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January 9, 2009

Top 5 Underrated Movies of 2008

[img id="77130" align="alignleft"] 1. Let the Right One In

No one has heard about this beautiful little Swedish vampire film, and it’s a crying shame. The love story of a lonely little boy and a crazy little vampire is tragic and superbly done. With just the right amount of romance, snow, and decapitation of bullies, you’ll leave the theater understanding why you should avoid spooky little Swedish girls—and why you might fall in love with one.

2. Bolt

Yes, this movie has been given rave reviews and made more than $100 million in the box office so far, but I think my peers have rolled their eyes at me for seeing it one too many times. The story is nothing new, but the animation is so exciting. The plot is simple: A dog, a cat, and a gerbil tromp around the country in search of the dog’s beloved owner. The sweet (but not sickly) character of the dog is endearing and the gerbil is unreasonably funny, but ultimately, the scenes are shot so well I’m starting to wonder why we use anything but CGI anymore.

3. Bigger Stronger Faster*

This documentary explores not only the steroid culture in the United States, but goes further, implying that the American ideal of “bigger is better” encourages steroid use, poisoning American sportsmanship. I’ll be truthful here and admit I haven’t seen it (and neither have you!), but we should. Claiming to be an unbiased look at the steroid controversy, the film follows three brothers struggling with being the biggest, the strongest, and the fastest. To attempt to explore such a broad theme in a documentary is a difficult but admirable task, and by all accounts, Bigger Stronger Faster* succeeds.

4. Wanted

It was silly and it broke the laws of physics a couple of times (bending bullets?) but it was certainly exciting. James McAvoy plays an office drone turned professional assassin who is on a kill-or-be-killed kick for most of the movie, setting the scene for an incredible amount of blood and some excellent special effects. The car chases and the bullet chasing and the very slick Angelina Jolie made for pure, unadulterated summer thriller fun, and nobody should be ashamed of it.

5. Twilight

I know. Any self-respecting human, let alone some one interested in the maintenance of high culture, should never be seen enjoying tweenie’s first romance novel in movie form. Trust me, I was dragged kicking and screaming to a showing. But my initial reluctance to see it was matched by my ultimate enjoyment of this eerily romantic teenage vampire schlock. Just as Domino’s Pizza can’t really be considered pizza, so Twilight can’t really be considered film—but boy is it delicious when you’re in the mood. Robert Pattinson is embarrassingly good looking, and his female prize (Kristen Stewart) is bland enough that you can put yourself in her place if you so desire. So drop the pretension and see what’s making 12-year-old girls tear out their hair.