On the big screen, it has been both the summer and the year of superheroes. “Iron Man”, “The Dark Knight”, “The Incredible Hulk”, “Indiana Jones”, and “Hancock” are several that were not only battling evil and saving the world but were also battling at the box office.
Coming out strong was Batman as “The Dark Knight”, which shattered box office records all over the world. Though it didn’t sink the “Titanic” out of the top spot for the all-time box office champ, the film, now out on DVD, became 2008’s highest-grossing film — raking in $500 million dollars in the U.S. alone.
Sadly, the success was bittersweet. In January, Australian-native Heath Ledger died of a drug overdose at age 28 yet his performance as The Joker has been gaining buzz; some insiders said that it could lead to a post-humorous Oscar nomination.
Batman himself, Christian Bale had troubles with the law. This summer, the 34-year-old was arrested by British authorities for allegedly assaulting his mother and sister; he was later cleared of all charges. Morgan Freeman, aka Lucius Fox, was injured in a car accident in Memphis, Tennessee. The 71-year-old had to have surgery for his left arm and hand; publicist Donna Lee stated in August to Yahoo! News that the actor has recovered and was “in good spirits”.
On the small screen, it was the year of Tina Fey, who has been named “Entertainer of the Year” by The Associated Press. Her show “30 Rock” won the 2008 Emmy for Outstanding Comedy, and the actress also took home the awards for both Outstanding Lead Actress and Writing. She even returned to her old stomping ground “Saturday Night Live”, where her portrayal as Sarah Palin on the primetime specials helped give the NBC sketch comedy its highest ratings ever in a decade.
Other highlights on the small screen for 2008 included Simon Baker’s return to CBS as “The Mentalist”, a private consultant who helps authorities solve crimes with his keen senses and observations. It has become the highest-rated series of the 2008 fall season. The CW brought back “90210”, where the zip code is the same but the characters are new — and yet familiar with the return of Brenda (Shannon Doherty) and Kelly (Jennie Garth), who has a son with Dylan. FOX was also on the “Fringe”, which is the latest from J.J. Abrams about a FBI agent (Anna Torv) enlisting the help of an eccentric scientist (John Noble) and his estranged though equally brilliant son (Joshua Jackson) to investigate the unexplainable.
2008 was also the comeback for Britney Spears. Her guest stint on CBS’ “How I Met Your Mother” gave the series big ratings and both her “Circus” album and the single “Womanizer” hit number one. Like Britney, Robert Downey, Jr. suffered from personal and professional setbacks. Now clean and sober, the actor earned both critical and commercial success in “Iron Man” and “Tropic Thunder”, where he’s nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor.
Sadly, we lost some of the most talented actors, comedians, and musicians in 2008 that included Heath Ledger, Paul Newman, Issac Hayes, Bernie Mac, and Levi Stubbs. Each of these individuals left behind a body of work and a legacy that will continue to live through the memories of their loved ones as well as their fans.
Still, 2008 was a year of history being made as Barack Obama became both the 44th and the first-ever African-American President of the United States — showing that it was “a time to change”, for it is coming in 2009.