Archive for Sunday, August 31, 2008

The best and worst of summer films

August 31, 2008


What a glorious summer of cinema it was, with "The Dark Knight" reminding us why we miss Heath Ledger, ABBA fans coming out of the closet and out of the woodwork for "Mamma Mia!," "Kung Fu Panda" and "WALL-E" keeping the kiddies entertained and an August so littered with funny, raunchy movies the nation's frat houses threatened to empty out altogether.

Sure, most were instantly forgettable comic-book adaptations, ditzy musicals or pot-fueled farces. But they're worth remembering, even if Oscar voters don't. Let's tear open the envelopes and hand out some awards, even if we don't have naked-guy statuettes, Price Waterhouse or Whoopie Goldberg.

Best actor: Robert Downey Jr., in iron ("Iron Man") and in blackface ("Tropic Thunder"). "I know who I am! I'm a dude playing a dude disguised as another dude!" Dude, you said it.

Best actress: Maria Bello, "The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor." What, you think it's easy impersonating Oscar winner Rachel Weisz in a really bad movie?

Best supporting actor: Danny McBride, "Pineapple Express," "Tropic Thunder" - the funniest Southern accent in the cinema.

Best supporting actress: Gwyneth Paltrow, "Iron Man." She made us care, and made the flirtation work.

Best director: Jon Favreau, for making "Iron Man" witty, heartfelt and fun.

Best picture: "WALL-E." Great animation, a simple story, a cautionary message.

Best on-base percentage: Ben Kingsley, in five movies this summer.

Best upgrade: Maggie Gyllenhaal, replacing Katie Holmes in "The Dark Knight."

Best sneer: Alan Rickman, balefully considering Kentucky Fried Chicken, in "Bottle Shock."

Best reunion: Karen Allen and Harrison Ford, "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull."

Best surprise: James Franco finding his blitzed bliss in "Pineapple Express."

Third Best surprise: Julie "Take a Chance on Me" Walters rocking the house in "Mamma Mia!"

Best remake: "Brideshead Revisited."

Best catch-phrases: "I'm sorry. This is the fun-vee. The hum-drum-vee is back there." ("Iron Man") "I'm not a monster. . . I'm just ahead of the curve." (The Joker in "The Dark Knight").

Career in trouble: Mike Myers. "The Love Guru" would have been the hit of the summer ... in 1994.

Best bad self-parody: Writer-director David Mamet at his David Mametiest with "Red Belt."

Most pointless sequel: "The X-Files: I Want to Believe."

Best movies you missed: "Mongo"; "Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson"; "Son of Rambow." Seriously, how many times do you need to see "The Dark Knight"?


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