Ang Lee captures the '70s on film the way Rick Moody captures the era in the book The Ice Storm. It's the midst of the sexual revolution, the Watergate scandal is erupting, and the country's social consciousness is changing.
Unlike previous years, where classics came crawling out of the celluloid woodwork with regular reckless abandon, 2008 was more calm… and considered. That's not to say that choosing 30 top titles was hard. The difficulty in placing them in some manner of rank order suggests the actual depth of quality involved.
Oddly enough, while the major studios continue scratching their heads over how to sell yet another new format (Blu-ray) to disinterested consumers, several outside distributors made sure that this would be a digital year to remember.
The general fuzzed-out sense of malaise that Lee is able to tap into while exploring the Nixon-era sexual revolution (and repression and adventure), creates a point of view that both ruthlessly observes and empathizes with these alien suburbanites.
As cinema went completely commercial, abandoning art for artifice, true aesthetic acumen was hard to come by. Luckily, for the movies included herein, it was their difference, as well as their diversity, that helped them stand out from the rest of the high concept hackwork.
When Truman quite gleefully describes his plan to use 'fictional techniques' to tell his nonfiction story, to shape the Clutter murders as an emblem of cultural malaise, Nelle insists on a knowable distinction between fact and fiction.