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The Year in Film 2008: Signs of life (and a death) in American cinema
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Wild Combination

Look no further than the corrupt endgame of Hulk Hogan — better yet, try to avoid looking at it — for proof that such a figure suits the late-Bush era, though of course Rourke's brawler has true working-class heart. A working class hero is something to be.

10. Manny Farber, 1917-2008

A lot of critics, ranging from musty well-off bores to young upstarts, wrote tributes to Farber upon his passing. But I have to wonder, who in the current era's echo chamber of Web-bound opinion has actually learned from him? Ten years ago, there were at least a few voices (Chuck Stephens, Edward E. Crouse) whose writing carried traces of Farber's spiky structures and wonderfully disorienting shifts in point-of-view. Now, I don't see hear anyone with a voice like his, but more troubling, I don't see newer generations of film critics picking up on the fact that he approached the medium as something other than a passive "entertain me" observer. Farber's vision of film was anything but literal. He was, and is, an artist.

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