Surprising and Underwhelming Movies of 2008

Well, I wait for five movies that I am looking forward to review, Slumdog Millionaire, Revolutionary Road, Doubt, Rachel Getting Married and The Wrestler to see. I want to see another list of those films that I was surprised that I liked and also those films that I thought were overrated films getting a lot of Oscar buzz that are not needed.

Surprising movies of 2008:

“Hamlet 2”

People were very lukewarm to this movie. Saying it was very offensive and bashing Christianity. I think when people take themselves too seriously then they should be made fun of. I thought the actual production was genius.

“Vicky Cristina Barcelona”

I was hesitant to see this film because I was angry when I saw “Cassandra’s Dream” and “Scoop”. I was expecting to hate this movie, but I was pleasantly surprised that I enjoyed this film. I had some problems with the characterizations of Bardem’s and Cruz’s characters, but I enjoyed the dynamics with the characters in different configurations.

“Role Models”

This movie was slow to start with me. Some of the jokes fell flat, but when the Big Brothers (Rudd and Scott) begin to immerse themselves in the lives of their Little Brothers (Mintz-Plaas, Thompson) it really shines. Also, the epic battle sequence at the end was classic.

“Gran Torino”

I heard people trashing movie, Clint’s performance, the young actors, the ridiculous situations, and everything in between. I quite enjoyed this film. Is it the best film of the year? No. Was it a fun ride? For me, abso-fucking-lutely. I liked the playful racist banter between Walt and the barber and the supervisor at the construction site. It was hilarious to me.

“Zack and Miri Make A Porno”

It’s not that I had low expectations of this movie. This film is coming from the wonderfully dirty of Kevin Smith. I was surprised that the film did not make enough money when it was released on Halloween. I listen to his podcast, SModcast for awhile and I was disheartened that Kevin was holed up in his house for months when he learned that the film barely broke even at the box office.

I thought the film was hilarious. Jason Mewes getting incredibly ripped at showing what he’s got. Dutch-ruddering. Classic Kevin Smith. Don’t worry, Kev, people will definitely purchased this on DVD.

“In Bruges”

I saw the trailer for this film at the beginning of the year and I thought it was just another hitman movie. I’ve seen enough of those. When I heard the guys at “Filmspotting” and the hosts of “Cinebanter” praise this film. I wanted to see it when it came out on DVD. This is the most vastly underrated movie of the year. It’s so good with it’s politically incorrect dialogue, unsympathetic characters that have some redeeming qualities about them, also the undercurrent of faith, life, death, and purgatory was perfectly captured in this film.

“Iron Man”

When I heard that “Iron Man” was coming out in theaters, I was iffy with it. Then, after the box office bonanza, I wanted to see it, but I was holding out for “The Dark Knight” and “Sex and the City: The Movie”. I saw this movie around the time the DVD came out. I was hesitant with the beginning sequences in Afghanistan. It went on a little too long, but when it got back to America. It soars. Literally. The special effects, the flying, the way the suit build around Tony Stark. I had a mind-gasm. Let’s not forget the last line of the movie. Pretty bad ass.

Underwhelming movies of 2008:


This film has been nominated for a couple of awards; Golden Globes, SAGs, Critics Choice, etc. Frank Langella was good as Richard Nixon. Michael Sheen is an underrated actor as well as Sam Rockwell. The movie as a whole didn’t grab me. This was a play converted to the big screen by Peter Morgan, based on his play. I didn’t feel anything. We all know what happens in the end. The “documentary” vignettes were unnecessary. I wish there was more umph.


People were going apeshit over this movie. Teenage girls were creaming their panties over Robert Pattinson. Fans of Stephanie Meyers were salivating over seeing this film. I was just curious at what the fuss was all about. The movie was blah. It just laid there like a lump of coal. It was washed out. There was no action in it. The questionable hair choices of the cast. The endless stares. I could go on and on, but I won’t. This movie was disappointing to say the very least.

“The Visitor”

I heard about this movie on one of the podcasts that I listen to. I watched the latest movie from Tom McCarthy and I really liked it, but it lacked the depth and subtly like he had done with “The Station Agent.” Richard Jenkins was good as well as Haaz Sleiman as Tarek. The culture aspect of the film was good, but the hanging chad that was the immigration issue was not explored further.

“Snow Angels”

Here is another film that I heard of and I checked it out and I was not into it like I wanted it to be. The characters were unsympathetic and have no redeeming qualities. I didn’t care about them. I only cared about the teenagers in the movie and Amy Sedaris.


I was up and down whether this movie should be here. I like the movie, I almost cried when WALL-E almost died. However, the blatant environmental message that Andrew Stanton tries to downplay. I don’t buy it, sir. I wish that the message did not slap you in the face. The fat people rolling around like blobs of flesh. The inexplicable babies in the nursery when the people always stayed in those hovering chairs.


Except for the orgasmic scene of Hugh Jackman bathing, this movie began so awkwardly. The dynamic between Lady Ashley and the Drover was awful in the beginning. In the middle, I finally saw it. The scenery of Australia was gorgeous. The cinematography, top-notch. The last half of the movie should not be there. The villain was so evil that I could see his side. No ground was broken in this film. I love Bax Luhrmann, but I expected so much more from this ill-conceived epic.

“Sex and the City: The Movie”

I was looking forward to movie when I was angered by the shiteous series finale of this show. I thought that it would be a good book end to the franchise as a whole, but not. Some scenes could have been cut out.

Jennifer Hudson’s character was completely wasted in this film. (My thoughts are with her since her family tragedy.) Samantha did not have sex with Dante (Giles Marini). Dante showed all of his goods. I love that. The men in this movie were wasted as well, except for Big and Steve.

I heard that their might be a sequel. What else can they do?

I wanted to share the movies that were good and not so good. I hope you enjoyed my tirade.


About Branden

Branden: I am just your average movie nut that reviews films. Gives his take on pop culture and Hollywood happenings. Dreams to have his own thriving website and make a living doing what he is passionate about.

Posted on December 28, 2008, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Thank you! Yes, The Visitor is not a great film. You might be the only other one that agrees with me.

  2. Well, Michael and Tassoula liked it, but they didn’t love it.

    I wish it was a better film that it was.

  3. Oh yeah, I remember Cinebanter not being incredibly hot on it.

  4. Hey Branden (and Charlie):

    I did love the visitor and it’s stayed with me since seeing it several months ago.

    Zack and Miri: Thanks for the tip on the Smodcast topic. I’ve been a huge fan of Kevin Smith the person for more than a decade (I even own all of his books) and it was fascinating to hear him discuss the filmmaking, then the optimism of the release and then the crumbling of his world. He is so honest (sometimes to a fault) that I’m not sure we’ll hear that sort of behind-the-scenes story again. I haven’t gotten through all of the related Smodcasts (boy those guys can talk), but I will. Thanks for the tip. I felt like supporting them and finding the movie somewhere, but it is unavailable anywhere in No. Cal. So I went another way and now have it on my computer.


  5. ZACK AND MIRI: Ugh. I have an almost man-crush level of love for Mr. Smith, but this thing was nearly unwatchable. If it had been someone I expect less from, maybe it wouldn’t have hurt as much. I started out with a few words and ended up with 500:

    Keep it up.


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