In my opinion 2008 was a hit and miss year for the movies – between a writer’s strike, a pending actors strike, constantly shifting release dates & an industry obsessed with “going green” there was a lot of variety in the cinema but not all of it made a good impact. On top of that the Oscar nominees for the major awards are kind of lack luster this year; all in all I am more excited about the acting categories than I am about any other academy nominations. However, there were some great films, performances and stories that came out in 2008 and they deserve to be recognized, even if it’s just by me.
Iron Man: A few weeks ago I teased about the movie that surprised me most in 2008, and to those that follow the director is in it will come as no surprise that Iron Man is that film. From the opening this movie grabs you and won’t let go all the way to the closing credits; Jon Favreau deserves some recognition for creating a phenomenal movie & coming into his own as a director, and Robert Downey Jr. definitely deserves some recognition for bringing emotional depth and range to a womanizing playboy.
In Bruges: I have to say that for a movie I thought was going to be a sarcastic little comedy I was blown away; the film is a dark comedy but more than anything it’s a tale of sin & redemption. Colin Farrell needs awards & accolades for his performance.
The Dark Knight: Everyone knows why this movie has been praised & it should have gotten a best picture nomination. Heath deserves all the glory he’s getting & Christopher Nolan was snubbed by the Academy and should have gotten the DGA award.
Tropic Thunder: I can’t stop laughing every time I watch this movie. It is phenomenal, the actors, directing and writing are phenomenal. I think this movie is an instant classic and a breath of fresh air to the genre.
Rachel Getting Married: It makes me sad to think that Anne Hathaway will probably win none of the major awards for her role in this movie. Not only is the movie brilliant, but it is the kind of a role an actor gets only once or twice in a career and Hathaway hit it out of the park.
Valkyrie: I expected this movie to be terrible…but I think that it was one of the best movies of last year. Bryan Singer and Christopher McQuarrie made a film that made a select group of Nazi’s sympathetic – go figure.
Gran Torino: If I could have voted on the Oscar nominees this film would have been one of them that I wanted to be on the best picture ballot. It was phenomenal.
The Wrestler: This is another that would have been one of my best pictures. Mickey Rourke needs to get the best actor Oscar.
Australia: Give me crap for this one if you want but I loved it. Baz Luhrmann makes films like no one else and Australia is one of the most unique films that came out last year.
Revolutionary Road: This is a movie I thought was going to sweep awards shows. DiCaprio, Winslet & Mendes created a moving work of art.
Frost/Nixon: I didn’t know watching two men sit & throw barbs at one another could be arresting, but somehow it was. Ron Howard and Frank Langella did the impossible and made Nixon sympathetic.
The Visitor: This is how message movies should be made, the message is part of the story but it isn’t the story. If I didn’t want Mickey Rourke to get the Oscar so badly I would be rooting for Richard Jenkins.