2008. A year for Downbeat Cinema


Okay, so what is up with the current crop of award worth films from this past year?  The good ones I mean, not the commercial fodder that the studios put out and make tons of money with. They are mostly all downers, with depressing endings.

Lets take a look at the list but WARNING.  This is a SPOILER ALERT. We reveal the ending of these downbeat movies:

Lets start with The Boy in the Stripped Pyjamas where a little kid, the naive son of the camp Commandant, is accidentally gassed in a concentration camp.

In Revolutionary Road, Kate Winslett shoots herself. She hangs herself in The Reader. (Watching Ralph Fiennes boring performance in that film might make you do the same thing).

Mickey Rourke presumably dies in The Wrestler.

Harvey Milk, played brilliantly by Sean Penn is assassinated in Milk.

Both Kate Blanchett and Brad Pitt finally die in well made but overlong effort, The Curious Case of Benjamin Buttons.

I’ve Loved You So Long is about a mother who murders her dying son.

People are offed in the hillarious Burn After Reading.

Slumdog Millionaire, though upbeat at the very end, gives us a horrible look at violence and poverty in India.

Rachel Getting Married is a depressing look at a messed up addict.

We lose Tom Cruise at the end of Valkyrie when he is assassinated by his fellow Nazis.

Defiance deals with a bunch of Jewish resistance fighter. Though none of the lead actors, Daniel Craig, Jamie Bell or Liev Schreiber, die, the film is bleak and depressing.

Then there is Doubt where a priest is accused of child molestation. Well acted and well directed, the film does not exactly make you want to break into song and dance. Kudos though to Meryl Streep for an Academy Award © worthy performance.

Clint Eastwood basically commits suicide in Gran Torino.

Adrian Brody dies in Cadillac Records. A film worth checking out for the cool music.

Australia just sucks all the way around.

The Changelling ends with Angelina Jolie finding out that her beloved son was probably murdered.

I guess the honor of the most depressing film of the year has to go to Seven Pounds which Sony is advertising as a love story. Talk about false advertising. This film deals with a suicidal do-gooder, Will Smith, who is searching for worthy recipients for his body parts after his up-coming suicide. I left the theater ready to jump under a bus myself, except we don’t see all that many buses here in L.A., especially at night.

Many of these films will see nominations during the up-coming award season.What was it about 2008 that spawned all this depression?  Why now? Don’t we have enough depression with the bad economy, the conflict in the Middle East and pending SAG strike?  And the studios wonder why attendence is down.