December 31, 2008

Brilliance, blockbusters, bombs, oh my.

284 movies were released to theaters in the US this year. I saw 34 (23 in the theater, and 11 subsequently on planes/DVD). 12% - not very impressive, but it'll do, especially since over the next week I hope to see: Milk, Frost/Nixon, The Wrestler, Revolutionary Road and Benjamin Button. That will bring me to a hefty 17%. Nice. Some commentary on those I saw, those I missed and everything in between:

Movies I am shocked that I haven’t seen:
  • 'Mad Money' – Let’s be honest. A movie about girl bonding starring Diane Keaton and Queen Latifah. I have no idea how I didn’t see this.
  • 'American Teen' – A real world 'Breakfast Club'? Hello.
  • 'Young@Heart' – If the film is anything like its heartwarming preview, I think I’ll be in love:
Movies I forgot even came out this year:
  • 'Rambo' – Not to be confused with ‘Son of Rambow,’ which I clearly saw. This is how I learned that Chuck Bass is actually British. Fantastic.
  • 'Deception' – Remember this one, starring Ewan McGregor, Michelle Williams and Hugh Jackman? Yeah, me either.
  • 'How to Lose Friends and Alienate People' – This came out?
Please go away:
  • The Scary Movie franchise that brought us 'Meet the Spartans,' 'Extreme Movie,' 'Disaster Movie,' and 'Superhero Movie' all this year. I can’t decide which undying franchise is worse – this, or 'Saw' (which, for those of you keeping track at home hit Installment #5 this year).
  • Paris Hilton: Somehow starred in 2 movies this year (And, I owe an apology to Christine Lahti, because for a moment, I was supremely aghast thinking she had co-starred with our resident ridiculous heiress in ‘The Hottie and the Nottie’, but thank heavens it was someone named Christine Lakin instead.), and I also kind of blame her for 'Beverly Hills Chihuahua.' Remember how, post-jail, she was going to be a better person, and like contribute to the world and stuff? Yeah, I wonder how that’s going.
  • Jason Statham-if-all-you’re-going-to-do-is-the-same-movie-over-and-over-again: 'The Bank Job', 'Death Race' and 'Transporter 3', all in the same year? Look, I get it. You’re strapping and British. You had me at hello. Do something else please.
  • Clint Eastwood (And I mean this with the utmost respect for your long and storied career): Besides the fact that I am completely over you and the only film of yours I’ve liked in the last 5 years is 'Letters from Iwo Jima,' you are 78 years old. You do not need to release 2 movies within 2 months of one another.
Hey, what haaappened?
  • Jonathan Schaech: You had such a promising mid-90s career. Then somehow Christina Applegate became relevant again, you two divorced and now you’re starring in 'Prom Night'? (Starring might be a little generous of a term, given I saw the preview a couple million times and had no idea you were in it until 2 minutes ago.).
  • The Day the Earth Stood Still is not the same as Journey to the Center of the Earth. Right. One stars a former heartthrob famous for action movies. The other…oh wait. At least TDTESS (Try to keep up) featured both Jon Hamm ('Mad Men') and Kyle Chandler ('Friday Night Lights'!).
  • Did anyone else get ‘Wanted’ confused with ‘Eagle Eye’? This is especially funny since one stars Angelina Jolie, and the other, Billy Bob Thornton.
  • The I-Guess-I-Actually-Like-You award goes to Mila Kunis, mostly for her role in ‘Forgetting Sarah Marshall,’ but she was also in ‘Max Payne,’ which I actually would have seen.

In addition to Leelee Sobieski, Helen Hunt, Elisabeth Shue and Bill Pullman, none of whom I’d seen in a movie since the early 2000s, these former stars made their own attempt at comebacks in 2008:
  • Martin Lawrence: I hadn’t realized until just now that I had combined Martin Lawrence Comeback Film #1, Welcome Home, Roscoe Jennings with Martin Lawrence Comeback Film #2, College Road Trip. Which, judging by their IMDB summaries, isn’t really that much of a stretch:

    In one: A successful talk show host leaves Los Angeles to reunite with his family in the Deep South. In the other: An overachieving high school student decides to travel around the country to choose the perfect college, and her overprotective cop father also decides to accompany her in order to keep her on the straight and narrow.

    Hm, I wonder if hijinks ensue in either of these cases?
  • Joseph Gordon-Levitt: My favorite hyphenated star, especially because I remember this interview you did with Jay Leno back in '3rd Rock from the Sun' days about your parents being reformed hippies who drive BMWs now. (Wow, I had really forgotten about him. Again. He really should have been on my Teen Idol Wish List. I loved him so much more than Heath Ledger in Ten Things I Hate About You.). Anyway. This year you starred in 2 films, 'Stop-Loss' and 'Miracle at St. Anna' – nice work. Maybe next year, you should try to make them not be about war, because in case you haven’t heard, the public tends to stay away from those these days.

  • Shocking Find: Johnny Whitworth starred in a movie this year! Oh, AJ, ye of gluing-quarters-to-the-floor-and-being-in-love-with-Liv-Tyler.
It pains me to remember that I saw:
  • 'Fools Gold'. In my defense, I was on a plane. As bad as the preview was, the actual movie was worse. The fact this movie was #1 at the box office makes me fear for the sanity of our country.
  • I also really could have lived without ‘House Bunny’ (it says something when not even snuck-in booze can help), 'Indiana Jones' (SPOILER ALERT. Really? Aliens? Has Stephen Spielberg turned into M. Night Shymalan?), '21' and 'Speed Racer' (Thankfully, those were home/plane viewings, which are somehow less painful).
And finally, just like Dwyane Wade, here are my fave five for the year 2008:
  1. Rachel Getting Married
  2. The Visitor
  3. Be Kind, Rewind (Why can I not find a positive enough review of this movie?)
  4. WALL-E
  5. Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist/Pineapple Express (These are throw-ins of movies I genuinely enjoyed, which won't top any Top 10 list anywhere. But they definitely had the best trailers of the year.)

More on this year in review in the new one. Have a safe one y’all.


Trevor said...

I think you meant to mix Forgetting Sarah Marshall in to No. 5 also