I was going to do a quick best of 2008, with 3 favorites from each category (movies, DVD, TV, music, comics), but once I got the wheels turning, I went with my muse, and took things a bit further.
So, I'll just post what I feel are the works I must mention from each category, however many that may be. Starting with the movies of '08.
There are some I'd love to include, like the amazing Into the Wild which hit DVD this year, but came out in late '07, or possibly, big films that hit late in '08, like David Fincher's Benjamin Button, and Mickey Rourke in Aronofsky's The Wrestler, but I most likely won't see those til they hit video, but ya know, this is the stuff that I've seen, that qualifies, working my way up to my favorite and starting with...
Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, and Ralph Fiennes are perfectly cast in this engaging, hilarious, smartly written, and verbally assaulting tale from inside the world of hit men, that could only happen in Bruges.
I’d really love to rate Wall-e higher. The animation and heartfelt story of the first act is pure poetry. However, as much as the rest of the tale is enjoyable, and pulls on the heartstrings, it’s not on par with the opening, and it’s also all been seen and done in Mike Judge’s Idiocracy.
Forgetting Sarah Marshall
For it’s unapologetic, ballsy humor, that hit’s the mark, and had it’s way with me the whole way through. Plus it introduced Russell Brand, and had great turns from Mila Kunis and a host of cameos.
I’d love to rate Iron Man higher, because it was so solid, the production, the cast, the story, the heart, and most of all Robert Downey Jr., who truly makes the movie, but it wasn’t without it’s flaws, mainly being a bit light on action, and sorely lacking a powerful climax (unless you count Downey/Stark’s closing “I am Iron Man” zinger, or Sam Jackson’s epilogue cameo).
THE TOP 3
Quantum of Solace
I stand alone here I think, including the latest Bond movie on my tops of ‘08 list, but damn if I wasn’t on the edge of my seat throughout, from opening to closing frames, loving every last minute of it. Daniel Craig is perfect, the production is flawless, and the overarching story continuation from the previous Casino Royale outing was rich and fulfilling.
Yes, another one that is mostly ignored (or forgotten that it came out in ’08), and even more so, unloved, but to me, Cloverfield was the height of movie-going, because just as with Quantum of Solace, it was a thrill ride that dropped me square in the middle of larger-than-life action, executed to perfection. I love this movie, just love it.
No surprise here, except perhaps to me. You see, I thought Batman Begins was wildly uneven, and that Nolan destroyed everything he built with the gritty real-world origin of the first half. In Dark Knight however, he succeeds; we’re treated to the largest screen telling of a wholly believable city under criminal siege, with a powerhouse performance, story, and hero… none of them pulling any punches. The cast, production, effects, and score all heighten the showcase performance from Heath Ledger, and together create a truly epic motion picture. Dark Knight succeeds on every level.
2008 was a truly great year for movies, especially for genre lovers like us, an embarrassment of riches, with many anticipated comic book adaptations; Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Wanted, The Dark Knight, Hellboy 2, The Spirit, and genre standouts; old man Indy, the Pixar robot/sci-fi Wall-E, the Will Smith original superhero flick Hancock, the CG cartoon Star Wars The Clone Wars, the Daniel Craig Bond sequel Quantum of Solace, and the mysterious and much hyped Cloverfield, and overall, it was a success, with many solid, very well made films, and only a couple stinkers...
2009 is shaping up to be another very exciting year in genre movies, with Zack Snyder's highly anticipated Watchmen adaptation in March, JJ Abrams' Star Trek reboot in May (that looks cool as hell), and a new Wolverine feature, Harry Potter sequel, a new McG Terminator model, and a Tarantino (Inglorious Basterds) release this summer, to name a few!!
So, come back soon for more best of's from '08, where I talk DVD's, TV, music, and comics, and hopefully shed light on things that aren't as universally known and talked about.