Not all that bad, actually

2008 is pretty much over in terms of movies.  Sure, we have the holiday rush to get as many family oriented ones out as possible, but there’s nothing any of us are actually looking forward to (except Quantum of Solace, can’t WAIT).  Thanks to this lull, and to the insane “time to home video” capabilities of the movie industry, we’re now able to view the ones we might have missed in theaters relatively quickly.

And you know what?  2008 was a pretty good year, in terms of movies!  At least, the big ones.  

 

  • 27 Dresses: This movie was actually a LOT of fun!  I personally have a bit of a thing for Katherine Heigl, but even if you don’t this is a fun date movie.  No, nothing geeky in it . . . but geeks need dates too.
  • Mad Money: Totally worth the time and whole $1 it took to RedBox it.  Not a bad movie, by any means, just not a great movie.  
  • Definitely, Maybe: This one was surprisingly good.  Maybe it’s just that I’ve also gone through a divorce that I will one day have to explain to my child, but the story and characters were spot on.  If you are married, this would be a good one to watch.  If you are dating, skip it; typically a mood killer to watch a faux-documentary on why relationships fail.
  • Jumper: OK, not all the movies were good.
  • Be Kind, Rewind: GREAT MOVIE!!!!  Nothing more I can really say!
  • The Other Boleyn Girl: It’s been on our media center for months, and not even my wife can bring herself to watch it.  From people who have seen it, it’s apparantly very good.  If you’re into that sort of thing in the first place, I guess.
  • The Bank Job:  Not a Top-Notch job by Jason Statham, but really good overall movie!
  • The Forbidden Kingdom: Not at all what I was expecting!  Did you know there’s a white kid in it?  He’s supposedly the main character!  Go fig.  Overall it was very enjoyable, with a better plot than most other martial art flicks, good action, wonderful scenery, and a nice touch of Chinese mythology.
  • Baby Mama: Tina Fey has an odd habit of making outrageously funny things seem subtle.  They aren’t, but somehow you think they are.  This way you still get the laughs, but it’s not Happy Gilmore.
  • Iron Man:  I know everyone else saw it in theaters, but I didn’t.  I’ll let everyone else’s review speak for themselves, but it was really good.
  • Made of Honor:  This one is more for the ladies.  Guys, you can get through it (it’s not that bad really), but you won’t get as much enjoyment out of it.  Special guest appearance by Greg Dean of Real Life Comics.
  • Speed Racer: Actually a lot of fun.  I won’t say it’s my favorite film of all time (it doesn’t even rank on my top 20), but you can make it through it, enjoy it, care about the characters, and it keeps the kids occupied.  Few other movies can pull that off.
  • What Happens In Vegas: I’ve never heard Cameron Diaz swear so much in my life.  I’m also beginning to think she doesn’t age.  In any case, the movie is a lot of fun, and another enjoyable date movie.
  • Kung Fu Panda: More quotable lines than any other film this year, I think.
  • You Don’t Mess With The Zohan:  I have no idea who this film was targeted at.  Maybe the guys in my high school who loved and quoted Billy Maddison (who have since grown up and moved on)?
  • Get Smart:  Loved this movie!  Actually very sophisticated humor in many places.  I honestly expected more slapstick and cheap gags, but it managed to mix humor and action very well.
  • Get Smart’s Bruce and Lloyd Out Of Control: Full of slapstick and cheap gags.  Almost painful to watch.  Only payoff is when the villain is killed three separate ways.
  • Wall-E:  The movie seems shorter when no one is talking.  That’s not a bad thing, though.  I almost cried at the end . . . when he makes the Mac sound.
  • Hellboy II:  Better than the first, and that’s saying something!
  • Tropic Thunder:  VERY funny.  Right up there with Get Smart.
  • Hancock:  Much better than I expected!  Probably a better superhero movie than most movies about actual, established superheroes!
Now, obviously this isn’t all the movies that came out in 2008; these are the ones I’ve seen AFTER they were in theaters.  There were many more that I saw in theaters that were very good as well, and some that are still in my queue to see (Incredible Hulk and Indiana Jones among them).  
I started wondering while thinking about some of these movies, though, what has changed?  I have three theories:
  1. Hollywood is finally getting a clue when it comes to what people want to see.
  2. RedBox, NetFlix, and other similar services have made it so cheap to see a movie that the movie seems better; “Hey, that was totally worth a dollar!  That was a frakking deal for just a dollar!”
  3. RedBox, NetFlix, and other similar services have made it so easy to see these movies whenever we want, and so they have become more accessible to everyone.
I have a feeling it’s a bit of all three, but I want other people’s opinion on that.  The thing is, if it’s mostly the last two, then it totally proves what many people have been saying; making movies more accessible through modern technology HELPS the movie industry.  
The big scare for the movie industry has been that people will steal movies if they are made too available, but it seems that just the opposite is true . . . if it’s readily available all around you, there’s no need to steal it and save it to your computer!  There’s another 700MB saved on your hard drive!