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Montage Monties: Movies

With the end of the semester less than two weeks away another year of entertainment is coming to a close. To honor the best and worst of 2008, the Montage crew has created its first pop-culture celebration: The Monty Awards. Winners in all categories were selected based on a majority vote of Montage staffers and correspondents.

Movie of the Year: The Dark Knight (1)
The obvious choice for best film of the year is The Dark Knight. It may not be an artful film and its protagonist may overdo the raspy voice from time to time, but The Dark Knight is an undeniably enjoyable movie, and a huge step up from its predecessor, Batman Begins.

Just about anyone who saw the film took their hats off for Heath Ledger’s performance as the Joker. Ledger carried the film, delivering what was arguably the best acting performance of the decade. Though the movie may not stand the test of time, Ledger’s performance definitely will. — Matt Ferrara

Best Comeback: Robert Downey Jr. (2)
While Downey had seen some success in prior films, none compared to that of this year’s Iron Man, which grossed $100 million its opening weekend. It was the second highest grossing non-sequel ever, right behind 2002’s Spider-Man.

Just months later, Tropic Thunder hit the big screen, and despite being surrounded by some of Hollywood’s biggest names including Ben Stiller and Jack Black, Downey owned the spotlight. New York Daily News deemed him guilty of “stealing everyone’s thunder” with his performance as Kirk Lazarus, an overly dedicated actor who takes drastic measures to prepare for his roles. These successes have landed him an Iron Man sequel — due out in 2010 — as well as the role of Sherlock Holmes next year. — Joe Polito

Worst Comeback: Indiana Jones (3)
Anyone who grew up with the original Indiana Jones trilogy probably had high expectations for the series’ long-awaited closing chapter, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

The sad demise of Spielberg’s directing ability is apparent in this movie as the special effects go through the roof and very little attention is paid to acting or screenwriting.

Also, what’s with Spielberg’s recent affinity for aliens? A.I. ends with aliens. Guess what happens in the Crystal Skull?

All in all, this movie stretches every plotline it can in hopes of creating an attractive final product. Unfortunately for Spielberg, that product is one giant cheesefest.

A certain amount of cheesiness is OK, what with the first film’s infamous face-melting scene, but swinging through the jungle with monkeys and human-devouring insects all in one film? Please. — Christine Labit

Breakout Stars: Elizabeth Banks and Russell Brand
Elizabeth Banks is America’s newest sweetheart. Banks, who popped up on Hollywood’s radar in 2005 with her role in The 40-Year-Old Virgin, broke out this year with leading roles in W., Role Models and Zack and Miri Make a Porno. Be prepared to see more of Banks in 2009 in Lovely, Still and as the leading lady in the upcoming horror flick The Uninvited.

Most know Russell Brand as Aldous Snow, the British rocker boyfriend of the female lead in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, and as the host of the 2008 MTV Video Music Awards. Brand’s talents are seemingly limitless as he is a stand-up comedian, actor, musician, radio personality and, in his newest venture, a novelist. Brand is noted for his unusual fashion preferences and has been arrested 11 times. Whatever it takes, it seems Brand is bound to move into the public eye. — Andrea Gallagher

Best Chick Flick: Sex in the City (4) What other movie could possibly nab this award? Every girl seems to have her defined Sex in the City character. Girls across the country have learned the contemporary, independent way of dating from Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda, and the movie only solidifies the fact that “true friendship never goes out of style.” — AG

Unlikely Movie Star: Seth Rogen
Who would have thought that a guy whose only other national exposure was on a TV show that was cancelled before the end of its first season would become a member of the big-screen comic elite? Seth Rogen’s name was tacked on to seven major motion pictures this year and he already has three films scheduled for release in the first half of 2009. As if out of thin air, Rogen’s improvisational wit and ineffably goofy demeanor have shot him into the spotlight. — AG