On Sunday, I saw “Frost/Nixon” the movie – great watch and great cast. (Probably not a coincidence that the real original Frost/Nixon interviews are now out on dvd). Frank Langella oozed Nixonian in his portrayal as Nixon; Michael Sheen as Frost – well, I had no idea that Sir David Frost back in the day was so light-weight (ok, I’m not so familiar with Frost), and the rest of the cast was good too. Recommended.
I’m not a big enough movie-viewer to make a list of 2008 movies, but suffice to say that I really thought well of “The Dark Knight” and the films of AAIFF’08 and “Wall-E,” and even “Iron Man.” “Quantum of Solace” was also a decent watch. I didn’t hate the X-Files movie (although I’m probably the only one).
For 2008 in review, TV critic David Bianculli on his tv top ten list; and tv critic James Poniewozik on his tv worst list and his Tuned-In (mostly tv) Persons of the Year (and his top 10 best 2008 tv stuff and top 10 2008 tv episodes (I agree with Poniewozik – the Lost episode “The Constant” was quite an episode for 2008).
Entertainment Weekly’s Ken Tucker also has his best/worst of 2008 lists (I agree with him on “Fringe” and “Lost” as among the best; and on his worst – “Knight Rider” and “The Moment of Truth (really shitty, FOX, really)).
EW also has a best and worst episodes list – sooo happy that they included the amazing “How I Met Your Mother” episode with Ted’s lovely 2 minute date.
Among the great pictures of 2008 in the year’s end issue of EW is a funny gallery of photos where the “How I Met Your Mother” cast pose in the year’s big events (the guys posing as the USA men’s swim team’s big gold win at Beijing 2008 Olympics and a posing from a scene in “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” were strangely amusing to me for some reason).
My personal Top TV list for 2008 – which I had posted on Bianculli’s website and re-post here: (in no particular order and intentionally adding what others might not have mentioned, plus unnecessary commentary!):
1. “Fringe” (FOX) – I’m glad FOX is giving the series a shot; it seems to be getting stronger as the season continues – and I love the father-son relationship of Walter and Peter.
2. “Lost” (ABC) – what a season! Very interested to see what will happen when it returns.
3. “How I Met Your Mother” (CBS) – what fun was the end of last season, despite the strike! And this season has been some great laughs.
4. “Life” (NBC) – I was stunned that NBC renewed it after the strike-shortened first season, since I thought that series I liked wouldn’t succeed (and I liked it in 2007). But, the couple of episodes I caught this season was great fun, even if I still don’t quite appreciate the conspiracy storyline. Damian Lewis is great; and Adam Arkin and Sarah Shahi are underappreciated.
5. “Eli Stone” (ABC) – It was the fun series of spring 2008, and I was happy that ABC returned it. I missed much of this season, much to my regret; boo to ABC for cancelling it.
6. The Presidential coverage – for good or bad, this was quite a tv event of 2008; as I’m a PBS snob, kudos especially to Jim Lehrer and the Newshour crew for their work during this election year and Charlie Rose for his interviews and roundtables.
7. “Aliens in America” (CW) – sweet, short-lived series on friendship and family with good humor, and kudos for trying a little something different in the age of a more diverse America (when an American family hosts a South Asian Muslim foreign exchange student, things get amusingly complicated); I’ll even give a little kudos to CW for “Reaper,” which was a bit more fun than I expected.
8. Again, I’m a PBS snob, so I’ll also add “Great Performances” for its coverage of the NY Philharmonic’s concert in Pyongyang, North Korea (I even blogged about it); and “Masterpiece Theatre” (for continuing to give quality drama, even in such troubling financial times, which began awhile ago for “Masterpiece Theatre”/”Mystery” when they had to be under one umbrella), especially for rescuing me during the strike.
9. “Law and Order” (NBC) (the original/the mothership) – the 18th season (starting in Jan. 2008-May 2008, due to NBC’s scheduling shenanigans and then disrupted minimally by the writers’ strike) – during the strike had me watching; the cast of new detectives and the new ADA turned out to be more fun than I thought – and less of the melodrama of “SVU” and “Criminal Intent,” which relieved me (if it’s not obvious, I’m not a big “SVU” or “CI” viewer; just not my cup of tea). The 19th season of L&O so far has been also fun, keeping up with the quality of last season.
10. “John Adams” (HBO) – wow.
Extra credit to Letterman, Leno, O’Brien, and Ferguson for their efforts on late night tv this year.
For worst tv of 2008, I’ll nominate “Knight Rider” (NBC) (I may have grown up with and enjoyed the campiness of the original “Knight Rider,” but that doesn’t mean it had to come back, and in such poor execution), and I’ll also continue my disapproval of bad reality tv (of which 2008 seemed to have a lot).