Today, the American Film Institute announced their official selections for the year’s most outstanding achievements in film, which will be honored at an invitation-only luncheon on Friday, January 9, 2009 at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills. “AFI Awards honors the community of artists who come together each year to create films and television programs of excellence,” said Bob Gazzale, AFI’s President and CEO in a press release. “They are not competitors at an event, but colleagues, in a world that needs art and entertainment more than ever.” In alphabetical order, AFI’s honorees are: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Dark Knight, Frost/Nixon, Frozen River, Gran Torino, Iron Man, Milk, Wall▪E, Wendy and Lucy and The Wrestler. Needless to say, as someone who has seen all 10 films listed above, this slate has both sins of omission and sins of commission, in my opinion, but we’ll be getting into that more in the coming weeks.
The trailer for Fast & Furious, the streamline-titled fourth installment in the zippy-brightly-colored-car franchise that helped Vin Diesel and especially Paul Walker eat and dress well, is a slick, well-pitched thing, even if its turbo-charged automotive shenanigans seem a little bit wince-inducing and bone-rattling after my own unnerving dance with vehicular mayhem on I-405 tonight. Sure, the moving hijacking of a “gasoline land train” in the Dominican Republic (“street value: $1.4 million”) is totally absurd and over-the-top, especially when one considers that apparently the driver of said vehicle is given only a prop-store pistol for self-defense, but this series has never been particularly concerned with subtlety or reality. Ergo, gingham-clad cholos will rejoice, among other twenty- and early thirtysomethings.
Coming home from Tokyo, the fourth movie’s tagline — “New Model, Original Parts” — is representative of Hollywood studio-think at its best, and summons to mind those few times when your parents completely yielded to all the pressures of juggling work and family life and just let you eat McDonald’s and a fifth of a pound of Oreos for dinner. For more on the film, which bows April 3 from Universal, despite the “this summer” tag in its trailer, click here.