December 19th, 2008
11:56 AM ET
"The Dark Knight": It should be nominated for best picture.
What follows is simply a list of favorites from the year just past. Feel free to contribute your own favorites, either in the comments or on iReport.com.
- "Man on Wire": James Marsh’s documentary on Phillippe Petit’s tightrope walk between the Twin Towers is thrilling, sad and ultimately triumphant.
- "Wall-E": I didn’t think much of the human characters, but the sublime interplay between Wall-E and Eve - or Wall-E and anything - is worth double the price of admission.
As for films just opening, I have high hopes for “Frost/Nixon” and “Slumdog Millionaire,” among others … but I’ll have to squeeze them in over the holidays.
- "Harps and Angels," Randy Newman: I hadn’t paid attention to Newman’s work in years - "Land of Dreams" may have been the last one - but this album, with Newman’s bluesy half-sung vocals, has the sharp observation of his best work. Newman sounds like he’s given up on the world, but he hasn’t lost his sense of humor - or a touch of anger.
- "Tell Tale Signs: The Bootleg Series Vol. 8," Bob Dylan: Perhaps this shouldn’t count - it’s a collection of alternate takes and unreleased songs from the last 20 years - but Dylan makes even his most familiar work sound fresh. May he continue for many more years.
- "Pictures at a Revolution," Mark Harris: The five best picture nominees of 1967 wouldn’t seem to have much in common, but as Harris’ terrific book illustrates, they tell a story of how one Hollywood gave way to another.
- "John Lennon: The Biography," Philip Norman: I started Norman’s book wondering what he possibly could add to the story of the Beatles – one he told so well in "Shout!" more than 25 years ago. I finished in admiration of his abilities to give new perspective on Lennon’s life - and grieving all over again for Lennon’s death.
I’d also like to give nods to books from previous years I finally read, including William Goldman’s "The Season" (1969) (a beaten-up paperback I found in a Chicago bookstore and bought on a whim), Jeremy Larner’s "Nobody Knows" (1970), Junot Diaz’s "The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao" (2007) and Alan Weisman’s "The World Without Us" (2007).
OK, your turn. Have at it.
– Todd Leopold, CNN.com Entertainment Producer
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