My Best Pictures of 2008 February 18, 2009Posted by Matt in movies.
Tags: Academy Awards, Best Picture, Burn After Reading, In Bruges, Oscars, The Dark Knight, Tropic Thunder, Wall-E
With the awards season officially upon us, I thought that this would probably be a good time to do an obligatory Oscar post. I have not seen any of the movies that have been nominated for Best Picture, so there is really very little I can say about any of them. Trips to the theater have become few and far between for us and DVD watching can only usually occur once the kids are in bed, so I do not partake in much cinema.
But, of the movies released in 2008 that I have had the opportunity to watch, there were a few that stood taller than the rest, so today I will give you my top five Best Pictures of 2008 that I have actually seen.
5. Burn After Reading – The Cohen Brothers have developed a strange pattern in their contributions to the cinematic canon, following up their darker material with strange, off-the-wall comedies (See Fargo and The Big Lebowski). After scoring their first Best Picture Oscar in 2007 with No Country For Old Men, to some it might make sense to again shoot for the stars and try to add another statue to their collection., but the Cohens are a different breed. Instead, they release this strange little comedy with the likes of Brad Pitt, John Malkovich, and Frances McDormand, that is just brilliant and very funny.
4. In Bruges – The under-the-radar gem was released during the cinematic dead zone of January, but it proved to be one of the best films of the year. Starring Brendan Gleeson and Colin Farrell (in perhaps the only role for which I have ever acknowledged his acting ability), this movie tells the story of two hitmen hiding out in Bruges, Belgium, after a job gone wrong. It is really an incredibly good movie and one that I would seriously consider as my favorite of the year.
3. The Dark Knight – What else is there left to say about the biggest blockbuster of the year (and the second biggest of all time)? Christopher Nolan, Christian Bale, and Heath Ledger have put together this year’s greatest thrill ride, one that may be impossible to top.
2. Wall-E – While there are certainly plenty of excellent ones out there, I am not generally a big fan of animated films. Wall-E, though, has proven itself to be one of the few exceptions to this personal rule. Though marketed to children, this is not solely a child’s movie. There are no Barbie-esque princesses randomly breaking into song, nor are there talking animals or magic or fairies. Instead this inventive picture centers on a robot living alone in a trash-strewn dystopia. Despite the lack of dialogue, the film sparkles with an intelligence that is generally absent in a kids’ movie. Oh, and the message about being a good ecological steward doesn’t hurt either.
1. Tropic Thunder – Comedies come and go and, while some may be mildly amusing, there are few that I find to be both intelligent and laugh-out-loud funny. Judd Apatow’s Superbad did it in 2007, but Tropic Thunder may even be better than that vulgar tribute to adolescence. With Ben Stiller (who directed, produced, wrote, and starred in it), Jack Black, an almost unrecognizable Tom Cruise, and an insanely funny Robert Downey Jr. (who, if it weren’t for Heath Ledger, should win Best Supporting Actor), this picture about a film crew inadvertently caught up in a drug war takes my top prize of the year. Seriously, whoever thought up the idea of having Downey Jr. play a white actor playing a totally stereotypical black actor is a genius. This is your movie of the year…at least so far.
What about you? What were your favorite movies of 2008?