2008: Worst year for movies so far this decade?

I'll post this as a blog entry for now, though maybe that's not the right category.

So I've been thinking lately (I do that once in awhile), and I've deduced that, along with the year when Crash won Best Picture, this year is prolly the decade's worst when it comes to movies.  I know, we say that every year, but hear me out...

Case in point: The Dark Knight, on track to break Titanic's record, is a phenomenally-dark (but still PG-13) sequel to a very popular first film.  And while it's certainly one of the year's best films, few would deny that its gross was inflated thanks to the death of co-star Heath Ledger and to advance buzz over his performance.

But what else was there?  Indy 4 underwhelmed almost everyone who saw it, including those moviegoers who already had a feeling that it would suck.  WALL-E was a critical fave but audiences were mixed over it (and I basically loathed it), and it's largely dialogue-free script hampered box office grosses.  Iron Man was the other successful comic book movie book-end to The Dark Knight, but in between those two were genre films The Incredible Hulk and Hancock.  Both had mixed reviews, with the latter's tone-jarring plot twist killing the momentum (and apparently the box office gross, aside from a strong opening weekend).  I guess there was another X-Files movie, but I don't think anyone saw it, and I can't help but wonder, who even asked for that one?

What else was there?  Tropic Thunder made me laugh, but I can't REMEMBER any other good comedies from 2008...nor can I recall any films released prior to May.  Surely I must have seen SOMETHING!

Okay, so it's fall now and the Oscar race has officially kicked off with last weekend's release of The Duchess and the previous week's release of the new Coen Bros. film, which has already proven to be one of their lesser efforts.  But when's the new Harry Potter film coming out?  Sorry, not until next summer.  I must confess, I am excited about the new Bond film, but we still have another two months for that one.  What about W, Oliver Stone's GWB biopic?  As much as I hope for greatness out of that one, and as much as I credit Stone for casting Josh Brolin as Chimpy McCokespoon, I saw Stone's last presidential biopic, Nixon, and it was, IIRC, a schitzophrenic mess.  How 'bout The Curious Case of Benjamin Button?  I really wanna be a believer but man, I'm so sick of Brad Pitt.  I guess I'll wait for the reviews....

Should we blame the writer's strike for this dreg in cinema, or have our standards just gone down?  Kee-rist.



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i haven't seen that many movies this year

Critico's picture

but is kinda sad that Ironman, as fun as it was,  is one of the year best film, you should put Cloverfield among the dissapointments too.

Batman Begins wasn't really that popular, if i remember well it didn't crack 200 millions, so its really surprising to me how well The Dark Knight is doing.

Did you see Pinneapple express?

If you're wanting a Pineapple Express, you'll be disappointed.

RidingFool's picture

Take a cushion, a blanket and a hot toddy. It's one of the most boring, near-two-hour-extravaganzas I've ever watched. And I've subjected myself to more than a few.

Even if I was stoned, I don't think it would have been worth my $3.50.

The popcorn was good, but only because it was H-O-T!

I take it...

Mal_Content's picture

you haven't seen Ghost Town yet?  I thought the first half an hour or so of the movie was predictable and lame, but when Ricky Gervais started rolling, the whole theatre (myself included) was left gasping for breath.  I don't recall ever laughing that hard in a theatre.

I love Ricky Gervais

Critico's picture

but i don't think that movie will open here, i'll have to wait for dvd.

Are there any independant films out yet?

TMundo's picture

Or have the film festivals not gone into gear as of yet?

Bill Maher's Religulous opens this Friday

Coaster's picture

Religulous is an indy film being distributed by Lionsgate.  This film poks fun at religious fundamentalism all over the world.  I'm seeing it this Friday with the Tulsa Atheists Meetup group.   

Religulous has gotten fairly decent reviews, though I have a sneaking suspicion you wouldn't like it.

There is Choke and

Critico's picture

There is Choke and Appaloosa, i don't know which other indies.

I dunno..

Drew_Atreides's picture

Every year there seems to be a movement for claiming it to be "the worst year of film", but... i dunno.. I've enjoyed alot of what i've gone to see this year..

I thought "Iron Man" was merely okay, and AWFULLY overrated, but so was Wall-E.  I agree there.


"The Dark Knight" was pretty spectacular.  I went back and watched it 3 times. Everytime was better then the last.  

You had a solid remake of "Get Smart"...You had a cool little horror flick in "The Strangers".... You had probably this generation's TRON in "SPEED RACER"...Another interesting little horror-diddy in "The Happening" that i thought was pretty underrated..."Indy IV" was decently entertaining, though someone needs to pass some laws against over-CGI use.."Hellboy II" was a helluva visual feast, with some pretty funny moments and some neat characters..."Wanted" was a pretty slick actioner..

The debate is on on "Hancock", but i didn't mind it...Heck you had an actual decent-quality Paul Anderson flick in the guilty-pleasure "DEATH RACE" remake..You had the Coens doing their own thing once more with "Burn After Reading" (with some of the funniest stuff i've seen on a movie screent his year!)...And we're just getting started with the REAL movie season!

I'm personally anticipating the new Bond flick and the remake of "The Day the Earth Stood Still"...I'm sure there will be other little gems on the way.



The cockpit.. what is it?

I've just been following up on classics I've never seen...

TMundo's picture

...the stuff that's in theaters right now isn't really worth my time, or money.  I hate to be so negative about it but I'm just not into seeing films unless they're of oscar caliber.  We have a film festival where I live, but many of the films show during the day when I'm working, so for now I'm checkin out the classics I've missed.

Wall-E N' Stuff

Decaf's picture

Wall-E wasn't bad, but I wasn't wowed at all, which is saying something. It was too light and I actually felt there was too much dialogue and it was too short to reach its full potential. I definitely want to see ghost town, but I live almost an hour away from a theater so that may have to wait. Dark Knight was good but not as awesome as everyone said it was. I found the china saga boring and unnecessary, and if that was trimmed down it would be a lot better. Not a particularly exciting year in movies, but at lease there was DK's huge box office to make it seem like it was an exiting year.

I think the summer crop wasn't quite up to snuff

Marion's picture

As for Oscar bait, that remains to be seen.

I thought "Pineapple Express" was ok - I saw it very, very stoned, and it made me laugh.  James Franco was the best part, and Danny McBride (Red) was also pretty funny ("he might be in hell though - he was a little fucker").  I found the script and the direction sort of amateur-hour.  I mean, unless you're on the Hallmark channel, there is no excuse for a line like "and we all became friends in the process", and the shoot-out/fight at the end went on far too long.  I kept thinking it would have been funnier had Dale seen what he *thought* was a hit, and his weed-fueled hysteria was totally pointless.

I, too, saw DK several times.  It stood up quite well to repeat viewings, but like any movie, its flaws became more apparent each time I saw it as well as its strengths.  I very much enjoyed the trip to China, cool action sequence that was really more about suspense than shit blowing up or blood-letting.  The weak link, IMHO, was the Harvey Dent stuff after Rachael. . . you-know-whatted (there probably isn't anyone in this forum who hasn't seen it, but just in case!).  Despite the set-up, I just didn't buy his transition from stick-up-his-ass former IA lawyer to mostly deranged, uncaring murderer.  And then the shit with Gordon's kid - it just wasn't tense at all, I was sort of just waiting for it to be over at that point.

"Tropic Thunder" was a pleasant surprise - some geat performances and the mocking of Hollywood made it something a little more special than your average summer comedy.

"Iron Man" was imperfect, but highly enjoyable - I'm so glad Robert Downy Jr. is off the stuff and kicking ass all over the place.  Good for him.

As to the rest of the year. . .?  It isn't shaping up as well as last year's crop (to me, anyways), but you never know when something middleish to smallish will come out of nowhere and get everyone excited.  Here's hoping.




There is some good stuf out there

nickumoh's picture

Funniest movies I've seen this year were The Onion Movie and Foot Fist Way. I you want to see real good stuff, go for documentaries. I saw Bigger, Stronger, Faster* a few months back and, more recently, Up the Yantgze and America the Beautiful. All three were very good. 

I really want to see Man on Wire tonite, but I have to see the new Harmony Korine movie (Mister Lonely).

There is some good stuf out there, you just have to look for it. That and keep an open mind.

...what...what were talking about again?

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