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What Happened in '08, and Why It Would Make a Good Movie.

Photo of Eric Kohn By Eric Kohn | Eric Kohn February 6, 2009 at 4:39AM

What Happened in '08, and Why It Would Make a Good Movie.

This isn't the pinnacle of my journalistic accomplishments, but should make for an intriguing read nonetheless: For Variety, I spoke to a handful of WGA and Oscar nominated screenwriters about what events in 2008 would make good movies. My favorite might be Courtney Hunt's passionate critique of the reaction to Benazir Bhutto's assassination, although John Patrick Shanley takes a close second place by offering an unlikely humorous event that apparently inspired the very non-funny performances in Doubt. Then there are the obvious choices: Obama, Palin, her suddenly famous stepson.

The truth is that somebody already made a great movie about 2008 events, and it captures the times better than any specific event movie would manage to do: Steven Soderbergh's The Girlfriend Experience, which was shown at a preview screening last month during the Sundance Film Festival, centers on pre-recession paranoia amid the presidential election. Entirely improvised, filled with Godardian abstractions, and darkly funny, it's a chilling snapshot of America at the end of a troublesome decade.