Spiffy’s Oscar Chit-Chat and Favorite Flicks of 2008

by

In case, it’s not obvious, I’m a big movie guy, and so, despite immense bullshittery, I love award shows. And, after last night’s rousing 81st annual Oscars, it’s the perfect time to look back and see what the best movies of the year were, and more importantly, which one’s were my favorites to give you an idea of what to check out in the coming weeks ahead (what better thing to do on Spring Break than watch The Visitor?). While I won’t argue that Iron Man is a better film than Milk, you bet your ass that Iron Man will top it in my rankings. If that rankles you, I apologize. But read on for the top 25 films of 2008. But before that, a quickie Oscar recap.

Sexiest Host Alive

Sexiest Host Alive

[Note: The top 25 list will be added later this evening.]

Slummin’ It And Everybody Loves It

The Danny Boyle directed Indian rags to riches romance was voted the year’s Best Picture and led all films with 8 victories, including Boyle for Best Director, Best Original Song and Score (download/buy the soundtrack, it is fucking balls out incredible as evidenced by the great show put on during the Oscars of the two songs nominated), Best Film Editing, Best Cinematography and Best Adapted Screenplay (and the last one is for Sound Mixing, the most important of all categories).

Wolverine Makes a Helluva Host

I’m sure everybody had their doubts about Hugh Jackman hosting the Oscars. After all, he’s not a funnyman and the traditional choice. Turns out, that’s exactly what the Oscars needed, with Jackman giving a much needed adrenaline jolt to the proceedings from the start with a creative and brilliantly funny opening musical number, with help from Anne Hathaway as the “Nixon” to Hugh’s “Frost” (dirty). Hugh was spot on all night, showing why the guy’s hosted the Tony Awards.

I would have no qualms seeing Jackman back next year, especially if George Clooney shows up as the sidekick. That would rule.

Quote of the Night: “I am Wolverine!!!” [at the end of his musical number to start the show, a perfectly funny ending]

I May Be No Ryan Seacrest and I Sure As Hell Don’t Like/Take E!…

(If you want to follow along, check out Yahoo!’s fashion report card!)

…But that still doesn’t mean I can’t say who was fucking hot. Kate Winslet, Angelina Jolie and Halle Berry, renowned fashion goddesses, stepped up the plate and were spot on. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Halle Berry look as good as she did last night (although I have seen more of her…), and come to think of it, Angelina Jolie has never looked bad. Ever.

Also much props to Natalie Portman and Jennifer Aniston. Portman might actually be my ARBITRARY SPIFFY PICK O’ THE OSCARS, which is better than the gold statute anyways. So congrats Natalie.

And, Mickey Rourke looked good, for well, being Mickey Rourke. Brad Pitt and Jackman, predictably, looked the best on the guys side.

Last but not least, while fashion gurus didn’t particularly like her blue one sleeve dress, I have an announcement to make. Freida Pinto, of Slumdog Millionaire, (pictured below) is my future wife, God willing, by 2015. Hopefully she reads obscure comicbook blogs and doesn’t mind the occasional creeper.

EFG889

Seth Rogen and James Franco’s Pineapple Express Bit

In a word: grointastic. Reprising their roles from stonerrific (and bonerrific) Pineapple Express (which is great to do illegal drugs to…I hear), the two get high to some of the notable films of the year, including a hilarious bit when Franco watches himself kiss Harvey Milk in Milk, and get a little closer to Rogen. And then, you have the DP of Saving Private Ryan show up and smoke with them, a great out of left field joke completing a solid/beautiful year for Judd Apatow’s crew of comedic gods.

 

The. Most. Impressive. Best. Actor. Crop. Ever.

Hyperbole? Hell if I know, I sure as hell didn’t go through Oscar history before making that statement, but after seeing Sean Penn beat out Mickey Rourke, Frank Langella, Richard Jenkins and Brad Pitt (in that order), I can definitely see the case being made. I’d make the argument that everyone, save Pitt who deserved the nom but not a victory, would/should win in a weaker year. Maybe the solution is to shove them into the Best Supporting Actress category, where Penelope Cruz somehow beat a decidedly weak crowd, where anyone could have won, and did (note: Cruz was a treat in Vicky Cristina Barcelona, easily the best part of the film, but that’s not saying particular much, as it’s only a fun romantic romp with pitiable narration). I picked Rourke to win, and Penn’s (slight?) upset lost me my pool, but I can’t be upset at Penn winning, because Penn’s speech, easily the best of the night (“I know I’ve made it easy not to appreciate me over the years”, gay rights, Obama, etc), and was the perfect capper for one of the better Oscar’s in recent memory, even if it does lag, as always.

And now..

Spiffy’s Favorite Flicks of 2008

25. The Incredible Hulk: It’s a shame Edward Norton and Marvel got into a fight over this movie, because it was a far cry from the original clunker with Eric Bana. Tim Roth was excellent as Abomination, and the final fight scene with between him and Hulk was fucktastic.

24. Religulous: Written and starring Bill Maher, this tirade against religion is one of the funniest movies of the year, and definitely something for people to watch. That said, it’s not like anything of this is TOO new.

23. Zack and Miri Make a Porno: It’s not Kevin Smith’s best, but it’s still as witty as ever, featuring that big thumping heart of his, and yes, that’s even with the title. Seth Rogen and Elizabeth Banks make welcome additions to the View Askew stable, and Jason Mewes still rules. Craig Robinson (Daryl from the Office) was also a breakout hit, and had a breakout year in supporting comedic roles, and I’m sure by 2010 we’ll be seeing him in the lead.

22. In Bruges: Golden Globe winner Colin Farrell and the awesome Brendan Gleason make a fantastic pair, swearing and bumbling there way through a “vacation” in Bruges, with Ralph Fiennes as their upset boss, shining in a limited role. This is a crisp, well-written and funny film that grows on you.

19. Changeling: Clint Eastwood’s other film this year, with Angelina Jolie scoring an Oscar nom for her portrayal of Christine Collins, the mother of a missing child. It’s stunning work on her part, and this lush yet droll (yeah that makes sense) depiction of 1920s and 30s L.A. is frightening. It’s a tad long, but Jolie’s performance makes it all worth it. Plus Amy Ryan shows up as a hooker.

18. Frost/Nixon: Frank Langella deserved an Oscar more than anyone last night for his fierce portrayal of Tricky Dick. This film, adapted from the play by Oscar-phile Ron Howard, is fairly straight forward stuff, but I’ve never seen someone with as much presence in a role as Langella’s Nixon. He is just fantastic. And Michael Sheen, as Michael Frost, was also deserving as some merit for his role as well.

17. Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist: If it’s going to have Michael Cera in it, I’m going to love it. That seems to be the pattern. And add Kat Dennings to the mix, who’s grown up since her whiny 40-Year Old Virgin appearance. This was just a great adventure film set in NY about a night that never ends, and the funny is fairly consistent throughout. Just avoid the gum, though.

16. Pineapple Express: Honestly, I’m probably not ranking this high enough. It has its flaws (it’s almost too fucked up, if that makes sense), but it’s the most re-watchable movie of the year, and is so hilarious. Rogen and Franco are perfect, with Franco’s Saul, the lovable pot dealer, stealing the show repeatedly. Danny McBride (Eastbound & Down, Foot Fist Way) is another scene stealer, playing the indestructible other pot dealer. The coffee scene at the end is worthy of an Oscar.

15. The Visitor: Richard Jenkins, finally getting a chance to play a leading role, is brilliantly understated and sad as a hermit college professor recovering from the death of his wife. When he finds two illegal aliens in his apartment in NY, things happen. Hint: lots of drum playing, and it rules. Just a great, small film.

14. Revolutionary Road: It’s not easy to watch, and that’s a testament to suburban hater Sam Mendes (American Beauty) and the exquisite performances by Kate Winslet and Leo DiCaprio, in their first onscreen appearance together since that movie about a boat sinking. It’s a little different this time around, with bullets flying everywhere between, no holds barred, and it’s alternately beautiful and terrifying to watch. Also, Michael Shannon, nominated for Best Supporting Actor for his turn as a man with too many days in an insane asylum, is just as brilliant and memorable as the couple of the century.

13. The Reader: Hey, it’s Kate again. I still can’t decide which performance was better, but now that her Hannah Schmitz has won her an Oscar, it might last the longest. She’s great as the tortured former Nazi soul, and stones to her for getting with a guy who turned 18 while shooting, the great newcomer David Kross. Ralph Fiennes also does great work here, and Stephen Daldry was nominated for an Oscar for directing for a reason. Again, not an easy film to watch.

12. Rachel Getting Married: This one could be the hardest to watch of all. Case in point: my sister vomited midway through it because of the shaky camera, eating right before and probably the uncomfortable nature in general achieved by this film. Anne Hathaway is illuminating here, shedding that princess pretty girl image completely, full well deserving of an Oscar just like Kate. But it wasn’t just about her, the entire, eclectic and awesomely multiracial cast was pitch perfect. See this with your newlywed (don’t).

…To be continued.

Advertisements

2 Responses to “Spiffy’s Oscar Chit-Chat and Favorite Flicks of 2008”

  1. Gokitalo Says:

    Last night’s Oscar show was awesome. I’ll admit it: that opening musical number made me go gay for Jackman. Although Beyonce’s later appearance in the “movie musical medley” set me straight (*badoom kish*). Still, the opening was the highlight of the night.

    I liked how many ensemble award presenters they had this year. It was a great reminder of all the talent we’ve seen in previous years. Whoopi Goldberg and Robert DeNiro had the best lines. It was also a pleasure seeing Anthony Hopkins again! It’s been too long.

    You forgot to mention Stiller’s impersonation of Joaquin Phoenix. Although the Pineapple Express short was also awesome.

    The Slumdog Millionaire soundtrack is pretty good. My sister’s downloaded some of the songs of iTunes and has been listening to it all day. Or at least, long enough to make it feel like she’s been listening to it all day.

    “And then, you have the DP of Saving Private Ryan

    “DP of Saving Private Ryan“… you did that on purpose, didn’t you? :b

    Hmm, what else… oh yes! Heath Ledger won! That was great, but it was also incredibly heartbreaking when his parents and his sister pick up the award and give their speeches. We lost you way too soon, Heath.

    “The Incredible Hulk: It’s a shame Edward Norton and Marvel got into a fight over this movie, because it was a far cry from the original clunker with Eric Bana.”

    Norton later went on the record saying people blew his disagreement with Marvel out of proportion. Does that mean Norton’ll be in Ultimate Hulk 2 or Avengers? As “The Man” would say, “Wait and see, True Believer!”

    This post was an excellent surprise. Well done, Spiffy-O!

  2. spiffyithaca Says:

    I liked the ensemble cast of former winners presenting, but it depended on which one. Some of them just went on too long and bored me, but De Niro and others were an exception, like you mentioned.

    Stiller’s Joaquin Phoenix was great, good mention!

    Loved Ledger’s award and their sad acceptance speech. The guy was so damn talented. It’s a shame.

    Well, fuck, I hope we do see Norton in Avengers or Hulk 2. That would rule. He was perfect.

    And at some point I’ll finish my list, lol

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: