[Posted by David Card]
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OK. My Oscar picks are in. I’m going with a combo "Slumdog sweep" plus "conventional wisdom" strategy this year. It was that kind of year. I’m not going to jinx myself by listing my picks till I can crow about my inevitable victory in the Card Family Oscar Pool. But here are the movies I really thought were the best of 2008, a fairly lousy year:
- The Dark Knight. Post 9/11 superhero movie. Sadly, this is what the 21st century feels like. If Chris Nolan could only direct fight scenes, DK might have made my all-time list.
- Wall-E. Pixar’s best since Toy Story. First half justifies the existence of CGI. Loses a point for preachiness.
- Rachel Getting Married. Altmanesque chick flick that feels all too real.
- Miracle at St. Anna. It’s kind of a mess, but it’s an ambitious, sentimental, polemical, fabulous mess.
- Cloverfield. A gimmick, but a fun one that doesn’t succumb to irony.
- Speed Racer. Sure it’s silly and a little incoherent. But it looks like nothing you’ve ever seen before.
- Iron Man. Fun.
- The Bank Job. Tight, twisty, old-school caper flick.
Couldn’t even get to ten. Other than Frost/Nixon, which I’ll probably see this weekend, I liked but didn’t love all of the Best Picture noms. Say 2.5 to 3 stars each, with Benjamin Button the most lasting. I swear, I’m not usually such a nerd. And for once, my two faves were also boffo at the box office. Bats and Wall-E are both fantasies, but at absolute polar opposite ends of the spectrum, and the combination amazingly captures the despair/hope zeitgeist of 2008.