The Big Screen Bulletin 01.05.09: The Best and Worst of 2008
THE TOP 10 BEST FILMS OF 2008
2008 was a strange year for movies. While the box office was doing wonderful basically all year long, the quality of the pictures was suffering until December. The Dark Knight and WALL-E were the only films until then that were genuine four-star efforts. Once December hit, all the contenders were unleashed. Last year, the wealth was spread into the whole fall/winter season, so it wasn’t as difficult to see everything. 2008 dumped all the prestige films, all the potential awards candidates, all the dramas in one month, making my life, and that of my fiancée, crazy.
Trips to New Yor City (approximately 40 minutes from me by train) were not nearly as common as they were in December because I had to see certain films before the end of the year, in order to bring this list to you. Only one film from my Mid-Year Top 10 has made it onto my final top 10. Every year I say the same thing, and I hear the same sentence from people. Someone always says that this has been a bad year for films. And my response is immediate: “If you think that, then you have not seen enough movies.” Perhaps they have not opened wide enough to your area yet, but 2008 has given us many films to be proud of.
This year moviegoers saw what could be the peak of the comic book genre, while the amount of remakes continues to rise unfortunately. It was a terrific year for Brangelina, Kate Winslet, Josh Brolin, and of course Robert Downey Jr., just to name a few. However, it was not a good year for Will Smith, Will Ferrell, or Mark Wahlberg. In short, a lot of the regulars continued to perform exceptionally well as usual.
I construct my top lists in a specific way. My goal, whenever possible, is to include films from many genres. Sometimes certain genres contribute all the best movies, and other times one specific genre has no worthy offerings. The point is I pick my favorite films of the year, while also trying to cover each genre. I also factor in how the film is different with a second viewing. I noticed that some critics’ lists include crossovers from 2007 to 2008. If they were released in 2007, they belong on a 2007 top 10 list. If they were submitted for the Oscars in 2007, I cannot justifiably put them on my 2008 list. It is one of those unfortunate circumstances where some foreign films fall through the cracks (i.e. 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days). I have seen approximately 155 films that were released in 2008, 95% of which were in the theater. I saw a lot more documentaries this year than I have ever before. As a rule, they are not looped in with my film list because they are not films, they are documentaries, and should be judged differently. Here are my top 10 best and worst films of 2008.
10. Che – While this 4+ hour epic glimpse at two important periods of Che Guevara’s life is not for everyone, I found it to be honest, gutsy, and riveting with an unbelievable performance from Benicio Del Toro, and unwavering direction from Steven Soderbergh. He leaves no room for any future filmmaker to tackle this man’s life. What he has given us is near perfect. Review
9. Synecdoche, New York – Charlie Kaufman sits in the director’s chair for the first time, and in addition to penning the screenplay, he delivers a messy masterpiece, one that Darren Arnonofsky and David Lynch would envy. Conquering every meaning, theme, and intention with the initial experience is impossible, but its mysterious layers, combined with the spectacular performances from Philip Seymour Hoffman and the rest of the cast, make multiple viewings a definite pleasure. This is one I can’t wait to own. Review
8. Happy-Go-Lucky – Many have labeled Slumdog Millionaire the “feel good movie of the year.” It may be one of them, but this tale of an English woman named Poppy whose goal is to spread happiness to everyone she meets, is hilarious, charming, thought-provoking, and slightly more appropriate for that statement. Vera Drake writer/director Mike Leigh has crafted a comedy jewel that will make the world smile for generations, that is if more people give it a chance. Sally Hawkins is receiving Oscar buzz for a reason. Pulling off this role in a realistic fashion is difficult, but she nails it.
7. Revolutionary Road – Doubt is one of the best acted films of the year, but Revolutionary Road is its competition. The difference is, Sam Mendes’ searing drama about a marriage in the 50’s gets every other area right. The set design, the music, the costumes, and each performance is sensational. The fights between Winslet and DiCaprio prove their Titanic chemistry was not a fluke. This is a great film with a very touching and intelligent ending. Also look for Michael Shannon (Bug) to be Heath Ledger’s prime rival for Best Supporting Actor.
6. Let the Right One In – This year’s best foreign film is a vampire horror story of two children that form a bond. Director Tomas Alfredson has bestowed one of the best vampire tales of all-time, one that already has an American remake on the way. The images from this picture are impossible to shake from your head. It is beautifully made, wonderfully acted, and satisfying in every possible way. Review
5. Frost/Nixon – Ron Howard’s adaptation of the famous stage play is sure to gain a Best Picture nomination, and it deserves it. This is a fascinating political drama with plenty of humor from Sam Rockwell and Oliver Platt, in addition to two powerful lead turns from Frank Langella and Michael Sheen, who should not be snubbed again after The Queen. Howard is such a proficient director, and his consistency makes his efforts very appealing. Review
4. The Wrestler – Review – Yes, I gave this a 9.5, but that was the critic in me. The wrestling fan in me awarded this an easy 10 because I know how much I will be watching this in the future. Darren Arnonofsky has changed the face of pro-wrestling films with this moving portrait of Randy “The Ram” Robinson. Mickey Rourke is the frontrunner for a gold statue, and I sincerely hope he walks away with it. Vince McMahon and WWE have bashed it because their cinematic efforts have tanked, and they wish they had thought of this first. Nothing they say can change how outstanding this film is, and that’s the bottom line.
3. The Dark Knight – Without a doubt this one of the best comic book films of all-time, but Christopher Nolan’s masterwork goes way beyond that. This is a spotless offering in every way. Does it deserve a Best Picture nomination? Absolutely, but I do feel a few more films are slightly better. It has smashed box office records, DVD records, and Blu-Ray records, and it is rare that such a popular film is also THIS good, but The Dark Knight is a classic. Review
2. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button – David Fincher has outdone himself once again. His adaptation of the F. Scott Fitzgerald short story is a stunning masterpiece with exemplary work from the entire crew. No, this has not won over everyone, but if they missed some of the glorious qualities of this picture, that is a shame. Brad Pitt is amazing in the title role, and he is backed up by Cate Blanchett, Tilda Swinton, and Taraji P. Henson with memorable supporting roles. Eric Roth, the man who also wrote Forrest Gump, has presented a similar, but equally as mesmerizing story of a unique individual. This is more of a romance, and has distinct aspects to offer that Gump did not. It is the most obvious candidate for this year’s Best Picture victor, and in decades to come, people will still be talking about this. Hopefully, Fincher gets what is coming to him finally.
1. WALL-E – One of the finest, most breathtaking, and most stirring animated films of all-time, and its magic was impossible to move from the top-spot. Pixar is on a streak right now that has no signs of stopping, and this could very well be their crown jewel. And not only is it one of the best animated films, but also one of the best science-fiction films in years, as well as being a picture with an important message on consumerism. Depending on what site you use, this is easily in the top 3 of the most critically acclaimed films of the year. The Dark Knight was great, so was Benjamin Button, but WALL-E is untouchable, and for that reason, it is the best film of 2008. Review
THE TOP 10 WORST FILMS OF 2008
For the top 10 worst, I would like to add that I have not seen all the weaker films this year has bestowed upon us, but I have seen most of them. This list is only comprised of films that were in theaters at one point in time. I always have to laugh at mainstream critics’ worst lists because they always have films included that do not deserve it. When certain films are not screened for critics, they don’t bother seeing them, and then forget they existed at the end of the year. Here is a note to all of them: If it was in theaters at any time, it counts. Many lists have similar films: Seven Pounds, Twilight, and Speed Racer. When I see films like these on people’s lists, I wonder how they would react if they saw a genuinely bad film. Because not one of those is as bad as what some would lead you to believe. Each of them has issues, but should not be mentioned along with movies you’ll see below.
Regarding Seven Pounds, yes it was manipulative, but take a look at 88 Minutes, and then compare the level of manipulativeness to that. The film is weak, but does possess some strong emotional sequences. The reception to Twilight still baffles me. I admitted on the podcast that it gets worse the more you think about it. I gave it a 6.5, and I stand by that. Now, I haven’t read the books, but I am familiar with them. I ask anyone who has seen it and hated it: What were you expecting!? The book was a thinly plotted romance about teenagers (one of whom is a vampire). The movie was a thinly plotted romance about teenagers (one of whom is a vampire). Of course it will resemble some of the sludge on the CW. What could people have expected? Gritty horror? An epic romance similar to Romeo & Juliet? While the movie was not an exact replica of the books (it doesn’t have to be, that’s Hollywood), they did reflect the spirit of the books, and since they are lame, so is the movie…end of argument. Speed Racer is one of the most misunderstood films of the year, if not the decade. It is a children’s movie, but also a live-action anime, and the Wachowskis made a film that accomplished both. Was it perfect? Hell no, but it was better than anyone will give it credit for. Anyway, without further ado, here are the worst of 2008:
10. Mad Money – Honestly, how good could a heist film with Katie Holmes, Queen Latifah, and Diane Keaton really be? Keaton has embarrassed herself once again, and I thought she would spring back after Because I Said So. This is indeed a predictable, insipid, and nonsensical film with poor performances, bizarre direction, and shoddy writing. With a tagline like, “They’re having the crime of their lives…”, do I really need to elaborate on why this is terrible? I thought not. If you don’t believe me, I have outlined detailed reason in my review.
9. Untraceable – I’ll give credit to whoever constructed the trailer for Untraceable. They took the material, and shaped it into something that appeared intriguing and interesting. Unfortunately, the actual film is a completely deplorable piece of cinema. It tries to preach about the people who watch shock videos, yet it never hesitates to echo the Saw series around every corner. Diane Lane and Colin Hanks will hopefully brush this little mishap under the rug and forget about it. By all accounts, Untraceable seems like a perfectly acceptable thriller. However, it is an absolute atrocity. I have no patience, nor kind words to offer it. 88 Minutes is a breeze compared to this crap. Review
8. The Love Guru – Mike Myers returns to live-action with this putrid excuse for a comedy. His main character could be interesting, but the piles of crass and cliché jokes are too aggravating. The film is filled with bits that could have been funny and a plot that was begging to be overhauled. This is the first of many disappointing comedies that qwell-known stars have delivered this year. Myers should think long and hard before he appears in a live-action anything again. The more I think about this, the more my brain screams in agony.
7. The Hottie and the Nottie – Well, the users on IMDB certainly hate this with a passion, and I did too, but I was not as angry watching this sickening romantic comedy as I was with others on the list. Joel Moore is a Tom Green wannabe, not a good wannabe to be, Christine Lakin from Step by Step comes out of nowhere to sport the sloppiest make-up job of the year, and Paris Hilton helped pay for this as Executive Producer, so this is a vanity affair for her. The plot is reminiscent of a bad sitcom, and the acting is just beyond horrible. Those elements, and the writing, give me nightmares.
6. Meet the Spartans – I have not seen Disaster Movie, but if it is worse than this pile of garbage, I am curious. This is not so much a movie as it is a string of obligatory pop-culture references, spitting, farting, puking, and I could go on. Enduring this entire film, and it is only like 70 minutes long minus the credits, is an accomplishment equivalent to surviving a great war. Watching this will cause you to be apprehensive prior to popping in 300. You know you are doomed when 5 minutes in, you have already seen a baby Shrek vomit, and a baby Leonidas with a beard and ripped abs. Yeah.
5. The Life Before Her Eyes – This should have all those who praised the depressing House of Sand and Fog questioning their judgment on Director Vadim Perelman. The director has thrown as many sad scenes as possible into this lazy and poorly written story. The camera work is stunning, but it is meaningless to the tale. The performances are heartfelt, but over the top in a major way. The deceitful ending just makes me angry, and you wouldn’t like me when I’m angry. The Hottie and the Nottie was tolerable compared to this, which commits the biggest crime of wasting my time.
4. You Don’t Mess with the Zohan – What was Adam Sandler thinking? How could the man who gave us ageless comedies like Billy Madison and Happy Gilmore have been responsible for this excrement? Sandler has hit rock bottom, at least in terms of the quality of his comedies. This is one of the dumbest, most ridiculous piece of junk I have seen all year long. It should be called “Cameofest 2008” instead. The excessive CGI is annoying, the humor is abominable, and the plot will cure insomnia. Another dud for Director Dennis Dugan.
3. Surfer, Dude – Many of you might wonder, what in the blue hell is this? This was indeed in theaters, but I caught it on DVD just recently because something told me I was in store for a treat. Matthew McConaughey has demonstrated just how self-absorbed he truly is with this character, Steve Addington, who walks around in only a bathing suit. It gives him an excuse to flaunt his abs all damn day. This plot has McConaughey surfing, has people watching him surf, and has himself watching himself surf. “Bro” and “Dude” are the primary lines spoken. Not only is this boring, but watching snails crawl seems like a demolition derby by comparison. Willie Nelson is a goat farmer, and the plot revolves around an evil reality TV producer. Reality TV + Surfing = Bad.
2. Never Back Down – The fact that this film does not call itself a remake is insulting to all the better movies which came before it. This is a deplorable, lazy, dull, and agonizing film. The acting was utterly terrible, the direction from Jeff Wadlow was overlong and shitty, and the writing was borderline preschoolish. Djimon Hounsou should be ashamed of himself for participating in such sludge. He is such a fabulous actor, but he must have been drunk when accepting this. I hated this film so much it was given my lowest rating….Trashable, because that is where every copy belongs.
1. College – Every year one film comes along that presents itself as impossible to top in terms of genuine awfulness. College is that film, and I hated every single revolting second of it. The poster was a faceless kid with his head in a toilet. It shows just how much the crew thought of their film. The DVD cover to your right is no better. Who cares about putting forth any effort right? I saw this because another film was sold out at the time. I figured, well, we might as well see College. Sometimes I can be very wrong. Check out my review!
Dishonorable Mentions – Prom Night, Postal, Shutter, The Eye, 88 Minutes
Most Overrated Films of the Year
The Bank Job – Review
The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian
Most Underrated Films of the Year
Most Disappointing Films of the Year
Miracle at St. Anna
The Coolest Ending Award Goes To…
Redbelt – Review
You Should Watch This At Parties
This One is For All The Weirdos Out There
For the Gentlemen
Rambo – Review
For the Ladies
Vicky Cristina Barcelona
The Best Documentary of the Year
Man on Wire
Don’t Forget About This Either!
This Is A Fabulous Movie To Rent
The Visitor – Review
The Best Family Film Of The Year
City of Ember
Take 2 Superb Comic Book Movies
Hellboy II: The Golden Army
Here are 2 Good Drug Movies
The Wackness – Review
For Those Who Like to be Depressed
2008 STRAIGHT TO VIDEO NIGHTMARES
Turok: Son of Stone
I Could Never be Your Woman
Justice League: The New frontier
Bachelor Party 2: The Last Temptation
The Last Hour
Three Days to Vegas
Senior Skip Day
The Onion Movie
Futurama: The Beast with a Billion backs
Get Smart’s Bruce and Lloyd Out of Control
Batman: Gotham Knight
Lost Boys: The Tribe
The Wizard of Gore
The Scorpion King 2: Rise of a Warrior
Tortoise vs. Hare
Futurama: Bender’s Game
Day of the Dead
A Threevening with Kevin Smith
Resident Evil: Degeneration
Best Direct-to-DVD Release of the Year: Batman: Gotham Knight – Six different directors collaborate to craft six different stories in the first hyperlink cartoon film I’ve seen. The more I think about this, the more I appreciate it for its ambitiousness. The storylines apparently took place after Batman Begins and before The Dark Knight. That could not have been an easy task, but DC pulls it off. 2008 was a good year for DTV animated films. The quality of this definitely stands out from the list above though.
THE TOP 10 ALBUMS OF 2008
My goal was to listen to more music this year, and expand my horizons a bit more. I always strive for that, but in 2008 I actually feel as if I did so. I was introduced to many newer and older groups that had since passed under my radar. I compile my best album lists in a similar way that I do my best films lists. I try to integrate different genres if possible. Since I listen to just about everything this usually isn’t a problem. I noticed that Rolling Stone and other lists have included Bob Dylan’s Tell Tale Signs, The Bootleg Series: Vol. 8. Of course it’s Dylan, so it’s superb no matter what, but it is a compilation of rarities, so including it is a slippery slope if you ask me. Because if that is on a top 10 then what about greatest hits? They are compilations too, so where are the limits? It is perfectly acceptable to incorporate them, but choose not to. The compilation CD below contains various songs from 2008 that I liked, but the albums were not quite good enough for the top 10. I got the idea from Stephen King a few years back, so I kept doing it.
10. Drive By Truckers – Brighter Than Creation’s Dark – I had not heard a lot of the material from these Alabama natives, but their Southern rock sound is dark and unforgettable on this album, which is terrific from start to finish. This is a long album, but not a dull one by any means. It tells a story, and listening to that unfold, in addition to the great tracks, makes this a CD worth checking out.
9. Santogold – Santogold – This is one I picked up after it received so much positive buzz. After listening to the album, I can conclude that she is this year’s M.I.A., but that’s ok because she possess her own identity, the songs are addicting, and will undoubtedly find their way to more players in the future. Her voice is incredibly distinctive, but meshes with the lyrics and beats wonderfully. Some tracks have more of a pop vibe, while others are lean toward hip-hop and soft. This is just a fantastic CD.
8. Ryan Adams & The Cardinals – Cardinology – To be honest, I was never a huge fan of Ryan Adams, or anything he released, until I heard this album, which is easily one of his finest. Instead of experimenting with strange sounds and jumping all over the place, these tracks are different, yet blend together magnificently. Every track clicks in place and the album sounds better as a result.
7. Coldplay – Viva La Vida/Prospekt’s March – This may be a slight cheat, but both efforts are being released as one unit now. Coldplay is one of my favorite bands in general now because I can listen to their albums at any time and they do not get old. The songwriting, the vocals, and the themes are just terrific. This is not their best material to date, but it is another lasting set of tracks that continue a strong line of albums since they debuted. Prospekt’s March is solid, though not as memorable as Viva La Vida, but it adds more flavor, and that is a good thing.
6. B.B. King – One Kind Flavor – I didn’t think B.B. had it in him, but this is a classic very late in his career. This shows that superlative blues music is still available, and King is the master. This album had such a smooth flow from beginning to end, and the tracks are all impressive. I’m not sure how much new material he last left to give, but if this was the last; it would be a great way to bow out. But knowing him; he is probably already working on a new album.
5. TV on the Radio – Dear Science – Their last album, Return to Cookie Mountain, took a couple listens for me to start enjoying it. Dear Science was easier to get accustomed to. This is being praised as one of the best albums of the year in many circles because it has earned those accolades. The group is versatile and passionate on each track, and what makes their stuff great is that you want to keep listening to it because it keeps getting better.
4. Flogging Molly – Float – I was introduced to Flogging Molly back when they released Swagger, and all these years later, the group is still pumping out songs with the utmost energy, heart, and spontaneity. Within a Mile of Home was hard to beat, but Float does the trick as one of the most coherent and unfailing albums of 2008.
3. The Magnetic Fields – Distortion – This is one of the few albums I had the pleasure of reviewing over on the music zone. Check out the article here. – This was the first album I had heard from Stephen Merritt and his band, but I was hooked from the first track. I have been buying and listening to older albums since the beginning of the year when I heard Distortion. Many months have passed, but this still stands out as memorable, poignant, and marvelous.
2. Vampire Weekend – Vampire Weekend – Surprisingly, I must credit Saturday Night Live to my introduction to this band. I saw both performances, enjoyed them favorably, and moved on, but my fiancée bought the album, and played it incessantly over the year, and my interest increased each time. This group’s sophomore effort will be highly anticipated. I only hope they can land another set as good as this.
1. Metallica – Death Magnetic – Ok, so I proposed to my girlfriend Stephanie the day this was released, and I will forever remember this album because of that. Regardless, Metallica returned to their roots in ways I never thought possible here, and from the moment the album started, I was more pumped and excited than I have been for a CD in a very long time. I love this album, and now all the wrongs committed by St. Anger can be forgiven. This is a masterpiece ranking along side Master of Puppets and Ride the Lightning with their best material. It accentuates all the band’s strengths, and that is why it is the best album of the year.
Honorable Mention – Joe Satriani: Professor Satchfunkilus and the Musterion of Rock and Guns ‘n Roses: Chinese Democracy
The Bulletin Compilation CD
1. Weezer – “The Greatest Man Who Ever Lived”
2. ACDC – “Rock ‘n Roll Train”
3. Counting Crows – “You Can’t Count on Me”
4. The Raveonettes – “Sad Transmission”
5. George Strait – “Troubadour”
6. The Raconteurs – “Consolers of the Lonely”
7. R.E.M. – “Until the Day is Done”
8. Everlast – “Letters Home from the Garden of Stone”
9. Mariah Carey – “Touch My Body”
10. Scott Weiland – “Missing Cleveland”
11. New Found Glory – “Tip of the Iceberg”
12. Nas – “Hero”
13. Staind – “This Is It”
14. Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks – “Real Emotional Trash”
15. Def Leppard – “Nine Lives”
16. Dragonforce – “Strike of the Ninja”
17. One Day as a Lion – “Wild International”
18. The Mars Volta – “Wax Simulacra”
19. Motley Crue – “The Animal in Me”
20. International Superheroes of Hardcore – “ISHC Theme Song”
THE BEST AND WORST POSTERS OF 2008
Anyone who has met me knows that I love everything about the movie experience. The trailers are a part of that, as well as the posters hanging around a city or inside a theater. Strolling through the crowded lobby getting a peek at a future film you have been waiting for is an irreplaceable feeling. Furthermore, I love hanging posters in frames around my house. The thing is, some of my favorite movies have some of the worst posters, and vice versa. Every year, I like to salute the highs and lows of movie artwork. Keep in mind, the rating of the film itself means nothing.
Honorable Mention – TERMINATOR: SALVATION
As a teaser poster, I am shocked at how inventive the design truly is. I still am quite skeptical at how McG will handle this fourth installment, but this is an awesome poster in every way imaginable. I hope this is a sign of things to come, but I doubt it.
#5 – FUNNY GAMES –
Although I have mixed feelings on this shot-for-shot remake from Writer/Director Michael Haneke, this is a very striking image of Naomi Watts with a tear falling from her face, which is full of terror. It perfectly sums of the tone of the film, and what viewers will eventually witness.
#4 – HAROLD AND KUMAR ESCAPE FROM GUANTANAMO BAY
I extremely disliked this sequel, and it was lucky not to appear on my top 10 worst list, but after seeing the first film, and then spotting this genius poster, I was amped to see the follow-up at one point. What a terrific image and slogan for a poster. We should all ask ourselves: What Would NPH Do?
#3 – MAN ON WIRE –
A picture is worth a thousand words is how the old saying goes, and that suits this poster of Philippe Petit, walking across the two World Trade Center towers. Like the documentary, it is a beautiful, poetic, and hypnotizing image.
#2 – THE WACKNESS – Review
I just think this is a creative design for a poster, and the cassette tape summarizes how crucial the music is to the film, the fact that the main character uses tapes a lot, and that mix tapes were prevalent in the 90’s. If this were on your wall, everyone would stop and look at it for a few minutes.
#1 – THE DARK KNIGHT – Review
This is just one of the numerous masterful posters The Dark Knight released. All of them were terrific, and any of them would look great on your wall. Really, no other film comes close in terms of memorable artwork.
Dishonorable Mention – WHAT HAPPENS IN VEGAS
Does any poster detest you more than looking at these two pretentious snobs smiling and pointing at each other? I had zero interest in seeing this, and the poster, combined with the trailer, made it ten times worse.
#5 – THE SPIRIT
My skepticism began with this poster. It struck me as a blatant rip-off of Sin City, not to mention the fact that the design is stupid and lazy. I’m trying to picture the brainiacs deciding on the poster image. “Hey, let’s just put big words on it!”
#4 – I’VE LOVED YOU SO LONG
This is a commendable character drama, but the box office numbers I’m certain were weak, and why? Maybe because people see the depressing photo of Kristin Scott-Thomas’ face, looking about as bad as anyone could. I’m pretty sure any other image would have been better.
#3 – MEET DAVE
I think Yahoo put it best when they said by looking at this, you’ll have the urge to clean out your ears. And then you have the mini pictures, which would be buckets of fun to decipher, making up Murphy’s face. This is just creepy, and an example of putting all the worst ideas into one poster. No one would want to be in his “crew.”
#2 – SPACE CHIMPS
I usually avoid foreign posters, but wow, take a look at this, and if you still question why Space Chimps was D.O.A., then you have mental problems. Plus, if this is the poster in your country, what would that tell you about Americans. That we are PSYCHOTIC!
#1 – CHANGELING
This could have been like a 5 way tie, but Clint Eastwood’s drama gets the top spot for one reason. I fear for this child’s life that the giant face of Angelina will swallow him as she gazes hungrily down at his pint-sized body. For all Oscar contenders, this has been the year of slapping the star’s face on the poster. No thought has gone into half of the year’s best films (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Milk, Rachel Getting Married). Does no one care about the poster artwork anymore?
The Mini Bulletin
Last week Judge Gary A. Feess ruled in favor of Fox in regards to the studio owning the copyright interest for the film Watchmen. Now, according to The Associated Press, attorneys for 20th Century Fox are continuing to seek an order that would delay the release of the film. Judge Gary A. Feess will hold a trial on January 20th to resolve any remaining issues between 20th Century Fox and Warner Bros. Attorneys for Warner Bros. have stated that a trial is necessary, but also feel that any kind of settlement will be “unlikely.”
By ruling in favor of Fox for a copyright interest, the whole scenario changed, and everyone started to pay attention because I think before this, not many people took this lawsuit seriously. They will now. I really hope that Fox does not win the release date delay. By doing that, the studio will lose a lot of respect from the moviegoing community. It might not prevent anyone from seeing films, but if Fox was responsible for stopping an anticipated film, viewers would remember it. They are saying “We could give two shits about the viewers.” I think regardless of what goes down, the March 6 release date will not happen. With all this commotion, it seems unrealistic now, and that is a shame in a year that will already be suffering because of the writer’s strike of 2008. Delaying it seems ridiculous because the film is going to make boatloads of cash for everyone involved.
Leonard brought up a good point on the podcast discussion when he said delaying films usually means lower box office totals and harsher reviews, so that is another reason this is a bad idea. Will Helm and George Sirois both said this bad business from both studios, which is also true. George used a very suitable reference from the movie Brewster’s Millions from 1985, specifically the scene towards the end where Stephen Collins enters the elevator and messes up the whole deal with just a little bit of money he had. In this scenario, Collins is Fox, who jumps in at the last minute and screws up a film that is ready for release. I haven’t seen Brewster’s Millions in awhile, so I hope I got the scene pretty much correct George.
This has been an extremely slow news week, other than the fact that Marley & Me got #1 again, which is no surprise. I am sure Matthew Motiuk will have a more detailed box office report for you tomorrow. See you all next week!
Other Stuff to Read
The Best Movies of the Alphabet
The Best and Worst Bond Films.
411 December Roundtable – This month Owain J. Brimfield continues as roundtable host and compiles the thoughts of the movie zone staff on the releases for December!
The MeeThinks Friday FreeThinks – Thanks again to John Meehan for providing my banner here, and for the Alphabet feature.
Also, keep an eye out for more comic book character timelines in the future. Here are the first two:
The 411 Movie PODCAST – This week we discuss new releases and our New Year’s movie resolutions!