Milk…

  10. Peaceable Imperatrix permalink*
    11 January 2009 9:04 am

    All right! Thank you for all the wonderful suggestions. Now we can begin 2009 with a great list of movies.

  11. Three of Four permalink
    12 January 2009 11:42 am

    Yay, Cateling! I’m so glad someone else liked Hot Fuzz. Spouse claims he can never look at me the same way again, after having endured the film in agony while I laughed my head off.
    I’ll have to check out some of your other recommendations. I remember hearing a little bit about Stranger than Fiction just before it came out, but not much after. Was it very good?

  12. Peaceable Imperatrix permalink*
    12 January 2009 2:21 pm

    We loved Hot Fuzz. Have you two seen Sean of the Dead? Same actors, same British humor — just great! You really ought to watch it.

    The girls and I watched Stranger than Fiction the year before. It sure was entertaining — although some of the narrator part of the story was a bit strained. But Will Farrell does a great job (I didn’t really like him before this).

  13. 14 January 2009 6:18 am

    There have always been religious fanatics in England!

    Remind me to blog about the couple who came to the door the other day, asking me if I thought there would ever be an end to violence and war. I said no, and then they said if I accepted Jesus into my heart things would change. I wanted to tell them to go tell that to the Israelis. Instead I told them I was making scones and had to go.

    Good movie suggestion: Dear Frankie. About a boy who writes letters to a non-existent father, who writes back.

  14. Cateling permalink
    20 March 2009 8:31 pm

    Imperatrix, my new movie recommendation is Wool 100%, which is a quirky, highly visual movie about a pair of elderly Japanese sisters who rescue all manner of odd objects from the town’s trash bins. One day they inadvertently invite home an unusual houseguest, and that’s when things started to turn really weird for me.

    As the movie progressed and more of the sisters’ story was revealed it started making more sense again, and there is an animated bit in the middle which I found very effective.

    This is not a movie to have on while you are doing something else (such as knitting). There is very little dialogue and quite a bit goes on with no narrative at all, so if you’re not paying full attention to the screen you’re going to miss a lot. I had to put down my knitting and restart the movie after about 20 minutes.

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