Best Film of 2008?
Because its all about ME, this is actually the best film that I saw in a movie theater in 2008. The problem with this is, I really made some bad choices this year in the few films that I actually went out to see. I don’t go to the movies as much as I used to partially because its expensive, but mostly because I’m lazy. It has to be an extravaganza or some sort of “event” or something that I believe will be worth schlepping into a large room full of strangers that will bring me out to the movies and that, my friends (ah, I just had a little McCain flash back – shudder), is a recipe for some bad movie choices. Of the films I did see this year, there was actually a lot of high to mid-level mediocrity.
Ironman – For its genre, it was a pretty good movie. I think this was due mostly to Robert Downey, Jr.’s charisma and acting abilities. There was just much too much smashing things around and explosions for my tastes. The movie appealed to me because of its sense of humor and the “look” of the costumes, sets, lighting, etc. I put it on par with the first Spiderman movie.
Indiana Jones and the whatever it was he was looking for this time – I liked the movie for what it was – a throwback, a nice way to while a way an afternoon with old friends but best film of the year, good god, no.
X-files– Urgh. A disappointment, just a bad script in my opinion. I like the fact that it was a stand-alone and not a myth arc movie but it was just a mediocre script. There were much better written episodes to the series itself. (And yet, if they make another X-files movie, I will most likely be in line with my money in my hand hoping this time they get it right – I don’t learn).
Sex and the City– Feh, most certainly not even close to the best film of the year. Not a terrible movie, but not a good one either.
Bottle Shock –I SO wanted to love this movie and I was SO disappointed. Alan Rickman was my reason for seeing the film and he was, as usual, wonderful. But the plot, the cinematography, the editing, the pacing of this film reminded me of a TV movie of the week from the 70’s – I half expected them to show the ABC logo and go to commercial at some point.
Which leaves me with three contenders (I told you I don’t see a lot of first-run movies):
Appaloosa, Kung Fu Panda and Wall-e – now mind you I see movies with my young nephew so I see a good amount of children’s movies. Oh, who am I kidding, I go see children’s movies even when I don’t have a child to drag to the movie theaters. My earliest childhood ambition was to be an animator for Disney (and a U.N. translater).
Appaloosa – This was a good film. Sturdy, well written, well acted, well filmed. I might have trimmed it down just a tad if I was the director/editor but other than that I enjoyed the film – the themes and characters came across as fresh and faceted, i.e., not just a one-dimensional western. But I don’t know if it rises to best of 2008 level.
Wall-e – This was thoroughly enjoyable, an extremely well made film. The animation was excellent. The design of the characters, the backgrounds – fantastic. The story was aimed really at older kids and adults but there was enough to keep the little ones entertained. BUT I found this movie rather long in parts – something happens to animators and to all artists really, they fall in love with their own work and lose sight of the big picture. There were several places were an editor needed to come in and cut back on the scenes that were there simply to say “look what I can do” – they didn’t add to the story and while beautiful, made the film drag a bit in my opinion. This occurred in the second half of the film, when we go out into space. But again, this is a minor criticism.
Kung Fu Panda– Okay, maybe its because I went in with such low expectations – I was mainly there because my nephew wanted to see this one – but I was truly entertained by this film. As an animated piece it was beautiful. It conveyed location via references to Chinese art style while keeping it Western enough for its audience. The characters were well fleshed out. The design, look and story moved fast enough to keep all age ranges entertained and while there was a lot of predictablity in the script, there was enough happening visually to make up for it. I am not a big Jack Black fan but I think he has found his niche – he makes an excellent animated character.
So, I guess what I’m saying is that if there was a best film of 2008, I certainly didn’t see it. I’m going to resolve with the incoming year to go to the movies more often and see a wider variety of films – in the theater.
I see movies at home on DVD and perhaps, I’ll post the best movie on DVD I saw this year next time I post and maybe art pieces and books. Bet you can’t wait! (I know at this point, after 900 some odd words, I’m typing this for myself – I don’t think anyone actually reads all the way down to the dregs).