I know I’ve been putting (what seems to me) like a lot of lists lately. But this one is a personal one. It’s the top 10 films of 2008 that I still want/need to see. They’re not in any particular order. I pretty much want to see one as much as another, so I just put them in alphabetical order.
The reasons for why Doubt is on the list are obvious, I think. Meryl Streep, Philip Seymour-Hoffman and Amy Adams. Streep and Seymour-Hoffman are, without a doubt, two of the best actors working today. Bring in Amy Adams, someone who’s bound for great things and one has to wonder: how can this combination go wrong? The fact that the film is written and directed by John Patrick Shanley, based on his Pulitzer Prize-winning play of the same name only makes things more exciting.
Already being touted as a huge Best Picture contender for the Oscars, it seems doubtful that it won’t receive a number of Oscar Nominations. Ron Howard’s directing is being touted as his best, which considering some of his other films, is very high praise indeed. Of course, the acting here is the real key to why I want to see this film so badly. Although Michael Sheen’s turn as David Frost is receiving praise, it’s Frank Langella’s turn as Richard Nixon that’s being hailed as the performance of a lifetime. One of those, “he doesn’t so much imitate _____ as he does embody him” performances. I’d truly love to see it.
Earlier in the year, this small movie was released, and immediately, people were declaring that it was the beginning of Oscar season. Why? Melissa Leo’s performance. This is a movie I wanted to see when it was first released. It’s a film that I still want to see. The fact that my desire to see it is still pervading is enough. The fact that Leo’s performance is still being talked about can only mean one thing: Oscar.
I recently watched Mike Leigh’s film Vera Drake, which received huge praise and admiration. Of course, most of that praise was directly for Imelda Staunton, but Leigh’s directing was subtle, controlled and precise. I immediately wanted to see more of his work (and I know there’s other films of his I probably already should have seen). Of course, besides Mike Leigh behind the helm, it’s a surprise turn by Sally Hawkins that has me curious and excited to see this movie. I’ve heard such great things, including the possibility that she might sneak in a Best Actress nod come time for Oscar Nominations. For me, that seals the deal.
Gus Van Sant is back with something a little more mainstream that most of his recent outings. By “mainstream”, I mean in the sense of Good Will Hunting. From what I’ve heard, the entire cast here shines, but especially Sean Penn, who gives one of his best (if not his best) performance. Very possible. The trailer definitely makes it seem possible in my opinion. There’s so much Oscar buzz surrounding this that it’s impossible not to want to see it. Could it be Van Sant’s first Oscar? Quite possible.
Rachel Getting Married
How could I not want to see Jonathan Demme’s new film, which appears to be his best in years? How could I not want to see what appears to be Anne Hathaway’s best performance? After Brokeback Mountain, I had a feeling she might be doing some really good things in the future, and it appears as if that’s come to fruition. Definitely one I’ve wanted to see since I watched the trailer for it oh so long ago.
Sam Mendes + Leonardo DiCaprio + Kate Winslet = Gold. How else can I describe it? It’s Sam Mendes’ first film since Jarhead back in 2005, and it reunites Kate and Leo for the first time since Titanic. On top of that, it’s supposed to be a very good film. Its trailer certainly suggests that to be true. Leonardo DiCaprio has become one of my favorite actors in recent years, so I look forward to practically everything with him. It’s impossible, given the circumstances, that I wouldn’t want to see this film.
It’s hard to pinpoint why I want to see this film so badly. Besides the obvious, being Danny Boyle having directed it, it really comes down to word-of-mouth, reviews and Oscar buzz. It seems more than likely that it’ll be nominated for Best Picture, and probably come out with a few other nominations. It’s received universal acclaim from critics. It also wasn’t widely touted around, didn’t receive a lot of attention upon its release, but since, it’s just gotten a ton of talk and momentum. I want to see it.
Synecdoche, New York
Charlie Kaufman’s latest project. This time, it’s his directorial debut. If I wasn’t excited, I wouldn’t be the film junkie I am. It’s heightened by the fact that Philip Seymour-Hoffman is the leading man, and then even more so by the fact that it’s probably the most debated film of 2008. I’m curious as to why. I’ve heard its bizarre, confusing, an enigma. Really, I just want to know why.
I’ve heard nothing but good things about this film. In fact, most of the things I’ve heard are wonderful. Darren Aronofsky is one of the most interesting directors working today. This film seems nothing like his previous films. Less visual. More grounded. I’m intrigued. The acting is supposed to be stupendous, especially by Mickey Rourke, who is being hailed as the “comeback kid” of 2008. Even better than Marisa Tomei is supposed to do a fantastic job, with Oscar buzz surrounding her performance as well. What’s most surprising is the praise going to Evan Rachel Wood here. Oscar contender? Possibly. I would love to see it and find out for myself.