The Best Movies Of 2008

It’s time for the best movies of 2008. Happy New Year everyone!!! I trust last night you all had a smashing time ushering in the new set of 365 days and then proceeded to wake up next to someone you don’t know… but hot nonetheless.

As we begin this new year, it’s time to reflect back on the best movies of 2008. I’m going to list 15 of them, just to be different from the usual 10. Remember all lists, like movies, are subjective. None of you will have the exact same list as mine, so hopefully that will open the door for lots of discussion and chat in the comments section. It was a pretty damn good year for movies with lots of big and little treasures along the way.

So now I present to you, the best movies of 2008:

#15 – FORGETTING SARAH MARSHALL
After “The 40 Year Old Virgin”, this is, in my opinion, the funniest and best Apatow related movie they’ve ever done. The movie is driven by the lead character who is completely sweet and you like him immediately even though quite flawed. But like any good comedy it’s driven by it’s comedy which was top notch.
#14 – VICKY CHRISTINA BARCELONA
This movie initially caught all of our attentions because of the news that we’d see a threesome involving Penelope Cruz and Scarlett Johansson. Not much of a threesome, but the film made up for that horrible error with great characters, a solid story and some decent laughs.
#13 – HAPPY GO LUCKY
I have to admit I wasn’t even going to see this movie until all the awards buzz started flying around about. As a matter of fact I only saw a screener a few weeks ago, and I’m damn glad that I did. Trust me, all that awards buzz Sally Hawkins is getting for her performance it totally deserved. See this when you get the chance.
#12 – BURN AFTER READING
The Coen brothers are on a roll. Following up last year’s “No Country For Old Men”, they return to comedy and in my opinion hit a home run. This flick is genius, hilarious, convoluted in a very orchestrated way and was a pure joy to watch. I think a case could be made for Brad Pitt getting best supporting actor nomination for his part in this. Brilliant!
#11 – SON OF RAMBOW
A movie that was a hit on the film festival circuit, but sadly never found a serious audience in its theatrical run. This is a beautiful movie that I lament more of you didn’t get a chance to see. A wonderful look at innocent in a world of filled with a lot of beautiful that only innocent eyes seem really capable of seeing. The kids in this flick were great too. Touching, funny… and you even might learn something watching it.
#10 – IRON MAN
I was not at all looking forward to this flick in the least when it was first announced. I even thought doing a movie on Iron Man in general was a bad idea. But after seeing the trailer at Comic Con last year, I started getting interested, and the movie delivers. Exactly what a summer super hero movie should be. Holy crap did Robert Downey Jr. knock it out of the park. He was the perfect Tony Stark.
#9 – WANTED
This will probably be the most controversial film to make my list. I know many people don’t even like this movie. Well screw you!!!!! I frigging loved it! Matter of fact… we all watched it again when we got back from the New Years party last night. This film is just over the top insanity and adrenaline inducing fun from start to finish. Never thought I could buy James McAvoy as an action hero… but I guess I was wrong about that.
#8 – THE DARK KNIGHT
The more I watch this movie the more I appreciate it. One of the best comic book movies of all time with one of the most powerful performances ever by a supporting actor in any film of any genre. How the hell does Nolan top this one?
#7 – THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON
A beautiful film that takes a look at life and the common issues we face from the radical perspective of a man who ages in reverse from the rest of us. Sweet, intelligent, profound and will probably land Pitt a best actor nomination. The visual effects in the movie are some of the best I’ve ever seen and probably the best USE of effects ever in film.
#6 – LET THE RIGHT ONE IN
Oh look, another vampire movie about love between a vampire and a mortal. But hold on… this one isn’t like any other we’ve ever seen before. Erie and creepy yet incredibly human at the same time. This might be the best vampire movie since the original Lost Boys. And the BEST use of Morse Code I’ve ever seen in a movie (pay very close attention to the very end of the film).
#5 – IN BRUGES
The 3 main cast members (Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, Ralph Fiennes) are all beyond brilliant. The film is funny, exciting… and who knew that Colin Farrell could be such a great actor when he puts his mind to it? The film has a “Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels” sort of feel to it, but it’s very much its own movie.
#4 – FROST / NIXON
Who would have ever thought that a movie about an interview… yes… a whole movie made about an interview, would be some engaging and dramatic? You’re drawn in by the drama right from the first frame of the movie and I was kept swept up in it until the very end. Frank Langella will get a best actor nomination for this if there is any justice in the world whatsoever.
#3 – MILK
I’m not usually all that taken with biopics (especially biopics about musicians), but this one is special. Not just because Harvey Milk is an important historical figure who helped change the world, but also because of the way this story was told and some of the most brilliant performances from an entire cast we’ve seen this year. Sean Penn WILL and SHOULD win best actor for this.
#2 – SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE
I didn’t really want to see this film at first because it sounded like a cheesy concept, but man I’m glad I did. Profoundly human and in my opinion the best Danny Boyle to date. Boyle should probably win best director for this because of the amazing performances he was able to bring out a this relatively inexperienced cast to tell him amazing story. My prediction is that this film will win Best Picture at the Oscars this year. Even though the film that should win it is…
#1 – WALL-E
No surprises here since I already named Wall-E the best film of 2008 in our 2008 Movie Blog Awards list last week. Hands down, no questions asked, far and away and easily the very best movie of 2008. Funny since at first it looked to me like it might be the worst film Pixar ever put out (which would still be better than 99% of other movies). I’ve raved enough about this movie so I won’t do it any more.

So there you have it folks. Our best movies of 2008. What would your list look like? Which films would you add? Which ones would you remove?

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76 thoughts on “The Best Movies Of 2008

  1. Here’s my top ten:

    10.The Orphanage
    9.The Spiderwick Chronicles
    8.Valkyrie
    7.Iron Man
    6.Mongol
    5.Burn After Reading
    4.Gran Torino
    3.Wall-E (John will be pissed when he sees this)
    2.The Dark knight
    1.The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

    I haven’t seen Slumdog, Frost/Nixon, Reader, or The Wrestler.

  2. im not going to write this in order but the best films were

    gran torino, role models, iron man, the dark knight, rocknrolla, death race, the bank job, quantum of solace, the wrestler, wall – e, pineapple express

  3. Great choices, except for, like you said…Wanted. It was a cool idea and a decent cast, again except for, Angelina Jolie. Once again, she proves she can’t act! All she is, is a hot body. Even her body isn’t that hot anymore. She’s way too thin!! Her jaw is too wide for her face and her head is way too big for her neck. It looks like a basketball on a toothpick. Not to say I’m an Adonis, but I don’t put myself out there trying to be something I’m not. James McAvoy was very good in this film, and so was the rest of the cast. It just doesn’t belong in the top ten of the year.

  4. Just like everyone else here, I’m here to say that I don’t agree! *surprise*
    Um… well first off, may I mention that Burn After Reading was easily one of the crappiest, totally pointless films I’ve seen in recent times. And yes, I’ve heard over and over that that was the point of the movie, but so what? The cast wasn’t that great, and to be mentioning it as a top film of ’08 is totally a criticism to one of the best years we’ve had in recent times.

    Yes, I’m going to cause controversy over putting the lame and shallow Wanted on your list… before Iron Man! I don’t think Iron Man was one of the best, but it was one of the better films of ’08. The Dark Knight deserves to be higher, and I loved The Curious Case of Benjamin Button but it is slightly overrated.

    Best films:
    1. SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE- By far one of the best films I’ve ever seen in my life- this film is so greatly made and directed, so beautiful, and has one of the most uplifting and moving storylines ever. I thought the acting was phenomenal: especially from Dev Patel, and I was so pleased with this film that I’m going to see it again.
    2. THE DARK KNIGHT- One of the best films ever made, I was completely wowed by every aspect of this. The beginning and end are phenomenal, and the story and aspects of this film are phenomenal. Heath Ledger gave the performance of a lifetime. This is a must see.
    3. IRON MAN- This one came early in the year and blasted into theaters with a whopping $100 on the first weekend. Robert Downey Jr. nailed this role, and it was a phenomenal movie overall. One of the biggest blockbusters of the year.
    4. TWILIGHT- Sure, criticize me if you want, but I incredibly enjoyed this. Firstly, it’s a family film which makes that great since it really was the only family film non-cartoon. I thought the young actors brought the characters to life, and I really believed that this was a big blown up screen adaptation of the books. A series to stay.
    5. THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON- There is so much to admire about this film, but it’s hard to truly love it. It’s definitely not a crowd-pleaser, but it’s a good film nonetheless. Directing, acting, storyline is fantastic, and it should be recognized for audiences to come.
    6. WALL-E- Didn’t make my top 5, but definitely one of the highlights of ’08. A fantastic, moving, inspired cartoon. A gorgeous cinematography and had a great message and plot behind it all, kindof backlashing at the environmental issues today.
    7. MILK- Fantastic performances by Penn, Brolin, and Franco, I thoroughly enjoyed this film. It has a great message, and is out to prove it’s point. I’m not sure if I liked this better than Broke Back Mountain, but I certainly think this is one of the best moving films of the year.
    8. KUNG FU PANDA- Loved it. It was cute, greatly made, and was a fantastic family film. I loved the actors chosen to voice the roles, and I really believe this is one of the better cartoons made in a long time.
    9. ROLE MODELS- Funny, raunchy, and heartwarming is everything to describe Role Models. I mostly couldn’t come up with two more films to top my list, but I enjoyed this and think it’s one you should see.
    10. I’m leaving this one open for the other possible films I haven’t seen yet like Revolutionary Road, Frost/Nixon, or Doubt.

  5. there is a difference between silly and stupid mr death.

    raiders has lots if silly things in it…all of the originals do.
    silly can be great ..stupid on the other hand cannot.

    crystal skull was just too fucking stupid.

    and vargas you are spot on. kung fu panda is a great film. absolutely love it.

  6. and those 2 are almost tied for best of the year in my book. I just wanted to point out that the percentage up there is not the grade for each film.
    Because in my grade I gave the Dark Knight a 9.8 and Ben Button an 8.6

  7. Cool Dragon Slayer

    However, my top 2 are switched from yours, I’ll show you guys in percentage how close they are in my book

    1. The Dark Knight 51 %

    Followed VERY closely by

    2. The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button 49 %

  8. Actually, you know what? Change Milk out for Indy 4. I know alot of people hated it, but I thought it was a decent piece of filmmaking. People claim it’s ridiculous, with the nuking of the fridge and whatnot. But remember, the first one centers around the Nazi’s looking for a box that essentially has god in it. Tell me that’s not ridiculous.

  9. @Hiland

    You’re right, if you watch these movies clean you won’t get the message, that’s how Max Payne, Postal, 88 Minutes and Saw 5 made my list.
    A Scanner Darkly for example, you can’t watch that without taking something, that’s why so many people hated it.

  10. I agree that Wall-E is number one, but for number 2 I’d put The Wrestler. I know you didn’t like this movie John, but damn, this was a good film! Depressing, yes. But at the same time, it was compelling and wonderful. As for the rest (in no particular order), The Dark Knight, Iron Man, Slumdog Millionaire, Burn After Reading, Cloverfeild, Tropic Thunder, Man on Wire, and Milk.

  11. I don’t have a top ten, but I would like to say that I have had a change of heart. I don’t believe that The Dark Knight is the best of the 08, but rather The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

  12. JB I really don’t know how many films you’ve seen this year, but your top 2 is ridiculous! Zack and Miri was ok but not great. I was really looking forward to Choke but it was just so poorly executed. The twist at the end didn’t feel like a twist at all. In fact, I’m told the book is awesome (up there with Fight Club by the same author) so its either poorly directed, or just not the right kind of book for a film adaptation. Since it’s a first time director, I’m guessing the former.

    Apart from Sarah Marshall your worst is pretty good though.

  13. Ummm…. Are you serious, not a single person mentioned Synecdoche, New York. I personally loved that film and am very surprised no one else enjoyed as much as I. Where’s the Kaufman Love, eh?

  14. Best (for me)

    1. Zack and Miri
    2. Choke
    3. Pineapple Express
    4. Wanted
    5. In Bruges

    Worst
    1. Doomsday
    2. You Don’t Mess with the Zohan
    3. The Rocker
    4. Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist
    5. 88 Minutes/Forgetting Sarah Marshall

  15. @Alfie:

    ” i hate arguments like that. its right down there with “you didn’t like it because you didn’t get it” as a lame defense of a film.”

    It’s also up there with I liked it better than you did. or I liked it more than others did. Heck, how about I liked it because I got it?

    I never thought such a charge would be thrown at me, of all people.
    If folks want me to go into detail (again):

    * The film switches a Government red tape for a Hospital Red Tape
    (the B story of Scully trying to save Cancer Patient kid, which most of the int’l friends ‘got’…but found not pivotal to the main story. I did.)

    * The Redemption of Fox Mulder/getting his obsession wind back and how it affects his current relationship with Dana Scully.
    .
    I think most people ‘got this’, but were disappointed that it wasn’t something more major than a Re-Animator/Frankenstein reveal. They also expected more. So was I, but I wasn’t disappointed at all. I actually found a nice character study in all of this. Was I hoping for a alien werewolf story? Yes. But I got something more out of it.

    Let me put it this way: I understand why people thought ‘X-Files 2’ stunk. Why did I think ‘Wanted’ stunk? Because I didn’t get it, obviously.

    Or is it because I just didn’t like the film and was disappointed by it?

    Tomato, Tam-mato.

    But Alfie, at least we both agree that Man On Wire is a great doc (granted, I favor another doc over it)…so, for what it’s worth…

    *******

  16. Perfect list-apart from Son of Rambow. What a terrible film, you know I actually couldn’t wait to see that film and it turned out be just another comedic wreck.

  17. John is BANG-ON about Frost/Nixon. I’m telling you, you guys have to see that movie. HAVE TO.

    And here’s my top ten

    10) Slumdog Millionaire
    9) Ben Button
    8) Frost/Nixon
    7) Hellboy 2
    6) Tropic Thunder
    5) In Bruges
    4) U23D
    3) The Dark Knight
    2) Let The Right One In
    1) Wall-E

  18. The next two on my list is Slumdog Millionaire and Ben Button…haven’t heard of Let the Right In, but will definitely look into it

  19. “X-Files 2 is only a disappointment if one expected The Alien Conspiracy and big scope explosions and swarms of DNA challenged bees.”

    fuck i hate arguments like that. its right down there with “you didn’t like it because you didn’t get it” as a lame defense of a film.

    x files was a disappointment because it was mind numbingly boring Everyone involved looked so disintrested with what was happening that you wonder why they bothered in the first place.
    after being away for so many years they needed it it be a bit more interesting than a average episode to justify charging people ten to fifteen bucks to see it.
    I mean seriously what took place in this movie that required the big screen? it was a tv movie at best.
    a real shame if you ask me as I would love to have this on my top ten best list and be talking about how great it did and how we will see more films in the future but what a lame lame lame way to cap off what was one of the best tv series of all time.

    its tragic.

  20. There are so many movies that came out this year that I haven’t gotten a chance to see yet but here is the top 10 list of movies that I have seen in 2008……

    1. Slumdog Millionaire
    2. In Bruges
    3. The Dark Knight
    4. Wall-E
    5. Tropic Thunder
    6. Vicky Christina Barcelona
    7. Hellboy 2
    8. Kung Fu Panda
    9. Burn After Reading
    10. Iron Man

  21. What!!! Are you kidding me? Burn after reading was the worst piece of crap I’ve watched all year! When I went in watching this movie I was expecting something completely different… And WALL-E??? WTF? It may have been a vision hit, but was the story really that worthy? I think not.

  22. mine:

    1) In Bruges
    2) The Wrestler
    3)The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
    4)Gran Torino
    5)Milk
    6)The Dark Knight
    7)Slumdog Millionaire
    8)Burn After Reading
    9)Tropic Thunder
    10)Frost/Nixon

    Special mention for worst film – Righteous Kill

  23. Though I haven’t been able to see a number of limited releases yet (Frost/Nixon, Slumdog, Milk, The Wrestler, etc.) Here’s how my Top Ten List would look at the moment…

    10.Valkyrie
    9. Body of Lies
    8. Burn After Reading
    7. Tropic Thunder
    6. RockNRolla
    5. In Bruges
    4. Wanted
    3. Wall-E
    2. The Dark Knight
    1. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

  24. Haven’t seen 6 movies on the list, the rest I pretty much agree on with you John. But my god do I have to dissagree you on Burn After Reading. I absolutely love Clooney and Pitt. I really like Coen movies, even liked Ladykillers which many didn’t like. Burn After Reading SUCKED. I couldn’t have even grinned more than once during the movie and I hated both Clooney and Pitt in it. It wasn’t funny in any way and it most definitely belongs to my list of most dissapointing movies of the year. Not among the worst but it really was a painfully dull movie.

  25. It pissed me off when I saw wanted because it strayed so far from the comic book. If they were to make a movie with the idea from the film, than call it something else, or just put Shithead from the comic in it and I would be happy.

  26. Didn’t…wasn’t…
    okay maybe my eyes are fooling me and I forgor to Windex my specs, but I could have sworn John had a ‘Best 10’ list a week or so ago.

    Anyway…since there’s 15 here, I’ll go 15, starting with 15.

    15) X-Files: I Want To Believe

    Just remember: I hated Wanted. You say tomato, I say ta-mato. Tomato, ta-mato…no, seriously, X-Files 2 is only a disappointment if one expected The Alien Conspiracy and big scope explosions and swarms of DNA challenged bees. Compared to Fight The Future, it is toned down in scope and grandeur. But if you are like me, and you get past that, you might like the film for what it is….a well made film.

    14) Hamlet 2

    13) Incredible Hulk

    12) Baby Mama

    11) Vicky Cristina Barcelona

    10) Man On Wire
    The doc regarding Phillipe Petit’s 1974 illegal high wire stunt across the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers.

    9) Charlie Bartlett

    8) Spiderwyk Chronicles

    7) Iron Man

    6) Standard Operating Procedure
    The Erroll Morris doc regarding the contreversy over the torture and procedures of interrogation regarding Abu Ghraib.

    5) Hellboy II: The Golden Army
    I wasn’t a huge fan of the first Hellboy, but I liked te sequel a hundred percent more. The Fairy Town is the best set (and creature populated) of its kind since the mutant town seen in 1990’s Total Recall. And then…there’s Johann Krauss.

    4) Get Smart
    I enjoyed this movie start to finish. Never a dull moment for me. Perfect casting, too. The dance number is classic. You what I mean.

    3) Stop Loss
    I was a bit surprised with the picture; not because a character says ‘Fuck The President” twice, but because I found the film to be complex with no easy answers, and the most underrated acting this year by Ryan Phillppe, Channing Tatum, Cirian Hinds and Abbie Cornish.

    2) The Dark Knight
    it takes a bit more than a great performance by the late Heath Ledger to make this sequel worthwhile. The other actors, the scope and the story all made this one of the best films of the year…and *the* best movie in either Batman franchise.

    1) Burn After Reading
    The setup took some time, but once that was done, the rollercoaster of quirks kept rolling. Brad Pitt and John Malcovich were great, and I have my fingers crossed that Frances McDormand is up for Best Actress. It’s too bad this film didn’t do better at the box office.

    (Note: I haven’t seen Ben Button, Wall-E, Wrestler, Defiance, Let The Right One In, Slumdog , Milk or Frost/Nixon yet)

    Missing my 15: In Bruges, City Of Ember and The Signal….and I just can’t find a place for Smart People either. I tried….

  27. So what happenend with Milk an Frost/Nixon? based on you rating Frost/Nixn should be ahead of Milk. Did time to sit and ponder change their scores? or would you still give Frost/Nixon the higher rating but give Milk the spot closer to number 1?

  28. hey John, i just want to ask you what did you think about QUANTUM OF SOLACE?

    By the way,Wanted is a great movie.

    Happy New Year!

  29. One thing I never like about lists like these is I can’t really compare ‘In Bruges’ to ‘The Dark Knight’ since they don’t fulfill the same mental slot. Even though I enjoyed both, I enjoyed them in a completely different way. I will probably see TDK many more times, but probably not see IB more than once or twice more, just because of the type of movie it is, though I can’t really say which is better. A comedy can have bad acting, poor production values, but it will top my list of comedies if it makes me laugh the most, even if it will never be on an overall best list.

  30. Here’s my top 5 so far:

    5 – Waltz with Bashir
    4 – Wall-E
    3 – Frozen River
    2 – The Wrestler
    1 – Man on Wire

    I can’t believe none of my top 3 made it into your top 15. Forgetting Sarah Marshall wasn’t THAT good, and neither was Burn After Reading.

  31. Greg,

    John loved the performances of Rourke and Tomei in the Wrestler. On the other hand, he hated everything around the performances. He gave it a 4 out of 10.

  32. A good list, but how the hell did The Wrestler not make it on? Glad to see In Bruges high up though; possibly my favourite film of the year.

  33. I agree that Benjamin Button had landmark effects. The aging and reverse aging techniques were amazing. Its effects have never been done better. Unfortunetly for me,the length of the film hurt its overall effect badly. There not enough story to tell for its way overblown running time. A lot to like, but not the film it could have been! Id give it a 6 out 0f 10.

    chuck

  34. THE FOOL ON THE HILL’S SISTER IN LAW

    1. The Wrestler
    2. Changeling
    3. Gran Torino
    4. In Bruges
    5. TDK
    6. Quantum of Solace
    7. Saw V
    8. 88 Minutes
    9. Postal
    10.Max Payne

    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    Are YOU FUCKING HIGH!

    Max Payne, Postal, 88 Minutes, Saw 5 are fucking HORRIBLE how in the hell does that make your top 10 list??? please tell me!

    the top 5 is acceptable but…

    7-10 is like looking at a pile of shit.

  35. Am I the only one who was disappointed with Benjamin Button? I’ve already seen the film twice (once with a DVD screener, once in theatre) and both times the film really let me down. I found the film to be uneven and at times meandering. Everytime Benjamin’s story would be interesting the film would cut to old Cate Blanchett in New Orleans. I never found any of the characters to be interesting and many of the supporting cast seemed to be caricatures (especially Queenie and Captain Mike). In addition, I never found Benjamin’s journey from old man to infant particularly involving. The positives though: Claudio Miranda’s cinematography is absolutely beautiful and the visual effects are quite spectacular but something about Fincher’s direction seemed off in this film. It felt like Fincher couldn’t find any focus within the film and this is why the Curious Case of Benjamin Button will not even close on my top 10 of the year list.

  36. so glad to see you liked happy go lucky so much campea. she is fucking incredible but how good is eddie Marsden as the driving instructer?
    great film.

  37. oops I put ben button twice…..i forgot that i had it at 6…I couldnt see it there when I cut and paste my list and thought I had forgotten it.in that case the happening gets number 8 all to itself…get drunk and rent the happening. you will have a great laugh.

  38. i just cut and paste this from a thread that I left this on earlier….

    1. Let The Right One In.
    I have been championing this film since I saw it back in august. A beautiful film that avoids pretty much every vampire cliche. It doesn’t go on with unnecessary exposition or filling us in with the “rules” of being a vampire. Its a simple coming of age story in which one of the characters happens to be a vampire. It’s the best film of the year. By a mile. and it contains the best set piece of the year – the swimming pool scene. Thats is all I will say. If you have seen it you know what I mean. If you havent remedy that as soon as possible as this is a fucking masterful film. Can’t wait for the remake (in case you were wondering that sentiment is to be read dripping with sarcasm)So glad to see campea finally address this film. and that he loved it too. But for me nothing came close to this until I saw….

    2. The Wrestler
    Loved it. It’s the type of film I am always predisposed to like and it did not disappoint. Rourkes performance is great but thats hardly a surprise. His problem was never his acting – he was always a great actor. His problem was that he was a shithead. But the film is a beutiful character piece with true heart and true soul. I shudder to think how bad it would have been if Nic Cage had played the part as originally intended. Just the opening shot alone is marvellous. From the clippings over the credits to the lone figure of a washed up relic sitting in a “dressing” room. His body language alone tells you all you need to know.

    3. The Dark Knight
    Blah blah blah blah. Seriously what more needs to be said. It has been talked to death but the joker is my favorite character of all time out of any mediium and ledger was great. It does transcends its genre.

    4. Kung Fu Panda
    Best animated film of the year for me. The action set pieces were the best of the year. The prison escape, the bridge fight, the dumpling training – Just amazing fight scenes and while the story is hardly original its told very well.

    5. Eden Lake.
    British horror film. Very nasty. Short and sharp with a gut punch ending. No supernatural nonsense just a series of avoidable events getting way way out of hand. Highly recommended.

    6. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
    Fincher does it again. He is one of the best directors working today and it would take 50 panic rooms in a row before I would give up on him. (panic room is not that bad but its by far his worst film). Pitt is great. Blanchett and swinton are as well.

    7. Man on Wire
    When I first heard the premise I thought “how boring” but it turned out to be the best thriller of the year. Must see doco. Amazing story told incredibly well

    I have a tie for number 8.
    8.The Happening/The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
    The best comedy of the year by far. Nothing made me laugh as much as this film did. I am convinced it was all intentional. A massive prank played on the studio as it is just jaw droppingly terrible but absolutely entertaining from beginning to end. I have seen it three times and I swear to god it gets funnier and funnier. Wahlbergs scene where he admits an “indiscretion” to his wife should get him an oscar. He must be so glad peter jackson cast him in lovely bones before this came out.
    Benjamin Button was beautiful and I loved it dearly. Fincher is on a hell of a roll as Zodiac was my number one film last year and now he has this. I will always see any film he does.

    9. Milk
    I was surprised how standard a biopic this was considering the director but its a good film. Penn is great as usual and this is a very timely film with whats happening with the stupid prop 8 situation. Not a patch on the old doco the times of harvey milk though. If you enjoyed milk seek out this doc today.

    10. Slumdog Millionaire
    Boyles best film to date.Shallow Grave and Trainspotting are so good that it would be tough for anyone to follow them up and stay at that quality But even without the shadow of those two great great films hanging over him life less ordinary and the beach would still be stinkers. I like sunshine a lot (until attack of the blurry man begins at the end) and 28 days later is a good little horror film.

    But slumdog millionaire is something else all together. Its wonderful.
    I can see why it has become the oscar dark horse and if it was to win I would not be upset.

    honorable mentions:

    Foot Fist Way – Hilarious
    I think we’re alone now – doc about two people obsessed with 80’s pop star tiffany. Hilarious yet incredibly sad.
    Bigger, Stronger, Faster – Great doco.
    Iron Man
    In Bruges
    Doubt
    Rachel Getting Married
    american teen – (mock me all you want but i liked it.)
    religulous

    Biggest disappointment
    frost/nixon and quantum of solace.

    I was really looking forward to frost/nixon and was severely let down by the changes they made to the real story. they were pointless changes. I could understand of they were done to enhance the dramatic tension but they were not. they were invented to tell a different story to the one that could have been told.

    and as for bond – wow. what a fucking bummer. I hope it was just a misstep and they get back on track because I thought it was a brain numbing bore. The opera scene was great and the rope fight but dear lord what a dreary fucking film.

    Worst film of the year:

    I don’t include things like disaster movie or meet the spartans on worst lists because who was expecting anything from them? Worst films can’t be made from the obvious ones. Its the films that should or could have been better that get there and that is why my number one by a mile is

    INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL
    they did something I thought was impossible. They made indy uncool. the whole film was so uncool. totally unhip and awful beyond imagination. People who like this and say it fits in well with the original seriously need to go and watch the originals again. It in no way sits with them at all. Its embarrassing from beginning to jaw dropping “no they fucking didn’t” stupid end. For me the series ends with them riding into the sunset at the end of crusade (which was marginal itself)

    runner up worst film
    Speed Racer – I don’t think any one will be speeding or racing to make a sequel any time soon.

    Dishonorable mentions
    The Happening – I love it dearly but by god it is a bad film
    The X files – I want to believe there won’t be another.

    There are a few more films I didn’t like – Revolutionary road is an over wrought pile of drek that has a massive dose of Seen it all before about it. I saw defiance which is pretty ghastly….

    but thats my year.

    and my most anticipated films for 2009 are in order

    The Lovely Bones
    Drag Me To Hell
    Watchmen
    Avatar
    Inglorious Basterds
    Friday The 13th
    Che
    Bruno
    Star Trek
    Transformers 2
    Funny People
    Watchmen

  39. sorry i hated burn after reading…very slow and the bland humor was just to old for me….and now that i think about it not one of the 6 people that i know who have seened it liked it……IMO tropic thunder was better then sarah marshal…..but not by much

    ps i seen the wrestler and i loved it…why did i love it …cause as a youth i grew up idolizing wrestling stars….and with the stories of people like jake the snake etc…this movie really is a fond tribute to those guys and what they been thru in there ages of glory to there fall and resurrections……not every one lives like hogan haha

  40. Its interesting to see the surprises thrown in on lists here and there. I’m cutting my own list to five. The most noteworthy cut for me was the TDK. The film actually decreased in my estimation on repeat viewing. Ledger’s performance was still great, but didn’t stand up as well for me the 2nd time around. There were some really serious problems with the plot that jumped out even more this time – particularly those revolving around the jokers setup and capture and then escape from jail.

    (1) The Wrestler – easily the best film I saw this year.
    (2) Persepolis (not sure if its 2008 or 7) – of the 2 exceptional animation based films I saw this year, this was the better. Both had their charms and beauty, but I found the themes of Persepolis to run deeper.
    (3) Wall-E
    (4) Slumdog Millionaire – A fun concept. Felt charming even though some of the stories in the film were quite painful.
    (5) Let the Right One in – A unique and beautiful vampire tale that also left me a bit disturbed.

  41. Haven’t seen Slumdog Millionaire or The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, but I’d put The Wrestler ahead of In Bruges, Milk, and Frost Nixon.

  42. Here is my list:

    1) The Dark Knight
    2) Cloverfield
    3) Iron man
    4) Forgetting Sarah Marshall
    5) HellBoy 2
    6) Wall-E
    7) Kung-Fu Panda
    8) Tropic Thunder

  43. I’m a little confused. At the half way mark of this year you had Wanted 1 spot ahead of Dark Knight and now Dark Knight is up 1. Did Wanted lose somthing or did Dark Knight gain somthing over half a year?

  44. Some great picks, John. Here’s my Top 10 list:

    10. Yes Man
    9. Kung Fu Panda
    8. Tropic Thunder
    7. Iron Man
    6. Saw V
    5. Burn After Reading
    4. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
    3. Wall-E
    2. Bolt
    1. (Not to sound like a “yes man”, but…) The Dark Knight

  45. Except WANTED which was just an entertaining brainless action film and HAPPY-GO LUCKY, those are good choices. So, mine are:

    1. THE DARK KNIGHT
    2. THE WRESTLER
    3. WALL-E
    4. SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE
    5. THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON
    6. MILK
    7. GRAN TORINO
    8. FROST/NIXON
    9. MAN ON WIRE
    10. LET THE RIGHT ONE IN
    11. WALTZ WITH BASHIR
    12. IN BRUGES
    13. CHANGELING
    14. HUNGER
    15. REVOLUTIONARY ROAD

  46. What struck me about ‘Forgetting Sarah Marshall’ was that if you made the subject and jokes more 50s, it reminded me a lot of an old screwball comedy.

    I wasn’t crazy about ‘Burn After Reading’ (except for Brad, who was hysterical), but excluding the films I haven’t seen yet, yes yes awesomesocks I approve. And omg I hope Wall-E at least gets a nomination.

    And is it me or were more of the Oscar-driven pieces put in extremely limited release? I’m stuck in Orange County and I was so looking forward to Frost/Nixon, Doubt, and Milk, but I had to wait like three weeks before they were brought to an artsy theater in my area, but still like twenty miles from where I lived. It seems like any of those movies could have gotten a wide release ten years ago for Oscar season. Last time I was at the movies, Australia was playing on five screens, Twilight on four, and there was plenty of advertising for the Oscar flicks all around, but not one of them was going to be shown in the theater. Is this chicken shit distribution or am I just seeing things because I’m stuck in the beach boondocks?

  47. 1. The Wrestler
    2. Changeling
    3. Gran Torino
    4. In Bruges
    5. TDK
    6. Quantum of Solace
    7. Saw V
    8. 88 Minutes
    9. Postal
    10.Max Payne

  48. God bless you John for not being greedy and posting your whole list on the one page. I’m not usually a rabble rouser, but people putting their Best Of list in ten page slide shows gets on my nerves.

    If you haven’t already, you should check out Reprise and Man on Wire, two of my favorite films of the year.

  49. Well as usual, the UK kinda gets the shaft since these great movies I really want to see like Benjamin Button, Frost/Nixon and Let The Right One In aren’t being released here till the new year and the great ones from 2007 only got released here this year. So I’ve got:

    5. Hellboy II
    4. Wall-E
    3. The Dark Knight
    2. Gone Baby, Gone
    1. There Will Be Blood

  50. good list there John! All the deserving ones are there! Iron Man, Dark Knight and Wall-E.

    hey john speaking of Wall-E. Did you notice that when Eva said “Wall-E” she sounded like his whiny, nagging wife/girlfriend?

    lol It’s just something I noticed and I was just wondering if you did too!

  51. Great list, even if TDK is still my #1 heh, agreed with Wanted, fack them, it was a blast to see wanted this year and one of my favorite action movies from this year, still need to see 12, 7, 6, 4, 3, and 2.

    My Top 10;

    1. The Dark Knight
    2. Iron Man
    3. Wall-E
    4. In Bruges
    5. Quantum of Solace
    6.The Incredible Hulk
    7. Wanted
    8. Hellboy II: The Golden Army
    9. Body of Lies
    10. Tropic Thunder, The Fall & Taken

  52. great great list John. I know your probably tired of hearing this, but TDK would be way higher on my list. my top 5 would look like…

    5. Iron Man
    4. Frost/Nixon
    3. Wanted
    2. The Curious Case OF Benjamin Button
    1. The Dark Knight

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